MURRAY, Ky. — Below is information regarding recent news, notes and accomplishments from Murray State University for the week of March 19–23.


The 41st annual Harry Lee Waterfield Distinguished Lecture in Public Affairs will take place April 12 at 7 p.m. in the Curris Center ballroom. The lecture will be delivered by Dr. James Campbell, distinguished professor of political science at State University of New York at Buffalo, who will discuss “Political Polarization in America: Why Does Everyone Want to Pick a Fight About Everything?”

An official headshot of Dr. James Campbell.
Pictured: Dr. James Campbell

Campbell received his doctorate in political science from Syracuse University and has been on the faculty at State University of New York at Buffalo since 2006. He previously held positions at Louisiana State University, the University of Georgia and the National Science Foundation. He is the author of five books, 58 journal articles, 17 book chapters and 45 other professional publications.

The Waterfield Lecture Series was Murray State’s first annual lecture series. Founded in 1977 and named in honor of the late Kentucky Lt. Gov. Harry Lee Waterfield, a Murray State alumnus and benefactor, its purpose is to bring distinguished scholars and public officials to campus to discuss timely and significant political topics. Former speakers have included Kentucky governors Louie B. Nunn and Paul Patton as well as Senator Paul Simon of Illinois, Professor Richard Neustadt of Harvard University and Professor Richard Fenno of the University of Rochester.

The lecture is free and open to the public. No tickets or reservations are required.


Several reports produced by Murray State’s NPR station, WKMS, were recently recognized for state broadcasting awards from the Kentucky Associated Press Broadcasters Association for the 2017 professional and college contests.

“Murray State is committed to excellence and WKMS is part of that mission,” said Chad Lampe, WKMS station manager. “Our newsroom consistently goes above and beyond the call of duty to produce excellent content for our audience. These awards reflect positively on WKMS, which has a history of excellence for both state and national awards.”

Student reporter Taylor Inman of Benton was nominated in the category of Best Feature Story for her work on “Visitors from Afar Descend Upon Kelly ‘Green Men’ Festival on Eclipse Anniversary.” She also received the only nomination for Best Digital Journalist in the college contest.

Lampe was named a finalist in Best Short News Feature for “The Grand Finale: Murray State Student Gets Special Commencement.” He also received a nomination in the Breaking News category with Nicole Erwin, the station’s local Ohio Valley ReSource reporter, for “Murray State University Dorm Explosion,” which covered the incident at New Richmond Hall in June 2017.

In addition to Erwin’s aforementioned nomination with Lampe, she received three other nominations that advanced for final consideration, including the Ohio Valley ReSource pieces “High Hop(s): Craft Brewing Has Farmers Betting on Hops” and “Halting Traffic: Truckers, Survivors, Fighting Human Trafficking” that were nominated for, respectively, Best Long Light News Feature and Best Long Public Affairs. Erwin is also a finalist in the Best Use of Sound category for “Wickliffe Mounds Sing with Chickasaw Dance Troupe.”

Winners will be announced April 14 during an awards presentation and dinner.

In addition to its full-time staff and reporters, WKMS hires and trains a select number of Murray State students each year to provide professional news reports on air and online, reaching more than 20,000 weekly listeners and 40,000 monthly unique website visitors.

“We believe students deserve to learn from the best of the best,” Lampe said. “They are also paid for this work through listener donations. It’s a highly effective public/private partnership.”


Following the quarterly meeting of the Murray State University Board of Regents, held March 9, the University’s department of geosciences in the Jesse D. Jones College of Science, Engineering and Technology is transitioning to the department of earth and environmental sciences.

“Research areas of current geosciences faculty all involve elements of the Earth system as well as the interactions among the elements, the processes that shape the environment and the history of plants and humans,” said Dr. Robin Zhang, department chair. “Earth and environmental sciences reflects more closely who we are and what we do. In addition, we would like to provide a clearer path for prospective students to find us — to explicitly bring out the environmental aspect of our work at a time of increased public awareness.”

Beginning in the fall, the department will offer bachelor’s and master’s degrees in earth and environmental sciences. Tracks within the undergraduate program have been revised with offerings in geology, geography and GIS, environmental science, earth science secondary certification and archaeology in addition to graduate concentrations in environmental geology, geoinformatics, archaeology and watershed science. The department also offers an undergraduate certification in GIS and a graduate certificate in geospatial data science.

“Earth and environmental sciences are among the core and the most interdisciplinary of the science disciplines that include both natural and social sciences,” Zhang said. “Our program contributes to both broad general education and science literacy goals as well as the production of high-quality bachelor’s and master’s degrees in STEM-H fields.”


The Kentucky Innovation Network at Murray State is pleased to announce the launch of a new networking group for e-commerce sellers in Kentucky.

The new networking group prioritizes connecting people, sharing ideas and expanding knowledge. It is available for anyone interested in starting an e-commerce business or who is already conducting business at any size or stage using eBay, Etsy, Amazon, Walmart or any other platform and marketplace.

“Coming together with other online sellers is one of the best ways to understand best practices and to take away actionable knowledge to help your business,” said Chris Chapman, owner of Snow Sport Deals in Murray and partner in the new network. “Whether large or small, a person just starting or a company with years of experience, everyone has something to learn and something to share.”

Meetings are held on the last Tuesday of every month from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at U.S. Highway 641 North in Murray. Meetings are free to attend and include time to network and participate in roundtable discussions with topical speakers. Hors d’oeuvres and drinks will be provided.

“This group is a great opportunity for everyone who is engaged in e-commerce at any level to connect, share ideas, learn from each other and grow their business,” said Loretta Daniel, director of the Kentucky Innovation Network at Murray State.

The group is a great opportunity for everyone who is engaged in e-commerce at any level to connect, share ideas, learn from each other and grow their business,” said Loretta Daniel, director of the Kentucky Innovation Network at Murray State.


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