Category Archives: Research and Sponsored Programs

Tennessee State University Hires New Assessment and Accreditation Director

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University has hired Dr. Charlise Anderson, a longtime assessment and institutional effectiveness expert, to serve as director of assessment and accreditation.

Anderson’s hiring comes in the wake of the recent sanction placed on the university by its accrediting body, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. TSU was placed on a one-year probation by SACSCOC for failing to comply with one of 25 accrediting standards, which involves student outcome for educational programs.

Dr. Charlise Anderson

TSU has a “plan of action” to address this issue, TSU President Glenda Glover announced at the Fall Faculty and Staff Institute Monday, assuring the gathering that TSU remains a fully accredited institution.

““We are fixing this and fixing it now,” Glover said. “Dr. Charlise Anderson has been hired as a full-time director to guide this process internally. We are confident in her ability and 100 percent confident that TSU will do all that is required to prepare and submit the documentation that is necessary to remove us from probation.”

In her long career, Anderson has served as senior leadership team member for college reaffirmation and accreditation, a SACSCOC fifth-year interim report coordinator, evaluator of college strategic plan, as well as directed all activities of a quality enhancement plan, or QEP, a key component of SACS’s reaffirmation process.

Before coming to TSU, Anderson was the director of institutional research, effectiveness and assessment, as well as accreditation liaison at Jarvis Christian College. Previously, she was the director of institutional research and assessment at Lane College.

Dr. Alisa Mosley, TSU’s interim vice president for Academic Affairs, described Anderson as “a valued addition to work with our staff” on assessment accreditation.

“She will work with our colleges, departments, divisions, and the University Assessment and Improvement Council to ensure that our academic programs and nonacademic units remain committed to a culture of assessment,” Mosley said. “Dr. Anderson assesses the needed experience in assessment and collaborating with external entities to ensure compliance.”

On how she plans to move forward with helping the institution to put together the needed corrective measures in the wake of the SACSCOC sanction, Anderson said documentation is currently being collected to demonstrate the analysis and use of results to make program improvements and “we will respond to SACSCOC accordingly.”

“In addition, assessment activities have been designed for the 2019-2020 academic year for each academic program to evidence a cohesive common process across all programs at the institution,” she said.

Anderson holds a doctorate degree in higher and adult education from the University of Memphis; M.S. in instructional technology and education from St. Joseph’s University; and B.S. in general studies from Lane College.

In the implementation of TSU’s action plan, President Glover also announced that the university has retained a nationally known firm with expertise on accreditation matters, as well as a communication/reputation management firm.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Top TSU Student Pursues Dream in Medical Field, Credits ‘Family’ Atmosphere for Choosing University

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Alanis Onwu says all it took for her to decide to come to Tennessee State University was a visit to President Glenda Glover’s home.

Alanis Onwu

“I immediately fell in love with the family atmosphere I experienced and decided right then that this is where I want to be,” says Onwu, an agricultural sciences biotechnology major, who is in her junior year.

An academic standout and graduate of Nashville’s Lead Academy, Onwu came to TSU on a High Achiever Academic Scholarship with a full ride, but still had other options. On arriving on campus, and as a high achiever scholarship recipient, Onwu was invited to the Presidential Scholars’ Reception for highly recruited students, at the president’s residence.

“That reception changed everything,” says Onwu. “President Glover, the faculty, staff and other students there made us feel so much at home; it felt like a close-knit family, and where I wanted to be.”

In more than two years at TSU, Onwu, a Nashville native, who wants to be a medical doctor, says she made the right decision.

“I have been exposed to so many opportunities. There are so many programs, so many clubs to get involved in. There is something for everyone,” she says.

Maintaining a near 4.0 GPA, Onwu has made the Dean’s List every semester since coming to TSU. She is a member of the Honors College, the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation program, and an active participant in the Students Opportunities for Advancement in Research Skills, or SOARS, where she is engaged in research on ways to reduce risk factors and mortality rate of breast cancer in African American women. Onwu is also the president of the African Student Association on campus.

As part of her interest in medicine, and to help accelerate her career journey, Onwu over the summer shadowed doctors in the Meharry Pediatrics Clinic. That experience, she says, has increased interest in becoming a doctor for children.

“First, I wanted to do internal medicine, but now that I have been shadowing doctors and pediatricians, I am really interested in pediatrics. I didn’t think I’d like it at first, but being around them (pediatric doctors) I have really grown to love the practice.”

Onwu’s enthusiasm for learning and her eagerness to be the best have been noticed by her professors – one in particular, who classified Onwu as one of the best students he has had in more than 20 years of teaching.

“She is right at the top of the class,” says Dr. Michael Ivy, professor of biological sciences, who taught Onwu anatomy and physiology. “Compared to other students, she was always prepared, never late. She was dependable. Her assignments were excellent. In addition to her class time, I never had to worry if she was going to miss something. Compared to all of the students I have taught in more than two decades, she ranks in the top 5 percent.”

Outside classwork and other extracurricular activities, Onwu also engages in community affairs and humanitarian work. In December, she launched “The Enugu Education Empowerment Movement,” that collected supplies for more than 50 school children in the Udi Village of Enugu State, Nigeria.

“I wanted to start this movement because in this specific location in Nigeria, many families cannot afford to buy their children school supplies,” says Onwu. “I wanted to make sure more children had the essential tools to be successful while getting an education.”

She is thankful for all TSU has made possible for her to pursue her dream, and encourages others thinking about TSU that “the decision should be easy.”

“I feel anyone thinking about TSU should come, see what it is, try to get involved, take what they like, and they definitely will find something interesting here,” says Onwu.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU President Glover welcomes employees back with message of continued teamwork, student success and accreditation

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – “Our decisions must be about the welfare of the students. We are here for the students. We are here on behalf of the students,” President Glenda Glover said as she officially kicked off the fall semester for the university on Aug. 12.

TSU President Glenda Glover, left, welcomes Dr. Belle Wheelan, President of SACSCOC during the Fall Faculty Staff Institute. (Photo by Erynne Davis, TSU Media Relations)

Glover’s opening message continued with service to students during the faculty and staff gathering, held to commence the start of each academic school year.  

“We have an awesome responsibility to challenge minds, to change lives, and to ensure the future. Everything we do must be done with that in mind,” she said.

Her remarks followed the welcome by Interim Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Alisa Mosley; Dr. Geoffrey Burke, chair of the Faculty Senate; and Staff Senate Chair Tequila Johnson, all of whom told faculty and staff they play a role in the success of TSU.

The customary State of the University Address also touched upon the past year of successes and challenges. Hundreds of employees attended the annual event to get an update on those year-long initiatives.  A main topic included the university’s recent sanction by its accrediting body.

“Tennessee State University remains a fully accredited institution,” Glover told faculty and staff. 

TSU was placed on a one-year probation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS COC), for failing to comply with one of 25 accrediting standards, which involves student outcome for educational programs.

A special highlight of the Faculty Staff Institute was the appearance of the President of SACSCOC, Dr. Belle Wheelan, who explained the role of the commission and further assured the gathering that TSU is not in danger of losing its accreditation.

“It is a pleasure for me to be here today,” Wheelan said. “My challenge is to help you understand the accreditation process and to believe within your heart, as I do in my heart, that TSU is going to be alright. I assure you, she (President Glover) has pulled every resource together, both human and fiscal, and you all are going to fix this. I assure you, this time next year, you will be fine.”

Glover discussed a “plan of action” to address the issue. Corrective steps taken so far under the plan include the following:  university has retained a nationally known firm with expertise on accreditation matters; hired a full-time director of assessment and accreditation to guide the process internally; as well as a communication/reputation management firm.

Glover introduced Charlise Anderson, a longtime assessment and institutional effectiveness expert, as the new director in charge of accreditation matters.

“We are 100 percent confident that TSU will do all that is required to prepare and submit the documentation that is necessary to remove us from probation,” Glover said. “We are fixing this and fixing it now.”

Glover also announced progress and challenges in other areas including, recruitment, retention, graduation, campus safety, customer service, but said ensuring student success remains “the key reason we are all here.”

On a major achievement, Glover informed the university of TSU’s recent partnership with tech giant Apple, and the hosting of the inaugural HBCU C2 Presidential Academy last month.

“TSU is now a National Center for Smart Technology Innovations that will bring coding and creativity opportunities across HBCU campuses,” Glover said. “TSU will be the hub for all 104 HBCUs to come here and code and create.

Dr. Robbie Melton, interim dean of Graduate and Professional Studies, and the initiative’s main facilitator, was recognized for spearheading the effort that made the partnership possible. Dr. Melton then presented the TSU-trained code and creative team members.

The University is offering the coding course for free to employees. The institute culminated with lunch on the lawn.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

New Tennessee State University Smart Technology Center Introduces Area Youth to Coding, Creativity

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University has launched the first community “Everyone Can Code and Create” initiative for youth on its Avon William Campus.

Thirty students from Camp Zion, a summer program at Mt. Zion Baptist Church, participate in “Everyone Can Code and Create” at TSU. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

The initiative, which debuted July 23, is part of the newly established National Center for Smart Technology Innovations, created through the HBCU C2 Presidential Academy to bring coding and creativity opportunities to students across HBCU campuses, as well as Nashville students.

The exercise was for youth between ages 6 and 14. More than 30 students participating in Camp Zion, a summer program at Mt Zion Baptist Church, attended the workshop.

They experienced hands-on coding and creativity using iPads, robotic Sphero balls, and more.

Dr. Nicole Arrighi, professor of teaching and instruction at TSU, instructs middle school students in coding and creativity. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

Eighth-graders Harmony Kennedy and Devin King were among those who attended. They said the exercises opened their eyes to technology they never knew existed.

“Coding is really cool,” said Kennedy, from Grassland Middle School in Franklin, Tennessee, who wants to either be a psychologist, a singer or an actress. “I like how you program and interact with technology to be able to one day change the future for good.”

For King, who wants to be a football player, he thinks coding will be very helpful in how he manages his career as an athlete.

“It (coding) is something I have been dreaming about,” the Joelton Middle School student said. “This is technology that certainly will help me on my journey in the sports world.”

Summer camp students from Mt. Zion Baptist Church team together to code and create at TSU. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

On July 19, TSU launched the HBCU C2 Presidential Academy, which is supported by tech giant Apple. Leaders of 14 historically black colleges and universities – including Tennessee State – from across the country went away from the Academy with knowledge and skills in coding and app development from Apple’s comprehensive coding curriculum. As part of the initiative, TSU is also working with Metro Nashville Public Schools, Motlow State Community College and the Metropolitan Nashville Chapter of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Inc. to expand coding opportunities to other students in the community.

According to Dr. Robbie Melton, TSU’s interim dean of Graduate and Professional Studies, and the initiative’s main facilitator, the youth camp is part of “an academy that starts from pre-school to the work world.”

“So, today we have Mt. Zion, next week we are going over to Hadley Park with their summer camp, and then start with Metro Public Schools, where we will have coding classes in the afternoons and on the weekends,” Melton said. “So, TSU is positioned to create and code everywhere you are with whatever group or population.”

She said the Camp Zion participants went through a series of creative activities using garage band and iPads to learn how to code robots, spheros, drones and other items.

“This will help them with their reading, writing and all of their school subjects across the board,” Melton said.

Dr. Nicole Arrighi, professor in the Department of Teaching and Learning, was among those who facilitated the youth initiative. Using the Garage Band, an application for the iPad, she helped the students in one session develop drum beats and “rap names” for themselves.

“The exercise gave them (the students) the opportunity to see how they can use their creativity to use an informal coding,” Arrighi said. “In this particular setting, the coding is in the layout of actual beats to actually make their own ring tone.”

For more information on TSU HBCU C2 go to http://www.tnstate.edu/hbcuc2/

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU Counseling Psychology Program Receives National Recognition for Focus on Social Justice, Helping the Underserved

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The Ph.D. Counseling Psychology program at Tennessee State University has been selected for a prestigious award by the American Psychological Association. Recently reaccredited for another 10 years, the program is to receive the 2019 Richard M. Suinn Minority Achievement Award presented by the APA’s Commission on Ethnic Minority Recruitment, Retention and Training.

TSU is one of only two programs to win the award, presented each year to a program that has demonstrated excellence in the recruitment, retention and graduation of ethnic minority students. The TSU Ph.D. Counseling Psychology program, with a current enrollment of 45 students, is also one of only two APA-accredited programs at an HBCU. It was recognized for its dedication to social justice and tackling issues relevant to marginalized groups.

The award will be presented on August 8 during the APA’s annual convention Awards Reception in Chicago.

The 2019 graduating class of the psychology program appear with some of their faculty members during the commencement ceremony. (Submitted Photo)

“This recognition by the American Psychological Association demonstrates the excellence of our faculty in preparing our candidates to go out there to make an impact on the profession,” said Dr. Heraldo Richards, interim dean of the College of Education. “What we see is a program that not only meets all the standards, but goes the extra mile in making sure that our candidates are able to address the needs of clients they work with.”

A letter from the APA announcing the award touted the TSU Ph.D. Counseling Psychology program’s efforts to prepare and produce culturally competent practitioners of color as impressive and timely.

“Please note that the program’s nomination was advanced by your own students,” the letter noted. “Such action highlights the important and valuable work the program accomplishes to mentor scholars of color. Clearly, the program’s work and its dedication to the education and training of psychologists has not gone unnoticed by your students.”

Dr. Keisa Kelly, chair of the TSU Department of Psychology, said she is glad for the award and recognition given the TSU program.

“I am very grateful for the national recognition our department’s counseling psychology program, students, and faculty have received for their outstanding commitment to equity, justice, and workforce diversification,” Kelly said. “My team works hard, makes a difference, and deserves recognition for their significant and impactful accomplishments in psychology and society more broadly.”

Linda Ly, a second-year Ph.D. student from Rosemead, California, nominated the TSU program for the APA award.

“I was impressed by how the program is able to recruit students from diverse backgrounds, which has really enhanced the learning experience for me,” she said.  “I’ve learned so much from my peers and faculty members consistently in discussions about individual and cultural differences throughout the program.”  

Dr. Robin Oatis-Ballew, coordinator of the Ph.D. Counseling Psychology program, described students in the program as talented, committed to learning, and deeply interested in serving others.

“As part of their training, the doctoral counseling psychology students provide mental health services to Davidson and surrounding counties,” Oatis-Ballew said. “Often, they are working with underserved communities. They also volunteer their time to assist migrant, refugee, and homeless peoples, as well as other groups and organizations who are invested in grassroots community efforts and social change.”

In addition to the Suinn Award, the APA recently recognized two TSU students for outstanding achievement. Erin Carney, a Ph.D. student, is the APA’s Society for Counseling Psychology (Division 17) Student of the Year, for her outstanding work with individuals at risk for suicide. Gabe Lockett, who is pursuing his master’s degree in counseling psychology, was selected for APA’s Minority Fellowship Program. 

For more information on the TSU psychology program, go to http://www.tnstate.edu/psychology/

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Williams Named Associate Vice President For Research And Sponsored Programs

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Dr. Frances Williams has been appointed associate vice president for research and sponsored programs.  Williams is currently the associate dean for graduate studies and research in the College of Engineering.

Frances Williams

In her new role, Williams will provide oversight of TSU’s research enterprise, including management of research grants and contracts, strategic research initiatives and partnerships, proposal development, and TSU’s Centers of Excellence.

“I am excited for the opportunity to serve the university in this capacity,” said Williams, who is also a professor of electrical and computer engineering, and director of the Center for Micro-, Nano-, and Bio-technology Research at Tennessee State University. “I look forward to working with the TSU family to expand our research and sponsored activities and to foster strategic partnerships for growth.”

John Barfield, TSU director of engagement and visibility in the Division of Research and Institutional Advancement, said he is encouraged by Williams’ appoint because of her vast research experience.

“Dr. Williams is an experienced researcher who has gone through every gamut of what it means to be funded and is known nationally for her research.  She also has a good sense of what research administration takes because she has worked on these projects over the years.  So to have somebody who has that experience and has also been the associate dean in the College of Engineering and understands the faculty side of it, I expect her to take off and take us in new directions.”

A veteran researcher and university administrator, Williams previously served as the director of the Center for Materials Research at Norfolk State University as well as the director of Norfolk State’s Micro- and Nano-technology Cleanroom, a premiere research facility for fabricating micro- and nano-scale devices.

Williams has extensive publications, and holds a patent in the areas of advanced materials and devices, biosensors, and nano- and micro-electromechanical systems processing and devices. She has received grants totaling over $15 million as a principal investigator or co-principal investigator.

For her contributions in teaching, scholarship, and service, she has received various awards including the 2018 STEM Innovation Award at the 32nd Black Engineer of the Year Awards (BEYA) STEM Global Competitiveness Conference.  In 2013, she received the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) Outstanding Faculty Award (the highest faculty award given out by the state).  She was named an “Emerging Scholar” by Diverse Issues in Higher Education magazine in 2012.  She was also awarded Norfolk State’s top distinguished faculty award, the University Award of Excellence in 2010.

Williams holds B.S. and M.S. degrees in electrical engineering from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, and a Ph.D. in electrical and computer engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority establishes endowment at Tennessee State University and honors school’s President Glenda Glover

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University is the latest HBCU recipient of financial support from Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. On Wednesday, the service organization continued its commitment of creating a $100,000 endowment at each of the nation’s four-year historically black colleges and universities with a donation to TSU President Glenda Glover.

President Glenda Glover admires a commemorative bench dedicated in her honor by the AKA Sorority, Inc. (Submitted Photo)

An initial gift of $25,000 was presented to Glover during a bench dedication in her honor by the sorority. She was joined by Horace Chace, vice president of Business and Finance; Terry Clayton, member of the TSU Foundation Board; and Iris Ramey, associate vice president for Corporate Partnership and Strategic Initiatives.

“One meaningful part of the AKA Leadership Seminar in Nashville is the $100,000 commitment for an endowment from Alpha Kappa Alpha to Tennessee State University,” Glover said. “It begins with this initial donation of $25,000 to assist with student scholarships. I’m extremely appreciative to the sorority for this gift.”

 The gift coincides with AKA’s HBCU Endowment initiative, which looks to award $10 million to these institutions by 2022. 

“We are trying to assist students and help retain them to continue with their education,” Chase said. “This funding from Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority is definitely going to be a big plus in helping to accomplish that goal.”

The Commemorative Bench was unveiled and dedicated on the TSU main campus on June 29. The honor recognizes President Glover’s exemplary leadership and service. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

The Executive Director of the TSU Foundation, Betsy Jackson-Mosley, added, “The TSU Foundation is very grateful for the support received from the AKA Foundation for student scholarships. Scholarships are very important to attract the best and brightest and to help students stay in school.”

The financial support and bench dedication were two of several service projects taking place during the AKA’s 2019 Leadership Seminar – June 27-30 – being held at Opryland Hotel.

In a litany at the dedication, led by Dr. Norma S. White, 25th international president of AKA, the group acknowledged the significant contributions of Dr. Glover in leadership, education, community service and philanthropy.

“As we dedicate this commemorative bench in honor of the 30th International President of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, Dr. Glenda Glover, we take pride in her leadership and the many contributions that she has made to the sorority, Tennessee State University and other noteworthy organizations,” the group said. “May this bench be a permanent reminder of the significant accomplishments of Dr. Glover.”

Glover, a native of Memphis and the eighth and first female president of TSU, became the 30th international president of AKA in July 2018.  Immediately upon taking the helm, she sent a clear message that education would remain a priority for the organization, especially supporting the nation’s HBCUs. She launched HBCU for Life: A Call to Action and signature program College Admissions Process, also known as #CAP, to promote and market HBCUs.

Saying that she leads by example, Glover donated $50,000 to the sorority’s Educational Advancement Foundation to further emphasize her commitment. She made that same commitment to TSU when she became president of her alma mater in 2013. 

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Tennessee State University Ag Professor Receives $650,000 in Grants for Food Safety and Disease Prevention Research

By JOAN KITE

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) — Tennessee State University professor Dr. Ankit Patras has received two grants totaling $650,000 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Trojan Technologies of Canada, and California-based Aquafine Corporation. The grants will fund research to make food safer by eliminating harmful viruses and bacterial endospores in juices and other beverages.

Dr. Ankit Patras

In the NIFA grant, Patras, as principal investigator, and his research team at TSU, including Dr. Agnes Kilonzo-Nthenge and Dr. John Rickettes, are collaborating with researchers at the University of Tennessee, and the Institute of Food Safety and Health at the Illinois Institute of Technology. Together, Patras and his fellow researchers will study the effect of highly energetic photons at 253.7 nm wavelength for the inactivation of viral particles, bacterial spores, and mycotoxins.

Dr. Chandra Reddy, dean of the College of Agriculture, said TSU is glad to partner with USDA and private industry in a research project that is aimed to make food safe for consumers without worrying about bacterial or viral contamination and illnesses.

“Dr. Patras is one of the national leaders in this area of research and he and his team are exploring some novel ways to contain or eliminate bacteria and viruses in foods through these grants,” Reddy said. “As our new Food Science building comes online in a year or so, we will intensify the food science research at TSU.”

Dr. Ankit Patras demonstrates the thin film pilot UV system, a novel pasteurization technology for inactivating viruses and bacterial endospores in liquid foods. Research Fellow Dr. Brahmiah Pendyala looks on. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

According to Patras, who is research assistant professor of agricultural science, the ultimate goal of this project is to develop new and improved non-thermal technologies to inactivate viruses and bacterial endospores. He said one of the unique aspects of the project is the use of novel approaches for ensuring uniform UV exposure to bacterial and viral particles in fluids, without any arbitrary fluence rate distribution and uncertainty in the delivered UV fluence within the UV systems.

“Another important aspect of the study is to create science-based knowledge and bridge existing knowledge gaps by assessing the sensitivity of target foodborne viruses and spores to this treatment,” Patras said. “We want to identify markers of oxidative stress, which can be correlated to microbial inactivation.”

Madison Purifoy, a graduating senior participating in a science summer program for exceptional high school seniors, explains her findings in an experiment where she tested e coli in synthetic fluid using UV radiation to see if it will grow or create mutations. Purifoy is from Plano West Senior High School in Plano, Texas. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

The team will develop chemical and biological sensors (biodosimeters) to quantify the UV dose delivered to pathogenic targets ensuring accurate dose delivery. The overall integrated approach will generate fundamental knowledge on the inactivation of viruses and bacterial spores on bench and commercial UV systems. Members of federal agencies including USDA-ARS, US-FDA, and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada are on the advisory board. Patras’s grant is one of the few awarded by the AFRI Foundation and Applied Science Program in the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Among Patras’ team at TSU is Taylor Ribeiro, a third-year Ph.D. student in biological sciences, who is working on the inactivation of bacterial in blue berry-flavored functional beverage. She said it feels good to be working with something that’s in the forefront of technology because “current pasteurization methods are starting to fail us.”

Some members of Dr. Patras’s research team in the Meats Processing Lab at TSU (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

“We are starting to see outbreaks left and right. So, to be at the forefront of something that is going to be global pretty soon is a big deal for me,” said Ribeiro, who is from Chesapeake, Virginia. “I am enjoying it. I enjoy working with Dr. Petras and the rest of the team.”

In the second grant, Patras and Co-PI Dr. Hongwei Si will evaluate the cytotoxicity of irradiated liquid foods. Cytotoxicity of irradiated liquid foods must be evaluated to ensure the novel food processing techniques do not produce cytotoxic chemical compounds.

UV photons can break chemical bonds and could result in modifying compounds in foods. UV disinfection itself is the result of forming dimers (bonds) between adjacent pyrimidines in the nucleic acids of bacteria and viruses. The team aims to evaluate the cytotoxicity against normal colon, blood cells and study the protein expression of these cells. Experiments will be conducted mimicking the human gastric system.

For more information on TSU’s College Agriculture, go to http://www.tnstate.edu/agriculture/

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Nashville Mayor Extols Verizon Innovative Learning Program with Middle School Students During Visit to Tennessee State University

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Thirteen-year-old Carlile Burgess wants to one day be a technician at Verizon, and he thinks a summer program at Tennessee State University has opened the door for him.

Nashville Mayor David Briley; and Thomas Francis, Verizon Innovative Learning program coordinator, right, observe students as they work on a program during class. (Photo BY Erynne Davis, TSU Media Relations)

“I love technology in general especially with Verizon because I like working with their equipment,” said the 8th grader from Nashville’s East Middle School. “I want to work with them; if they have a crash or something, I can fix it.”

Burgess has big dreams and he is not alone. On Tuesday, he and about 80 other students in grades 6-8 from the Nashville Metro Public Schools got a chance to show Nashville Mayor David Briley new technology they are learning on the TSU campus as part of the Verizon Innovative Learning Program.

The VIL, a partnership between TSU and Verizon, gives the students a firsthand experience in “the vital role technology plays in today’s world, empowering them to become creators and makers,” a Verizon release said.

Eighth-grader Carlile Burgess, middle, and fellow students work on a circuit board. (Photo by Erynne Davis, TSU Media Relations)

Mayor Briley’s visit allowed him to see students participating in hands-on coursework in virtual reality, augmented reality, 3-D printing, robotics and electronics. He said it was very encouraging to get the students interested early in technology.

“This is clearly a part of the economy that is growing and we need to make sure our young folks are ready to compete,” Briley said. “So, having a partnership between Tennessee State and Verizon and Metro Schools is a great thing to be doing this summer for these young men.”

Dr. Curtis Johnson, associate vice president and chief of staff, who welcomed the mayor on behalf of TSU President Glenda Glover, said the university was excited to be a part of the training program for the students, he described as future leaders who could one day become TSU Tigers.

About 80 middle school students are participating in the Verizon Innovative Learning program on the Tennessee State University campus during the summer. (Pohto by Erynne Davis, TSU Media Relations)

“We are excited that the mayor can come out to see some of the many great things that are taking place here on our campus with youth from the community who are being developed for future leaders here at Tennessee State,” Johnson said.

Also, on hand to greet the mayor was Dulaney L. O’Roark III, from Verizon Government Affairs. He said Verizon is very proud to sponsor the program.

“It means a lot to bring these young men to really experience cutting-edge technology to be able to envision themselves on a college campus learning about virtual reality, computing and all of the newest innovations,” O’Roark said. “We are really honored that the mayor would come and be a part of the program and express to the young men how supportive he is of them being part of this learning experience.”

According to Verizon, the three-week program for minority male students is intended to prepare them for future tech careers through intensive coursework in design and product development while being mentored by relatable professional STEM role models. The program helps participants acquire technical and soft skills to reach a higher level of academic achievement.  After summer courses are completed,  students will make monthly visits to TSU for STEM education courses and individual mentoring with undergraduate and graduate students.

Thomas Francis, a STEM instructor, is a coordinator of the VIL program at TSU. He said the students are also developing friendships and learning to work together.

“The students are leaning with other students who are like-minded like them and that’s important in learning technology and in putting math and science together,” Thomas said.

For more information on Verizon Innovative Learning program, go to http://www.tnstate.edu/computer_science/documents/VerizonTSUCampFlyer.pdf

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU Receives 11 Nominations For 2019 HBCU Digest Awards

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University is a finalist in 11 categories of the 2019 Historically Black Colleges and Universities’ Digest Awards.

The winners will be announced at the ninth annual HBCU Awards ceremony to be held on August 2 at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture in downtown Baltimore. 

TSU is a finalist for University of the Year, and TSU President Glenda Glover is in the running for Female President of the Year.

Other TSU nominations are:

Best Marching Band: Aristocrat of Bands

Best HBCU Choir: New Direction Choir

Best Fine Arts Program: Department of Music

Best Science, Technology, Engineer and Mathematics (STEM) Program: College of Engineering

Best Business Program: Executive MBA Program

Alumna of the Year: Traci Otey Blunt

Female Coach of the Year: Chandra Cheeseborough-Guice

Male Athlete of the Year: Christion Abercrombie

Male Student of the Year: Jailen Leavell

The HBCU Awards is the first and only national awards ceremony honoring individual and institutional achievement at historically black colleges and universities throughout the country. Winners are selected by a panel of previous winners, journalist, HBCU executives, students and alumni for the merit of accomplishment and for generating positive coverage for HBCU campus communities.

Last year, Tennessee State University received awards for “Best Student Organization” and “Alumnus of the Year.”

The year before that, TSU’s Aristocrat of Bands and the university’s College of Engineering received top honors in the HBCU Digest Awards.

In 2015, TSU’s women’s basketball team got Female Team of the Year, and student activities received Best Student Organization.

To see all the 2019 HBCU Awards finalists, visit: https://bit.ly/31JbrRF

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.