Tag Archives: DCOM

Restrating the recruitment cycle

15 Aug

The new students at Lincoln Memorial University (LMU) will be moving into their dorm rooms tomorrow. We’ve already welcomed the new classes at LMU-DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine and LMU-Duncan School of Law and the Inaugural Class of the LMU-College of Veterinary Medicine will conclude orientation activities today with the White Coat Ceremony. While these are all signs that summer is over and the fall semester is upon us, it also means it’s time to restart our recruiting engines.

For undergraduate students in the Class of 2018 the first lecture hasn’t been delivered, yet there is a group of staff on campus that is already looking to recruit the Class of 2019. That is not to say they aren’t worried about the experience of our current students, it’s just that their jobs require a great deal of looking ahead and planning for the future. And I am a member of that group. Actually, I kind of straddle all groups on campus because I have to look forward, look back, look around and do all I can to get the LMU name and brand out.

So, as our new students are moving into the residence halls this weekend, I will be pushing out the newest marketing campaign for LMU. It’s actually not an entirely new campaign, as we are continuing with the “Career Path” message and theme, but it is a brand new treatment starting with a new TV commercial. This time around we enlisted the support of a creative agency in conceiving a concept and producing the spot. I have been meeting with JAO Productions since early spring, discussing what makes LMU special and how to tell its story in 30 seconds.

For the past three years our commercial spots have been a series of “I am …” spots that highlighted the many career paths at LMU. It all started with “I am a nurse,” and included “I am a teacher,” “I am a business leader,” “I am a veterinary technician,” “I am a lawyer,” “I am an osteopathic physician” and “I am a physician assistant.” Once all the different spots were created and airing, we mashed them up for an “I am LMU” spot. It has been two years since we shot a new commercial and three since we had introduced a new campaign. Something new was overdue.

During our discussions, we focused on what makes LMU stand out from other colleges – its connection to Abraham Lincoln. This was a point the LMU administration really wanted to see emphasized. There were a couple challenges with the execution of this. The first was how to make a historical figure exciting to our primary demographic group of potential undergraduate students (16-18 year olds). The other side to that problem was treating Mr. Lincoln, his image, likeness and legacy, with respect.

No longer simply the 16th president of the United States, Lincoln has become a pop icon being featured in movies, tv shows and books from Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure to Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and in commercials for everything from Geico Insurance to Mountain Dew. He is synonymous with the traits his legacy has touted including honesty, perseverance and loyalty. We wanted to find a way with making the connection without making Lincoln a joke or too serious. It was a fine line to walk.

It took a visit to campus and the Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum for all the pieces to click into the concept we ultimately went with. LMU was founded on the principals Abraham Lincoln lived by. Our graduates become a part of his legacy. This is a point of pride for us. However, we recognize that most high school students aren’t worried about their legacy, let alone a President long gone with no living director ancestors. Ultimately what clicked with the creative team was LMU is not for everyone and every student isn’t cut out for LMU. From there, JAO Pro developed a script and we went to work arranging a shoot.

One of challenges with the final script was that it would call for a large cast with lots of extras. Always looking to be a good steward of the budget, I wanted to keep costs as low as possible, so we reached out to area high school students, faculty and staff and incoming students to serve as “extras” for the shoot. We ended up with around 30 volunteers (Thank You!), a couple of folks drafted the day of the shoot (myself included) and two paid actors in the cast. The volunteers were bribed with t-shirts and home baked cookies. The end result is a beautiful spot that I feel hits just the tone we were looking for. Check it out and look for it on a TV near you soon!






Giving Thanks

23 Nov

As I log on to Facebook every day, I can’t help but notice my “friends” who have taken the challenge of posting a thankful thought every day in the month of November. Though I didn’t join the fun, there is plenty to be thankful for at LMU.

From the exponential growth over the past decade to the physical plant improvements at LMU, you don’t have to look far to see our blessings. And they are not limited to the main campus in Harrogate, Tenn., expanding staff and resources abound system-wide.

However on the eve of Thanksgiving, I think the University’s greatest blessings continue to be its students. Our students are outstanding. They come from all walks of life and follow in the footsteps of our dedicated alumni who have never forgotten their alma mater.

Many undergrads come here as first generation college students, full of promise, expectation and apprehension. They are brave souls, breaking barriers for their families in search of opportunity to grow their minds and enhance earning potential. For them LMU is THANKFUL.

And we have our legacies as well, children who have followed parents who have followed their parents. The blood in those families really does run blue and grey. For them LMU is THANKFUL.

Not too long ago, the Educational Specialists Degree was the highest degree our students could achieve at LMU. In May we celebrated our inaugural class of Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine. In our system today, we have students pursuing doctoral level degrees in three disciplines – osteopathic medicine, law and education. These students have taken our level of scholarly activity to a new level. They have expanded our world. For them LMU is THANKFUL.

So in a month where we are challenged to come up with 30 thankful thoughts, LMU has 4,550 – OUR STUDENTS.

They’re baaack!

28 Sep

Prospective students visiting DCOM for interviews listen ad Class of 2015 President Kirubakaran Sivagurunathan makes a presentation.

Walking through DCOM this morning, I passed the fishbowl (the first floor conference room with a glass wall) and spotted the black suits for the first time this year. It’s hard to see the black suits and not sense their excitement and nervousness.

 Twice a week from mid-September to mid-May, twelve fresh faces arrive in Harrogate, Tenn., for in-person interviews as part of the medical school application process. We call them the black suits, because most of them where black suits to their interviews.

 Every Tuesday and Wednesday, 12 DCOM hopefuls get a chance to see why at least thirteen people have applied for each and every seat since the school opened in 2007. Typically in a year, 500 black suits will filter through for interviews.


The official interview comes after the admissions committee reviews the applicant’s AACOMAS application, supplemental application and test scores. The personal interview itself is 30 minutes, long but interviewees go through a full day of programming.


Since the second class went through interviews, DCOM’s Student Osteopathic Medicine Association (SOMA) has sponsored an informal pizza night to give prospective students a chance to meet current students and ask a wide range of questions in a relaxed atmosphere.  Pizza night occurs the evening before the interviews. Often, attendance is determined by travel schedule as applicants travel from across the country to check out DCOM.


On the actual interview day, the black suits will be shuttled from hotels in Middlesboro to the LMU campus. One of the comments we often hear after interviews is how friendly and relaxed our process is. From the start, our visitors are welcomed into the LMU family whether they ultimately choose to attend DCOM or not. Our greatest ambassador is our shuttle driver, Bob Jackson. Bob has been with DCOM from the beginning, when he volunteered to help with whatever the medical school needed because he was proud of its mission and wanted to be a part of it. Bob picks the black suits up in the morning and helps them to relax on the short drive to campus. When their day is done, he picks them back up and gives them a quick driving tour of LMU and often visits some of the highlights in the area, like the Pinnacle in nearby Cumberland Gap National Historical Park.


The day officially gets underway with a welcome session conducted by the admissions staff. When he is in town, Dean Ray Stowers also makes a special point to welcome the black suits. The welcome session is followed by a financial aid overview as well as information about the preclinical and clinical curriculum from faculty. Next, the prospective students are interviewed in one on two sessions with faculty. The students will be paired with a DO and a PhD for the individual interviews. Current DCOM students also make a point to drop in and talk with interviewees while they wait for their time to interview.


Following the interviews, DCOM student ambassadors give tours of the building. The black suits are then joined by current students for a lunch in LMU’s dining hall. After lunch, Bob gives his tour and takes them back to the hotels.


The admissions committee typically meets on Thursdays, following the interview days. This helps the committee make decisions while the interviews are fresh in their minds. The admissions staff tries to have letters out no later than Monday of the next week, but it often depends on the Dean’s schedule as he has final say and review on all applicants. The letters can also be delayed, because Dean Stowers enjoys calling the accepted students personally to offer them a seat in the class.

White Coats & Tradition

21 Sep

As traditions go, 18 years is relatively new. That is exactly how long medical schools in America have been “coating” first year students in a ceremony that has become a rite of passage for medical student. The first White Coat Ceremony was held in 1993 at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons and is now a standard ritual in medical schools across the country. During the Ceremony, each medical student is presented and “robed” with his or her short white laboratory coat, formalizing and welcoming the student’s entrance into the study of medicine.


Of course when you are talking about new traditions, it seems that is all that the DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine has. Now in its fifth year and celebrating its fifth entering class, DCOM’s White Coat Ceremony, set for Saturday, will be steeped in the young traditions of the new school.


Traditions like a DCOM family barbeque in Democrat Hollow the evening before the ceremony. It’s the first opportunity for the extended family of the newest DCOMers to meet and mingle with faculty, staff and other families. A fresh take on the tradition this year is that the meal will be prepared by  Dean Ray Stowers and Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation/OPP and Assistant Vice President for Program Development Michael Wieting. The pair are certified barbeque judges and the “two Docs” of Two Docs Barbeque. They hosted a similar event during the Inaugural Class Commencement week.


Since the very first White Coat Ceremony in 2007, the Tennessee Osteopathic Medicine Association (TOMA) has provided the white coats for the students of Tennessee’s only osteopathic medical school. During the ceremony, a TOMA representative, usually the president of the organization, makes a presentation to the class. The students are actually “robed” by faculty representatives. Another DCOM tradition is closing with the Osteopathic Oath of Commitment — A pledge the students will also recite during commencement.


The White Coat Ceremony is an important rite of passage for new medical students. The white coat is another tool of the profession. Dr. Stowers said few new students really understand the confidence a white coat can instill in a patient.

Potato, “Patato”; Rondabout, Rotary!

4 Aug

It is hard to believe that there is a need from traffic calming on LMU’s quiet main campus in Harrogate, but that is the exact remedy the administration is implementing to slow down speed demons around campus.

The message was delivered in a post on pathway. Sections of the Mars-DeBusk Parkway would be closed for close to six weeks for “road repairs.” I thought it seemed simple enough. The section affected was on the DCOM hill between the medical school and the Business Education building. There was a pretty big dip there anyway, so surely they would just be addressing that.

After the first week of repairs it looked straightforward. The crews were digging up asphalt and dirt. There appeared to be some leveling going on, but nothing to draw suspicion. By week two, a clear circular shape could be seen.

Oh no, could that be a dreaded rotary?

A quick confession. I am a fairly average human being. I’m neither short nor tall; strikingly beautiful nor frighteningly unattractive; overly intelligent nor dunce; giftedly athletic nor tragically uncoordinated. I am pretty average in all that I do (except baking… I rock a mean chocolate chip cookie), especially driving. But nothing freaks me out on the road more than approaching a rotary or Jersey wall.

Every year my husband and I pack up our family and make the 12-hour journey to my hometown in Marcellus, N.Y. (a small village outside of Syracuse if you’ve never heard of it). The husband cracks up once we cross into Pennsylvania because I instantly grip the wheel a little tighter, sit up a little straighter and the stress becomes visible on my face. If you have ever driven through Pennsylvania, you know there is going to be construction and its going to involve Jersey walls at some point.

The second most frightening thing to me on the road is a rotary. Now rotaries, much like soda (pop, coke, soda-pop), are known by different names in virtually every part of the country. In  the Northeast and especially Massachusetts they call them rotaries. In England they are known as roundabouts. They are also called traffic calming circles or just traffic circles. I just call them scary.

The concept is pretty easy. Traffic is merged into a circular intersection in which it travels in one direction around a central island. Multiple exit points exist and the confusion comes when you consider every traffic circle, rotary or what-hav- you can play by different rules. In some countries, for instance, traffic entering the circle has the right-of-way and drivers in the circle must yield. In many other countries, it is the traffic entering the circle that must yield.

To add more heat to the issue, though most people use roundabout and traffic circle or rotary interchangeably, U.S. traffic engineers make the distinction that in a roundabout entering traffic must always yield and in a traffic circle entering traffic is controlled by stop signs, traffic signals or is not formally controlled. 

In theory it is more efficient than traffic lights and stops signs because it keeps everyone moving. My irrational fear of rotaries and roundabouts comes from a bad experience as a passenger when the vehicle I was traveling in got stuck in the wrong lane of a multi-lane rotary. Picture a National Lampoon-esque experience like when Clark Griswald drives his family endlessly around the busy Lambeth Bridgeroundabout for hours.

"Look kids it's Big Ben."


The LMU traffic circle, I am told, is going to be a true roundabout, where traffic in the circle will have the right-of-way. The circular intersection will address speed and safety issues on the DCOM hill. The intersection will merge traffic from the Business Education building and the Tex Turner Arena on to the stretch of Mars-DeBusk Parkway that leads to the main DCOM exit and traffic light on highway 25E. It should be ready by the time our undergraduate students head back to class on August 23.

Maybe by then I will have the courage to conquer my fears. After all this is just the right proactive step to easing what is sure to be an increasingly busy thoroughfare once the new Math and Science building is complete.  Besides, I’ve got to be the only one on campus with this irrational rotary-phobia. We all have to have patience for progress.

LMU-DCOM Welcomes Class of 2015

26 Jul

Assistant Director of Financial Aid Amy Arnold helps register the Class of 2015.

Around this time about five years ago, there was a clocking ticking down to the opening of the DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine. As the days, hours, minutes and seconds ticked by, the excitement on the campus of Lincoln Memorial University grew. Ushering in the Inaugural Class was a milestone for the University and there was a sense of achievement for everyone involved.

Today, LMU-DCOM opened its doors to 162 new students. There was no clock ticking down. The excitement level for the campus as a whole was considerably less. After five years, welcoming a new class of osteopathic medical students to campus is routine. However, there was no mistaking the crackle of excitement the reverberated throughout the auditorium as the LMU-DCOM Class of 2015 waited to take the giant leap into medical school.

Members of the Class of 2015 listen as Dean Ray E. Stowers welcomes them to LMU-Debusk College of Osteopathic Medicine.

As Dean Ray Stowers addressed the class he reminded them that they had already accomplished so much, just by being there. He said less than one tenth of one percent of students who graduate high school and enter college actually make it to medical school. That accomplishment is a credit to the students’ commitment to their education and their family and friends support.

LMU President Jim Dawson and Chairman of the Board Autry O.V. “Pete” DeBusk also welcomed the students this morning. There were 2,849 applications, or 17 for every one seat, for a spot in the class. The chosen 162 hail from across the country. Seventy-eight are native to the immediate tri-state region of Tennessee, Kentucky and Virginia, accounting for 48% of the class. The class is 47.5% male and 52.5% female.

LMU Chairman Pete DeBusk welcomes students during LMU-DCOM Orientation.

LMU-DCOM’s fifth class of students will spend most of this week in orientation. Today, most of the housekeeping items were checked off the orientation list with forms filled out, ID badges made, parking stickers distributed and financial aid information presented. Spouses of osteopathic medical students were included in the day’s activities. The Student Advocate Association, a spouse and significant other support group, presented its own orientation for spouses in the afternoon. As the week progresses, the Class of 2015 will receive training on the tablet computers each student is issued upon matriculation and meet with faculty advisors. The first anatomy class will be held on Friday.

The excitement will wear off as the Class of 2015 progress into its studies, but the sense of their accomplishment should never go away.