Category Archives: Research and Sponsored Programs

TSU Honors Top Researchers at 39th Annual University Wide Research Symposium

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University recognized its top student and faculty researchers during a ceremony in the Ferrell Westbrook Complex on the main campus on Friday.

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Awards Luncheon speaker Mark N. Russ engages students during his presentation at the Ferrell-Westbrook Complex. (Submitted Photo)

It was the Awards Luncheon culminating the weeklong 39th Annual University-Wide Research Symposium organized by the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs.

Awards were given for the top three winners in undergraduate and graduate oral and postal presentations.  Organizers received 155 student submissions in eight categories and 35 faculty submissions.

Mark N. Russ, executive assistant director of the National Security Directorate Naval Criminal Investigative Service, was the keynote speaker. He admonished the award winners to set high goals and stick with them if they want to be successful.

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Dr. S. Keith Hargrove, Dean of the College of Engineering, left, congratulates Kyra M. Bryant, a Ph.D. student in Computer Information Systems Engineering for winning first place award in Graduate Engineering II oral presentation. (Photo by John Cross, TSU Media Relations)

“By involving yourselves in award events like this you are stepping in the right direction, but it is not enough,” Russ said. “You have to continue to stick with it, continue to have your failures, successes and ultimately you will move in a direction where you are the only person with the background and experience to take it to the next level.”

Using Olympic champion Wilma Rudolph as an example of perseverance, Russ said no one thought she had a chance “because of things she had going against her.”

“She had medical issues and other health issues, but they did not stop her. She didn’t have to have someone tell her to keep working hard, she just didn’t quit and became one of the greatest athletes the world has ever seen,” Russ said.

Kyra M. Bryant, a Ph.D. student in Computer Information Systems Engineering, won first place in Graduate Engineering II oral presentation for her research on “Improved Bottom Friction, Surface Rachness, and Wind Stress in a Coupled Wave and Storm Surge Model.”

She said her study is aimed at developing a more accurate module for forecasting hurricanes.

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Dr. Margaret Mmbaga, took top award for faculty research. (Photo by John Cross, TSU Media Relations)

“Winning this award has been really very encouraging, pushing me to research even more on this topic,” Bryant said “We are trying to make the modeling more accurate and winning this award tells me that I am on the right path.”

In faculty research, Dr. Margaret Mmbaga won first place in the category of Faculty II for “Screening of Common Bean for Multiple Disease Resistance Under Natural Infection by Common Bacterial Blight and Charcoal Rot.”

Each year, an individual researcher is admitted into the “Million Dollar Club” during the awards ceremony. Individuals in this select group are recognized for receiving grant money of a million dollars or more in a single year.

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Dr. Marie Hammond, second from right, holds her award for becoming the newest Million Dollar Club member. She is congratulated by Phyllis Danner, Director of Research and Sponsored Programs, left, and research symposium co-chairs Dr. John Robinson, and Nannette Carter Martin. (Photo by John Cross, TSU Media Relations)

That recognition went to Dr. Marie Hammond, associate professor of psychology in the College of Education. In 2016, she received a $1.5 million National Science Foundation grant for basic research.

“I am honored, I am overwhelmed,” she said  “I am really grateful because I never would have gotten here without the support of people from across the university, who worked with me along the way.”

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

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

‘Donor Appreciation’ Gives Scholarship Recipients Chance to Say ‘Thank You’

By Emmanuel S. Freeman

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Leona Dunn is finally enjoying college life and stressing less about school fees. She is grateful.

“My first year in college I paid over $1,200 out of pocket from what I saved up over the summer to help me stay in college,” said Dunn, a junior communications major.

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TSU President Glenda Glover says scholarship donors help the university stay on the path of excellence. (Photo by John Cross, TSU Media Relations)

That experience was the beginning of some tough times for the Omaha, Nebraska, native who had just come out of foster care. She was barely able to keep up with the payment plan she had worked up, which made registering for the next semester even more difficult.

“My balance was still off,” Dunn said. “I had no one back home to help. And coming from foster care, the system doesn’t exactly just give children owned by the state full ride scholarships to anywhere even if they had an exceptional GPA and ACT score like I did.”

But thanks to some “nice people” and “great organizations,” Dunn is now worrying less about tuition and focusing more on her academics. She received financial assistance from the Links, and the Tennessee State University Women’s Center.

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Leona Dunn gave a Spoken Word rendition at the Scholarship Appreciation Program and Reception. (Photo by John Cross, TSU Media Relations)

“With all of this help I had to come up with only $200 this year …a huge blessing. I am so grateful,” she said.

On Friday, April 7, Dunn, and fellow students who receive help through scholarship donations, had a chance to say, “Thank You.”

It was the 6th Annual Scholarship Appreciation Program and Reception, or “Donor Appreciation,” held in Kean Hall. The event, organized by the TSU Foundation, allows scholarship recipients to meet face-to-face with donors to thank them for their generosity.

TSU President Glenda Glover said scholarship donors help the university to stay on the path of excellence by ensuring that students receive quality education through their gifts.

“Because of you, our students are able to matriculate,” Glover said. “They get to come, they get to stay and they get to graduate because of your dollars. We are just so grateful.”

Donors Reception
Scholarship recipients enter Kean Hall with cheers and songs of appreciation for donors who have helped them stay in school. (Photo by John Cross, TSU Media Relations)

This year, nearly 280 people, including students, donors and special guests attended the program featuring songs, recognition of donors and a special toast. Dr. Lesia Crumpton-Young, vice president for Research and Institutional Advancement, provided remarks.

Eloise Abernathy Alexis, associate vice president of Institutional Advancement, said the program gave the students a “unique opportunity” to interact with the donors.

“We send out postcards, letters and notes to donors to show our appreciation for their gifts, but this is the moment when donors and students really get to come together face to face to give and receive appreciation,” Alexis said.

Dr. Darlene Harris-Vasser, assistant director of Donor Relations, coordinates the reception each year. She said it is exciting to see the joy on donors’ faces when they meet the students in person.

“They are just so elated to see all of those students speaking about their educational goals, future plans and how their (donors’) contributions are making it possible for them to achieve their goals,” Harris-Vasser said.

The Women’s Center, one of the donors that offered Dunn financial assistance, develops and sponsors programming that enhances the skills of women and assists in their development as scholars and professionals.

According to Seanne Wilson, director of the center, Dunn approached the center to inquire about assistance.

“As Leona is a huge supporter of the Women’s Center and its events, the center was happy to assist her with the request,” Wilson said.

In appreciation, Dunn wants to give back to help others.

“Hopefully I want to have my own endowed scholarship when I become an alumna to help others and give back for the help I received,” she said.

For information on how to support the TSU Foundation or make a scholarship donation, please go to http://www.tnstate.edu/foundation/.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

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

Multimillionaire Entrepreneur Lectures TSU Students on Success, Establishes Endowed Scholarship

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Multimillionaire entrepreneur Dr. Bill Pickard has a message for TSU students: “Anybody, from anywhere, can accomplish anything.”

“But to do so, ‘you gotta put the work in,’” Pickard said, quoting a line from Grammy-Award winning singer Drake.

Pickard, chairman of Global Automotive Alliance and co-managing partner of MGM Grand Detroit Casino, was the guest lecturer at the Distinguished Lecture Series in the Forum on Monday, April 10.

Following his lecture, the LaGrange, Georgia, native, who is also CEO of Bearwood Management Company and co-owner of five Black-owned newspapers, established an endowed scholarship in the name of Kevin Williams, a TSU alumnus, Foundation Board member and retired president of General Motors of Canada.

He said the endowment was in appreciation of a long friendship, and credited Williams with helping to expand his (Pickard) GAA conglomerate of logistics and manufacturing companies with more than $1.5 billion in sales.

“When I met Kevin we were doing about $100 million, and when he left, we were doing about half a billion, that’s relationship,” Pickard told the packed auditorium with mostly students from the College of Business.

On his own life story, Pickard, who earned a Ph.D. from The Ohio State University, said he started off at a community college after high school, because of poor grades. Many did not give him much chance for success, he said.

“I completed college, earned a master’s degree, became a social worker, and life was good,” said Pickard, who credits a “strong” faith in God for his success “I had an opportunity to earn my Ph.D. and I did.”

According to his bio, Pickard’s entrepreneurial career began with a McDonald’s franchisee in Detroit, becoming one of the top-10 Blacks in America to have a McDonald’s franchise.

“It is not where you start but where you go,” said Pickard, reminding the students of his “Seven Proven Principles of Entrepreneurship,” outlined in his book Millionaire Moves – vision, opportunity, finance, relationships, talent and skillset, failure, faith.

“To be successful you must have vision. Your vision must be greater than the window you are looking through. What that means is that you will never be what you cannot see,” Pickard said.

Williams, in whose name Pickard established the scholarship endowment, said he is glad many will benefit from Pickard’s gift.

“This recognition goes to a lot of people beyond myself,” he said, as he recognized his wife, Arlene, who “makes the machine go.”

Maya Moore, a junior finance major, was part of a panel of Business College students who listened to Pickard. She was very impressed by the speaker’s very simple and encouraging presentation.

“I encourage students to read his book, because just as he spoke, the book lays it down in layman terms for our generation to understand,” Moore said. “Like he said, if you put the work in, with a clear vision, you can accomplish anything.”

Earlier, Dr. Lesia Crumpton-Young, vice president for Research and Institutional Advancement, welcomed Pickard on behalf of President Glenda Glover, who was traveling on business.

“President Glover and the entire TSU family are glad and honored to welcome Dr. Pickard.” Crumpton-Young said. “Certainly, we are excited to hear him and learn from his great wealth of knowledge.”

The Dean of the College of Business, Dr. Millicent Lownes-Jackson, thanked Dr. Pickard for the scholarship endowment.

“This is a very, very special day for the College of Business and for me particularly, since Kevin was my former student,” Lownes-Jackson said. “The College of Business is just so thankful for this donation, and everyone who receives that scholarship will have the challenge to emulate the character and success of two phenomenal business icons – Kevin Williams and Dr. Bill Pickard.”

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

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

More than 500 Middle, High School Students Attend 5th Annual STEM Expo at TSU

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) -More than 500 middle and high school students from across Middle Tennessee recently converged on Tennessee State’s campus for one of the largest science fairs in the state.

TSU and the Middle Tennessee STEM Innovation Hub organized the 5th Annual STEM Expo on April 6 in the Gentry Complex.

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Serdarion Bell, left, and Malik Brown, of Johnson Alternative Learning Center in Nashville, display their project on sustainable recycling at the 5th Annual STEM Expo. (Photo by Courtney Buggs, TSU Media Relations)

Students from 35 schools displayed the results of 259 STEM projects spanning science, mathematics, engineering, and technology fields: cyber bullying, breast cancer prevention, weather technology and sustainable recycling, just to name a few.

Students competed for bronze, silver, and gold medals based on judges’ evaluations. STEM EXPO sponsors also selected from among all entries for special awards.

Dr. S. Keith Hargrove, dean of the TSU College of Engineering, said the Expo was all about preparing the next generation of STEM professionals. He said “of tomorrow’s top 10 best jobs, 7 out of 10 are STEM related.”

“TSU and the College of Engineering are committed to promoting STEM education for Metro Nashville Schools,” Hargrove said. “Higher education and industry must become even more engaged in stimulating interests in STEM careers, and preparing students with the necessary background and skills to enter these occupations in the next decade and beyond.”

Serdarion Bell and Malik Brown of Johnson Alternative Learning Center in Nashville were among the expo participants. Bell, a 9th grader, and Brown, a 10th grader, presented a project titled, “Sustainable Recycling to Meet Community Needs.”

“We wanted to implement environmental conservation and sustainable recycling throughout our school and in our personal lives,” said Bell, on the reason for their project. “At the same time, we wanted to discover how we could help others in our community with little or no money.”

Dr. Lonnie Sharpe, dean of TSU’s College of Life and Physical Sciences, was one of the Expo’s advisers. He said the fair provided “a unique” opportunity for recruitment.

“Maybe we can recruit some of these students to TSU one day,” Sharpe said.

On the character of each project, displays were judged on basic hypothesis, significance of the subject, knowledge beyond what the project shows, presentation, and level of technology.

“There are some very interesting projects at this fair,” said Jonathan Reynolds, a TSU graduate student majoring in Computer Information and Systems Engineering, who was one of the judges. “This is really fun. These kids are well ahead in 21st century technology.”

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

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

NASA’s Nationwide Technology Infusion Tour Makes Two-Day Stop at Tennessee State University

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) –Tennessee State University hosted a two-day workshop to provide HBCUs and minority-serving institutions a platform to seek research funding from NASA.

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John Barfield, Director of Engagement and Visibility in the Division of Research and Sponsored Programs at TSU, center, makes a point at the NASA Technology Infusion workshop. (Photo by John Cross, TSU Media Relations)

The NASA HBCU/MSI Technology Infusion Road Tour, on its third HBCU stop, is designed to strengthen research enterprise at historically black colleges and universities and minority serving institutions by providing opportunities for faculty and students to engage in significant research activities.

The tour is also designed to help NASA and large prime contractors meet and/or exceed the agency’s mandated HBCUs/MSI goals.

“We want HBCUs and minority-serving institutions to be actually involved with the next type of technology that will get us beyond earth or tomorrow,” said Dr. Joseph Grant, NASA’s deputy program executive for Small Business Innovation Research. “These technologies are going to be developed by minds of students like those here at TSU and all over the country.”

Grant said HBCUs have a unique way of looking at solving problems that are not always tapped into.

“So what we are trying to do is to bring all the voices to the table to help us solve some of the complex problems that we are going to have. I know what the expertise are, where they lie, how we look at things, and how we attack a problem,” he said.

TSU Associate Vice President for Administration, Dr. Curtis Johnson, in a welcome statement on behalf of President Glenda Glover, said the NASA tour brings “new knowledge and opportunities to TSU.”

“We thank NASA and all of these other agencies for bringing this road trip to TSU,” Johnson said. “We are counting on our faculty and staff to fully maximize the benefit of this opportunity.”

Dr. Lesia Crumpton-Young is TSU’s chief research officer and vice president of Research and Institutional Advancement. She said the NASA tour is “very critical” because HBCUs and MSIs have not had the opportunity to significantly participate in their share of federal funding.

“So this is going to teach them strategies on how to be successful in getting that funding,” Crumpton-Young said. “Our expectation is that through this tour and many other efforts, we are going to help strengthen the research enterprise, not only at TSU, but throughout the country.”

Before TSU, the NASA HBCU/MSI Technology Infusion Road Tour stopped at Tuskegee University and North Carolina Central University. The next stop is Jackson State University. Seven agencies and participants from 14 HBCUs attended the workshop at TSU, according to Crumpton-Young.

Tabisa Taliwaku Kalisa, program manager of the Office of Small Business Programs at NASA, said the agency wants to find ways to engage with more minority-serving institutions in its “industrial base.” She said NASA is not reaching its 1 percent goal of doing business with HBCUs and MSIs.

“We are having a hard time meeting those goals because most of our prime contractors cannot find schools that are capable of doing the work,” Kalisa said. “I truly believe that the schools are there, but we have to figure out the synergy to get those schools more engaged, to be able to know about opportunities, and be able to participate.”

Gwen Johnson is director of Small Business at Parsons, a prime contractor. She was part of a group of participants who toured research facilities and classrooms at TSU as part of the NASA visit, and was “very impressed.”

“I look forward to sharing this information with Parsons’ technical experts and connecting them specifically with the TSU Center of Excellence in Information Systems Research in areas of cyber security, data analytics and advanced control and identification systems,” she said.

Among other agencies and contractors at the workshop were the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the National Institutes of Health, the Office of Personnel Management, the Small Business Administration, and the U.S. Department of Army.

“The event allowed faculty to expose their students to research at a higher level, to conferences, internships and maybe even a new career as many of the agencies and companies represented are looking to add new talent to the workforce,” said John Barfield, director of engagement and visibility in TSU’s Division of Research and Institutional Advancement.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

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

TSU, Cheekwood, Nashville Mayor Announce Partnership to Offer Students Paid Internships

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – A partnership between Tennessee State University, Cheekwood and the mayor’s Opportunity Now program will provide paid internships and hands-on horticultural training to TSU students interested in careers in the environment.

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President Glenda Glover makes remarks following the announcement of the TSU partnership with Cheekwood and Opportunity NOW. (Photo by Courtney Buggs, TSU Media Relations)

Nashville Mayor Megan Barry, TSU President Glenda Glover, and Jane MacLeod, Cheekwood president and CEO, announced the partnership Wednesday at a news conference at the Cheekwood Estate and Garden.

The partnership is part of a Cheekwood Career Readiness Initiative, designed to “inspire a new generation of horticulturalists and outdoor educators,” according to MacLeod.

It offers horticulture/landscape training and job skills development. Interns also receive one-on-one mentoring with leading horticultural experts, access to nationally acclaimed plant collection, and paid compensation.

“It is just great to see Tennessee State University and Cheekwood, two great institutions in our city to form this partnership that can lead to long-term jobs or careers in horticulture,” said Barry, whose Opportunity Now initiative aims to provide young people ages 14-24 in Davidson County access to employment.“

President Glover said with new concepts and advances in the field of horticulture, Cheekwood provides the necessary training environment and job-skills opportunity for TSU students.

“As a premier land-grant institution with an outstanding college of agriculture, TSU takes this partnership very seriously” Glover said. “TSU ranks among the best schools for job placement and we tell our students that a degree earned from TSU will land you gainful employment. That is why this partnership is so important. It helps us to continue our commitment to excellence.”

In welcoming remarks, MacLeod said the partnership with TSU and the mayor’s Opportunity NOW program was part of a strategic effort to raise appreciation and awareness for horticulture particularly among students as a career.

“This effort is also part of Cheekwood’s commitment to reach further out in the Nashville community to support initiatives to better our city, and engage with an increasingly diverse audience,” MacLeod said. “We are extremely glad to work with TSU in furthering these initiatives. The first TSU students who interned with us were exceptional and show great interest in learning what was put before them.”

Tariq Muhammad, a junior plant and soil science major, is one of three TSU students from the College of Agriculture who interned at Cheekwood as part of the partnership. He said the experience was quite different from what is taught in the classroom.

“It was amazing just to work with people who really love to do what they do,” said Mohammad, who worked in the gardens. “That was really a motivation for me. People were always there to help you. I was able to learn so much – the esthetics, the upkeep of the gardens.”

Dr. Chandra Reddy, dean of the TSU College of Agricultural, Human and Natural Sciences, referred to Cheekwood as a ‘jewel in Nashville’ that is very beneficial to TSU.

“They (Cheekwood) are so focused on horticulture which is one of our main focuses at Tennessee State University,” Reddy said. “We are so excited to enter this agreement with them. We are also thankful to President Glover, who has been on the forefront with Cheekwood and the mayor in getting this partnership together, which will not only benefit our students but also our faculty.”

Other TSU students who participated in the six-week internship at Cheekwook are: Jill Mullican, senior, Plant Sciences; and Whitney “Abby” Anderson, sophomore, Agricultural Education.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

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

18 Graduate From TSU New Management Training Program

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

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

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

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

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Navita Gunter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Dr. Rebecca Selove

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

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

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

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Dr. Oscar Miller

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

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