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Todd named interim Provost for 2015-16

Story by Mary Bradley, Editor-in-Chief

Tim Todd, dean of the Arthur J. Bauernfeind College of Business, will be interim Provost during the 2015-16 academic year. Photo courtesy of raceralumni.com.

As Provost Jay Morgan steps down from his role to become vice president of Academic Affairs for the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education, or CPE, Tim Todd, dean of the Arthur J. Bauernfeind College of Business, will fill the open spot as interim Provost.

Starting in the fall semester, there will be a national search conducted for the position. A search committee will be formed and a national search consultant to assist in this process will be selected. Associate Dean of the College of Business Gerry Muuka will be interim dean during 2015-16.

Todd said Morgan has a tremendous opportunity presented to him at the CPE and he has been wonderful at the University. He said he is excited to fill the role as interim Provost and his humbled to do so as Morgan transitions out of the Provost’s Office.

In this interim time frame, President Davies has asked me to serve as the interim Provost,”  he said. “I am honored and humbled by this, and with my love for Murray State over the past 20 years, I have accepted. This next year will be exciting as we will be in the first year of implementation of the MSU Strategic Plan. In addition to that, we will continue serving our students through teaching, research and service. In other words, we won’t ‘miss a beat’ in this coming academic year.”

In an email sent to the University community, President Bob Davies said he selected Todd because he wanted someone who will be a strong leader and advocate.

“In all of my interactions with Dr. Todd, as well as the numerous comments I have received regarding him, I have found him to be a stalwart advocate for Murray State, our faculty, staff and students, as well as the community,” Davies wrote. “He has repeatedly demonstrated his ability to build consensus, to make difficult decisions when necessary in a fair and transparent manner, to engage others in a way to shape forward thinking objectives and to lead others in the pursuit of a shared vision of academic excellence and student success. I also know, as he has over this past year, provided me excellent advice, insights and wisdom that has shaped, or reshaped, my thinking on numerous issues. Moreover, through his leadership in guiding the strategic planning process, I know that he will have the sense of urgency needed to pursue the agenda for our University.”

Todd has been at Murray State since joining the organizational communication department in 1995, and has served as Assistant Provost in 1998 and Associate Provost in 2002 before becoming dean in 2006.

He will assume the position beginning July 1.

Morgan steps down as Provost

Story by Mary Bradley, Editor-in-Chief

File photo

After five years in the office of Associate Provost and Provost, Jay Morgan will step down from his position effective June 30.

In an email sent to the University, Morgan wrote that he will be returning to a tenured professor position in the Huston School of Agriculture for the 2015-16 academic year. However, Morgan said he will be “on loan” to the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education, or CPE, as the new vice president of Academic Affairs effective July 1.

Morgan noted that he will not be formally leaving the University, but will be working with the state government in Frankfort, Ky., until he returns to the University. His appointment will be through an agreement between CPE and Murray State.

“I consider this CPE appointment as a good professional opportunity for me and also good for Murray State, but acknowledge that these statewide governmental appointments can be fast and furious and at some time I will return to the University to just have fun teaching and interacting with students,” Morgan wrote.

He said President Bob Davies will be working through details during this transition and will appoint an interim Provost.

Morgan was selected as Provost in 2013 from a pool of 84 candidates and was one of four finalists. A 17-member search committee chaired by Jack Rose included representatives from each academic college and school, constituent groups, the Dean’s Council, professional staff, Student Affairs and athletics selected Morgan. … Continue Reading

Murray State Christ Ambassador, relief team aids in Nepal

Story by Zachary Orr, Assistant News Editor

People stand on rubble after the second earthquake to hit Nepal in two weeks. Photo courtesy of Ryan Brooks.

People stand on rubble after the second earthquake to hit Nepal in two weeks. Photo courtesy of Ryan Brooks.

Two hours into his return to Kathmandu from a remote village in Nepal April 28, Ryan Brooks felt the ground shift beneath his four-wheel drive truck as a 7.2 magnitude earthquake shook the earth beneath him.

He was experiencing the second largest earthquake to hit Nepal in the last three weeks. The first one, which registered 7.9 on the Richter scale, occurred April 25 and killed an estimated 8,500 people. The first earthquake inspired Brooks, lead missionary for Murray State’s Chi Alpha, to travel with a team for a two week relief project.

The quake Brooks was experiencing killed 48 more and left thousands injured. Brooks was on the side of a mountain four hours northeast of Kathmandu when it hit.

After experiencing dozens of tremors during his stay in Nepal, Brooks said he wasn’t scared for his life, but looking back he understands the danger of the situation he and his teammates were in.

“Maybe I should have been concerned for my safety,” he said.

Murray State alumna Liz Woods was a member of the relief team Brooks took part in. They, alongside members of the Evangel World Prayer Center in Louisville, Ky., spent the last two weeks aiding Nepalese citizens, trying to put their lives back together as much as possible. … Continue Reading

OPERATION: GRADUATION

Story by Zachary Orr, Assistant News Editor

Emily Harris/The News Chris Jeter, assistant registrar for Veteran Affairs, said he hopes Murray State’s first scholarship for veterans will reach $25,000 in funding, making it an endowed scholarship.

Emily Harris/The News
Chris Jeter, assistant registrar for Veteran Affairs, said he hopes Murray State’s first scholarship for veterans will reach $25,000 in funding, making it an endowed scholarship.

In the fall of 2016, Murray State will offer its first University scholarship for veterans: Operation Graduation.

The scholarship was made because of a growing demand for financial assistance that veterans have when pursuing higher education today, said Chris Jeter, assistant registrar for Veteran Affairs.

Jeter said although veterans benefit financially from the G.I. Bill, which provides financial assistance to veterans for education as thanks for their service and can cover both tuition and some living expenses, the bill doesn’t cover all the costs attending a four-year university entails.

“When you take into consideration that there are other things they’re paying for – everything from books to putting food in your stomach and gas in the tank – no, it’s not going to pay for everything,” he said.

Returning to civilian life is a difficult transition for many veterans, Jeter said. Many veterans return from service with families, so higher education may not be their first priority financially.

Jeter said he hopes Operation Graduation will help veterans afford higher education despite their financial obligations.

Abby Hensley, director of development for the Hutson School of Agriculture and Special Projects, helped develop the scholarship, alongside Renae Duncan, associate provost for Undergraduate Education. … Continue Reading

Murray State fills role as emergency center

May 1, 2015 News

Story by Zachary Orr, Assistant News Editor,  and Julia Mazzuca, Staff writer

Photo Courtesy of WKMS Murray State was declared a Storm Ready University in January 2011. Murray State, along with four other universities in Kentucky, is considered to be Storm Ready by the National Weather Service.

Photo Courtesy of WKMS
Murray State was declared a Storm Ready University in January 2011. Murray State, along with four other universities in Kentucky, is considered to be Storm Ready by the National Weather Service.

Murray State not only impacts the community through providing higher education and acting as one of the area’s largest employers, but also is the Emergency Operations Center.

This role, said Jeff Steen, assistant director of Public Safety and Emergency Management, is unusual for a university to play. 

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) defines an Emergency Operations Center, or EOC, as “A location from which centralized emergency management can be performed. EOC facilities are established by an agency or jurisdiction to coordinate the overall agency or jurisdictional response and support to an emergency.”

The University’s role as the community’s chief EOC was established in 2009, when a severe ice storm placed both Calloway County and Kentucky in a state of Emergency, said Roy Dunaway, director of Public Safety and Emergency Management.

During the storm, when the Calloway County EOC’s generator failed, the county asked to join Murray State’s EOC. Steen said the city’s EOC quickly expended all its resources and asked to join Murray State’s EOC as well. 

Dunaway said Murray State had the resources and was better prepared for this scale of emergency, that left much of the area without power, water or phone service.

“Due largely to that success, we’re still the Emergency Operations Center of the county,” Dunaway said. … Continue Reading

Outstanding seniors for 2015 named

May 1, 2015 News

Stories by Julia Mazzuca, Staff writer

Jenny Rohl/The News Rob Lewis is the 2015 outstanding senior male. After graduation he is headed to Utah State.

Jenny Rohl/The News
Rob Lewis is the 2015 outstanding senior male. After graduation he is headed to Utah State.

Rob Lewis, known by his friends as the “Bird Nerd,” was named the outstanding senior male for the May 2015 graduating class.

Don Robertson, vice president of Student Affairs, explained the criteria for outstanding senior selection.

“In total, the committee chose these two (outstanding seniors) because they both excelled academically while maximizing their undergraduate experience by taking advantage of the many opportunities students have at this University,” Robertson said.

Lewis is the founding member for the Murray State National Wild Turkey Federation Chapter and is a member of the Murray State Wildlife and Fisheries Society, Murray State Ducks Unlimited Chapter and Captain of the Civil Air Patrol. 

The Maryland native came to Murray State on a presidential scholarship to study wildlife and conservation biology and get on the wildlife biology track.

“I knew I couldn’t sit behind a desk for the rest of my life,” Lewis said. “I’ve always loved the outdoors and wanted something to combine my passion and my work.” … Continue Reading

Cofer Randall shares story of transition, finding herself

May 1, 2015 News

Story by Ben Manhanke, Staff writer

Hannah Fowl/The News Jody Cofer Randall, director of LGBT Programming, began her journey from male to female about a year and a half ago.

Hannah Fowl/The News
Jody Cofer Randall, director of LGBT Programming, began her journey from male to female about a year and a half ago.

She. He. Her. Him.

Jody Cofer Randall, director of LGBT Programming, said every day she is asked what pronoun she prefers to be referred to by, sometimes two to three times a day.

“I’ve accepted that, in many ways, I’ll be coming out for the rest of my life,” Cofer Randall said. “People ask me either why I’m doing this or how they should address me and I say ‘well, let’s sit down, let’s have that conversation.’”

Cofer Randall is a transsexual, someone who not only identifies as the opposite sex as they were born, but someone who has begun taking the medical steps necessary to reverse their gender.

Cofer Randall is a she.

For Cofer Randall, this journey began one and a half years ago when she began taking hormone replacement supplements and seeing a doctor in Chicago who specializes in this type of gender transition.

Yet ever since she was a child, she has wanted to be a woman.

“When you’re a boy you’re taught you need to like He-Man, you need to like masculine toys,” Cofer Randall said. “But when I was little, running around in the yard playing, I always wanted to be She-Ra. It wasn’t an attraction to women. I think I was born in the wrong body.” … Continue Reading

International students head forward

May 1, 2015 News

Story by Abby Siegel, Contributing writer

Hannah Fowl/The News Pictured left to right are graduating seniors Venky Meesala from India, Tansia Mehrin from Belize and Andre Damarizal from Indonesia.

Hannah Fowl/The News
Pictured left to right are graduating seniors Venky Meesala from India, Tansia Mehrin from Belize and Andre Damarizal from Indonesia.

As the long-awaited graduation day approaches, walking across the stage to receive a diploma accompanied with a handshake from the University president is just the start of a new adventure for many international students studying at Murray State. 

More than 60 different countries are represented at Murray State including China, South Korea, Brazil and India. 

Tyson Manering, senior international student counselor, said there are 1,134 international students – roughly 10 percent of the Murray State student population – pursuing different degrees.

Graduating international students have a wide range of plans after graduation, but the common feelings they have are love and gratitude toward their experiences at Murray State.

“It’s like my second home here,” said Andre Tanjung, senior from Malang, Indonesia.

Tanjung is finishing his second year at Murray State and will graduate with a degree in business management.

After graduation he plans to build his own brand of shoes and bags and export his product through the help of the international friends he has made while at Murray State. Tanjung said he will do the marketing for his brand, but he still needs to find someone who can design the product.

Although he is sad to leave the home he has found in Murray, he said what he misses most about Indonesia is his family.

“Family is number one,” he said. … Continue Reading

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