Murphree Talks Spiders at Adventure Science Center

steven_murphreeDr. Steve Murphree, professor of biology, participated in Charlotte’s Web Day at the Adventure Science Center on July 12. The day was a celebration of the birthday of children’s author E.B. White and his classic book. Families could experience farm fun and learn more about the amazing animals depicted in the story. Murphree, an entomologist, had a floor exhibit on spiders where people could learn about spiders and the amazing webs they build. He also gave a talk on spiders as they relate to Charlotte’s Web. Murphree’s pet tarantula, Rosie,  got a lot of attention. 

Chen Appointed to State Performance Excellence Board Of Examiners

Dennis Chen-LDr. Dennis C. Chen, assistant professor of management, has been appointed by the Board of Directors of the Tennessee Center for Performance Excellence (TNCPE) to the 2014 Board of Examiners. Each year, the TNCPE award program recognizes local, regional and statewide organizations that demonstrate excellence in business operations and results.

As an examiner, Chen is responsible for reviewing and evaluating organizations that apply for the TNCPE Award. The Board of Examiners comprises experts from all sectors of the regional economy, including health care, service, nonprofit, manufacturing, education and government. All members of the Board of Examiners must complete extensive training in the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence. Examiners take the skills and expertise developed during training and the assessment process back to their own jobs, benefiting and improving their own organizations in the process.

Each year, the TNCPE Board of Examiners contributes more than 10,000 hours of volunteer service to organizations across Tennessee.

Curb College Professor, Student Record Colombian Ensemble

El Guamo w student engineersDr. David Tough, associate professor, and Curb College students Andrew Christenberry and Jake Minnes recently recorded the 17-piece musical ensemble El Guamo from the country of ​Columbia at Belmont’s Quonset Hut studio. The group traveled to Nashville, Tennessee on a state department grant and were hosted in collaboration with the Music Without Borders program at Tennessee State University.

Viral Video Launches Alumni Benji, Jenna Cowart into National Spotlight

Benji Cowart screen shot from YouTubeBelmont alumni Benji (’96) and Jenna (’95) Cowart made headlines and national TV this week with their music video response to the popular “Rude” single by Canadian reggae band Magic! The creative cover is in response to “Rude,” a song in which the singer asks a father’s permission to marry his daughter and then questions the father’s refusal, noting “Why you gotta be so rude?… I’m gonna marry her anyway.”

Cowart, a father of three, wanted to provide the father’s perspective and offered a humorous, acoustic response that has scored national attention. In addition to a story in The Tennessean, the Cowarts have been featured in USA Today, ABC’s “Good Morning America,” Huffington Post and The video is approaching six million views on YouTube, and the couple has now added a higher quality version for download on iTunes.



Diaz-Cruz Contributes to Cancer Research Study

DiazCruzMediumDr. Edgar Diaz-Cruz, assistant professor of pharmacy, was recently published in the journal Frontiers in Oncology, for research he and his colleagues conducted on human pancreatic cancer.  The study, entitled “Human pancreatic cancer-associated stellate cells remain activated after in vivo chemoradiation,” showed that human tumor-derived pancreatic stellate cells survive both in vivo chemo- and radiotherapy. The data supports the idea that stellate cells play an essential role in supporting and promoting pancreatic cancer and may lead to new treatments targeting the pancreatic tumor microenvironment.  The team included researchers from the National Cancer Informatics Program, the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, Georgetown University, the University of Texas, the German Research Center for Environmental Health and ETH Zurich in Switzerland.

Greenwalt Earns Specialty Certification

GreenwaltMediumSuzanne Greenwalt, an instructor in the School of Physical Therapy, recently received certification as a Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Specialist from the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties (ABPTS).  ABPTS is the national governing body for certification of clinical specialists in physical therapy.  Less than 200 physical therapists are certified in this particular specialty, and Greenwalt is the first physical therapist in Tennessee to gain this credential.  

“It’s quite an accomplishment,” said Dr. Renee Brown, the chairman of Belmont’s School of Physical Therapy, “and it’s great for our program.  The knowledge and experience she has gained will enhance her teaching and benefit our students. We congratulate her.”

Cardiovascular and pulmonary physical therapy provides treatment for individuals who suffer from cardiovascular and pulmonary conditions, such as heart attacks, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and pulmonary fibrosis, to increase endurance and improve functional independence.  To gain certification, Greenwalt was required to provide 2,000 hours of direct care of patients with conditions involving the cardiovascular and pulmonary systems in both acute and rehabilitation settings.

Belmont Students Serve with Project Transformation Tennessee

Casey Enright

Casey Enright and a summer camp student

Three Belmont students are working with Project Transformation Tennessee, which seeks to address three unique challenges with one program: meet the academic, physical, and spiritual needs of children from low-income communities; provide meaningful ways for college-age young adults to explore ministry opportunities and develop as young principled leaders for the church and the world; and help revitalize churches.

Project Transformation Tennessee harnesses the creative energy and ideas of young adults who live in intentional Christian community and who plan and implement free summer day camp programs for children and youth in under served neighborhoods. The programs are held at United Methodist churches located in the heart of low-income neighborhoods, thereby helping those churches connect in meaningful ways with their communities.

Three Belmont students serving with Project Transformation are Casey Enright (a sophomore church leadership and administration major), Christine Anderson (a sophomore social entrepreneurship major) and Natalie Webb (a junior social work major).

Enright said, “This is my first year working with Project Transformation, and it has been a life changing summer. Not only am I building a relationship with the kids that I work with, but also my fellow interns and different organizations that we meet through our organization.”

‘Riding with a Reason’ Team Completes Trip, Achieves Fundraising Goal

FinishLineRising Belmont senior Brennon Mobley and rising junior James Richfield, along with alumnus JD Hartwig (’14), recently completed their cross-country Riding with a Reason trip. The 3,300-mile bike trip started in Oceanside, Oregon in mid-May and was completed in Washington, D.C. last week, raising more than $58,000 along the way for 147 Million Orphans, a Middle Tennessee-based nonprofit organization that raises awareness for orphans and provides them with food, water and medication. The funds will be used to finance a school building in Mount Olivos, Honduras and fill it with basic supplies, desks, chairs, books and uniforms as well as secure teachers’ salaries.

RidingWithaReasonU.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., made a statement in front of Congress on June 27, honoring the team for their good work, noting, “Cycling across the country is a certainly a noble endeavor. Nobler still are the 147 million reasons these three men are offering up their summer with blood, sweat, tears and bike tires… I ask my colleagues to join with me in celebrating the loving-kindness of Brennon Mobley, James Richfield and JD Hartwig as we all continue the sacred work of protecting and serving the least among us.”

Read more about the Riding with a Reason trip here.


Bourgoine Earns E-Discovery Specialist Certification

ianbourgoineCollege of Law Reference and Access Services Librarian Ian B. Bourgoine is among the select maiden group of e-discovery professionals to pass the rigorous Certified E-Discovery Specialists (CEDS) certification examination. Bourgoine has now earned the right to use the prestigious designation as a Certified E-Discovery Specialist. In the Belmont College of Law, Bourgoine is responsible for ensuring the availability of library resources to patrons as well as providing reference services.

The CEDS credential is earned by individuals who pass the rigorous four-hour examination that provides a tough and objective measure of mastery of the challenging field of e-discovery. The certification program is administered by the Association of Certified E-Discovery Specialists (ACEDS), the premier membership organization of professionals in the field worldwide. Since the exam was first offered in November 2010, professionals in the United States, Canada, the UK, South Korea, Germany and China have earned the CEDS certification.

The CEDS certification is compelling evidence that designees are competent and knowledgeable in e-discovery regardless of their professional specialization—whether they are lawyers, litigation support staff, records managers, information technology (IT) specialists, technology officials, court personnel, paralegals or consultants. The credential is an assurance to employers, colleagues and clients that the CEDS-certified professional is serious about efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and risk reduction in all phases of e-discovery.

Nursing Students Honored for Vanderbilt Medical Center Internships

Pictured from left are undergraduate nursing students Gabrielle Pappas, Sarah Steele, Jennifer Bognar and Dr. Leslie Folds, associate professor of nursing.

Pictured from left are undergraduate nursing students Gabrielle Pappas, Sarah Steele, Jennifer Bognar and Dr. Leslie Folds, associate professor of nursing.

For the past seven weeks, 18 Belmont senior-level nursing students participated in a summer internship program called Vanderbilt Experience: Student Nurse Internship Program (VESNIP) at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) along with students from four other regional nursing programs. Three Belmont nursing students were awarded the highest honors at the culminating awards ceremony held June 25 in the Waddington Conference Room at Monroe-Carroll Children’s Hospital.  A total of seven awards were given; three went to Belmont students.  VUMC credo behaviors identify those individuals that aspire to excellence and expert performance. Jennifer Bognar received the Credo Award for Psychiatric/Mental Health Track, Gabrielle Pappas received the Credo Award for the Perioperative Track, and Sarah Steele received the Credo Award for the Women’s Health Track.  

“It is clear that our students continue to incorporate the mission, vision, and values of Belmont University in their interactions with patients, families, and the entire healthcare team.  Our students consistently pursue excellence,” said Dr.  Leslie A. Folds, who coordinates the program for Belmont School of Nursing.

This is the tenth year of the VESNIP program. The program began as a partnership between Belmont School of Nursing and Vanderbilt University Medical Center. It has now expanded to a total of 62 students and includes five Tennessee and Kentucky nursing schools. The VESNIP positions are very competitive and are considered elite opportunities for students from around the region.

“Overall the VESNIP experience allowed me to see myself as a nurse. Through multiple opportunities to practice nursing skills and employ critical thinking, my knowledge base as a nurse has begun to strengthen and grow outside of the school setting.  I feel comfortable working in a hospital setting now, and I have a clearer view of my roles and responsibilities as a future nurse,” said Claire Zetak, a Belmont nursing student in the Critical Care Track.

Betsy Sanders, a Belmont nursing student who participated in the Perioperative Track, said, “Nursing students fortunate enough to participate in VESNIP experience a level of nursing not attainable by simply fulfilling clinical requirements. I am leaving this seven-week program with enhanced nursing skills, a better understanding of the all-encompassing responsibilities of being a nurse and a true appreciation for the multidisciplinary teamwork necessary in providing patients with safe, efficacious and patient-centered healthcare.”

Pharmacy Students Administer Free HIV Tests

Pharmacy student volunteersBelmont College of Pharmacy students recently teamed up with Walgreens and Nashville Cares to administer free HIV tests at Walgreens locations around Middle Tennessee. The free testing was part of the Greater Than AIDS campaign and was in honor of National HIV Testing Day. The students participating in the event were members of the Belmont chapter of the Student National Pharmaceutical Association (SNPhA) who had completed HIV testing and counseling training with Nashville Cares and become certified in the Spring. SNPhA plans to offer the training to its other members during the upcoming school year. Belmont’s chapter of SNPhA hopes to maintain its partnership with Nashville Cares so that its members can continue to serve their community through HIV education and early detection.

Belmont Group Presents at 2014 NAC&U Summer Institute

Pictured  left to right are Dr. Jonathan Thorndike, Dr. Jeffery Burgin, Dr. Beverly Schneller, Dr. Mimi Barnard, Patricia Jacobs and Dr. Thomas Burns.

Pictured left to right are Dr. Jonathan Thorndike, Dr. Jeffery Burgin, Dr. Beverly Schneller, Dr. Mimi Barnard, Patricia Jacobs and Dr. Thomas Burns.

A group of Belmont faculty, staff and administrators recently returned from the 2014 New American Colleges and Universities’ (NAC&U) Summer Institute at the University of Redlands in Redlands, California. Representing Belmont and offering presentations at the conference were Dr. Jonathan Thorndike (Honors program director); Dr. Jeffery Burgin (associate provost and dean of students); Dr. Beverly Schneller (associate provost for academic affairs); Dr. Mimi Barnard (assistant provost for interdisciplinary studies and global education); Patricia Jacobs (director of career services); and Dr. Thomas Burns (provost).

The NAC&U Summer Institute keynote speakers were Dr. Edward L. Ayers, president of the University of Richmond and a noted historian and author; Dr. Robin Heyden, an educational consultant and blogger of how new media tools affect education; and Dr. David Asai, senior director of science education programs at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.  The Institute theme was “Creating Community through Collaboration,” and the focus was on NAC&U’s new initiative to provide opportunities for students and faculty through collaboration among members. The Summer Institute explored possibilities to enhance the educational experience through collaboration among NAC&U members, with campuses, and between campuses and their communities. Presentations described existing projects and engaged conference participants in working sessions to develop new ideas for collaboration.


Acree Invited to Serve on TN Department of Education’s STEM Leadership Council

Glenn AcreeDr. Glenn Acree, professor of mathematics, was invited to join the new TN Department of Education’s STEM Leadership Council. Acree delivered the opening address “Conversations for STEM Education and Workforce Development” for the Tennessee Science Standards Steering Committee at Tennessee Tech in Cookeville earlier in the year and was invited by Assistant Education Commissioner Danielle Mezera to serve on the newly formed STEM Leadership Council.

As Tennessee continues to advance towards a greater integration of rigorous K-12 STEM learning pathways, leading to post-secondary achievement and the development of dynamic STEM-related occupation pipelines, it is critically important that the state’s top thought leaders are active in this process. By engaging various stakeholders from across the state, Tennessee will be able – as a state – to ensure strong, robust alignment and visioning between education and industry.


Bridges Earns Choral Directors’ Lifetime Achievement Award

photoDr. Madeline Bridges, associate dean for academic studies and professor of music education, received a Lifetime Achievement Award from The Tennessee American Choral Directors Association at its annual conference held June 20 and 21 in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Bridges serves as campus director of the Tennessee Arts Academy and is co-director of the Nashville Children’s Choir, a multi-level community choir program in residence at Belmont.

Scene Names Fisher Among Most Influential Nashvillians

dr_bob_fisherThe Nashville Scene has named University President Bob Fisher as among the 25 Nashvillians who have shaped the city for the better over the past 25 years. The article cites Belmont’s growth through the construction of academic and residential buildings, the addition of new graduate programs and the expansion of enrollment to double the number of students since Fisher took helm in 2000. During Fisher’s tenure, campus has expanded significantly with the additions of the Baskin Center, Curb Event Center, Beaman Student Life Center, the Gordon E. Inman Center, the Troutt Theater complex, McWhorter Hall, the Wedgewood Academic Center and several new residence halls and parking garages. Academically, the University has added numerous new interdisciplinary programs in the past decade, including Social Entrepreneurship, New Century Journalism, Pharmacy, Motion Pictures and Law. Click here to read more.

Murphree Presents on Insects at Warner Parks

steven_murphreeDr. Steve Murphree, professor of biology, was an invited presenter at the recent Friends of Warner Park’s 2014 Children’s Picnic.  Murphree hosted an interactive table for the children and their families to learn about insects. The Friends of Warner Parks is an organization dedicated to the preservation, protection and stewardship of Percy and Edwin Warner Parks in Nashville, Tennessee. It works to protect the natural and historical integrity of the area by supporting appropriate recreational activities, maintaining and enhancing its features, and promoting programs that inspire appreciation and conservation of the parks. (image: steven_murphree)

Pinter Publishes Article in PRIMUS

mike_pinterDr. Mike Pinter, director of the Teaching Center Director and professor of mathematics, has had an article published this summer in PRIMUS: Problems, Resources, and Issues in Mathematics Undergraduate Studies, Volume 24, Issue 7, 2014.  The article is entitled “Writing to Enhance Understanding in General Education Mathematics Courses.” This issue of PRIMUS is a Special Issue on Writing and Editing in the Mathematics Curriculum, is available online and will be printed this summer.

In the article, Pinter considers a variety of writing assignments he uses when teaching MTH 1020 and HON 3310.  The student writing ranges from brief informal pieces to more formal assignments that address the full scope of the course, with an emphasis on encouraging students to have a richer experience of mathematical people and ideas and of their own learning.  The assignments incorporate multiple media, including novels and films, and are spread throughout the course so that students have frequent and regular exposure to writing.  

Plummer Presents at Swiss Conference

PlummerMediumDr. Teresa Plummer, assistant professor of occupational therapy, was a presenter this spring at the Interdisciplinary Seating and Mobility Conference in Nottwil, Switzerland.  The conference was held at the Switzerland Paraplegic Center, a 150 bed facility dedicated to spinal cord injury rehab and research.  Plummer’s presentation was on the Relationship of Vision, Posture and Mobility.

Cruz Presents on the Absence of God

manuel-cruz2Dr. Manuel A. Cruz, an assistant professor in the School of Religion, explored the spiritual implications of divine absence in “The Trace of God: Difference, Time, and the Absence of God,” a paper delivered at the Annual Convention of the Catholic Theological Society of America, which took place June 5 through 8 in San Diego, California.

Belmont Students Showcase Talents in Miss Tennessee Pageant

Belmont senior Hayley Lewis is crowned Miss Tennessee 2014.

Belmont senior Hayley Lewis is crowned Miss Tennessee 2014.

Several Belmont students competed at the Miss Tennessee pageant this past weekend, where senior Hayley Lewis earned the highest score in the talent category on the night of the pageant and was crowned Miss Tennessee. Lewis will compete in the Miss America Pageant in Atlantic City, New Jersey on Sept. 14, which will be televised on ABC. She will defer from the University for one year to travel the state as Gov. Bill Haslam’s spokesperson for Character Education as well as the goodwill ambassador for Children’s Miracle Network before returning to campus in August 2015 to complete her studies in music business and classical vocal performance. While at Belmont, Lewis provided gameday support for basketball and baseball teams.

Kalleigh Bullard, Miss Nashville, was second runner up and talent and earned the highest score in swimsuit during preliminaries. Jaclyn Torrento, Miss Chattanooga, was fourth runner up and earned the Miss Tennessee Community Service Award. Other Belmont students who competed in the pageant were Brooke Hudgins, Miss Fall Fest; Racheal Turner, Miss Rocky Top, who tied in talent during preliminaries with Aria Stiles, Miss Queen City.

Murray Plays at American Organists Convention

douglas_murrayDr. Douglas Murray, of the Department of English, performed twice at the biennial convention of the American Guild of Organists held in Boston, Massachusetts on June 22 through 27. He was named a semi-finalist in the National Competition for Organ Improvisation (NCOI), competed in the semi-final round on June 23 and won $2,000. He has also been invited to play in a public improvisation masterclass to be conducted by Thierry Escaich, professor of composition and improvisation at the Paris Conservatoire and and successor (at St. Etienne-du-Mont) of Maurice Durufle.

Communications, Marketing Earn State Public Relations Awards

circle-magazine-fall-2013Belmont University’s Office of Communications and Office of University Marketing and Public Relations earned two 2014 Tennessee College Public Relations Association Awards during the association’s June meeting in Nashville, Tennessee.  The University earned a gold award in the low-budget publication category for the Community Engagement brochure produced for the Office of Community Relations to share with elected officials, neighborhood associations and nonprofit organizations. In the printed magazine category, Belmont was given a silver award for Circle, a biannual magazine distributed to parents, alumni and donors. Click here to read back issues of the magazine.

Wikle Publishes Article on New State Legislation

Erin Winkle1-LErin L. Wikle, assistant to the dean in the College of Pharmacy, has published an article on new Tennessee legislation impacting women who use narcotic drugs while pregnant. The law, effective July 1, states that a woman can be prosecuted for assault if she takes a narcotic drug while pregnant and the baby is born addicted, is harmed or dies as a result. Wikle discusses services offered by The Salvation Army in Tennessee to support both the mother and effected family members. She also proposes key questions that result from the controversy of the legislation. Click here to read the article.

As an active member of The Salvation Army, Wikle has served as an opinions columnist for New Frontier Publications since 2004. Usually offering articles addressing controversial faith-related matters impacting the Evangelical church.  New Frontier Chronicle is the source of news and networking for The Salvation Army. With a circulation of more than 21,000 worldwide, it has set the standard among the organization’s publications for more than 30 years with a goal to empower readers to communicate the organization’s mission through actionable and applicable content.

Anderson Presents at Conference in Italy

imageDr. Mark Anderson, a philosophy professor,  presented the paper “Melville and Nietzsche: Nihilism on the Mediterranean” to the First International Conference, entitled “Mediterranean Visions: Journeys, Itineraries, and Cultural Migrations,” hosted by the Sant’ Anna Institute in Sorrento, Italy on June 13 and 14.

Susan West Selected for Leadership Nashville

Susan WestDr. Susan West, vice president and chief of staff, was recently selected to be a member of Leadership Nashville’s Class of 2015. The 44 members of the coming year’s class were selected from more than 215 applicants. The Leadership Nashville Foundation was founded in 1976 as an independent, executive leadership program to give community leaders a three-dimensional view of the city. The goals of Leadership Nashville are to build channels of communication between established leaders, connect leaders to community issues and equip participants with insights.

Each person elected to participate in Leadership Nashville makes an extensive time commitment. Attendance is mandatory for the nine-month program that begins in September. The Opening Retreat is in early October and the Closing Retreat is early June. Between these retreats are seven monthly meetings that average 13 hours each on the first Thursdays of November through May. Participants also work in study groups and present a report at the closing retreat.

In addition to considering Nashville’s strengths that have put it on national lists of outstanding places to live and work, the program also looks at issues that face this city, indeed all municipalities: problems such as crime, affordable housing, school finances, racial tensions, transportation and arts funding. Throughout the year the class will hear approximately 125 speakers and makes on-site visits to all parts of the city.

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