Category Archives: FEATURED

Tyson Foods CEO Donnie Smith Wows TSU Students on Success, Corporate Culture and Leadership; Discusses Partnership Opportunities with University Officials

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Donnie Smith, Tyson Foods President and CEO, speaks to students at TSU on Wednesday. (Photo by Rick DelaHaya, TSU Media Relations)


NASHVILLE, Tenn.
(TSU News Service) – Developing corporate partnerships and relationships with industry leaders have been at the core of Dr. Glenda Glover’s vision since becoming president of Tennessee State University nearly two years ago.

This has included visits and talks with major corporations and businesses and invitations to their leaders to visit the TSU campus to see the kinds of preparations students are receiving to be ready for the job market.

“This is necessary not just because we want these corporations to give to the University, but it also helps to expose our students to industry’s best as well as offer them opportunities to develop job-ready skills through internships, cooperative assistantships, scholarships and employment opportunities,” Dr. Glover said.

Scholars
President Glenda Glover and Tyson Foods President and CEO Donnie Smith meet with Tom Joyner Foundation scholarship recipients following the check presentation. From left are, Bria Monk, Tyson CEO Smith, Kourtney Daniels, President Glover and David Conner. (Photo by Rick DelaHaya, TSU Media Relations)

And today, TSU students received a good dose of exposure and lecture on corporate culture and leadership when the President and Chief Executive Officer of Tyson Foods, Inc., a $42 billion, Fortune 500 Arkansas-based company, visited and spent an entire day interacting with students, administrators, faculty and staff on the main campus.

Donnie Smith, whose visit also included the presentation of scholarships to three TSU students, in a partnership with the Tom Joyner Foundation, said his visit was intended to broaden existing relationship with TSU and explore areas in which student preparation in agriculture and science are more aligned with Tyson’s needs.

“We want to continue to build the relationship deeper by developing a streamline of talents that is suited to our company’s needs,” said Smith, who added that about 12 TSU students have interned at Tyson in the last two years, while another was fully employed with the company.

In a meeting earlier in Dr. Glover’s office with senior administration members, President Glover welcomed Smith and his team, which included Holly Bourland, Corporate Recruitment Manager for Professional Employment.

The TSU team emphasized that student preparation remains the main focus of the University, “because TSU wants to have a broad footprint” on industry by putting out students with job-ready skills, and Tyson could be a major partner in that area.

“Our students are involved in cutting-edge research in many areas of agricultural production and food security that could be useful to your company,” Dr. Glover told the Tyson executives.

“We are doing breakthrough research on our campus,” added Dr. Lesia Crompton-Young, chief research officer and associate vice President for Research and Sponsored Programs. “If you see the kinds of research we are involved in you will find that we are doing things that surely correlate with what Tyson’s needs are.”

A visit and tour of the University’s new Agricultural Biotechnology Research Building provided the Tyson visitors a closer look at some of the cutting-edge research the University officials spoke about.

“This visit is a great opportunity for us,” said Dr. Chandra Reddy, dean of the College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences, following a meeting with the Tyson president. “We are trying to connect student and research to corporate needs because we want our research to be relevant to the market needs.”

In a gathering with Business students, the Tyson CEO spoke about corporate leadership, understanding the needs of “team members” (employees), and how to stay ahead of the competition.

“At Tyson we like to win, but for us winning is to make great food and helping those in need,” said Smith, adding that hunger relief is a major part of what Tyson does.

On corporate culture, Smith reminded the student about what he called his five “Is” and three “Rs.”

“To be successful you must have ‘integrity,’ be ‘intelligent,’ ‘innovative,’ have ‘interpersonal skills’ and you must be ‘inspirational.’ To achieve these, you must learn to develop ‘relationships,’ be ‘resilient’ and ‘result’ oriented,” smith said.

At a luncheon with Dr. Glover, along with her Cabinet and deans, the Tyson group saw PowerPoint presentations of offerings and programs in the College of Business, and the College of Engineering.

Prior to the presentations, the Tyson chief executive presented a check for $7,500 to Briar Monk, a senior Agricultural Science major with a 3.65 GPA from Little Rock, Arkansas; Kourtney Daniels, a sophomore Food Biosciences and Technology major with a 4.0 GPA from Chicago; and David Connor, a junior Agricultural Science major with a 3.42 GPA from Birmingham, Alabama.

The money, with each student receiving $2,500, is the result of a partnership between Tyson Foods and the Tom Joyner Foundation called the TScholars Project, to offer scholarships and internship opportunities to selected students majoring in Agriculture and Business at four historically black colleges and universities. The schools, TSU, Florida A&M University, North Carolina A&T State University and the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, were selected because of their proximity to Tyson company facilities.

According to the Interim Director of the Career Development Center at TSU, Tina Reed, each scholarship recipient will receive a summer 2015 internship at Tyson Foods.

Before leaving the TSU campus, the CEO also met with an array of students in different disciplines in Poag Auditorium, where he reiterated his views on corporate culture and leadership.

Other University officials who participated in meetings with the Tyson CEO and his team include: Dr. Mark Hardy, vice president for Academic Affairs; Jean Jackson, vice president for Administration; Cynthia Brooks, vice president for Business and Finance; Dr. John Cade, vice president for Enrollment Management and Student Support Services; Dr. Alisa Mosley, associate vice president for Academic Affairs; Robin Tonya Watson, assistant vice president for Institutional Advancement; Kelli Sharpe, assistant vice president for Public Relations and Communications; Laurence Pendleton, University Counsel; and Dr. Cheryl Green, assistant vice president for Student Affairs.

Also attending today’s meetings were: Dr. Millicent Lownes-Jackson, dean of the College of Business; and Dr. S. Keith Hargrove, dean of the College Engineering.

 

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 42 undergraduate, 24 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU, Honda Battle of the Bands Ready to “March On” to the Georgia Dome

Voting Open for Fans to Help Determine the Final Eight to Perform in Atlanta in January 2015

2014BattleOfTheBandsNASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The Aristocrat of Bands from Tennessee State University is hoping to make a triumphant return to Atlanta and the Honda Battle of the Bands as one of the eight most prestigious marching bands from America’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities. They hope to be selected to take the Georgia Dome by storm with their incredible musical talent and electrifying showmanship.

In order to secure one of the top spots from the 38 bands attempting to do the same, the band needs everyone to vote them into the January 24, 2015 competition. Voters can visit the Honda Battle of the Bands website and vote up to six times per day for their favorite TSU band.

To date, the Aristocrat of Bands has appeared five times at the annual showcase in Atlanta beginning in 2003. They subsequently appeared in 2004, 2011, 2012 and 2013.

For 13 consecutive years, the Honda Battle of the Bands has provided the nation’s top HBCU marching bands a platform to share their unique blend of musicianship and choreography with millions of fans. This year’s theme, “March On,” serves as a reminder to students and fans that life on and off the field is a journey, and no matter the challenge, the dream or what may lie ahead, learning never stops as long as you commit to “March On.”

Now until Wednesday, Oct. 15, fans can go online and vote daily to help select the final eight bands that will perform at the 2015 Invitational Showcase. Voting ends on October 15, 2014, at midnight EDT.

“Honda is deeply committed to supporting the dreams of HBCU students by investing in their education and showcasing exceptional student musicians,” said Stephan Morikawa, Assistant Vice President, Corporate Community Relations, American Honda Motor Co., Inc. “As we continue to prepare our participating band members to March On, both on the field and in life, we look forward to a thrilling and uplifting event in Atlanta.”

The 2015 Invitational Showcase will feature the first-ever Honda Battle of the Bands Power of Dreams Award. Each participating team will have the opportunity to nominate an outstanding member of their community who is working to help students achieve their dreams. Honda will then select a winner who will be recognized in Atlanta at the 2015 Honda Battle of the Bands Invitational Showcase.

For more information on the 2015 Honda Battle of the Bands, visit HondaBattleoftheBands.com.

Since its inception in 1946, and subsequently becoming a show band under the administration of second TSU President Dr. Walter S. Davis, the Aristocrat of Bands has been featured at many international and national events, including half-time shows at several NFL games, Bowl games and Classics, and Presidential Inaugurations.

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 42 undergraduate, 24 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Tennessee State University Dedicates Cutting-edge Research Facilities to Accommodate “Phenomenal” Growth in Agricultural Sciences

The College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences dedicated three new buildings September 17 on campus, including the centerpiece of the additions, the Agricultural Biotechnology Building. The added lab space and updated equipment in the  state-of-the-art $8 million Agricultural Biotechnology Building will provide more room for cutting-edge research, with implications for farmers and consumers in Tennessee and beyond. Helping with the ribbon cutting ceremony include (L-R) Julius Johnson, Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Agriculture; John Morgan, Tennessee Board of Regents Chancellor; TSU President Glenda Glover; USDA Mid South assistant area director Archie Tucker; Dean Chandra Reddy; and State Representatives Brenda Gilmore and Harold Love(photo by Rick DelaHaya, TSU Media Relations)
The College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences dedicated three new buildings on campus September 17, including the centerpiece of the additions, the Agricultural Biotechnology Building. The added lab space and updated equipment in the state-of-the-art $8 million Agricultural Biotechnology Building will provide more room for cutting-edge research, with implications for farmers and consumers in Tennessee and beyond. Helping with the ribbon cutting ceremony include (L-R) Julius Johnson, Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Agriculture; John Morgan, Tennessee Board of Regents Chancellor; TSU President Glenda Glover; USDA Mid South assistant area director Archie Tucker; Dean Chandra Reddy; and State Representatives Brenda Gilmore and Harold Love (photo by Rick DelaHaya, TSU Media Relations)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – With graduate enrollment in agricultural sciences at Tennessee State University more than tripled in five years and an influx of new Ph.D. faculty topping more than 25 in just three years, University officials are celebrating the addition of new facilities to accommodate this “phenomenal” growth.

Today, TSU President Glenda Glover, joined by Dean Chandra Reddy, Chancellor John Morgan, of the Tennessee Board of Regents, and other University officials, federal and state stakeholders and elected official, held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for three new buildings on campus.

The buildings, with a combined price tag of more than $12 million, were funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture through its National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

The centerpiece of the new facilities is the 25,000 square-foot Agricultural Biotechnology Building, the first new building constructed at the University in nearly eight years. It contains more than 12 state-of-the-art labs for cutting-edge research, including DNA synthesis and chromatography analysis. The building will also house and support primarily agricultural research, and provide working space for more than 20 new Ph.D.-level scientists, as well as administrative offices.

The other two facilities, called the Agricultural and STEM Education and Training Center, and the Agricultural Research Support Building, are located on the University farm.

“Tennessee State University is preparing students who are ready for the workforce,” said a very upbeat President Glover, as she thanked the USDA, the TBR, the Tennessee Department of Agriculture and other stakeholders for their support in making the buildings a reality.

“This is such a wonderful opportunity. With these facilities, our students will benefit tremendously by engaging in cutting-edge research in food safety and security, and by expanding their knowledge in their quest for excellence,” the President added.

Dr. Hongwei Si, Assistant Professor of Food Chemistry, explains some of the research projects going on in the Food Biosciences and Technology Lab, as visitors, including Dean Chandra Reddy, and TBR Chancellor John Morgan, far right, listen. (photo by Rick Delahaya, TSU Media Relations)
Dr. Hongwei Si, Assistant Professor of Food Chemistry, explains some of the research projects going on in the Food Biosciences and Technology Lab, as visitors, including Dean Chandra Reddy, and TBR Chancellor John Morgan, far right, listen. (photo by Rick Delahaya, TSU Media Relations)

For Dean Reddy, he said research funding in the College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences has tripled to couple with climbing enrollment on the undergraduate and graduate levels.

“This dedication and these buildings memorialize the ongoing transformation in the college over the last five years,” Reddy said. “We have multiplied every useful metrics during this time, be it student enrollment, research funding and outreach.”

He said the college has integrated academics with research and outreach and extension, established faculty focus groups to provide intellectual leadership to their programs, as well as created new opportunities for students to get involved in research and outreach.

The need for continued investment in agriculture and the food sciences is tremendous, he said, reminding the gathering about the expected growth in human population and the risk of climate change and its effect on food crops, and the impact of food on “our” overall health and wellbeing.

“To address these fundamental problems, our research is focusing on developing crops and products for health, for climate change, for energy, and ultimately alleviate the problems facing the world today and in the future,” added Reddy.

TBR Chancellor Morgan, who described the dedication as very significant, also thanked the USDA, President Glover, Dr. Reddy and other stakeholders for their support.

“This is very significant because it reflects the commitment of this University to excellence and to producing students who are capable and ready for the workforce anywhere in the country and the world.”

While the dedication of the new facilities was the focus of today’s ceremony, a presentation by a TSU student received tremendous cheers from the audience, and caught the attention of several speakers and stakeholders with job offers for the Agricultural Sciences major from Chicago.

Kourtney Daniels
Kourtney Daniels

Kourtney Daniels, a sophomore with a 4.0 GPA, serving as a TSU Student Ambassador, had only to give the welcome remarks, but her “very eloquent,” three-minute presentation drew praises even she did not expect.

“I was just being myself; I did not expect to have such an impact,” said Daniels.

Others also participating in today’s dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony were: Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Mark Hardy; State Representative Brenda Gilmore, a TSU alum, who has championed many causes on the state and national levels for her alma mater; and Tennessee Agriculture Commissioner, Julius Johnson.

State Representative Harold Love Jr.; Archie Tucker, assistant director of the Mid South Area for the USDA’s Agricultural Research Services; Steve Gass, of the Tennessee Department of Education; Dr. Roger Sauve, superintendent of the Agricultural Research and Education Center at TSU; and Ron Brooks, associate vice president for Facilities Management, also took part in the dedication.

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 42 undergraduate, 24 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU Book Bundle Initiative Meets New Students in the Digital Age

Heidi Williams, English professor at Tennessee State University, displays the required textbook readings on a mobile device to her freshman English I class. Tablets were distributed to incoming freshmen as part of the University’s Book Bundle Initiative aimed at lowering costs of text books. Under the new program, students will pay a flat fee of $365 per semester that is included in their tuition and fees, and have access to the required digital textbooks for classes taken. (photo by Rick DelaHaya, TSU Media Relations)
Heidi Williams, English professor at Tennessee State University, displays the required textbook readings on a mobile device to her freshman English I class. Tablets were distributed to incoming freshmen as part of the University’s Book Bundle Initiative aimed at lowering costs of text books. Under the new program, students will pay a flat fee of $365 per semester that is included in their tuition and fees, and have access to the required digital textbooks for classes taken. (photo by Rick DelaHaya, TSU Media Relations)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Professor Heidi Williams is teaching her freshmen English composition class in a way her students can relate. She is using technology many of them have grown accustomed to in today’s digital world. Williams is one of many instructors at Tennessee State University now using tablets and digital textbooks to teach on a daily basis.

“The tablets are great because the students can always have the classroom at their fingertips,” said Williams, who has taught freshman English at the University for the past three years. “I’m a huge advocate of tablets for text books in the classroom. It’s easier for students to refer to readings and pull in outside materials for discussion.”

This semester, first-time freshmen at TSU received digital tablets as part of the University’s Book Bundle initiative. The program is aimed at lowering the costs of traditional paper textbooks while ensuring freshmen have the required books the first day of class.

The plan allows freshman students to buy “e-books” for general education classes, saving students, like Julian Robinson, up to $735 per semester. Robinson is a computer science major from Baltimore, Maryland.

“I have an older brother in college right now and he tells me all the time how expensive his text books are,” said Robinson. “The digital books are saving me money in the long run and basically putting money back in my pocket. Not only can I read all my assignments on the tablet, I can check my grades and turn in my assignments. It’s good to see TSU using technology to the students’ advantage. It has become an important part of my college experience.”

Julian Robinson, a freshman computer science major from Baltimore, Maryland, scrolls through his digital textbook on his mobile device during his freshman English I course at Tennessee State University. (photo by Rick DelaHaya, TSU Media Relations)
Julian Robinson, a freshman computer science major from Baltimore, Maryland, scrolls through his digital textbook on his mobile device during his freshman English I course at Tennessee State University. (photo by Rick DelaHaya, TSU Media Relations)

Students pay a flat fee of $355 per semester that is included in their tuition and fees, and have access to the required digital textbooks for classes. The fee includes all textbooks in the general education core for students taking 12-16 semester hours. For students who want print copies of books, they will be available for an additional $15-30 charge.

According to University officials, a large number of students enrolled in classes do not purchase text books due to lack of funds, delay in receiving funds, or simply hold back on buying them for weeks.

“Many of our students would go weeks before they even purchase a text book, which in turn hurts them in the classroom,” said Dr. Glenda Glover, President of TSU. “This new program allows students to have books the first day of class and gives them the ability to be successful since they will have the required materials.”

TSU is unique in the fact that the University is offering e-books for all general education classes, and it is the only university offering the book-bundle initiative in the Tennessee Board of Regents higher education system. The University is joining a growing trend across the country by other colleges and universities by going “digital” with textbooks.

Alashia Johnson, an early education major from Clarksville, Tennessee, scrolls through her digital textbook on her mobile device during her freshman English I course at Tennessee State University. Like other incoming or new freshmen, Johnson received the tablet as part of the University's Book Bundle initiative designed to lower the costs of text books.
Alashia Johnson, an early education major from Clarksville, Tennessee, scrolls through her digital textbook on her mobile device during her freshman English I course at Tennessee State University. Like other incoming or new freshmen, Johnson received the tablet as part of the University’s Book Bundle initiative designed to lower the costs of text books. (photo by Rick DelaHaya, TSU Media Relations)

A recent study by the Pearson Foundation indicates college students who say they own a tablet has tripled in the past two years and increasingly prefer to use the device for reading. Sixty-three percent of college students also believe tablets will replace textbooks in the next five years—a 15 percent increase over last year’s survey.

“When we started this project, we were told by numerous book publishers that this had never been done before,” added Dr. Alisa Mosley, associate vice president of Academic Affairs. “This was a massive undertaking to implement. We specifically decided to go with the digital books not only as an alternative to more costly traditional paper books, but also to meet students in the digital age.”

For professors like Williams, meeting students in the digital age has made her online interaction with students easier and feels she is more accessible. Students, she said, have a different view of classroom technology than professors.

“Everything we do is online, from reading to assignments,” added Williams. “While we are still adjusting to the tablets, once we do everything will be second nature to not only the student but instructors as well. And that is what its all about…meeting students where they are and helping them be successful.”

E-books are rising in popularity across the country, according to a recent report from Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project. Pew found that “50% of Americans now have a dedicated handheld device–either a tablet computer like an iPad, or an e-reader such as a Kindle or Nook–for reading e-content.”

 

 

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 42 undergraduate, 24 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Block Scheduling at TSU Finding Appeal with New Students

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – When incoming freshmen arrived to begin classes at Tennessee State University this fall they found a new and innovative program designed to help make sure they stay on track to successfully complete their general education classes.

Called “Block” scheduling, the program is designed to help students transition from high school to college, build or develop relationships among peers, and ensure success to graduate in four years.

According to Dr. John Cade, interim vice president of Enrollment Management, the majority of new freshmen will participate in some type of block schedule, said, to help them develop the critical thinking and writing skills necessary to satisfy their general education requirements.

“As a result of the Block program, incoming freshman and returning sophomores taking general education courses will experience some of the advantages of staying together as a peer group while taking the same classes, and focus on meeting the core requirements,” Cade said. “It will also make it easier for students to schedule classes.”

With the new program, freshmen and sophomores will be able to choose between 10 different course “bundles” or blocks that contain the courses to meet the general education requirements before they move on to major core classes. The courses include math, speech, English, social sciences, humanities and freshman service-leadership orientation.

Cade said the program fits hand-in-hand with the newly announced book bundle program that allows freshman and sophomore students to buy “e-books” for general education classes, and have books the first day of class.

“This is part of our student success and retention initiatives,” Cade added. “We want to give our students the tools to be successful from day one and make sure they have access to all programs, graduate on time, and be able to start their careers as quickly as possible.”

According to Julie Roberts, director of the office of Academic Success, there will be various levels of the block program to guarantee freshmen full-time class schedules and provide the first step toward fulfilling general-education requirements.

One of those is a cohort program, where students will have the opportunity to take classes, and follow the same set schedule and progress through the program together. Students will move through the program as a unified group.

“During their first semester, students participating in this ‘block’ take a set of integrated courses with the same group of fellow students,” Roberts said. “Behind this block is the idea that people learn better, and benefit from reinforced social and academic support, when they are integrated into this type of learning community.”

More than 200 freshmen have signed up for the cohort block. The learning in this group, Cade added, fosters connections between students and faculty, and promotes the development of peer-support networks during the first college year.

“This will help develop relationships from day one,” said Cade. “When students feel vested in the educational outcome of not only themselves but of others as well, there is a potential that retention rates increase and students complete all four years of their degree.”

The block schedule is just one of many graduation and retention initiatives at TSU, designed to increase the number of students graduating and increasing the percentage of students retained at the University.

Other programs include the Take 15 program, where students are encouraged to take 15 credits hours per semester, and mini-semesters such as Maymester, Xtreme Spring Break, and SUNsational Summer where students can earn up to 12 credits over the three mini semester offerings.

When it comes to student success and retention, added Cade, it really does take a commitment from everyone at the University to ensure the success of all students through programs such as the new book-bundle program, one of the only such programs in the Tennessee Board of Regents system.

“The more we can do to help students succeed through initiatives such the new book-bundle program, the more likely they will want to be here,” added Cade. “Also, the more academically successful a student is, the more likely they will want to be here, and develop into independent thinkers and world-class leaders.”

To learn more about the Block program or retention initiatives, contact the Office of Academic Success at 615.963.5968.

 

 

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 42 undergraduate, 24 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Take 15: Increase in Course Load Can Mean TSU Diploma in Four Years

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – According to figures from Complete College America, if 100 students entered college today in Tennessee, only 17 would graduate on time at a four-year college. Now some of the nation’s top universities and colleges across the country, including Tennessee State University, are prodding lingering students toward the graduation stage to push them to finish their degrees in four years.

It’s a move that aims to change the culture that completing a degree in four years is the exception and not the norm.

Enter the ‘Take 15” program at TSU that encourages students to take enough credits to ensure on-time completion of their degrees. Launched in the fall of 2013 for full-time first-year students, the program has seen an increase of students opting to take at least 15 credits per semester to stay on track to receive their degree in four years.

According to TSU President Glenda Glover, University officials are taking steps to entice students to take at least 15 credit hours per semester and have a plan to complete their degree in the shortest amount of time possible.

“Often times full-time students fail to take enough credits to ensure on-time completion of their degrees,” said Glover. “Students regularly and often unknowingly choose credit loads that put them on five or six-year plans. Through this initiative we are getting the word out that on-time graduation is much more likely when students ‘Take 15’ to finish.”

While there could be many reasons why many students fall into the five or six-year degree trap, most students, according to Dr. John Cade, interim vice president of Enrollment Management and Student Support Services, enter college with a four-year plan, but changing or adding majors, retaking classes or taking time off for personal reasons can quickly extend that plan.

“While getting the most out of a college experience is important, taking additional semesters to earn that degree often means paying more in tuition and fees,” Cade said. “We’ve also seen that at times, the longer it takes students to graduate, the less likely they are to complete a degree.”

Since the initiative first rolled out in fall of 2013, officials at the University have seen an increase in students opting to go the 15-credit route. At that time, 41 percent of undergraduates, or 2,829 of the 6,749 students enrolled at the University, registered for 15 credits or more compared to the previous fall when only 31 percent registered. In just one short year, 35 percent more students were heeding the administration’s awareness initiative to ‘Take 15.’

“These are encouraging numbers,” added Cade. “As we build awareness we expect to see these numbers increase. We are promoting ‘Take 15’ because we are finding students are getting better grades, they are more focused and using their time more efficiently.”

Students, such as Thommye’ Davis, a senior History major, plan to graduate in four years by taking advantage of the Take 15 initiative and registering for 15 credit hours each semester. (courtesy photo)
Students, such as Thommye’ Davis, a senior History major, plan to graduate in four years by taking advantage of the Take 15 initiative and registering for 15 credit hours each semester. (courtesy photo)

Thommye’ Davis, a senior History major, is one of those students who is taking advantage of the initiative, and came to the University with the mindset of completing her degree in four years.

“I’ve been taking 15 credit hours since my freshman year of college,” said the Nashville, Tenn., native, who plans on teaching in the Nashville Metro School system after graduation. “If I wanted to finish in four years I knew that taking 15 credit hours would be the only way I could accomplish my goal.”

In addition to graduating in four years, studies show that students taking 15 or more credit hours tend to have higher grade point averages than those taking less. In fact, at TSU, students taking 15 or more credits averaged a GPA of 3.17 compared to students taking less.

Another reason for the push, Cade added, was the fact that earning a degree in four years is a lot cheaper than earning one in five or six. Students who complete their undergraduate degree in four years instead of six years can save close to $7,000 for in-state tuition or $19,000 for out-of-state students per year.

“The cost of college is high and students often times have to work to help pay the cost of tuition,” said Cade. “That is another advantage to completing a degree in four years. Students who elect to pursue completing their degree in five years incur a year of costs, plus loose a year of potential wages and on-the-job experience.”

The initiative also takes in account the fact that states are not expanding extra resources on higher education. With the passage of the Complete College Tennessee Act of 2010, the state has defined a clear set of directives to address the need for more Tennesseans to be better educated at a time when the state’s fiscal capacity to fund higher education has diminished dramatically.

Considered a national model for increasing the number and quality of college graduates, the CCTA recognized that in the past few years, public universities and colleges have lost a large portion of their state operating revenues. It also established a direct link between the state’s economic development and its educational system.

“We are in the same situation as many colleges and universities across the nation with states significantly cutting spending to education. These cuts and outcome-based funding are the primary drivers of tuition increases,” said Cade. “There is a demand for growth in education in Tennessee and across the country, and through the ‘Take 15’ initiative. We can make sure our students are prepared quicker and with less debt ready to enter the workforce.”

To learn more about the “Take 15” initiative, contact the Advisement Center at 615.963.5531.

 

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 42 undergraduate, 24 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU Announces 2014 Homecoming Week Activities

University Celebrates Tradition of Excellence

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READ the full Homecoming Schedule

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University will hold a week full of exciting events September 21-27 as community members, alumni and friends of the University come to Nashville to celebrate Homecoming 2014.

Homecoming is a rich, always anticipated tradition of the TSU community. Each fall, Tigers of all generations return to campus to reconnect and share memories. This year, alumni, family and community members will take part in Celebrating the Tradition of Excellence.

“There’s nothing like a Big Blue Homecoming. We look forward to welcoming all of our distinguished alumni back to the University for an exciting week filled with special memories, camaraderie and cheerful giving,” said Cassandra Griggs, director of Alumni Relations and Annual Giving. “This is the opportunity for alumni to see how their alma mater continues to positively transform the lives of its students, and learn about the outstanding academic programs, talented students and campus enhancements.”

HC7While TSU has cherished and maintained certain Homecoming traditions, it has also moved forward across the century, finding new ways to celebrate pride in the institution, its students and alumni. Innovations that have sprung up over the years include the parade, pep rally, Homecoming Court, tent parties and many additional campus activities.

The annual Robert N. Murrell Oratorical Contest will officially kick off Homecoming week on Sunday, Sept. 21 beginning at 3 p.m. in the Robert N. Murrell Forum in the Floyd Payne Campus Center. The Gospel Concert rounds out the evening, beginning at 6 p.m. in Kean Hall in the Floyd Payne Campus Center.

HC6Student events highlight Monday, Sept. 22 when the Courtyard Show takes place in Welton Plaza starting at 11 a.m., followed by the Battle of the Residence Halls at 7 p.m. in the Floyd Payne Campus Center Keane Hall gymnasium.

The All-White Glow Tent party will take place on Tuesday, Sept. 23 in Welton Plaza beginning at 7 p.m. The Coronation for Miss TSU and Mr. TSU takes place Wednesday, Sept. 24 in Kean Hall. Wednesday’s activities conclude with the non-Greek organizations’ Yard Show beginning at 9 p.m. in the Averitte Amphitheater.

Homecoming continues Thursday, Sept. 25 with the Agriculture and Home Economics Hall of Fame Banquet and Induction Ceremony at the Farrell-Westbrook Complex at 7 p.m. A Homecoming concert in the Gentry Complex starts at 7 p.m. and features August Alsina and Juicy J. Hosted by Lil Duval. Tickets are $15 in advance or $20 at the door for the general public. The evening concludes with the Alumni White-Out Mixer at the Sheraton Music City Hotel Ballroom.

HC1Friday, Sept. 25 kicks off with the traditional Charles Campbell Fish Fry at 11 a.m. on the President’s Lawn, followed by Pep Rally at 11:30 in Hale Stadium. The TSU National Pan-Hellenic Step Show begins at 5 p.m. at the Gentry Complex. Hosted by actress LisaRaye, tickets are $10 for students in advance, $15 at the door.

The evening concludes with the “Evening of Honors” Scholarship Reception and Gala beginning at 6 p.m. at the Music City Center. The night will honor TSU football great and Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee, Claude Humphrey, and Honors program educators Drs. McDonald and Jamye Williams, who have made advancing education and student success a priority during their more than 30 years at TSU. The evening will also address the needs of students to make sure they have the proper funding to acquire a college education to pursue their career goals and aspirations.

Saturday, Sept. 27 starts with the Homecoming Parade beginning at 9 a.m., followed by the Showcase of Bands at noon at Hale Stadium. The Homecoming football game between TSU and FAMU kicks off at 6 p.m. at LP Field.

View the 2014 Schedule and the campus map. For more information, contact the Office of Alumni Relations and Annual Giving at 615.963.5381.

 

 

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.

Aristocrat of Bands Marches into History

TSU becomes first collegiate band to perform at Hall of Fame Halftime Show

Tennessee State University's Aristocrat of Bands performance concluded with a tremendous fireworks display during the Pro Foot Ball Hall of Fame Game at Fawcett Stadium in Canton, Ohio, on Sunday, August 3. Hall of Fame inductee Claude Humphrey was on the sidelines for the show. (photo by John S. Cross, TSU Media Relations)
Tennessee State University’s Aristocrat of Bands performance concluded with a tremendous fireworks display during the Pro Foot Ball Hall of Fame Game at Fawcett Stadium in Canton, Ohio, on Sunday, August 3. Hall of Fame inductee Claude Humphrey was on the sidelines for the show. (photos by John S. Cross, TSU Media Relations)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – A visit to the Pro Football Hall of Fame game in Canton, Ohio, proved to be better the second time around for the Aristocrat of Bands when they became the first collegiate band to perform the halftime show in the game’s 51-year history.

The TSU marching show band, the only collegiate band ever invited to perform at the Hall of Fame game, was first invited in 2011 when TSU Tiger great and former Chicago Bear Richard Dent was enshrined. However, the Band never made it to the field due to the NFL lockout.

But like a scene from the 2002 movie, “Drumline,” the dynamic group wowed fans with their high-energy show in the Pro Football Hall of Fame stadium parking lot. While hundreds of fans showed up for the performance, it just wasn’t the same as performing at halftime, a show the AOB has become known for both in NFL and college stadiums across the country.

“It was a little disappointing but we were fortunate to be invited back a second time, this time for Claude Humphrey, the second TSU Tiger enshrined into the Hall of Fame,” said Dr. Reginald McDonald, acting director of Bands. “It was important for us to represent the University and to celebrate the achievement of one of our family members.”

The performance by Band, according to officials at the Pro Football Hall of Fame, is the first time a University band has played in the nationally televised halftime show at the annual enshrinement game that wraps up a weekend of festivities and induction ceremonies.

They can now add this honor to their already impressive list of firsts, including the first HBCU to play in a presidential inaugural parade in 1961; the first university, black or white, to play an NFL halftime show in 1955; and first HBCU invited to perform at the high school Bands of America Grand National Championships in Indianapolis last year.

“It really was an honor to not only perform for the enshrinement of one of TSU’s legendary football players, but also to bring part of the University to Canton and share our showmanship with the country. It’s something our students will never forget,” added McDonald.

AOB2The excitement started as soon as the 294-member Aristocrats ran onto historic Fawcett Stadium, a high school venue that seats only 22,000 fans. When the announcer asked the crowd if they were “ready to start the show,” the stadium erupted into deafening cheers and applause as the band broke into a rendition of “Happy” by Pharrel Williams. The eight-minute show concluded with the introduction of Humphrey, Dent and TSU president, Glenda Glover.

The show and participation in the HOF parade the day earlier, said McDonald, was an opportunity for the band to “puff out their chests.”

“This really was an opportunity to show off to the nation the high-energy showmanship of the Aristocrat of Bands,” he said. “I’ve been at the University for 14 years and director for four, and I can say this group is going to be a very special group this year and beyond.”

The Aristocrat of Bands now shifts their attention toward the John Merritt Classic halftime show at LP Field, Saturday, August 30.

 

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’s Community College Initiative Fulfills Dream for Many Seeking Four-Year Degree

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – When Tiffani Clark decided to go back to college at age 28, she wanted to make sure that her tuition was affordable, she could attend classes close to home, as well as have the ability to easily transfer her community college credits to a university.

Clark did not have to look far.  Just a few miles from her Gallatin, Tennessee home, a 2+2 partnership educational program between Volunteer State Community College and Tennessee State University afforded her the opportunity she was seeking.

“I’m married with two small boys which made it difficult at times to get my college education,” said Clark. “Through the 2+2 and fast track programs, I was able to obtain my associate degree and continue my four-year degree with Tennessee State University. It’s challenging, but it’s a great program for me to be able to finish my bachelors degree in criminal justice.”

According to University officials, TSU is now creating more partnerships and programs with community colleges around the state to help students such as Clark, transfer seamlessly to the University to complete a four-year degree. Under the Community College Initiative, students have more options to move them along through their educational career.

Dr. Sharon Peters, director of the Community College Initiative Program, said the new initiative “just makes sense and is truly one of those win-win situations for everyone involved.”

“More and more students are choosing to pursue community college, as opposed to a university, right out of high school or as a nontraditional student because community colleges tuition costs are 50 percent less than four-year institutions,” said Peters. “Once they get their associate degree they will enter TSU as a junior and spend two years here, providing them with an opportunity to get their four-year degree from TSU.”

IMGP3189_2According to a report from the National Center for Education Statistics, as of fall 2012, 40 percent of all college undergraduates were enrolled in community colleges. TSU, added Peters, is committed to partnering with the Tennessee community colleges to create programs and initiatives focused on increasing the number of students prepared for transfer to the University.

“These programs and initiatives raise student achievement levels, close achievement gaps and successfully prepare a diverse population of students for academic and professional success,” said Peters. “Transfer preparation programs provide services such as regular and sustained advising, mentoring and early identification to improve student outcomes.”

According to Peters, the University is reaching out to all 13 community colleges around the state to develop long-lasting partnerships and relationships. Currently there are agreements with Volunteer State, Nashville State, Columbia State and Motlow State Community Colleges, with hopes to sign agreements with five additional institutions within the next year.

Programs through the initiative include the dual admission program where students gain early admission to TSU while completing an associate degree. These students receive a limited use student ID card that allows them to attend cultural and sporting events.  They also meet with TSU advisors early in their community college career.

One of the most popular programs is the 2+2 program, where students complete all four years at their community college. The program follows a national trend where professors from universities including TSU, are increasingly traveling to teach on the community college campuses, offering bachelor’s programs as part of new partnerships with two-year schools.

After completing an associate’s degree, community college students can transfer to a four-year program and complete a university bachelor’s degree right where they are. Currently TSU has partnerships with Volunteer State that offers the 2+2 program in Elementary Education, Criminal Justice and Nursing, and Criminal Justice at Motlow State Community College. Additional 2+2 programs in the near future are planned in Business, Health Sciences and Urban Studies.

Through these programs, students have numerous options to complete their four-year education, and help students who aspire to attend TSU save money by paying lower tuition at a community college for up to two years before transitioning to the University.

“That is exactly why I decided to go the 2+2 route,” said James Murphy, a junior Criminal Justice major who attends Volunteer State Community College and will graduate in December with a Bachelor of Science degree from TSU.

Murphy decided to stay on the campus for his TSU degree because it would be more convenient and cost less.

“The program has allowed me to work a fulltime job and take a full class schedule,” Murphy said. “Without it, I don’t think I would have been able to afford to go to school and finish my degree. Plus the instructors were very knowledgeable, the class sizes are usually small, and teacher-student interaction is encouraged.”

These new relationships and initiatives, Peters added, are programs that specifically focus on the Community Colleges and their needs, but also the needs of the larger community. And with Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam’s “Drive to 55” education initiative, TSU is prime to help lead the way for not only higher education, but for workforce and economic development.

“Of course we want to see growth in the number of transfer students that choose TSU, and a growth in the number of partnerships. More importantly we want to see partnerships between community college faculty and university faculty whereby they engage in joint research and curriculum design,” Peters said. “These types of partnerships benefit the students, the community and the state in our effort to insure that the majority of our citizens have a college degree.”

 

 

 

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.

Earning Degree in Sociology Made Easy With Tennessee State University Online Classes

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Whether you are a deployed-military personnel or spouse, a non-traditional student, or just overwhelmed with life’s activities to complete that sociology degree that has eluded you for years, TSU has just the answer for you.

Yes…online!

“Our program is now completely online,” said Dr. Oscar Miller, professor and chair of the Department of Sociology, Social Work and Urban Professions.

He said with all of the general education courses also offered online, busy students can now earn their bachelor’s degree in sociology without sitting in a classroom.

“All you need is access to a computer and the Internet; it is that simple,” Miller said.

With the uncertainty that comes with a military deployment – when families don’t know when or where their next assignment will be – or a nontraditional student who can’t find the time to finish their degree in a traditional setting, the online program offers just the right opportunity.

Shaconya Freeman, 38, of Springfield, Tennessee, agrees.

Shaconya Freeman, with her children and godson following her graduation with an associate’s degree from Volunteer State Community College, has been admitted into the TSU online sociology program this fall. (courtesy photo)
Shaconya Freeman, with her children and godson following her graduation with an associate’s degree from Volunteer State Community College, has been admitted into the TSU online sociology program this fall. (courtesy photo)

“This just works better for me,” said Freeman, a transfer student from Volunteer State Community College, where she earned her associate’s degree in sociology almost entirely online.

The mother of three, including an 11-year-old daughter, said between a demanding full-time job as an office manager in a doctor’s office, caring for her young child, a babysitter, homework and studying, there is very little time left to sit in a classroom.

“I tried taking some of my courses on the (Volunteer State) campus once and that was just too hectic for me,” Freeman said.

According to Miller, the demand for people with background in sociology is on the rise and projected to grow even higher. The overall goal of the TSU online program, he said, is to target military personnel and their spouses, as well as nontraditional students and “degree completers” like Freeman to provide them with the skills they need to be successful.

“Federal, state, and local government agencies, non-profit human and social services organizations and private sector companies are hiring sociology majors for their competencies in critical thinking, research and data analysis, group/team behavior, and cultural diversity,” Miller said.

Dr. Oscar Miller, Professor and Chair of the Department of Sociology, Social Work and Urban Professions, right, congratulates Austin Wyatt after his (Wyatt) graduation with a B.S. degree in Sociology from TSU last May.  Wyatt, a nontraditional student and married father of two children, earned his degree entirely online. (courtesy photo)
Dr. Oscar Miller, Professor and Chair of the Department of Sociology, Social Work and Urban Professions, right, congratulates Austin Wyatt after his (Wyatt) graduation with a B.S. degree in Sociology from TSU last May. Wyatt, a nontraditional student and married father of two children, earned his degree entirely online. (courtesy photo)

Austin Wyatt, a May 2014 TSU graduate with a B.S. in sociology, said his degree, earned entirely online, has opened doors to him that would not have been possible otherwise.

“It has enabled me to move away from the manual laborer status into an area where I can now pursue my interest and help me to provide for my family in a more meaningful way,” said Wyatt, a married father of two, who will begin a master’s degree program in anthropology at the University of Memphis this fall.

Calling his TSU degree a launching pad for a successful future career, the Starkville, Mississippi native, who now calls Memphis, Tennessee home, said he made some bad choices earlier in life that got him “off course” and nearly caused him to lose his family.

“With a child and wife, and working menial jobs, it hit me that I needed to do something to be a better provider for my family,” Wyatt said. “I was fortunate to find out that I could keep my busy schedule of working and help with the home and take classes right at home.”

Wyatt’s goal, he said, is to be an inspiration to others who think there is no way out because of mistakes of the past, or just having too much to do to find the time to earn a degree.

“It’s either I was going to lose my family or make some quick decisions. I decided to enroll in the TSU sociology program, and that’s the best decision I ever made. I am glad I did,” Wyatt added.

“And these are just the kind of people the program is designed to help,” Miller said, describing Wyatt as a “TSU success story.”

He said sociology is helping the skilled workforce demand of the nation by supplying leaders, managers, workers, and entrepreneurs who use their expertise and competencies to help organizations and communities improve.

“Sociology skills help our majors successfully adapt within our ever changing organizations and the dynamic labor market,” Miller added.

The Tennessee Board of Regents approved the online degree in sociology in 2011 and completed final preparations to offer the degree in the fall 2012. The program, one of many degrees offered online at TSU, currently has 15 students, Miller said.

 

 

 

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.