NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – TSU President Glenda Glover says the university is focused on student success, and is no longer a “school of last resort.”
The president was part of a panel of educators, community and business leaders that spoke at a Black History Month luncheon on Feb. 8 organized by Cable Nashville, a leadership organization for women’s professional advancement.
The theme of the event was “Leadership Vision in Challenging Times.” Besides Glover, the panel featured the presidents of Nashville’s other historically black higher education institutions: Fisk University, Meharry Medical College, and American Baptist College.
Glover said, as an HBCU, Tennessee State has always opened its doors to all students, even those rejected by other institutions. But she said the university has shifted its focus “exclusively” to student success.
“Excellence remains our top priority, but we can’t be the school of last resort,” Glover said.
In October, Glover announced that TSU is raising its admission standards and enhancing student success initiatives to increase retention and graduation rates. Beginning this fall, all students must have a 2.5 GPA and a 19 on the ACT for admission to TSU. The previous admission scores were 2.25 or a 19 on the ACT for in-state students, and a 2.5 or 19 ACT for out-of-state students.
“The day is over when you can call and say, ‘I have a good student with a 1.9 GPA and has promise,’” Glover said. “Well, this may not be the time you want to apply to TSU. We are raising standards because I believe that quality attracts quality.”
Janet Rachel, a member of Cable and a 1977 graduate of TSU, attended the luncheon. She said she fully supports Dr. Glover’s “bold” decision on student success and the spike in admission standards.
“I believe that at the core of helping blacks succeed is not just education but quality education,” said Rachel, who is the talent acquisition manager for diversity relocation and career navigation at Vanderbilt University. “I am really glad about what I am hearing from Dr. Glover. I hope the alumni will step up and become more engaged and more involved.”
The other HBCU presidents on the panel were Dr. James E.K. Hildreth, Meharry Medical College; Dr. Forrest E. Harris, Sr., American Baptist College; and Frank Sims, Fisk University.
Susan Allen Huggins, president and CEO of Cable, said it was important to bring the HBCU presidents together because of the partnership and the important role their institutions play in the community in terms of diversity and molding minds.
“We (Cable) were founded because of our strong understanding of and belief in the importance of diversity and inclusion,” Huggins said. “The Nashville community wouldn’t be what it is without these historically black institutions and the tremendous contributions they are making.”
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With more than 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, 25 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.