NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The Tennessee State University School of Graduate and Professional Studies recently had a special program commemorating its 75th anniversary.
Dr. Robbie Melton, dean of the Graduate School, said the program on May 1 at the Avon Williams Campus downtown provided an opportunity to recognize two former deans who made significant contributions to the school, as well as showcase the school’s “next evolution.”
The late Dr. Camelia Taylor, who served in many administrative positions at TSU including interim dean of the Graduate School, and Dr. Helen Barrett, who served as the school’s dean from 1998-2008, were honored during the event, which was a precursor to the graduate school commencement ceremony on May 3.
The school also paid homage to Martha Williams Wheeler, the first graduate student at Tennessee Agricultural & Industrial State College to earn a master’s degree.
Melton said the graduate school is excited to recognize these women of impact, as well as celebrate 75 years of conferring degrees. She said the school’s innovation will continue under its new theme, “Everyone can code, and everyone can create,” which is indicated by TSU C².
“This theme reflects our new delivery systems hybrid online and on ground formats that incorporates technology, innovation, social media tools and our new global outreach to targeted communities nationally and internationally, and it permeates throughout our entire programs, courses and curriculum,” Melton said. “To reach the global market we must have the entire process online, including student services, courses, library services, mentoring, etc. Everything must be online.”
According to Melton, many of the marketing ideas that will be shared at the program stem from a research project conducted by doctoral students in a marketing class taught by Dr. Eric Vogel, graduate director for the Higher Education Doctoral Students
“Instead of doing hypothetical, we did a problem-based action research project in which the class had the task of finding ways to increase graduate enrollment through marketing,” Melton said. “The class will present marketing research and strategies to enhance the graduate school and all graduate programs”
Minzi Thomas, a student in Vogel’s class who is pursuing her Ed.D. in Higher Education Leadership, was one of five students who shared strategic ideas focused on areas such as research, digital marketing, recruitment and enrollment, international groups, and finance.
Thomas, a Memphis-native who teaches public speaking at Nashville State Community College and works as a reconnect navigator with the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, said the composition of Vogel’s marketing class is perfect for this project.
“It’s really a unique experience and a unique opportunity because a lot of students in the class actually work in the graduate school. What you have is students who work in the graduate school and students who are enrolled in the graduate school coming up with a marketing plan to increase enrollment and increase engagement on social media and other additional marketing strategies,” she said.
Thomas, whose presentation focused on digital marketing, said the class is excited about launching the #TSUSONASHSVILLE social media campaign.
“The whole premise of that is that while Nashville is experiencing all of this growth from gentrification, Tennessee State is still very much a part of that rich cultural aspect of Nashville, and it doesn’t matter how big Nashville gets, that’s not going to change,” Thomas said.
During Melton’s tenure as dean she has incorporated numerous technological strategies to advance the graduate school.
“We have reorganized and brought in technology enhancements and tools to automate the graduate school in terms of admission using GradCAS, in terms of curriculum improvement using Curriculog, in terms of automating a searchable graduate catalogue using Actualog, becoming a paperless environment through the use of DocuSign, and conducting our graduation audit using DegreeWorks,” she said.
Thomas, whose research topic explores gentrification and its impact on North Nashville, said Melton’s leadership plays a great role in the graduate school’s current success.
“Dr. Melton continues to ignite a fire underneath us. Every time you think you have done the best that you can do, she always says or does something that lets you know that you can do or be better. It can be done,” she said. “She makes you feel like it is possible, and when you think it is possible, that’s when you continue to try to reach your greatest potential.”
For more information about the TSU School of Graduate and Professional Studies, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/graduate/ .
Department of Media Relations
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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.