November 26, 2013

Jim Connolly Presents "Middletown"

Contributed by Brenda Mackey 
Graduate Assistant, Research Publications
Sponsored Programs Office, Ball State University

Anyone familiar with Muncie’s nickname “Middletown” has heard that our town is emblematic of the American experience. The original Middletown studies, conducted in the 1920s, analyzed Muncie’s transition from a farming town to an industrial town. Since the close of the Borg Warner plant in 2009, Muncie has been experiencing another shift, deindustrializing and moving to a newly globalizing economy.

Prof. Jim Connolly, director of the Center for Middletown Studies and professor of history, spent the Spring 2013 semester in Germany as a guest professor. When he presented about Middletown, the groups of German academics most often wanted to know about the local response in Muncie to the studies. The response of Muncie residents varied from enthusiasm (“We represent America!”) to resentment (“I don’t want to be ‘average.’”). His German audiences told Connolly that the Middletown studies confirmed American stereotypes: white, protestant, individualistic and ignoring race. They also expressed surprise that the American government would allow a decline like the one Muncie is now experiencing to happen.

Muncie changed dramatically between 1890 and 1925, but not in the cultural sense. While technology changed daily life, the philosophy of the people of Muncie remained the same, placing high value on individualism, limited government and religion. Whether those values will persist through Muncie’s current transition remains to be seen.

November 19, 2013

Outstanding Faculty Award Nominations Now Open

Each year a faculty selection committee selects nominated recipients for nine very significant awards presented to colleagues who have made an unusually significant impact on the students, their fields, Ball State University, and/or the community at large. The goal of these awards is to recognize true excellence, dedication, and performance. Please consider nominating colleagues that you know should be recognized by their peers for their important contributions to the university. To make a nomination for awards, please complete the nomination sheet, obtain the required signatures and submit any required additional documents to the Associate Provost Office located in room 326 of the Frank A. Bracken Administration (AD) Building.

More information regarding the nomination process and award categories can be found at