Skip to main content

About MTSU

Executives at MTSU

President Sidney McPhee

Dr. Sidney A. McPhee, the 10th president of Middle Tennessee State University, has presided over one of the most remarkable periods of growth and progress in the institution’s more than 110 years of service.

Since McPhee’s presidency began in 2001, the university has been successful in completing more than $1.5 billion in improvements in academic, athletic and campus facilities.

Those new facilities include the $40.1-million, 54,000-square-foot building for our School of Concrete and Construction Management, which opened in October 2022; a $39.6 million, 91,000-square-foot Academic Classroom Building for the College of Behavioral and Health Sciences, which opened in the summer of 2020; and the $147 million Science Corridor of Innovation, and includes the 250,000-square-foot Science Building, which opened in August 2014, and the renovation of Wiser-Patten and Davis science buildings. Construction is underway on a new home for Engineering Technology ($74.8 million) and a Student-Athlete Performance Center ($66 million).

With an enrollment of more than 20,000 students, MTSU has been recognized for offering the greatest return on investment in Tennessee higher education. It is the No. 1 provider of college graduates to the greater Nashville economy; the third-largest producer of college graduates in the state; and one of the top producer of low-income (Pell Grant-eligible) graduates in Tennessee (in all, over 40% of MTSU’s undergraduate population receives Pell aid). MTSU’s standing as a destination of choice for first-generation students and its long success in helping underserved students overcome obstacles often posed by tuition and fees are well established. MTSU is also a top choice of the state’s transfer students and is home to the Charlie and Hazel Daniels Veterans and Military Family Center, one of the largest academic support centers of its kind in the nation.

Since McPhee’s arrival, MTSU has been successful in raising admission standards, which resulted in an increase in enrollment of high-ability students. He has overseen the addition of about 50 undergraduate and graduate degree programs, two colleges, and about 20 institutes and centers.

He has also worked to strengthen MTSU’s international initiatives on the Murfreesboro campus and abroad. MTSU boasts about 40 university partnerships in 17 different countries and enrolls more international students than any other university in the state of Tennessee.

McPhee earned his bachelor’s degree (with highest honors, summa cum laude) from Prairie View A&M University in Texas; a master’s degree from the University of Miami, Coral Gables, Fla.; and a doctorate in applied behavioral studies in education from Oklahoma State University.

His work as an academic has appeared in numerous local, national, and international professional journals. His scholarly pursuits include international lectures and presentations in numerous countries, including China, Japan, South Korea, Israel, Belgium, Canada, England, Brazil, Ethiopia, Kenya, and the Bahamas.

McPhee was recently elected to a third term on the NCAA Division I Board of Directors, representing Conference USA. He was on the board from 2010 to 2013 as the Sun Belt Conference’s representative and also served from 2003 to 2007. In addition, he has served on the NCAA Executive Committee.

McPhee was named Outstanding American University President of 2002 by the American Football Foundation. In 2003, he was listed by Nashville Post business magazine as one of Tennessee’s 100 Most Powerful People and, in 2004, he was ranked by Business Tennessee magazine as one of the state’s Top 50 Most Powerful African Americans.

McPhee is married to retired educator Elizabeth McPhee, and they have two adult children, Dr. Seneca McPhee and Dr. Sidney-Anthony McPhee.

Also, President McPhee:

  • Was named Omega Citizen of the Year by the Pi Gamma Gamma Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity.
  • Was honored by the Nashville Business Journal with its Rutherford County Impact Award for two consecutive years (2014 and 2015).
  • In September 2013, was honored by the Rotary Foundation as a Paul Harris Fellow.
  • In March 2017, was presented with the Phi Beta Sigma Southwestern Regional Meritorious Award.
  • In May 2017, was appointed honorary professor at North China University of Technology and as adjunct professor by the National Center for International Research of BioEnergy Science and Technology.
  • In February 2018, was named an American Red Cross Hero by its Heart of Tennessee Chapter.

Dr. Brad Bartel

Dr. Mark Byrnes, who was appointed University Provost in September 2017, provides leadership and management to support instruction, research, public service, institutional effectiveness, international affairs, and student success at MTSU.

Byrnes, a native of Murfreesboro, graduated from Riverdale High School before completing a B.S. in political science from MTSU in 1983. He went on to earn a Diploma in International and Comparative Politics from the London School of Economics (1987), and an M.A. and Ph.D. (1991) in political science from Vanderbilt University. 

A specialist in American government and politics, he joined the MTSU Department of Political Science in 1991. He is a nationally recognized expert on the presidency and has published books on NASA, President James K. Polk, and Tennessee politics. 

Byrnes served as Dean of the College of Liberal Arts, which includes more than 300 full-time faculty members and nearly 60 full-time staff, from 2010 until his appointment as Interim University Provost in May 2016. He was Associate Dean of the College from 2006 to 2010.

Byrnes was elected to two terms (2004 to 2012) on the Rutherford County Board of Education. During that time, he served as chairman for four years and vice chairman for three. 

Byrnes has also served as president of the Tennessee Political Science Association and of the MTSU chapters of the American Association of University Professors and the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi. 

Byrnes also was the recipient of one of the MTSU Foundation’s 2010 Public Service Awards.

WILLIAM J. BALES: VP for Development & University Relations

William J. “Joe” Bales, is the Vice President for University Advancement at MTSU. With 30 years’ experience in fundraising and institutional advancement, he leads the University’s efforts in development, alumni relations, corporate engagement and governmental relations. Fundraising activities at the University have more than doubled during Bales’ tenure.

Under his leadership, MTSU raised more than $105 million in the Centennial Campaign, surpassing the $80 million goal set when the effort was announced in 2012. The $105,465,308 raised during the campaign, which concluded Dec. 31, 2015, represents the largest fundraising effort in University history, surpassing a $30 million campaign mark set in 2001.

Bales came to MTSU in 2002 from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, where he spent nearly 15 years in a variety of development and alumni affairs roles. Immediately prior to coming to MTSU, Bales served for more than five years as Assistant Vice President for Corporate Relations. In that role, he was responsible for developing cultivation and solicitation plans for more than 30 major corporations – and providing leadership to all appropriate colleges and constituent development offices. His accomplishments included the creation of a formal corporate partnership plan, the development of an annual-giving blueprint and the launching of an “executive briefing” newsletter for the campus.

Earlier, from 1993 to 1997, Bales was director of development for the UT’s College of Engineering. During that time, he directed the college’s 21st Century Campaign that raised more than $34 million in gifts and pledges from alumni, friends and corporations. The annual average for total giving increased from $2 million to $4.5 million. He also developed a tracking/management system for the college’s gift funds composed of more than 200 gift accounts and a $15 million endowment. Before that, Bales served for four years as associate director of institutional advancement for the university’s Institute of Agriculture, then later became director of development.

He earned Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in agriculture from UT-Knoxville and served as a graduate teaching assistant and as an instructor in the Department of Animal Science.

“As a native of this state, I strongly believe in the value of higher education and am committed to working to strengthen our educational system,” Bales said. “The chance to assist MTSU in meeting the future needs of Tennessee is an exciting challenge. MTSU is one of the best kept secrets in higher education — not only in Tennessee, but across the country. It is gratifying to have the opportunity to work with Dr. McPhee, the university community and MTSU’s students and alumni in moving MTSU to the top tier of America’s comprehensive universities.”

Yvette Clark - Associate Vice President for Enterprise Application Services

Most recently, Ms. Clark was nominated and selected as a finalist for the 2024 Tennessee CIO Orbie Award. This award honors chief information officers who have demonstrated excellence in technology leadership. The award recognizes multiple categories based on the size and scope of their organization and responsibilities. She has prioritized engaging with the campus community and forging strategic partnerships with university and departmental leadership that serve the needs and priorities of academic and administrative business units. Her interactions with faculty, staff, students, and leadership have fostered a culture of openness and transparency. Ms. Clark believes in inspiring, motivating, and empowering individuals to envision possibilities, design innovative solutions, and take ownership of projects.

Ms. Clark was named MTSU’s Vice President of Information Technology and Chief Information Officer in April 2023 after serving as Interim starting in February 2022. She began her tenure at MTSU in August 2021 as the Associate Vice President of Enterprise Application Systems. Previously, she served four years as the Executive Director of Information Technology Services (ITS) at Tennessee Tech University (TTU) and held two other leadership roles within the ITS division: Director of Academic and Client Technologies (ACT) for two and a half years and Assistant Director of ACT for a year and a half.

Before her central IT positions, Ms. Clark worked as a Research and Development Engineer at the Center for the Management, Utilization, and Protection of Water Resources. Ms. Clark’s research expertise primarily focused on water resource planning. In this role, she managed research projects and implemented and supported various technology initiatives. Her work involved collaborating with cross-disciplinary faculty and graduate student teams to develop cutting-edge systems using geographical information systems linked to water quality and quantity models. 

Additionally, Ms. Clark served as an adjunct instructor for the Civil and Environmental Engineering and Chemical Engineering departments for several years.

Ms. Clark holds a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from the Colorado School of Mines and a Master of Science in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Tennessee Tech University.

Andrew Oppmann - Vice President for Marketing and Communications

Andrew Oppmann, a former media executive for news organizations in seven states, leads MTSU’s efforts to tell our unique stories on multiple platforms. His team shapes and implements organic and paid advertising and communications strategies that serve the needs and priorities of the university’s colleges and units. As the university’s chief spokesman, Oppmann also works with the President and Provost to shape executive-level outreach.

As executive producer of MTSU True Blue TV, Oppmann is also responsible for the university’s premier video platform and public access channel for live broadcasts, campus original programming and event productions. He is host and executive producer of “Out of the Blue,” MTSU’s public service program that airs on Nashville’s WTVF’s NewsChannel 5+, as well as channels in 17 states. During his tenure, MTSU received its first Emmy Award in 2024 and multiple Telly Awards for various projects.

And he had led several special initiatives, such as bolstering MTSU’s ties to Peru, Kenya, China, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, and The Bahamas; launching the Charlie and Hazel Daniels Veterans and Military Family Center; and establishing partnerships with major brands, including The Grammys; the Academy of Country Music; Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival; the Experimental Aircraft Association’s annual AirVenture event; Civil Air Patrol, the U.S. Air Force volunteer civilian auxiliary; the Grand Ole Opry; Nashville Predators; Nashville Sounds; Music City Grand Prix; Tennessee Air National Guard; and the Middle Tennessee Council of the Boy Scouts of America.

Oppmann was an executive, editor or reporter for news organizations in Alabama, California, Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin. Before joining MTSU in 2010, he was a vice president at The Tennessean in Nashville and president and publisher of Gannett Tennessee’s media groups in Murfreesboro (The Daily News Journal) and Clarksville (The Leaf-Chronicle).He earned his master’s degree from MTSU in strategic leadership and his bachelor’s degree from the University of Kentucky in journalism.

Oppmann is a lieutenant colonel in Civil Air Patrol; an Army Reserve Ambassador on behalf of MTSU’s Army ROTC program; and, as an Eagle Scout, a volunteer Scouts BSA leader. An adjunct professor of journalism in MTSU’s College of Media and Entertainment since 2011, he was conferred lifetime membership and regent status by the Associated Press Media Editors for his career as a journalist and educator. He currently serves on the Publisher’s Advisory Board for Stars and Stripes, which provides independent news and information to the U.S. military community.

He lives in Murfreesboro with his wife, Elise. Daughters Emily and Sarah are alumna of MTSU and their youngest, Rachel, enrolled at MTSU in the fall of 2024.

Alan Thomas

Alan Thomas was named MTSU’s Vice President for Business and Finance in July 2016, after serving as the interim Vice President since January 2016. His team is responsible for all the financial and physical operations of the University, including human resources and the MT Police Department. He oversees an annual operating budget exceeding $500 million, with a capital footprint of more than $1 billion.

His more than 30 years at MTSU has included service as the University’s Controller and Executive Director of Finance Technology and Compliance (December 1999 to December 2014); Director of Accounting Services (November 1995 to November 1999); Accounting Manager (January 1995 to October 1995); and Foundation Accountant (April 1990 to June 1993). He was also a Financial Analyst for the Tennessee Board of Regents Central Office (July 1993 to December 1994) and started his career as a Legislative Auditor in the Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury’s Division of State Audit (June 1987 to March 1990), focusing on audits of Tennessee’s higher education institutions.

Thomas, a Middle Tennessee native, is a 1987 graduate of Middle Tennessee State University with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Accounting. In 1992, he obtained his Certified Public Accountant (CPA) license (inactive). He received his Master of Education in Administration and Supervision from MTSU in 1998.  He also holds memberships in both the National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO) and Southern Association of College and University Business Officers (SACUBO), and served on various state-wide committees for higher education.

Alan and his wife, Kandi, have lived in the Rutherford County or the Murfreesboro area since 1990. Their daughter, Briana, graduated from MTSU in December 2017 and represented the University as a member of the MT Cheer team for four years.  After graduation, she began her career at The Boeing Company in Huntsville, AL.