NASHVILLE (TSU News Service) – Since arriving to Tennessee State University in 2009, Dr. S. Keith Hargrove, Dean of the College of Engineering, has remained focused on growing the College of Engineering in research activities, student achievement and resource development to contribute to the needs of the state of Tennessee to produce more engineers.
As an alumnus of TSU in mechanical engineering, he has worked in industry and as a researcher at three major federal research laboratories. He decided to pursue a career in academia to continue to impact and grow the number of underrepresented groups in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) occupations, such as engineering. As the state of Tennessee struggles to attract and produce more STEM professionals to grow a more educated workforce, he believes academic institutions must continue to play a major and strategic role to meet this urgent and important economic challenge.
Recently, Dean Hargrove discussed the mission of the College, its future and how it serves the community and the state.
TSU News Service: How old is the College of Engineering?
Dean Hargrove: The Division of Engineering was established in 1948, and has emerged for more than half a century to include several engineering and technology programs. It was changed to a School of Engineering in 1951, and graduated its first student in Civil Engineering a few years later. The School of Engineering was one of six original engineering programs established at an HBCU (Historically Black College & University). The school later added electrical, mechanical and architectural engineering. In some respects, our engineering program represents the historical significance of the founding of TSU as “Tennessee Agricultural & Industrial State Normal College”.
TSU News Service: What are the current programs in the College of Engineering?
Dean Hargrove: The College of Engineering now has four accredited engineering programs that offer Bachelor of Science degrees: Architectural, Civil, Electrical and Mechanical Engineering. We have the only accredited engineering programs at a public university in Middle Tennessee. We also have an accredited program in Computer Science, Aeronautical & Industrial Technology, and recently added Mathematical Sciences. The college provides a graduate degree for working professionals (Master of Engineering), and the Master of Science, and unique PhD degree in Computer & Information Systems Engineering (CISE). This program helps prepare graduates for careers in systems engineering with the defense industry and the IT field.
TSU News Service: What kind of research initiatives is the College pursuing?
Dean Hargrove: The College of Engineering has been engaged in several emerging research areas. More specifically, with recent research grants and contracts in cyber-security with the Air Force and the Department of Homeland Security, we are developing solutions relative to detecting cyber attacks within the cloud environment, and with mobile phones. Other research is being conducted in sensor networking, robotics, intelligent health monitoring, transportation systems, environmental remediation, and aircraft seat design with organizations such as Boeing, Army Research Laboratory, EPA, Rolls Royce, and the Tennessee Department of Transportation. Our research activities enhance our undergraduate programs via laboratories and faculty expertise. We recently opened a new laboratory to focus on research themes promoted by the National Academy of Engineering and supported by the National Science Foundation.
TSU News Service: How is the College involved in the community?
Dean Hargrove: TSU has a long history of community service and civic engagement. In fact, it is part of our motto “Think – Work – Serve”. The College of Engineering is collaborating with the Pencil Foundation to support schools such as Stratford Magnet STEM High School. We are assisting them with the development of a simulation and gaming laboratory, and working with the middle school STEM Preparatory Academy (charter school) to help with tutoring and mentoring students. We are also part of the Go-Green Nashville Initiative to promote energy efficient homes, and Hands-On Nashville.
TSU News Service: What are the future goals for the College?
Dean Hargrove: Our goals are consistent with the strategic initiatives of Tennessee State University. We want to continue to provide access to students from diverse communities, promote academic quality, enhance our research funding that complements our curriculum, and be engaged with improving our quality of life. The College also promotes gaining a global education with its study abroad program. We had several students go to China, Korea and Germany during this past summer. We also want to expand our facilities in the future to increase enrollment and partnerships with local businesses and other academic institutions. As employment opportunities grow in healthcare, Information Technology, and manufacturing in the automotive industry, we plan to continue to prepare graduates with the necessary skills in programming, critical thinking, and innovative technologies to help industry grow within the state and make them more business competitive. It is also critical that we continue to support the state’s STEM Initiatives in K12 and higher education.