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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.

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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Origami Expert Shows Students Math/Art Connection

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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

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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.

Founding Dean Named for Belmont’s New College of Sciences and Mathematics

Loyola University Vice-Provost Dr. Thom Spence to join Belmont

Thom SpenceDr. Thom Spence has been named as the founding dean of Belmont University’s new College of Sciences and Mathematics. Spence currently serves as the vice-provost for institutional effectiveness, assessment and student success at Loyola University (New Orleans, La.), where he has been a faculty member since 1999. Spence will begin his new position on Belmont’s campus July 1.

Currently, Belmont’s College of Arts & Sciences (CAS) is the University’s largest college with 130 full-time faculty members and 15 academic departments within four schools. Due to extensive growth as well as recognition of the complexity of the College, Belmont will create two colleges out of the former CAS. Spence will lead the new College of Sciences and Mathematics (CSM), which will include undergraduate majors in the biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, computer science and psychological sciences fields. CSM will be housed in the new Wedgewood Academic Center that is under construction at the corner of Wedgewood and 15th Avenues and is scheduled to open this fall.

Belmont Provost Dr. Thomas Burns said, “Belmont’s focus on developing extraordinary academic programs provides the backdrop for the creation of two colleges from our current College of Arts and Sciences. This new organizational structure will allow all of the programs in the College of Arts and Sciences opportunities for increased prominence and student focus. I am extremely pleased to announce Dr.  Spence—a leader who is committed to student and faculty development, undergraduate research and community engagement—as the founding dean of the College of Sciences and Mathematics.  Dr. Spence’s hiring not only brings an accomplished scientist to our campus, but his appointment allows Belmont to provide even greater focus on all of our science, technology and math programs as we work together to help prepare our graduates to engage and transform our world.”

Spence added, “I am very excited to be joining the College of Sciences and Mathematics at Belmont. This new college is poised to become a strong attractor for students interested in the STEM [science, technology, engineering and math] fields by offering excellent instruction in small classes with meaningful undergraduate research opportunities. I am grateful to be joining Belmont during this exciting time in its history.”

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