Tag Archives: Dr. Frances Williams

TSU Secures $11.4 Million To Help Provide Families With Better Childcare In Tennessee

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Child care providers in Tennessee will have the opportunity to receive additional training thanks to a new $11.4 million federal grant secured by Tennessee State University’s Center of Excellence for Learning Sciences. The university believes better trained daycare providers will mean better daycare services for Tennessee families.

(Photo by Michael McLendon, TSU Media Relations)

Dr. Kimberly Smith, the center’s director, says the grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will allow TSU to continue to serve as the professional development hub for the state as it relates to child development and early childhood training.

“We are expanding our online courses through the Tennessee Child care Online Training System, and we will now be responsible for the state’s workforce registry for all child development professionals who work in the area of childcare across the state,” says Smith.

Tennessee Early Childhood Training Alliance (TECTA), a statewide professional development system that provides assistance for employees at licensed childcare facilities, is funded by Tennessee State University through a contract with the Tennessee Department of Human Services and is housed under the Center of Excellence for Learning Sciences.

Some of the additional courses that will soon be available include: Early Literacy Matters; Eat, Play and Rest; Inclusion; and Brain Development.

“One thing that makes TECTA so unique is that we work with early childhood professionals to strengthen the workforce within the state for childcare. We get to work with the family home providers and the centers, and then we provide funding for students,” adds Smith.

Dr. Kimberly Smith (Photo by Michael McLendon, TSU Media Relations)

Carmen Davis says without help from TSU’s TECTA program, she
would not have been able to open her three-star childcare company, Ms. Carmen’s Precious Moments.

“I was working full-time and going to school, and I couldn’t afford to do both,” says Davis, who started her business in 2007. “TECTA came in to offset the price, which allowed me the opportunity to go and achieve my CDA (Child Development Associate) through their grant and their funding.”

Davis, whose company is licensed to care for seven clients, says she has taken advantage of many of the courses currently offered by TECTA.

“I went through all of the TECTA orientations which were very beneficial because I work with a multi-age group. I went through the infant–toddler training, the preschool training and the administration training, which benefits me as far as my business part,” she says. “I also went through the TECTA Business Administration credential which helped with putting together a portfolio, the taxes part of it, the business sheets part of it and being professional. It took me to another level of professionalism.”

Tonita Robinson’s children have attended Ms. Carmen’s Precious Moments since they were six-weeks old. She says her two-year-old and four-year-old have benefited from Davis’ experiences with TECTA.

Carmen Davis, owner of Ms. Carmen’s Precious Moments. (Photo by Michael McLendon, TSU Media Relations)

“She does a good job identifying my kids’ triggers,” says Robinson. “She makes sure if my son is acting out, she doesn’t say he’s just acting out. She’s able to say why he was acting out, what she thinks might have caused him to act out, and what we can do to work together to fix it.”

Robinson, who works as a financial advisor at Napier Elementary School, believes the new funding is necessary for child care professionals to provide the best services.

“Everything changes everyday. Nothing stays the same,” she says. “The curriculum changes, and if the childcare provider’s job is to help prepare kids for when they get into school, then they need to have the training that regular teachers in the school system have so they will be on one accord.”

Dr. Frances Williams, associate vice president for Research and
Sponsored Programs at TSU, credits Smith, TECTA Statewide Program Director Lin Venable and the center’s team approach for TECTA’s success.

“Under Dr. Smith’s leadership, she and her team have grown the center, as well as the funding. In this case, with TECTA receiving a little over $11 million for the year, this is the largest award for TECTA to date,” says Williams.

Shelia Westbrooks, the Middle Tennessee regional advisor for TOPSTAR, says the advisors have found the “most-needed” areas for the new programs and TECTA services in general are rural areas.

“They are not familiar with the program, and if they are, they don’t have internet access,” says Westbrooks, who worked as a licensed childcare provider for more than 20 years. “We try to make sure that we get materials to them to keep them aware of how family child care is changing in the state of Tennessee.”
Westbrooks contends that many rural family care providers don’t know that there is funding available to assist them.

“TECTA helped fund my education. With the fund I got I was able to get my degree and now as an advisor, I work with over 239 providers in the Middle Tennessee Region,” she says. ‘It’s all about higher education and we want them to get their CDA credential and their accreditation credential, and TECTA helps to pay for all of that. A provider who works for themselves may not always have that extra funding, and so TECTA is that bridge to get them where they want to be.”

The Tennessee State University Center of Excellence for Learning Sciences was established in 1984, and began administering the TECTA Program in 1993.

For more information about TECTA, visit tecta.info or call 615-277-1697.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

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

Williams Named Associate Vice President For Research And Sponsored Programs

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

Frances Williams

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

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

TSU College of Engineering receives $1M award for scholarships to recruit graduate students

NASHVILLE, Tenn.  (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University’s College of Engineering is ramping up its recruitment efforts for graduate students and has scholarship dollars to seal the deal. The increase in scholarship offers is courtesy of a $1 million grant from the National Science Foundation to support graduate students.

The award, “Scholarships To Attract and Retain Students (STARS) in Graduate Engineering and Computer Science Programs,” will provide 30 scholarships to students who are pursuing master’s degrees in engineering or computer science over five years.  

Dr. S. Keith Hargrove, dean of the College of Engineering, said the scholarship program will support the College’s effort to

recruit and grow the graduate programs in engineering and computer science. 

He said the funds should be available by May 1 and that scholarships will likely start being awarded this summer to students in and outside of Tennessee. Applications will be reviewed by the College of Engineering. Hargrove said applicants will be evaluated on their grade point average (at least 3.4), research interest, and their discipline.

“We are strategically focused to increase our enrollment through the graduate program and increase our research activities in advanced materials, cybersecurity, and data sciences and analytics,” said Hargrove.  “We recently reformed our graduate degree programs in engineering, and this funding will allow us to recruit talented students to pursue a master’s in engineering or computer science.”

As part of the college’s strategic plan, the goal is to increase graduate enrollment by at least 25 percent in areas of research. 

In addition to financial support, the program will include cohort-building activities, graduate student support services, seminars, summer internships, and mentorship. 

Dr. Frances Williams, the project’s Principal Investigator (PI) and associate dean, said the “measures are crucial in providing for recruitment, retention, and graduation of graduate students.“

“This is imperative as the United States is faced with a human resource challenge in its need to produce more domestic scientific and engineering talent with advanced competencies,” she said.

In addition to Williams and Hargrove, the project team includes, Dr. Catherine Armwood-Gordon, TSU assistant professor of Civil and Architectural Engineering; and Dr. Ebony O. McGee of Vanderbilt University. 

“I would like to personally thank the strong support of Vice President Lesia Crumpton-Young, Director Phyllis Danner, and the entire (TSU) office team of the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs,” said Hargrove.

To learn more about TSU’s College of Engineering, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/engineering/

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.

31 High Achieving Students from Hillsboro High School Interact with TSU’s Best and Brightest During Honors Week

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The Tennessee State University Honors College recently hosted 31 high achieving students from Nashville’s Hillsboro High School as part of TSU Honors Week celebration.

Dr. Frances Williams, Associate Dean of the College of Engineering, holds a discussion with visiting Hillsboro High School students. (Submitted Photo)

The Honors College and Hillsboro High are partners in a two-year exceptional student acceleration program called IBDP, or Academy of the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme, that nurtures students to excel in higher education.

Participants in IBDP are top juniors and seniors who take advanced placement and honors courses in the 9th and 10 grades to prepare them for IB-level classes in the 11th and 12th grades.

Dr. Coreen Jackson, interim dean of the Honors College, said the visit of the high school students allowed them to interact and exchange notes with TSU Honors students, as well as expose the visitors to the university’s programs and offerings.

“We are delighted to have these top students from Hillsboro High visit our campus and to interact with the best among our students,” said Jackson, who also serves on the advisory board of the Hillsboro High School IB program. “I think having many more partnerships like this with more high schools in the city would help to create a pipeline for increased enrollment into the myriad of majors at TSU.”

Visiting Hillsboro High School students take part in an exercise. (Submitted Photo)

Among activities for the day was “Real Talk,” a panel discussion about college life and advanced learning.

“Do you all have tutoring and personal help here?” a Hillsboro High student, who wants to major in biology, asked. Another was concerned about how honors students fit in and how they are viewed on campus. They were informed about the many tutoring and mentoring programs available to students, and the friendly learning environment on campus.

“I am from India, and even though it was a huge cultural shock, Tennessee State University has made me feel more than welcome,” said Abhilasha Vishwanath, a senior psychology major and Honors student with a 4.0 grade point average. “I play tennis for the university, work in the bookstore, I am part of several organizations, serve on the Honors Council, and I’ve never felt out of place.”

Following the panel discussion, the students were divided into groups according to their academic career interest and dialogued with faculty and staff from engineering, business, liberal arts, education, and life and physical sciences disciplines. Everett Jolly, TSU director of recruitment; Kristin Gray, director of the First-Year Experience; and Barbara Kannard, coordinator for Student Success Initiative, also met and spoke with the visitors.

Barbara Kannard, TSU Coordinator of Student Success Initiative, talks to Hillsboro High School students about opportunities at the university. (Submitted Photo)

Dr. Kenyae L. Reese, Academy principal at Hillsboro High, who accompanied the students, said the visit was very rewarding.

“The faculty and staff of the Hillsboro High School Academy of International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme is delighted to partner with the TSU Honors College in creating exceptional experiences for advanced academic students,” Reese said. “The experiential learning trip to celebrate Honors College Week at TSU was both informative and inspiring in scope. The students reported being most excited to learn from the Honors College students and professors and other professionals who provided valuable advice.”

Earlier, TSU Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. John Robinson, joined Jackson to welcome the Hillsboro High School students.

“This is our time to change the narrative, assist our recruiters, and utilize our high achieving students to tell our story that TSU is truly the place to be,” Jackson said.

On March 26, TSU will celebrate its best and brightest students when the university holds its annual Honors Day Convocation in Kean Hall.

For more information on the TSU Honors College, go to http://www.tnstate.edu/honors/about/welcome_page.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.