Monday, August 11, 2008

Monday, August 11, 2008

Today’s Response
Middle Tennessee State University

A legal dogfight

The Third U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that a Pennsylvania law attempting to criminalize depictions of animal cruelty does not pass constitutional muster. A 10-3 majority vacated the conviction of Robert J. Stevens, who had been jailed for marketing dogfighting tapes and other such merchandise. David Hudson, adjunct political science professor and First Amendment expert, says the dissenting opinion, written by Judge Robert E. Cowen, asserted that “the government could criminalize depictions of animal cruelty because such expression had no social value. Noting that animal cruelty laws have existed in America since 1641, he classified the government’s interest as compelling. Cowan emphasized that the statute contained a provision that protected depictions of animal cruelty having a ‘serious religious, political, scientific, educational, journalistic, historical or artistic value.’”

Contact Hudson at 615-727-1600.

Wooly bully

Tennessee usually is not the first state that comes to mind when it comes to wool production. However, the Tennessee Sheep Producers Association operates the Tennessee Wool Pool, the oldest of its kind in the United States. Dr. Warren Gill, chair of the MTSU Department of Agribusiness and Agriscience, assisted in the 90th annual Wool Pool in Columbia in June. The pool, which is the oldest of its kind in the United States, markets wool for producers in Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama and central Kentucky. Gill says, “The Tennessee Wool Pool obtained improved prices in 2008 with black-faced grades bringing $53.00 per hundred pounds and white-faced wool bringing $61.00. Wool poundage was down with 15,659 pounds being marketed in 2008.”

Contact Gill at 615-898-2523.

You don’t have to be Brett Favre to be a JET.

Three recent graduates of MTSU have been selected to participate in the prestigious Japan Exchange and Teaching Program (JET) administered by the government of Japan. They are Jim Pruitt (Spring 2008, Digital Media), Paul Richards (Spring 2008, International Relations), and Joe Yount (Summer 2007, Finance). Dr. Kiyoshi Kawahito, former director of the U.S.-Japan Program and professor emeritus in economics and finance, says, “They will work as Assistant Language Teachers or Coordinators for International Relations for up to three years beginning this month. … Jim, Paul and Joe had all studied at MTSU’s exchange partner institutions in Japan for a year as undergraduate students.” Dr. Kaylene Gebert, vice president and provost, says, “We are extremely proud of these graduates. … I cannot believe that their study in Japan was not a key to their success.”

Contact Kawahito at 615-898-5751.


“A POLITICIAN IS A STATESMAN WHO APPROACHES EVERY QUESTION WITH AN OPEN MOUTH.”—ADLAI STEVENSON--Has a particular turn of phrase in a politician’s speech caught your ear and made you wonder why he or she chose those particular words? What is the speaker really saying? How do the candidates get their messages across to the voters? To figure all this out in this presidential election year, students can sign up for “Political Communication,” a class to be taught this fall at MTSU by Dr. Russell Church, speech and theatre professor. Participants will take on questions of whether race and gender are still issues, who votes and why, whether candidates are now more important than parties, whether the media now call all the shots, the power of interest groups, and how parties can increase turnout. The class will take place on Mondays and Wednesdays from 2:20 p.m. to 3:45 p.m. Contact Church at 615-494-7958 or

A REALLY BIG SHEW--The August edition of “Middle Tennessee Record” is packed with fascinating stories and compelling video of MTSU sights and sounds. Watch the Plant and Soil Science Club’s members as they grow and sell farm-fresh produce to raise funds. Check out the art deco-style Jazz Age mural painted by professor Erin Anfinsson at the Heritage Center in downtown Murfreesboro. Return with MTSU alumni to those thrilling days of yesteryear at the inaugural Alumni Summer College. And celebrate the success of the Center for Environmental Education, whose latest video to promote clean water in Tennessee won a Silver Telly Award. “Middle Tennessee Record” airs on NewsChannel5+ at 1:30 p.m. on Sundays. For a complete listing of other cable outlets that run the program, go to Contact John Lynch at 615-898-2919 or

WELCOME, NEIGHBOR!--As state Rep. John Hood leaves the Tennessee General Assembly following six terms serving the 48th District, he embarks on a new mission for MTSU’s Office of Community Engagement and Support. Hood began assisting Dr. Gloria Bonner, the director of the office, on Aug. 1. “During my 12 years in the legislature, I have worked in support of MTSU, and this will give me another opportunity to represent the university with the community and local governments,” Hood says. Dr. Sidney A. McPhee, MTSU president, adds, “Any endeavor that John is involved in will be enhanced and enriched by his knowledge and skills, and we are extremely fortunate that he will continue to be a valuable resource for a university that he loves and has served for so many years.”Contact Tom Tozer in the Office of News and Public Affairs at 615-898-2919 or for more information.

“POVERTY IS LIKE PUNISHMENT FOR A CRIME YOU DIDN’T COMMIT”—ELI KHAMAROV--MTSU student Steve Sibley will realize the educational experience of a lifetime this fall when he interns for 10 weeks in Bangladesh with the Grameen Bank, the financial institution founded by Nobel Peace Prize-winner and former MTSU professor Dr. Muhammad Yunus. Sibley is the first recipient of the Kawahito Scholarship for Experiential World Poverty Studies. Dr. Kiyoshi Kawahito, for whom the scholarship is named, says he created it to give students a chance to live in some of the most debilitating conditions on the planet, examine why these areas are impoverished and witness conscientious efforts to fight the poverty. “You have to jump into the midst of poverty and really observe and feel how poor people live and struggle,” says the professor emeritus of economics and finance and former director of the U.S.-Japan Program. For interviews or photos, contact Gina Logue in the Office of News and Public Affairs at 615-898-5081 or

HER SONG--“Women in Music,” a brand new class to be taught at MTSU this fall, will be an exploration of the vast variety of women’s musical activities. Dr. Felicia Miyakawa, who will teach both undergraduates and graduate students, says, “The course will cover not only women composers in the western tradition, but also women performers, women patrons, and women as objects and symbols in the marketing of music.” Students will discuss cultural constructions of gender as they pertain to music, identify important women in musical history and outline their significance, talk about connections between diverse forms of feminism and their manifestations in music and much more. Women to be studied will range from Clara Schumann to Janis Joplin and from Jenny Lind to Tori Amos. Contact Miyakawa at 615-904-8043 or

MAKING A LIST, CHECKING IT TWICE--ATTENTION EDITORS AND REPORTERS: Beginning at noon today, Aug. 11, MTSU will release the names and hometowns of those undergraduate students who are on the Dean’s List for the summer 2008 semester and of those students who graduated during the Aug. 9, 2008, summer commencement event (slated for tomorrow). MTSU posts these lists online so that media outlets, especially hometown newspapers, may reprint this information for their readers—many of whom request that student accomplishments be shared with family and friends via the news media. To obtain a list, please go to and click on either “MTSU Dean’s List” or “Graduation Lists” on the upper left-hand side of the page. Next, click on “Summer 2008,” which will include an alphabetical county-by-county listing of students. For more information, contact the Office of News and Public Affairs at 615-898-2919.

WISE COUNSEL--Two concentrations within the Department of Psychology at MTSU recently were accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs, or CACREP. Dr. Christopher J. Quarto, psychology professor and a licensed psychologist, says, “We are delighted to announce that we recently received word that both the mental health counseling and the school counseling areas of study … are now accredited by the CACREP.” The newly acquired designation “is the highest level of accreditation for counseling programs in the United States and can provide a number of benefits for those who complete” such a program, Quarto adds. At present, the mental health concentration has 11 students and school counseling has 54 enrollees. Contact the Department of Psychology at 615-898-2706.