VU prof, Shalom founder launch social enterprise in Guatemala

A malnutrition-oriented project started by a Vanderbilt University professor and the founder of the Middle Tennessee-based Shalom Foundation has reached a milestone with the opening of a Central American supplementary food production facility.

According to a VU release, Ted Fischer (pictured), professor of anthropology and director of the Center for Latin American Studies, teamed with multiple Vanderbilt students over a five-year period on the project. Relatedly, Shalom head Steve Moore, a former Country Music Association CEO, worked with Fischer to found NutriPlus, a social enterprise effort that produces the supplement, Mani+.

The supplement (a fortified nut paste that provides calories, protein, fat, vitamins and minerals essential to brain development in babies and toddlers) is used to specifically address the nutritional deficiencies seen in Central American children. It is the first ready-to-use supplementary Food (RUSF)  to be both locally produced and locally sourced in Guatemala City, Guatemala, creating local jobs and supporting local farmers.
The new facility opened on Sept. 23 and will eventually mass produce Mani+. Eventually, Fischer and Moore hope to produce 25 tons of Mani+ a month, reaching 25,000 children.

To recognize the opening of the facility, an event was held recently at the Instituto de Nutrición de Centro América y Panamá (INCAP). Senior health officials from Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Panama and the Dominican Republic attended, as well as prominent business and NGO leaders and representatives from the World Food Program.

Shalom Foundation’s Guatemala City pediatric clinic has strong ties to Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. The clinic houses the Vanderbilt Guatemala Research Station.

Regarding Mani+, Vanderbilt students helped develop financial and quality control models, an aflotoxin eradication plan for partner peanut farmers, and educational materials and packaging. They also conducted field research on peanut cultivation and Mani+ usage in the home. The paste itself was developed in partnership with food scientists at INCAP, which also donated the Mani+ production facility.

A 40-year longitudinal study by INCAP finds that the costs of childhood malnutrition are high and lasting.

“There’s a huge economic impact to malnutrition,” Fischer said in the release. “Kids don’t do as well in school, and we know from this data that they earn 40 percent less as adults than peers who were well-nourished. So to put it into a dollar figure, in Guatemala, that’s $300 million a year that malnutrition is costing this country.”

Oct 9, 2015 6:45 AM

Vanderbilt names chief human resources officer

Veteran academician, VU grad returns to Nashville after N.C. State stint
Oct 8, 2015 11:13 AM

Trevecca creates board for proposed songwriting certificate program

The Trevecca Nazarene University Department of Music has announced the formation of a board to advise TNU faculty regarding a proposed songwriting certificate program.

“Students will learn the practical skills they need as songwriters,” David Diehl, chair of Trevecca's department of music, said in a release. “In addition, they’ll also have the experiences they need to connect to the industry.”

From the release:


The songwriting advisory board members include:

Dave Clark, the creative director for Lillenas Music Publishing, producer of two Grammy®-nominated projects, and a well-known songwriter.

Benji Cowart, worship leader for more than 15 years, serving alongside his wife, Jenna. Their songwriting credits include songs for Big Daddy Weave and Ben Catelone.

David Diehl, director of Trevecca’s music business program and a member of the faculty at Trevecca’s Skinner School of Business and Technology. He also serves as senior vice president of Provident Music Group and has worked with artists such as Casting Crowns, Third Day and Michael W. Smith during his 20 years in the industry.

Bart Herbison, the executive director of the National Songwriters Association. He previously worked as a journalist and was instrumental in the passage of the Songwriters Capital Gains Tax Equity Act, which helped songwriters get royalties when their music was purchased through subscription services.

Dann Huff, formerly of the Christian rock band Whiteheart, the rock band Giant, and has played guitar in sessions with the likes of Michael Jackson, Taylor Swift, and Celine Dion. He has also worked as a producer for Keith Urban, Carrie Underwood, and Brantley Gilbert, among others. He is a two-time CMA Musician of the Year.

Pamela Lewis, founder and president of PLA Media, a marketing and PR firm. She was a member of the team that launched MTV and has worked with clients ranging from Dolly Parton and the Judds to Trisha Yearwood and Garth Brooks.

Mike Meade, vice president of Buddy Lee Attractions, where he leads the agency’s speaker and guest appearance division. He has also worked with TLE, Tracy Lawrence’s management company, and at his own company, The Meade Group.

Ralph Murphy, artist, author, and songwriter. He has written hit songs for Crystal Gayle, Don Williams, Ronnie Milsap, and Randy Travis. He works with ASCAP to facilitate workshops for songwriters as well as protect songwriters’ rights. He is the author of Murphy’s Laws of Songwriting.

Devon O’Day, radio broadcaster known for her work with Gerry House and the House Foundation. A voice professional, she has been the voice of Hilton Hotels, KFC, and was the announcer for the Dove Awards for nine years. She is also a songwriter, with songs recorded by George Strait, Trace Adkins, Lee Ann Womack, and others. She owns Hippie Chick Twang Media, has written six books, and narrated more than 20 audio books for Harper Collins.

Diehl and Kim McClean (Trevecca alumna and songwriter) will serve as moderators for the advisory board. McClean also teaches songwriting at Trevecca.

“Students will learn the practical skills they need as songwriters,” said Diehl. “In addition, they’ll also have the experiences they need to connect to the industry.”

Oct 6, 2015 1:15 PM

Q&A: David Rosen of O'More College of Design

The recently hired Dr. David Rosen is now into his first academic year as president of O’More College of Design.

Post Managing Editor William Williams chatted with Rosen regarding his efforts and goals related to the Franklin-based college.

You are still relatively new to the job. After about three months and with the fall semester having recently started, what are your impressions overall about the role?

I am new, but I understood the job before I took it. In fact, I consider this job my dream job. My interest in this position stemmed from having a clear understanding of what a conservatory school of design in a region with an exploding creative economy could accomplish. Keep in mind that Nashville has the fourth largest fashion industry in the country, and O’More has the top fashion design and fashion marketing programs in the state. These programs are both nationally ranked. Nashville has one of the fastest growing built environments in the country.

In addition, O’More boasts one of the top interiors programs in the nation. This figure is measured by the number of national competition winners among its students. Our graduation rate last year was 81 percent, making it the highest among all art and design schools with the exception of Rhode Island School of Design. Of our graduates 94 percent find jobs in their fields within six months of graduation.

When I began the job, I already had pretty strong impressions and I can’t imagine that changing. We have dynamic programs, dedicated faculty, eager students, and we are aligned with the economic growth of the area and are playing a key role in helping to stimulate that growth.
My one surprise, I suppose, has to be how special the bond between students, staff and faculty is. The support they provide one another is the main ingredient for success at O’More.

O’More’s fall enrollment is 179. Do you have a goal for next fall and, if so, what might be your strategy regarding achieving it?

We have always been small, and that has been purposeful. We are a best-kept secret, and we actually like that. If you ever come on campus, you will feel that being here is like being in a private garden. The smaller environment gives us character, but we have decided to share the secret a bit more widespread, and we are already seeing the results. For instance, the number of inquiries this year is already three times greater than the number of inquiries we had for the entirety of last year. I don’t know where the final enrollment next year will be, but we are sharing the secret selectively and students seem very interested.

What is the main challenge you currently face?

Our main challenge is moving fast enough to take advantage of all the enormous opportunities that we have.

I’ve long wondered this. O’More sits on what is, potentially, some extremely valuable property on the fringe of downtown Franklin. Could you one day sell a portion or even the entirety? Of if not, how often does the college get offers to sell?

Our Franklin location is our secret sauce and we will never sell this campus. It would be like selling your grandmother. It might be lucrative, but it would probably disrupt your family. If you have ever been to the campus, you understand the character it holds.

O’More has traditionally had a male to female student ratio of about one to nine. Is there a move to alter that ratio so as to increase enrollment?

The ratio of males to females in higher education is resolutely in the favor of females and growing steadily. The areas we teach in are traditionally female. In fact, O’More College was founded by a woman. We celebrate diversity at O’More. We have students from all walks of life, backgrounds and heritage. We are focused on providing an opportunity for all students to find their place and foster their growth within the design world. We are proud of our predominantly female student base, but will continue to welcome all creative minds to study at O’More.

In March, O’More moved its school of interior design from The Factory at Franklin to the main campus. How has that gone?

I don’t know what the program was like before I started with O’More, but it seems to be thriving now. I will say, however, that The Factory offered us a more familiar type of studio space. We are planning on strategizing to recreate that ambiance on campus.

You most recently worked at Kendall College of Art & Design, a conservatory school located in Grand Rapids, Michigan. I understand you are forging some relationships with O'More along those lines. How has that progressed?

At KCAD, we specialized in design thinking. Among other programs, I started a master’s of architecture program and improved the existing fashion program. Those are more in line with my plans for O’More.

On a related note, what is O'More's symbiotic relationship, if any, with Watkins College of Art, Design and Film?

As far as I know, we don’t have a relationship with Watkins. We do not offer film or fine arts, which I believe are at the core of their curriculum. We each have our own niche. I am sure there is symbiosis possible, but it is yet to be discovered. Nashville provides the perfect landscape for all the programs in creative areas to usefully collaborate. Right now my interest is in collaborating with Belmont’s entrepreneurship program. Maybe Watkins in time.

Oct 6, 2015 6:45 AM

Southeast Financial sues Indiana customer for $12M

Southeast Financial Credit Union has filed suit against a longtime Indiana customer that has been accused by two states attorneys general of bilking students out of thousands of dollars each for online college preparation study modules. The Indianapolis Star reports that Southeast Financial's complaint against The College Network and related individuals and companies claims the entities are insolvent and that its owners trying to squirrel away any remaining viable assets.

Earlier this year, Southeast Financial — which has lent out about $35 million to College Network customers — was named in a deceptive business practices suit filed by New York's attorney general. Click here for the credit union's complaint against TCN, which was filed last Friday and asks for $12 million and for TCN to placed under the control of a court-appointed receiver.

Southeast Federal, which has had a business relationship with TCN since 2003, said that when the credit union signed a contract extension with TCN last year, it was not made aware that the company was "insolvent, financially weakened by years of dwindling and slow sales and poor business performance."

Sep 30, 2015 1:14 PM

Lipscomb names new Dean of College of Professional Studies

Interim dean Morel gets full-time gig
Sep 29, 2015 12:05 PM

Belmont hires Register to oversee new center, teach

Ex-MNPS superintendent joins Karl Dean on BU roster
Sep 22, 2015 10:21 AM

LU taps Samuels as senior VP for communication, marketing

Lipscomb University has named Deby Samuels senior vice president for university communication and marketing.

A veteran Nashville marketing executive, Samuels (pictured) most recently served as vice president of Lipscomb University’s University Communication and Marketing office.

Samuels is part of the LU executive leadership team, which provides vision, strategy and direction for the university at an institutional level, according to a release. In addition, she oversees the university’s strategic communication, media relations, public relations, social media, web, marketing, advertising, branding, publications and creative services functions. In her new role, Samuels will expand her work to coordinate several new university-wide marketing initiatives.

“Deby has brought expert leadership to the very visible areas of marketing and communication for the university that has not only helped elevate the institution’s reputation locally, but also created a greater awareness for the great things that are happening at Lipscomb on a national level as well,” LU President L. Randolph Lowry said in the release.

A 1972 LU graduate, Samuels was vice president of marketing communications for Nashville’s AmSurg Corp. prior to joining the Lipscomb administration in September 2009.

Samuels graduated with a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri.

Since arrive in Nashville in 1980, Samuels has served as director of marketing for Comdata as well as in creative and executive positions with The Buntin Group (advertising) and the former Dye, Van Mol & Lawrence (public relations).

Sep 22, 2015 7:15 AM

Fisk president steps down

Former Cargill exec, past regional Fed chair takes over on interim basis
Sep 22, 2015 6:55 AM

UBS commits $2M to college matching portal

Executives at financial services giant UBS have pledged to donate $2 million to a new portal that will help connect aspiring college students with higher education institutions that are likely to be a good fit with their interests. The TalentED Project, which will launch in October, is also being backed by the Tennessee College Access & Success Network and Discovery Education, the K-12 digital content and professional development arm of Discovery Communications.

“We know from research that college fit - finding a college that meets your academic, financial, social and emotional needs - is critical to college success and completion. High-potential, lower-income, first generation students are not always aware of the many college options available to them,” said Bob Obrohta, TCASN Executive Director. “The TalentED Project, created with input from over 150 college admissions and college access professionals, not only helps these students realize their potential, but it also allows colleges to actively recruit these students to their campuses.”

Sep 21, 2015 6:49 AM