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Nancy DeGennaro

Communications Specialist



Murat Arik

Director, Business and Economic Research Center, Jones College of Business

Arik’s research focuses on regional economic trends, international business dynamics, strategic management, and management of innovation.

Areas of Focus

  • Higher Education Degree Feasibility
  • Housing Market
  • Industry Outlook and Impact Assessments
  • Regional Economic Analysis
  • STEM Workforce

Larry Burriss

Professor, Journalism and Strategic Media, College of Media and Entertainment

Burris is a renowned veteran in the journalism field with vast experience in print and broadcast news and public relations. He has earned five academic degrees: a B.A. in broadcast journalism, M.A. in journalism (The Ohio State University), M.A. in human relations (University of Oklahoma), Ph.D. in journalism (Ohio University), and J.D. (Concord Law School).

Areas of Focus

  • Media and National Security
  • Media Law
  • Quantitative Research Methods

Jonathan DiCicco

Professor, Political Science and International Relations, College of Liberal Arts

DiCicco is a prolific writer and scholar on matters related to international conflict, rivalry and war. His research investigates the causes, conduct, consequences, management, and resolution of international conflict, and American defense and foreign policy in contemporary historical perspective.

Areas of Focus

  • International Conflict
  • Leaders in International Affairs
  • Military Intervention
  • Peace and Conflict Resolution
  • War

Katie Foss

Director, Journalism and Strategic Media, College of Media and Entertainment

Foss is an expert in the fields of health communication, television studies, gender and media, and children and media. Her current research focuses on media and epidemics, breastfeeding discourse, health responsibility, and crime, gender, and media.

Areas of Focus

  • Breastfeeding Activism
  • Children and Media
  • Gender Studies
  • Health Communication
  • Television and Entertainment

Sekou Franklin

Franklin studies American politics and government through the lens of African American politics, racial politics, social movements, and civil rights.

Areas of Focus

  • African-American Politics
  • Civil Rights and Voting Rights
  • Nonviolent Resistance
  • Racial Politics
  • Social Movements
  • Urban/Municipal Politics

Iris Gao

Gao's research interests focus on the various biological and pharmaceutical activities of medicinal plants, such as anti-cancer, antioxidant, cardiovascular protective, neuroprotective, anti-inflammatory, and anti-malaria activities, for the development of new therapeutic agents. She has published more than twenty peer-reviewed research articles. She has filed three international patents on potential therapeutic agents.

Areas of Focus

  • American Ginseng
  • Anticancer Botanicals
  • Conservation and Sustainable Use of Medicinal Plants

Jackie Gilbert


Gilbert's research interests include cross-cultural studies, human resource management, diversity, and gender issues. Her published work can be found in journals including the Academy of Management, Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, Journal of Business Education, Group and Organization Management, the Journal of Business Ethics, and as a case study ("Formally Shaming White Criminals") by Harvard Business School.


Areas of Focus

  • Bullying Awareness
  • Creating Inclusion
  • Democratic Management
  • Experiential Learning
  • Transforming Culture

Robert Gordon, Jr

Associate Professor and Media Arts, Video and Film Degree Program Coordinator

Gordon has been in the television program production industry for 45 years and coordinates the Media Arts Live Production concentration for the Video and Film degree program in Middle Tennessee State University's College of Media and Entertainment.

Areas of Focus

  • Multi-camera Video Production
  • Television Program Production

Virginia Hemby-Grubb

Professor, Department of Marketing, Jones College of Business

Grubb is an expert in business and workplace communication with an emphasis on generational differences in the skillsets of millennials and baby boomers and how they can better communicate with and benefit one another.

Areas of Focus

  • Business/Workplace communication
  • Meeting, Event, Exhibition and Convention Management
  • Talent development

Natalie Hoskins

Assistant Professor (she/her)

Hoskins is a communication scholar, with specific focus on applied research.Her scholarship has been published in national and international peer-reviewed journals, such as the Journal of Interpersonal Violence and The Qualitative Report. She has over 50 hours of batterer intervention group (BIP) facilitation training and four years of experience in BIP group facilitator shadowing and co-facilitation. She earned a BA in philosophy from the University of Missouri – Kansas City and an MA and PhD in communication studies from the University of Kansas.

Areas of Focus

  • Gender Socialization
  • Health Communication
  • Interpersonal Aggression, Violence, and Conflict
  • Social Support and Emotional Expression

Keith Huber

Senior Advisor for Veterans and Leadership Initiatives

Lt. General Huber is the highest ranking retired officer serving in an advisory role among all of Tennessee’s public and private higher education institutions. He led efforts in the creation of MTSU’s Charlie and Hazel Daniels Veterans and Military Family Center – the largest and most comprehensive veterans facility at a Tennessee university.

Areas of Focus

  • Ensuring Student Success for Veterans
  • Policies and Practices for Recruiting Student Veterans
  • Student Veteran Employment and Career Transition
  • Support for Veterans and their Families

Andrei Korobkov

Professor, Political Science and International Relations, College of Liberal Arts

Professor Korobkov's interests include the issues of post-Communist transition, state- and nation-building.

Areas of Focus

  • Comparative Migration Policies
  • Economic Reform
  • Employment Policy
  • Energy Policy
  • Modern Trends in Migration
  • Nationalism and Nation Building
  • Post-Soviet States
  • Social Stratification

Daniel Morrell

Professor, Business Administration and Management, Jones College of Business

Morrell is a recognized expert in the areas of individual differences, motivation, and social influence at work.

Areas of Focus

  • Human Resource Management
  • Organizational Behavior
  • Principles of Management
  • Qualitative Research

Ken Paulson

Director, Free Speech Center

Ken Paulson is the former editor-in-chief of USA Today.

Areas of Focus

  • Censorship
  • Freedom of Speech and Press
  • Journalism
  • Media Ethics
  • Media Literacy
  • Popular Music History

Sandra Poirier

Professor, Nutrition and Food Science, College of Behavioral and Health Sciences

Poirier has more than 15 years of international teaching experience working in culturally diverse environments. Certified as a  Licensed Dietitian and in Family and Consumer Sciences, she specializes in creating innovative educational programs with a focus on culture and identifying appropriate outreach efforts to solve community problems.

Areas of Focus

  • International Education, Food and Culture
  • Nutrition Education
  • Online Course Development and Teaching

Amy Aldridge Sanford

Vice Provost for Academic Programs & Professor of Communication

Sanford is a well-known communication scholar and practitioner, with specific focus on activism, social justice, allyship, not-for-profit organizations, and leadership. She utilizes qualitative methods, including interviewing, journal entries, and observations to do her work. She has served as a reviewer for multiple national journals and has published dozens of book chapters, journal manuscripts, and articles for national administrative newsletters.

Sanford's book From Thought to Action: Developing a Social Justice Orientation, in its second edition, is utilized in classrooms and book clubs throughout the world. It often appears on Amazon’s Top 100 list of bestselling political advocacy books. A TEDx speaker and curator, she is frequently asked to present at national conferences and to university audiences and local community groups. Amy is the current chair of the Social Justice and Activism Division of the National Communication Association and past president of the Central States Communication Association.

She earned a PhD in communication studies from the University of Iowa.


Areas of Focus

  • Activism
  • Communication
  • Creating Inclusion
  • Curriculum Development
  • Public Scholarship
  • Women in Leadership

Philip Seagraves

Associate Professor, Finance and Real Estate, Jones College of Business

Seagraves specializes in real estate education and research.  His corporate and industry experience encompasses sales, marketing, strategic planning, software, and product management.

Areas of Focus

  • Real Estate Brokerage
  • Real Estate Development
  • Real Estate Finance
  • Real Estate Investing

Scott Seipel

Associate Professor, Information Systems and Analytics, Jones College of Business

Seipel has provided data analytics consulting to organizations such as Bridgestone/Firestone, Bell Helicopter, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, and the Texas Department of Protective and Regulatory Services.

Areas of Focus

  • Business Intelligence
  • Data Analytics
  • Data Science
  • Statistical Analysis

Ben Stickle

Stickle is a criminologist with an extensive experience in policing and crime prevention. His teaching, research, and scholarship focus on emerging and specific forms of crime, police operations and management, and program evaluation. He is a former practitioner and often collaborates with police and corrections agencies.  

Areas of Focus

  • Crime during the Pandemic
  • Metal Theft
  • Package Theft
  • Policing Operations, Administration, Staffing, and Mental Health Response

James Syler

Professor, Political Science and Public Policy, College of Liberal Arts

Syler is a strategist and analyst who focuses on Tennessee politics. He has been immensely involved in government and politics for over thirty years.  He managed former Congressman Bart Gordon’s first campaign for congress in 1984 and two subsequent re-election campaigns, and served as Gordon’s Tennessee Chief of Staff from 1985 until his retirement in 2011.

During his time at MTSU, Syler has received national attention for his work with archival political letters. Syler’s research demonstrated that many of the same issues dividing Americans today such as civil rights, immigration, health care policy, guns, and trade have been shaping political debate for over 50 years.


Areas of Focus

  • Archival Research on Political Letters​
  • Campaign Strategy, Media and Advertising
  • Gerrymandering
  • Political Analysis and Commentary on American Politics and Government
  • Political Comedy
  • Political Polling

Karen P.S. Tan

Assistant Professor

Tan's decade of professional experience in hospitality and tourism consulting spans the entire lifecycle of tourism and hospitality assets, including pre-development market, financial feasibility analysis, budget reviews as well as asset disposal and brokerage. She has extensive experience in strategic consulting projects, providing advice to clients on tourism destination master planning and portfolio restructuring. Several Nasdaq-listed hotel companies have sought Tan's advice on their country-specific market-entry strategies.   

Tan’s main research interest seeks to understand the role of negative emotions in tourism and hospitality. Her research focuses on the study of the vacation guilt phenomenon and its root causes among employees in the United States. The findings of this study were published in Journal of Travel Research, and selected as one of three “Best Research Paper” finalists at the 2019 Tourism Travel and Research Association (TTRA) conference in Melbourne, Australia.

In addition to investigating how negative emotions impact tourist behavior, Tan is also interested in quantifying the financial impacts of such emotions on hospitality and tourism businesses.  She leverages her extensive professional experiences and research on negative emotions into tourist behavior and tourism to advise on hospitality development.  

Areas of Focus

  • "Vacation Guilt" among U.S. Employees
  • Tourism and Hospitality
  • Tourism and Hospitality Real Estate Investment
  • Tourist Behavior and Emotions

David Urban


Urban is a nationally recognized marketing expert and a certified Dale Carnegie Trainer. His areas of expertise include trends in marketing and retailing, customer experience management, and identifying business needs for new employees and new skills. 

Areas of Focus

  • "Soft Skill" Development
  • Economic Development
  • Marketing Strategy and Tactics
  • Transforming Organizational Culture

John Vile

Dean, University Honors College

Vile is a scholar of the U.S. Constitution, who has written numerous books, essays, chapters, and reviews on this and related topics.

Areas of Focus

  • American Constitutional Law
  • American Government and Politics
  • Constitutional Amendments
  • Courtroom Procedures
  • U.S. Constitution

Deborah Wagnon

Professor, Recording Industry, College of Media and Entertainment

Wagnon holds a J.D. from Stanford Law School. Prior to joining MTSU’s faculty, she was a partner in the renowned entertainment law firm John Mason Partners Ltd., in Nashville and Los Angeles. In 2000, she joined the international firm of Greenberg Traurig as partner in the entertainment practice. Wagnon was previously General Counsel of Landmark Entertainment Group in Hollywood, and has extensive U.S. and international experience working with leading recording artists, producers, screenwriters, authors, filmmakers, songwriters, and composers.

Areas of Focus

  • Contracts and Legal Issues
  • Copyright Law
  • International Entertainment Transactions

Lynda Williams

Prior to joining MTSU's faculty, Williams led an accomplished career in the U.S. Secret Service. From being the first African American female to serve as a supervisor in the Washington Field Office to serving as Deputy Assistant Director, Williams set a number of significant milestones throughout her 29 years with the Secret Service.

Her areas of expertise include both foreign and domestic terrorism; community and public service engagement; intelligence; and criminal justice processes. 

Williams led the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives as the organization's 43rd president. She remains a longstanding member of the following organizations: Women in Federal Law Enforcement (WIFLE), International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), National Council of Negro Women (NCNW), and the National Association of the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). 

Areas of Focus

  • Criminal Justice
  • Foreign and Domestic Terrorism
  • Inclusion and Diversity in Policing
  • National Security

Louis Woods

Woods is an accomplished scholar of African American history whose research focuses on racial and socioeconomic lending discrimination, redlining, and racial segregation.

His work has been published in the Journal of Urban History, Journal of African-American History, Health Promotion Practice, and The American Journal of Economics and Sociology.

He earned a BA from SUNY Stony Brook University, and a MA and PhD from Howard University.

Areas of Focus

  • African American Military History
  • African American Veteran Access to the GI Bill
  • Civil Rights History
  • Federal Housing Policy
  • Redlining and Socioeconomic Lending Discrimination