Category Archives: College of Engineering

Top Amazon Executives Hold ‘Conversation’ with TSU Students On Success in the Corporate World

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Five senior executives from Amazon recently visited Tennessee State University campus and had a “conversation” with students about coping in the corporate world.

About 50 students from different disciplines gathered in the President’s Dining Room Feb. 7 to interact with the executives on topics ranging from diversity, career preparedness and communications skills to opportunities at Amazon.

The meeting, termed ‘Why Diversity Matters, a Conversation with Amazon Execs,” was arranged by the TSU Career Development Center, and the Office of Corporate Partnerships and Strategic Initiatives. It followed the “Amazon Live” event the night before at the Ryman, where about 400 TSU students, along with students from other local colleges and universities, gathered to hear about Amazon and job opportunities.

Visiting Amazon executives, from left, Cole Brown, Dave Bozeman, Ken Knight, Ed Feitinger, and Thadd Jones, Sr., a TSU graduate, met with TSU students Feb. 7. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

Among the Amazon executives visiting TSU was Thadd Jones, Sr., Senior Talent Acquisition Manager for North America Specialty Fulfillment, who earned a bachelor’s degree in business with concentration in marketing from TSU in 2005.

“Amazon is here at TSU for diversity. We believe in creating access for diversity,” he said. “We believe that there is an opportunity to build corporate partnership for HBCUs as well. As a TSU alum, it makes perfect sense for me as we start to think about our footprint in Nashville, to make sure that TSU is at the forefront in building and growing our organization.”

Other executives on the visit to TSU were: Dave Bozeman, vice president of Transportation Services; Ed Feitzinger, vice president Amazon Global Logistics; Cole Brown, vice president HR North America Customer Fulfillment; and Ken Knight, vice president Global Fulfillment HR Amazon.

Russell Wafers, a TSU student, asks the Amazon executives a question during the meeting. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

Russell Wafers, a freshman computer science major, was one of the students at the meeting. He wants to work for Amazon after college. He said the gathering gave him an opportunity to ask and get answers to questions about success in the corporate world.

“I really wanted to know what I can do to prepare myself as far as getting a job with Amazon, or just working on my professional skills,” said Wafers, who is from Huntsville, Alabama. “They were really very forthcoming and real.”

The visitors pressed the students on honing their communication skills, to think globally, and prepare themselves for a “changing and evolving” world.

Cole Brown, Vice President HR North America Customer Fulfillment Amazon, talks to two TSU students after the meeting. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

“Spend a lot time polishing yourself. Employers are probably not going to tell you how horrible your presentation was,” one said. “You must diversify and think global.”

“The best thing you want to have in your career is option, and the only way you get option is to evolve and prepare yourself for what the world has in store,” another executive said.

Charles Jennings, director of the TSU Career Development Center, said the executives’ visit was an opportunity for “our wonderful students to meet with top executives at Amazon.”

“What you have here are five of the top executives, including four African Americans at Amazon, having an opportunity to meet with and talk about what it is like working and maneuvering in that environment,” said Jennings.

Iris Ramey, associate vice president for Corporate Partnerships and Strategic Initiatives, shared Jennings’ sentiment and thanked Jones for asking for the meeting with the students.

“Following the Amazon program at the Ryman, Thadd Jones asked if we would prepare a lunch for 50 students,” said Remey. “He wanted some of his corporate leaders to come and meet some of our students.”

Arnella Williams-Foster, a senior business administration major, said the meeting with the executives was enlightening.

“As a graduating senior, it was really important for me to hear how Amazon operates, specifically because I am looking to work for that company,” said the St. Louis, Missouri, native, with a concentration in marketing.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 7,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. 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.

Top Alabama Student Says Coming to TSU Opens Her to Opportunities Like No Other Institution

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – When Jahnari Edwards was considering a higher learning institution, Tennessee State University was not on her list, then five weeks in a summer program at TSU during her senior year of high school changed everything.

“That program got me hooked,” says Edwards, an agriculture science major from Phenix City, Alabama. “The atmosphere was so family like. My advisor and all the people in the program were so nice and encouraging. I knew right then TSU was the place for me.”

Jahnari Edwards

Last summer, Edwards was one of 21 graduating high school seniors from across the nation who participated in the very competitive five-week residential Summer Apprenticeship Program. From studies in understanding hypersensitive response of tobacco plants to comparing DNAs in chickens and Guinea fowls, participants in the program were exposed to real-world scientific work and cutting-edge research.

“The Summer Apprenticeship was so enriching; it exposed me to a whole new area of learning,” says Edwards, who gave up a tuition waiver to study broadcast journalism at Savannah State University. “I had the opportunity to go anywhere in Alabama for free, but I decided on TSU because of their agricultural program.”

Edwards, the youngest of three children, is the first in her family to attend a historically black institution. She came to TSU with a near 4.0 grade point average. An outstanding student at Smith Station High School, she graduated with high honors. She was the president of the senior class, and headed many other student organizations and initiatives.

At TSU, Edwards has not wavered in her pursuit of excellence. In her first semester, she earned a 3.8 GPA. She made the Dean’s List and is a member of the Honors College. She is also a member of Minorities in Agriculture Natural Resources and Related Sciences, Tiger Women in Agriculture, community service chair for Freshman Innovation Council, and is currently seeking a position in the Student Government Association.

Recently, Edwards was one of 10 TSU students selected to participate in a three-day Agriculture Future of America four-track program in Kansas City, Missouri, designed to offer college men and women different personal and professional development opportunities matched to their year in college.

Keisha Macklin Jeter is an outreach counselor in the College of Agriculture and an advisor to Edwards. She says that since participating in SAP, Edwards has “gone above and beyond” to demonstrate she values education and serving the community.

“Jahnari has excelled in the classroom while making community service an integral part of her higher education experience,” says Jeter. “Jahnari is an amazing student with a bright future ahead.”

Edwards, who wants to attend graduate school, says her future goal is to own a business part time and work for a major agriculture company. And she believes TSU will help her achieve that.

“I love TSU …the best HBCU in the land,” says Edwards. “I have gained a lot from being here and I have had a lot of opportunities that I feel I would not have gotten anywhere else.”

For more information on opportunities in the TSU College of Agriculture, go to http://www.tnstate.edu/agriculture/seminar_schedule.aspx.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 7,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. 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 Students Engage in Lawmaking at State Capitol, Discuss and Debate Bills on House Floor

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – For nearly two hours, the Tennessee General Assembly looked like a classroom with 28 individuals discussing major bills on the House floor, except this time, the people debating the bills were not lawmakers. They were students – Tennessee State University students.

They were part of “Leadership TSU,” a top training program. The students spent nearly four hours at the State Capitol on Friday, Feb. 1, touring and receiving lectures from lawmakers and government officials, including a representative for newly elected Gov. Bill Lee.

Just like lawmakers, the students engaged in an exercise of discussing, debating and voting on bills actually pending before the General Assembly.

State Rep. Harold Love, Jr., facilitates a discussion on a bill with Leadership TSU students on the House floor of the State Capitol. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

“From today’s exercise, I learned a lot about how much thinking goes into considering a policy or a bill,” said Maria Rhodes, a sophomore political science major from Memphis, Tennessee. “Specifically, one has to think about who it will affect, who it will benefit – the positives, the negatives, the outcomes – and who the bill is geared toward.”

Leadership TSU, considered the highest level of leadership training at TSU, comprises 40 students – from freshmen to seniors – with demonstrated ability to lead. The program is sponsored by FedEx, which is exposing the cohorts to “some of the company’s best practices in leadership,” according to Frank Stevenson, dean of students and a coordinator of LTSU. The goal is to train and develop students with top leadership skills to help them be even more competitive in the workforce.

Stevenson said Friday’s exercise on the House floor was intended to “stretch the students’ thinking outside the box” in preparing them to be able to analyze policies.

Four students make their case for a bill during discussion on the House floor, as Dean Frank Stevenson, and a House aid, back row, look on. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

“We gave them four current legislative bills around higher education and funding models, to debate and discuss,” he said. “They were charged with digging into those and creating a policy position on each one of those bills and coming out with what they think would be the best funding model for higher education.”

State Sen. Brenda Gilmore, Rep. Harold Love, Jr., two TSU alums, and Joseph Williams, director of external affairs in the Governor’s office, were among officials who welcomed the students to the Capitol.

“One of the benefits of having Leadership TSU down here today is that it continues TSU’s tradition of training leaders for the current and next generation,” said Love, who facilitated one of the group’s discussions. “To have these students here engaging in the process of making policy like we do everyday at the General Assembly does nothing more than brighten my heart because I see the next generation of leaders being trained right here.”

Charlie Green, Jr., an architectural engineering and urban studies major from Jackson, Tennessee, said the discussion helped him sharpen his skills in public speaking and debating.

“It also helped me to be able to think about things from different perspectives, and that is something all students should be exposed to,” Green said. “Things affect people on different levels, such as from being a student to going into professional life.”

TSU Assistant Dean of Students, Erica Gilmore, who is also at-large council member; and Ashton Cleveland, assistant dean of student life and engagement, accompanied the students and helped to facilitate the discussions.

Students interested in being selected for the 2020 class of Leadership TSU should contact the Office of the Dean of Students at (615) 963-2154 or fsteven1@tnstate.edu.mailloc.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 7,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. 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 Administrators Attend National Leadership Institute of HBCU Leaders

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Two Tennessee State University administrators were among a cohort of 24 mid- to senior-level administrators from historically black colleges and universities across the nation who attended a four-day leadership workshop in Austin, Texas.

Tiffany Bellafant Stewart, assistant vice president for Enrollment Management and Student Success, and Dr. Erin Lynch, research director for the Center of Excellence for Learning Sciences, participated in the Higher Education Leadership Foundation Institute at Huston-Tillotson University from December 13 – 16.

Called the “Theta cohort,” participants received an intimate, interactive, professional, and personal development experience that provided each fellow with a unique and valuable opportunity to assess personal vocation and leadership skill. The institute also allowed fellows to reaffirm a continuing commitment to HBCUs and identify and enhance the essential qualities for a successful tenure as a principled and effective leader and senior administrator.

Tiffany Bellafant Stewart, left, and Dr. Erin Lynch were among 24 cohorts who attended the HELF institute in Austin, Texas. (Courtesy Photo)

“The Higher Education Leadership Foundation institute was a transformative experience, both personally and professionally,” said Stewart. “The knowledge and wisdom shared by current and past presidents of historically black colleges and universities was enlightening and motivational in moving the needle forward to support students in their pursuit of obtaining college degrees from HBCUs.”

For Lynch, she said to be surrounded by colleagues who also deeply believe in the role and value of HBCUs in higher education reminded her “there is still much work to be done for our students.”

“During the four-day program, we were challenged with learning new ways to approach our collective missions as HBCUs,” she said. “We were reminded that as a collective, we are more impactful on student learning than as individuals.”

Steward and Lynch said TSU students will directly benefit from relationships developed at the institute by augmenting partnerships for external funding opportunities through research engagement and scholarship funding.

“Those relationships and experience reinvigorated my passion for HBCUs and fortified my commitment to excellence for TSU students,” Stewart added.

For more information on Enrollment Management, and the Center of Excellence for Learning Sciences, go to http://www.tnstate.edu/emss/ and http://www.tnstate.edu/learningsciences/

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 7,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. 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.

Nearly 2,000 Children Benefit in Toy Distribution at Tennessee State University

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – As the holiday season takes hold, Tennessee State University is making sure children in the area have something to cheer about.

On Saturday, nearly 1,000 parents walked away with at least two toys each for their children during the U.S. Marine Corp Reserve Toys for Tots distribution on the TSU main campus. Organizers said nearly 2,000 children were served – on an average of two kids per parent.

Thousands of toys of different sizes and shapes, for boys and girls up to age 12, were collected and distributed. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

Volunteers, including TSU students, staff, alumni, and representatives from area charitable organizations and churches, helped with the distribution in Kean Hall.

This was the result of a partnership between TSU and the Marine  Corp Reserve in its annual toy distribution program. Prior to Saturday, TSU served as the official drop-off center for donated toys.

Alexandra Wescott, a junior child development major from Akron, Ohio, and Dwight-Christopher Terry, a senior electrical engineering major from Memphis, Tennessee, were among volunteers helping parents to gather and secure toys for their children.

“This was just a humbling experience for me,” said Wescott, her first volunteer work outside her Akron hometown. “It feels great and very fulfilling to do something that brings so much joy to children and it is just nice to be involved with my school in such a wonderful exercise.”

Volunteers at the Toys for Tots distribution included TSU students, staff, alumni and representatives from charitable and church organizations. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

For Terry, volunteering in the community is not new. His Generation of Educated Men, a student community service group, which he heads as president, has been involved in food, clothing and other drives in the area. The group was also involved with bringing the TSU-Marine Corp partnership to fruition, along with Simply United, a non-profit that coordinates the pickup of donated toys from Toys for Tots.

“I am full of joy and feel a big relief that we are finally able to give out the toys to the community because it took so much energy to put it together, as far as donation, volunteers and so forth,” Terry said. “Although we are a student organization, the TSU administration, especially (associate dean) Dr. William Hytche, took us very seriously when the discussion started to bring the Toys for Tots program on campus.”

Associate Dean, Dr. William Hytche, coordinator of the Toys for Tots program for TSU, speaks to a News Channel 2 reporter. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

As part of the partnership with the Marine Corp – the first with a university in the Nashville, Davidson County area – TSU received unwrapped toys for children up to age 12 through December 14.

“This has been quite a rewarding experience for our students, staff and all who volunteered in this great effort,” associate dean Hytche said. “The Tennessee State University family is so excited to partner with the Marine Corp and Simply United, through its local representative, Ms. Benetta M. Sears and her volunteers. We are just so thankful.”

Sgt. C. J. Bowling, Marine Corp training chief, is the coordinator for Toys for Tots. He said other institutions in the area have helped in the past with the toy drive, but TSU is the first university the Marine Corp has partnered with in its distribution effort.

“I like the opportunities that TSU offers,” Bowling said. “TSU was selected because it has the facilities to handle our traffic flow both for toy donation and access to people to be served. Moreover, people at TSU have been so gracious. From the associate dean, to the people in your facilities management and the Air Force unit, they have done everything we have wanted and requested.”

For more information on Toys for Tots at TSU, call Dr. William Hytche at 615-963-5069.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 7,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. 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.

Use Education to Inspire Change and Impact Lives, TSU Commence Speaker Tells More Than 700 Graduates

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – “As TSU degree holders, you have been equipped with a high-quality education and the power to make a substantive change in the lives of people in your community and the world,” Dr. Shawn Joseph, a longtime educator, told the fall graduating class at Tennessee State University on Dec. 8.

Joseph, director of Metro Nashville Public Schools, reminded the graduates of the role TSU students played to bring about social justice and change in Nashville and across the nation during the civil rights movement.

President Glover accompanies commencement speaker, Dr. Shawn Joseph, during the procession in Gentry Complex. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

“It was only 58 years ago that brave students, who walked the same halls you have walked on this sacred land, strived to create a more just and equitable America.” Joseph said. “Those students, equipped with the same degree that you are earning today, understood that their lives had a purpose.”

At the commencement ceremony in the Gentry Complex, more than 700 received degrees in various disciplines. They included members of the inaugural class of the TSU Executive MBA program.

In her welcome remarks, TSU President Glenda Glover thanked Joseph for agreeing to be the fall commencement speaker, and congratulated the graduates for their accomplishments.

“You have endured and prepared yourselves to reach this goal which may have seemed unattainable, but you stuck with it,” Glover said. “You must always remember that you did not accomplish this goal all by yourselves. There were parents, relatives, friends and mentors who helped you along the way. Remember to thank them.”

More than 700 graduates received degrees in various disciplines. (Photo by Lalita Hodge, TSU Media Relations)

In his speech, Joseph told the graduates that to be leaders for social justice, they must never be afraid to advocate for what is right, learn to persevere and be resilient, and remember that leaders serve people and purpose.

“Certainly, earning a degree is about educating yourself, and it is also about recognizing that you have a responsibility to help things go right for others,” Joseph said. “ Remember excellence comes from within, not from what you have. TSU has prepared you to find strength through your faith, your family, your friends and you can push forward. It’s not what people call you it’s what you answer to.”

Kelley Williams, a Nashville native, who received a bachelor’s degree in social work with high honors, said she was inspired by Joseph’s speech.

Undergraduate honorees celebrate by moving their tassels from right to  left  indicating their graduation from college. (Photo by Ramona Whitworth-Wiggins)

“I listened to every word keenly and especially what he said about the quality of a TSU degree,” said Williams, who plans on returning to TSU to pursue her master’s degree. “I love TSU and I am glad I came.”

Anthony Moreland, from Knoxville, Tennessee, who received his bachelor’s degree in biology, also with high honors, agreed with Williams on earning a TSU degree.

“Graduating today is a great accomplishment,” said Moreland, whose twin sister graduated from TSU a semester ahead of him. “Graduating for me is a big deal, not only because I had to catch up with my sister, but because I had a lot of family members who came here and did very well.”

Moreland plans on going to medical school, with Meharry Medical College his top choice.

NOTE: Featured photo by Ramona Whitworth-Wiggins

 

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 7,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. 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 Joins Toys For Tots Campaign In Partnership With U.S. Marine Corp

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University is partnering with the United States Marines Corp Reserve in its Toys for Tots program this year.

The university will serve as the official drop-off and distribution center for donated toys. Officials say TSU was selected because of adequate facilities, and its accessibility to the community.

As part of the partnership – the first with a university in the Nashville, Davidson County area – TSU will receive unwrapped toys on its main campus for children up to age 12 now through December 14.

The Floyd-Payne Campus Center, Facilities Management Operations Building, and Parking Services Office in Hankal Hall will serve as the drop-off locations from 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. each day.

Distribution will take place on Saturday, Dec. 15, in Kean Hall, from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

More than 1,000 area children are expected to benefit from this year’s collection.

Simply United Together, a nonprofit that coordinates the pickup of donated toys from Toys for Tots, will also work with TSU and the Marine Corp to redistribute the donated items within the area.

“The Tennessee State University family is so excited to partner with the Marine Corp to support the Toys for Tots initiative that brings joy to so many children during the holiday season,” said Dr. William Hytche, associate dean for students and the TSU coordinator for Toys for Tots.

He said the partnership is an opportunity for recruitment and community engagement.

“TSU is a place that cares for the community and this is one way to let the community know that TSU is here for them. We see this as the beginning of a relationship that we hope to continue for a long time,” Hytche said.

Sgt. C. J. Bowling, Marine Corp training chief, is the coordinator for Toys for Tots. He said other institutions in the area have helped in the past with the toy drive, but TSU is the first university the Marine Corp is partnering with in its distribution effort.

“I like the opportunities that TSU offers,” Bowling said. “TSU was selected because it has the facilities to handle our traffic flow both for toy donation and access to people to be served. Moreover, people at TSU have been so gracious. From the associate dean, to the people in your facilities management and the Air Force unit, they have done everything we have wanted and requested.”

For more details on drop-off and distribution of  toys at TSU, call Dr. William Hytche at 615-963-5069.

Tennessee State University Learning Support Program Receives International Certification

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – A key Tennessee State University student help program has received national and international recognition.

The Learning Support Centers, which provide help to students in math, writing and reading, have received the College Reading and Learning Association certification.

More than 1,000 college tutor-training programs around the globe have received CRLA certification under its international tutor-training program.

The Learning Support Centers average about 700 appointments a month from students who need help. (Courtesy Photo)

The certification provides recognition for program credibility, as well as sets professional standards of skills and training for tutors and mentors. This also ensures accountability, TSU officials say. Both the center and tutors are evaluated annually to ensure continued CRLA high standards.

“It is important that we have professional standards and training for our tutors that are within the guidelines of best practices,” says Tiffany Bellafant Steward, assistant vice president for Enrollment Management and Student Success.

She says although the university positively reinforces the work of staff and peer tutors, the CRLA certification provides them additional opportunities to excel at what they do and “to provide exceptional service to our students.”

Olivia Watson, left, a peer tutor in the Math Center, reviews work with Parisa Bastian, a junior mechanical engineering major. (photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

The TSU CRLA certification, which was granted in September, came after a review process of every aspect of the Learning Support Centers. The LSCs include a math center, a reading center, and a writing center.

Olivia Watson, a senior criminal justice major with a minor in sociology, from St. Louis, Missouri, has been a peer tutor in the Math Center for the last two years. She tutors college algebra and also helps with English.

Students receive help from staff tutors in the Writing Center. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

“Being certified makes me feel a lot better because now I have something to show students if I have to tutor them,” says Watson. “This is something I can even take outside the university to help others because now I am certified. It kind of adds to my value.”

And that is exactly the goal for the CRLA recognition – to add value to what peer tutors do and to hold them accountable, says Thomas Hrycyk, coordinator of Tutoring Services in the TSU Student Success Center.

“A CRLA certification means there is a certain level of accountability to make sure what you are doing as peer tutors is providing the necessary help for the student you are tutoring,” says Hrycyk. “It means that there is an added level of expectation. If you want to come in and work with student A, that student can expect to have the same level of assistance as from anyone else she works with currently or in the future.”

The Writing Center is one of the three components that make up the Learning Support Centers. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

Currently, the LSCs have 12 peer tutors and 14 staff tutors. Staff tutors, who are also certified, are either center staff or university professors, says Hrycyk. Although visitors seen at the center are generally freshmen, students up to graduate level are welcome.

“We turn nobody away if we feel we can help them out,” says Hrycyk.

Before students receive CRLA certification to be peer tutors, they undergo 10 hours of training that includes shadowing staff or senior peer tutors for a minimum of three hours. They also spend 25 hours of evaluated time tutoring students to become certified. To be accepted in the program, Hrycyk says, an applicant must have 30 or more credit hours with a 3.0 or higher grade point average, and have an A or B grade in the class or subject they want to tutor.

This level of preparation for peer tutoring is very assuring for Khasia Perry, a first-year economics and finance major, from St. Louis Missouri, who gets help in math.

“Knowing that the person helping me went through all this training makes me feel more comfortable and sure that I am getting the help that I need,” says Perry. “It is very important to me that I can trust this person and know what they are saying to me is based on knowing that they are also being monitored.”

According to Hrycyk, peer tutors are anonymously surveyed periodically throughout the year to get student evaluation of their work. He said the LSCs average about 700 appointments a month from students who need help.

For more information on the TSU Learning Support Centers, go to http://www.tnstate.edu/aeao/learning-support-centers.aspx

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 7,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. 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.

Metro School Director Shawn Joseph to Give Fall Commencement Keynote Address

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Dr. Shawn Joseph, director of Metro Nashville Public Schools, will give the commencement address when Tennessee State University holds its fall graduation ceremony on Saturday, Dec. 8.

More than 600 students will receive undergraduate and graduate degrees in various disciplines, according to university officials. The commencement will be in the Howard C. Gentry Complex at 9 a.m.

Dr. Shawn Joseph

Among those receiving degrees will be the 23 members of the inaugural class of the TSU Executive MBA program.

Joseph, a Long Island, New York, native and longtime educator and authorhas served as a teacher, principal, district administrator, deputy superintendent and superintendent. His work has garnered national recognition, and other districts have sought his expertise during transitional periods.

He has won numerous awards and recognitions for his work and service, including Ambassador Andrew Young Certificate of Distinguished Services, American Educational Research Association’s Outstanding Dissertation Award, and the Maryland Association of Secondary School Principals Middle Level Principal of the Year Award.

Joseph, who came to his current job in 2016, has researched and published articles in top peer-review journals on topics like strategic planning and principal development. In 2012, he published the book, “The Principal’s Guide to the First 100 Days of the School Year: Creating Instructional Momentum.”

Before joining MNPS, Joseph was the deputy superintendent for teaching and learning in the Prince George’s County (Maryland) Public Schools. He also served as superintendent of schools for the Seaford School District in Delaware, and principal of Roberto Clemente Middle School in Montgomery County, Maryland, among others.

A lifelong learner, Joseph holds a bachelor’s degree in English Education from Lincoln University, a master’s degree in reading education from Johns Hopkins University, and a Doctorate of Education from George Washington University. He and his wife, Ocheze Joseph, also a public school educator, have two school-aged children.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 8,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. 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.

State Lawmakers Converge on TSU Campus on ‘Tennessee General Assembly Day’

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – State lawmakers got a chance to see Tennessee State University’s excellence up close earlier this month.

Several legislators – from the Senate and House of Representatives – visited and toured the campus on Nov. 14 in what was termed, “Experience TSU: Tennessee General Assembly Day at Tennessee State University.”

This was a departure from the annual “TSU Day at the Capitol,” when university administrators, students, faculty, alumni and friends converge on Legislative Plaza to showcase TSU’s research and other innovative initiatives. The next TSU Day at the Capitol will be on Feb. 12.

TSU alums and state lawmakers, Rep. Harold Love, Jr.; and Senator-elect Brenda Gilmore, said it was important for their fellow lawmakers to visit the TSU campus. (Photo by Michael McLendon, TSU Media Relations)

Joining the lawmakers at TSU were the Tennessee Commissioner of Agriculture, Jai Templeton, and representatives from the USDA’s Farm Service Agency, Natural Resource Conservation Service, and Rural Development.

“We are very pleased to welcome you to Tennessee State University and our beautiful campus on behalf of our President, Dr. Glenda Glover,” said Dr. Curtis Johnson, chief of staff and associate vice president.

“Many of you may be familiar with our campus and for some of you, this may be your first time, but we are just glad that you included us in your busy schedules to make this day possible and to see for yourselves some of the great things taking place at this institution.”

At a luncheon in the President’s Dining Room prior to touring facilities on campus, the lawmakers received briefings and slide presentations from administrators on the university’s 2019 Legislative Priorities for funding consideration by the General Assembly.

Lawmakers and USDA officials watch a computer animation in the CAVE presented by Omari Paul, a 2nd-year Ph.D. student in Computer Information Systems Engineering. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

The priorities include the creation of a STEM Institute, a Community Behavioral and Mental Health Center, the Cumberland Shores Research and Innovative Park, emergency funding for students, and safety and security.

“With the heightened demand for diversification in the STEM work force, an institute would provide research, professional development and training in recruiting and retaining minorities in STEM programs in Tennessee and nationally,” said Dr. Lesia Crumpton-Young, vice president for Research and Institutional Advancement.

With TSU one of only two HBCU’s offering a Ph.D. in psychology in the nation, Crumpton-Young told the lawmakers a community behavioral and mental health center would allow Ph.D. students in psychology to complete their clinical training on campus, instead of at Vanderbilt University, as they currently do.

A group of students from the TSU Career Development Center and the center director, Charles Jennings, right, make a presentation to the visiting legislators at the luncheon in the President’s Dining Room. (Photo by MIchael McLendon, TSU Media Relations)

Two TSU alums and state lawmakers, Rep. Harold Love, Jr., and Senator-elect Brenda Gilmore, were among those present. They said the presence of their colleagues on campus allows them to see “where the money is going.”

“This is so vital because when Tennessee State is engaged and asking for money for campus improvements, security upgrades and for general operation, oftentimes legislators have never been to the campus,” Love said. “By having them on campus, we get to highlight all the wonderful things that are going on at TSU.”

Gilmore shared similar sentiment.

“TSU has so much to offer. They have some of the best and brightest students,” she said.  “I commend TSU for arranging this visit. This is a good start. TSU needs a greater presence, telling the story of what the university is and what the needs are.”

Following the luncheon, lawmakers toured various sites on campus, escorted by TSU’s Assistant Vice President for Public Relations and Communications, Kelli Sharpe, and Johnson.

Leon Roberts, coordinator of the TSU Dental Hygiene program, talks to visitors about the services offered by the Dental Hygiene Clinic. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

Stops included a round-table discussion with administrators and the Dean of the College of Agriculture, Dr. Chandra Reddy, as well as a tour of the Food and Biosciences and Technology Lab, a cutting-edge facility.

State Sen. Frank S. Nicely, 8th District, said he is impressed with work going on at TSU, especially in agriculture.

“I enjoy very much hearing about TSU as a land-grant university,” said Nicely, who is 1st vice-chair of the Senate Energy, Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee. “I am excited about the work you are doing with small farmers and reaching out to more counties with your extension program.”

Next, the group stopped in the College of Engineering, where they observed various animations in the CAVE or Computer Assisted for Virtual Environments, a facility for multi-disciplinary research, as well as the Advanced Materials Lab.

The group’s final stop was at TSU’s state-of-the-art Dental Hygiene Clinic, which provides a wide range of reduced-cost dental services to nearly 600 patients in the Nashville community a year.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 8,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. 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.