The following editorial was published in The Tennessean
Thursday, Jan. 2, 2014
A year ago today, the faculty, staff and alumni of Tennessee State University along with the Nashville community welcomed me with open arms as I took the helm as the institution’s eighth president. I express my gratitude to each of you for your support, and involvement, as well as the confidence you demonstrated in me as the leader of our university.
My first day began last year with a prayer service at Jefferson Street Baptist Church. I emphasized the importance of the community embracing TSU as its university and humbly asked the community to travel this road with me as I accepted the enormous responsibility.
As I prepare for my second year, students will continue to be the focus of all university activity through the five-point vision implemented last year: 1) student success and customer service; 2) fundraising and partnerships; 3) diversity and inclusion; 4) shared governance; and 5) community outreach.
There were notable successes in each of these areas that will serve as a blueprint for continued strategies, and for planning for the overall growth and development of TSU.
We began by improving customer service for our students and community, and ensuring the campus understood our strategic focus of improving retention and graduation rates.
We made a concerted effort to excite and energize our alumni base. Alumni contributions have more than tripled from $450,000 in 2012 to more than $1.7 million in 2013. I issued a challenge to TSU alumni chapters to match my initial contribution made last year. As of this date, several chapters have either matched that contribution or are very close. Corporate contributions also have increased substantially, as have the number of new partnerships.
This support from alumni and the community allowed TSU to overcome one of its most significant challenges of 2013. Last fall, the university faced the difficulty of 352 students being purged for financial reasons. We issued an SOS, Save our Students, initiative and the response was phenomenal. It was the support from you, the entire TSU family and community, that allowed each student to remain in school, and no one had to withdraw from the university during the 2013 fall semester. In fact, TSU was the only four-year university in the TBR system that did not experience a decline in enrollment. This was the ultimate display of support and partnerships; and the university is forever grateful.
Since then, we have increased our efforts to streamline the enrollment process, and to educate and engage students and parents much earlier about financial aid resources and the required criteria.
TSU remains the most affordable institution in the TBR system and has been featured in national rankings regarding the quality education offered to our students, preparing them for the nation’s top high demand careers such as nursing, physical/occupational therapists, engineers, computer scientists and accountants. Academic units continue to be flagships of the university, and garner millions in research funding to solidify their offerings as premiere global programs.
Finally, TSU’s football team returned to the playoffs, and was named the top HBCU football program in the nation. This feat proves the university can have successes in both academics and athletics.
My continued vision is to build upon the strong academic legacy and high intellectual standards for which TSU is internationally known. I will carry out this vision by ensuring that the university continues to provide an enriched, highly technical, academic environment which is diverse and inclusive; and successfully educates and prepares competitive students for the global marketplace.
I believe we are poised and well-positioned to do just that in 2014.
Glenda Glover is president of Tennessee State University.
Department of Media Relations
Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
About Tennessee State University
With nearly 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 22 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.