Veteran industry executive to lead Belmont’s premier entertainment, music business programs
Belmont University announced today the appointment of Doug Howard, founder of Vandermont Music Group and former senior vice president of A&R for Lyric Street Records/Walt Disney Company, to the position of dean for the Mike Curb College of Entertainment and Music Business, effective January 1, 2015. Howard fills a position held for nine years by Dr. Wes Bulla, who announced earlier this year his intention to return to a full-time teaching position.
Belmont Provost Dr. Thomas Burns said, “The dean of the Curb College possesses the distinctive charge of leading innovative academic programs that are regarded worldwide as among the best in entertainment business education while also ensuring that the college itself remains intricately connected and involved in the industry, both in Nashville and beyond. From his long-held ties with Belmont to his incomparable music business experience, Doug Howard is uniquely prepared for this role, and we’re honored to have him join us as the new Curb College dean.”
A 1979 alumnus of Belmont, Howard received his MBA from Vanderbilt University and his JD from the George Washington University School of Law in Washington, D.C. He has a long history in the Nashville music scene with early beginnings as a song plugger and studio manager for the Welk Music Group. Following law school, Howard served as vice president and general manager for PolyGram Music Publishing for five years before becoming the senior vice president of A&R for Lyric Street Records, a division of the Walt Disney Company. Howard is the president and owner of Vandermont Music Group, a company he founded in 2010.
Belmont University celebrates Christmas and announces its Christmas gift to the Nashville community with a number of free concerts that are open to the public, as well as the televised airing of the annual holiday music spectacular, “Christmas at Belmont.”
The Nashville Children’s Choir performances were held on Dec. 6 and featured the premiere youth choir’s (for singers aged 8 – 18) renditions of traditional Christmas music.
Belmont Camerata offered its annual presentation of “A Camerata Christmas,” including a holiday tradition featuring Corelli’s Christmas Concerto and a sing-along with Kathy Chiavola and fiddler Tammy Rogers-King, on Monday, Dec. 8 in the Belmont Mansion.
Kiplinger’s Personal Finance has included Belmont University on its list of the country’s 2015 Best Value Colleges in private universities. The University was included on the same list in Kiplinger’s 2014 rankings. The complete rankings, including the best values in public schools, private universities, private liberal arts colleges and the top overall, will appear in Kiplinger’s February 2015 issue. The full list is available online now at www.kiplinger.com/links/college.
Belmont and the other schools included in the 2015 lists represent the colleges that provide high-quality academics at a reasonable cost. The colleges exemplify the attributes parents and students look for in higher education, including small class sizes, a good freshman retention rate and a high four-year graduation rate.
The University celebrated the graduation of approximately 400 students and conferred 308 undergraduate, 90 master’s and 1 doctoral degree during the ceremony.
Dr. Robert C. Fisher, president of the University, presided over the event. Dr. Jonathan Thorndike, professor and director of Belmont’s Honors Program, presented the commencement address. In April, Dr. Thorndike was given Belmont’s 2013-2014 Presidential Faculty Achievement Award, an award presented each year to the faculty member who has made outstanding contributions to student life outside the classroom.
With a tradition spanning more than 20 years, the Office of University Ministries (UM) and Sodexo provide students with an opportunity to relax, unwind and enjoy a huge stack of pancakes as a late night snack on Academic Preparation Day. The event is hosted twice each year and typically yields an impressive turn out among students. This year’s event, held on Dec. 3, was no different as approximately 1,200 students came to take part in the biannual Bruin tradition.
Pancake Night began in the mid-1990s when a local church wanted to support students as they navigated the stress of final exams. From the former UM building, the barn of the Belle Monte plantation, Pancake Night was born. Over time, UM moved to the Gabhart Student Center, and the tradition followed.
Associate Campus Minister Christy Ridings said that because the event was becoming larger and larger and the UM space couldn’t accommodate such a crowd, the team started talking with Sodexo about moving to the cafeteria. Because both UM and Sodexo saw Pancake Night as an important opportunity to serve students during a stressful time, the partnership was a welcome addition.
“As a tradition spanning over 20 years, [Pancake Night] is an opportunity that builds community and celebrates the accomplishments of another academic season,” Ridings said. “It is a way to encourage [students] and show that we are on their team.”
Sodexo would agree. Providing pancakes for over 1,200 students, as well as Sodexo staff to work in the cafeteria, Belmont Dining Services General Manager Kyle Grover sees the event as one that has become an integral part of the student experience. “Over time, these events become part of the fabric of student life,” he said.
Belmont junior and public relations major Julia Couch said she has attended every Pancake Night since her freshman year and was happy to attend the event this semester as well. Aside from enjoying the food and time with fellow students, Couch says she especially enjoys the chance to see faculty and staff outside the classroom.
“The end of the semester comes so quickly, and once finals start, it’s hard to catch everyone before they leave forthe holidays. I’m attending Belmont East next semester, so I was able to say goodbye to a few staff members I won’t see before leaving,” she said. “I love being able to participate in campus events that have been around for a while. Participating in some of our deep rooted campus traditions is part of fully living life under the Tower, something taught and reiterated during our four years here.”
The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) and the U.S. Department of Education today announced that Belmont University was named to the 2014 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, the highest honor a college or university can receive for its commitment to volunteering, service-learning and civic engagement. This is the fourth straight year Belmont has been included on the list that annually highlights the role colleges and universities play in solving community problems and placing more students on a lifelong path of civic engagement.
Tim Stewart, Belmont’s director of service-learning, said, “It is very gratifying to see the good work our students, faculty and staff are doing for and with the community be recognized by the President’s Honor Roll. We’re fortunate to live in a community that provides such great opportunities for our students to learn and to serve.”
A total of 766 higher education institutions were named to the 2014 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, and Belmont was recognized in both the General Community Service category as well as the Education category. The Welcome Week SERVE initiative, Homework Hotline and It’s Bruin Time in the Community were among the countless service activities included in the University’s Honor Roll application this year.
Your phone suddenly vibrates while walking through Hillsboro Village, and with a quick glance you discover that one of the neighborhood’s retailers is offering you 25 percent off a favorite product. Walk a few more yards, and your cell notifies you again, this time of the upcoming movie schedule at the nearby theater.
Creepy or not, such technology isn’t all that futuristic—rather, it’s currently available thanks to Apple’s iBeacon positioning system, a new class of low-powered, low-cost transmitters introduced this year that can notify nearby iOS 7 devices of their presence. Though Beacon technology has not been widely implemented, companies around the world are currently investigating ways the system might be used to boost sales, promote products and increase branding.
Belmont Assistant Professor of Information Systems Management Dr. Bryon Balint thought iBeacons could make a perfect experiential learning opportunity for his fall 2014 Electronic Markets (MIS 3680) class. The course examines the impact of the Internet on the ways that organizations function.
Balint said, “Specifically, we look at the Internet as both a sales channel for physical products as well as a system for the sale and delivery of digital products and services. The class also looks at the ways companies use the Internet for branding, marketing and advertising. Naturally, mobile technology and social networking are also heavily embedded in everything we discuss.”
For this assignment, Balint brought ComputeCycles Founder Van Simmons to campus because the mobile software entrepreneur is seeking to develop a new platform using iBeacons that he can then adapt and sell to a number of businesses in the same industry.
Belmont Director of College Health Science Simulation and Assistant Nursing Professor Dr. Beth Hallmark is committed to the University’s sustainability ideals as she leads the School of Nursing’s (SON) efforts to reuse and recycle simulation equipment.
In a simulation lab, students are given the opportunity to practice nursing skills in a safe environment, complete with set-ups that mimic hospitals in the Nashville area and use the same equipment students will see in their clinical rotations. Although this opportunity is an invaluable educational experience, it can be very costly.
With the popularity of nursing on the rise and Belmont’s School becoming more and more successful, Hallmark said her interest in the School’s sustainability efforts began when she started to notice the increase of nursing students and the sheer volume of supplies needed.
Simply recycling the equipment used by students wouldn’t have been adequate, since a large part of the lab is learning sterile techniques when opening equipment. To reproduce this experience for each student but cut down on cost, Hallmark decided to start the SON’s reuse program. Since simulations utilize state of the art mannequins and no contamination of supplies occurs, the reuse of simulation equipment is sanitary and safe.
Now, a number of student workers are trained to clean equipment once it has been used in a simulation. Using a detailed guide, workers re-package tools so they look the same for the next student who will open them.
Hallmark takes the SON’s program one step further by personally traveling to area hospitals and healthcare organizations to collect unused and expired supplies that would have been thrown away. Since the simulations work only on mannequins, expired equipment can provide training for nursing students. The equipment that the SON cannot use or does not need is donated to a local nonprofit, ProjectCure.
“The SON has been blessed with unbelievable facilities and thanks to Mr. Inman and grants from local organizations like the Memorial Foundation, we continue to have the best facilities; however, it is important that we are good stewards of what we have been given,” Hallmark said. “We truly believe that we are called to honor the verse in Luke that reminds us, ‘to whom much is given, much is required.’”
With the combination of the SON’s reuse program and the unused supplies collected from area organizations, Hallmark estimates than an average $40,000 is saved yearly. With this savings, Hallmark says the program is able to save budgeting for specialty items that might not have otherwise been purchased.
Belmont’s Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) was recently granted full accreditation by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education’s (CCNE) Board of Commissioners. The University began its Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) to DNP program in the fall of 2012 with 5 students. In the fall of 2013, the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) to DNP program was launched. In the fall of 2014, the programs together totaled 28 enrolled students.
With the first graduating class in May 2014, Belmont has seen great success with both DNP tracks. 75 percent of these graduates were invited to present their scholarly project, a required portion of their degree track, at a national meeting of nurse practitioners.
“This is yet another notable benchmark for nursing at Belmont. I am grateful for the University’s leadership and encouragement for establishing the DNP program and also want to recognize the hard work of Drs. Buckner, Wofford and Higgins and the graduate nursing faculty and staff. This accreditation award is a direct reflection of their steadfast commitment to professional excellence,” said Dean of the Health Science and Nursing College, Dr. Cathy Taylor.
The School of Nursing aims to produce nursing professionals that can assist in transforming our nation’s health care industry, said Dr. Martha Buckner, associate dean of nursing. With a focus on a collaborative educational environment, the School is committed to identifying needs within the industry and producing additional tracks that meet those needs.
Belmont’s Provost, Dr. Thomas Burns said, “The full accreditation of the DNP program at Belmont brings to fruition the full suite of holistic nurse training programs at Belmont. With this final piece in place, our nursing program now provides compassionate, patient-centered education to nurses across the full spectrum of practice-based nursing education and provides our students and our community with the best comprehensive nursing training program possible.”
With this granting of this accreditation, all Belmont nursing programs are fully accredited by the CCNE.
Belmont University made a big impact in last night’s Next Awards, which recognizes innovation in business and entrepreneurship in Middle Tennessee. The competition, which rewards both individuals and companies and is built around the concept of “what’s NEXT in the entrepreneurial landscape of Nashville and Middle Tennessee,” is run by the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce and the Nashville Entrepreneur Center.
Three Belmont students—Tim Downey (Picd.us), Ben McIntyre (Internpreneur) and Channing Moreland (What’s Hubbin’)—were named in September as the top finalists in the Young Entrepreneur of the Year field with Downey taking home last night’s trophy.
Downey’s business, Picd.us, was started with co-founder and fellow Belmont student Geoffrey Gross in July 2014 around the idea to incentivize a company’s customers to post brand-related content to their social media accounts. This in-turn will broaden the company’s digital market reach. Downey and Gross have been busy with launching their website, starting the patent process, working on web design and product mockups as well as pitching their ideas to potential investors.
Downey said, “To have this award from Nashville is an incredible form of validation that my work is really making an impact… Belmont assisted me in my success through the incredible entrepreneurship professors. The time and attention that every Belmont entrepreneurship professor has shown me is unreal. This award is going to benefit my future just by continuing to push what I expect from myself. I honestly did not think I was going to get it, because the work Ben McIntyre and Channing Moreland have done is absolutely incredible, and I look up to both of them so much.
Junior Moreland was nominated for her work with fellow Belmont students Makenzie Stokel and Seth Clarke to expand the success of their startup What’s Hubbin,’ a company founded to help Nashvillians navigate through the local music scene. The trio also were the winners of the 2014 Belmont Student Business Plan Competition hosted by the Center for Entrepreneurship.
Launched last year, What’s Hubbin’ has more than 3,000 users in the Nashville area including students, area residents and tourists. Users can view a calendar of shows at various stages and explore short profiles of all the local venues and local artists, tailoring their user profile to their own musical preferences.
Entrepreneurship major Ben McIntyre, who was also chosen to compete in the National Entrepreneurship Organization’s (EO) Global Student Entrepreneur Award competition, was named a finalist for his business, Internpreneur, a company which partners with employers to create “high-impact internship programs where businesses get real projects done and students get the experience and hands on learning they need to move into full-time employment after graduation.”
The young entrepreneurs were scored by a panel of judges who graded candidates on their entrepreneurial spirit, their product/service and their company’s ability to create jobs and add value for stakeholders.
Companies and organizations, meanwhile, were judged across five industry categories: digital media/entertainment, health care, social enterprise/sustainability, technology and products/services. Corporate eligibility was measured by each stage of growth regardless of industry with the categories titled Startup, Growth and Market Mover. Belmont University won the Market Mover field in the social enterprise/sustainability category.
Belmont President Dr. Bob Fisher, who was on hand to accept the University’s award, wrote in the University’s Next application, “While many higher education institutions focus on career training and personal success, Belmont seeks to offer a truly transformational education. The university aims to develop individuals holistically—intellectually, spiritually, socially and physically—and to empower students to develop their gifts so that they can engage and transform the world. These efforts attract the best and brightest students from every state and 25 countries. With a focus on efficiency and cost control, Belmont carefully manages resources and diligently analyzes the budgeting process to ensure fiscal strength. As a nonprofit institution, our priority is on serving our students well.”
To learn more, visit www.nextawardsnashville.com.
For a audio recap by Belmont alumnus and Online Events Manager at Nashville’s TechnologyAdvice, Clark Buckner, see below.
New program equips graduates for rapid career success, advancement
Starting in fall 2015, prospective pharmacists can pursue the only dual PharmD/MBA degree available in Middle Tennessee at Belmont University in Nashville, the nation’s healthcare capital. Unlike similar programs around the country that require a minimum of five years’ study or offer MBA courses primarily online, Belmont PharmD/MBA students can complete all the requirements for both degrees within four years and will enjoy Belmont’s signature personal interaction from experienced, highly regarded faculty. Moreover, students can complete the degree at a reduced tuition from doing the programs separately.
“The modern practice of pharmacy is constantly evolving, and now—more than ever before—it’s imperative that new PharmD graduates also enter the workforce with a strong business acumen,” said Dr. Phil Johnston, dean of Belmont’s College of Pharmacy. “Regardless of whether a graduate works in a retail, institutional or research site, they must possess robust entrepreneurial skills in business forecasting, employee management, corporate finance and more. A PharmD/MBA dual degree is a timely addition to Belmont’s offerings.”
Dr. Joe Alexander, associate dean of Belmont’s Massey Graduate School of Business, added, “This is a logical extension of our mission to provide business education and thoughtful leadership to the working professionals of Nashville and the Middle Tennessee region. Due to our flexible week-night and summer course schedule, students can complete their MBAs in the same four years as their PharmD while also participating in the internship, study abroad and clinical practice experiences each program requires. Belmont PharmD/MBA graduates will be uniquely prepared for rapid career development.”
Belmont University is open today–Mon., Nov. 17–and classes will proceed as scheduled. 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’s College of Law National Health Law Moot Court Team competed against schools from all over the country at the National Health Law Moot Court Competition on Nov. 8 in Carbondale, Illinois. After six rounds of arguments, the team was named National Champions. Comprised of law students Courtney Lutz, Heath Henley and Ben Conrady and led by College of Law faculty member Amy Moore, the team also received commendation for a second place brief. A second team of students—Samantha Simpson, Jordan Kennamer and Parker Brown—made it to the competition’s top 16, the Octofinals, before being beat by their Belmont peers. The Belmont teams were accompanied by Professor Jeffrey Usman and Sean Alexander, a 3L student member of the Board of Advocates and team assistant coach.
Participants in the National Health Law Moot Court Competition hailed from the following law schools: Chicago-Kent College of Law, Drexel University School of Law, Faulkner University School of Law, Georgia State University College of Law, Hamline University School of Law, Indiana University School of Law-Indianapolis, Loyola University Chicago School of Law, Notre Dame Law School, Nova Southeastern University, Saint Louis University School of Law, Seton Hall School of Law, South Texas College of Law, Suffolk University Law School, Texas Tech University School of Law, Thomas M. Cooley Law School, University of California-Hastings College of Law, University of Colorado, University of Maryland School of Law, University of Pittsburgh School of Law, University of Tulsa College of Law and University of Washington School of Law.
“They [the students] faced a constant barrage of difficult questions from practicing attorneys and state and federal judges who were playing the role of the United States Supreme Court for these arguments. The questions required the team members to understand the administrative, disability, employment and healthcare law issues presented by the case with great sophistication and to be able to think on their feet,” Usman said. “Belmont Professor Amy Moore, the director of advocacy for the College of Law, had the students extremely well prepared, not only in terms of their oral advocacy skills, but also to represent themselves and Belmont with great civility.”
The competition, the only one in the nation devoted to health law, is co-sponsored by the Southern Illinois University (SIU) School of Law Center for Health Law and Policy, the SIU School of Medicine’s Department of Medical Humanities, the American College of Legal Medicine and the American College of Legal Medicine Foundation.
Meanwhile, Belmont College of Law’s National Moot Team—comprised of Michael Holder, Travis Brown and Chandler Farmer—competed in Birmingham, Alabama and won both preliminary rounds of oral arguments against Samford University and the University of Alabama before missing the cut to the semi-final round.
Josh Turner, Belmont alumnus and double-platinum selling country music artist, returned to campus on Wednesday to speak to a packed auditorium of students, faculty and staff. With his most recent single released on iTunes and a new album coming out in Spring 2015, Turner spent his time discussing his hit “Long Black Train,” his family, his faith and his love for Belmont.
During his time at the University, Turner reflected on a walk he took from the Lila D. Bunch library to Hillside, his on-campus apartment at the time. During his walk, he was struck with the idea of a long train and the temptation to hop aboard. The inspiration turned into a night of writing, where he created three of the hit’s verses, as well as the chorus. The next day, he wrote the fourth and final verse. “Long Black Train” would become the song that landed Turner his first record deal.
Throughout his career, Turner said the song has changed lives and pulled people out of very bleak places. It is these stories that continue to remind him of his calling to write and sing country music. He said he feels “obligated to go out there and use the talent God has given me to change people’s lives for the better… The Lord gave me this song, he’s been using it and I think he’s going to continue to use it.”
Belmont University President Dr. Bob Fisher unveiled the University’s Vision 2020 to a room full of students, faculty, staff and alumni Monday morning. The Vision, comprised of seven strategic priorities that will guide Belmont through the next five years, integrates the University’s values of integrity, inquiry, collaboration, service and humility to build what Vision 2020 calls, “Nashville’s University.”
With Vision 2015 coming to a conclusion, the University is looking toward the future with a strong emphasis on student-centeredness, Christian character and a people-first culture, among other things.
“Vision is a picture of a future that is so much more desirable that the present, that it creates a sense of urgency. It compels people to act – to ambitious action,” Fisher said. Video interviews from Belmont community members were included to highlight each Vision 2020 strategy, illustrating the ambitious action that Vision 2020 calls for.
“As we continue to define ourselves and our dreams for this University, it is my hope that Belmont will place a greater focus on including students in the development and execution of our long-term goals and capitalize on the creativity, passion and commitment of its students to make Belmont a place we’re all proud to call home,” Student Government Association President Jeanette Morelan said.
Although the Vision has been crafted and created, a successful implementation of any vision will require the support and collaborative work of all community members, Fisher said. “Consider the power of aligning our efforts and pulling in the same direction…Consider the power behind that.”
Fisher ended his presentation with a story describing his experience climbing Mt. Rainier, a Seattle mountain with the greatest rise in elevation of all ranges within the continental U.S. During his climb, Fisher developed altitude sickness and was forced to descend at the mountain’s “High Break,” the final break before the Summit. Although he wasn’t able to accomplish what he set out to do, Fisher said the experience taught him many lessons. “If you aspire to do something really hard and really tough, it does get harder and harder as you approach the goal,” he said.
“We’re at the High Break point, but if we’re going to the top, it’s going to take the best efforts of everybody. I hear there’s nothing like the view from the top. I haven’t been there, but I want to go…Let’s get there together and become one of America’s great universities. Let’s go to the top,” Fisher said.
For a description of Vision 2020’s seven strategies and a video of Fisher’s presentation, please click here.