Category Archives: FACULTY

TSU Leader Launches “Walk with the President” to Promote Healthy Living on Campus

image001
NASHVILLE, Tenn.
(TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University President Glenda Glover is launching “Walk with the President,” starting Monday morning, March 2 in an effort to promote healthy habits and fitness on campus. The walk will take place each Monday around the track at Hale Stadium, beginning at 6 a.m.

She is calling on faculty, staff and students to join her in this initiative.

“This effort is geared toward us encouraging each other to live much healthier lives,” Dr. Glover said. “Earlier this year we started this effort in our campus cafeteria and dining services by offering more green and vegetable choices. ‘Walk with the President’ is just a continuation of that effort.”

The Director of the Wellness Center at TSU, Gerald Davis II, called “Walk with the President” a great idea that will give students, faculty and staff “another avenue” to engage in cardiovascular activities.

“This will help them to relieve stress and weight loss in maintaining good health,” he said.

Solving the issue of obesity and unhealthy dieting is a national challenge, and TSU, as an educational institution, has a major role is battling this epidemic, the president noted.

“The lack of regular forms of exercise is a major risk factor in developing illnesses and other forms of disease,” she said.

Studies support the President’s assertion. A recent National Institutes of Health study gives an overwhelming evidence that proves the notion that reductions in daily physical activity are primary causes of chronic diseases.

In Tennessee, the situation is even dire. The state now has the fourth highest adult obesity rate in the nation, according to The State of Obesity: Better Policies for a Healthier America, published in 2013. Tennessee’s adult obesity rate is 33.7 percent, up from 25.6 percent in 2004 and from 11.1 percent in 1990.

“We know ‘Walk with the President’ will not solve all of our problems, but it is a beginning and I am asking all of our faculty, staff, students and anyone else who is interested to join us in this worthy cause for healthy living,” Dr. Glover 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 42 undergraduate, 24 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.

USDA Selects Two Tennessee State University Students to Attend National Summit

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Two students from Tennessee State University have been selected to attend a national conference sponsored by the United States Agriculture Department aimed at introducing university students to future trends, scientific research and agricultural policy in today’s real-world environment.

Alexis Allen (left), a junior concentrating in Agribusiness, and Alison Leathers (right), a graduate student concentrating in Agricultural Education, Leadership & Extension, share a moment with Dr. Chandra Reddy, dean of the College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences, upon the USDA announcement sending the pair to Virginia. Allen and Leathers  are among only thirty students selected from across the country to attend the USDA’s 2015 Agricultural Outlook Forum.
Alexis Allen (left), a junior concentrating in Agribusiness, and Alison Leathers (right), a graduate student concentrating in Agricultural Education, Leadership & Extension, share a moment with Dr. Chandra Reddy, dean of the College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences, upon the USDA announcement sending the pair to Virginia. Allen and Leathers are among only thirty students selected from across the country to attend the USDA’s 2015 Agricultural Outlook Forum.

Alexis Allen, a junior concentrating in Agribusiness, and Alison Leathers, a graduate student concentrating in Agricultural Education, Leadership & Extension, are among only 30 students selected from across the country to attend the USDA’s 2015 Agricultural Outlook Forum February 19-20 in Arlington, Virginia.

The Forum, titled “Smart Agriculture in the 21st Century,” is not only designed to introduce students to contemporary agribusiness, future trends, scientific research, and agricultural, as well as give them the chance to lay the groundwork for a future in agriculture, hear speakers from diverse backgrounds, and help them expand their opportunities in their chosen fields.

“This is an excellent opportunity for two of our best and brightest students,” said Dr. Chandra Reddy, dean of the College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences. “This forum will allow them to network with some of the USDA’s top officials, leaders in the agricultural industry and their peers from across the country. It will also help set them up for successful futures in agriculture.”

The USDA selected 20 university junior and senior students from across the country to attend the conference based on an essay on “Agriculture as a Career,” and 10 graduate students based on their essay, “The Greatest Challenge Facing Agriculture over the next Five Years.” The students were selected from 1862 and 1890 Land-Grant Colleges and Universities, Hispanic-Serving Institutions, and Non-Land-Grant Agricultural and Renewable Resources Universities.

Allen, from Detroit, came to TSU in the fall of 2014 after completing an associate’s degree at Wayne County Community College. She is excited about the opportunity to attend the conference and would eventually like to work as a food inspector, either through the USDA or the private sector.

“I think I am most looking forward to the diversity and depths of topics that will be presented,” said Allen. “I hope to gain more in-depth understanding to supplement the things I’m learning in class at TSU.”

Leathers, from Preston, Minnesota, received her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, and is looking forward to the forum and the opportunities it will create toward helping her achieve her career goal of becoming an Extension agent and a third-generation farmer.

“It will be an excellent learning experience and opportunity to network and meet students and important agricultural leaders,” she said. “I am excited to represent TSU and advocate for our land-grant university system.”

 

RELATED STORIES

TSU’s Roy Bullock inducted into George Washington Carver Public Service Hall of Fame

 

 

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 42 undergraduate, 24 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 Names Dr. Michael Freeman as New VP for Student Affairs

Dr. Michael Freeman
Dr. Michael Freeman

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University has brought a familiar face back in naming Dr. Michael Freeman as the new associate vice president of Student Affairs.

From March 2013 up to his recent appointment, Freeman served as the assistant vice president and dean of Students at the University of South Florida. However, Freeman is no stranger to TSU, having spent nearly seven years at the University, also serving in the same role as vice president for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management from 2006 until 2011, and assistant professor of Higher Education.

“I’m excited to be back at a place I know,” said Freeman. “It’s rare that you get a second, ‘first’ look at an institution and come back to work for a place that holds a special place in your heart.”

Freeman said he has a large task ahead of him as he will be a part of the TSU president’s senior cabinet, and will oversee the following departments: Residence Life, Career Services, Student Activities, Judicial Affairs, the Men and Women’s Centers, Campus and Wellness Centers, Health Services, Counseling, and Recreation and Intramurals.

But it is a task, he said, he is ready to tackle and will focus on three areas to help students prepare for their future.

According to Freeman, he wants to get the staff back to minimum levels to be able to deliver services and support to students, and focus on integrated planning and programing while creating deeper, more meaningful programs for students. He also plans on partnering with departments around campus to help students meet their goals.

“Ultimately, everything we do needs to be geared toward student success and their growth and development,” Freeman added.

But one of the biggest challenges Freeman sees is getting to know TSU in a “new” way.

“I want to make sure I see the University as it is today, and not how it was when I left a few years ago,” he said. “I want to know it in this moment and still be productive. TSU has its own spirit, pride and history, and I’m happy to be a part of this movement.”

Prior to his arrival to TSU in 2006, Freeman served as the vice president and Dean at Saint Mary’s College of Maryland from 1999-2006, as well as dean of Student Affairs from 1995-1999, director of Residence Life from 1987-1989 and associate director for Minority Recruitment and Services from 1984-1987 at the same institution. He also served as senior academic advisor and faculty member at John Hopkins University.

Freeman has a Bachelor of Science in General Studies in Psychology and Sociology, and a Master of Arts in Counselor Education from the University of Iowa, and Ph.D. in Counseling and Personnel Services from the University of Maryland.

 

RELATED STORIES
Dr. Alex Sekwat Returns as Interim Dean of Graduate Studies and Research 

Longtime educator, scientist named associate vice president for Research and Sponsored Programs at TSU

 

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 42 undergraduate, 24 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.

Honda Turns Spotlight on TSU “Dream Maker”

Audrey Stradford
Audrey Stradford

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – For more years than some can remember, Audrey Stradford has been helping students realize their dreams of a college education. Known as “Miss Audrey” to many who have graced the halls of Tennessee State University, it is not uncommon to see her open her checkbook to help pay for a student’s textbook and tuition or buy them a hot meal.

It is because of this and many other acts of kindness and encouragement over the past three decades that Honda will recognize Stradford with the Power of Dreams Award during the Honda Battle of the Bands Invitational Showcase later this month in Atlanta.

“I was shocked and actually thought someone was pulling my leg,” said Stradford, who works as a financial aid assistant at the University. “I’ve always been one to work behind the scenes. I’ve been a giver my whole life and it is hard for me to be on the receiving end.”

An iconic figure at TSU for more than 30 years, Stradford will be the first to receive the Power of Dreams Award, meant to honor an individual who has helped HBCU culture thrive—by helping students achieve their dreams through positive support, guidance and leadership within the institution or community.

Michelle Allen, who wrote the nomination for the award, said Stradford is very deserving of the award and has made an impact on the lives of many a student over the years.

“’Miss Audrey’ has been very instrumental in the lives of students here on campus,” said Allen, TSU band office manager. “She helps them stay on track and stay focused on graduation. She has been a mother figure to many and does not do it for a reward, but out of the goodness of her heart.”

interview
“Miss Audrey,” as she is affectionally known as around campus, was recently interviewed for a spot that will air during the award presentation at the Honda Battle of the Bands Jan. 24 at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. (photos by Rick DelaHaya, TSU Media Relations)

Stradford graduated from the University in 1966 with a degree in Sociology. She met her future husband at TSU and eventually moved to Detroit a few years later. But she always made sure to return for the annual Homecoming activities, missing only two over the years. However, it was her love for the school and the students that would keep her coming back a few times each year to volunteer in what ever capacity she could.

She has helped with everything from new student move in, homecoming activities, and encouraging students to remain in school and study hard, to eventually returning to Nashville 12 years ago and landing a job in the financial aid office.

Her main focus has been students over the decades and has reached out a helping hand to many who just needed a voice, a kind word of encouragement, or a motivational “kick in the pants” when they needed it.

According to Stradford, it is the joy of seeing “her” students graduate after sometimes struggling, that makes it all worth it for her.

“I have cried at many a graduation,” she said. “Sometimes I am the first one to receive a hug, even before their parents. The proudest moment for me is watching the students I’ve had an influence on walk across that stage and receive their diploma. And that gives me the greatest satisfaction and makes it all worth it.”

Stradford will receive formal recognition at the 13th Annual Honda Battle of the Bands Jan. 24 at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. She will be there to cheer on TSU’s Aristocrat of Bands as they compete against seven other marching bands from HBCUs around the country. This year’s theme is “March On,” to remind to students and fans that life on and off the field is a journey, and no matter the challenge, the dream or what may lie ahead, learning never stops as long as you commit to “March On.”

 

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 42 undergraduate, 24 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 Switching to Four-Day Class Schedule in Spring Semester 2015

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) -Tennessee State University is moving to a four-day class schedule when school resumes for the spring 2015 semester, the University administration has announced.

Classes will be held Monday –Thursday but administrative offices and staff will still have a five-day workweek.

Officials said the change is intended to allow more time for student advising, faculty office hours, as well as free up more time for faculty and students to engage in research and grant writing.

They emphasized that the switch is to a four-day class schedule and not a four-day workweek, adding that employees are expected to be at work on Fridays.

Calling the switch a “pilot,” the Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Mark Hardy, said all previous “contact hours” for courses would be maintained.

“This is an experiment for the spring semester,” he said. “If we find that it has no adverse impact on student performance and progression, we will continue it.”

He said Friday should not be misconstrued as a day-off for students.

“Once they see the benefit of having extra time to meet with faculty without interfering with class, being able to focus more time on research, and have more interactions with Student Affairs, they will embrace the idea,” the Vice President noted.

The switch, however, means longer class hours on Mondays and Wednesdays, with some classes starting earlier in the morning and some others ending much later in the evening. For instance, 50-minute classes will be extended to one hour and 20 minutes each.

The change does not affect evening and weekend classes, and it does not mean professors will be working less either. Fridays will only help them to focus more time on advising students and projects, said Hardy.

Although TSU is not the first institution in the nation to make the switch, it is the first university in the Tennessee Board of Regents system to condense classes to four days. Institutions that have adopted the change include Southern University in Baton Rouge, and Northeast Mississippi Community College in Booneville, Mississippi.

At TSU, students already think the switch is a great idea.

Student Government Association President Markeil Lewis has no doubt about widespread student support once they return and have been adequately informed about the switch.

“I love the new initiative of a four-day class schedule for students,” said Lewis, a senior from Stone Mountain, Georgia. “I personally found it hard through my matriculation to find the passion to actually attend class on Fridays, let alone be aware and attentive to actually learn. I do understand that we will have to be in classes slightly longer but this is something that students will accept once they understand the benefits.”

Tyrell Jones, a junior Math major from Brooklyn, New York, also “loves” the idea of the four-day class schedule, especially the benefit of an extended class hour.

“Now that means it gives teachers more time to teach and students enough time to take in the material for better understanding,” said Jones, a work-study student, who also serves as a tutor. “In many instances teachers are in a haste to cover all of their materials in 55 minutes, which does not allow enough time for questions and interaction with students. The extra time should be very helpful.”

Dr. Kimberly King-Jupiter, dean of the College of Education, said the four-day class schedule structures students’ academic experience because it offers fewer course meetings but more course time to engage students in meaningful discussion about course content.

“I am excited about the four-day class schedule,” King-Jupiter said. “Friday (or the fifth day of the week) gives faculty the opportunity to engage in discussions about or to conduct the research that enhances the quality of the instruction that they deliver in the classroom. It also helps them to engage in the type of assessment activities that are a hallmark of the University.”

Tennessee State University has continually remained on the cutting-edge of ideas and innovations that enhance student learning and success in unique ways. Last semester, the University established a digital book bundle initiative, the first in the TBR system that allows freshman students to buy “e-books” for general education classes, at savings of up to $735 per semester. The program is aimed at lowering the costs of traditional paper textbooks while ensuring freshmen have the required books the first day of class.

“We have a president who is innovative and always looking for new ways to help our students succeed,” said Hardy. “The four-day class schedule and our book bundle effort, which started last semester, are just some of the ways that demonstrate this administration’s commitment to providing an academic environment that promotes student success.”

 

 

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 42 undergraduate, 24 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 Alum and NASA Engineer Receives Director’s Commendation Award for Outstanding Contribution

NASA Johnson Space Center Director, Dr. Ellen Ochoa, right; and Deputy Director Kirk Shireman, left, congratulate Ron Cobbs after presenting him with the NASA-JSC Director’s Commendation Award, during a ceremony recently in the Teague Auditorium at the center.
NASA Johnson Space Center Director, Dr. Ellen Ochoa, right; and Deputy Director Kirk Shireman, left, congratulate Ron Cobbs after presenting him with the NASA-JSC Director’s Commendation Award, during a ceremony recently in the Teague Auditorium at the center. (Courtesy photo)


NASHVILLE, Tenn.
(TSU News Service) – A Tennessee State University alumnus and NASA engineer has been recognized for outstanding contribution to the agency.

Ron Cobbs, a 1989 TSU graduate with a B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering and avionics chief engineer assigned to the International Space Station operations, recently received the NASA Johnson Space Center Director’s Commendation Award.

The award, the highest honor given by the NASA-JSC administrator, recognizes the center’s civil servants with “significant” contribution toward the mission and operations of the JSC.

Last year, Cobbs’ input was helpful in identifying the cause of a space suit malfunction during a spacewalk in July. Although Cobbs was not part of the official Extravehicular Mobility Unit (space suit) investigating team, he was asked to “look into” the situation because the problem “appeared to be electrical.”

Ron Cobbs, International Space Station Avionics Chief Engineer and TSU graduate, helped NASA engineers identify the cause of a serial interface issue with a spacesuit that malfunctioned during a spacewalk on July 16. (courtesy photo)
Ron Cobbs, International Space Station Avionics Chief Engineer and TSU graduate, helped NASA engineers identify the cause of a serial interface issue with a spacesuit that malfunctioned during a spacewalk on July 16, 2013. (courtesy photo)

“I discovered that the problem was a systems problem relative to operational use of the serial port on the laptop side of the suit,” said Cobbs, after investigating the problem. As a result of his findings and recommendation, the procedures for the astronauts were rewritten and retested, subsequently leading to identifying the problem.

Saying that he is “deeply honored” to receive the Administrator’s Award from NASA-JSC, Cobbs, who has been with NASA for nearly 30 years, credits his parents and his TSU preparation for his career success.

“My parents always taught me to work hard and always do the right thing,” said Cobbs, who also holds a master’s degree in Space Engineering from Stevens Institute of Technology. “They taught me to believe in myself, have faith and shoot for the moon.”

Shooting for the moon is what Cobbs has been doing since. As avionics chief engineer, his role is to ensure that engineers in the NASA Directorate adhere to the “right processes.” He also supports project managers during the design, development, test and evaluation of projects that require electronics and/or software for operational use.

“I also support Failure Investigation Teams whenever their failures or anomalies on the Space Station need to be resolved. I also sit on several Space Station program boards to provide concurrence representing engineering on all proposed forward plans and action that will be implemented,” Cobbs noted.

“Ronald Cobbs is a true example of an electrical engineering graduate with passion for life-long learning and professional growth,” Dr. Satinderpaul Singh Devgan, professor and head of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, said of his former student, when information came out about Cobbs’ spacesuit malfunction intervention.

Cobbs joined NASA at the Johnson Space Center immediately after graduating TSU. He has moved through the ranks from design engineer, systems engineer to now ISS avionics chief engineer.

“I think Ron Cobbs’ achievement at NASA is a great story,” added Dr. S. Keith Hargrove, dean of the College of Engineering.

 

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 42 undergraduate, 24 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 Roy Bullock inducted into George Washington Carver Public Service Hall of Fame

Dr. Roy Bullock
Dr. Roy Bullock

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – A professor from Tennessee State University has been recognized for his public service and contributions to the rural farming community. Dr. Roy Bullock, professor of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, received the accolades when he was inducted into the George Washington Carver Public Service Hall of Fame.

The public service award, presented to Bullock December 7, is given to those individuals whose work mirrors the philosophy of world-recognized scholar George Washington Carver – “the greatest good for the greatest number of people.”

The award recognizes teaching and research accomplishments that improve the quality of life for clientele served by land-grant institutions such as Tennessee State University. The award ceremony is part of the annual Professional Agricultural Workers Conference in Tuskegee, Alabama.

Bullock is the first recipient of the prestigious award from Tennessee State University and the first in the state. The award was first presented in 1984.

“This is a great honor to receive this distinction,” said Bullock, who also serves as the Extension state program leader for Agriculture and Natural Resources. “Very few people have received this award.”

Dr. Latif Lighari, associate dean for Extension in the College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences, expressed pride in and gratitude for Bullock’s many years of service to the college and the farming community.

“This is a great honor for the TSU Cooperative Extension Program to have one of our senior faculty recognized with this prestigious distinction,” Lighari said. “This recognition is given only to people with a remarkable record of success in extension, outreach and university engagement.”

As for the future, Bullock says that he is focused on spending the rest of his career focusing on rebuilding the farming population, which is vital to the nation’s future.

“We need to replenish the aging farmer with the young vibrant farmer through whatever means necessary,” he explained. “If farming fails, everything fails.”

Bullock, a graduate of Class VIII of the National Extension Leadership Development (NELD) Program, has written more than 30 Extension publications. In his current position, he provides leadership to county agents who focus on small farmers in all 95 Tennessee counties. He is a 2009 recipient of the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities’ Excellence in Extension Award, the Presidential Distinguished Service Award (2001), the University of Tennessee Program of Distinction Award for Small Farms (2004), the Blue and White Gala Award for Outstanding Program in Small Farms (2006), and the Award of Excellence for Exceptional Programming for Southern Regional Extension Forestry (2006).

 

 

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 42 undergraduate, 24 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.

Breast Cancer Vaccine Developed by Tennessee State University Researcher and Colleagues Shows Promise in Preliminary Trial

Dr. Venkataswarup Tiriveedhi, a cancer and immunology specialist and assistant professor of Biological Sciences, works on cancer mechanism in his lab in Harned Hall at Tenessee State University. Tiriveedhi and a group of researchers from Washington University School of Medicine at St. Louis have come up with an experimental vaccine for breast cancer that appears to be safe in preliminary trials.
Dr. Venkataswarup Tiriveedhi, a cancer and immunology specialist and assistant professor of Biological Sciences, works on cancer mechanism in his lab in Harned Hall at Tennessee State University. Tiriveedhi and a group of researchers from Washington University School of Medicine at St. Louis have come up with an experimental vaccine for breast cancer that appears to be safe in preliminary trials. (photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – A Tennessee State University scientist and a group of researchers from Washington University School of Medicine at St. Louis have come up with an experimental vaccine for breast cancer that appears to be safe in a preliminary trial.

According to a study published in Clinical Cancer Research, Dr. Venkataswarup Tiriveedhi, assistant professor of Biological Sciences in the College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences, and his colleagues found that the experimental vaccine, Mammaglobin-A, was “overexpressed” in 40 to 80 percent of primary breast cancers.

Also known as MAM-A, the vaccine prompted CD8 T-cells to track and eliminate the MAM-A protein, noted Tiriveedhi. To determine the efficacy and safety of the experimental drug, he said they conducted a phase I trial involving 14 patients diagnosed with advanced breast cancer.

“The side effects from the vaccine after one year were minimal, and included rashes, tenderness, and mild flu-like symptoms,” added Tiriveedhi, who specializes in cancer and immunology.

By the one-year mark, the study revealed, roughly 50 percent of the patients showed no sign of disease progression. By comparison, only 20 percent of a similar group of 12 patients showed no signs of disease progression one year out.

The researchers, however, stressed the need for a larger and longer study, to prove the current preliminary evidence prior to its use in all breast cancer patients. They theorized that “these promising results” from initial studies could be applied not only to prevent cancer progression but also to prevent the development of breast cancer in women.

“The current one (study) is a small Phase-I trial mainly aimed at testing the safety (does no harm). But we have also found this vaccine to be highly effective against the disease. The next step is to go for larger Phase II/III studies with a higher cohort of breast cancer patients and rigorously test for efficiency, dosing, clinical outcomes, cancer stage specificity, etc.,” noted Tiriveedhi, who holds MD and Ph.D. degrees.

He called the study a “promising move forward” that is not just restricted to breast cancer, but one that can be employed in “similar strategies” to treat other cancers such as lung and colon cancers.

“The MAM-A DNA vaccine is safe, capable of eliciting MAM-A–specific CD8 T-cell responses, and preliminary evidence suggests improved PF,” the researchers concluded.

Dr. Tiriveedhi, who came to Tennessee State University about a year and half ago, started the study, “Safety and Preliminary Evidence of Biologic Efficacy of a Mammaglobin-A DNA Vaccine in Patients with Stable Metastatic Breast Cancer,” with his colleagues at Washington University before leaving to join the faculty at TSU.

 

 

 

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 42 undergraduate, 24 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.

To Succeed, Learn to Keep Pace with Fast-Changing World, TSU Commencement Speaker Tells More than 500 Graduates

IMG_5696
President Glenda Glover presents a plaque of appreciation to Shannon A. Brown, Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resource and Diversity Officer at FedEx Express, who served as the keynote speaker for the fall commencement at TSU.


NASHVILLE, Tenn.
(TSU News Service) – Saying that today’s fast-changing world requires people who can adapt, Tennessee State University fall commencement speaker told nearly 500 graduates Saturday that to be successful they must be ready to “run when the sun comes up,” to keep pace.

“Today’s reality is that the world is changing faster,” said Shannon Brown, senior vice president and chief human resource and diversity officer at FedEx Express. “Economies and their enterprises are moving at a very fast pace and people who are slow to adapt will be left behind.”

Brown, recognized by Black Enterprise magazine as one of the “100 Most Powerful Executives in Corporate America,” paralleled his remarks to the “gazelle” and the “lion” in Christopher McDougal’s book, “Ready to Run,” where the gazelle must outrun the fastest lion or be killed, or the lion must run faster than the slowest gazelle or it will starve.

“It doesn’t matter whether you are the lion or the gazelle, when the sun comes up, you better be running,” said the FedEx executive, who, in 30 years, worked his way from a package handler to become one of the top executives at the world’s largest express transport company.

He said in a fast-track world with constant technological advances and changes that have revolutionized all aspects of industry and human thinking, people who are slow to catch on and prepare for the future will be left behind.

He applauded the graduates for their determination to complete their university journey, urging them to use that same determination to press their way forward.

“As you enter this fast changing world, surround yourselves with good mentors; they can help you make the transition from one environment to the other; don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone; and commit to being lifelong learners,” Brown told the graduates.

The Memphis, Tennessee, native who said his job as the highest ranking human resource and diversity officer at FedEx is to keep employees engaged and satisfied, named charisma, individual consideration, intellectual stimulation, courage, dependability, flexibility, judgment and respect for others as “time-tested” leadership principles that will keep them competitive in their chosen fields.

“It is about believing that every individual brings value to the table; and do not forget to give back to the community,” Brown added.

Leaitrice Medina
President Glenda Glover congratulates Leatrice Medina for receiving the Academic Excellence Award. The award is given to a graduating senior with the highest GPA of 4.0 among her classmates. Medina received her degree in Psychology.

TSU President Glenda Glover, herself a Memphis native, thanked Brown for what she called, “a thought-provoking” speech, and congratulated the graduates for their accomplishment.

“You have endured and prepared yourself to reach this goal which may have seemed unattainable, but you stuck with it,” Dr. Glover said. “You must always remember that you did not accomplish this goal all by yourselves. There were parents, relatives, friends and mentors who helped you along the way. Remember to thank them.”

More than 500 graduates received degrees in various disciplines at the ceremony in the Gentry Center Complex. Among officials who attended the program was Dr. Wendy Thompson, vice chancellor for Organizational Effectiveness and Strategic Initiatives, at the Tennessee Board of Regents.

Tennessee State University Receives USDA Grant to Aid Veteran, New and Socially Disadvantaged Farmers

Funds focus on outreach and technical assistance to diversify American Agriculture

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University has received funding to help beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers, veteran farmers and ranchers build a more resilient agriculture system.

The University’s College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences received $188,055 recently from the U.S. Department of Agriculture as part of a $9.7 million grant to educate and provide technical assistance to agriculture businesses.

The grant, distributed through the Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers Grant Program, will help faculty and extension agents from the University encourage, educate and assist socially and financially disadvantaged farmers and producers to operate their farms more efficiently, and if able, purchase new farmland and become even more successful farmers and producers.

“We will specifically focus on socially disadvantaged farmers and land owners, and try to educate them on a variety of financial and technical help, and the opportunities available,” said Dr. Chandra Reddy, dean and director of Research and administrator of Extension in the College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences. “We want to make sure that they are on an even footing with large-farm owners when it comes to technical assistance and funding opportunities.”

The grant money, according to Dr. Arvazena Clardy, assistant professor of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, will be used to conduct workshops around the state, and educate farmers and producers on business development and expansion, small herd management, plant nutrition, and food safety and new farm technology among other topics.

The grant will also be used toward a future New Farmer Academy where new owners and potential owners of small acreages receive training on ways to best utilize their land for crops and livestock. The most recent five-month academy graduated nine candidates who learned about opportunities to expand into new areas of production, gain access to and knowledge about federal funds and programs, as well as develop new marketing strategies to make them more successful.

The goal, said Clardy, is to work with small and limited resource producers, farmers and landowners, and work individually with them on specific problems related to their farms and production.

“We are committed to improving the economic conditions of the socially disadvantaged farmers and landowners here in Tennessee,” said Clardy. “This grant will give us the opportunity to educate them about the accessibility of programs and new farm technology, as well as provide hands-on training, and one-on-one outreach and technical assistance.”

The grant was announced December 3 by USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, who described the funding as part of “our ongoing commitment” to identify, recruit and train a vibrant next generation of farmers and ranchers who can carry American agriculture into the future. “It is also part of our pledge to assist military veterans find economic opportunity as they return to civilian life,” Vilsack added.

 

 

 

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 42 undergraduate, 24 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.