All posts by Lucas Johnson

TSU Showcases Research, Innovative Programs at Annual Day at the Capitol

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee lawmakers experienced a wave of Tiger Blue at the state Capitol on Wednesday.

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House Speaker Beth Harwell, left, talks with Dr. Nick Gawel, center, superintendent of the TSU Otis L. Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tenn., and Rep. Kevin Dunlap, D-Rock Island. Dr. Gawel discussed research taking place at the facility with the lawmakers during TSU Day at the Capitol. (Photo by John Cross, TSU Media Relations).

Tennessee State University administrators, faculty, students, alumni converged on Legislative Plaza and the Hill to showcase the university’s research and other innovative initiatives at the annual TSU Day at the Capitol.

Displays from the school’s various colleges and departments lined both sides of the hallway in the plaza. Robotics, magnolia trees, research presentations and goats were among the booths showcasing the university’s diverse academic offering.

In the Senate chamber, the site of the kick-off ceremony, TSU President Glenda Glover thanked attendees for their participation and lauded state legislators for the funding they have provided the university. She noted Gov. Bill Haslam’s recent allotment of funding in his budget for a nearly $40 million Health Sciences Building at the institution.

Glover said TSU has been “good stewards of our state funding,” and encouraged lawmakers to continue supporting the university. She said the Day on the Hill is an opportunity to discuss the school’s legislative priorities with lawmakers.

“It’s very important that legislators are aware of our needs,” the president said. “The past and the future appropriations allow TSU to continue its long-standing legacy of providing a quality education to our most important customer and client, our students.”

Senate Speaker Pro Tem Bo Watson, R-Hixson, was among several state lawmakers who spoke to those gathered in the Senate chamber. He thanked them for being engaged in the legislative process.

“Our system of government is not easy,” Watson said. “Democracy is not easy. It is the battlefield of ideas. And each of us has the right to have our voice heard, and you’re having your voice heard today. And I greatly appreciate you being engaged in that process.”

Rep. Harold Love Jr., a Nashville Democrat whose district includes TSU, said after the kick-off event that he hopes young people in attendance will become more interested in the legislative process, and even try to have a voice in policymaking.

“When we talk about active citizen engagement and forming policy, this is a prime example of what we would like to see from all of our students at colleges and universities across the state,” Love said. “This is what citizens are supposed to do, come down and be actively involved in policy formulation when laws are being passed or proposals considered.”

RaCia Poston, president of TSU’s Student Government Association, was among a number of students who participated in the special TSU day and one of 17 TSU students serving as interns during this session of the Tennessee General Assembly.

While she was motivated by what lawmakers had to say, she was particularly proud of TSU having the opportunity in general to showcase what’s happening at the university.

“A lot of times people only see what the media puts out about TSU,” said the 23-year-old Poston, who is a senior majoring in Social Work. “So for us to be here and show our smiling faces, and everything that we have to offer, from agriculture programs to engineering, I think it does a lot for TSU.”

Prior to the kick-off ceremony, Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey and House Speaker Beth Harwell greeted the TSU delegation to the Capitol and shared their pleasure of seeing such an enormous group. TSU held its first Day at the Capitol in 2014.

 

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

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, 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.

TSU wins 2016 Andrew Heiskell Award for Innovation in International Education

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University is being recognized nationally for innovation in international education.

It is one of five higher education institutions across the nation to win this year’s IIE Andrew Heiskell Award.

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TSU students from Saudi Arabia participate in an international festival of culture in Kean Hall. (Submitted photo)
The award showcases the most innovative and successful models for internationalizing the campus, study abroad, and international partnership programs in practice today. It emphasizes initiatives that remove institutional barriers and broaden the base of participation in international teaching and learning on campus.

For the first time, IIE presented a special award in the category of internationalizing Historically Black Colleges and Universities, with the inaugural award going to TSU for its Diversity and International Affairs initiative.

“We are extremely proud to receive this honor, as it speaks to the exceptional work and importance of the Office of Diversity and International Affairs at our institution,” said TSU President Glenda Glover.  “ODIA has done an outstanding job cultivating the international student experience into campus life at TSU. Just as important, the staff has strategically implemented international exchange programs with our academic units to ensure students are prepared to succeed in the global market.”

In 2012, TSU had 79 International students, 36 students participating in study abroad, and one faculty member leading a study-abroad experience, according to the Office of Diversity and International Affairs. Campus leadership created the office to provide cultural collaborative initiatives that support TSU’s strategic goals in producing global leaders. The results have shown the new initiative to be a rapid and astonishing success. In three years, TSU’s international efforts grew to hosting 900 International students; helping 121 students take part in study abroad experiences; enabling 12 faculty members leading study abroad experiences with support from four staff members; entering into MOU’s with 26 universities abroad; and signing a commitment with IIE’s Generation Study Abroad initiative.

“It is a tremendous honor to receive this award,” said Dr. Jewell G. Winn, TSU’s executive director for International Programs and deputy chief diversity officer. “And the fact that we’re the first to be recognized in this new category, makes it even more special.”

IIE President and CEO Dr. Allan E. Goodman said all the programs being honored are worth emulating.

“We recommend these programs as models, and hope they will offer inspiration as well as guidance to professionals on other campuses who share the goal of preparing their students to live and work in today’s global environment,” Goodman said.

IIE will present the awards at a ceremony in California on March 11, 2016 as part of its annual Best Practices in Internationalization Conference for campus professionals, which will be held this year at the University of California, Davis.

 

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

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, 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.

TSU Director of Track and Field Chandra Cheeseborough-Guice receives lifetime achievement award

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University Director of Track and Field Chandra Cheeseborough-Guice is the recipient of the Jimmy Carnes Lifetime Achievement Award.

She received the award from the Florida Track and Field Hall of Fame at a ceremony on Jan.  8 in Daytona Beach, Fla.

“Jimmy Carnes has done a lot for the sport of track and field, and I’m honored that my name is in a conversation with his name,” Cheeseborough-Guice said.

Carnes served as the head coach of the track and field team at the University of Florida before being named head coach of the United States Olympic Team.

Cheeseborough-Guice emerged on the scene in 1975 at age 16, where she won a gold medal in the 200-meter dash in the Pan American Games with a world junior record of 22.77 seconds. She also won the TAC 100-meter championship in a time of 11.13.

The Jacksonville, Fla. native went on to be named to three United States Olympic teams. She placed sixth as a 17-year old in the 100-meter dash in Montreal  in 1976. She qualified for the ill-fated 1980 Olympic team that did not compete because of a boycott. In 1984, at the Los Angeles games, she made Olympic history by running a leg on two gold-medal relay teams and was the silver medalist in the 400-meters.

As a coach, Cheeseborough-Guice has guided TSU to eight Ohio Valley Conference Championships and is an eight-time OVC Coach of the Year honoree.

In 2008, Cheeseborough-Guice was named the sprinter’s coach for the USA Team that competed in the Beijing, China Olympics. USA captured 23 medals that included 10 gold, eight silver and five bronze medals.

In 2009, she served as the women’s head coach for Team USA at the IAAF World Outdoor Championships in Berlin, Germany. Under Cheeseborough-Guice, the team collected 22 medals overall, winning more than any other country to dominate the placing table with 231 points. Team USA registered 10 gold, six silver and six bronze medals, along with several outstanding performances.

During the summer of 2015, the TSU graduate helped guide Team USA as an assistant coach at the Pan American Games in Toronto, Canada. Cheeseborough-Guice worked directly with the women’s sprinters and hurdlers, who took home 10 of the team’s 41 medals at the games.

 

TSU President Glenda Glover urges faculty and staff to focus on helping students succeed

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University President Glenda Glover urged faculty and staff to stay focused on helping students succeed amid university challenges.

Glover, now in her third year at TSU, on Monday addressed the Faculty and Staff Institute for the spring 2016 semester. She noted some of the challenges the university is facing, but said they shouldn’t distract from the university’s main objective, which is to improve retention and graduation rates.

“We’re here for the purpose of educating our students, and enhancing their well-being,” she said. “That’s our one fundamental overriding goal.”

She said steps being taken to help in that endeavor include the formation of a completion committee that will meet twice a month, and requiring teachers to have an assessment measure in place to evaluate students two weeks into the year so that those who are struggling can get assistance.

“By the time it gets to mid-terms, it’s too late,” Glover said. “If we catch students early enough, we can put them in tutoring.”

The president’s speech also highlighted some of the university’s successes, such as the Tennessee Board of Regents’ approval to build a $39 million Health Sciences Building, and the record amount of money it received last year for research grants.

Last year, the university set a goal to get $50 million in grants and received $51 million. This year the goal is $60 million.

“Research grants are very important to the university because they allow faculty members to work on quality solutions that help to meet needs in our country, and give students an opportunity to get engaged in cutting edge ideas,” Dr. Lesia Crumpton-Young, associate vice president and chief research officer, said after the president’s speech.

During her speech, Glover also discussed university challenges. She said one task is getting money to adequately fund security upgrades, and another is a proposed governance plan that could adversely affect the university.

Nevertheless, Glover said she’s optimistic about TSU’s future.

“We will fight through our difficulties,” she said. “We will roll up our sleeves and persevere.”

Glover told faculty and staff they can help in the fight by being “ambassadors” for the university, and promoting the positive things TSU is doing. She urged deans and faculty to make the university’s public relations department aware of what’s going on in their departments.

“It takes all of us working together, fighting together, as a unit,” Glover said. “It takes all of us.”

The Faculty and Staff Institute is a bi-annual event that convenes university employees prior to each academic semester. Following her speech, Glover took questions from faculty and staff, and later met with faculty during a planning session.

 

TSU Student and Graffiti Artist’s Passion Is Transforming A North Nashville Neighborhood’s Walls

Courtesy of National Public Radio

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Jenkins lives with his grandma, Lovie Jenkins, who has turned her house into a gallery of Jenkins’s work. CREDIT JAY JENKINS

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – In a North Nashville yard, artists have transformed concrete walls into canvases by painting a dozen large-scale murals. It’s at 817 18th Avenue North, in what owner A.J. Sankari says used to be a wheel and rubber factory. The man behind it is Jay Jenkins, an art student from TSU.

On one wall, you see a painting of a woman who is reading from a big book, while formulas and equations float through the cosmos above her. On another, a kid lifts up his shirt, revealing a bull’s eye on his chest.

Jenkins grew up in the neighborhood. He works part-time at Home Depot, collecting carts from the parking lot. But he says he’s usually preoccupied with one thing: art.

“I mean art is a lifestyle so it’s the only thing on my mind,” Jenkins says. “When I’m driving, I’m thinking about art. When I’m in class, I’m thinking about art. When I’m pushing carts, I’m thinking about art. Besides my family, it’s the only thing I think about.”

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Graffiti artist Arjae signs his Norf Wall Fest mural. CREDIT ERICA CICCARONE

Jenkins is lean and tall with short dreadlocks and a big smile. Even when he says he’s stressed out, he appears relaxed and self-assured. He’s popular among his professors and classmates at TSU, but his biggest fan is his grandma, Lovie Jenkins.

She has Jenkins’s paintings hanging in every room of her house, and even hangs up paintings that bother her. In one six-foot tall painting, a guy has caution tape wrapped around his face that’s covered in words you usually don’t want your grandma to see. But she still displayed it right outside the kitchen.

Jenkins says he didn’t think about art until high school, when he saw a friend drawing graffiti in a notebook. “I asked him can he teach me how to do that, and eventually he did show me and took me out painting. I was drawing before that, but once I started doing graffiti, it became a passion.”

His paintings are big, complex, influenced by jazz and surrealism.

Growing up, Jenkins watched North Nashville sidewalks crack and buildings fall into disrepair, while other parts of the city got bigger and better. But he also knows his neighborhood has something that others don’t: four historical black colleges.

He felt driven to harness the talent coming out of these schools, so he convinced Sankari to let him transform the walls in his lot into canvases for Norf Wall Fest. That’s Norf with an “F” because he says, “Everybody from North Nashville says ‘norf’ with an ‘F’ at the end of it.”

He turned to his mentor Thaxton Waters, who runs a gallery on Jefferson Street called Art History Class Lifestyle Lounge and Gallery. It’s filled with antique furniture and paintings by local Black artists.

“When he came to me with this idea, I was like man, this is beautiful because anytime we have the opportunity to heighten the aesthetic value of our neighborhood, we have to jump on that,” Waters says. “What was just him spitting out ideas is growing and has morphed into a whole ‘nother Frankenstein, so I love it.”

Waters helped Jenkins select seasoned graffiti artists who could handle the huge concrete canvases. They looked for work that addressed race, class, and community, issues central to the neighborhood.

In one mural by an artist who goes by Arjae, a nude Black woman sits among clouds at sunset, her back to the viewer, with the words “Not an object” written below her.

All this comes on the heels of *Metro Nashville Arts Commission’s recent report that highlights how people of color have been excluded from the arts. But this is not news to Jenkins’s mentor, Waters, who views his gallery and the surrounding North Nashville artistic neighborhood as a way around arts institutions.

“When I went through all the institutions and went through the art history books, I just didn’t see things that reflected me. That sends a message to the viewer: Why am I not important?” Waters says.

This feeling — to be visible, to make a mark, to assert that you exist — that’s why graffiti started, and it’s what drives Jenkins.

“I’ve got these worlds in my head that I get to show people,” Jenkins says. “I’m not really good at explaining things. My grandma says I’m quiet. I don’t really talk much, so I talk through my art.”

 

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

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, 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.

 

Head of Nashville Convention & Visitors Corporation lauds TSU feature in HBCU Calendar

President Glenda Glover
President Glenda Glover

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The head of the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corporation says the inclusion of Tennessee State University in the 2016 Black History HBCU Calendar and Resources Guide helps highlight what’s “great about Nashville.”

Tennessee State University President Glenda Glover is one of 13 leaders and visionaries in education, medicine, law, sports, corporate management and entertainment featured in the 2016 publication.

The calendar, a national fundraising vehicle for Historically Black Colleges and Universities now in its 10th year, features individuals and trailblazers who have made “outstanding” contributions in their fields.

“TSU’s feature in the HBCU calendar is yet another recognition of everything great about Nashville,” said Butch Spyridon, president and CEO of the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corporation. “TSU is a long-standing treasure and a huge part of our heritage. We couldn’t be more pleased or proud.”

Glover said she’s honored to be featured.

“It’s something I will always cherish,” she said.

Others featured in the calendar include tennis star Serena Williams; multiple award-winning actress Taraji P. Henson; and Dr. Ronald A. Johnson, president of Clark Atlanta University, among others.

As a fundraising instrument, the calendar has helped to contribute needed funds to schools across the country. It serves as a resource for students and parents.

The calendar, which is now available across the nation, can be purchased online and at Walgreens stores.

 

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

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, 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.