Category Archives: NEWS

TSU Hosts Common Core State Standards Math Training March 28

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Teachers from across the state will have the opportunity to learn the latest teaching techniques and instruction in a manner consistent with Common Core State Standards while improving students’ performance levels in mathematics during Tennessee State University’s spring training conference Friday, March 28.

The conference takes place at the Avon Williams Campus auditorium from 8:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m., with discussions focusing on the standards’ deployment, teacher preparation, curriculum development and impact on higher education in Tennessee.

Hosted by the College of Education, the training, entitled Transforming Urban Schools: Implementing Common Core State Standards for Mathematics Instruction, will provide professional-development opportunities for pre-service and in-service teachers, as well as administrators interested in reforming schools for the success of all pre-k through 12th grade students.

“’Transforming Urban Schools’ is a series of workshops designed to engage educators in practical professional development experiences with one principle goal: to improve what is done in schools,” said Dr. Kimberly King-Jupiter, dean of the College of Education. “That inevitably leads to better learning outcomes for the most important part of the equation in education – our kids.”

Dr. Linda C. Tillman
Dr. Linda C. Tillman

Building on the Common Core State Standards Symposium held last year, the professional development training includes a keynote address on Innovation in Urban Schools by Dr. Linda C. Tillman, professor emerita from the Department of Educational Leadership at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

Dr. Marilyn Strutchens
Dr. Marilyn Strutchens

An overview of the Common Core State Standards will also take place with Dr. Marilyn Strutchens, Mildred Cheshire Fraley Distinguished professor in the Department of Curriculum and Teaching at Auburn University. She will lead participants in a hands-on workshop on establishing mathematics learning communities in their schools.

Other topics to be discussed during the conference include an overview of the Common Core State Standards, understanding the standards of practical mathematical practice, required shifts in teaching, and addressing stakeholder concerns.

The Common Core State Standards initiative is a state-led effort coordinated by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices, and the Council of Chief State School Officers. The standards were developed in collaboration with teachers, school administrators and experts to provide a clear and consistent framework to prepare children for college and the workforce.

Tennessee students will begin testing under the new standards in spring 2015.

The conference is free and open to pre-service and in-service teachers, as well as administrators. Attendees will receive resources and instructional strategies that they can take back to their schools and implement.

To register or for more information, contact Tenisha Odom, field experience coordinator with the College of Education, at 615.963.4885 or todom2@tnstate.edu.

 

 

 

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.

Black Male Caregivers Focus of Safe Infant Sleep Training March 22

NICHD_TSU_STSTraining_Flyer__Student_FINALNASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 4,000 infants in the United States die suddenly of no immediate or obvious cause. Nearly half of these unexpected deaths are due to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, the leading cause of all deaths among infants ages 1 to 12 months.

The numbers are even higher for the African-American community according to the Office of Minority Health, with the SIDS mortality rate nearly twice that of non-Hispanic whites. Organizers at Tennessee State University hope that with proper training and education, the numbers will be reversed.

The University, along with the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, will offer a one-day Safe Infant Sleep Training course to educate parents and other caregivers about practices that can help reduce the risk of SIDS and other sleep-related causes of infant death.

The Safe Infant Sleep Training will take place Saturday, March 22 at the Avon Williams campus and will, according to Dr. Stephanie Bailey, dean of the College of Health Sciences, target primarily black males, who take on a larger role as caregivers. It is also the first time the campaign has been offered in Tennessee.

“The training is open to everyone,” said Bailey. “But we are really focusing on the role black males are now playing in the care of children. This includes fathers, grandfathers, uncles, brothers and others who are taking an active role in raising a child. The goal is to educate this group of caregivers on reducing the risk of SIDS and ensuring a safe sleep environment.”

She added that information on the care of children has changed over the years.

“We are now teaching that a safe sleep environment has no bumpers, pillows, blankets or toys,” Bailey said. “This is different from what we were taught years ago. By placing infants on their backs, SIDS rates have declined overall by 50 percent across all racial and ethnic groups, while the rate of back sleeping among infants has increased by 40 percent, which is a good thing. This training is the perfect opportunity to get those messages out to caregivers.”

The Safe to Sleep campaign was launched in September 2012 and expands on the Back to Sleep campaign that was launched in 1994. The new campaign expands upon the success of the previous campaign by incorporating the most up-to-date recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics on safe-infant-sleep practices.

According to Dr. Stacy Scott, community liaison for NICHD, the training will educate parents and caregivers on ways to help reduce the risk of SIDS and other sleep-related causes of infant death, while continuing to spread the messages of Safe Infant Sleep to all communities, while tailoring outreach to those communities most affected by SIDS.

“We have been providing training for women for a very long time,” said Scott. “But now we see a need to tailor that training for African American males because of the increased role they are playing in childrearing. This ‘Fatherhood’ initiative recognizes the importance of their role, and will be the first of a series of training and outreach targeting fathers specifically for SIDS training.”

Mark McBee, one of the presenters at the upcoming training, agreed with Scott, saying that for too long the father and male caregiver have been overlooked when it comes to SIDS training. The training, he said, needs to take in the specific needs of males, especially black males, who have traditionally been left out of the equation.

“There are a lot more men in charge of taking care of children in the home today,” said McBee, a 30-year veteran firefighter and paramedic with the city of Toledo, Ohio. “More men, especially black males, are the primary caregivers of small infants and becoming more involved in their children’s lives. They need to be able to recognize the risks associated with SIDS and how to prevent them.”

The Safe Infant Sleep Training will be held in two sessions. The first takes place from 10 a.m. until noon and is geared for University students who can earn service-learning credit by attending and sharing the messages in the community.

The second session, which is open to the community, will take place from 1 until 3 p.m.

“Unfortunately, the SIDS rate in the Black community is higher as well as the overall infant mortality rate,” added Bailey. “It’s our goal to present this information to some of our alumni fraternities along with community and church members, all in the hopes of spreading the information to others in the community.”

Registration is required to attend since space is limited. To register for this free training, visit http://bit.ly/TSUstudent or call 615.9637328.

 

 

 

 

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.

A Call To Men: TSU Training Focuses on Engaging Men to End Violence Against Women

Tony Porter
Tony Porter

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – How can we prevent domestic and sexual violence against women? It is a question educator and activist Tony Porter will address during his A Call to Men presentation in Kean Hall at Tennessee State University, Thursday, March 27.

The training takes place from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. and is free and open to the public. Attendees are asked to register online at tncoalition.org.

Porter is co-founder of A Call To Men: The Next Generation of Manhood, a leading national men’s organization addressing domestic and sexual violence prevention and the promotion of healthy manhood.

A central tenet of A Call to Men is the belief that preventing violence against women is ultimately the responsibility of men. During his talk, Porter will emphasize that even well-meaning men who do not see themselves as part of the problem need to get involved.

“Its time for those of us who are ‘well meaning men’ to start acknowledging the role male privilege and socialization play in domestic violence as well as violence against women in general,” said Porter. “As well meaning men we must begin to acknowledge and own our responsibility to be part of the solution to ending domestic violence.”

According to Porter, his work and vision is not to beat up on well meaning men, but instead to help them understand, through a process of re-education and accountability, how to become part of the solution to ending domestic violence.

“We must educate and re-educate our sons and other young men,” added Porter. “We must accept our responsibility that domestic violence won’t end until well-meaning men become part of the solution. While a criminal justice response to domestic violence is necessary, a cultural, social shift is required.”

Porter and Ted Bunch co-founded the national organization, A Call To Men, to address and end domestic and sexual violence against women and girls by challenging men to reconsider their long-held and long-taught gender beliefs, then take those lessons back to disseminate within their respective communities.

Since its founding in 2002, A Call To Men has worked throughout the United States and the world to develop and shape the next generation of manhood. Working with hundreds of youth sports organizations, high schools and colleges throughout the country, including Harvard, Columbia, Morehouse, and Berkeley, and has trained men and women from more than 3,000 organizations throughout the country, including the National Basketball Association, the United Nations, and hundreds of national, state, local and community based domestic violence and sexual assault organizations.

TSU is partnering with the Tennessee Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence, Verizon Wireless, Meharry Medical College, and the YWCA of Nashville & Middle Tennessee to sponsor this special presentation. This training is provided at no cost to participants, along with all training materials and lunch.

For more information, contact Chandra Lipscomb, director of the Men and Women Centers, at 615.963.4947.

 

 

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

 

 

About Tennessee State University

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

National Professional Organization Names TSU Dean as Vice President

Dr. Michael Orok
Dr. Michael Orok

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – For the second time in as many months, Dr. Michael Orok, dean of the School of Graduate Studies and Research at Tennessee State University, has been elected to serve in a high-ranking capacity for a national professional organization.

Orok was named vice president of the Conference of Minority Public Administrators (COMPA) during the organization’s national meeting March 13 in Washington, D.C. One of Americas’ leading national organizations, the Conference of Minority Public Administrators is made up of nearly 250 members from Colleges and Universities, elected and public officials representing all 50 states plus Washington, D.C. and some Caribbean countries.

“I am humbled by the trust placed on me by my professional colleagues nationwide and pledge to work with other leaders within the organization to foster COMPA’S established goals,” said Orok in accepting the elected office.

Established in 1977 as a section of the American Society for Public Administration, COMPA’s goal is to provide a forum for leadership and professional development of minority students, public servants, administrators and government officials. Its mission is to advance the science, processes, technology, art and image of public administrators by providing leadership in the elimination of discriminatory practices against all minorities.

In February, Orok was elected to the Executive Committee of the Conference of Southern Graduate Schools. The committee studies and reviews issues and problems facing graduate education particularly those in the South.

 

 

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

 

 

About Tennessee State University

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

TSU Day On the Hill Gives State Lawmakers Look into Tennessee State University Programs, Successes

Dr. Glenda Glover (center) joins state legislators, TSU students, faculty and staff, along with community supports, during a special ribbon-cutting ceremony to declare "TSU Day on the Hill."  (photo by John Cross, TSU Media Relations)
Dr. Glenda Glover (center) joins state legislators, TSU students, faculty and staff, along with community supporters, during a special ribbon-cutting ceremony in the Senate Chamber to declare “TSU Day on the Hill.” (photo by John Cross, TSU Media Relations)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Coming just hours before President Glenda Glover’s third Town Hall Meeting tonight where she will report on progress at Tennessee State University, the institution was celebrated today with proclamations and presentations during a special program at the State Capitol.

Called TSU Day on the Hill, the program recognized the institution for its outstanding academics, research, athletics, and importance to the education goals of Tennessee.

State legislators joined key stakeholders, including alumni, community leaders and friends of TSU to thank President Glover, faculty staff and students for making the University one of the best.

“Tennessee State University is a very critical component of our effort to develop educated citizens for our state and nation,” said Sen. Bo Watson (R-Hixson), Senate Speaker Pro Tempore, who acquainted the TSU visitors with the legislative process.

“We encourage you to make these visits frequently to see what we do here,” Sen. Watson said, adding, “When you come here you bring us information that makes us work better along with you to develop citizens who are more informed and educated.”

During a special ribbon-cutting ceremony in the Senate Chamber to officially declare “TSU Day on the Hill,” President Glover said she was glad to bring the University community to the State Capitol.

“By us coming here, we want our people to see what you do, and for you, our lawmakers, to see how the decisions you make affect what goes on at Tennessee State University,” said Dr. Glover. “We thanked you for this opportunity and the recognition you gave TSU.”

Dr. Glover encouraged the lawmakers to continue support for the Complete College Tennessee Act, which she said, determines funding level for TBR institutions.

Also speaking in the Chamber were Devonte Johnson, president of the TSU Student Government Association; Rep. Brenda Gilmore (D-Nashville); Sen. Thelma Harper (D-Nashville); Rep. Larry Miller  (D-Memphis), president of the State Black Caucus; Rep. Harold Love Jr. (D-Nashville); and Sandra Hunt, president of the Nashville Chapter of the TSU National Alumni Association.

Later, Rep. Love, on behalf of his fellow legislators, presented the TSU Women’s Track and Field Team with a special proclamation for becoming the 2014 champions of the Indoor Ohio Valley Conference.

“The General Assembly finds it necessary to recognize these outstanding young women of the Tennessee State University Tigerbelles who have, through their hard work, dedication and determination, achieved this success as champions of the Ohio Valley Conference,” the proclamation said.

Also receiving a special recognition with a proclamation was the TSU football team for their outstanding performance in the 2014 season. TSU, which went 9-3, finished the season second in the Ohio Valley Conference. It also had a record 12 players selected to all-conference teams.

The TSU Day on the Hill, which brought together more than 200 administrators, students, faculty and staff, also included displays of different programs, giveaways, free lunch for at least two members from each legislator’s office, and visits to various committee hearings, and discussion with some key lawmakers.

 

 

 

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

 

 

About Tennessee State University

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

TSU President Holds Town Hall Meeting March 18

Meeting follows morning “TSU Day on the Hill”

 

Town Hall Meeting March 18NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University president, Dr. Glenda Baskin Glover, will host a Town Hall meeting to present updated information and achievements from the University.

The meeting is open to the community and takes place Tuesday, March 18 beginning at 5:30 p.m. in Kean Hall.

According to organizers, this special event is designed to allow the University, business and community leaders to interact, and learn more about the wonderful progress and opportunities happening at Tennessee State University.

This will be the third town hall meeting Dr. Glover has hosted since becoming president of the University in 2013.

The town hall meeting follows TSU Day on the Hill when students, faculty and staff will give lawmakers the opportunity to learn about the high-caliber programs and results coming from TSU students at the Nashville’s only public institution, and the value of funding from the state of Tennessee to support higher education.

The event will provide an excellent opportunity for the state’s elected officials to see and hear firsthand about the issues facing higher education today, and the many student success stories from TSU.

The day begins at 8 a.m. with a continental breakfast, followed by the kickoff in the Senate Chambers at 9 a.m. The event runs until 3 p.m. TSU Day on the Hill takes place at Legislative Plaza, located at 301 6th Ave N downtown Nashville.

For more information about the Town Hall Meeting or Tennessee State University Day on the Hill, call 615.963.5331.

 

 

 

 

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.

Bridgestone Director to Lead off TSU Supply Chain Executive Leadership Lecture Series March 17

SupplyChainExLeader-LectureSeries_GardenhireNASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Global leadership and how to develop a customer-centered focus in industry will be the topic when the Supply Chain Management program in the College of Business at Tennessee State University holds its bi-annual Executive Leadership Lecture Series March 17.

The featured speaker is Robert L. Gardenhire, director of Logistics at Bridgestone Americas Tire Operation. Gardenhire, a longtime Bridgestone executive, oversees transportation, factory warehouses, distribution centers and public storage for finished goods in the U.S., Canada, Mexico and additional export markets.

Prior to the Executive Lecture Series, which begins at 5:15 p.m. in the Avon Williams Campus auditorium, Gardenhire will conduct a one-hour Executive Leadership Roundtable exclusively for MBA students in the new Executive Conference Room beginning at 3:30 p.m. RSVP at lsmith11@tnstate.edu is required to attend.

With the goal to enhance the supply chain curriculum, organizers say the lecture series is aimed to expose students to experts and thought leaders on proven capabilities in leadership that are based on competencies outlined by the SCM Governing Board. The Board is comprised of some of industry’s “most progressive” corporate leaders.

According to Lisa Smith, director of the SCM program, the series emphasizes the following focus areas:

  • Thought Leadership – The ability to make sound and informed decision in using accurate information to understand and resolve issues
  • Result Leadership – Developing a Customer-Centered Focus in meeting and understanding the customer’s needs
  • People Leadership – How to increase commitment through engagement, influence, and communication to inspire others to actively support the organization
  • Personal Leadership – How to demonstrate and manage ethics and compliance

The Executive Leadership Lecture Series is free and open to the public. For more information contact Lisa Smith at (615) 963-7137 or lsmith11@tnstate.edu.

 

 

 

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.

10-Day International Symposium to Pair TSU, Colombian Students in Cultural Immersion Exercises

ODIANASHVILLE (TSU News Service) – For the second year in a roll, the Office of Diversity and International Affairs will host a weeklong symposium on global perspectives and cultural awareness, under the theme “TSU Without Borders.”

The symposium, to be held on the main campus in the Research and Sponsored Programs Building March 8-17, will bring together 10 university students from Colombia, in various disciplines, who will be paired with 10 TSU students on research projects to be presented at the symposium.

According to organizers, the symposium is part of the University’s “cultural immersion initiative” also called CI2, intended to challenge the students through 10 days of intense research, studying, sharing and social activities.

As the second phase of a research project under the Martin Luther King Jr. Fellowship Program, the symposium follows a Jan. 10-19 visit by 10 TSU students to Medellin, Colombia, where they were paired with their South American counterparts on a joint-research project.

“The purpose of their research was to outline the need to consider cross-cultural dialogue about competing conceptions of leadership, creativity and sustainability,” said Mark Brinkley, director of International Education at TSU.

Calling it an innovative collaboration between higher education institutions, Brinkley said the project is aimed to promote academic exchange and collaboration between TSU and Universidad de Antioquia in Colombia.

The South American students, mostly of indigenous Afro-Colombian heritage, are from the University of Antioquia, the National University in Medellin, and the Technological University of Chocó. They were paired according to their gender and research area of interest, according to Brinkley.

As part of their U.S. visit, the Colombian students will tour cultural sites in Memphis, including the Civil Rights Museum, to be sponsored by The Links, historic Peabody Hotel, Beal Street, as well as tour the Gaylord Hotel and the mall at Opry Mills in Nashville.

For more information go to https://www.tnstate.edu/diversity/ or call 615-963-5640.

 

 

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.

From Death Row to Artist…Former Inmate Displays Artwork At Avon Williams Campus Library Feb. 28-April 11

Ndume Olatushani turned to painting as a way to escape the tedium and depression of serving a death sentence. Now a free man living in Nashville, his paintings will be on display at TSU's Avon Williams Campus Library Feb. 28 through April 11.
Ndume Olatushani turned to painting as a way to escape the tedium and depression of serving a death sentence. Now a free man living in Nashville, his paintings will be on display at TSU’s Avon Williams Campus Library Feb. 28 through April 11. (courtesy photo)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Freedom was only a dream for Ndume Olatushani, a man who spent 28 years behind bars in maximum-security prisons. Wrongly convicted of murder, he spent 20 of those years on death row.

To escape the tedium and depression of life behind bars Olatushani began painting, by turning to canvas to “live outside of prison” as a way of freeing his mind and spirit.

The paintings, on display at the Tennessee State University’s Avon Williams Campus Library Feb. 28 through April 11, demonstrate the products of his incarceration and the will to change his life after hitting rock bottom.

“I was truly a broken man and the lowest I’ve ever been,” said Olatushani, recounting how he began painting following his mother’s death two years into his prison sentence. His mother Moosie, who never wavered in her belief of her son’s innocence, was killed in a car accident that also claimed the life of his 8-year-old niece.

“After my mom’s death, I decided I couldn’t be hurt anymore,” he added. “I started drawing and eventually taught myself to paint. Through my artwork I lived outside of prison and didn’t paint my surroundings, but instead the people from outside the prison walls I would like to meet.”

Born Erskine Johnson in St. Louis, Olatushani’s troubles began Oct. 26, 1983 while celebrating his mother’s birthday with about 30 relatives. While the family was celebrating, nearly 300 miles away in Memphis, a grocer named Joe Belenchi was murdered while working in the supermarket he owned.

Day Dreaming, oil on linen
Day Dreaming, oil on linen

Within several months following the murder, Johnson, who legally changed his name to Ndume (Swahili for masculinity) Olatushani (unifier), was tracked down, charged, convicted and sentenced for the crime—even though he never before set foot in the state of Tennessee. In 1985, at the age of 27, he was sentenced to death.

For nearly three decades, Olatushani spent his time moving from different levels of incarceration, including from Level C – where he spent 23 hours-a-day in forced solitude, with hands and feet shackled during the remaining hour – to Level A, which allowed up to three hours a week for visitations, outdoor time with other convicts in a 12-by-12 cage, and the opportunity to have odd jobs.

In 1991 he started corresponding with a young college student, Anne-Marie Moyes, who had dedicated herself to social justice issues. She began working with Death Penalty Focus, a California-based nonprofit similar to Tennesseans for Alternatives for the Death Penalty. The two met after months of corresponding, and she was so convinced of his innocence, Moyes enrolled in Vanderbilt Law School where she was awarded the law school’s Founder’s Medal – the highest honor bestowed on a single graduate out of every graduating class. The two would spend nearly two decades filing appeals.

Black Man Rises Up Boldly, oil on linen
Black Man Rises Up Boldly, oil on linen

In the meantime, a large international firm in New York decided for the first time to take on a death penalty case and filed appeal after appeal on his behalf. Finally in Dec. 2011, the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals overturned Olatushani’s murder conviction due to faulty witness testimony and demanded a new trial. On June 6, 2012, Olatushani walked out of prison after accepting an Alford Plea to avoid potentially serving several more years in the Shelby County Jail awaiting a new trial and taking his chances with another jury. This deal required that he plead guilty to second-degree murder, while, at the same time, allowed him to maintain his innocence. In exchange, he was sentenced to time served and was released.

Today, at age 54, Olatushani is a free man living in Nashville with his now wife, Anne-Marie, and their adopted child. Now just two years shy of being released and starting a new life, he is still painting, growing a small vegetable garden and learning about all the advances that did not exist when he was first incarcerated.

“The only real struggle is trying to get used to all these technological advances that have been made,” he said, listing on his fingers all the inventions that didn’t exist when he went to jail in 1983: computers, cell phones, the Internet.

Olatushani’s art exhibit will be on display at the Avon Williams Campus Library Feb. 28 through April 11 and is free and open to the public. The library is open Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and Sunday noon until 8:30 p.m.

For more information call 615.963.7188.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

36th Annual University-Wide Research Symposium set for March 31-April 4

Noted theoretical physicist Dr. Sylvester Gates Jr. to deliver keynote address

 

NASHVILLE (TSU News Service) – Every year, Tennessee State University students present their best works of exploration, research and invention to fellow students, faculty and the community at the Annual University-Wide Research Symposium. Now in its 36th year, the symposium will take place at the University March 31 – April 4.

Since 1979, TSU has held an annual research symposium – a University forum to recognize and commemorate excellence in student and faculty research, largely science, engineering, business and humanities disciplines, and a platform for students conducting hypothesis-driven research to gain exposure as either oral or poster presenters in an evaluative setting.

The symposium serves as a foundation to provide students with authentic experiences in presenting their research before advancing to regional, national and international research symposia; and before beginning early years as professionals in life-long careers and disciplines.

The Symposium is comprised of a week of interdisciplinary presentations by students and faculty members with students seeking competitive awards for their deliberative innovation that showcases the research process from laboratory to solution.

Continually themed “Research: Celebrating Excellence,” the Symposium will be divided into oral presentations and poster presentations. This year, 147 graduate and undergraduate oral and poster presentations are expected to take place, along with 21 faculty oral and poster presentations.

Oral presentations will take place throughout the week in the Research and Sponsored Programs Building, Room 161,163 and 209. Poster presentations will take place in the Jane Elliot Hall Auditorium, Tuesday, April 1 through Thursday, April 3. Judging for poster presentations is scheduled to take place Thursday, April 3 from 9 until 11 a.m. for graduate posters, and 1until 3 p.m. for undergraduate posters.

Noted theoretical physicist and John S. Toll Professor of Physics at the University of Maryland – College Park Dr. Sylvester Gates Jr. will be the featured keynote speaker officially opening the Symposium. The event takes place Monday, March 31 beginning at 2 p.m. in the E.T. Goins Recital Hall, located in the Performing Arts Center on the main campus. The keynote address is free and open to the public.

Other events taking place during the week include:

Monday, March 31 

*Division of Nursing Research Day
7:30 am – 1:00 pm
James E. Farrell – Fred E. Westbrook Building, room 118
Poster Sessions and Awards Ceremony
Luncheon Speaker, Grace S. Smith, LMSW, Program Manager, Meharry Consortium Geriatric Education Center

*Orals – Graduate Engineering I
9 – 11:30 am
Research and Sponsored Programs Building, Room 163

*Orals – Graduate Sciences I
9 am – 12:30 pm
Research and Sponsored Programs Building, Room 209

*Orals – Graduate Education and Health Sciences
9 – 10 am
Research and Sponsored Programs Building, Room 161

*Orals – Preliminary Research: Graduate Engineering
10:30 – 11:15 am
Research and Sponsored Programs Building, Room 161

*Opening Ceremony and Plenary Session
2 pm
E.T. Goins Recital Hall, Performing Arts Center
Symposium Keynote Address: Sylvester James Gates, Ph.D.


Tuesday, April 1

*Orals – Graduate Sciences II
9 am – 12:30 pm
Research and Sponsored Programs Building, Room 163

*Orals – Graduate Engineering II
9 – 11:30 am
Research and Sponsored Programs Building, Room 209

*Orals – Graduate Sciences III
1 – 4:30 pm
Research and Sponsored Programs Building, Room 163

*Orals – Undergraduate Engineering
1– 2:15 pm
Research and Sponsored Programs Building, Room 209

*Psychology Research Day
2:30 – 5:30 pm
James E. Farrell – Fred E. Westbrook Building, room 118
Oral and Poster Sessions and Awards Ceremony
5:30 pm, Guest Speaker, Neil Woodward, Ph.D., Department of Psychiatry, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine


Wednesday, April 2

*Orals – Undergraduate Sciences
9– 11:30 am
Research and Sponsored Programs Building, Room 163

*Orals – Preliminary Research: Graduate Education and Health Sciences
9 – 10 am
Research and Sponsored Programs Building, Room 209

*Orals – Undergraduate Social Sciences
11 – 11:30 am
Research and Sponsored Programs Building, Room 209

 

Thursday, April 3

*Poster Presentations – Faculty, Graduate, and Undergraduate
All posters will be displayed in the Jane Elliott Hall Auditorium, April 1-3

*Poster Judging – Graduate
9 – 11 am

*Engineering Research Day
11:30 am – 1 pm
James E. Farrell – Fred E. Westbrook Building, room 118
Luncheon Speaker, William H. Robinson, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering, Associate Professor of Computer Engineering, Director of Undergraduate Studies for Computer Engineering, Vanderbilt University

*Poster Judging – Undergraduate
1 – 3 pm

 

Friday, April 4

*Orals – Faculty
9 – 11:15 am
Research and Sponsored Programs Building, Room 163

*Awards Luncheon and Closing Ceremony
Noon – 2 pm
James E. Farrell-Fred E. Westbrook Building, room 118
Luncheon speaker: Mark A. Hardy, Ph.D., TSU Vice President for Academic Affairs.

 

Posters will be displayed in the Jane Elliott Hall Auditorium, April 1-3.

For more information on the Research Symposium, visit www.tnstate.edu/research or contact Nannette Carter Martin, co-chair at 615.963.5827, or Tamara Rogers, co-chair at 615.963.1520.

 

 

 

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.