History of the College of Liberal Arts

Middle Tennessee State Normal began accepting students in 1911; the name changed to Middle Tennessee State Teachers College in 1925 and then to Middle Tennessee State College in 1943. In 1965 Middle Tennessee State College became Middle Tennessee State University and formed the School of Arts and Sciences: Biology, Chemistry/Physics, English, Geography, History, Math, Modern Language, Philosophy, Political Science, Sociology, Speech and Theatre, and Pre-Professional.

In 1972 The School of Arts and Sciences became the School of Liberal Arts with Dean Clay Tucker at the helm. Departments: English (Richard Peck, chair), Geography and Earth Sciences (Ralph Fullerton, chair), History (Robert Corlew, chair), Modern Foreign Languages (T. Coy Porter, chair), Philosophy (Harold Parker, chair), Political Science (David Grubbs, chair), Sociology (James McBroom), and Speech and Theatre (Larry Lowe, chair). Shirley (Reed) Thomas served as secretary to the Dean from 1967-70. Maribeth Beasley became the Dean's secretary in 1970 to serve with Dean Tucker until his retirement.

The second dean of the college was Robert Corlew (secretary Maribeth Beasley). He became Dean in 1978 after serving as chair of the History Department. Corlew served in the Dean's Office until 1984 when he became Vice President for Academic Affairs until his retirement.

In 1984, Dr. John McDaniel became interim dean after serving as chair of the English Department. McDaniel served as dean from 1985-2010, with Maribeth Beasley as secretary until 1987. Connie (Shirley) Huddleston served as the dean's secretary from 1987-2005. The current secretary is Anjali Sarvaria, who assists Dean Mark Byrnes, who has served as the dean of Liberal Arts since 2010.

In 1986 the Art and Music departments joined Liberal Arts, and in 2002 Music became the School of Music. Social Work moved to the College of Behavioral and Health Science in the reorganization of the University in 2010.  Geosciences moved to Basic and Applied Sciences on July 1, 2014, resulting in the relocation of the Cultural Geography program to Global Studies.

Clay Tucker

Robert Corlew

Dr. John McDaniel

Mark Byrnes

Connie (Shirley) Huddleston
Dean's Secretary

Anjali Sarvaria
Dean's Secretary


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The executive offices of the Oral History Association have opened at MTSU and will be here for the next five years.

The office will be co-directed by Albert Gore Research Center Director Louis Kyriakoudes and History Professor Kristine McCusker.

The offices are located in
217 Peck Hall