Category Archives: GRANTS

TSU President Glenda Glover says university focused on student success, no longer a ‘school of last resort’

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – TSU President Glenda Glover says the university is focused on student success, and is no longer a “school of last resort.”

logoThe president was part of a panel of educators, community and business leaders that spoke at a Black History Month luncheon on Feb. 8 organized by Cable Nashville, a leadership organization for women’s professional advancement.

The theme of the event was “Leadership Vision in Challenging Times.” Besides Glover, the panel featured the presidents of Nashville’s other historically black higher education institutions: Fisk University, Meharry Medical College, and American Baptist College.

Glover said, as an HBCU, Tennessee State has always opened its doors to all students, even those rejected by other institutions. But she said the university has shifted its focus “exclusively” to student success.

“Excellence remains our top priority, but we can’t be the school of last resort,” Glover said.

In October, Glover announced that TSU is raising its admission standards and enhancing student success initiatives to increase retention and graduation rates. Beginning this fall, all students must have a 2.5 GPA and a 19 on the ACT for admission to TSU. The previous admission scores were 2.25 or a 19 on the ACT for in-state students, and a 2.5 or 19 ACT for out-of-state students.

“The day is over when you can call and say, ‘I have a good student with a 1.9 GPA and has promise,’” Glover said. “Well, this may not be the time you want to apply to TSU. We are raising standards because I believe that quality attracts quality.”

Janet Rachel, a member of Cable and a 1977 graduate of TSU, attended the luncheon. She said she fully supports Dr. Glover’s “bold” decision on student success and the spike in admission standards.

“I believe that at the core of helping blacks succeed is not just education but quality education,” said Rachel, who is the talent acquisition manager for diversity relocation and career navigation at Vanderbilt University. “I am really glad about what I am hearing from Dr. Glover. I hope the alumni will step up and become more engaged and more involved.”

The other HBCU presidents on the panel were Dr. James E.K. Hildreth, Meharry Medical College; Dr. Forrest E. Harris, Sr., American Baptist College; and Frank Sims, Fisk University.

Susan Allen Huggins, president and CEO of Cable, said it was important to bring the HBCU presidents together because of the partnership and the important role their institutions play in the community in terms of diversity and molding minds.

“We (Cable) were founded because of our strong understanding of and belief in the importance of diversity and inclusion,” Huggins said. “The Nashville community wouldn’t be what it is without these historically black institutions and the tremendous contributions they are making.”

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 25 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

More than 300 TSU Students, Volunteers Participate in MLK, Jr. Day of Service

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University is continuing the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with an MLK Day of Service.

On Saturday, Jan. 21, more than 300 TSU students and volunteers participated in various projects around Nashville that included working with kids, assisting elderly residents, packing food, painting and hanging photos.

The MLK Day of Service at TSU is organized each year by the Center for Service Learning and Civic Engagement to give students, faculty and staff an opportunity to celebrate King’s legacy through service.

Service day (1)
TSU students Courtney Couser, left, and Cochilla Wright move boxes at Madison Middle School on MLK Day of Service. (Photo by John Cross, TSU Media Relations)

The center was one of six organizations to receive federal and matching funds two years ago from the Corporation for National and Community Service to mobilize volunteers to honor King’s memory through service projects.

“Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. believed in service, and this initiative falls in line with not just his belief, but TSU’s motto – Think. Work. Serve,” said TSU President Glenda Glover. “We’re proud that TSU was selected as one of six institutions to help lead this national service project.”

Like the other institutions, TSU mobilizes students and community volunteers to take on projects around the city.

IMG_1047 (1)
TSU students and volunteers clean the playground at Grace M. Eaton Child Care and Early Learning Center. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

Barbara Dudley, a senior economics and finance major, was one of about 25 students who cleaned windows, sanitized chairs and shelves, moved trash and cleaned the yard and the parking lot at Grace M. Eaton Child Care and Early Learning Center on Saturday.

“It feels really good to give back,” Dudley said. “I have always had a passion for service and for children and to be able to help at a day care just makes it more meaningful for me.”

Mahalia Howard, the executive director of the center, agrees.

“I think it is wonderful for young people to give back to the community,” she said. “What they are doing for us here today is a blessing because we are a non-profit. We don’t have the funds to pay for the things they are doing. What they are doing is helping to support at-risk students.”

In La Vergne, Tennessee, more than 30 volunteers performed various chores for elderly residents at AHEPA 343, an independent living apartment complex for seniors. They cleaned living areas, moved trash, hung pictures, and moved furniture.

Linda Tynan, 68, a six-year resident, who just needed company, was moved to tears by the students’ willingness to help.

“I think its terrific to see these students take up their time to come and lend a hand to people they don’t even know,” Tynan said. “What they are doing today might not seem much to them, but I appreciate every minute of it.”

Dr. Linda Guthrie is the director of the Center for Service Learning and Civic Engagement. She said the MLK Day of Service is one of the most exciting events the center has ever undertaken.

“It is an honor to lead 11 other HBCUs throughout the southeast region of the country in serving our communities,” she said. “We should feel challenged and act on the challenge to do something good every day to make a difference in the lives of others.”

“We want people to realize that Dr. King’s holiday is not just a day off,” said Shirley Nix-Davis, director of a youth empowerment program at TSU and one of the MLK Day of Service project directors. “But it’s an opportunity to serve, and continue serving throughout the year.”

For more information on the MLK Day of Service, contact the TSU Center for Service Learning and Civic Engagement.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 25 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

18 Graduate From TSU New Management Training Program

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University is making sure all its employees holding management positions are proficient in their areas.

On Jan. 12, TSU President Glenda Glover presented certificates to 18 managers who completed the first in a series of management training programs aimed to bring participants up to speed on university processes and procedures.

The 10-week, 30-hour management-training program is for recently hired middle and senior management staff and others who have been in their positions for less than two years.

Glover said the program is part of the university’s effort to ensure excellence in all areas of operation.

“This effort is geared toward ensuring that we have continued improvement in staff performance, which is so important on our campus,” Glover said. “I am proud of all of the participants and I look forward to the level of productivity that comes with this training opportunity.”

IMG_4980 (1)
University officials and staff attend a reception in the President’s Dining Hall for participants in the university’s new management training program. (Photo by Courtney Buggs, TSU Media Relations)

Linda Spears, associate vice president of Business and Finance and director of Human Resources, said a focus group of representatives from all divisions came up with the curriculum and topics for the training program after meeting for three months.

“This is something we felt we needed and so Human Resources responded,” Spears said.

She said the intent is to acclimate new managers and administrators to TSU because many of them are not aware of certain operational procedures and processes.

“I would say that participants’ skill levels have certainly increased with this training,” Spears said.

Adrienne Frame, director of budget, has been at TSU for four years but became a director a year ago. She said the training opened her eyes to many things she didn’t know before.

“I learned a lot that I didn’t know going in as a supervisor,” Frame said. “I feel much more prepared as a new supervisor.”

Spears said the management-training program will be offered twice a year, in the fall and spring.

Among those receiving certificates were Dr. Lucian Yates, dean of Graduate Studies and Research, who started at the university in July; and Dr. Coreen Jackson, who assumed the role of interim dean of the Honors College about a year ago.

Others were: Phyllis Danner, director of Research and Sponsored Programs; Natasha Dowell, employment manager; Peggy Earnest, chief of staff in the Division of Student Affairs; Dr. Cheryl Green, assistant vice president of Student Affairs; Albert Hill, director of Business Operations, Facilities Management; Dr. William Hytche, executive director of Residence Life; Angela Jackson, associate registrar; and Valencia Jordan, associate director and senior women’s administrator.

Also receiving certificates were: Arlene Nicholas-Phillips, executive assistant to the president and liaison to the TSU Board of Trustees; Ben Northington, assistant director of fiscal accounts; Julius Proctor, area coordinator of Residence Life; Sonja Revell, Student Affairs coordinator for programming and mediation; Sheila Riley, director of Enrolment Services; Bradley White, associate vice president for Financial Services; and Valerie Williams, associate director for Learning Services.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 25 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Tennessee State University part of cutting-edge research aimed at reducing cancer disparities

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – This holiday season, cancer survivor Navita Gunter has a lot to be thankful for, mainly her life.

navita-bio-photo
Navita Gunter

But she’s not content with her own personal survival. Understanding her own struggle when she was stricken with cervical cancer several years ago, and finding little compassion and help, Gunter has vowed not to let that happen to another woman.

“My struggle gave me purpose and compassion for others,” she said.

Gunter, founder of the Cervical Cancer Coalition of Tennessee, has joined TSU as head of the community advisory board for a four-component cancer research project at the university.

The U54 Partnership to Eliminate Cancer Health Disparities, refunded recently by the National Cancer Institute for another five years, is a coalition involving TSU, Meharry Medical College and Vanderbilt University. Its goal is to create a model for eliminating disparities in cancer through education, prevention and treatment.

The components of the project are community outreach and engagement, smoking cessation, breast cancer awareness, and cancer research education.

img_8869-1
Mariam Boules, a senior biology major, works in Dr. Margaret Whalen’s research lab. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

“The intent of this award is to reduce health disparities,” said Dr. Margaret Whalen, professor of chemistry, who heads the cancer research education component. “The specific disparities we are looking at is the disparity between the vast majority of people and certain groups, like African American, in terms of cancer incidence.”

Whalen’s role, she said, is educating students to get them interested in doing cancer research to try to broaden the number of individuals who engage in cancer research.

“If we have more people from different backgrounds engaging in cancer research who are able to understand and deal better with the disparities, they will be more interested in trying to address the situation.”

Although there has been substantial progress in cancer treatment, screening, diagnosis, and prevention over the past several decades, addressing cancer health disparities—such as higher cancer death rates, less frequent use of proven screening tests, and higher rates of advanced cancer diagnoses—in certain populations is an area in which progress has not kept pace, according to the National Cancer Institute.

Documented cancer health disparities include substantially higher rates of prostate cancer incidence and death among African American men than men of other racial/ethnic groups; and higher rates of kidney cancer among American Indian and Alaska Natives than other racial/ethnic groups.

Mariam Boules is Dr. Whalen’s student and a senior biology major with minors in psychology and chemistry. She said exposure to the cancer research has been enlightening.

“The research is teaching me a lot of new things,” Boules said. “Having to do hands-on in the lab for about eight hours a day and enjoying the stuff you are doing and learning about; all those compounds and how they affect our system and our cells is just amazing.”

img_8875-1
Dr. Rebecca Selove

In the case of smoking cessation, TSU scientists are looking at tobacco use and the health disparities it presents, especially the incidence of lung cancer death rate among African-American men.

“Our role at TSU is the design of behavioral intervention,” said Dr. Rebecca Selove, a clinical psychologist and research associate professor, who heads the smoking cessation component of the project. “This entails telling people about the program, and giving them information in general about how important it is to get that support if they are tobacco users.”

Selove said the intervention would be designed along with the Cancer Outreach Corp, and would involve counseling people about cessation and motivating them to sign up and stick with the program.

img_8872-1
Dr. Oscar Miller

Dr. Oscar Miller, chair and professor of sociology, heads the outreach component. He coordinates and maintains the activities of the community advisory board, which is comprised of experts in government and community organizations, whose mission is to help reduce cancer disparities and also to disseminate cancer research findings and information.

“One of the things we do is look at the researchers, or the research that is ongoing, and try to find community partners who have some expertise in that,” Miller said. “We meet about four times a year to discuss upcoming research projects, new areas of research, and help the researchers at the three institutions on how to include the community findings in their research.”

Gunter is excited about the cancer research, and what the future holds.

“The TSU project has expanded the research effort in this area and helped me touch more people than what I was touching before,” she said.

TSU’s involvement in cancer research, in particular, is far-reaching. Recently, renowned cancer specialist and TSU alum, Dr. Edith P. Mitchell, was part of a panel that made recommendations to help speed the development of cancer cures.

The Blue Ribbon Panel of scientific leaders and cancer patient advocates was formed to provide direction for Vice President Joe Biden’s National Moonshot Initiative, which aims to make more therapies available to more patients, while also improving efforts to prevent cancer and detect it at an early stage.

“As members of the panel, we were able to take what we know from experience and working with cancer research to come up with these recommendations, which we are certain will help the vice president in his work,” Mitchell said.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 25 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Tennessee State University Students Build Wheelchairs for Disabled Canines

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Pugsly the Pug has a new wheelchair.

Born with a spinal deformity that makes it difficult to stay on its feet, the 15-year-old Dutch mastiff has a new lease on life, thanks to a team of occupational and physical therapy students at Tennessee State University.

img_0950-1
The Dog Wheelchair Competition winning team members and their professors are, from left standing, Jake Armstrong, Blaine Martin, Dr. Rita Troxtel and Dr. Karen Coker. Squatting with Pugsly are, left, Reagan Worth and Erica LaFollette. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

The students, along with some of their peers from the Art Department, designed a special wheelchair that allows Pugsly to take long strides without wobbling or falling.

Dr. Rita Troxtel, assistant professor of occupational therapy and Pugsly’s owner, organized a wheelchair competition that challenged the students to develop wheelchairs for disabled dogs that are low cost, lightweight and easy to maneuver.

The competition was held Nov. 29 in the university’s Floyd-Payne Student Center. About 80 students and their advisers participated.

They came up with 17 different concepts and designs that were tested on Pugsly before a panel of judges. The winning wheelchair went to Pugsly. Troxtel said the other wheelchairs in the competition will be donated to organizations that specialize in adopting or providing sanctuary for animals with disabilities.

A team of two occupational therapy and two physical therapy students came up with the winning design made of PVC pipes, with two big back wheels and two smaller front wheels for turning; a push handle, and stretch fabric with four round openings for the feet.

“Pugsly is grateful for his new wheels,” Troxtel said.

wheelchair-2
Another team of competitors fit Bugsly in their invention, a two-wheeler. (photo by Courtney Buggs, TSU Media Relations)

Dr. Karen Coker, assistant professor of physical therapy and one of the judges, said the winning design “offered ease of getting in with just one person.”

“The fabric is flexible and soft; it won’t poke anywhere, and the wheelchair has a push handle so that the owner won’t have to bend over,” Coker said. “It is the perfect mix.”

Blain Martin, a graduate physical therapy major, was on the winning team. He said the goal was to develop a wheelchair that was easy to use.

“We all collaborated and we had a group message going in,” Martin said. “We met up several times to make sure we were on the same page with our project. It was great teamwork.”

Other winning team members were Reagan Worth, occupational therapy; Jake Armstrong, physical therapy; and Erica LaFollette, occupational therapy.

img_0932-1
The other wheelchairs in the competition will be donated to organizations that specialize in adopting or providing sanctuary for animals with disabilities. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

Second-year graduate occupational major Amber Alexander’s team did not win, but she was impressed with the exercise.

“Participating in this competition gave use some real-world exposure to our various disciplines,” she said.

Mike Carter, a Ph.D. physical therapy student, said he enjoyed the teamwork.

“Collaboration was great in our group,” Carter said. “In fact, one of the guys in the group was skilled in making things. He actually has a shop where he builds all kinds of stuff. So this was right up his alley.”

Dr. Hamid Hamidzadeh, head of TSU’s Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering Department, lauded organizers for having the competition.

“It’s a good opportunity for them to get hands on experience,” said Hamidzadeh, who was also a judge. “The students will really get the opportunity to go beyond the limit of the classroom.“

Troxtel said the skills the students learned from creating the dog wheelchairs will transfer to developing technology for humans.

“The TSU OT department is considering purchasing a 3D printer to build prosthetic limbs,” she said. “I also plan to hold a competition again next year, but it will focus on building assistive technology for human use.”

For more information on TSU’s various therapy programs in the College of Health Sciences, go to http://www.tnstate.edu/health_sciences/.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 25 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU engineering students are making sure Nashville bridges are safe

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – How safe are the bridges in Metro Nashville that you drive across everyday?

The answer may be in the work Tennessee State University engineering students are doing around the city.

A team of six graduate and undergraduate students, along with their professors from the Departments of Civil and Architectural Engineering, recently conducted a study on five bridges around the Nashville Fairgrounds to assess their structural integrity.

image2-1
Kevin Nguyen, a graduate civil engineering major, left, and Abram Musinguzi, a Ph.D. student in systems engineering, are two of six TSU students and their professors assessing bridges around the Nashville Fairgrounds to ensure their structural integrity. (Courtesy photo)

As part of the fairgrounds improvement project, the students’ findings were submitted to the city’s structural engineers and will be used to determine future use of the bridges.

The dean of the College of Engineering said the involvement of the students in the project is part of Mayor Megan Barry’s “innovative” vision and strategy to get more high school and college students working on real-world projects that enhance their skills and employability.

“TSU and the College of Engineering are playing an integral part of this strategy by providing our students with practical experience that complements their classroom learning,” Hargrove said.

Abram Musinguzi, a Ph.D. student in systems engineering, is the student coordinator on the project.  He said part of the inspections involve measuring the bridges’ dimensions to identify any structural damage, or distress, and compile a report.

“The purpose of the project is to assess if there is any need for renovation or repair of the bridges,” Musinguzi said.

Dr. Farouk Mishu, professor and interim chair of the civil and architectural engineering department, is one of two faculty members who worked with the students.

“These bridges have been here for a very long time,” Mishu said. “We are assessing them to see what kind of remediation we need to do to make them safe. This gives the students real-world experience before they graduate.”

Overseeing the students and their professors’ work was a field engineer from the fairgrounds project management team, who said he is impressed with the student’s skill level and attention to detail.

“What they are doing is pivotal to deciding what kind of money will be spent on either the repairing, the removing or replacing of these bridges,” said Jonathon Schneider of the project management team. “Their performance is remarkable.”

The students’ work is not TSU’s first involvement with the fairgrounds improvement project.

Last year, Hargrove served as a member of the review team appointed by Mayor Barry to make recommendations for the $12 million renovation of the fairgrounds.

Other students on the bridge project were: Kevin Nguyen, a graduate student majoring in civil engineering; and undergraduates SiVon Jiles, civil engineering; Matthew Miller, architectural engineering; Dwight Pullen, architectural engineering; and Darren Evans, civil engineering.

Dr. Catherine Armwood, assistant professor of civil and architectural engineering, was the other faculty member on the project.

For more information about TSU’s College of Engineering, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/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 38 undergraduate, 25 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

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

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

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

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

hayes
Dr. Jennifer L. Hayes

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

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

api
Dr. Rebecca Dixon

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

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

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

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

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

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 25 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU Project on Best Practices in Nursery Production System Selected for Federal Funding

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – A Tennessee State University project to promote best management practices in the nursery production system for the Mid-South region is one of 45 across the nation selected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to share $26.6 million for innovative conservation initiatives.

TSU will receive nearly $793,000 through its College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences to enhance the current Southern Nursery Industry “Guide for Best Management Practices.”

As part of the project, TSU will also recommend modifications to the USDA NRCS Conservation Practice Standards that specifically address natural resource and water-quality concerns relating to the nursery industry in Tennessee, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and Georgia.

The three-year funding, received through a highly competitive grant process, is the first awarded by the USDA through its Conservation Innovation Grant program to an 1890 Land-Grant university. As a matching-funds grant, the total amount for the project is about $1.5 million.

dharma-pitchay_pp
Dr. Dharma Pitchay

Dr. Dharma Pitchay, assistant professor of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, is the principal investigator of the project. The co-principal investors are Drs. Bharat Pokharel, Sudipta Rakshit, Prabode Illukpitiya, Anthony Witcher and Chandra Reddy.

“This is a very prestigious grant to win as historically NRCS has not awarded CIG grants to 1890 universities,” said Reddy, who is dean of the College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences.

He said TSU will partner with a number of institutions in the region to implement the project, as well as set up a training laboratory on campus to train NRCS or Natural Resources Conservation Services educators in the new technologies.

“Awarding this prestigious grant is an acknowledgment that Tennessee State University has immediately useful agricultural technologies to promote with stakeholder communities in the state and across the region. I congratulate Dr. Pitchay, the co-PIs and institutional partners in winning this grant for us,” Reddy added.

Pitchay said the anticipated outcome of the project would include a trained cadre of growers, extension workers, and field technicians, as well as modification to existing and development of new BMPs and conservation practices.

“We also expect to send messages to nursery growers on the benefits of protecting natural resources and demonstration sites for future conservation field days and training programs,” Pitchay said.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 25 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU Professor Receives State, National Recognitions for Works in Extension and Outreach

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – A Tennessee State University professor, known for his work with farmers and Extension agents throughout Tennessee, has received multiple awards from the Tennessee Association of Agricultural Agents and Specialists, and the National Association of County Agricultural Agents.

Official photo
Dr. Jason de Koff

Jason de Koff, associate professor in the Department of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, received the Early Career Award, Achievement Award, and Communication Award from TAAA&S. The awards were presented in May at the organization’s annual meeting in Sevierville, Tennessee.

In July, de Koff, now in his sixth year at TSU, was given the NACAA Achievement Award and the Search for Excellence in Crop Production Award at the group’s annual meeting in Little Rock, Arkansas.

“I am quite honored by these awards,” de Koff said. “I plan to continue to represent TSU and Tennessee by providing my research and experiences to those who need them.”

The Early Career Award is the second for de Koff. In 2015, he won the prestigious American Society of Agronomy Early Career Professional Award for his contribution to the field of agronomy in education and research.

A professor of agronomy and soil science, de Koff’s primary area of research is on bioenergy crop production, with specific emphasis on crops like switchgrass and winter canola.

His extension program provides educational training opportunities to Extension agents as well as demonstration workshops on biodiesel production to youth and farmers.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 25 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Conservation Expert at TSU Small Farm Expo Says US Running Low on Farmable Land; Highlights Critical Role of Small Farmers

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – A federal conservationist has warned that the United States is running out of farmable agriculture land to grow enough food for its growing population.

IMG_7523 (1)
Leonard Jordan

Leonard Jordan, associate chief for Conservation at the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, said the acreage of agriculture land in the U.S. has decreased by 30-35 million acres in the last 30 years while the nation’s population continues to grow.

“This is alarming.” Jordan said. “Anytime there is a growth in the number of people who rely on food and fiber for their survival, and there is less acreage to produce it on, that should be a concern.”

Jordan, a 1977 graduate of Tennessee State University with a B.S. degree in plant and soil science, was the keynote speaker July 21 at the 12th annual Small Farm Expo at TSU’s Agricultural Research and Education Center or “The Farm.”

IMG_7548 (1)
From left, Dr. Latin Lighari, associate dean for Cooperative Extension; Dr. Chandra Reddy, dean of CAHNS; and Tennessee Commissioner of Agriculture, Jai Templeton, far right, present Mike and Karen Minnis with the Farmer of the Year Award. (Photo by Courtney Buggs, TSU Media Relations)

The Expo also recognized the state’s top farmer with the Small Farmer of the Year Award. That honor went to the husband and wife team of Mike and Karen Minnis, crop farmers from Memphis, Tennessee. They were recognized for “Best Management Practices and Innovative Marketing.”

Jordan said with these “alarming statistics,” the nation is depending more on small farmers to fill the gap of growing enough crops for its people.

“Their role is very critical,” he said about small farmers. “The figures tell us that the things that they do in their operations are more important today than they have ever been. You (small farmers) should feel good about what you do each and every day. We owe you more than you ever know,” he said.

TSU President Glenda Glover agreed with Jordan, calling small farmers the “back bone” of America.

“It is very exciting to see this many people here today to celebrate our small farmers,” she said. “Our small farmers are the backbone of America, and it is very important that we take this time to recognize them. I applaud you (the small farmers) for the work that you do and continue to do to not only feed us but to encourage and prepare future farmers. I thank Dean (Chandra) Reddy and the College of Agriculture, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Tennessee Department of Agriculture and all sponsors for your support in making this expo successful.”

IMG_7438
Ashton Kirkpatrick, a seventh-grader from Northeast Middle School in Jackson, left; and Drayton Hawkins, an eleventh-grader from Haywood High School in Memphis, participate in a sustainable living exercise in the Urban Green mobile lab at the expo. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media relations)

More than 400 agricultural experts, farmers and officials from across Tennessee and the U.S. Department of Agriculture attended the one-day expo. Busloads of middle and high school students from as far as Jackson and Memphis, Tennessee participated in the event.

The expo featured livestock shows, tractor pulls and tours, traditional agricultural displays and demonstrations, and mobile educational units, including a planting and harvesting simulator, and the Urban Green Lab on sustainable living.

Also on hand was Jai Templeton, who made his first appearance as the new commissioner of agriculture for Tennessee.

Dr. Chandra Reddy, dean of the College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences, thanked the award winners, small farmers, federal and state agency representatives, sponsors, guests and visitors for their participation.

“This annual Expo, now in its 12th year, is a way for Tennessee State University and our partners on the federal and state levels to recognize the role farmers and agriculture play in the state and the nation,” Reddy said. “We are grateful to Dr. Latif Lighari for his leadership of the Cooperative Extension Program, and his team for ensuring another successful Expo.”

Other farmers receiving awards were: Charles Jordan for “Most Improved Beginning Small Farmer”; and husband and wife team of Jim and Deanna Malooley, for “Best Management Practices.”

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

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