Monday Podcast Topic: A look at the new MTSU School of Concrete building, Student Safety and the MTSU Police Department and Celebrating Local Educators

Oct 17, 2022 at 09:00 am by WGNS News

Photos (L to R): Dr. Pam Ertel, Dr. Kelly Strong and Chief Edwin “Ed” Kaup (MTSU in background)

Today on the WGNS Action Line, host Scott Walker takes a look at the recent celebration to honor local K-12th grade teachers, the new MTSU School of Concrete and Construction Management building and also students safety and the MTSU Police Department. Listen to the entire WGNS Podcast! 

GUEST: Dr. Pam Ertel, associate professor in the MTSU College of Education
TOPIC: Recent celebration to honor local K-12 educator mentors 

After months of planning and preparation, about 70 local teachers arrived on campus recently to enjoy the MTSU College of Education’s inaugural Teacher Appreciation event.

Melissa Flowers, a kindergarten teacher at Murfreesboro’s Homer Pittard Campus School and another MTSU alumna, said it felt “phenomenal to be celebrated and appreciated by her alma mater. 

“It’s not every day that teachers get this kind of event just for being a teacher and doing what we do,” Flowers said, adding that a highlight was learning the COE has been recognized with multiple awards on a national level. 

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Also recently, Ertel was involved in the College of Education’s annual professional development Play Symposium event to help other educators do just that.

“The idea is to promote play as a vehicle for learning, and so this year’s focus was really on how we use play to promote the social and emotional well-being of children,” Ertel said. “We do this to support early childhood educators in the area as well as our early childhood and elementary education students.”

Ertel and Connie Casha, director of early childhood programs who co-organizes the event, welcomed both MTSU students and the larger education community to campus recently to participate in the full day of breakout lecture sessions, collaboration with colleagues, food and drink and keynote presentation from Zac Brown Band guitarist and early education advocate Coy Bowles. 

“We love having not only our MTSU students but also practicing or aspiring teachers as well as administrators come to campus and be part of learning with us,” Ertel said. “It’s such a joy to be able to host these types of events where we can all learn together.” 

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GUEST: Dr. Kelly Strong, director of the MTSU School of Concrete and Construction Management
TOPIC: Recent ribbon-cutting on state-of-the-art, $40.1 million new building on campus

Middle Tennessee State University officials cut the ribbon Thursday, Oct. 13, to officially open the new $40.1 million School of Concrete and Construction Management Building students just began utilizing on the west side of campus as they prepare for professional careers in a high-demand sector throughout the Midstate and beyond.

The 54,000-square-foot facility will be an integrated and experiential learning laboratory for 135 current Concrete Industry Management majors and 200 Commercial Construction Management students, and major change from their former home in Voorhies Engineering Technology that provided only 9,000 square feet of space.

Among the building’s many features are a 200-seat lecture hall, two computer labs, four basic materials and building labs, a dedicated mechanical electrical plumbing, or MEP, classroom and a covered amphitheater.

The building was made possible by $5 million in required matching funding contributed by concrete and construction industry partners.

University President Sidney A. McPhee calls it “the beginning of a new chapter in the success of our MTSU CIM (Concrete Industry Management) and CCM (Commercial Construction Management) programs. … With today’s dedication, we are publicly reaffirming our commitment to maintaining the nation’s finest program in Concrete and Construction Management.”

McPhee said he was “amazed at the many ways concrete was utilized in the design and construction. Students will see firsthand how the many forms of concrete can add value and creativity to a structure. The building is a true living laboratory, with examples of various construction techniques and operating systems operating in full view of students.”


GUEST: New MTSU Police Chief Edwin “Ed” Kaup 
TOPIC: His new role leading the university’s police force

A few months into his tenure, new MTSU Police Chief Edwin “Ed” Kaup has been busy making the rounds, getting to know his officers, attending campus events and grabbing lunch at the Student Union when time allows so that students get to know his face.

After 27 years in various leadership, administrative and frontline roles with the Chicago Police Department, Kaup has been chosen to lead the university’s 36 commissioned police officers, six full-time dispatchers, approximately 20 part-time student workers as well full-time administrative staff.

“I love the educational setting. Working for a university allows us to do things that traditional law enforcement can’t,” said the 51-year-old Illinois native, who took the helm of the University Police Department in early August.

“At the university, we realize that a lot of students are on their own for the first time and are going to experiment and occasionally make bad decisions,” he added. “If we can help make that bad decision not mar someone’s life long term, that’s a terrific ability that we have in this setting, that is handling it through the university instead of the criminal justice system. …It gives us a better opportunity to engage with youth.”

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