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


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.”


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.

University Ministries Sponsors 2014 Immersion Trips

Student group sightseeing in Washington D.C.

Student group sightseeing in Washington D.C.

Approximately 80 Belmont students, faculty and staff traveled across the world last week as part of Immersion 2014, Belmont’s Spring Break mission trip program sponsored by University Ministries. Every Immersion trip gives participants a chance to be immersed in local culture and in the cares and concerns of local communities while also providing an intense exposure to what God is doing all over the world.

This year groups traveled to diverse locations all over the world, exploring immigration and border issues in Las Cruces, examining creation in Cumberland Island, Ga., engaging in servant leadership in D.C. and working in the inner cities of New York and Guatemala, among other excursions. To see blog entries from the immersion trips, click here.

“My experience with Belmont’s Immersion program was the best spring break choice I’ve ever made. I was able to gain a new perspective on poverty and homelessness, problems so many Americans face every day. I created meaningful relationships with other students and was able to experience a different side of Washington, D.C. than most tourists ever see,” senior Emily Cox said about her trip to D.C.

Belmont staff and students smile with Dr. John Perkins during their Immersion trip to Jackson, Miss.

Belmont staff and students smile with Dr. John Perkins during their Immersion trip to Jackson, Miss.

Each of these trips had its own theme and unique contexts, but shared prayer as a commonality. Each team used the same prayer guide daily to lead and inspire them through their missions.

University Ministries’ Director of Outreach Micah Weedman said, “Immersion trips are a powerful opportunity for our students, faculty and staff to immerse themselves in God’s love for God’s world—the people and the places—and to find themselves in God’s love by proclaiming it in service, learning and reflection.”

Men’s, Women’s Basketball Prepare for Post-Season Play

NIT Tournament Game May Be Played on Belmont’s Campus

MBB-OVCvsEKU-011Despite tough losses in OVC Championship games, both of the Belmont basketball teams earned postseason automatic bids.

The men’s basketball team dropped a 79-73 decision to Eastern Kentucky in the 2014 OVC Championship game Saturday night. The Bruins, fresh off a historic fifth consecutive regular season conference championship, has positioned itself to host a first round game in the upcoming Postseason NIT. This opportunity may afford Bruin fans the rare opportunity of witnessing postseason play in the Curb Event Center.

NIT first round games will take place either Tues., March 18 or Wed., March 19, with times to be determined this weekend. The NIT Selection Show will air Sunday night at 7:30 p.m. CT on ESPNU and the WatchESPN app. Should Belmont be selected to host its first round game, tickets will go on sale online at on Sunday night at 8 p.m. CT. The Curb Event Center box office will open for ticket sales during the hours of 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. on Monday, March 17. Click here for more information on the NIT Tournament.

WBB-OVC-vsUTMartin-002Meanwhile, the women’s team awaits seeding late Monday night for the 2014 Postseason WNIT, marking the Bruins first postseason berth since 2007. The Bruins, in their first year under head coach Cameron Newbauer, returned to the OVC Tournament for a second consecutive season.  After earning a double-bye with a No. 2 seed, BU defeated No. 6 Jacksonville State, 65-50, to advance to the OVC conference finals for the first time. Belmont was held off by eventual champion UT Martin, who held the No. 1 seed.

The 64-team WNIT tournament will open with first-round games Wednesday through Friday, March 19-21.  The announcement of the 64-field WNIT will occur late Monday night on the WNIT’s website, Click here for more information on the WNIT tournament.

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.”


U.S. News Recognizes Belmont’s Part-Time MBA

The Jack C. Massey Graduate School of Business at Belmont University was recognized in the top half of the list of 310 ranked part-time MBA programs this week when U.S. News & World Report released its 2015 rankings of Best Graduate Schools, a tool to help prospective graduate students better understand the graduate school landscape and to identify programs that would be good fits. The rankings highlight the top programs in business, law, medicine, engineering and education, among other specialties. Massey Graduate School of Business, ranked at No. 154, offers 15 graduate concentrations including accounting, entrepreneurship, finance, general management, health care administration, marketing and music business among others.

U.S. News’ part-time MBA ranking is based on average peer assessment score, the average GMAT score of part-time MBA students entering in fall 2013, their average undergraduate GPA, work experience and the percentage of the business school’s fall 2013 MBA enrollment that is part time. Each program considered had to meet the conditions of being accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business and enrolling at least 20 students in the fall 2013 term.

The Jack C. Massey Graduate School of Business offers high-quality graduate business programs designed for working and aspiring professionals looking to advance or switch careers.  The curriculum is designed to provide challenging, yet practical content in a flexible format.  Programs are designed to stimulate critical thinking and creative problem solving while encouraging strong communication skills and a solid framework for ethical business decision-making. In addition to core coverage in business administration and accounting, the curriculum is uniquely structured around the themes of entrepreneurship and ethical decision-making across the global economy.  All students complete a brief international study-abroad experience as part of their studies.

Education Class Grooms Students into Teachers through Immersion

Education Professor Joy Kimmons, far right, discusses a textbook reading with Belmont education students in a classroom at Pearl Cohn High School.

Education Professor Joy Kimmons, far right, discusses a textbook reading with Belmont education students in the teachers’ planning room at Pearl Cohn High School.

Aspiring teachers are receiving hands-on experience with at-risk youth through a unique partnership between the Belmont School of Education and local public, inner city schools. A four-hour professional core class, a requirement for education major and minors, puts Belmont students onsite at Murrell School, Magnet Middle School, Pearl Cohn Entertainment Magnet High School and Glendale Spanish Immersion Elementary School for reading clinics, tutoring session and classroom observation.

“Belmont students often do not have inner city experience when they come to the University. This is enhancing the learning of our teacher candidates,” said Education Professor Joy Kimmons. Metro Nashville Public Schools has hired several Belmont alumni who participated in her class as full-time teachers or student teachers.

On a recent winter morning, Belmont students met in at Pearl Cohn for their 45-minute lecture with Kimmons.

“Physical activity can alter the mood of a student who has trouble in the classroom,” Kimmons said to her class of 28 students meeting in the teachers’ planning room before their individual three 30-minute tutoring sessions with Pearl Cohn students. Next, they spend an hour with their paired high school teachers to facilitate small groups as well as observe and assist in classrooms.  Belmont students end the on-site session by regrouping with Kimmons and their peers to debrief through conversations that connect their textbook theories with their hands-on experiences.


Belmont Open Tuesday, March 4

Belmont University will be open Tuesday, March 4, 2014. Because weather and road conditions can vary greatly within our region, students, faculty and staff are urged to use individual discretion when making the decision to travel to campus in snow or icy weather.

Belmont Closed March 3 Due to Weather, Road Conditions

Given the current road conditions and forecast, Belmont University is now closing for the remainder of the day. Though many students and faculty are already on Spring Break, graduate classes that were scheduled to meet are now canceled, and non-essential campus offices are closed.


Nobel Peace Laureate Dr. Oscar Arias Speaks at Belmont

Public talk kicks off for PeaceJam Mid-South conference for 280 regional youth to discuss social justice issues, serve community

PeaceJam 2014Dr. Oscar Arias Sanchez, former president of Costa Rica and 1987 Nobel Peace Laureate, spoke last night at a free, public event as part of Nashville’s second annual PeaceJam and will join student volunteers this afternoon at the Cole Elementary School Family Resource Center (5060 Colemont Drive) as part of the event. PeaceJam is built around leading Nobel Peace Laureates who work personally with youth to pass on the spirit, skills and wisdom they embody. The goal of PeaceJam is to create young leaders committed to positive change in themselves, their communities and the world. Arias was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his courageous efforts in the Central America peace process.

Belmont University began a partnership in 2012 with locally-based nonprofit Students Taking a Right Stand (STARS) to be the PeaceJam Mid-South affiliate, which includes Tennessee, Alabama, Louisiana, Arkansas and Kentucky. Last night’s public talk in the Curb Event Center opened a weekend-long conference expected to draw more than 280 college, high school and middle school students to explore issues of social justice while also engaging them in service to the community. In addition to workshops and team building exercises, students will participate in a variety of service projects during the weekend, including volunteer efforts with the Feed the Children, Thriftsmart, Cole Elementary, Second Harvest Food Bank, Sole Hope, Rocketown and Nashville Rescue Mission, among others.

Dr. Mimi Barnard, Belmont’s assistant provost for interdisciplinary studies & global education, said, “The PeaceJam concept brings together today’s greatest minds for peace with tomorrow’s leaders, inspiring ideas that will help govern our future world. This collaboration between Belmont and STARS to host the Mid-South PeaceJam will certainly make an impact on individual lives, but I also expect it to bring change in our communities and beyond. We are honored to have distinguished world leader Dr. Oscar Arias at our 2014 PeaceJam Mid-South Conference.”


Buzzy’s Returns to Belmont’s BLVD Storefront

Candy-2Belmont’s Center for Entrepreneurship and sweets lovers are celebrating the return of rock candy, chocolates, wax bottles and jelly beans to Belmont Boulevard as student-operated Buzzy’s returned to its original home this month where it opened four years earlier.

The candy shop relocated two doors down to a bigger suite in the storefront that is now McAlister’s Deli before a foiled contract with a national yogurt company forced the student-run business to close its doors.

Along with Feedback Clothing Co., BLVD Music Shop and Buzzy’s operate in the Curb Event Center space that has been set aside by Belmont University to give students the opportunity to gain first-hand experience in operating a small business. (more…)

Chemistry Department Hosts ‘CSI: Belmont’ Event

CSI Chemistry-103-MAssociate Professor of Chemistry Dr. Alison Moore and the Student Members of the American Chemical Society (SMACS) led an interactive crime-solving event for students last Thursday during a convocation event. With a theme reminiscent of the popular CBS TV series “CSI,” students were challenged to play the role of Crime Scene Investigators and draw conclusions about a hypothetical crime based on their research.

Students looked at evidence including fingerprints, DNA analysis and gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC-MS) analysis, which identifies different substances within a test sample. The students also investigated footprints and the ink chromatography of a note to evaluate suspects in a supposed murder. Evidence was used to include or exclude suspects during the investigation.

“It was cool to have a convocation event that allowed me to learn the material interactively instead of simply listening and taking notes,” senior Josh Hoelker said. “I was fascinated to see how the evidence came together to pin the guilty suspect.”

Earlier in the week, the “CSI: Belmont” experience also offered a visit from a training specialist from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI), who talked about the educational background required to work in crime investigation as well as the training investigators go through after they get the job.

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