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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gilmore shared similar sentiment.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 8,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU Showcases Research, Innovative Programs at Annual Day at the Capitol

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee lawmakers experienced a wave of Tiger Blue at the state Capitol on Wednesday.

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House Speaker Beth Harwell, left, talks with Dr. Nick Gawel, center, superintendent of the TSU Otis L. Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tenn., and Rep. Kevin Dunlap, D-Rock Island. Dr. Gawel discussed research taking place at the facility with the lawmakers during TSU Day at the Capitol. (Photo by John Cross, TSU Media Relations).

Tennessee State University administrators, faculty, students, alumni converged on Legislative Plaza and the Hill to showcase the university’s research and other innovative initiatives at the annual TSU Day at the Capitol.

Displays from the school’s various colleges and departments lined both sides of the hallway in the plaza. Robotics, magnolia trees, research presentations and goats were among the booths showcasing the university’s diverse academic offering.

In the Senate chamber, the site of the kick-off ceremony, TSU President Glenda Glover thanked attendees for their participation and lauded state legislators for the funding they have provided the university. She noted Gov. Bill Haslam’s recent allotment of funding in his budget for a nearly $40 million Health Sciences Building at the institution.

Glover said TSU has been “good stewards of our state funding,” and encouraged lawmakers to continue supporting the university. She said the Day on the Hill is an opportunity to discuss the school’s legislative priorities with lawmakers.

“It’s very important that legislators are aware of our needs,” the president said. “The past and the future appropriations allow TSU to continue its long-standing legacy of providing a quality education to our most important customer and client, our students.”

Senate Speaker Pro Tem Bo Watson, R-Hixson, was among several state lawmakers who spoke to those gathered in the Senate chamber. He thanked them for being engaged in the legislative process.

“Our system of government is not easy,” Watson said. “Democracy is not easy. It is the battlefield of ideas. And each of us has the right to have our voice heard, and you’re having your voice heard today. And I greatly appreciate you being engaged in that process.”

Rep. Harold Love Jr., a Nashville Democrat whose district includes TSU, said after the kick-off event that he hopes young people in attendance will become more interested in the legislative process, and even try to have a voice in policymaking.

“When we talk about active citizen engagement and forming policy, this is a prime example of what we would like to see from all of our students at colleges and universities across the state,” Love said. “This is what citizens are supposed to do, come down and be actively involved in policy formulation when laws are being passed or proposals considered.”

RaCia Poston, president of TSU’s Student Government Association, was among a number of students who participated in the special TSU day and one of 17 TSU students serving as interns during this session of the Tennessee General Assembly.

While she was motivated by what lawmakers had to say, she was particularly proud of TSU having the opportunity in general to showcase what’s happening at the university.

“A lot of times people only see what the media puts out about TSU,” said the 23-year-old Poston, who is a senior majoring in Social Work. “So for us to be here and show our smiling faces, and everything that we have to offer, from agriculture programs to engineering, I think it does a lot for TSU.”

Prior to the kick-off ceremony, Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey and House Speaker Beth Harwell greeted the TSU delegation to the Capitol and shared their pleasure of seeing such an enormous group. TSU held its first Day at the Capitol in 2014.

 

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 22 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.