Category Archives: FACULTY

TSU Professor Receives TV Faculty Program Executives Fellowship

Melissa Richie
Melissa Richie

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Assistant professor of Mass Communications, Melissa Richie, has been chosen as a National Association of Television Program Executives Faculty Fellowship recipient for the January 2014 NATPE Marketplace and Conference.

The conference, which takes place Jan. 25-29 in Miami, provides selected college and university media faculty with complete access to sessions and activities of the annual NATPE Market and Conference, and exposes the educational community to current television issues and practices, and fosters improved communication and cooperation between educators and the industry.

“I am honored to be able to attend this conference and meet one-on-one with television executives and members of the industry,” said Richie. “This is something that energizes you, and keeps you up-to-date on what is going on in the industry. I look forward to being able to bring back a tremendous amount of useful information that I can share with our faculty and staff on any emerging trends.”

Richie has been teaching video production courses at the University since 2008. She came to Tennessee State University from the Walt Disney World Company in Orlando, Fla., where she spent nearly 10 years producing internal communication videos throughout the Disney Company as well as working with the development and production of the weekly news program, Studio News, at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. She also worked as a freelance video editor for a variety of video projects, commercials, animation, and a children’s music education project for Warner Brothers Publications.

She has been a postproduction video editor for 12 years. She was the editor for a documentary project called Stephen Burrows World, which screened in New York City at the Fashion Institute of Technology theatre. Her experience also includes directing and editing her own short films for the festival circuit.

Celebrating more than 50 years of service to the ever-evolving global television industry, NATPE continues to redefine itself and the services it provides to meet the needs of its members and the industry. NATPE conducts an annual conference that attracts executives from around the world for sessions featuring leaders from all facets of the global telecommunications industry, along with hundreds of exhibiting companies.

 

 

Department of Media Relations
Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

 

 

About Tennessee State University

With nearly 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 22 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

National Organization Appoints TSU Honors Program Director to Top Office

Dr. Coreen Jackson
Dr. Coreen Jackson

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The Director of the Tennessee State University Honors Program has another job title to add to her already building resume. Dr. Coreen Jackson can now add Vice President and President of the National Association of African American Honors Programs.

Jackson assumed the new roles of the NAAAHP when she was appointed as vice president for 2013-2014 and president-elect for 2014-2015 during the annual conference held Oct. 31 through Nov. 2 at Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach, Fla.

“I am extremely proud and grateful for the vision the group of Honors Directors from 20 Historically Black and Predominantly Black Colleges and Universities had more than 22 years ago, as they met at Morehouse College in Atlanta, to discuss plans for a national organization of honors programs designed to address the needs of honors education for African Americans,” Jackson told the audience of more than 200 honors scholars, honors directors, faculty and staff.

Jackson echoed the recent remarks made by Dr. Glenda Baskin Glover’s during the president’s inauguration address in which she acknowledged the TSU Honors Program for giving her roots and wings. Jackson explained that honors colleges and programs are laying the strong roots of excellence, while the NAAAHP can aid scholars in the honors program by helping them expand their wings.

“These early visionaries saw the awesome potential and possibilities of what we could accomplish through giving our Honors scholars ‘roots and wings.’  Roots to lay a sound academic foundation of excellence in research, scholarship, leadership and service, and wings to soar beyond our imagination to impact communities, the nation and the global marketplace,” Jackson said.

Jackson, a native of Jamaica, is a veteran professor of 19 years, holding several national offices including chair of the Multi-Cultural Research Division of the Broadcast Education Association.

 

 

Department of Media Relations
Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

 

 

About Tennessee State University

With nearly 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 22 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU Assistant Athletic Director Selected for NAACP Image Awards Committee

NAACP_Image_AwardNASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU Sports Information) – After being a nominee for an NAACP award in 2012, Tennessee State University’s Assistant Athletic Director for Academic Services, will once again be involved in the awards program, only this time as a member of this year’s nominating committee.

Dr. Johnnie Smith
Dr. Johnnie Smith

Dr. Johnnie Smith, who works closely with TSU’s student-athletes and their academic development, will be a part of the NAACP’s awards to honor great achievements in many areas.

“I am humbly appreciative of this prestigious honor and grateful to the NAACP Image Award Executive Board for inviting me to participate and share my expertise,” said Smith of her selection.

Nominating committee and sub-committees are comprised of individuals within the entertainment industry such as studio and network executives, actors, artists, managers, agents, publicists, journalist, literary agents and others, as well as NAACP board members, executives and staff.

Smith will participate as a member of the nominating committee in the Instructional Literary category. As a member of the committee, Smith’s will read a number of book selections to determine the finalists in the category.

In 2012, Smith was honored by NAACP as a nominee for the Instructional Literary category for her book “Succeed Indeed featuring Academic Boot Camp.” With her achievements in academics, Smith believes her success will allow current student-athletes to achieve even more at Tennessee State and beyond.

“By being a part of this committee, it will allow me to inspire student-athletes to excel in the classroom and on the field so that they may reach an outstanding level in their respective careers,” said Dr. Smith.

The NAACP Image Awards is the nation’s premier multi-cultural awards show. The event celebrates the outstanding achievements and performances of people of color in the arts, as well as those individuals or groups who promote social justice through their creative endeavors.

 

 

 

 

Department of Media Relations
Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

 

 

About Tennessee State University

With nearly 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 22 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU’s College of Agriculture adds new program in Biotechnology

biotechnologyNASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University’s College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences has received approval from the Tennessee Board of Regents to begin offering a concentration in Biotechnology within the Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Sciences.

The Biotechnology concentration will join Agribusiness, Agricultural and Extension Education, Animal Sciences/Pre-Veterinary Medicine, Applied Geospatial Information Systems (GIS), Food Technology, and Plant and Soil Sciences within the B.S. degree.

“Biotechnology is a field with vast potential for crop improvement that can achieve resistance to drought, disease and pests,” said Dr. Chandra Reddy, dean of the College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences. “This field and this improvement are necessary to achieve worldwide food security.”

The new concentration will provide hands-on training and first-rate knowledge to students in what, according to the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, is one of the job fields with the most demand for employment.

“This concentration will help train our students in the modern field of biotechnology using the latest gene sequencers and other state-of-the-art equipment,” Reddy added.  “Our goal at TSU is to train our students in these modern agricultural technologies so that they find gainful employment and become future leaders in these high-demand fields.”

A concentration in Agricultural Biotechnology can lead to a variety of challenging careers, including Biomedical Engineering, Epidemiology, Forensic DNA Analysis, Microbiology, and many more.

To help accommodate this and other new programs in high-demand scientific fields, the College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences has been focused on strategic expansion.

“To make sure that our students get the best training, we have been hiring first-class geneticists, equipping our labs with modern equipment, and constructing a 25,000 sq. ft., 8-million dollar Agricultural Biotechnology Building which will be ready along with the new concentration in January 2014,” Reddy said. “We are quite excited about the future of agricultural biotechnology at TSU.”

 

 

 

 

Department of Media Relations
Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

 

 

About Tennessee State University

With nearly 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 22 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU Research Team receives $2 million Air Force grant to study strategic initiatives

Capt. Jason Simmons and Staff Sgt. Clinton Tips update anti-virus software for Air Force units to assist in the prevention of cyberspace hackers  at Barksdale Air Force Base, La. Tennessee State University was recently awarded a grant from the Air Force Research Laboratory to help the study adopting cloud-computing model for soldiers equipped with smartphones and how its effects on cybersecurity.  (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Cecilio Ricardo)
Capt. Jason Simmons and Staff Sgt. Clinton Tips update anti-virus software for Air Force units to assist in the prevention of cyberspace hackers at Barksdale Air Force Base, La. Tennessee State University was recently awarded a grant from the Air Force Research Laboratory to study the adoption of a cloud-computing model for soldiers equipped with smartphones and their effects on cybersecurity. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Cecilio Ricardo)

AFRLNASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – A team of researchers at Tennessee State University has received a multimillion dollar grant to study the development, discovery and integration of warfighting technologies to support air, space and cyberspace forces with the Department of Defense.

The U. S. Air Force Research Laboratory awarded the College of Engineering a multiyear grant worth nearly $2 million to study power sources for air and space vehicles, and to study how to intelligently adapt communications and networks to provide friendly forces unfettered and reliable communications during joint forces operations. During the five-year term of the grant, five graduate and 10 undergraduate students will work side-by-side faculty members in their research efforts.

“The College of Engineering continues to compete in this highly competitive field of advanced research that supports the mission of the Air Force Research Laboratory,” said Dr. S. Keith Hargrove, dean of the College. “For more than a decade, we have conducted research in advanced sensors for military surveillance, aircraft electronics (avionics), and product reliability.”

The $1.93 million funding from the Air Force Research Laboratory, which comes from the, Materials and Sensors Directorates, will be used to fund five separate projects.

The one Materials project will focus on lithium Ion batteries used to power aerospace platforms, such as the F-35 Lightning II jet fighter, satellites and remotely piloted vehicles, with researchers developing analytical models for behavior, performance, reliability and cost of the batteries. The research team includes Drs. Hargrove, Landon Onyebueke and Lizhi Ouyang.

Three Sensors projects will include research in communication in congested electromagnetic environments; layered sensing exploitation and fusion in contested environments; and cross layers decision-making and fusion models for automated sensor exploitation in layered sensing. A fourth project will cover cyber security and will look at how to adopt a cloud-computing model needed for soldiers equipped with smartphones to enhance mission outcomes.

Researchers include Drs. Liang Hong, Wei Chen, Amir Shirkhodaie, Saleh Zein-Sabatto, Fenghui Yao, Sachin Shetty, and Tamara Rogers.

According to Hargrove, the funding supports faculty and students in research activities, and partners the College of Engineering with Clarkson Aerospace, a minority-owned business, and United Technologies Corporation.

“We are targeting our research activities relevant to key strategic initiatives advocated by the National Academy of Engineering, and we want to collaborate with local industry to advance these technologies that will benefit the consumer and military within the next decade,” Hargrove added.

The College of Engineering has been awarded multiple grants from the Department of Defense throughout the year, including a $334,000 grant from the U.S. Army Research Office to research automated surveillance systems.

 

 

 

 

Department of Media Relations
Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

 

 

About Tennessee State University

With nearly 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 22 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

 

Tennessee State University Welcomes Honors Program Founder

University Honors Program founder, Dr. McDonald Williams (third from left) recently returned to campus to attend the Presidential Inauguration and to meet with current honors students. Joining his visit was (L-R) Dr. Sandra Holt, the fourth director of the program, Williams' wife, Dr. Jaime Williams, and Dr. Coreen Jackson, current director of the program. (photo by John Cross, TSU Media Relations)
University Honors Program founder, Dr. McDonald Williams (third from left) recently returned to campus to attend the Presidential Inauguration and to meet with current honors students. Joining his visit was (L-R) Dr. Sandra Holt, the fourth director of the program, Williams’ wife, Dr. Jaime Williams, and Dr. Coreen Jackson, current director of the program. (photos by Dr. Lee McGahey, associate director, TSU Honors Program)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – In her recent inaugural address, Dr. Glenda Baskin Glover welcomed many of the special people in her life that helped her become the person she is today and obtain the position as the first female president of the University.

One of those in attendance was Dr. McDonald Williams, the first director of the University Honors Program, who she credited with helping to keep her in school.

Williams stood to a round of applause as Dr. Glover told the crowd that he was one of the many people who gave her “roots and wings.” Dr. Glover, a graduate of the Honors Program, was a student during Williams’ tenure as director from 1966 to 1988.

“Roots and wings are the greatest gift a university can give to its students,” Dr. Glover said, adding that roots can help a student lay the foundation of success, while wings can help them to soar as high as possible.

Williams is credited with helping develop the program after the University saw the need in 1964 to keep up with other institutions, and to offer a rich and challenging set of academic offerings to talented and highly motivated students through special courses, research and a vigorous intellectual community. In 1995, the honors center was named the McDonald Williams Honors Center due to his dedication and commitment to the program.

Following the presidential inauguration ceremony, Dr. Coreen Jackson, the current director of the program, hosted a Meet & Greet reception in Williams’ honor. Those attending the special reception included honors alumni, former director, Dr. Sandra Holt and current honor students. Also attending was Williams’ wife, Dr. Jaime Williams, former TSU Communications Chair, and their daughter, Donna.

“This was history in the making,” said Jackson. “We may never have this awesome opportunity again to have our Honors students celebrate and be inspired by the first director of the Honors program as he recounted history, achievement and success.”

During his visit to campus, Williams and his wife, Dr. Jaime Williams, former TSU Communications Chair, met with current honors program students.
During his visit to campus, Williams and his wife, Dr. Jaime Williams, former TSU Communications Chair, met with current Honors Program students.

Williams shared what life was like as the first director of the University Honors Program with the eager crowd. He recounted the small beginnings, the tenacity of his students, the successes and achievements accomplished.

“He told the current students to appreciate all the opportunities they have today because during his time they did not have the space and excellent facilities they are enjoying today,” added Jackson.

After motivating the students and congratulating the Honors Alumni, his wife, Dr. Jaime Williams, recounted her time at TSU, and shared a unique story about Oprah Winfrey, who at the time was only three hours away from graduating from the Speech & Theatre Department.

“Oprah was offered a job with a TV station in Baltimore which later led to another television job in Chicago,” added Jamie Williams.  “I later contacted Oprah and invited her to be the commencement speaker but told her she needed to complete a documentary to satisfy her three hours so that she could graduate, which she did. The day of the commencement she flew in a private jet to deliver her commencement address and to graduate.”

Jackson also recognized and invited Dr. Sandra Holt, the fourth director of the Honors Program the opportunity to address students and Alumni. Holt, who retired from the program the beginning of the year, expressed her appreciation to Drs. Williams, Dr. Jackson, and encouraged the current students to continue to strive towards excellence.

“I am very happy to know that the Honors Program is in good hands,” McDonald Williams told Jackson as they walked later to the Inaugural luncheon. “I know Dr. Glover will take good care of you and the program. I am very pleased to see the beautiful facility Dr. Glover has given you.”

With a note of assurance in his voice, a twinkle in his eyes and a smile on his lips, Dr. Williams remarked, “the future for Honors is bright.”

 

 

 

 

 

Department of Media Relations
Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

 

 

About Tennessee State University

With nearly 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 22 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

 

College of Ag Executive Council Receives Prestigious USDA Partnership Award

Members of the College of Agriculture Executive Council are Front row (from left): Dr. Jan Emerson, Dr. Gearldean Johnson, Ms. Rhonda Moore Back row (from left): Dr. Surendra Singh, Dr. Muhammad Karim, Dr. Carter Catlin, Dr. Chandra Reddy, Mr. William Hayslett, Dr. Latif Lighari Members of the CAHNS EC not pictured: Mr. Sam Comer, Dr. Nick Gawel, Dr. Terrance Johnson, Dr. Roger Sauve. (courtesy photo)
Members of the College of Agriculture Executive Council are Front row (from left): Dr. Jan Emerson, Dr. Gearldean Johnson, Ms. Rhonda Moore
Back row (from left): Dr. Surendra Singh, Dr. Mohammad Karim, Dr. Carter Catlin, Dr. Chandra Reddy, Mr. William Hayslett, Dr. Latif Lighari
Members of the CAHNS EC not pictured: Mr. Sam Comer, Dr. Nick Gawel, Dr. Terrance Johnson, Dr. Roger Sauve. (courtesy photo)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences has received the prestigious National Institute of Food and Agriculture Partnership Award for Effective and Efficient Use of Resources.

The award, directed at the CAHNS Executive Council, recognized the group for its “exemplary work and outstanding contribution” in support of the mission of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and for its positive impact on agriculture.

“NIFA recognizes that there are many outstanding contributions that our partners in the land-grant universities and other cooperating institutions and organizations achieve,” said Dr. Sonny Ramaswamy, director of NIFA. “[We] want to recognize them through this awards program.”

The award will be presented in Washington, D.C., Nov. 10 at the annual meeting of the Association of Public Land-Grant Universities.

“We are quite ecstatic about this recognition as it validates our restructuring effort and recognizes our growth and leadership success,” said Dr. Chandra Reddy, dean of CAHNS,” under whose leadership the Executive Council worked to identify and execute strategies to boost enrollment and graduation rates, enhance outreach activities and improve research efforts.

The Council, which comprises associate deans, department heads, and research center directors, among others, was established in 2008 by Dr. Reddy to serve as a policy-making and program-coordinating arm of the college.

Under the Council’ guidance, the College has doubled its student enrollment in agricultural and family and consumer sciences, tripled its research portfolio in five years, and expanded its outreach efforts to 46 counties from 12 counties in 2008, while graduate enrollment in Agricultural and Environmental Sciences has grown to more than 100 students from 11 students in the same year.

NIFA, one of the four research, education and economics agencies of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, also recognized the CAHNS Executive Council’s help in governing and integrating the academics, research and outreach of the College, as well as helping the College secure funds to improve its physical facilities, including a 25,000-square-foot agricultural biotechnology building, a new open-roof greenhouse range, a state-of-the-art landscape studio, and a 4,800-square-foot. agriculture teaching/research facility.

“The NIFA partnership award provides positive feedback for the hard work of the Executive Committee,” added Dr. Reddy, who was recently recognized as one of the top professors at Historically Black Colleges, by Affordable Colleges Online.

 

 

 

Department of Media Relations
Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

 

About Tennessee State University
With nearly 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 22 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU Receives $2.5 Million Grant from National Science Foundation

Dr. Lonnie Sharpe
Dr. Lonnie Sharpe

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University recently received a $2.5 million grant to implement and lead the Tennessee Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority participation in support of underrepresented students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

The National Science Foundation grant will cover a period of five years, paying $493, 207 per year to significantly increase the number of baccalaureate degrees awarded to students majoring in STEM disciplines while meeting the future needs of government, industry and education.

“This grant will impact nearly 3,800 underrepresented students throughout Tennessee, and increase the production and quality of minorities pursuing STEM careers,” said Dr. Lonnie Sharpe, Massie Chair of Excellence and co-principal investigator of the grant. “I am pleased that our excellent STEM faculty and alliance partners are committed to work together to have an impact at both ends of the collegiate pipeline, from community college to graduate school, to engage a diverse pool of students in the STEM enterprise.”

LSAMP supports sustained and comprehensive approaches that facilitate the long-term goal of increasing the number of students who earn doctorates in STEM fields, particularly those from populations underrepresented in STEM fields. Phase I awards, which TSU first received in 2002, places emphasis on aggregate baccalaureate production. The University then received a Phase II award in 2008 to augment Phase I with emphasis on individual student retention and progression to baccalaureate degrees. The recent grant, which covers Phase III, augments Phase I and Phase II with attention to aggregate student progression to graduate school acceptance.

The program goals are accomplished through the formation of alliances of colleges and universities across the region, in which TSU acts as the lead campus. Other institutions in the alliance include LeMoyne-Owen College, Fisk University, Middle Tennessee State University, Nashville State Community College, Southwest Tennessee Community College, Tennessee Technological University, University of Memphis, University of Tennessee-Knoxville, and Vanderbilt University.

“This grant provides tremendous opportunities for us to increase the number of minority undergraduates in STEM,” added Sharpe. “This will ultimately increase the number of students pursuing graduate studies in the STEM workforce that drives the security and economy of our nation.”

 

 

 

 

 

Department of Media Relations
Tennessee State University
3500 John A. Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331


About Tennessee State University

With nearly 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university and is a comprehensive, urban, coeducational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 22 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top Universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912 Tennessee State University celebrates 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu

TSU Students Use Latest Cellphone Apps and Technology to Identify Tree Species on Campus

Raphael Smith (left) a junior Agriculture major, and Kyreshia Brown, a junior Agriculture science major, take a photo of a holly leaf during a recent field exercise. The duo was taking part in a Geographic Information Systems class in Urban Forestry that uses technology to identify and locate tree species around campus. (photo by Rick DelaHaya, TSU Media Relations)
Raphael Smith (left) a junior Agriculture major, and Kyreshia Brown, a junior Agriculture science major, take a photo of a holly leaf during a recent field exercise. The duo was taking part in a Geographic Information Systems class in Urban Forestry that uses technology to identify and locate tree species around campus. (photo by Rick DelaHaya, TSU Media Relations)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Planning and managing vegetation in urban areas can be a complex process, especially when it comes to identifying and locating trees around a 500-acre campus the size of Tennessee State University.

Now students at TSU are using the latest cellphone and GPS technology to inventory and catalogue the multiple species across the University’s urban forest.

Using Leafsnap, an application designed by Columbia University, the University of Maryland and the Smithsonian Institution, students can simply take a photo of a leaf from one of the many trees around campus, and the recognition software will provide a high-resolution identification of the tree species.

“This is a great hands-on tool for many of our students who come from different backgrounds and majors to help identify the different species here on campus,” said Dr. De’Etra Young, extension assistant professor of Urban Forestry. “It really is the perfect application for providing an electronic guide to take out in the field for research purposes.”

(Video courtesy of The Tennessean)

The students are all in Young’s Fundamentals of Geographic Information Systems class, that explains the computer-based tool used to create, store, manage, analyze and display data that correspond to unique locations in space. According to Young, the tool allows users to analyze and visualize information based on location.

“Many of our students are in various agriculture programs and have had no previous exposure to these types of programs and tools,” added Young. “The free applications, such as Leafsnap, give them the tools to be able to go out into the field and be comfortable conducting research.”

Kyreshia Brown, a junior planning to attend veterinary school and couldn’t tell the difference between a maple or oak tree, loved that she could use her cell phone to help her easily identify different species.

“This really is a good compliment to what we are learning in class,” said the agriculture science major. “We are using high-tech applications that fit right in the palm of our hands.”

Once the students identify the trees, they then use hand-held GPS systems to locate the trees. Eventually, the descriptions and locations will be fed into a database that will map every tree on campus.

The map will then provide a visual representation of the University’s urban forest and its overall inventory.

“This is all part of our green initiative here on campus,” added Young. “Our students are learning about the health and diversity of our urban forest by using these simple high-tech tools to gather the information. The students seem to be really excited about the project.”

TSU will receive the Tree Campus USA designation from the Arbor Day Foundation Sunday, Oct. 6 for its part in promoting healthy trees and engaging staff and students in conservation efforts. Tennessee State will become one of only 190 universities and colleges across the country to receive the special designation. The program, funded by the Arbor Day Foundation and Toyota, has helped campuses throughout the country plant hundreds of thousands of trees since the program began five years ago.

 

Department of Media Relations
Tennessee State University
3500 John A. Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331


About Tennessee State University

With nearly 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university and is a comprehensive, urban, coeducational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 22 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top Universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912 Tennessee State University celebrates 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu

TSU Jazz Collegiates Help Open Exchange Opportunities in Colombia Through Music

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University is hoping a trip to Colombia, South America this summer by the University’s Collegiate Jazz Band will open doors for both educational and cultural exchange opportunities for students in the near future.

This past August, the 20-piece jazz band was invited to perform at the Flower Festival, Colombia’s largest jazz festival that attracts thousands from around the country. Acting as ambassadors for the University, the band was the only American university to perform, exposing more than 6,000 attendees to their special brand of music and performance style.

“They were basically treated like rock stars,” said Dr. Jewell Winn, TSU Chief Diversity Officer. “They were able to bridge the cultural gap through their music. The band was very well received wherever they went, and not only helped to open doors for other TSU students to travel here, but also students from Colombia to come to Tennessee State as part of cultural and academic exchange programs.”

The trip came about after Dr. Winn gave a presentation last spring on diversity and exchange programs currently taking place at the University.  The Director of the Colombo Americano Center of Medellin also presented at the meeting and extended an invitation to TSU, Julliard and the University of Vermont to conduct jazz workshops at local universities throughout Colombia.  This initiative was so successful that after the quartet returned to Nashville, Winn received a call not only inviting the Jazz Collegians to perform at the Mardi Gras-style festival, but also inviting her to meet with different universities to discuss exchange opportunities.

(Watch the Tennessee State University’s Big Band Jazz in Medellín, Colombia)

 

“It was exciting because I was able to meet with university officials one-on-one to discuss study abroad and exchange projects,” she added. “I missed the Education USA conference due to other commitments, so to be given this personal opportunity to meet with university and government officials, and students in Medellin, Bucaramanga, and Choco, was quite exciting.”

During the seven-day trip, Winn met with five different universities including the University of Antioquia, ESUMER University, the Technological University of Choco, EAFIT University and Pontifica Bolivariana University.

During each visit, according to Winn, administrators were interested in exchange programs with TSU faculty to conduct research and teach at their institutions as well as providing opportunities for their students to attend graduate school at TSU.

“It was all about establishing relationships with these sister institutions,” added Winn.  “The next step is to sign Memorandums of Understanding. This is the perfect opportunity to recruit high-achieving students from Latin American countries to attend TSU, especially because of the growth of the Latino population in Nashville.”

While Dr. Winn was visiting universities around the capitol city, the Collegiate Jazz Band was busy preforming not only at the festival, but smaller venues such as malls and schools.

“It really was an eye-opening experience for us,” said James Sexton, Director of Collegiate Bands. “It showed that no matter the cultural or language difference, that music really is something that transcends any cultural gap.”

The band played six concerts during their seven-day stay, and according to Sexton, at least 3,000 people attended each.

“It was a thrill to see the audience and their excitement for each of our performances,” added Sexton.  “The audiences had never experienced the high-energy type shows we perform and they showed their appreciation through multiple standing ovations. Their love of music definitely showed through.”

Both Winn and Sexton believe the trip was successful as far as planting the seeds of future exchange programs. In the near future, Colombian students will attend TSU band camps to learn the mechanics and performance styles of a marching band, and in an unprecedented move, the entire Aristocrat of Bands has been invited to perform in the 2014 Flower Festival.

“This is going to allow us to provide cross-cultural experiences to our students so they can appreciate and learn the differences we all have especially now in a shrinking global environment,” said Winn.

 

 

Department of Media Relations
Tennessee State University
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Nashville, Tennessee 37209
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About Tennessee State University

With nearly 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university and is a comprehensive, urban, coeducational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 22 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top Universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912 Tennessee State University celebrates 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu