All posts by Emmanuel Freeman

TSU President Glenda Glover does it again, raises $1 million in one day for TSU and nation’s other HBCUs

By Kelli Sharpe

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University President Glenda Glover has once again succeeded in her advocacy for the nation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and raised $1 million in a 24-hour campaign for the institutions. As International President of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Dr. Glover led the service organization in the one-day fundraising initiative, AKA HBCU Impact Day, held on Sept. 16. The funds will provide financial assistance and help to secure fiscal sustainability and success for TSU and all four-year HBCUs.

President Glenda Glover receives an initial gift of $25,000 from the AKA during the dedication of a bench in her honor on the TSU campus on June 26. She was joined by Horace Chace, vice president of Business and Finance; Terry Clayton, member of the TSU Foundation Board; and Iris Ramey, associate vice president for Corporate Partnership and Strategic Initiatives. (submitted Photo)

“Once again this is a historic moment for Alpha Kappa Alpha as we have raised $1 million for HBCUs for the second year in a row,” President Glover shared with excitement in a video message to sorority members.

“I want to thank everyone who contributed to this $1 million, one-day campaign. Let’s continue to support our HBCUs.”

AKA HBCU Impact Day is part of a four-year $10 million fundraising goal by the sorority to establish an endowment on each campus. Money raised through AKA HBCU Impact Day will assist in providing financial support to these schools over the next three years.

“TSU is one of the HBCUs that will continue to receive funds for the AKA endowment,” added the president.

In June, AKA established a $100,000 endowment at TSU with an initial contribution $25,000.

Donors can still make contributions by texting AKAHBCU to 44321, giving by mail or online at http://aka1908.com/hbcus/donate-hbcu.

Last year, members and supporters surpassed the million-dollar goal in one day, and the organization began distributing funds almost immediately to support HBCUs around the country.

In February, AKA gifted $1.6 million from their AKA-HBCU Endowment Fund to 32 HBCUs. Presidents from these institutions joined Dr. Glover and sorority leadership at a special Black History Month program at the AKA International Headquarters in Chicago.

Organizations that provided the largest corporate matches to the AKA-HBCU Endowment Fund in 2018 were Caterpillar, General Electric, Hilton, Houston ISD, IBM, SAP America, State Farm Companies Foundation, UnitedHealth Group, and Wells Fargo Bank.

These endowment funds can help schools reduce student debt through scholarships, fund industry-specific research, recruit and retain top faculty, and much more. According to The Network Journal, nearly a quarter of all African Americans with bachelor’s degrees graduated from an HBCU (22%). HBCUs have historically served all people regardless of race or economic standing and continue to do so. These schools are often the largest employer in rural areas, and educate students from pre-K through college via teacher education programs, charter schools and early college high schools housed on their campuses. AKA believes the importance of these environments of higher learning and the need to support them have never diminished.

For a complete list of institutions funded in the first cycle from the AKA-HBCU Endowment Fund, and more information on the sorority’s commitment to HBCUs, visit the sorority’s online pressroom at www.AKA1908.com/news-events/online-pressroom.

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU, Metro Schools Partnership Brings More Than 5,000 on Campus for Area’s Largest College Expo

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – When it comes to choosing a college, Tennessee State University was the place to be on Sept. 9.

It was the annual Metro Nashville Public Schools College and Career Expo held in the TSU Gentry Complex with over 5,000 middle and high school students and their parents and relatives in attendance.

Dr. Coreen Jackson, Dean of the TSU Honors College, talks to 12-graders Nasri Hassan, right, and Jhoanne Altidort, of McGavock High School about programs, scholarship and admission opportunities at TSU. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

Jhoanne Altidort, Mert Sekmen and Nasri Hassan, all high school graduating seniors who attended the expo, are looking for somewhere for their college careers. While they have not settled on any institution, they all see Tennessee State University as a good choice.

“TSU is definitely a good possibility,” said Sekmen, a top student at MLK High School, with a 4.6 grade point average. The Nashville native, who wants to study medicine with a possible career in medical policy, is no stranger to TSU. His father is a longtime professor and department chair.

“It’s a great school with lots of opportunities that are not available elsewhere,” said Sekmen. “I have basically walked this campus all my life and it’s always been nice.”

Altidort, a senior at McGavock High School, who is interested in nursing, agrees.

“TSU definitely is a school I am looking at,” said Altidort, a native of Haiti. “They have some good opportunities. I asked a lot of questions and they answered my questions.”

The expo is another opportunity to strengthen the partnership between TSU and MNPS. From left are: Joe Gordon, coordinator of school counseling for North MNPS; Dr. Gregory Clark, TSU’s director of High School Relations; Dr. Megan Cusson-Lark, MNPS’ executive director of school counseling; and LaSeanda Sanders, coordinator of school counseling at South MNPS. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

The expo, held at TSU for the last three years, included more than 170 colleges, universities and post-secondary institutions from across the nation, as well as the U.S. Army. It offered students the opportunity to review information on admissions, financial aid, costs, college life and programs to help them decide their choice of college or university.

Officials say the expo is another opportunity to further strengthen the partnership between TSU and MNPS. TSU is the first university or college to host the MNPS College Fair in its decades-long history. One of the largest urban school systems in the state, MNPS has about 6,000 teachers, many of them TSU graduates.

Abibi Crawford, a 10th-grader from Kipp Collegiate, whose father works at TSU and wants to get an early start on her college search, talks to a vendor at the expo. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

Dr. Gregory Clark, TSU’s director of High School Relations, helped to coordinate the expo, along with Dr. Megan Cusson-Lark, MNPS’ executive director of school counseling.  Clark described the expo as ”one of the best on-campus recruitment activities.”

“As a result of this fair, we have seen students that we normally don’t see,” he said. “This also offers the opportunities to students and parents who have never visited our campus to be able to see the opportunities that are here.”

Like Hassan (Nasri), a senior at McGavock High School, she has heard a lot of positive things about TSU but never visited the campus until she came to the expo. She wants to study business in college.

“TSU is definitely a place I may consider for college,” Hassan said. “I inquired about the offering in business and I like what I heard.”

For more information on enrollment at TSU, go to http://www.tnstate.edu/emss/

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State UniversityFounded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Tennessee State University’s World-Renowned Marching Band to Perform at the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons’ Home Opener

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The Tennessee State University Aristocrat of Bands will be front and center Sept. 15 when the Atlanta Falcons take to the field in their season home opener against the Philadelphia Eagles.

The marching band has been invited to perform at half-time of the Falcons-Eagles game in the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, the second AOB NFL invitation this season. The band will also perform during the half-time show of the Tennessee Titans-San Francisco 49ers game at Nissan Stadium on Oct. 6.

Just a day after performing at the Southern Heritage Classic, the Aristocrat of Bands will be in Atlanta to perform in the half-time show of the Falcons’ home opener against the Philadelphia Eagles in the Mercedes-Benz Stadium. (Photo by Lalita Hodge, TSU Media Relations)

For Atlanta native Julien Dooley, a drum major with the AOB, performing in his hometown, especially in the Mercedes-Benz Stadium, is special. He knows his family will be thrilled, but he plans on surprising them.

“I have not told anyone yet, but this is just so exciting,” said Dooley, a senior commercial music major and a graduate of Atlanta’s Southwest DeKalb High School, who also plays trombone for the AOB.

“I am a huge fan of the Atlanta Falcons. It is very exciting that the AOB gets the opportunity to perform for the Falcons, which means I get to go back home, something I rarely get to do because of our busy band schedule.”

Dr. Reginald McDonald, TSU’s director of bands, said he received the Falcons’ invitation last week, with a choice to perform at any one of their next three home games. The band performs at the Southern Heritage Classic in Memphis between TSU and Jackson State University on Saturday, the day before the Falcons game in Atlanta.

“Our preference was the Sunday after the Southern Heritage Classic. Needless to say, that’s going to be an extremely busy weekend for us again,” he said, noting the band’s back-to-back performances at the John Merritt Classic on Aug. 31 in Nashville, and the Battle of the Bands competition in Houston the following day.

“One thing we learned last week that even after the John Merritt Classic our kids did a great job. We got on the bus and drove 14 hours to Houston. The show in Houston was even better than the one we did Saturday night. So, we know that our kids are performers and they will rise to the occasion.”

McDonald, who previously performed for the Falcons as a high school band leader at Southwest DeKalb  (1999 playoffs – Falcons vs. 49ers) said going to Atlanta is also personal and special.

“That was a huge moment in my career as a young man, and to have that opportunity 20 years later as a college band director, is even more significant,” said McDonald. “This is a market where we get a lot of our band kids from. Majority are from Memphis and West Tennessee, the next largest group – 30 percent – of our kids come from the Atlanta area , and those connections that I have with band directors from Atlanta and the school system are tremendous.”

Sophomore Tiara Thomas, a political science major from Olive Branch, Mississippi, plays the French Horn in the AOB. She said the invitation to Atlanta gives band members the chance to play in another NFL arena away from home.

“I am really excited because normally (since she came to TSU) we only perform for our home NFL team – the Titans,” said Thomas, a member of the TSU Honors College, with a 3.9 grade point average. “So, to be invited to a whole other state to showcase our talent, that’s really big.”

The Aristocrat of Bands made global headlines last week when Lizzo, a rising star topping the charts with her hit “Truth Hurts,” gave a shout out to the band. During the halftime of TSU’s game against Mississippi Valley State at the John Merritt Classic, the AOB included Lizzo’s “Truth Hurts” in its medley. They also delivered a repeat performance the following day at the National Battle of the Bands in Houston, Lizzo’s hometown.

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU’s Aristocrat of Bands Gets Shout Out from Pop Star Lizzo for ‘Truth Hurts’ Medley

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The Tennessee State University world famous marching band has done it again.

Lizzo, a rising star topping the charts with her hit “Truth Hurts,” gave a shout out to Tennessee State University’s Aristocrat of Bands.

The Tennessee State University Aristocrat of Bands have performed at major events and places, including the White House for former President Barack Obama and and First Lay Michelle Obama. (Photo by John Cross)

During halftime of TSU’s game against Mississippi Valley State on Aug. 31, the Aristocrat of Bands included Lizzo’s “Truth Hurts” in its medley. They also delivered a repeat performance Sunday at the National Battle of the Bands in Houston, Lizzo’s hometown.

TSU sophomore Paula Rodriquez, also a Houston native, was elated to hear Lizzo call out her school.

“It feels great because I have a sister who went to Grambling and always bragging about Grambling having the best band, but I tell you AOB is doing great getting recognition from all over and now by Lizzo, it is just great,” said Rodriquez, a computer science major. “I am from Houston and Lizzo is also from Houston. It is great to be recognized so far away from home.”

Zack Glover, a junior mechanical engineering major from Atlanta, expressed the same sentiment about his school.

“Lizzo cosigning the Tennessee State University Aristocrat of Bands is a positive direction for the band,” Glover said. “It shows their hard work will be recognized by other hardworking artists, and through her, other stars who did not know about this great band will certainly know now.”

In a note to university administrators, Dr. Reginald McDonald, director of bands, could not hide his excitement.

“Since our performance in Houston this past weekend, we have received a lot of positive social media buzz from the artist Lizzo for our rendition of her song ‘Truth Hurts,’” McDonald said. “I estimate that over 4.7 million people have seen her tribute to the Tennessee State University Aristocrat of Bands.”

A former marching band member and flutist herself, Lizzo tweeted overnight, giving props to TSU, specifically how they incorporated “Truth Hurts” in their medley performance at the National Battle of the Bands in Houston.

“Truth Hurts” has reached to the top of Billboard’s Hot 100 chart.

Lizzo is coming to Nashville on Sept. 30 for a stop on her “I Love You Too” tour at Ryman Auditorium.

The AOB is not new to national or international recognition. They have performed at the White House, at NFL games, and appeared at events and performed with many other big stars.

During the recent NFL Draft in Nashville, the AOB thrilled fans with a performance on ESPN’s “First Take.” Percussionists from the band performed in the Rose Bowl Parade. The AOB performed with country music legend Keith Urban, and performed at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.

Catch the award-winning AOB performing this Saturday at the TSU vs MTSU game in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, and on Sept. 14 at the Southern Heritage Classic  in Memphis, Tennessee. 

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU’s Tiffany Steward Selected to State’s Higher Education Leadership Team

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tiffany Bellafant Steward, TSU’s assistant vice president for Enrollment Management and Student Success, is a member of the 2019-2020 cohort of the Complete Tennessee Leadership Institute.

Stewart was one of only 28 leaders from higher education, K-12 education, government, business and industry selected by the State Collaborative on Reforming Education, or SCORE, for the fourth cohort of CTLI.

“It is an honor to be selected as one of 28 leaders from across the state to participate in the Complete Tennessee Leadership Institute,” Steward said. “I look forward to contributing to postsecondary student success and making an impact on access to higher education across the state of Tennessee.”

Since 2016, the Complete Tennessee Leadership Institute has been strengthening leadership capacity to increase higher education completion rates, fostering partnerships to build actionable coalitions, and exploring innovative solutions to local and statewide collaboration and student success. 

To build on the foundation of the program, SCORE will partner with The Hunt Institute. The Hunt Institute, recognized as a national leader in the movement to transform public education, will assist in designing learning opportunities, facilitating sessions as an expert out-of-state voice and developing strategies to help participants translate their learning into action.

“The Complete Tennessee Leadership Institute is focused on educating and engaging Tennessee leaders about education opportunities and challenges in Tennessee post-secondary education,” SCORE President and CEO David Mansouri said. “SCORE is excited to build on the program’s foundation and explore with the new cohort how we can push for quality and equity in education so all Tennessee students are able to earn the post-secondary credentials and degrees needed for successful careers.”

According to a SCORE news release, over the course of a year, Steward and her fellow cohorts will explore higher education and economic issues at the local level, witness best practices and policies to tackle real challenges, and build professional relationships with a group of strong leaders advocating for change across Tennessee.

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU’s Inaugural ‘Big Blue Glimpse’ Attracts More than 50 Top Area High School Students

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – TSU’s first Big Blue Glimpse was a huge success with top students from Nashville’s Maplewood High School. Officials said about 50 seniors and juniors with grade point averages of 3.0 and above attended the daylong event on TSU’s main campus on Aug. 23.

Terrence Izzard

Organized by the Office of Enrollment Management and Student Success, Big Blue Glimpse is a mini preview day designed to give students, families, guidance counselors and community partners an opportunity to get “just a small glimpse” of all the many opportunities at the university.

“The visiting students really had an opportunity to spend time with admissions officials and learn about program offerings and scholarship opportunities,” said Terrence Izzard, associate vice president of Enrollment Management and Student Success. “They also had a wonderful time interacting with our  Student Government Association president, Mister and Miss TSU and their Royal Court.”

Mr. TSU Damyr Morre, left, welcomes a student from Maplewood High. (Courtesy Photo)

Big Blue Glimpse, a much smaller version of Spring Preview Day, which is held in April, is one of many recruitment initiatives intended to go after and encourage top students to consider TSU in their higher education pursuit. It is held twice a year – one in the fall and the other in the spring.

“Our unit exists to open the doors to scholars from around the world,” Izzard said. “We want to attract the best and the brightest scholars to TSU. So, the Big Blue Glimpse gives us that opportunity.”

Mr. TSU, Damyr Moore, a senior mass communication major Atlanta, talked to the visiting students about leadership and the opportunities at TSU.

“TSU is a place where you get a second chance,” More said. “You come here to find out who you are. Service and leadership will push you to new evolution.”

TSU admissions staff and student government leaders participated in Big Blue Glimpse. From left are: Portia Johnson, a Ph.D. student; Jada Crisp, Miss TSU; Damyr Moore, Mr. TSU; Ryan Smith, SGA executive vice president; and Alan Lancaster, assistant director of recruitment. (Courtesy photo)

On April 13, more than 1,000 high school students and their parents from across the nation descended upon TSU for Spring Preview Day 2019. The day started with check in and a student organization fair in the Gentry Center Complex where student leaders, campus administrators, faculty and staff welcomed the students and their parents to campus.

Like participants in spring preview, Izzard said Maplewood students who attended the Big Blue Glimpse left with an academic overview of the university and received special gifts from the admissions and recruitment department.

“They also made personal contact with our top-tier leaders here at TSU,” Izzard added.

For more information on admission to Tennessee State University, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/admissions/.

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Tennessee State University Names Dr. Jerri Haynes Dean of the College of Education

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University has named Dr. Jerri A. Haynes the new dean of the College of Education. Haynes comes to TSU from Fort Hays State University, where she was associate professor and assistant dean of the College of Education.

Dr. Jerri A. Haynes

“Through a faculty-driven process, the search committee recommended Dr. Jerri Haynes,” said Dr. Alisa Mosley, interim vice president for Academic Affairs.

“The faculty supported Dr. Haynes for her administrative capabilities, her insight on the needs of P-20 education, and her desire to impact academic programs. She understands how to build collaborations with our external stakeholders and help our students succeed.”

 A prolific writer credited with a number of peer-reviewed professional articles, Haynes has a wealth of experience in higher education and K-12 administration. At Fort Hays State University, she also served as director of assessment and accreditation. Previously, she was ESOL coordinator and department chair at Bethune-Cookman University.

“I am excited about being at Tennessee State University,” Haynes said. “This is an opportunity for me to make a difference in the College of Education and pretty much leave my legacy as to how we can move forward in the 21st century.”

With a student-centered philosophy, Haynes said under her leadership the College of Education’s primary focus will be recruitment, retention, graduation and employment, and building stronger partnerships with stakeholders like K-12 school systems,  community colleges, local agencies and organizations.

“First, we must make students our priority, be more supportive of students,” Haynes said. “It is more than just about getting students to the university and say, ‘You are here and it’s now up to you to complete the process.’ We must realize that they have aspirations and that it is our responsibility to help them resolve those aspirations. This means that faculty must rethink the way they teach. They definitely have to rethink how they approach students in the 21st century. We have to build relationships with the students.”

Haynes holds a doctorate degree in child and youth studies, and an Ed.S. in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, both from Nova Southern University; and master’s and bachelor’s degrees in elementary education from Florida A&M University.

A year ago, HBCU Lifestyle, a publication dedicated to “black college living,” ranked TSU No. 1 among the “Top 10 HBCUs that Produce Teachers” in the nation. The publication, which provides HBCU students and their families with “valuable advice” about college admissions, campus life and financial aid resources, said TSU’s undergraduate and graduate offerings and concentrations in biology, chemistry and elementary education made the school’s teacher preparation program more attractive.

For more information on the College of Education, go to http://www.tnstate.edu/coe/degrees.aspx/#undergraduate

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU’s ‘Tied to Success’ Initiative promotes self-esteem, dress etiquette for Male Freshmen

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Jon-Robert Jones never gave much thought to wearing a tie. But after tying his first one, the Tennessee State University mass communications major has a new mindset. 

“It is just fascinating how something so simple can change your whole image,” said Jones, who was among nearly 400 first-time male freshmen who participated Thursday night in “Tied to Success,” a rite of passage for all incoming male students at TSU. A highlight of the program is when the young men are given ties.

Frank Stevenson, Dean of Students and Interim Vice President of Student Affairs, presents student leaders and mentors (dressed for business) to incoming male freshmen at the Tied to Success ceremony in Poag Auditorium. (Photo by Michael McLendon, TSU Media Relations)

“I love seeing folks nicely dressed, but I didn’t think it was cool for me,” said Jones of Decatur,  Georgia. “I am liking it.”

As a welcome into the “Big Blue Brotherhood,” the young men were given TSU blue ties with the name of the university. For some, like Jones, it was the first one they’ve owned. University officials, upperclassmen, and community leaders were on hand to assist those who needed help tying the perfect knot.

Before the tie tying and male bonding, officials and student mentors talked to the freshmen about proper campus behavior and how to present themselves in general.

TSU administrators, including Dr. Curtis Johnson, Chief of Staff and Associate Vice President for Administration, front right, demonstrate the art of tying the perfect knot to incoming freshmen. (Photo by Michael McLendon, TSU Media Relations)

“As these students embark on their college careers and prepare for the professional world, we want to help them develop good character and avoid anything that could hinder their future success,” said Frank Stevenson, TSU’s dean of students and interim vice president for Student Affairs. ‘’Tied to Success’ is a step in that direction; we’re preparing them now.”

Damyr Moore, a student mentor and the new Mr. TSU, was among those helping the incoming freshmen with their ties.

“I feel like this is very important for these young men,” said Moore, a senior mass communications major from Atlanta. “This event not only shows them another next step in manhood, that it is important to be able to tie a tie, but it is nice to know there are brothers here who are willing to help you learn these things so you can be a better person.”

Jon-Robert Jones, right, for the first time ever, is wearing a well-knotted tie he perfected with the help of Brent Dukhie, interim Executive Director for Housing and Residence Life. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

Moore’s sentiments rang through to Coreyontez Martin, a freshman health sciences major from Louisville, Kentucky. He knows how to tie a tie, but wants to be an encouragement to fellow freshmen who don’t know.

“Knowing how to tie a tie gives them an opportunity that can help them later in life or in their careers,” Martin said. “For me and my fellow freshmen, this gives us an opportunity to learn something that the classroom really can’t teach you. I appreciate the orientation and hope other institutions will emulate TSU.”

At last night’s ceremony, several senior administration officials, faculty, alumni, staff, and community leaders joined in to admonish the newcomers about academics, image and deportment. Among them were Dr. Curtis Johnson, chief of staff and associate vice president for administration; Terrance Izzard, associate vice president for Enrollment Management and Student Success; Dr. John Robinson, interim associate vice president for Academic Affairs; and Grant Winrow, special assistant to the president.

“I think the night and this opportunity were good not just for the students but for the university community to show these young men that they are our concern and that we care about them,” Johnson said. “This is an opportunity to engage them and to encourage them to utilize the resources we have here on the campus.”

State Rep. Harold Love, Jr., a TSU alum, and a regular participant in “Tied to Success” for the last three years, said the initiative reinforces that TSU is intentional about the incoming students’ success, academically, as well as socially.

“We talk about the African American male and the struggle they often have when they first arrive on a college campus,” Love said. “It is initiatives like this that allow them to make the transition easier. It instills in them that the TSU community as a whole is concerned about them, and more specifically, we want to give them the skill they need to be successful when they graduate.”

According to organizers, about 400 male students participated in this year’s Tied to Success, which is coordinated by the Men’s Initiative Office in the Division of Student Affairs. Overall, there are nearly 1,400 new freshmen at TSU for the fall semester.

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

President Glover Honors Slain TSU Alumna and TDOC Administrator

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Debra K. Porter Johnson was a proud graduate of Tennessee State University, a proclamation from the university said about the woman killed by a prison escapee in her home on Aug. 7.

Debra K. Porter Johnson

TSU President Glenda Glover, accompanied by senior university administration officials, presented the proclamation to Johnson’s family, with a special donation during a fundraiser organized by WKRN Channel 2 at  Fifteenth Avenue Baptist Church, where Johnson was a member.

“We celebrate the life and the legacy of Debra Johnson,” Glover said. “She was just an ideal sweetheart of a person, very professional all the time, downright nice, and we are happy to honor her because she just loved TSU.”

Johnson was a great football lover who came to all of TSU home games and functions, Glover said. As a result, the president announced that at this year’s John Merritt Classic, Johnson’s usual seat at home games will be draped with the university flag in honor of the slain TSU alumna.

The proclamation, presented to Johnson’s son Mychal Austin,  described the former Tennessee Department of Correction administrator as a devoted mother and grandmother whose love for her family “was only seconded by the love she had for her God. Her passion for people was seen each day on and off her job. Her untimely passing leaves a void that even time may never fill but her legacy of love will live on,” the proclamation read.

Austin, the youngest of Debra Johnson’s three children – Stanley (Memory) Johnson, Dr. Shernaye Johnson – said it was heartwarming and ‘highly’ appreciative of TSU to honor their mother.

“We appreciate TSU for thinking about our mother,” Austin said. “She went to all the home games and all the events that she could. Bestowing this honor on her will be something that our family cherishes. We really appreciate TSU for all the university has done for the community, especially North Nashville, and Middle Tennessee and across this nation. We take great comfort in knowing that this great institution of higher learning cares about our mother.”

Glover thanked Channel 2 for hosting the fundraiser to benefit Debra Johnson’s family.

Debra Johnson was buried Aug. 15 at Greenwood Cemetery North following funeral services at Temple Church in Nashville.

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Tennessee State University Hires New Assessment and Accreditation Director

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University has hired Dr. Charlise Anderson, a longtime assessment and institutional effectiveness expert, to serve as director of assessment and accreditation.

Anderson’s hiring comes in the wake of the recent sanction placed on the university by its accrediting body, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. TSU was placed on a one-year probation by SACSCOC for failing to comply with one of 25 accrediting standards, which involves student outcome for educational programs.

Dr. Charlise Anderson

TSU has a “plan of action” to address this issue, TSU President Glenda Glover announced at the Fall Faculty and Staff Institute Monday, assuring the gathering that TSU remains a fully accredited institution.

““We are fixing this and fixing it now,” Glover said. “Dr. Charlise Anderson has been hired as a full-time director to guide this process internally. We are confident in her ability and 100 percent confident that TSU will do all that is required to prepare and submit the documentation that is necessary to remove us from probation.”

In her long career, Anderson has served as senior leadership team member for college reaffirmation and accreditation, a SACSCOC fifth-year interim report coordinator, evaluator of college strategic plan, as well as directed all activities of a quality enhancement plan, or QEP, a key component of SACS’s reaffirmation process.

Before coming to TSU, Anderson was the director of institutional research, effectiveness and assessment, as well as accreditation liaison at Jarvis Christian College. Previously, she was the director of institutional research and assessment at Lane College.

Dr. Alisa Mosley, TSU’s interim vice president for Academic Affairs, described Anderson as “a valued addition to work with our staff” on assessment accreditation.

“She will work with our colleges, departments, divisions, and the University Assessment and Improvement Council to ensure that our academic programs and nonacademic units remain committed to a culture of assessment,” Mosley said. “Dr. Anderson assesses the needed experience in assessment and collaborating with external entities to ensure compliance.”

On how she plans to move forward with helping the institution to put together the needed corrective measures in the wake of the SACSCOC sanction, Anderson said documentation is currently being collected to demonstrate the analysis and use of results to make program improvements and “we will respond to SACSCOC accordingly.”

“In addition, assessment activities have been designed for the 2019-2020 academic year for each academic program to evidence a cohesive common process across all programs at the institution,” she said.

Anderson holds a doctorate degree in higher and adult education from the University of Memphis; M.S. in instructional technology and education from St. Joseph’s University; and B.S. in general studies from Lane College.

In the implementation of TSU’s action plan, President Glover also announced that the university has retained a nationally known firm with expertise on accreditation matters, as well as a communication/reputation management firm.

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.