NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – In an address punctuated by numerous applauses from faculty and staff, Tennessee State University President Dr. Glenda Baskin Glover shared her vision for the new semester today and highlighted accomplishments from her first year in office.
“It is an honor to serve the institution that gave me my start and I want to express my gratitude to each one of you for your support over the past year,” Dr. Glover told members of the University during the Faculty and Staff Institute to begin the spring semester.
Glover, who assumed the TSU presidency January 2013, highlighted the University successes from the past year by revisiting her five-point vision of Student Progress and Customer Service, Fund Raising and Partnerships, Diversity and Inclusion, Shared Governance and Community Outreach that she announced when she first took office.
While there were notable successes in each of the areas, she said, they continue to be a strategic blueprint for planning, overall growth and development of TSU.
“Our purpose at this University is educating, graduating and enhancing the lives of the students we touch,” she added. “Our one overriding objective is to meet the needs of all our students. The five goals foster an environment of all we do.”
Speaking on Student Progress and Customer Service, Dr. Glover touched on improvements in customer service, especially with registration and the financial aid process. While there is always room for improvement, she said, the process has improved in the short year, while student complaints are down.
“We have increased our efforts to streamline the enrollment process, and to educate and engage students and parents much earlier about financial aid resources and the required criteria, which have reduced confusion and complaints,” she added.
Student recruitment and retention were also highlighted, with the focus, she said, of turning toward a new recruitment plan, with a shift toward magnet schools and community colleges in Nashville, Memphis and Murfreesboro, Tenn.
“Not only are we reaching into new areas, we are also increasing our contact with potential students, and increasing our outreach to non-traditional students while promoting online learning,” she said.
Touching on student retention and graduation rates, Dr. Glover noted that the two areas need improvement. Since funding is tied directly to graduation rates, it must, she said, improve in the future.
“Our graduation and first-year retention rates are low and we must improve them since they are tied to funding,” she remarked. “First and foremost, we have an ethical obligation as a University to graduate students, and the two go hand-in-hand.”
Turning to fundraising, while the final figures are still being worked out, Dr. Glover announced that the University has received $2.77 million in cash contributions, with alumni giving more than tripling since 2012. Also notable, she continued, was corporate giving, with the number of donations from the business community climbing to 165 corporate partners.
“This shows that TSU is a viable business partner,” she said. “Corporations are seeing the talent we have at the University with corporations recruiting more on campus while we have seen an increase in academic and business partnerships.”
She also mentioned the value of recognizing diversity. While she acknowledged that TSU would always remain an HBCU, the expansion of racial and cultural groups is a top priority.
“We will always live up to the designation as an HBCU, and respect our past and our history,” she added. “At the same time, we must embrace diversity and ensure everyone has equal opportunity to a quality education. As Nashville’s only public institution, we are looking at ways to be more inclusive.”
Ending on community outreach, she thanked everyone in attendance for their hard work in “taking the University to the community while bringing the community to the University.” The goal, she said, was to make sure “we strengthened relationships with community partners while increasing the visibility of programs and the opportunities available.” From forming administrative councils to help spread the good news of the University, multiple media engagements, to delivering Holiday baskets this past December, the goal has been to foster good partnerships with the surrounding community and the greater Nashville area.
“We have worked hard and people are now taking notice of the University and the wonderful things happening here,” she remarked.
Dr. Glover again thanked everyone for “a year of hard work, collaboration and building trust” in the administration. “There is a lot expected of you,” she told the faculty and staff gathered. “I appreciate everything you do. Your commitment to this University and the students it serves is evident. Continue to do your very best. That’s all I can ask of you.”
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With nearly 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 22 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.