MSN Students Achieve 100 Percent First-Time Pass rate

10 Years of Perfection for Nursing Graduates

December 2013 MSN graduating class

December 2013 MSN graduating class

For the tenth consecutive year, graduates of Belmont University master’s program (MSN) for Family Nurse Practitioners (FNP) has achieved a 100 percent first time pass rate on the nursing certification examination. The most recent class of 28 graduates all passed the exam on the first attempt this spring. Nationally, only 80 percent of new FNP graduates pass on the first attempt.

“This is a truly remarkable accomplishment,” said Dr. Martha Buckner, associate dean of nursing.  “We are so proud of the sustained level of excellence by our students and faculty and for the leadership of program director and professor of nursing, Dr. Leslie Higgins.”

The School of Nursing began offering the Master of Science in Nursing 20 years ago, and the program has grown throughout the years to a record enrollment of 83 students this past fall.  FNP graduates enjoy significant professional flexibility and marketability. Prepared to practice in a variety of settings, FNPs provide primary health care to families and individuals of all ages.

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Three Faiths Work Together as Innkeepers for Homeless

On Wednesday evenings in the Sport Science building, Belmont University students and Nashville area volunteers created a modern day story of the Good Samaritan. In the Biblical parable, a man was beaten and robbed and his needs overlooked until a Samaritan bandaged him and took him to an inn.

“In this case we put him in a Kia or a Chevy and took him to a gymnasium,” said Belmont Vice President of Spiritual Development Todd Lake. “We found people in other religious communities who were willing to set the alarm clock early or miss time with family and friends to be here and help people who needed help.”

Room in the Inn is an organization that coordinates shelters for homeless people and offers them emergency services, transitional programs and long-term solutions to help people rebuild their lives. Belmont began hosting guests with Room in the Inn in 2011, becoming one of the only universities in the country to shelter homeless guests in on-campus facilities.

Two nights a week–Wednesdays and Fridays–from November to March Belmont students cook dinner for the homeless and fellowship with them before they turn in for the night on cots. Although they had the eagerness and willingness to serve, students often did not have transportation to get the homeless to campus this year, so students turned to members of other faiths in Nashville for help.  The Islamic Center of Nashville and Congregation Sherith Israel sent volunteer drivers and chefs to work alongside students at a Christian university to aid the homeless.

room in the inn-216-L

Belmont staff and students ate lunch with volunteers from the Islamic Center of Nashville and Congregation Sherith Israel on April 10 to celebrate their partnership to serve the homeless.

During a recent informal celebration of the partnership’s success, Belmont Director of Outreach Micah Weedman said, “One thing all of our religious traditions share is a common commitment to hospitality, particularly to those on the margins of our society and those considered outsiders. One of the fundamental elements of Christian life is to welcome strangers so that they might be our friends. At a University where we strive to address issues like global poverty and homelessness, it’s important that we learn also to become friends and share meals with those we wish to serve, and with those we’re learning to serve with.”

“Thank you on behalf of Belmont students. People are always telling me how much this experience changed them,” said sophomore Jeanette Morelan. “Through Room in the Inn, we came to learn someone else’s perspective through dialogue. It’s been incredible to see how much students from the Belmont community wanted to give, and it pouring back into our loves. Thank you for facilitating that experience.” (more…)

Students Ride Across America ‘With A Reason’

riding with a reason 4While many college students spend the summer working, performing internships or continuing coursework, three Belmont students will cycle across the country to raise funds for orphans in Honduras.

“The idea of a 4,000-mile cross country bike ride was enticing but left us wanting more,” said JD Hartwig, of St. Louis, Mo. “Being on a bike four to six hours a day for seven weeks is a crazy ridiculous opportunity to bless other people.”

Hartwig, rising senior Brennon Mobley and rising junior James Richfield discovered they shared a common compassion for orphans and connected with 147 Million Orphans, a Middle Tennessee-based nonprofit organization that raises awareness for orphans and provides them with food, water and medication. They created Riding with a Reason to use the summer excursion to raise $50,000, enough 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. Together the students are underwriting the trip so that all of the money raised through their bike ride across the country supports the project.

On Monday, they left for Hondorus to visit the children they will impact, and on May 15, they will begin their seven-week journey from Washington, D. C. to Oceanside, Ore. (more…)

‘Integrity in Sports’ Panel Discusses Hot Topics in Collegiate Athletics

Integrity & Sports-125-XLThe Edward C. Kennedy Center for Business Ethics and Belmont University Athletics  welcomed NCAA Division I administrators to campus for a candid dialogue on student athlete compensation and the commercialization of college sports on Tuesday in the Maddox Grand Atrium.

Moderated by Belmont Athletics Director Michael Strickland, participants Kentucky Athletic Director Mitch Barnhart, Ohio Valley Conference Commissioner Beth DeBauche and former Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe said they agreed that the NCAA business model needed a “radical change” to resolve its ethical issues and allow college and university athletics departments to be financially viable. However, Beebe argued that paying some student athletes would mean levying more student fees on their peers to provide funding.

Although some Division I colleges have multimillion dollar television deals and rising coaches’ salaries, many smaller universities do not operate profitable athletic departments on their own, DeBauche noted. In the OVC, much of the conferences’ profits return to its member institutions to pay their bills, and many of the 32 conferences are similar to the OVC, she said, adding that all conferences need to continue to meet Title IX requirements. (more…)

Belmont Continues ‘Read with Me’ Tradition with Family Literacy Day

FamilyLiteracyDay-034-LSome 145 Belmont students read to Nashville children during the 14th Annual Family Literacy Day on April 12 at Rose Park. The event was designed to allow the Belmont community to partner with Nashvillians to encourage reading and literacy among elementary-age children and their families.

“It is a great privilege for Belmont to celebrate the great work that goes on all year long by joining with Metro Nashville Public Schools, the Nashville Public Library, Metro Parks, Book’em, PENCIL Foundation and Homework Hotline to provide Family Literacy Day to the community,” said Belmont Director of Service-Learning Tim Stewart. “We are grateful for the opportunities the community provides our students and view Family Literacy Day as a small but hopefully significant way to say ‘thank you.’”

During the free celebration on reading, children enjoyed interactive story times, crafts, face painting, games and refreshments. In reading circles, hosted by Belmont student organizations such as the foreign language majors, the children listened to students read aloud and earned stickers to trade in for prizes and books donated by Book’em.

In the weeks prior to the event, first through fourth-grade studenFamilyLiteracyDay-017-Lts were invited to submit 12 to 16-line poems about their favorite literature. From 118 entries, the Belmont English Club selected five finalists, and the top five poets worked with local professional songwriters Seth Alley, Sherrié Austin, Maddie Larkin, Bill McDermott and Will Rambeaux to set their poems to music. More than 5,000 votes were cast online in the poetry contest, and the winner was “The Girl Who Thinks She Can” by Arieanna Rushing, a fourth-grade student at Sylvan Park Elementary. Click here to listen to the winning song and the other finalists.

Greek Week Promotes Unity and Service

Belmont’s annual Greek Week concluded Monday night with the Greek Awards Ceremony. With a mission to “engage all of Greek Life at Belmont University,” Greek Week seeks to challenge individuals to re-think what it means to be a part of fraternity and sorority life at Belmont and promote unity among the Greek community.

jenga-222-LFraternity and sorority members across campus focused on three objectives during the week-long event: generating pride and excitement about being Greek, educating the community about the impact of Greek life and joining together to raise money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

“I am very proud to be the Fraternity and Sorority Advisor at Belmont. Greek Week is a great example of why Greek Life is such an impactful facet of campus life. Greek Week involved raising $10,000 for St. Jude, sending students all over Nashville to total almost 1,000 hours of community service and providing fun, community-building activities for this wonderful group of students that have grown to encompass almost a quarter of the undergraduate student population,” Coordinator of Student Engagement and Leadership Development Kevin Reynolds said.

The week included a variety of competitions and activities, including a life-size Jenga tournament, trivia, Greek Olympics, a worship night and the always popular Greek Sing. Alpha Sigma Tau took the crown in Greek Sing, while Alpha Gamma Delta was the overall winner of the week. In addition, fraternity and sorority members participated in the Greek Day of Service, lending a helping hand and serving at various locations in the Nashville community.

Students, Faculty Honored at Annual ‘Scholarship and Awards Day’ Celebration

Navy, Army, National Guard veteran wins Heart of Belmont Award

scholarship awards 2014-105In a ceremony marked by numerous standing ovations, students and faculty were honored Wednesday during the annual Scholarship and Awards Day convocation in the the Massey Performing Arts Center. All of the awards given reflected Belmont’s mission and commitment to scholarship, service and leadership, with two new faculty awards, the Christian Scholarship Award and Leadership in Christian Service Award, being introduced for the first time this year. Dr. Ronnie Littlejohn, the 2013-14 Chaney Distinguished Professor, provided the morning’s Honors Address on “Knowing Whether,” encouraging attendees to pursue moral wisdom.

In one of the most moving presentations, graduating senior Matthew Thompson was awarded the John Williams Heart of Belmont Award, which is given to a student committed to Belmont’s values including innovation, persistence, advocacy for change, community development and service. Before coming to Belmont, Thompson served in the Navy on the USS George Washington for five years.  In 2005, he enlisted in the Army where he served an additional four years and afterwards completed one year of service in the Tennessee National Guard. After 10 years of service and three deployments, he was honorably discharged and began pursuing a degree in social work at Belmont.

An intern at Operation Stand Down, Thompson has been integral in the development of veterans services on campus and developed an intercollegiate student veteran coalition that spans six universities across Middle Tennessee. Thompson’s mission is to continue on to a career path that assists veterans who are transitioning from military service into civilian life. In his own words, his “biggest motivation has never been to be recognized but to instead encourage and inspire others to step forward and contribute.”

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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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