Consumer research pro Graeff earns MTSU’s Career Achievement Award; 10 more professors saluted for teaching, service

Aug 23, 2021 at 10:16 am by WGNS

MTSU 2021 faculty awards group.

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — A Middle Tennessee State University marketing professor whose regular teamwork with his students and colleagues provides consumer insights into Tennessee’s economy chose to focus on those students and colleagues, and his family, after receiving the university’s top teaching honor.

Timothy Graeff, a professor in the Department of Marketing in MTSU’s Jones College of Business since 1992, is the 2021 recipient of the MTSU Foundation’s Career Achievement Award.

He was saluted Thursday, Aug. 19, at the university’s Fall Faculty Meeting for his teaching, research and service to students.

University President Sidney A. McPhee and alumnus Ronald Roberts, MTSU Foundation vice president, presented Graeff with his award in MTSU’s Tucker Theatre, the traditional site for the annual faculty gathering before each new academic year begins.

“Often at the end of my each of my classes, I ask my students, 'What did you learn today?' And they'll tell me things — sometimes it's very surprising what they tell me — but what we're all about now is reflective learning: ‘What did you learn?’” said Graeff, founder of MTSU’s Office of Consumer Research.

“One very important thing I've learned is that no one can have a successful career here without the help and support of a LOT of other people on this campus. That is very true for me, because there are many of you out here today, or watching online, that I have dealt with in my department, my college, university committees, just different special projects, and I have relied on you, I have asked for advice, I've asked for help, and I have received so much support from my department chairs, my deans — it's just unimaginable.

“So to all those people I have had any connection with during my career, thank you for your help and your support, and thank you for being part of my career here.”

The Office of Consumer Research at MTSU, established in 2000, conducts quarterly surveys of both Tennessee residents and Tennessee business leaders, measuring their outlook on the economy and gauging their impact on key economic indicators such as inflation, interest rates and consumer spending.

The “Tennessee Consumer Outlook Index” surveys 600 random Tennesseans online each March, June, September and December for their perceptions of current business and economic conditions and their expectations for future conditions. The “Tennessee Business Barometer Survey,” a partnership with the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce and Industry, performs similar surveys among business leaders statewide.


Graeff’s students help prepare both surveys, which are archived online at the OCR website,

Graeff, who's taught courses in marketing principles, consumer behavior, services marketing, and marketing research in his 29 years at MTSU, has earned numerous on- and off-campus awards for his work, including three of the university’s Outstanding Teaching Awards, two Outstanding Public Service Awards and a Distinguished Research Award.

He’s also coordinated the MTSU Teaching Mentoring Program since its inception in 2004, an effort with the university’s Learning, Teaching and Innovative Technologies Center that teams up experienced professors with participants in the LT&ITC’s yearlong Faculty Fellows professional development and training opportunity.

MTSU Provost Mark Byrnes noted that the Teaching Mentoring Program work shows Graeff’s “commitment to improving teaching excellence.”

Byrnes also recognized 10 more faculty recipients of MTSU Foundation awards during the meeting for their accomplishments in and outside the classroom. Before the honors, McPhee presented his 2021 State of the University address; that story is available at

The three recipients of the university’s 2021 Outstanding Teaching Award are:

- Odie Blackmon, Department of Recording Industry.
- Tiffany D. Rogers, Department of Psychology.
- Dianna Z. Rust, Department of University Studies.

The seven additional Foundation Award recipients for 2021 are:

- Outstanding General Education Award —Kim Cleary Sadler, Department of Biology.

- Outstanding Achievement in Instructional Technology Awards —Keith Jacks Gamble, 2019-20 recipient, Department of Economics and Finance, andFrank P. Lambert, Womack Educational Leadership Department.

- Distinguished Research Awards —Amy Elleman, Department of Elementary and Special Education;Philip E. Phillips, University Honors College and Department of English; and Ben Stickle, Department of Criminal Justice Administration.

- Distinguished Creativity Award —Meg Brooker, Department of Theatre and Dance.

- During the gathering, MTSU also honored 22 new faculty emeriti and 39 newly promoted and/or tenured faculty members across campus.

The complete 2021 MTSU Foundation Awards program, which includes more details about the award winners and other honorees, is available as a PDF at

MTSU's 110th academic year begins Monday, Aug. 23, with the first day of fall 2021 classes.

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