Guests from MTSU Focus on Education, Students and Student Government and Photography

Oct 16, 2023 at 09:15 am by WGNS News

L to R: Dr. Neporcha Cone, Michai Mosby, Bill Steber and Shannon Randol


GUEST: Dr. Neporcha Cone, new dean of the MTSU College of Education

TOPIC: Her new role and plans for leading one of the state and region’s top education colleges

For Neporcha Cone, the new dean of MTSU’s College of Education, the university’s award-winning teacher preparation program drew her in because she believes it is well-positioned to produce great educational leaders

“The university is made up of a dynamic body of administrators, faculty, staff and students who are committed to empowering and creating change in a global society,” Cone said. 

“I’m looking forward to building on the strengths of our internal and external stakeholders as well as highlighting our dedication to being difference-makers.”

Following a nationwide search, Cone was named to take the helm of the college that represents the university’s founding as a teacher training institution. 

She comes to MTSU from Kennesaw State University in Georgia, where she was the Chair for the Department of Elementary and Early Childhood Education. She began her MTSU role in July.

Originally from Miami, Florida, Cone started her career in the classroom as a middle school science teacher in the late ’90s in a predominantly Hispanic community while completing her master’s and doctoral degrees. She transitioned to postdoctoral work and higher education in 2006.



GUEST: Michai Mosby, new president of the MTSU Student Government Association

TOPIC: His role and plans in leading the university’s student government body

MTSU junior Michai Mosby is the new MTSU Student Government Association president — one of the youngest SGA presidents ever elected on the Blue Raider campus.

Mosby, a junior who is pursuing a degree in public relations and political science, took the reins in the spring. Mosby said he began his journey in student leadership at Memphis’ Southwind High School where he served as class president.

“Coming to MTSU, I still had a passion for student voice,” said Mosby. “I served as the freshman council president, and Jada appointed me to serve as her chief of staff last year. I just was able to grow on my passion, learn the ins-and-outs of student government, hear the concerns of students and ways to address them.”

Weeks before being sworn in at president, Mosby had to think hard and “pray” about even joining the presidential race. No one else had applied at the point, so signing up could be akin to accepting the yearlong role.

“I ran the campaign on campus unity that’s bridging the gap between student leadership and institutional leadership that’s merging unity between departments, and I simply want students to know the resources that they have on campus,” said Mosby.

“I want students to know that SGA is their voice and that you should use every resource that you have including us when you have issues,” he added.

A recent restructuring of the SGA Senate will bring more at-large representation, helping “bring more people who share the same goals, share the same visions as we do and to bring the mission of student government to fruition.”



GUEST: Shannon Randol, MTSU assistant professor of photography and curator for the Baldwin Photographic Gallery at MTSU, and Bill Steber, photojournalist and MTSU photography program alumnus

TOPIC: Steber’s exhibit at Baldwin titled “Deep Roots: Evocations of the Mississippi Blues”

Photojournalist and Middle Tennessee State University alumnus Bill Steber takes a visual and interactive journey into the world of Delta blues with his newly installed exhibit on display through Dec. 9 at Baldwin Photographic Gallery on campus.

“Deep Roots: Evocations of the Mississippi Blues” features a collection of images, artifacts and mixed-media artwork from his 30-plus-year exploration and documentation of the Mississippi blues culture.

At 6 p.m. Nov. 15, Steber will be on campus for an artist talk. The event is free and open to the public. Gallery hours are 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays when MTSU classes are in session. 

“What Bill does touches so many things — culture, history and music,” said Shannon Randol, MTSU assistant professor of photography and curator for Baldwin Gallery, located on the second floor of Bragg Media and Entertainment Building. “He’s devoted almost his entire life to photographing one geographic location.” 

Steber’s love of blues music dates to his childhood when he discovered his parents’ record collection of crossover musicians John Lee Hooker and Jimmy Reed.

“It was kind of transformative and I became a lifelong fan of traditional blues music,” said Steber, who picked up a camera about the same time he started tinkering with music.

After graduating from MTSU, Steber was hired at The Tennessean in Nashville as a staff photographer. In 1992, he and a reporter went on assignment into the heart of the Mississippi Delta, where he met legendary musician and folk artist, Son Thomas.

“It was a day that I can mark my life as before and after,” Steber recalled.