Teaching Center Celebrates 20th Anniversary

Kim Daus reflects on her experience as Teaching Center director.

Kim Daus reflects on her experience as Teaching Center director.

Faculty gathered for lunch Wednesday to recognize the 20th anniversary of the Teaching Center and its impact on Belmont faculty.

“These are my heroes who helped make Belmont into what it is today. I will always be grateful for the leadership you have showed,” said Provost Thomas Burns. “You have helped us serve our students better. What the Teaching Center is about is making sure that we are excellent teachers and learning how we can continue to grow and develop. It is also a reality center and work-life center to develop the entire educator.”

During the luncheon, faculty were taken on a broad sweep over the center’s 20-year evolution through the words of its former directors.

Seeds for the center were planted in the early ‘90s when an academic committee of faculty, students and administrators discussed campus needs, said Teaching Center Founding Director Mike Awalt, who also taught philosophy. He and a group of faculty examined teaching centers across the country and applied for grants, eventually receiving $100,000 for the establishment of  Belmont’s Teaching Center.

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University, Middle School Students Create Fifth ‘Edgehill’s Best’

Rose Park Journalism Club-107-XLThe partnership between Belmont University and Rose Park Middle Magnet School culminated Friday with seventh and eighth grade students from the middle school’s journalism club seeking advice from University students, receiving instruction from Belmont instructors and using the Media Studies journalism lab to write articles.

For the fifth consecutive year, Belmont journalism students worked with the middle school’s newspaper staff to produce Edgehill’s Best. The students received weekly tutorials from four Belmont Vision students and newspaper adviser and journalism instructor Dorren Robinson throughout the spring semester, learning how to develop story ideas, interview sources and write leads. Heather Thompson, a senior from Chattanooga, Tenn., created the lesson plans to teach the principles of journalism to the Rose Park students.

While on campus Friday, the students interviewed Belmont Director of Development and Major Gifts Harry Chapman, retired Tennessean Editorial Page Editor Dwight Lewis, Belmont Communications Specialist Juanita Cousins and Tennessean reporter Brian Wilson and wrote articles on their panel discussion. The students also toured the University’s campus and ate lunch alongside Belmont students in the cafeteria.

Rose Park Journalism Club-109-XLNicole Vincent, a seventh-grade geography teacher and the newspaper’s adviser, said she hopes the visit to Belmont gave her journalism students “valuable career information” through their exposure to the college campus and Nashville journalists.

“This is their reward – to get the newspapers and see their names in print and to learn about life on campus,” Robinson said. “The point of the newspaper is not just for Rose Park. The point of it is to get information out to the whole community, and for them to  be proud of their students.”

Instructor of Journalism Hyangsook Lee designed and laid out the newspaper, and the University printed 5,000 copies for distribution in the Edgehill community. In addition, it is given to Metro Council members and left in bins at local churches, restaurants, community centers and gas stations throughout the summer. This spring’s edition covers the new 12 South police precinct, Rose Park Middle School renovations, information on E.S. Rose Park, student fundraisers and the University’s Bridges to Belmont program, among other topics.

Actor Corbin Bernsen Speaks to Students about Faith & Film

corben bernsen-1Actor, director and producer Corbin Bernsen spoke to students, faculty and staff about his faith and film career during a convocation event in Neely Dining Hall on Wednesday.

“I rediscovered my faith through film,” Bernsen said. “Jesus is my way to God, and God is this incredible mystery that has guided my life to this very moment.”

Bernsen has starred in the TV shows “L.A. Law,” “JAG” and “Psych,” as well as in TV movies like “An American Affair” and serials such as “The Young and the Restless” and “General Hospital,” and in more than a dozen films, including “Major League.” He has both a B.F.A. in Theatre Arts and an M.F.A. in Playwriting from UCLA, and is president of Home Theater Films, which produces “smart family entertainment,” including full-length movies such as “Rust” that inspire families with new ways to approach life and strengthen community.

Bernsen explained that his search for truth has guided his entire career and inspired his films.

“I am sitting here for a purpose, but I don’t know which way I am supposed to go,” Bernsen said. “I ask God for help, and I hear, ‘Keep going. Know me. Know love. Know truth.’”

Newly Released AAUP Data Survey Reflects Belmont’s Strong Commitment to Faculty Salaries

facultyThis week the Chronicle of Higher Education released the results of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) 2013-14 Faculty Salary Survey, and Belmont again performed exceptionally well in comparison with its peer institutions in terms of category (Master’s level) and region of the country.

Belmont President Dr. Bob Fisher, said, “Belmont has long been committed to attracting and retaining the highest quality faculty to serve our students, and that translates in part to offering competitive compensation. I’m pleased to see how far we’ve come and how our faculty salaries now rank in the 80th percentile or better among all of our peer institutions nationally.”

Provost Dr. Thomas Burns added, “As the AAUP salary survey data shows, Belmont’s faculty salaries have grown to among the best in Tennessee and in the southeast region.”

Of the 22 Tennessee institutions in the survey, Belmont ranked fourth in the average full professor salary ranking, behind three doctoral level institutions: Vanderbilt, University of Tennessee Knoxville and University of Memphis. In addition, Belmont offered the second highest average raise for continuing full professors. Associate professors at Belmont ranked third in the state for average salary, as did assistant professors. Belmont instructors are the highest paid in terms of average state salaries. In the East South Central region—which includes Tennessee, Alabama, Kentucky and Mississippi institutions—Belmont also came out well above the average salary in each category.

Looking nationally at peer Master’s level institutions, Belmont remains incredibly competitive in salary ranges for faculty. In fact, Belmont full professors rank in the 80th percentile in salary in comparison with peer institutions across the country. Associate professors, assistant professors and instructors are doing even better, ranked in the 86th, 93rd and 89th percentiles respectively.

These results reflect Belmont’s ongoing commitment, as reflected in Vision 2015, to provide for its employees: “Belmont people are fully engaged in challenging and demanding work and will share in the financial success of the university as salaries meet and exceed peers. Compensation will increasingly be tied to performance excellence.”

Each spring, the AAUP publishes its report on faculty compensation and the economics of higher education. AAUP members receive a print copy of the report (with complete data listings) as part of their membership. Data from the survey are also available for purchase in several formats, including institutional peer comparison reports, complete datasets and pre-publication report tables. Salary data are collected annually by the American Association of University Professors. Participation in the AAUP survey is optional; 1,157 institutions submitted data for the 2013-14 academic year.

School of Music Opens 16 New Practice Rooms in McAfee Annex

Dean Curtis and music students at ribbon cutting event.

Dean Curtis and music students at ribbon cutting event.

On March 17, the School of Music opened 16 new practice rooms in the annex located behind McAfee Concert Hall. These new rooms provide additional practice spaces for over 600 music majors. The rooms have been optimized for sound isolation and sound panels in the rooms lower the decibel levels to meet health and safety expectations.

Previously, all practice rooms were located in the Wilson Music Building or Massey Performing Arts Center. The new location adds variety to practice location options and will be convenient for students with lessons or ensemble rehearsals in McAfee. Later this spring, lockers will be installed and available for rent for student instrument storage.

“Practice is a vital part of any musician’s education, so we are delighted to have these additional new practice rooms on campus.  To illustrate the impact of this new space, fully utilized this facility provides almost 1,800 hours of practice time per week for our students,” said Dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts Dr. Cynthia Curtis.

The spaces are available for practice at the following times:
Monday – Friday  7 a.m. – 12:30 a.m.
Saturday                 9 a.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Sunday                    1 p.m. – 12:30 a.m.

For security, a building monitor will be on duty weekdays, beginning at 4 p.m., and on weekend hours as stated above.

Belmont Welcomes National Sports Columnist, Music City Girls Lead! for Celebratory Luncheon

NCAA Final Four Luncheon-156-LChristine Brennan grew up during a time when girls weren’t encouraged or allowed to play sports. Yet, her father taught her how to throw a baseball and gave her a mitt for her eighth birthday. Soon, the boys began picking her first to be on their teams, and she grew up to become a national sports columnist.

“I decided to be the role model I never had,” she said. Brennan has covered 16 Olympic Games, written a best-selling book and serves as a television and radio sports commentator.

During the luncheon on Tuesday in the Maddox Grand Atrium, she shared advice with 57 female high school students who completed the Music City Girls Lead! leadership academy as part of the activities leading up to the NCAA Women’s Final Four Tournament in Nashville, Tenn. this weekend. (more…)

Belmont Students Place Fourth at National Entrepreneurship Competition

Enactus2014After making it past 240 other teams from across the nation to land in the finals, the Belmont University Enactus team came in fourth Thursday at the Enactus USA National Exposition competition, which was held this week in Cincinnati.

Dr. John Gonas, associate professor of finance and Sam M. Walton Enactus Fellow, said, “I am overwhelmed with the passion, innovation and creativity of our relatively young team. They have already conceived and developed some very impactful and sustainable social enterprises, and I am honored that the Enactus sponsor companies graded us as a top-4 team out of 240 that attended the USA Exhibition. Without the tireless efforts of [fellow Belmont faculty members] Cate Loes, Jason Stahl and Nathan Adam we could never have been so well prepared and successful.”

Enactus is an international non-profit organization that brings together student, academic and business leaders who are committed to using the power of entrepreneurial action to improve the quality of life and standard of living for people in need. Guided by academic advisors and business experts, the student leaders of Enactus create and implement community empowerment projects around the globe. (more…)

Belmont Adds New Majors in Music Therapy, Publishing for Fall 2014

With priority registration starting next week, returning students may see some unexpected courses cropping up on the Fall 2014 Classfinder schedule. Next semester Belmont expands its program options with the addition of two new majors that are a perfect fit for future career opportunities in Middle Tennessee: music therapy and publishing.

Current School of Music students provided relief from classroom stress during a fall concert outdoors.

Current School of Music students provided relief from classroom stress during a fall concert outdoors.

“A major in music therapy has been a dream for our School of Music faculty for a decade, particularly with our focus on education and nurturing through the arts,” said Associate Dean for Academic Studies Dr. Madeline Bridges. “Add in the healthcare opportunities present in Nashville and the region, and this new program is a perfect fit for Belmont and the broader community.”

The only one of its kind in the state, Belmont’s music therapy program will be rigorous. Students will need a total of 136 hours including the required 41 BELL Core general education hours, 79 music hours, 20 hours of music therapy courses and an additional 13 clinical foundations courses. In addition, the program will require a six-month internship, often outside of Nashville. Once complete, the degree will qualify graduates to sit for the board certification exam.

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Judge Alberto Gonzales Appointed New Dean of Belmont University College of Law

Founding Dean Jeff Kinsler announces return to full-time faculty

Alberto GonzalesBelmont University announced today the appointment of Judge Alberto Gonzales, former U.S. Attorney General, to the position of dean for the College of Law, effective June 1. The news comes on the heels of Founding Dean Jeff Kinsler’s announcement that he has decided to become a full-time faculty member.

Belmont Provost Dr. Thomas Burns said, “Belmont University is incredibly grateful for the vision and commitment Dean Kinsler has shown these past five years to open and establish our College of Law as well as to lead us through the accreditation process. With his decision to transition to full-time teaching, I join the College of Law students, staff and faculty in welcoming Judge Gonzales to his new role as dean. His valuable expertise and classroom approach have been applauded repeatedly by our students, and everyone in the College is excited about the leadership he will bring as dean.”

Judge Gonzales joined Belmont Law in 2012 as the then-newly established Doyle Rogers Distinguished Chair of Law and has taught courses in Constitutional Law, Separation of Powers, National Security Law and First Amendment Law. His appointment to dean was approved by the College of Law faculty prior to the announcement. As dean Gonzales will serve as the chief academic and executive officer for Belmont’s College of Law and will be responsible for the programmatic leadership, financial management, personnel administration and planning and development for the College.

Gonzales said, “I am honored by this opportunity and grateful for the support of President Fisher and Dr. Burns. I look forward to working with the outstanding faculty, staff and students at Belmont College of Law.”

After attending the United States Air Force Academy, Alberto Gonzales graduated from Rice University (B.A.) and Harvard University (J.D.). Gonzales was nominated by President George W. Bush and confirmed by the United States Senate as the 80th Attorney General of the United States on February 3, 2005 and served in that capacity until September 2007. Previously, he served as a partner at a major Houston law firm (Vinson & Elkins) and held positions as Justice on the Supreme Court of Texas, Secretary of State (Texas) and Counsel to the President of the United States (2001-2005) in addition to his consulting and mediation practice.

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Belmont University Faculty, Staff Partner with Metro Schools During Inaugural Service Project

photo 2‘It’s Bruin Time in the Community’ Puts Employee Bruins at Hunters Lane High School

Belmont University employees painted a Metro Nashville Public School (MNPS) with their Bruin pride during a community service project Friday morning. Approximately 150 Belmont staff, faculty and administrators spent their morning giving Hunters Lane High School hallways, gymnasium, stairwells, railings and banisters a cosmetic lift with a fresh coat of paint.

“I am absolutely delighted that you are here. For the first time in the six years I’ve been here I’ve been able to have a school come and help my school. A lot of people want to work in elementary schools or schools in their community, and they don’t live around here,” said Principal Susan Kessler, who has 80 percent of her 1,700 ninth through 12th-grade students living below the poverty line. “When students come in the building on Monday morning, they will notice the changes Belmont has made. All I have to offer you is my gratitude. Your work truly matters.”

The service project, which the University dubbed “It’s Bruin Time in the Community,” was a day designed to foster the sense of community among Belmont employees by serving the greater Nashville community. Much like during Belmont’s Annual SERVE Day for incoming freshmen and transfer students, this service project was part of the University’s ongoing mission to engage in the community and encourage the values of service on both a local and global level. (more…)

Former Gov. Phil Bredesen Leads Conversation on Higher Education Governing Boards at Belmont

Numerous Tennessee education leaders speak during morning forum

agb-103The Association of Governing Boards’ (AGB) National Commission on College and University Board Governance hosted a public forum on Tuesday, March 25 in the Inman Center’s Frist Lecture Hall. Commission Chair and former Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen and  AGB President Rick Legon joined members of the commission and invited Tennessee-based education leaders in a roundtable discussion on the issues and challenges facing higher education in the U.S. today.

Belmont President Bob Fisher and former Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen participated on Tuesday's panel.

Belmont President Bob Fisher and former Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen participated on Tuesday’s panel.

Belmont President Bob Fisher, Fisk President H. James Williams, University of Tennessee Trustee Vicky Gregg, Vanderbilt Trustee Denny Bottorff, Tennessee Board of Regents Chancellor John Morgan and Vanderbilt Associate Professor of Higher Education and Public Policy Coordinator Will Doyle participated in the three-hour conversation. Topics discussed included:

* The future of shared governance (among boards, faculty, and presidents) and how it might be reformed to better address the challenges facing institutions
* Private, nonprofit and public institutions’ responsibility in demonstrating value
* Board roles in accommodating Federal and state governments’ involvement in institutional policy
* Ways  college and university boards can meet expectations for increased oversight and accountability without crossing the line into institutional administration and day-to-day operations

The 28-member commission was formed in 2013 to develop recommendations to strengthen college and university board governance and meet future needs for higher education. The commission will release recommendations in September, 2014.

Origami Expert Shows Students Math/Art Connection

Origami Final-117-L

Brown displaying one of his pieces of mathematical art.

Belmont students had the opportunity to learn about the art of paper folding when origami expert Malachi Brown spoke to students about the connections between art, math and engineering during an interactive convocation event last Thursday in McWhorter 114.

The “Mathematical Musings and Munchings” event, sponsored by the Department of Math and Computer Science, allowed students to see how modern origami design techniques use math to facilitate art and explore forms of plane geometry with their own hands. Brown also spoke about the practical applications of origami.

Brown was seven years old when he was first introduced to origami. Since then, with decades of practice, his passion for paper folding has only increased. Brown frequently teaches origami to students of all ages and finds joy in passing on the creative spark and passion for shaping paper into objects of wonder and beauty.

Belmont University’s Department of Mathematics and Computer Science seeks to provide a supportive and challenging intellectual community where students are encouraged to develop independence, creativity and excellence in their chosen field.

School of Sciences Presents Brain Awareness Week

biology-105-L

Students dissecting sheep brains during one of Brain Awareness Week’s events.

Last week, Belmont’s School of Sciences presented “Brain Awareness Week” as a part of the global campaign to increase public awareness of the progress and benefits of brain research. Events included speakers from Vanderbilt University and the Belmont neuroscience program as well as a showing of the film Memento.

In addition, students were given the opportunity to dissect sheep brains to help better understand structure-function relationships in the nervous system. Dillon Oman, a junior neuroscience major, facilitated this event. Dillon is interested in pursuing a career that will allow him to combine his love of neuroscience with his passion for educating people about neuroscience.

“Brain Awareness Week is a great opportunity to showcase the talented neuroscientists we have at Belmont along with fascinating speakers from our community.  Given the plethora of exciting new techniques and discoveries, it’s easy to see why President Obama called his BRAIN initiative ‘the next great American project’,” Dr. Lori McGrew, associate professor of biology, said.

Neuroscience is a growing field, including a wide range of subdisciplines such as cognition, behavior, cellular neuroscience and computational neuroscience. Belmont’s neuroscience major combines foundational courses in biology, chemistry, psychology and physics with upper level coursework in biology and psychology and culminates in a student-driven research project in neuroscience.  The program prepares students for careers as research assistants and animal behavioralists among others or for entry into medical school or graduate school.

Belmont Announces Formation of Tennessee Healthcare Hall of Fame

First inductees to be announced at McWhorter Society Luncheon May 1

McWhorter HallWith a mission to honor men and women who have made significant and lasting contributions to the healthcare industry, Belmont University announced today the formation of a new Tennessee Healthcare Hall of Fame. Sponsored by Belmont’s McWhorter Society, the Healthcare Hall of Fame will announce its first inductees at the McWhorter Society Annual Luncheon on May 1 on Belmont’s campus.

Belmont Provost Dr. Thomas Burns, co-chair of the McWhorter Society, said, “Tennessee has become a premier hub for healthcare and healthcare education in the United States. It’s only appropriate that we recognize and honor the countless men and women who have contributed to the growth of the industry, creating ever higher standards for patient care and well-being. With Belmont’s strong interdisciplinary programming in nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy, social work, healthcare business and pharmacy, we’re proud to host this new Tennessee Healthcare Hall of Fame as these leaders can inspire our students for generations to come.”

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Bruins Fans to ‘Tailgate at the Tower’ Before Home Tournament Game

NIT-Dorm-Flyer_ColorThe Belmont Bruins defeated the Green Bay Phoenix Tuesday night in the NIT Postseason Tournament first round, setting up Belmont’s first-ever NCAA era postseason home game in the Curb Event Center. The “Crash the Curb” match up versus Robert Morris will occur tonight, March 21, at 8:30 p.m. and will be broadcast live nationally on ESPNU and available on the WatchESPN app.

Bruins’ fans are invited to the Belltower amphitheatre  before the game for a special “Tailgate at the Tower” event. Free food, games, music and televised March Madness will all be set up to entertain the crowd before the game. Activities begin at 5:30 p.m., with food arriving at 6:30.

A Bruin supporter is covering the cost for all Belmont student tickets–students simply bring their BUid to have scanned at the second floor Beaman entrance to the Curb Event Center for free access to the game. That entrance will open at 7:15 p.m., 15 minutes prior to general doors.

Faculty, staff, alumni and other Bruins fans may click here to purchase tickets for $10 each.

In order to expedite entrance into the arena, fans are encouraged to purchase their tickets online and print them at home or purchase their tickets at the Curb Event Center box office, which is open from 10:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Doors open for ticket holders at 7:30 p.m.

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