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TSU Business Incubation Center Builds Entrepreneurs Through Start-ups and Small Business Development

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Clinton Gray III, Derrick Moore and Emmanuel Reed wanted to turn their three-man moving company into a thriving business, but they didn’t know how.

They turned to the Nashville Business Incubation Center at the TSU Center for Entrepreneurship and Economic Development, for help.

The three former college roommates, who dreamed up their moving business idea while still in school at TSU, only had a rented truck and the “grandiose” dream to build a successful moving company like no other.

In 2010, the NBIC stepped in, providing access to business expertise, networking opportunities, mentoring and consulting relationships, and office space for the business start-up.

Moore_Reed
The three former college roommates, who dreamed up their moving business idea while still in school at TSU, only had a rented truck and the “grandiose” dream to build a successful moving company like no other. Now, Clinton Gray III (not pictured) , Derrick Moore (left) and Emmanuel Reed have turned their three-man moving company into a thriving business with an expected revenue projection of $1.6 million by the end of the next business cycle. (photo by Rick DelaHaya, TSU Media Relations)

In three and a half years, since moving into the center, The Green Truck Moving Company has more than doubled sales each year, growing from three employees and a rented truck, to 30 employees and seven company-owned moving trucks. For a business that started with an initial $3,000 investment, the company’s revenue projection is $1.6 million by the end of the next business cycle, according to Gray, who, as director of marketing, is the front man for the company.

“We wouldn’t be halfway where we are today if it wasn’t for the incubation center,” said Gray. “We have outgrown two previous spaces and have had to move to another. From 500 square-feet when we first came here, we are now occupying a 2,000 square-foot area.”

The incubation center offers management and technical assistance to small businesses for up to five years through classes, programs, onsite mentoring, one-on-one business counseling and peer support.

Angela Crane-Jones, director of the Nashville Incubation Center
Angela Crane-Jones, director of the Nashville Incubation Center (photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations) 

“Our goal is to increase an entrepreneur’s or startup’s likelihood of success by orchestrating connections to coaching, capital, customers, resources and talent,” said Director Angela Crane-Jones.

She said since its establishment in 1986, the NBIC has provided “a well-rounded entrepreneurship and incubation platform” for local businesses. NBIC embraces diversity with a focus on microenterprises: minority, veteran and women owned businesses.

“In the past five years NBIC’s clients have generated over $44.1 million in sales and created 253 new jobs,” Crane-Jones said.

Last year, NBIC clients reported a combined 21 percent increase in sales to close the year at nearly $17 million, while creating 64 new jobs for the Nashville area.

“When they come in, we assess their idea or business growth potential,” Crane-Jones said. “We help them to understand the core functions of human resources, accounting, marketing, legal and operations.”

This way, she said, they can be held accountable to be sure they are hiring the right people, reinvesting their profits into the company, have access or a path to obtain capital, and building sustainable business relationships.

These core values of accountability, reinvestment and sustainability have been a key reason why NBIC start-ups have been successful, and many beat the odds while others floundered under the weight of the recent economic downturn, said Crane-Jones.

U-Kno Catering, a professional catering service and cafeteria food service contractor that prides itself on offering fine cuisine and quality service at an affordable price, knows well the benefit of abiding by the NBIC’s core values.

During the recent recession, while other companies and businesses were struggling and reporting losses, U-Kno Catering, which joined the incubation center in 2008, was maintaining a comfortable profit margin, says owner Brenda Odom, a TSU graduate.

“With the help of the center, we made it a point to reinvest our profits, found a better way to market our business using QuickBooks to track sales, expenses and create invoices instantly,” added Odom, who has more than 20 years experience in the catering and food service industry.

She started the company seven years ago looking to fill a Middle Tennessee market in search of a dependable, fast and quality food service entity with its origin “right here.” There is every indication that Odom has hit her stride. From an initial 1,000 square feet, her business now occupies 2,000 square feet of space at the incubation center.

Among U-Kno Catering’s clients are such notables as Vanderbilt University, Deloitte, Allstate, and NES (Nashville Electric Service), which according to Odom, needed a substantial security bond to sign a contract with the catering service.

“We did not have the bonding, but the incubation center stepped in and provided a letter of guarantee to the bank to help us secure the contract, and bond in less than 30 days,” Odom said.

The success of the NBIC, according to its director, has been largely due to its vision as “the best place to grow a small business,” supported by the University leadership and a Board of Directors including individuals with proven business abilities and keen leadership skills.

Dr. Ruthie Reynolds, executive director of the Center for Entrepreneurship and Economic Development. (photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)
Dr. Ruthie Reynolds, executive director of the Center for Entrepreneurship and Economic Development. (photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

Although TSU President Glenda Glover – a CPA herself and former dean of a business school – joined the University just two years ago, immediately upon arrival saw the need to make the center more responsive to the needs of the business community and the university. She established the Center for Entrepreneurship and Economic Development, with an executive director, to serve as an umbrella overseeing the functions of the incubation center, and the Small Business Development Center in the College of Business.

The goal of establishing the CEED was twofold, said Executive Director, Dr. Ruthie Reynolds, also a CPA and a longtime business professor.

“Being so aware of the business world, President Glover wanted a better coordination of the entrepreneurial efforts at the University, as well as begin an interdisciplinary approach to entrepreneurship,” said Reynolds.

She said CEED was created to expand the focus of educating and preparing students for positions within corporations to raising student awareness of self-employment as career alternative.

“By bringing the incubation center and the SBDC under one umbrella, the Center for Entrepreneurship and Economic Development endeavors to nurture and encourage entrepreneurial spirit in the students, faculty and staff and the local community,” added Reynolds.

According to Crane-Jones, this coordination of effort has worked well for the incubation center. Although admission to the center is opened to all, she said 27 percent of the new entrepreneurs and startups are either current or former TSU students.

Graduates of the center are making their marks in business and industry.

Take for instance Zycron, started at the center about 23 years ago, is now an industry leader in information technology services, providing client-specific solutions in health care, energy and utilities. It has five offices across the U.S., Latin America and England serving a broad client base.

But while this sounds good, Gray, of The Green Truck Moving Company, says it takes a lot of work to make it all happen.

“Starting a business is not easy, which is why access to business experts and affordable office space that the incubator program offers is so vital,” he noted. “It takes a lot of energy, a lot of will power and a little bit of luck thrown in to succeed.”

And Gray, Moore and Reed know too well what hard work and perseverance can do. Just as they dreamt, they built a moving company like no other…. a real “green company.” Their company trucks run on biodiesel, a cleaner form of fuel, and for every move, the company plants two trees, “which helps beautify our communities as well as clean up our earth’s atmosphere.”

Now, that’s like no other!

 

 

Department of Media Relations
Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

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 42 undergraduate, 24 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.

Renowned Activist Takes Up Charge to Have TSU Championship Team Inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame

The men's basketball team (pictured) from TSU won their second NAIA championship in 1958. The team went on to win a  unprecedented third straight  championship in 1959.
The men’s basketball team (pictured) from TSU won their second NAIA championship in 1958. The team went on to win a unprecedented third straight championship in 1959.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The Reverend Al Sharpton is widely known for taking up the fight on behalf of the underdog in his pursuit of justice and equality. Sharpton’s stance on an array of issues has taken him across the country and around the world.

Now, he is on his way to Tennessee State University. His cause, to have TSU’s 1957- 1959 Men’s Championship Basketball Team, the first-ever to win three national titles back-to back, inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

Thursday night, Sharpton will be joined by University officials and staff, including President Glenda Glover, state and local officials, community leaders and stakeholders, as he presents his cause during a ceremony in Kean Hall on the TSU main campus beginning at 6:30 p.m.

Shortly before the ceremony, Sharpton will address the media during a press conference in the Athletics Lobby, also in Kean Hall, at 6:15 p.m.

Sharpton became friends with TSU alumnus Dr. Richard “Dick” Barnett, a member of all three teams, and was compelled by the achievements of Barnett and his teammates. They were the first in collegiate history to win three consecutive national championships, and the first historically black institution to win a title. Despite Texas Western, the team depicted in the movie “Glory Road,” being recognized as the first all-black starting five to win a college national title, TSU won their title nearly a decade earlier.

Both men believe it is time for the team to become a part of basketball history, and that the University is the perfect place to begin the campaign for the hall of fame. Sharpton will also address other current social issues.

In 1957, the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament became the first tournament to have seeded teams, making it the first to have an upset. The unseeded TSU Tigers had four upsets in the tournament, with the most important victory being over Southeastern Oklahoma State in a 19-point blowout (92-73), thus winning the school’s first NAIA Championship. With the win, Tennessee State became the first historically black institution to win a collegiate basketball national championship.

The 1958 Men’s NAIA Division I Basketball Tournament saw defending champions Tennessee State return as the #3 seed. The team’s closest win came in the championship finals against the #1 seed and tourney favorite Western Illinois (85-73). With the win, the Tigers became only the third team to have back-to-back championships. That year, Coach John McLendon was selected “Coach of the Year,” while player Dick Barnett received the “Chuck Taylor Most Valuable Player Award.”

With back-to-back NAIA Championships, Tennessee State entered the 1959 Men’s Division 1 Basketball Tournament as the top seed. The team had an opportunity to accomplish a feat no other team had done, win a third consecutive title. TSU breezed through the tournament. The finals pitted the Tigers against #3 seed Pacific Lutheran University. Again, Tennessee State prevailed beating Pacific Lutheran 97-87 to capture the title. It was the first time any school had won three tournaments in a row. Barnett received his second “MVP Award.”

The Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame recognized the team last spring during its annual ceremony. They were honored for Significant Historical Achievement.

Barnett will appear with Sharpton during the ceremony in Kean Hall. The community event is free and open to the public.

 

 

Department of Media Relations
Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

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 42 undergraduate, 24 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 Signs Reverse Transfer/Dual Admission Agreement with Dyersburg State

DyersburgStateCCNASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University has made it easier for transfer students from Dyersburg State Community College to receive the associate degree they may lack prior to enrollment at TSU.

Under a Reverse Transfer agreement signed between the two institutions October 15, students who transfer to TSU without first completing their associates degree, will now have the opportunity to use credits earned toward a bachelors degree for completion of their two-year degree. This is the first time this type of agreement has been signed between TSU and a partnering community college.

Staff from TSU and DSCC were present Oct. 15 to sign a Reverse Transfer and Dual Admission agreement between the two  institutions, including: (seated) Dr. Teri Maddox, Interim Vice President, DSCC; Dr. Karen Bowyer, President, DSCC; Dr. Kay Patterson (standing) Dr. John Ricketts, program leader in Agriculture Education, Associate Professor; Mr. William Joslin, Site Coordinator, Department of Community College Initiatives; Dr. John Hall, Associate Professor of Agriculture & Leadership Education; Dr. Sharon Peters, Executive Director of Community College Initiatives. (courtesy photo)
Staff from TSU and DSCC were present Oct. 15 to sign a Reverse Transfer and Dual Admission agreement between the two institutions, including: (seated) Dr. Teri Maddox, Interim Vice President, DSCC; Dr. Karen Bowyer, President, DSCC; Dr. Kay Patterson (standing) Dr. John Ricketts, program leader in Agriculture Education, associate professor; William Joslin, site coordinator, Department of Community College Initiatives; Dr. John Hall, associate professor of Agriculture & Leadership Education; Dr. Sharon Peters, executive director of Community College Initiatives. (courtesy photo)

According to Dr. Sharon Peters, director of the Community College Initiative Program at TSU, the agreement builds on partnerships already established with other community colleges around the state. It also helps support community college degree completion, a key component in the Drive to 55 campaign launched by the state of Tennessee that ensures at least 55 percent of Tennesseans have a certificate or degree beyond high school by 2025.

“This helps students attending the University complete their associates degree while pursuing a baccalaureate degree,” said Peters. “While we encourage our students to earn their four-year degree, we understand that students take multiple routes to completing their education. This way, they would have an associates degree which could help them in the job market or career progression.”

The agreement also creates a Dual Admission track that establishes a formal pathway for DSCC students to accumulate academic credits toward an Agricultural Science degree at TSU.

TSU’s Agricultural Sciences major includes concentrations in Agricultural and Extension Education, Food Bioscience and Technology, Agribusiness, Plant and Soil Science, Animal Science, and Biotechnology.

“Agriculture is a major industry in northwest Tennessee and this dual admission agreement is a keystone of the partnership,” added Peters. “We are excited to provide additional education opportunities while providing more choices for aligning associate degrees with bachelor’s degrees through our College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences.”

The agreement with Dyersburg State comes on the heels of an agreement with Southwest Tennessee Community College last month, which now brings the total number of agreements between TSU and community colleges across the state to seven, and along with DSCC and STCC, includes Volunteer State, Nashville State, Columbia State, Chattanooga State and Motlow State Community Colleges.

The partnerships with community colleges, such as DSCC around the state, help students transfer seamlessly to the University to complete a four-year degree. Under the Community College Initiative, students have more options to move them along through their educational career.

 

 

 

Department of Media Relations
Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

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 42 undergraduate, 24 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.

National Honors Organization Names TSU Director to Top Spot

Dr. Coreen Jackson
Dr. Coreen Jackson

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The director of the Tennessee State University Honors Program has added yet another title to her resume. Dr. Coreen Jackson is now President of the National Association of African American Honors Programs.

Jackson, who served as the vice president of the NAAHP since October 2013, was appointed president October 10 at the organization’s annual convention in Jackson, Mississippi.

NAAAHP encourages students from HBCUs around the country to engage in scholarly research, network, debate and academic competitions. Moreover, NAAAPH helps students hone their leadership skills, as well as encourage them to participate in community service, cultural enrichment activities, annual career fairs and graduate school expos.

logoEach year the NAAAPH annual conference brings together honors students, faculty, staff and professionals from member institutions to engage in discussions and activities on career development and academic enhancement. The organization also fosters students’ development in an undergraduate environment that promotes scholarship and an appreciation for African American culture.

As the new president of the organization, Jackson hopes to bring the NAAAHP annual conference to TSU in October of next year, in collaboration with Fisk University.

Jackson, a longtime professor of communications at TSU, also holds several national offices including chair of the Multi-Cultural Research Division of the Broadcast Education Association. As director of the Honors Program, she envisions transitioning the program to an Honors College, while increasing the amount of Honors courses in STEM, Social Sciences, Business and Liberal Arts. She also wants to provide students additional opportunities for study abroad, summer research programs, internships, leadership management, and professional development.

 

 

Department of Media Relations
Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

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 42 undergraduate, 24 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.

Using Hubble Space Telescope, Team Including TSU Astronomers Develop Most Detailed Exoplanet Weather Map

In this artist's illustration, the Jupiter-sized planet WASP-43b, orbits its parent star in one of the closest orbits ever measured for an exoplanet of its size -- with a year lasting just 19 hours. (illustration courtesy of NASA, EAS, Z. Levay)
In this artist’s illustration, the Jupiter-sized planet WASP-43b, orbits its parent star in one of the closest orbits ever measured for an exoplanet of its size — with a year lasting just 19 hours. (illustration courtesy of NASA, EAS, Z. Levay)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – When it comes to understanding the stars and galaxies, scientists at Tennessee State University continue to play key roles in major discoveries and breakthroughs.

Just this week, TSU astronomers Gregory Henry and Michael Williamson were part of a team of astronomers that announced they had made the most detailed map ever of the temperature distribution of an exoplanet’s atmosphere, and traced the amount of water vapor it contains.

Both results were made from data collected using instruments on board the Hubble Space Telescope. The planet targeted for both of the investigations was the hot-Jupiter exoplanet referred to as WASP-43b.

TSU operates a unique array of robotic telescopes located in the Patagonia Mountains of southern Arizona that have gained international recognition for the research programs they have accomplished, including the discovery of planetary systems around other stars in 1999.

In their latest effort, Henry and Williamson, working on a study headed by Jacob Bean, of the University of Chicago, used one of the TSU automated telescopes to make a long series of nightly measurements of the planet’s host star’s brightness.

Gregory Henry
Dr. Gregory Henry

“The planet’s host star is some 70 percent smaller and cooler than our own sun, but, like the sun, exhibits the coming and going of cooler regions on its surface called starspots,” said Henry, who headed the team in the 1999 discovery of a new planetary system. “These starspots are analogous to the dark sunspots seen on the sun and that come and go with the 11-year sunspot cycle.”

He said the starspots cause continuous, subtle changes in the brightness of the star.  To enable the construction of an accurate temperature map of the planetary atmosphere, the calibration of the Hubble Space Telescope measurements of the planet’s atmosphere must include the effects of the star’s changing brightness.

“The WASP-43b result is indeed interesting, given that this planet is unique among the nearly 2,000 known exoplanets in that it has the shortest period of revolution around the star: only 19 hours.  This period defines the length of the planet’s year, compared to 365 days for our earth,” Henry said.

“Our observations are the first of their kind in terms of providing a two- dimensional map of the planet’s thermal structure,” added Kevin Stevenson, also of the University of Chicago. “These maps can be used to constrain circulation models that predict how heat is transported from an exoplanet’s hot day side to its cool night side.”

To make the map more detailed, the team also measured the water abundances and temperatures at different longitudes. To do this, Henry and his colleagues took advantage of the precision and stability of Hubble’s instruments to subtract more than 99.95 percent of the light from the parent star, allowing them to study the light coming from the planet itself — a technique called emission spectroscopy. By doing this at different points of the planet’s orbit around the parent star, they could map the atmosphere across its longitude.

“We have been able to observe three complete rotations — three years for this distant planet — during a span of just four days,” explained Bean. “This was essential in allowing us to create the first full temperature map for an exoplanet and to probe its atmosphere to find out which elements it held and where.”

Finding the proportions of the different elements in planetary atmospheres provides vital clues to understanding how planets formed.

 

 

 

Department of Media Relations
Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

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 42 undergraduate, 24 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.

Tyson Foods CEO Donnie Smith Wows TSU Students on Success, Corporate Culture and Leadership; Discusses Partnership Opportunities with University Officials

smith1.2
Donnie Smith, Tyson Foods President and CEO, speaks to students at TSU on Wednesday. (Photo by Rick DelaHaya, TSU Media Relations)


NASHVILLE, Tenn.
(TSU News Service) – Developing corporate partnerships and relationships with industry leaders have been at the core of Dr. Glenda Glover’s vision since becoming president of Tennessee State University nearly two years ago.

This has included visits and talks with major corporations and businesses and invitations to their leaders to visit the TSU campus to see the kinds of preparations students are receiving to be ready for the job market.

“This is necessary not just because we want these corporations to give to the University, but it also helps to expose our students to industry’s best as well as offer them opportunities to develop job-ready skills through internships, cooperative assistantships, scholarships and employment opportunities,” Dr. Glover said.

Scholars
President Glenda Glover and Tyson Foods President and CEO Donnie Smith meet with Tom Joyner Foundation scholarship recipients following the check presentation. From left are, Bria Monk, Tyson CEO Smith, Kourtney Daniels, President Glover and David Conner. (Photo by Rick DelaHaya, TSU Media Relations)

And today, TSU students received a good dose of exposure and lecture on corporate culture and leadership when the President and Chief Executive Officer of Tyson Foods, Inc., a $42 billion, Fortune 500 Arkansas-based company, visited and spent an entire day interacting with students, administrators, faculty and staff on the main campus.

Donnie Smith, whose visit also included the presentation of scholarships to three TSU students, in a partnership with the Tom Joyner Foundation, said his visit was intended to broaden existing relationship with TSU and explore areas in which student preparation in agriculture and science are more aligned with Tyson’s needs.

“We want to continue to build the relationship deeper by developing a streamline of talents that is suited to our company’s needs,” said Smith, who added that about 12 TSU students have interned at Tyson in the last two years, while another was fully employed with the company.

In a meeting earlier in Dr. Glover’s office with senior administration members, President Glover welcomed Smith and his team, which included Holly Bourland, Corporate Recruitment Manager for Professional Employment.

The TSU team emphasized that student preparation remains the main focus of the University, “because TSU wants to have a broad footprint” on industry by putting out students with job-ready skills, and Tyson could be a major partner in that area.

“Our students are involved in cutting-edge research in many areas of agricultural production and food security that could be useful to your company,” Dr. Glover told the Tyson executives.

“We are doing breakthrough research on our campus,” added Dr. Lesia Crompton-Young, chief research officer and associate vice President for Research and Sponsored Programs. “If you see the kinds of research we are involved in you will find that we are doing things that surely correlate with what Tyson’s needs are.”

A visit and tour of the University’s new Agricultural Biotechnology Research Building provided the Tyson visitors a closer look at some of the cutting-edge research the University officials spoke about.

“This visit is a great opportunity for us,” said Dr. Chandra Reddy, dean of the College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences, following a meeting with the Tyson president. “We are trying to connect student and research to corporate needs because we want our research to be relevant to the market needs.”

In a gathering with Business students, the Tyson CEO spoke about corporate leadership, understanding the needs of “team members” (employees), and how to stay ahead of the competition.

“At Tyson we like to win, but for us winning is to make great food and helping those in need,” said Smith, adding that hunger relief is a major part of what Tyson does.

On corporate culture, Smith reminded the student about what he called his five “Is” and three “Rs.”

“To be successful you must have ‘integrity,’ be ‘intelligent,’ ‘innovative,’ have ‘interpersonal skills’ and you must be ‘inspirational.’ To achieve these, you must learn to develop ‘relationships,’ be ‘resilient’ and ‘result’ oriented,” smith said.

At a luncheon with Dr. Glover, along with her Cabinet and deans, the Tyson group saw PowerPoint presentations of offerings and programs in the College of Business, and the College of Engineering.

Prior to the presentations, the Tyson chief executive presented a check for $7,500 to Briar Monk, a senior Agricultural Science major with a 3.65 GPA from Little Rock, Arkansas; Kourtney Daniels, a sophomore Food Biosciences and Technology major with a 4.0 GPA from Chicago; and David Connor, a junior Agricultural Science major with a 3.42 GPA from Birmingham, Alabama.

The money, with each student receiving $2,500, is the result of a partnership between Tyson Foods and the Tom Joyner Foundation called the TScholars Project, to offer scholarships and internship opportunities to selected students majoring in Agriculture and Business at four historically black colleges and universities. The schools, TSU, Florida A&M University, North Carolina A&T State University and the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, were selected because of their proximity to Tyson company facilities.

According to the Interim Director of the Career Development Center at TSU, Tina Reed, each scholarship recipient will receive a summer 2015 internship at Tyson Foods.

Before leaving the TSU campus, the CEO also met with an array of students in different disciplines in Poag Auditorium, where he reiterated his views on corporate culture and leadership.

Other University officials who participated in meetings with the Tyson CEO and his team include: Dr. Mark Hardy, vice president for Academic Affairs; Jean Jackson, vice president for Administration; Cynthia Brooks, vice president for Business and Finance; Dr. John Cade, vice president for Enrollment Management and Student Support Services; Dr. Alisa Mosley, associate vice president for Academic Affairs; Robin Tonya Watson, assistant vice president for Institutional Advancement; Kelli Sharpe, assistant vice president for Public Relations and Communications; Laurence Pendleton, University Counsel; and Dr. Cheryl Green, assistant vice president for Student Affairs.

Also attending today’s meetings were: Dr. Millicent Lownes-Jackson, dean of the College of Business; and Dr. S. Keith Hargrove, dean of the College Engineering.

 

Department of Media Relations
Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

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 42 undergraduate, 24 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, Honda Battle of the Bands Ready to “March On” to the Georgia Dome

Voting Open for Fans to Help Determine the Final Eight to Perform in Atlanta in January 2015

2014BattleOfTheBandsNASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The Aristocrat of Bands from Tennessee State University is hoping to make a triumphant return to Atlanta and the Honda Battle of the Bands as one of the eight most prestigious marching bands from America’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities. They hope to be selected to take the Georgia Dome by storm with their incredible musical talent and electrifying showmanship.

In order to secure one of the top spots from the 38 bands attempting to do the same, the band needs everyone to vote them into the January 24, 2015 competition. Voters can visit the Honda Battle of the Bands website and vote up to six times per day for their favorite TSU band.

To date, the Aristocrat of Bands has appeared five times at the annual showcase in Atlanta beginning in 2003. They subsequently appeared in 2004, 2011, 2012 and 2013.

For 13 consecutive years, the Honda Battle of the Bands has provided the nation’s top HBCU marching bands a platform to share their unique blend of musicianship and choreography with millions of fans. This year’s theme, “March On,” serves as a reminder to students and fans that life on and off the field is a journey, and no matter the challenge, the dream or what may lie ahead, learning never stops as long as you commit to “March On.”

Now until Wednesday, Oct. 15, fans can go online and vote daily to help select the final eight bands that will perform at the 2015 Invitational Showcase. Voting ends on October 15, 2014, at midnight EDT.

“Honda is deeply committed to supporting the dreams of HBCU students by investing in their education and showcasing exceptional student musicians,” said Stephan Morikawa, Assistant Vice President, Corporate Community Relations, American Honda Motor Co., Inc. “As we continue to prepare our participating band members to March On, both on the field and in life, we look forward to a thrilling and uplifting event in Atlanta.”

The 2015 Invitational Showcase will feature the first-ever Honda Battle of the Bands Power of Dreams Award. Each participating team will have the opportunity to nominate an outstanding member of their community who is working to help students achieve their dreams. Honda will then select a winner who will be recognized in Atlanta at the 2015 Honda Battle of the Bands Invitational Showcase.

For more information on the 2015 Honda Battle of the Bands, visit HondaBattleoftheBands.com.

Since its inception in 1946, and subsequently becoming a show band under the administration of second TSU President Dr. Walter S. Davis, the Aristocrat of Bands has been featured at many international and national events, including half-time shows at several NFL games, Bowl games and Classics, and Presidential Inaugurations.

Department of Media Relations
Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

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 42 undergraduate, 24 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 Dedicates Cutting-edge Research Facilities to Accommodate “Phenomenal” Growth in Agricultural Sciences

The College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences dedicated three new buildings September 17 on campus, including the centerpiece of the additions, the Agricultural Biotechnology Building. The added lab space and updated equipment in the  state-of-the-art $8 million Agricultural Biotechnology Building will provide more room for cutting-edge research, with implications for farmers and consumers in Tennessee and beyond. Helping with the ribbon cutting ceremony include (L-R) Julius Johnson, Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Agriculture; John Morgan, Tennessee Board of Regents Chancellor; TSU President Glenda Glover; USDA Mid South assistant area director Archie Tucker; Dean Chandra Reddy; and State Representatives Brenda Gilmore and Harold Love(photo by Rick DelaHaya, TSU Media Relations)
The College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences dedicated three new buildings on campus September 17, including the centerpiece of the additions, the Agricultural Biotechnology Building. The added lab space and updated equipment in the state-of-the-art $8 million Agricultural Biotechnology Building will provide more room for cutting-edge research, with implications for farmers and consumers in Tennessee and beyond. Helping with the ribbon cutting ceremony include (L-R) Julius Johnson, Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Agriculture; John Morgan, Tennessee Board of Regents Chancellor; TSU President Glenda Glover; USDA Mid South assistant area director Archie Tucker; Dean Chandra Reddy; and State Representatives Brenda Gilmore and Harold Love (photo by Rick DelaHaya, TSU Media Relations)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – With graduate enrollment in agricultural sciences at Tennessee State University more than tripled in five years and an influx of new Ph.D. faculty topping more than 25 in just three years, University officials are celebrating the addition of new facilities to accommodate this “phenomenal” growth.

Today, TSU President Glenda Glover, joined by Dean Chandra Reddy, Chancellor John Morgan, of the Tennessee Board of Regents, and other University officials, federal and state stakeholders and elected official, held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for three new buildings on campus.

The buildings, with a combined price tag of more than $12 million, were funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture through its National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

The centerpiece of the new facilities is the 25,000 square-foot Agricultural Biotechnology Building, the first new building constructed at the University in nearly eight years. It contains more than 12 state-of-the-art labs for cutting-edge research, including DNA synthesis and chromatography analysis. The building will also house and support primarily agricultural research, and provide working space for more than 20 new Ph.D.-level scientists, as well as administrative offices.

The other two facilities, called the Agricultural and STEM Education and Training Center, and the Agricultural Research Support Building, are located on the University farm.

“Tennessee State University is preparing students who are ready for the workforce,” said a very upbeat President Glover, as she thanked the USDA, the TBR, the Tennessee Department of Agriculture and other stakeholders for their support in making the buildings a reality.

“This is such a wonderful opportunity. With these facilities, our students will benefit tremendously by engaging in cutting-edge research in food safety and security, and by expanding their knowledge in their quest for excellence,” the President added.

Dr. Hongwei Si, Assistant Professor of Food Chemistry, explains some of the research projects going on in the Food Biosciences and Technology Lab, as visitors, including Dean Chandra Reddy, and TBR Chancellor John Morgan, far right, listen. (photo by Rick Delahaya, TSU Media Relations)
Dr. Hongwei Si, Assistant Professor of Food Chemistry, explains some of the research projects going on in the Food Biosciences and Technology Lab, as visitors, including Dean Chandra Reddy, and TBR Chancellor John Morgan, far right, listen. (photo by Rick Delahaya, TSU Media Relations)

For Dean Reddy, he said research funding in the College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences has tripled to couple with climbing enrollment on the undergraduate and graduate levels.

“This dedication and these buildings memorialize the ongoing transformation in the college over the last five years,” Reddy said. “We have multiplied every useful metrics during this time, be it student enrollment, research funding and outreach.”

He said the college has integrated academics with research and outreach and extension, established faculty focus groups to provide intellectual leadership to their programs, as well as created new opportunities for students to get involved in research and outreach.

The need for continued investment in agriculture and the food sciences is tremendous, he said, reminding the gathering about the expected growth in human population and the risk of climate change and its effect on food crops, and the impact of food on “our” overall health and wellbeing.

“To address these fundamental problems, our research is focusing on developing crops and products for health, for climate change, for energy, and ultimately alleviate the problems facing the world today and in the future,” added Reddy.

TBR Chancellor Morgan, who described the dedication as very significant, also thanked the USDA, President Glover, Dr. Reddy and other stakeholders for their support.

“This is very significant because it reflects the commitment of this University to excellence and to producing students who are capable and ready for the workforce anywhere in the country and the world.”

While the dedication of the new facilities was the focus of today’s ceremony, a presentation by a TSU student received tremendous cheers from the audience, and caught the attention of several speakers and stakeholders with job offers for the Agricultural Sciences major from Chicago.

Kourtney Daniels
Kourtney Daniels

Kourtney Daniels, a sophomore with a 4.0 GPA, serving as a TSU Student Ambassador, had only to give the welcome remarks, but her “very eloquent,” three-minute presentation drew praises even she did not expect.

“I was just being myself; I did not expect to have such an impact,” said Daniels.

Others also participating in today’s dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony were: Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Mark Hardy; State Representative Brenda Gilmore, a TSU alum, who has championed many causes on the state and national levels for her alma mater; and Tennessee Agriculture Commissioner, Julius Johnson.

State Representative Harold Love Jr.; Archie Tucker, assistant director of the Mid South Area for the USDA’s Agricultural Research Services; Steve Gass, of the Tennessee Department of Education; Dr. Roger Sauve, superintendent of the Agricultural Research and Education Center at TSU; and Ron Brooks, associate vice president for Facilities Management, also took part in the dedication.

Department of Media Relations
Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

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 42 undergraduate, 24 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 Book Bundle Initiative Meets New Students in the Digital Age

Heidi Williams, English professor at Tennessee State University, displays the required textbook readings on a mobile device to her freshman English I class. Tablets were distributed to incoming freshmen as part of the University’s Book Bundle Initiative aimed at lowering costs of text books. Under the new program, students will pay a flat fee of $365 per semester that is included in their tuition and fees, and have access to the required digital textbooks for classes taken. (photo by Rick DelaHaya, TSU Media Relations)
Heidi Williams, English professor at Tennessee State University, displays the required textbook readings on a mobile device to her freshman English I class. Tablets were distributed to incoming freshmen as part of the University’s Book Bundle Initiative aimed at lowering costs of text books. Under the new program, students will pay a flat fee of $365 per semester that is included in their tuition and fees, and have access to the required digital textbooks for classes taken. (photo by Rick DelaHaya, TSU Media Relations)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Professor Heidi Williams is teaching her freshmen English composition class in a way her students can relate. She is using technology many of them have grown accustomed to in today’s digital world. Williams is one of many instructors at Tennessee State University now using tablets and digital textbooks to teach on a daily basis.

“The tablets are great because the students can always have the classroom at their fingertips,” said Williams, who has taught freshman English at the University for the past three years. “I’m a huge advocate of tablets for text books in the classroom. It’s easier for students to refer to readings and pull in outside materials for discussion.”

This semester, first-time freshmen at TSU received digital tablets as part of the University’s Book Bundle initiative. The program is aimed at lowering the costs of traditional paper textbooks while ensuring freshmen have the required books the first day of class.

The plan allows freshman students to buy “e-books” for general education classes, saving students, like Julian Robinson, up to $735 per semester. Robinson is a computer science major from Baltimore, Maryland.

“I have an older brother in college right now and he tells me all the time how expensive his text books are,” said Robinson. “The digital books are saving me money in the long run and basically putting money back in my pocket. Not only can I read all my assignments on the tablet, I can check my grades and turn in my assignments. It’s good to see TSU using technology to the students’ advantage. It has become an important part of my college experience.”

Julian Robinson, a freshman computer science major from Baltimore, Maryland, scrolls through his digital textbook on his mobile device during his freshman English I course at Tennessee State University. (photo by Rick DelaHaya, TSU Media Relations)
Julian Robinson, a freshman computer science major from Baltimore, Maryland, scrolls through his digital textbook on his mobile device during his freshman English I course at Tennessee State University. (photo by Rick DelaHaya, TSU Media Relations)

Students pay a flat fee of $355 per semester that is included in their tuition and fees, and have access to the required digital textbooks for classes. The fee includes all textbooks in the general education core for students taking 12-16 semester hours. For students who want print copies of books, they will be available for an additional $15-30 charge.

According to University officials, a large number of students enrolled in classes do not purchase text books due to lack of funds, delay in receiving funds, or simply hold back on buying them for weeks.

“Many of our students would go weeks before they even purchase a text book, which in turn hurts them in the classroom,” said Dr. Glenda Glover, President of TSU. “This new program allows students to have books the first day of class and gives them the ability to be successful since they will have the required materials.”

TSU is unique in the fact that the University is offering e-books for all general education classes, and it is the only university offering the book-bundle initiative in the Tennessee Board of Regents higher education system. The University is joining a growing trend across the country by other colleges and universities by going “digital” with textbooks.

Alashia Johnson, an early education major from Clarksville, Tennessee, scrolls through her digital textbook on her mobile device during her freshman English I course at Tennessee State University. Like other incoming or new freshmen, Johnson received the tablet as part of the University's Book Bundle initiative designed to lower the costs of text books.
Alashia Johnson, an early education major from Clarksville, Tennessee, scrolls through her digital textbook on her mobile device during her freshman English I course at Tennessee State University. Like other incoming or new freshmen, Johnson received the tablet as part of the University’s Book Bundle initiative designed to lower the costs of text books. (photo by Rick DelaHaya, TSU Media Relations)

A recent study by the Pearson Foundation indicates college students who say they own a tablet has tripled in the past two years and increasingly prefer to use the device for reading. Sixty-three percent of college students also believe tablets will replace textbooks in the next five years—a 15 percent increase over last year’s survey.

“When we started this project, we were told by numerous book publishers that this had never been done before,” added Dr. Alisa Mosley, associate vice president of Academic Affairs. “This was a massive undertaking to implement. We specifically decided to go with the digital books not only as an alternative to more costly traditional paper books, but also to meet students in the digital age.”

For professors like Williams, meeting students in the digital age has made her online interaction with students easier and feels she is more accessible. Students, she said, have a different view of classroom technology than professors.

“Everything we do is online, from reading to assignments,” added Williams. “While we are still adjusting to the tablets, once we do everything will be second nature to not only the student but instructors as well. And that is what its all about…meeting students where they are and helping them be successful.”

E-books are rising in popularity across the country, according to a recent report from Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project. Pew found that “50% of Americans now have a dedicated handheld device–either a tablet computer like an iPad, or an e-reader such as a Kindle or Nook–for reading e-content.”

 

 

Department of Media Relations
Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

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 42 undergraduate, 24 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.

Take 15: Increase in Course Load Can Mean TSU Diploma in Four Years

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – According to figures from Complete College America, if 100 students entered college today in Tennessee, only 17 would graduate on time at a four-year college. Now some of the nation’s top universities and colleges across the country, including Tennessee State University, are prodding lingering students toward the graduation stage to push them to finish their degrees in four years.

It’s a move that aims to change the culture that completing a degree in four years is the exception and not the norm.

Enter the ‘Take 15” program at TSU that encourages students to take enough credits to ensure on-time completion of their degrees. Launched in the fall of 2013 for full-time first-year students, the program has seen an increase of students opting to take at least 15 credits per semester to stay on track to receive their degree in four years.

According to TSU President Glenda Glover, University officials are taking steps to entice students to take at least 15 credit hours per semester and have a plan to complete their degree in the shortest amount of time possible.

“Often times full-time students fail to take enough credits to ensure on-time completion of their degrees,” said Glover. “Students regularly and often unknowingly choose credit loads that put them on five or six-year plans. Through this initiative we are getting the word out that on-time graduation is much more likely when students ‘Take 15’ to finish.”

While there could be many reasons why many students fall into the five or six-year degree trap, most students, according to Dr. John Cade, interim vice president of Enrollment Management and Student Support Services, enter college with a four-year plan, but changing or adding majors, retaking classes or taking time off for personal reasons can quickly extend that plan.

“While getting the most out of a college experience is important, taking additional semesters to earn that degree often means paying more in tuition and fees,” Cade said. “We’ve also seen that at times, the longer it takes students to graduate, the less likely they are to complete a degree.”

Since the initiative first rolled out in fall of 2013, officials at the University have seen an increase in students opting to go the 15-credit route. At that time, 41 percent of undergraduates, or 2,829 of the 6,749 students enrolled at the University, registered for 15 credits or more compared to the previous fall when only 31 percent registered. In just one short year, 35 percent more students were heeding the administration’s awareness initiative to ‘Take 15.’

“These are encouraging numbers,” added Cade. “As we build awareness we expect to see these numbers increase. We are promoting ‘Take 15’ because we are finding students are getting better grades, they are more focused and using their time more efficiently.”

Students, such as Thommye’ Davis, a senior History major, plan to graduate in four years by taking advantage of the Take 15 initiative and registering for 15 credit hours each semester. (courtesy photo)
Students, such as Thommye’ Davis, a senior History major, plan to graduate in four years by taking advantage of the Take 15 initiative and registering for 15 credit hours each semester. (courtesy photo)

Thommye’ Davis, a senior History major, is one of those students who is taking advantage of the initiative, and came to the University with the mindset of completing her degree in four years.

“I’ve been taking 15 credit hours since my freshman year of college,” said the Nashville, Tenn., native, who plans on teaching in the Nashville Metro School system after graduation. “If I wanted to finish in four years I knew that taking 15 credit hours would be the only way I could accomplish my goal.”

In addition to graduating in four years, studies show that students taking 15 or more credit hours tend to have higher grade point averages than those taking less. In fact, at TSU, students taking 15 or more credits averaged a GPA of 3.17 compared to students taking less.

Another reason for the push, Cade added, was the fact that earning a degree in four years is a lot cheaper than earning one in five or six. Students who complete their undergraduate degree in four years instead of six years can save close to $7,000 for in-state tuition or $19,000 for out-of-state students per year.

“The cost of college is high and students often times have to work to help pay the cost of tuition,” said Cade. “That is another advantage to completing a degree in four years. Students who elect to pursue completing their degree in five years incur a year of costs, plus loose a year of potential wages and on-the-job experience.”

The initiative also takes in account the fact that states are not expanding extra resources on higher education. With the passage of the Complete College Tennessee Act of 2010, the state has defined a clear set of directives to address the need for more Tennesseans to be better educated at a time when the state’s fiscal capacity to fund higher education has diminished dramatically.

Considered a national model for increasing the number and quality of college graduates, the CCTA recognized that in the past few years, public universities and colleges have lost a large portion of their state operating revenues. It also established a direct link between the state’s economic development and its educational system.

“We are in the same situation as many colleges and universities across the nation with states significantly cutting spending to education. These cuts and outcome-based funding are the primary drivers of tuition increases,” said Cade. “There is a demand for growth in education in Tennessee and across the country, and through the ‘Take 15’ initiative. We can make sure our students are prepared quicker and with less debt ready to enter the workforce.”

To learn more about the “Take 15” initiative, contact the Advisement Center at 615.963.5531.

 

Department of Media Relations
Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

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 42 undergraduate, 24 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.