Category Archives: FACULTY

Legislative committee says TSU could receive more than $540 million in unmet land-grant agreement

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service)– Tennessee State University could be due more than a half-billion dollars because of years of unpaid land-grant matches by the state. A joint legislative committee that met Monday to discuss the issue said the university could receive between $150 million and $544 million, dating back to the 1950s.  

“We are pleased with the findings of the land-grant study committee and excited about the possibilities of what this means for the University,” said TSU President Glenda Glover.  “TSU will be made stronger and more vibrant, which benefits all of Tennessee.”  

State Rep. Harold Love, Jr., a TSU alum, is chairman of the joint committee. It was under his leadership that the probe began with the goal of having the state calculate how much money was not given in accordance with the land grant and then try to make up for it.    

“Today’s meeting was a very crucial step in the committee’s work to investigate the funding arrearage amount for Tennessee State University,” said Love. “It is my hope that we can put a plan in place to address this in the very near future.” 

TSU and the University of Tennessee Knoxville are the two land-grant institutions in Tennessee and have agricultural programs that are funded largely by the federal government. The land-grant designation comes with the stipulation that the state would also match a yearly monetary grant from the federal government. In TSU’s case, the state did not match the funds dollar-for-dollar for decades. 

“This is not TSU versus UT, instead this is about rectifying a problem that has existed and persisted for decades where TSU, as an HBCU, did not receive funding from the state as directed by state and federal law,” added Glover. “Unfortunately, somewhere in the process our funding was channeled to other areas instead of coming to the university, while UT, the state’s other land grant institution received their funding and much more.”  

President Glover recalled a comment that was made to “let bygones be bygones” and said that cannot stand.  

“It’s never too late to do what’s right,” she said. “We’ve had students leave due to lack of funds, TSU was prevented from implementing innovative programs to be more competitive in recruiting, and not to mention the cost of lost opportunity.”

The committee is scheduled to continue meeting to determine the amount TSU will receive and how it will be dispersed.    

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 39 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and eight doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU clinics give students opportunity to engage in real-world professional experience while serving the community

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The pandemic has not stopped Tennessee State University’s clinics from caring for people in the community and providing real career experience for those interested in healthcare as a profession.

The College of Health Sciences has three clinics that provide services free of charge or based on the ability to pay. They are the Tiger Community Rehabilitation Clinic, Dental Hygiene Clinic, and Speech Pathology and Audiology Clinic. All three are continuing to provide service to the campus community, as well as people in the surrounding Nashville community.

The Tiger Community Rehab. Ctr. is the first student-run PT/OT clinic at a historically black institution. (TSU Media Relations)

“The three clinics offered through the College of Health Sciences are platforms not only for students to immerse themselves in their professions through faculty-supervised clinical instruction, but also for students and faculty to provide no- or low-cost care to the various communities they serve,” said Dr. Ronald Barredo, dean of the College of Health Sciences.

Dr. Rick Clark is assistant professor of physical therapy at TSU and director of the Tiger Community Rehabilitation Clinic, the first student-run physical therapy/occupational therapy clinic at a historically black institution.

Clark said the services of the Rehabilitation Clinic, as well as the other clinics, is more important now than ever.

“I think what we’re doing is absolutely so very, very needed,” said Clark, who was in the military for 25 years and ran multiple clinics. “With COVID-19, people are kind of confined to their homes, not getting out and being as active. We’re able to get them in and start getting them on that path to recovery, better health.”

Clark said the clinic mainly handles cases like knee injuries, shoulder pain, and lower back pain. The more serious cases are referred out to physical and occupational therapy clinics in the area.

“We want to make a difference in the lives of our patients, which is really what our goal is,” said Clark.

All the clinics, like the university as a whole, adhere to strict protocols to make sure that everyone is safe amid COVID-19.

“We have adjusted how we operate to make sure everyone is safe during the pandemic, but have not changed our quality of care,” said Amber Oliveri, a first-year graduate student from Ellicott City, Maryland, in the Master’s of Occupational Therapy Program.

“It’s been a challenge, but we’ve managed to keep all of our students, faculty and staff safe during the pandemic,” said TSU Professor Gary-Lee Lewis, head of the Dental Hygiene Clinic.

The Dental Hygiene Clinic provides service to close to 600 patients a year. (TSU Media Relations)

The clinic recently restarted in-person patient visits and provides services like cleanings, cancer screenings, and general patient education about good hygiene.

Before the pandemic, the dental clinic provided service to nearly 600 patients a year, including faculty and students, as well as the Nashville community.

Dental Hygiene major Cleopatra Peden acknowledged the pandemic has caused some of her peers in the program to reconsider their major. But the senior from Gallatin, Tennessee, is unwavering.

“The pandemic is not going to affect me continuing in this career,” said Peden. “Yes, there are safety concerns right now. But people still need dental care, they need us. And it just makes me want to help them that much more.”

Dr. Tina Smith is head of the Speech Pathology and Audiology Clinic. She said the audiology part of the clinic is not seeing patients right now because of the pandemic. However, she said the Department of Speech Pathology is using telepractice, or teletherapy, which has allowed first-year graduate students to continue seeing patients since the pandemic first started last year.

Matthew Norcia is a first-year grad student from Owensboro, Kentucky, majoring in Speech and Language Pathology. He said the transition to teletherapy was challenging initially, “especially for those of us who are having clients for the first time.”

“But with an extreme work ethic, we have been able to handle the adversity and continue to address the needs of each client and further develop their speech and language skills,” said Norcia. “Overall, this experience has been enlightening and beneficial as teletherapy may become a normal form of treatment even after the pandemic is over. Being able to continuously provide for the community through these trying times has been such a rewarding experience and we look forward to continuing our work.”

Speech Pathology’s telepractice allows students to continue seeing patients during the pandemic. (TSU Media Relations.)

The Tiger Community Rehabilitation Clinic is now located in the university’s new state-of-the-art Health Sciences Building, which has classrooms, spaces for clinical simulations, labs and offices. The Speech Pathology and Audiology Clinic is on TSU’s Avon Williams Campus near downtown Nashville, and the Dental Hygiene Clinic is in Clement Hall on the main campus. Students usually get top jobs in their fields upon graduation because of the real-world experience they receive at the clinics

Averie Conn recently received therapy at the Tiger Clinic and is glad she did.

“I have been having some neck and upper back pain that was interrupting my function and participation in some of the activities I want and need to be able to do,” said Conn. “The students and their supervisor who treated me helped reduce not only the pain I was having on the day I visited the clinic, but the days following as well. They were very helpful in talking me through what clinical signs and decisions they were making, and broke down the next steps I should take in a logical and easy-to-understand way.”

Conn said the Tiger Clinic, as well as the others offered at TSU, are “invaluable to the community.”

“Some of the barriers to accessing healthcare are the lack of public knowledge about how and where it is accessible, and how much the service is going to cost,” she said. “Unfortunately, many people are willing to live in discomfort, pain, or with other clinical symptoms simply because healthcare is not easily accessible or affordable.”

Hours of operation for the Tiger Community Rehabilitation Clinic are Fridays 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (Health Sciences Building, Room 212). To make an appointment call: 615-815-4359, 615-963-7184 or email: TSUTigerClinic@gmail.com.

Services for the Speech Pathology and Audiology Clinic are currently being provided on Monday and Wednesday or Tuesday and Thursday 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. through telepractice. To make an appointment call: 615-963-7072.

The Dental Hygiene Clinic is open Monday through Friday 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Hours of operation during the pandemic: On-site – Mondays and Wednesdays 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.    
Remote: Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.
To make an appointment call: 615.963.5791 or email:DHClinic@tnstate.edu 

For more information about TSU’s College of Health Sciences, visit https://www.tnstate.edu/health_sciences/clinics.aspx.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 39 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and eight doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Trailblazing alumna who became the first black female elementary school principal in East TN inspires and epitomizes TSU’s legacy of producing top educators

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University proudly celebrates Mary Collins, a 1938 graduate of then Tennessee A&I who became the first black female principal of an elementary school in East Tennessee. While her essays and poetry about life on the campus is inspiring to read and immediately transports you to a time when the college had only been in existence for 26 years, it is Collins’ legacy as an educator that has impacted and inspired two generations of educators in her family. 

Mary Collins

“She was a champion for education,” said Jenai Hayes, Collins’ granddaughter and a Tennessee public school teacher. “As a little girl, she would always tell me it’s your fundamental right to learn how to read and to be able to do mathematics. Those two things she said were the principles of being able to survive.”  

Hayes carries that same wisdom and passion for learning into the classroom as a science educator with Metro Nashville Public Schools. She followed in the footsteps of not just her grandmother, but her late mother, Mary Brown, who was also an alumna of Tennessee A&I.   

Hayes said her grandmother, who graduated with a degree in education, also strongly influenced her mother, who spent 24 years as a popular English and French teacher at Tennessee High School in Bristol, Tennessee, before becoming a member of Bristol’s school board.   

Jenai Hayes

While at Tennessee A&I, Mary Collins joined Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Inc. It was there that she also met her future husband, Clyde Collins, Sr. Before graduating, Collins wrote 50 poems and short stories for elementary grades that were part of a graduation project. It wasn’t long after graduating that she began to make an impact as an educator.   

Growing up, Hayes saw her grandmother’s desire to educate others firsthand when she went with her to the Job Corps in Bristol some Saturdays.   

“She spent weekends, even while she was still working, teaching men how to read,” said Hayes, noting that the Job Corps in East Tennessee didn’t include women at the time. “She was so disturbed that so many of them didn’t know how to read.”  

Mary Collins and a young Jenai.

In addition to helping the men, Hayes said her grandmother also championed women becoming part of the Job Corps. Due to a large part of her effort, women were eventually incorporated, and the first female dormitory was named after Mary Collins.   

Michael Carter, a TSU alum, is the residential supervisor at Jacob Creek Job Corps Civilian Conservation Center where Collins volunteered decades ago. Carter was close to Collins’ family growing up, and was also taught by her in the sixth grade when she was principal at Slater School for a couple of years during the integration of schools in East Tennessee.   

Carter said Collins’ contribution to the Job Corps is still talked about today.   

“When they did get the women in the program, she was out here teaching them etiquette and all sorts of things,” said Carter. “She would also bring things out here for them. She was just a giving person.”   

Mary Collins (right) and daughter Mary Brown.

At Lincoln Elementary School in Bristol, where Collins was a teacher and principal for a number of years before integration, she was just as passionate about helping students, not just learn, but get necessities, like food and clothing.  

Mary Brown, who died in 2016, talked about her mother’s benevolence and her legacy in a newspaper interview.   

“A lot of times, she would watch the kids as they ate lunch and looked for the ones who didn’t have much – if anything at all,” said Brown of her mother, who sometimes took out loans to feed students, put shoes on their feet, and buy up-to-date books. “Then, my mother would go up the street to the corner store and buy luncheon meat for those kids, so they could have lunch, too. I looked at my mother’s passion and the love she put into teaching and helping children. And I said, ‘I want to do that, too. I want to … make that kind of difference.’”  

Frances Worthington was one of many students at Lincoln Elementary whose life was impacted by Collins. Now 82, the Bristol resident recalled how Collins made it possible for her to attend school and get an education.   

Mary Collins assisting gentleman with reading at Job Corps.

“I lost a lot of time in school because my mother had to go to work and I had to stay home and babysit my baby sister,” said Worthington. “Ms. Collins told my mother that I could bring my sister Margaret with me to school, and that she would not be any trouble. She was a loving person.”  

Mary Collins passed away during Hayes’ first year in college. But before she died, Hayes said they talked about her becoming a teacher.   

“She influenced me to the point I went to the Governor’s School for Teachers in 1993,” Hayes said of Collins, who was chosen to participate in a prestigious National Science Foundation program in 1961. “One of my proudest moments is her going with me and sitting at the table when we were graduating from governor’s school.”  

Hayes said she hopes to enroll at Tennessee State University in the fall to pursue a doctorate and continue to be a “champion for education” like her grandmother, and mother.   

Mary Collins’ book of poetry and short stories.

“I want to be a part of their TSU legacy,” said Hayes.   

Dr. Jerri Haynes, dean of the College of Education at Tennessee State University, said the College is “guided by the pioneering work of educational luminaries like Ms. Mary Collins.”  

“Ms. Collins’ example of selflessness and dedication continues to impact the program’s emphasis on identifying and addressing the needs of all students, and tirelessly working to ensure that no child is left behind,” said Haynes.   

Reflective of Ms. Collins’ life work, Haynes said the TSU Educator Preparation Program stresses competence and caring with the goal of producing graduates who are highly qualified and passionate about student achievement. She said the accolades bestowed upon TSU’s education programs and the success of the graduates are testimony to Ms. Collins’ enduring legacy of excellence.   

TSU College of Education Dean, Dr. Jerri Haynes.

For instance, said Haynes, all programs in TSU’s EPP have been unconditionally approved by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) and by the State of Tennessee.  Recently, the Elementary Education program was recognized by the National Council on Teacher Quality for its diversity of teacher candidates, placing the program’s diversity in the top 21 percent of all nationally reviewed institutions. The Educational Leadership program has also had success. TSU has supplied more principals and assistant principals to Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) than any other institution. 

“Indeed, graduates of TSU’s EPP are sought after by school districts inside and outside the state,” said Haynes. “This demand only further confirms the competence and caring TSU graduates offer, characteristics reminiscent of a pioneering TSU alumna, Mary Collins.”  

To learn more about TSU’s College of Education, visit https://www.tnstate.edu/coe/

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 39 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and eight doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU alum and longtime public policy practitioner receives top American Society for Public Administration award

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Dr. Cliff Lippard, a Tennessee State University alum and top graduate of the university’s public administration program, is the recipient of the 2021 Donald C. Stone Practitioner Award by the American Society for Public Administration, or ASPA.

Dr. Cliff Lippard

Presented by ASPA’s section on Intergovernmental Administration and Management, the award recognizes outstanding practitioners for their contributions to intergovernmental relations and management.

Lippard, executive director of the Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations, holds MPA and Ph.D. degrees from TSU. He was nominated for the award for his leadership of the Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations and strong support for research and program evaluation of the federal system. The award will be presented at the ASPA national conference on April 12.

“I see this honor as another validation of the work that my team at TACIR and our commission members do to analyze and find solutions to the tricky public policy problems faced across jurisdictions and levels of government here in Tennessee,” Lippard said, crediting TSU for the preparation he received.

“The faculty and students of TSU and its public administration program have not only given me the skills necessary to be an engaged, effective public servant, they have also helped shape my belief that the academic community functions best when it is just that, a community. TSU is an integral part of my community,” he said.

Dr. Michael Harris, interim provost and vice president for academic affairs, was previously the dean of the College of Public Service.

“Dr. Lippard represents the hard work, dedication, and innovation we expect of College of Public Service graduates at TSU,” Harris said. “Recognition by ASPA is a true reflection of the leadership of CPS graduates serving in the public sector and the amazing faculty. Congratulations to Dr. Lippard!”

Dr. Elizabeth Williams, interim dean of the College of Public Service, said, “This award demonstrates TSU graduates’ power to effectuate positive change in the world. The College of Public Service celebrates Cliff Lippard as a leader who thinks, works, and serves.”

A longtime public policy practitioner, Lippard serves as an adjunct professor in the MPA program, and as president of the TSU chapter of Pi Alpha Alpha, the national honor society of public affairs and administration.

TSU’s College of Public Service offers graduate degrees and certificate programs in public policy and administration, as well as degrees in social work, urban studies, and professional studies.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State UniversityFounded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 39 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and eight doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU, Nashville Predators partnership continues to fulfill vision of student success

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University and the Nashville Predators say students are continuing to reap the benefits of their partnership, as intended, a year after it was announced. The two organizations formed the collaboration to promote student success through scholarships for retention, along with educational and employment opportunities. 

TSU President Glenda Glover

Last February, the Predators joined TSU in kicking off a campaign to raise $1 million in a month. The university exceeded its goal. But TSU and the Predators were of the same mindset to create initiatives that would have a long-standing impact after the fundraising campaign ended.  

“This historical partnership between TSU and the Nashville Predators, an HBCU and professional hockey team, is about sowing the seeds of success for our students in a sport where African Americans have had limited access,” said TSU President Glenda Glover.  

“We appreciate the leadership of President and CEO Sean Henry and his executive team for being trailblazers and continuing to provide a platform for TSU students to actively participate within the organization. They have been committed to this collaboration since the beginning and it has only grown stronger. This is especially meaningful to the TSU family in light of the social justice reckoning our country is experiencing.”

The Predators’ partnership with TSU falls in line with the National Hockey League’s “Hockey Is For Everyone” initiative, and the Predators’ effort to create positive change with their GUIDER (Growth, Understanding, Inclusion, Diversity, Equality and Representation) initiative, founded with the objective of diminishing the prevalence of social injustice.  

“When we announced the $1 million in one month campaign a year ago, we did so with a vision to make it bigger and better than just a short-term pledge,” said Predators President and CEO Sean Henry. “Since shattering that mark, and through all the wide range of events and social injustices of 2020, I could not have imagined just how impactful and comprehensive our partnership with TSU would become. Their assistance and involvement in the launch of our GUIDER Group, educational opportunities with our staff, and engagement in our internship program has helped elevate us both to unreached heights.”  

TSU sophomore Jaden Tyson

“Through their GUIDER diversity and inclusion initiatives, the Nashville Predators have actively sought opportunities to support and empower diverse leaders and change-makers in the Nashville area,” said Kim Davis, NHL Senior Executive Vice President of Social Impact, Growth Initiatives, and Legislative Affairs. “Developing a partnership with Tennessee State University, which has empowered generations of HBCU students, is an incredibly fitting manifestation of these goals and values. The relationship between the Predators and TSU demonstrates how collaborative efforts can powerfully strengthen the communities that NHL Clubs call home, whether that is through fundraising for those who need it most or maintaining ongoing dialogue for education and social change.”   

Among students benefitting from TSU’s partnership with the Predators is Jaden Tyson. The sophomore mass communications major at TSU has an internship at the Ford Ice Center this semester with the Predators.   

Tyson is part of the team’s Smashville Education 101 program and he’s making the most of his opportunity. He’s scheduled events at Ford Ice Center involving the Little Preds Learn to Play Programs, as well as finding coaches, referees and scorekeepers for various games, practices and events. Tyson also recently worked a Predators Get Out And Learn! (G.O.A.L!) event, giving him insight into what it takes to get children on the ice at the grassroots level.  

“Take in everything and be a sponge – that’s one thing I am learning,” Tyson said. “I’ve gotten better at taking it all in and seeing everything day by day, just observing and asking questions too. I would say ask as many questions as you can, because you never know when it will come back around. You want to ask it all because you never know how it could help you, whether it’s at your next internship or further down the line. You never know.”  

Frank Stevenson is TSU’s associate vice president of student affairs and dean of students. He said he’s looking forward to what the future holds for the university’s partnership with the Predators.   

TSU and Predators mascots.

“The Nashville Predators is an organization that has a long history of community partnership and support,” said Stevenson, who was recently selected to serve on the 2021 Nashville Predators Foundation board of directors. “We believe the experiences our TSU students will receive in collaboration with the Predators will benefit them immensely. They will be exposed to skills in a fast pace environment and learn from a top-notch local organization. We are excited to see this continue to grow.”  

As the semester continues, Tyson said his goal is to pass what he learns from this experience with the Predators on to fellow TSU students with the hope that they will consider getting internships, and like him, make the most of it.   

To learn more about the Predators’ initiative to promote positive change, visit http://bit.ly/37MX17T.

TSU alumna Debbi Howard rejoins university as new director of alumni relations

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University alumna Debbi Howard has returned to her alma mater as the new Director of Alumni Relations after nearly 30 years with the Tennessee Department of Transportation.

Debbi Howard

Howard, a native of Birmingham, Alabama, and lifetime member of the Tennessee State University National Alumni Association, and the President’s Society, earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from TSU in 1994. She also holds a master’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville.

Before assuming her new role at TSU on March 1, Howard spent 26 years as a civil/structural engineer with TDOT. During that time, she maintained active relationships with TSU by participating in events to increase alumni awareness and engagement, as well as outreach campaigns to raise funds for deserving students.

“I am excited about the opportunity to work with Debbi Howard,” says Jamie Isabel, TSU’s associate vice president of Institutional Advancement, Corporate Relations and Foundations. “She brings a fresh new set of eyes, and her exposure and experience will be a great benefit to Tennessee State University alumni. I am quite sure she will do great at solidifying and strengthening TSU’s alumni base.”

With a long lineage of more than 20 family members who have attended TSU, Howard says she is glad to be back to serve.

“I’m extremely excited and honored for the opportunity to be able to come back to my prestigious alma mater, Tennessee State University, to serve as your new director of alumni relations,” says Howard. “My goal is to not only recommence all of the wonderful traditions and alumni engagement events that are currently in place, but to galvanize our alumni base by creating partnerships, community engagement opportunities and incorporating exciting, innovative ideas and events that alums would enjoy and be proud of.”

In her other roles with the TSUNAA, Howard is co-chair and committee member of TSU’s Alumni Greek Society, and executive board member and event planner for the TSU Alumni Deltas (Absolutely AX) Greek Affinity Chapter.

Howard replaces Cassandra Griggs, who served in the position for eight years, and left TSU recently after serving the university in different positions for 25 years.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State UniversityFounded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 39 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and eight doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU Forensics team named national champions, top HBCU team in the country for second consecutive year

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University’s Forensics team was recently named the overall national champions and the top HBCU speech and debate team in the country for the second consecutive year.

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, this year’s HBCU National Speech and Debate Championship was held virtually Feb. 27-28. It featured 14 historically black colleges and universities. In addition to the overall win, TSU’s team walked away with 10 national championship titles, 54 total awards, and the top overall speaker in the tournament for the fourth consecutive year.

“The coaching staff and I are so proud of these students and what they were able to accomplish this season during a time like this,” said Sean Allen, a professor and TSU’s Director of Forensics.  “The switch from traveling during the year to suddenly learning to compete virtually was not an easy feat for the students nor the coaches. Not to mention, most of our practice sessions had to be done virtually. Keeping these students motivated was challenging, but they ultimately came together for their love of the activity and were able to make their best showing at the tournament to date.”

TSU sophomore Maya McClary placed first in the “Persuasive Speaking” category. She talked about the impact COVID-19 has had on prison systems, particularly the disparity in the death rate among black and white inmates. Statistics show 60 percent of inmates dying from the coronavirus are African American.

McClary said adjusting to competing virtually was challenging, but she credited coaches Allen and TSU Professor Earnest Mack with preparing the students to compete, regardless of the circumstance.

“Our coaches do a great job of making sure we’re left with little room for excuses,” said McClary, a mass communications major from Orlando, Florida. “During this pandemic, it was very difficult. But our coaches always require the best out of us. Because of our work ethic, it allowed us to do well.”

Dr. Samantha Morgan-Curtis, Interim Dean of the College of Liberal Arts at TSU, said the Forensics team’s success once again “showcases TSU excellence.”

“These results demonstrate the continued commitment of our faculty and students to lift student voices and their presence in the world,” said Morgan-Curtis.

Dr. Tameka Winston, Mass Communications Department Chair and Associate Vice President at TSU, agreed.

“Our talented students continue to display excellence and I’m so proud of their hard work,” said Winston. “I had the opportunity to attend the virtual championship this year and our students represented the university and the department well. Our wonderful coaches prepared our students to consistently produce and operate on the highest level. The next goal is to earn this title in 2022 and continue to take our team and the forensics area to new heights.”

Other Forensics team members that placed top in their categories include: Trey Gibson, “After Dinner Speaking”, “Poetry Interpretation”, and “Overall Individual Speaker”; Tayneria Gooden, “Program of Oral Interpretation”; Tayneria Gooden and Kierstan Tate, “Duo Interpretation”; Trae Hubbard, “Prose Interpretation”; and Chase Garrett, “Dramatic Interpretation”.

The TSU Forensics team, which claimed first place in “Individual Event Champions” and “Overall Tournament Champions”, will end their season April 16-20 at the National Forensics Association competition, an elite national tournament where students must qualify throughout the year to compete. For the first time in the team’s history, every member of the TSU team secured a qualification to compete in the competition. 

To learn more about TSU’s Forensics team and the Department of Communications, visit https://www.tnstate.edu/communications/forensics.aspx.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 39 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and eight doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

National Council on Teacher Quality names TSU’s teacher preparation programs among the best in the nation

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service)Tennessee State University’s undergraduate and graduate elementary teacher preparation programs have been named among the top in the country for contributing to greater teacher diversity by the National Council on Teacher Quality.

Dr. Jerri Haynes

TSU’s programs are among only 21 percent of the 1,256 NCTQ evaluated across the country and among only seven programs in Tennessee to be recognized in a new NCTQ report for enrolling a cohort of future teachers that is both more racially diverse than the current teacher workforce in their state and reflects the racial diversity of their local community.

Tennessee State University’s undergraduate elementary teacher preparation program was also named among the top in the country by NCTQ for Early Reading Instruction

Dr. Jerri Haynes, dean of the College of Education, said the college is excited to receive this prestigious NCTQ recognition.

“The College of Education continues to pave the path where ‘Excellence is our Habit’ in preparing our teacher candidates in both undergraduate and graduate programs to become effective teachers and leaders in rural, urban, and metropolitan school settings,” Haynes said.

Dionna Robinson

In its report, NCTQ, a nonpartisan, not-for-profit research and policy organization, said TSU’s programs showed clear evidence of dedicated course time, as well as measures where aspiring teachers must demonstrate their knowledge of the five key components of the science of reading: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension. This, the report added, puts TSU among the fewer than one-third of programs in Tennessee and nationally to earn an “A” on this NCTQ standard.

Dionna Robinson and Quinton Bolden are students in the teacher preparation program in the TSU College of Education. They are not surprised that NCTQ named their programs among the top in the nation.

Quinton Bolden

“We have amazing professors and advisors who go the extra mile to see us succeed,” said Robinson, a junior elementary education major from Huntsville, Alabama. “From the start, my advisor opened my eyes to making the right decision about my career goal, and I have not regretted it.”

For Bolden, who will graduate in May with a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education, the NCTQ recognition underscores the dedication and care “my professors show to make sure I am not only successful in the classroom but how I approach my career in the future.”

“It is very uplifting for me to know you have people who care so much for your successful development. They provide me with all the tools I need to be successful,” said Bolden, a native of Earl, Arkansas. “

With a long record of an outstanding teacher preparation in the country, TSU’s recognition by the NCTQ is only the latest accolade for the College of Education.    About two years ago, the university was recognized as the highest producer of teachers among historically black universities and colleges in the nation. A year ago, TSU received $600,000 from the Tennessee Department of Education to train educators to become assistant principals in Middle Tennessee school districts.

To learn more about the College of Education, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/coe/.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State UniversityFounded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 39 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and eight doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU using $25,000 gift from Renasant Bank to help students succeed during pandemic

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University is using a $25,000 donation from Renasant Bank to help fulfill student needs, particularly during the pandemic. Officials say the funds will go toward assisting students in need of financial support, as well as making sure they have the tools they need to complete their coursework.

In a letter, Renasant Bank said the financial donation is in support of “student emergency scholarship” at TSU, as part of its legacy of strong community service. In addition to Tennessee, Renasant serves communities in Mississippi, Alabama, Florida and Georgia.

“TSU is grateful to Renasant Bank for its support of the institution and our students,” says President Glenda Glover. “We made a commitment to students that the university would ensure quality of student learning and their academic success during this pandemic. This gift from Renasant helps us keep that promise by providing much needed support for students as we enter the spring semester.”

Tracey Morant Adams, Renasant Bank’s senior executive vice president, says, “When the unfortunate circumstances of the pandemic began to impact our communities, Renasant made an intentional decision to redirect much of our charitable donations to support COVID relief efforts. Our support of TSU’s student emergency scholarship program demonstrates a sincere desire of community service by our company during a very critical time.”

Danielle Glenn

Currently, there are about 1,600 students living on campus, that’s about 50 percent of full occupancy. Classes are offered in hybrid, online and in face-to-face formats, including distance learning. For various reasons, many students have chosen to live on campus, stay in their dorm rooms, and complete their courses online.

Danielle Glenn, a junior criminal justice major from Atlanta, who lives on campus and takes classes online, says she is “extremely” happy that Renasant Bank is helping students “at this very critical” time.

“This is a great way to help many students stay in school,” says Glenn. “Many students are facing some real hard time, and this money will help many of them continue their education, especially during this pandemic.”

Tiant Perry, Jr.

Junior accounting major Tiant Perry, Jr., from Montgomery, Alabama, agrees.

“When I heard about the gift from Renasant Bank I was really happy because there are students on campus right now with balances that they don’t know how they are going to settle,” says Perry. “This generous donation will go a long way to help out many students on campus.”

Jamie Isabel, TSU’s associate vice president of Institutional Advancement, Corporate Relations and Foundations, says the financial gift from Renasant is an example of the bank’s commitment to the university, and the “value of corporate partners to students and the university.”

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State UniversityFounded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 39 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and eight doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

One year after tornado, TSU family remembers community support, help from ‘total strangers’

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University may have been caught in the devastation of a tornado that hit northwest and east Nashville early last March, but the campus family also experienced an outpouring of community support and resilience in the aftermath that has fostered healing and a spirit to rebuild.

President Glenda Glover pets 1-year-old Gracie the goat, which was born the night of the tornado. Gracie’s mother survived the storm and gave birth to two kids that night. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

“It was so much outpouring of love and support. People came from different places on different days,” says Dr. Glenda Glover, president of TSU. “Nashvillians stuck together, some students were on spring break and when they came back, they jumped in. We were overwhelmed with the level of love and support and care.” 

March 3 marked the one-year anniversary of the EF2 tornado that struck shortly after midnight. TSU’s Agriculture Farm took the biggest hit. Five of six structures, including research facilities, greenhouses, and a pavilion, were reduced to rubble. Two calves were killed, and several goats injured.

Dr. Chandra Reddy, Dean of the College of Agriculture, talks to a reporter from the spot where the nearly 300-seat pavilion once stood. The pavilion and several other structures were damaged. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

Other parts of the main campus received damage to signs and building rooftops, as well as downed power lines, uprooted trees, and other debris. About 85 students who did not go away for the spring break were on campus, but no injuries were reported.

Officials estimate total damage to the campus to be about $20 million.

However, amid the scars of what was lost or destroyed, one thing that has stood out is the volunteerism displayed by people from all walks of life. When asked what they remembered most about the tornado and the aftermath, faculty, staff, and students noted the general outpouring of support from total strangers.

Dr. S. Keith Hargrove, Dean of the College of Engineering, right, led a team of faculty, staff, student and community volunteers to remove debris. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

Jeia Moore arrived in Nashville from her spring break a few days after the storm hit.  

“It was sad to see my campus like that because so much student work had been lost,” says Moore, a junior information systems major from Memphis, Tennessee. A year later, however, Moore is impressed with how the university has been able to pull through, even with the onset of the coronavirus at the same time. 

“TSU, we are not going to be down too long. We are going to come back,” says Moore. “I am just happy that we are still able to function like we never missed a beat.” 

Volunteers from all walks of life signed up to help with the cleanup effort after the tornado. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

Bryce Daniel, a junior health sciences major from Fort Worth, Texas, was in his dorm room in Hale Hall when the storm hit. Hale Hall was not affected, but the sight of the destruction on the other side of campus was too overwhelming for Daniel to ignore. 

“I immediately felt I needed to give back and help my campus recover,” says Daniel, who’s part of “Generation of Educated Men,” or GEM, a social and educational student group. The group mobilized and was among the first volunteers to join the cleanup effort on the Ag farm. 

Members of Generation of Educated Men, a campus group of TSU students, were among the first volunteers to join the cleanup effort. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

“I was glad to be safe and blessed to still have all of my things. So, it was just natural to go and give back to help clean up my campus,” says Daniel. 

Some renovations on the main campus are either completed or ongoing. As for the Ag farm, TSU officials say discussions with state and federal agencies and insurance underwriters are ongoing, and construction should start soon and be completed by year’s end.  

“Effort to reconstruct is slower, complicated by the COVID-19 pandemic. But we are moving along, it might take some time, but we will get there,” says Glover. 

Debris was thrown about in every corner of the Ag farm in the aftermath of the tornado. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

On the learning aspect, she says it’s been a grueling year, because things are at a slower pace. How students are taught changed drastically, with teaching and learning now about 85 percent virtual.  

“We have some aspects that are not virtual, and we do require in-person learning, so we want to make sure that is taken care of,” says Glover. “Once COVID has run its course, we believe that we will be moving at a faster pace.” 

Dr. Curtis Johnson, associate vice president and chief of staff, heads the reconstruction effort at TSU. He says recovery will take time, but the main concern is making sure teaching and research are not affected.

As the days went by, more volunteers showed up to lend a hand in the cleanup. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

“We look forward to rebuilding a better campus,” says Johnson. “We expect our rebuilding to have better structure, better technology. ”

Dr. Chandra Reddy, dean of the College of Agriculture, agrees, saying the goal is to “make sure all of our buildings and research facilities are much better and much stronger.” 

On the show of support, Frank Stevenson, associate vice president of student affairs and dean of students, says in the aftermath of the storm he saw a campus community determined to bounce back, “not only to represent Tiger pride, but the city of Nashville strong.” 

“Our students, faculty, staff, everyone put the gloves on, rolled up their sleeves and were committed to making our campus continue in the space of beauty,” says Stevenson. 

GEM member Derrick Sanders, a junior secondary English education major from Cincinnati, Ohio, who drove into Nashville the next morning amid the destruction, says “it felt so good to see people come together for the enhancement of TSU.”

“I saw people from the community, people from different churches, even students giving out anything they had to help. It just felt good to know that we are a family, and we can help each other,” says Sanders.