Category Archives: Alumni

Panel takes on global diversity and inclusion at TSU event

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Students attending a recent event sponsored by Tennessee State University’s Office of International Affairs were encouraged to be “curious of cultures other than your own.”

The event, “Where I Come From,” was held Nov. 5 and wrapped up the university’s International Education Week. A mix of students, faculty and staff were in attendance to hear a panel discussion on how to engage international and domestic students on the campus.

The panelists included James R. Threalkill, regional director for diversity and inclusion for construction management firm, Skanska USA; Marcela Gomez, president and founder of Marcella Gomez & Associates and the Hispanic Marketing Group; and Kasar Abdulla, a social justice educator, advocate and TSU alumna.

Even though the panel discussion took place a few days before the Nov. 8 presidential election, its topic of inclusion was quite timely, considering the increased division across the country following the election.

“Certainly the decisions made in the White House will affect your house,” said panelist Abdulla, a Kurdistan native who fled her home at the age of 6 due to the Iraq invasion. “The world is connected, and to seek to understand you have to seek knowledge and wisdom and apply that to a global perspective. TSU’s Office of International Affairs is making that knowledge available to you.”

Gomez, a native of Colombia, South America, has lived in Nashville for 22 years. She said it is important for students to take advantage of every opportunity to learn from diverse people.

“I was always a C-student and would sit and write notes to friends instead of paying attention,” she said. “I realized I missed many opportunities to do something greater in my life. African-Americans, Latinos, and Kurdish communities have unique struggles. We need you (students) to be leaders, make change and reach out to a global community.”

James Threalkill, an Emmy Award-winning artist and long-time diversity champion, said we must rekindle a thirst and curiosity for knowledge and education.

“It is important to be culturally and intellectually curious of cultures other than your own,” Threalkill said. “There’s a struggle for inclusion in this country right now.”

Abdulla said people shouldn’t be afraid to embrace their cultures, even if they’re criticized for their beliefs.

“I am visibly Muslim,” Abdulla said. “Some choose not to, but I refuse to fall into that fear. After 9/11 many of my friends wanted me to take it off (head covering) because they thought someone might try to hurt me, but I refuse to play into the fear and negative vibes of the uneducated. You can’t tell black people to stop being black just because there’s racism in this country.”

International Education Week is an opportunity to celebrate the benefits of international education and exchange worldwide. It is a joint initiative of the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education designed to promote programs that prepare Americans for a global environment and to attract future leaders from abroad to study, learn, and exchange experiences in the United States.

“The world is bigger than the United States,” Gomez said. “The world is bigger than where we are.”

To learn more about the Office of International Affairs, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/diversity/.

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, 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.

 

 

 

 

Professional Development Group Presents Discussion on National Leadership Crisis


NASHVILLE, Tenn.
(TSU News Service) – A vision, collective destiny and the ability to motivate people to work together to accomplish extraordinary things are what distinguish a great leader, a public policy expert told a TSU gathering Nov. 16.

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Dr. Michael Harris, Dean of the College of Public Service, says a good leader is not arbitrary and capricious, as he addresses a forum on leadership. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

Dr. Michael Harris, dean of the College of Public Service and a nationally syndicated columnist, told participants at a forum organized by the TSU Staff Senate that the only way to transform is by having a clear vision of “where you want to take the people you lead.”

“A good leader makes decisions, not arrive at conclusions, and must not be arbitrary and capricious,” Harris said. “They must be grounded in values and integrity that lead the vision and the collective destiny.”

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Nearly 30 staff participated in the forum organized by the Staff Senate in the Student Success Center. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

Organizers said the one-hour presentation aimed to examine the current global and national leadership crisis facing the nation. It included a scientific analysis of leadership and its elements based on years of experience and research.

Called “Leadership 101,” the presentation answered questions such as “What is leadership?” “Who is a leader?” “Why should I care?” and “Can leadership be improved?”

“The goal was to provide and support staff participation in any educational and training opportunities which enhance job performance and wellness,” said Jamal Coleman, chair of the Staff Senate Professional Development and Education Committee. “Dr. Harris’ presentation was excellent.”

Nearly 30 staff members attended the forum in the Student Success Center.

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, 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.

TSU police chief attends national conference to discuss campus-carry policies

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University Police Chief Greg Robinson is attending a national conference this week with about 20 other top campus law enforcement officials to discuss campus-carry policies.

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TSU Police Chief Greg Robinson

The conference, sponsored by the National Center for Campus Public Safety, is Nov. 15-16 in McKinney, Texas. Some of the attendees represent campuses in states where campus carry has been in existence for some time, and others are from states where legislation has recently passed or is pending.

In Tennessee, a law allowing concealed guns to be carried on college campuses went into effect July 1. Under the measure, full-time employees – including professors and staff members – with a valid handgun permit can carry firearms with them on campus. Anyone who wants to carry has to register with campus or local law enforcement first.

So far, Robinson said 18 people at TSU have requested to carry guns and are in compliance.

The police chief said he’s looking forward to the conference because it gives campus law enforcement and safety officials an opportunity to discuss their campus-carry policies, and their implementation process.

“We’re going to discuss what institutions across the nation have done, what we’ve done,” said Robinson, “and come away with better ideas.”

NCCPS Director Kim Richmond said the purpose of the discussion is to “identify critical items to consider during the development and implementation of policy and procedures reflecting current legislation regarding campus carry.”

“This forum will produce a report that outlines considerations that institutions should deliberate when implementing policy and procedures for campus carry,” Richmond said.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, there are currently 18 states that ban carrying a concealed weapon on a college campus: California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina and Wyoming.

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, 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.

 

TSU Veterans Day Ceremony celebrates service of U.S military men and women

 

By K. Dawn Rutledge

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University’s annual Veterans Day ceremony revealed some stark statistics when guest speaker and Vietnam Veteran George Nichols gave a powerful history lesson on military service in the United States.

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Wreath honoring fallen servicemen and servicewomen. (By John Cross, TSU Media Relations)

In front of a crowd of more than 150 students, faculty and staff, Nichols pointed to the first conflict in 1775, the American Revolutionary War, and said since that time about 42 million servicemen and servicewomen have defended the nation in times of war. Of that number, 967,000 paid the ultimate price – death.

“Unless you have been there, it is not possible to understand the tragedy of war,” said Nichols, a highly decorated veteran who is the recipient of two Bronze Stars, six Air Medals, and two Army Commendation Medals, to name a few.

Nichols went on to share that only 1 percent of the population is fighting war in the Middle East today. Many who serve in the military experience challenges later in life such as PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), substance abuse, and the inability to find employment due to education deficiencies or lack of job opportunities compatible with their military training. Nichols also said homelessness, suicide and illness are all consequences of war.

“There are 50,000 veterans who are homeless every single night,” he said. “And even with President Obama tripling the amount of money dedicated to addressing this effort, that funding only reduced the number of homeless vets to one-third. Also, 20 veterans commit suicide every single day. When you see a veteran, thank them because you have no idea what that veteran has been through.”

Many other ex-service men and women working at TSU attended the ceremony.

“As a veteran I was pleased to hear the speaker recognize all the sacrifices of our servicemen and servicewomen,” said Monica White, administrative assistant for Facilities Management and a Retired Air Force Tech (Technical) Sergeant, who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

“I was touched by what he said happens to many veterans when they return as far as unemployment and as far as their condition when they come back with PTSD disorders and how that affects their lives. I honor them and I appreciate everything each veteran has done for me, those that I don’t know and those that have gone before me.”

Blake Cleckler, a senior majoring in electrical engineering, was also among those in attendance. He served on the USS Miami for seven years and is an ex-U.S. Navy Second Class Petty Officer. Since enrolling as a TSU student, he has become active with the TSU Veteran’s Association.

“It is nice to have a Veteran’s Association on campus, and TSU has been very receptive to us,” Cleckler said. “When we decided to start an association on campus, we received very good response from TSU officials. The willingness for TSU to help veterans is there, the students just have to be willing to take advantage of the opportunity.”

TSU is a Certified Vets Campus providing support services for veterans to ease their transition from military service to college life. It is also a proud participant in the Yellow Ribbon Program (YRP), a provision of the Post-9/11 GI Bill that allows veterans to attend private schools and graduate programs costing more than the state tuition cap.

“Our veterans, as well as our current servicemen and servicewomen, serve and protect us from potential danger and harm from aggressive threats,” said Dr. Mark Hardy, vice president for Academic Affairs. “We owe them our gratitude and respect, and we proudly celebrate them and all they have done for this country.”

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, 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.

Conference Aims to Help HBCUs Attract More students

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Historically black colleges and universities are looking for ways to increase enrollment.

A group of four HBCU presidents, higher education leaders, innovators and corporate executives met at Tennessee State University Nov. 10 for a one-day conference to dialogue on tactics to gain more students.

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Terrence A. Southern, a robotics and automation engineer at GE Global Research, and CEO of Illuminate STEM, a national STEM mentoring organization for K-12 underrepresented minorities. (Photo by Courtney Buggs, TSU Media Relations)

HBCUGrow, a group dedicated to helping HBCUs grow enrollment and alumni giving, organized the conference. The group also seeks to tackle the “changing landscape” of marketing challenges facing HBCUs.

But enrollment management continues to be a hot topic at these minority-serving institutions.

The presidents – TSU’s Dr. Glenda Glover; Dr. Forrest E. Harris of American Baptist College; Dr. Tracy D. Hall of Southwest Tennessee Community College; and Dr. Logan Hampton of Lane College – agreed that immediate, effective and innovative means must be developed to attract more students.

“At TSU, we have put in place new practices and processes to help our university grow,” Glover said, as she welcomed her colleagues and participants at the conference. “We have to improve on our brand to make sure we are doing everything we can to recruit and market talented students. We are thankful to HBCUGrow for putting this conference together, because if there was ever a time to grow our HBCUs, it is now.”

Terrence A. Southern, a robotics and automation engineer at GE Global Research and CEO of Illuminate STEM, an organization committed to promoting educational opportunities and mentorship in STEM fields for K-12 underrepresented minorities, was the keynote speaker.

He said HBCUs should do a better job at marketing their services if they are to succeed in attracting students.

“The first step in making our enrollment grow is to effectively communicate our capabilities and the caliber of education we offer,” said Southern, a 2003 TSU graduate with a degree in computer science, who credits his success to effective mentorship.

He is giving back as a result. From mentoring youth in Detroit and Dallas through after school programs for the last 10 years, he created Illuminate STEM, which is now reaching out to many more young people.

Southern said HBCUs account for thousands of graduates every year.

“But I hear major corporations like Google, Amazon, General Motors saying their diversity has not grown because they do not know where to get African-American students,” he said. “I say, ‘how is that possible?’ So either they don’t know about us or we are not making our presence known.”

Southern also called for better relationships between institutions, students and alumni, as a way of promoting the institutions and their offerings, and giving back to the school.

“HBCUs should also work together as an entity with the same vision to attract not only the best students, but those who need the kind of mentoring and attention HBCUs are known for,” Southern said.

In addition to the presidential panel discussion, the conference included breakout sessions on topics like “Branding’s Role in Increasing Enrollment”; “Marketing Segmentation”; “Integrated Marketing Strategies to Increase Enrollment Without Busting Your Budget”; and “Making Sure Your Website Attracts & Retains the Best Students for Your HBCU.”

Sponsors included Vitalink, Universal Printing and AndiSites.

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, 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.

Tennessee State University Students Rally, March to Vote in Historic Presidential Election

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University students rocked the vote on a historic Election Day.

Students gathered Nov. 8 for a “walk to the poll” rally on the university’s main campus before heading to nearby Hadley Park polling station to vote in a presidential race that saw the first woman nominated for president by a major political party. Democrat Hillary Clinton, however, ended up losing to Republican Donald Trump.

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Love You Like a Sister, a women’s group, was one of several campus organizations that took part in the “Walk to the Poll” rally. (Photo by Courtney Buggs, TSU Media Relations)

“The purpose of today’s rally is to really get students acclimated to the political arena, and get them engaged,” Aarian Forman, president of the Student Government Association, said earlier that day. “We want to make sure that students understand the importance of doing their civic duty of voting; not just in the General Election, but midterm elections as well, for senatorial, mayoral, for governor, every level of election. We want them to know that their vote is their voice, and where there is no vote there is no hope.”

State Rep. Harold Love Jr., a TSU alum, who joined the student rally, said he was happy to see the level of activism on a college campus.

“College students need to have an understanding of the importance of their vote,” Love said. “These are our leaders for the next generation. And this race is too important for anybody to sit on the sidelines.”

Dr. Samantha Morgan-Curtis, an associate professor of English and Women’s Studies at TSU, said whatever the outcome of the election it is history-making.

“We are going to tell our children that we were there,” Morgan-Curtis said. “Moreover, it will be exciting to have our first woman president. These students are doing what they are expected to do. They are the hopes of their forefathers and foremothers and if they don’t vote then they are not paying forward what they owe.”

Angelica Jacox, a member of the Student Election Commission, said it is exciting to participate in her first presidential election.

“I think it’s really exciting for me and a lot of students who will be voting in their first presidential election,” said Jacox, a senior political science major who helped to organize the rally. “For us to participate in this history-making election really means a lot because we haven’t always had the right to vote.”

Ernest “Rip” Patton, a TSU alum and Freedom Rider who was a champion for voting rights during the Civil Rights Movement, said he is glad to see “young people” participate in the process.

“I’m proud of the fact that they voted, and hopefully students from other schools around Nashville took note and followed in their footsteps. It puts TSU out front, and I’m very proud of that,” Patton said.

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, 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.

TSU’s College of Business hosts Global Leadership Summit for top business students

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University’s College of Business has a directive for its students: “Write your signature on the world.”

Dr. Millicent Lownes-Jackson, the College’s dean, said that charge inspired the recent Global Leadership Summit for its top undergraduate and graduate students. The event was held on Oct. 28 at the DoubleTree Hotel in downtown Nashville.

“Our goal in offering such a unique opportunity was to provide an out-of-class learning experience that equipped College of Business students with the confidence, skills and global competiveness required of the next generation of future leaders,” she said.

Organizers said the objective of the summit was to help position students for success by teaching them critical leadership and decision-making skills through exposure, lessons, and interactions with executive-level business and governmental leaders.

The event’s highlight included an executive luncheon that featured Kevin Williams, recently retired president of General Motors Canada and 1983 College of Business alum, as the keynote speaker. Williams talked about how he, a “little ol’ country boy from southern Maryland,” was able to climb the corporate ladder of one of the world’s largest and most respected global automotive companies.

Student Government Association President Aarian Forman said Williams and other leaders who participated in the summit were inspiring, and that the event overall was enlightening.

“All of the presenters were in positions that provided much credibility to the knowledge shared during the day,” said Forman, a senior business administration marketing student. “The summit was a real-time developmental catalyst for young business leaders.”

Other executives who participated in the summit include:

  • William Pickard, founder and CEO, Global Automotive Alliance
  • Ric Pennisi, managing director, MARSH USA, Inc.
  • Jim Schmitz, executive vice president and Middle Tennessee area president, Regions Bank
  • Retired U.S. Army Col. Mark Scureman, Author of “The Boss’s Challenge: Manage Well and Lead Well”
  • Sam Belk, executive vice president and Mid-South Division Manager, Wells Fargo
  • Elizabeth Hammond, managing principal, Bryan, Pendleton, Swats & McAllister
  • Ron Suedekum, senior vice president and senior credit products manager, Bank of America-Merrill Lynch
  • Keri Floyd Kelly, senior managing purchasing, Nissan Motor Company
  • Rhonda Cantrell Dunn, executive director, Elmcroft of Hendersonville

To learn about the College of Business located on TSU’s Avon Williams Campus, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/business/.

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, 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.

Doing Nothing Against Injustice Promotes Abuse, Prominent Civil Rights Attorney says

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – A prominent civil rights attorney says that those who see injustice and do nothing help to promote abuse.

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President Glenda Glover, right, and NAAAHP Outgoing President Coreen Jackson present Attorney Benjamin Crump with a special award. (Photo by John Cross, TSU Media Relations)

Benjamin Crump, the Florida lawyer who represented families in police shooting cases that made headlines around the world, was the keynote speaker Oct. 31 at the 25th anniversary gala for the National Association of African American Honors Programs held at Tennessee State University.

The gala was the culmination of the three-day annual conference of the NAAAHP.

More than 400 of the nation’s best and brightest students attended the event, as well as representatives from 31 historically black colleges and universities. There were also 40 top graduate schools, including Ivy League schools such as Harvard, and companies from across the country.

“You are the fortunate ones,” Crump told the students, reminding them that as future leaders and educators they have a “moral” obligation to help stem out injustices in their communities.

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TSU’s Miss Honors Lexis Stewart, and Student Government Association Vice President Dexter A. Hooks introduce the keynote speaker at the gala. (Photo by John Cross, TSU Media Relations)

“You’re the ones who are going to have the good jobs, you are going to have the education, you have the talent, and if you don’t speak up for our community, if you don’t stand up for our community, if you don’t fight for our community, then who will,” Crump said.

Crump – the attorney in the Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, and Terence Crutcher police shooting cases – is the president of the National Bar Association, the largest organization of lawyers of color in the world, representing over 60,000 black lawyers, judges, and legal professionals. He has received numerous awards, including the SCLC Martin Luther King Servant Leader Award, and the NAACP Thurgood Marshall Award. Ebony Magazine has recognized him as one of the Top 100 trial lawyers.

TSU President Glenda Glover described Crump as “definitely one of America’s best lawyers,” who “speaks truth to power.”

“My friend, the world renowned Mr. Crump, we are extremely elated and honored to have you with us on our campus,” Glover said. “We thank you for the words of inspiration not just to these students but to all of us in our quest for justice and equal treatment.”

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Students and representatives from Spelman College and Morehouse College also participated in the 25th NAAAHP anniversary conference and gala. (Photo by John Cross, TSU Media Relations)

According to Crump’s official website, his goal is not only to raise people’s consciousness about injustices in the community, but also to fight to preserve the justice that minorities have achieved throughout the civil rights era. And that has struck a chord with many students.

“The message that when you see something, do something is one that I take great pride in,” said Dexter A. Hooks, a TSU honor student majoring in business administration with concentrations in supply chain and human resource management. “Whether it is as a student, in the classroom or anywhere, we all have a moral obligation to help fight injustice when we see it.”

Dalyla Jordan, a Lincoln University sophomore honors students majoring in psychology, agrees.

“It is very important to talk about injustice around HBCUs because these institutions have to deal with it and talk about it daily,” Jordan said. “It takes courage and confidence and I am glad Mr. Crump is bringing this topic home.”

Dr. Coreen Jackson, outgoing president of NAAAHP and interim dean of TSU’s Honors College, thanked Crump for inspiring the students. She also thanked President Glover for her support in hosting the gala. Jackson said the conference achieved its goal of commemorating the vital role NAAAHP has played in supporting honors education for more than 20 years.

President Glover, accompanied by Jackson, presented Crump with a special award in recognition of his work for justice across the nation and the world. Special awards were also presented to founding members and institutions for their support.

The NAAAHP conference also attracted major corporate sponsors such as Kroger, as a Premier Platinum Sponsor, which for the second consecutive year, invested more than $30,000.

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, 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.

Collegiate Citizens Police Academy formed by TSU, Metro Police believed to be nation’s first

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University and the Nashville Metro Police Department have formed what’s believed to be the nation’s first Collegiate Citizens Police Academy.

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Nashville Metro Police Chief Steve Anderson welcomes the new recruits, as TSU Police Chief Greg Anderson, left, and MNPD North Precinct Commander Terrence Graves look on. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

Nashville Mayor Megan Barry, Metro Police Chief Steve Anderson, TSU Police Chief Greg Robinson, and TSU Dean of Students Frank Stevenson were among those who came to City Hall on Oct. 18 to recognize the 27 TSU students participating in the academy.

The students, who underwent intensive background checks and application process, will undergo five weeks of training in the intricacies of police work and the criminal justice system.

“You are going to spend the next few weeks learning what it’s like for our police department and learning first hand by being engaged and riding along with police officers to understand what they do in our community,” Barry said.

Across the nation, citizens groups have formed partnerships with police departments to address issues in their communities. But this is the first “partnership” of its kind between a major U.S. city police department and a cohort of college students, according to Chief Anderson.

“Everybody has a citizens police academy,” Anderson said. “But as far as I know, this is the first collegiate police academy anywhere in the United States.”

Stevenson, the brainchild of the academy, said the idea came to him amid the cases of police brutality that have permeated the nation. He joined forces with the Rev. Enoch Fuzz, pastor of Corinthian Missionary Baptist Church in Nashville, to bring the idea to the police chief, who immediately embraced it. In a few weeks, the academy was underway.

“I wanted to establish a forum that would bring young black men together with police in the wake of these protests and outrage,” Stevenson said.

The academy, which includes men and women, meets Monday and Tuesday evenings. It includes sessions with the Mounted Police, the K-9 Unit, the Special Weapons and Tactics Unit, domestic violence, as well as simulations, where participants play police officers with fake weapons. Recruits will also ride along with police on actual beats.

“These recruits will also hold sessions with our accountability unit to understand how we as police officers police ourselves,” said Sgt. Mitch Kornberg, one of the coordinators of the academy. “The main goal of this program is about perception and to use it as a recruiting tool. We want to get their perception, and maybe this way they can make a better judgment on things they see in the media everyday.”

TSU flight training major Christopher Cooper said he joined the academy for “personal reasons.”

“Being a black young man, I joined to get a better insight into what the police do and what I can do in my community to change some things,” said Cooper, a sophomore. “Their (police) jobs are very stressful, but they don’t get enough praise for the things they do. They are the same as we are. They go to their families at the end of the day, just as the rest of us do. Let’s stop looking at them as just the men behind the badge. Look at them as individuals.”

Ashtyn Wallace, a criminal justice major who is also a sophomore, agreed.

“I am excited to really get out there and essentially see how things really are on a real day not just in a classroom,” said Wallace, adding that she wants to curtail the “escalating drug traffic” in Nashville. “Being out in the field is a real great opportunity to see how things really work.”

TSU Police Chief Robinson, who joined the university about six months ago, praised the relationship between TSU and the Metro Police Department, which has resulted in the presence of more Metro officers on campus.

“I talk to them consistently and they also talk to me about how they enjoy the opportunity of mingling and also engaging with our students,” Robinson said.

He encouraged the students to take advantage of the relationships they develop during their training.

“Take your training seriously,” he said. “I look forward to seeing some of you as TSU police officers some day.”

The academy will conclude on Nov. 10 with a graduation ceremony. This is the second class of the academy, which graduated its first recruits last spring.

For more information about the academy, visit https://www.nashville.gov/Police-Department/Get-Involved/Collegiate-Police-Academy.aspx.

 

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, 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.

 

Council on International Educational Exchange selects TSU to receive Generation Study Abroad Access Grant

unknown1NASHVILLE, Tenn(TSU News Service) – The Council on International Educational Exchange has awarded Tennessee State University a $20,000 grant to help first-generation and minority students study abroad.

The grant will support an innovative faculty-led study abroad program in Paris in 2017 led by TSU professors, Dr.  Rebecca Dixon and Dr. Jennifer L. Hayes. 

Students in this program will examine the historical contexts that have led African-American men and women to travel abroad to resist various levels of oppression in the United States. The program is designed to enhance students’ appreciation for global exchange and hopefully change their perspectives in ways that allow them to see themselves as a part of a global community.

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Dr. Jennifer L. Hayes

“Many of our students are first-generation students and are from underserved minority groups who have not traveled outside of the United States,” said Hayes, an assistant professor of English and Women’s Studies. “They are highly motivated and seek to improve their life chances through education. We believe this experience will provide our students with a unique opportunity to see the connections between their experiences at TSU and the global community.”

Dixon, a professor of English and Women’s Studies, agreed the program should be enlightening.

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Dr. Rebecca Dixon

“My hope is that the students’ sense of the literature, history, and culture that informed African-American expatriate artists will be enriched by this experience,” she said.

CIEE created the Generation Study Abroad Access Grant to recognize innovative programs that increase access to international educational opportunities for students in groups that are traditionally underrepresented in study abroad. The grant program is part of CIEE’s pledge to break through the barriers of cost, curriculum, and culture to double the number of students from all backgrounds, socioeconomic statuses, and majors who study abroad by 2020.

“CIEE is excited to award the second annual Generation Study Abroad Access Grant to Tennessee State University,” said Maritheresa Frain, executive vice president of study abroad at CIEE. “TSU has an illustrious history of enriching the lives of underserved minority groups who are traditionally underrepresented in study abroad. We’re proud to work with Drs. Hayes and Dixon and the university to continue in this tradition by making it possible for more TSU students to gain the knowledge, intercultural skills, and global perspectives needed for success in today’s world.”

Founded in 1947, CIEE is the country’s oldest and largest nonprofit study abroad and intercultural exchange organization, serving more than 340 U.S. colleges and universities, 1,000 U.S. high schools, and 35,000 international exchange students each year.

For more information about CIEE’s Faculty-Led & Custom Programs, visit: https://www.ciee.org/faculty-led-study-abroad/.

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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.