Tag Archives: Dr. Kimberly Smith

TSU exceeds 2019-2020 goal with more than $54 million in research awards

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University has exceeded its research awards’ goal with more than $54 million from various funding agencies and sponsors. TSU officials say the amount is even more impressive considering faculty are continuing to receive awards despite financial hardship caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

TSU President Glenda Glover

With a month still to go in the fiscal year, the university has so far received $54.2 million, which exceeds its 2019-2020 goal of $50 million. TSU is on pace to go beyond the most the university has received, which was $54.5 million in 2016.

“This is a true testament to the hard work and tenacity of our faculty and staff, particularly as we navigate the financially rough waters caused by COVID-19,” says TSU President Glenda Glover. “A crucial cornerstone of an institution’s success is measured through its research.” 

Dr. Frances Williams, associate vice president for Research and Sponsored Programs at TSU, agrees.

“TSU faculty and staff have continued to participate in scholarly activities and find success even during the pandemic as they have continued to submit proposals and receive new grant awards,” says Williams. “These grant awards provide substantial resources to the university to support the performance of cutting-edge research, student scholarships, student and faculty development and training, capacity and infrastructure development, as well as outreach to the community.” 

Some of the top awards are:

  • $11.4 million from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to Dr. Kimberly Smith, director of TSU’s Center of Excellence for Learning Sciences, for the “Tennessee Early Childhood Training Alliance (TECTA).”
  • $999,999 from the National Science Foundation to the multi-disciplinary investigator team from the Colleges of Engineering and Agriculture (Drs. Frances Williams (PI), Lin Li, Richard Mu, Ying Wu, and Suping Zhou) for the “Enhancement of Research Infrastructure for Advanced Functional Materials for Biotechnology Applications.” 
  • $855,604 from DHHS to Dr. Margaret Whalen, professor in the College of Life and Physical Sciences, for the “MMC, VICC & TSU Partnership in Eliminating Cancer Disparities.”
  • $752,632 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to Dr. De’Etra Young, College of Agriculture professor, for the “TSU 1890 Scholarship Program: Training and Mentoring the Next Generation of Leaders in Food and Agricultural Sciences.”
Dr. Frances Williams

Faculty members say the awards not only further place TSU – a Carnegie R2 designee – in the national spotlight, but helps to create a pipeline of outstanding workers for a competitive workforce.

Dr. Kimberly Smith says the grant from DHHS 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. 

“One thing that makes TECTA (Tennessee Early Childhood Training Alliance) so unique is that we work with early childhood professionals to strengthen the workforce within the state for childcare,” says Smith.

Carmen Davis says without help from TECTA, 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.”

Dr. De’Etra Young, who is also interim associate dean of academics and land-grant programs in TSU’s College of Agriculture, says the funding she received will be used to “encourage students to pursue and complete baccalaureate degrees in the food and agricultural sciences and related fields.”

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

John Barfield is director of engagement and visibility for Research and Sponsored Programs. He says the university has brought in more than $250 million in awards over the last five years.

“Our reaching $50 million with a month to go in our fiscal year is a testament to the hard work and efforts of our faculty,” says Barfield. “Dr. Glover has made research a priority for Tennessee State University and her steady leadership at the helm of TSU has contributed to creating a culture of research.”

To learn more about Research and Sponsored Programs at TSU, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/research/.

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 39 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 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.