TSU Summer Bridge Program Receives $80,000 in Funding to Provide Learning Support for Incoming First-Time Freshmen

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – A TSU summer bridge program that helps first-time freshmen brush up on math, reading and writing, has received an $80,000 boost from the Tennessee Higher Education Commission.

The Summer Completion Academy, a rigorous one-week program designed to ensure student success, will use the grant to give 300 students in the academy the opportunity to satisfy learning support requirements prior to their first semester of enrollment.

The program will run over two sessions between June 23-29, and July 14-20, 2019. Students participating in the program have already been accepted to TSU for the fall semester.

“Our focus for the grant is to work with students who are at risk,” said Tiffany Bellafant Steward, assistant vice president of Enrollment Management and Student Success. “These are students who are not prepared for college-level work who would go into our learning support areas of math, reading and writing.”

She said participants will receive learning support such as additional lab sessions, extra days in class, as well as “engagement activities,” including pre- and post-tests to measure their achievement level.

According to Steward, the academy, now in its third year, has a “huge” success rate.

“We are thrilled to be in a position to offer a program like this to students, which could take up to three classes off their fall schedule,” Steward said.

Tyren Griffin, a business administration major, now in her second semester at TSU, participated in the SCA as an in-coming freshman. She said the program helped her be better prepared for her college work.

“I really enjoyed my SCA experience,” said Griffin, a Chicago native. “In addition to helping me be better prepared for my academic work, the program definitely benefited me because I was able to get to know people that had similar goals for success.”

For more information on the Summer Completion Academy, go to https://bit.ly/2vWQkgj.

Information on other summer programs at TSU is available at http://www.tnstate.edu/events/camps.aspx

campus Police Chief Gregory Robinson to receive international safety award

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University Police Chief Gregory Robinson is the recipient of a prestigious international campus safety award.

Robinson has been selected to receive the 2019 International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (IACLEA) Award for Administrative Excellence. He will be presented the award in June at a ceremony in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

TSU Police Chief Gregory Robinson

The IACLEA is the leading authority for campus public safety. Its members represent campus law enforcement and security issues before law and policy makers, higher education officials, and members of the public around the globe.

“This award is incredibly humbling,” Robinson said. “I thank the IACLEA for the selection, and the officers who make up the TSUPD for embracing a vision that was designed to enhance the characterization of professionalism and service as a Department. In addition, a special thanks to TSU President Glenda Glover for believing in me and choosing me to lead this organization.”

Robinson lauded his officers for their roles in “decreasing crime in and around campus, along with improved methodologies that have proven to be foundational in building the many positive relationships with the students, faculty, and staff members at TSU.”

Crime on college campuses around Tennessee is down, according to a recent report by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. TSU is one school that saw major improvement from 2017 to 2018.

“We have had record numbers in decline and we want to keep it like that,” Robinson said in an interview with Nashville television station WSMV.

To see that interview, visit https://www.wsmv.com/news/crime-on-tn-college-campuses-down-according-to-tbi/article_ee05a772-7578-11e9-aaab-dbd051bb7c2f.html.

For more information about TSUPD, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/police/.

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.

Tennessee State University’s World-Renowned New Direction Choir to Be Featured Guest on BET’s ‘Sunday Best’

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – They have performed for the Pope, and have been called the best college choir in the nation, but if you think you have seen the best of the TSU New Direction Choir, think again.

New Direction Choir Director Justin Butler, right, leads the group during taping of of their upcoming appearance on BET’s Sunday Best. (Submitted Photo)

The world-renowned choir has been selected to appear as featured performer on BET’s hit show “Sunday Best,” a reality television gospel music singing competition series.

The choir will appear in an episode of the show which airs this fall. They will perform gospel hits selected by the show’s producers. On May 9, the group spent the day taping their upcoming performance in the Tyler Perry Studio in Atlanta.

“We are just excited and grateful,” said Justin Butler, director of New Direction, who called the invitation a “total surprise and a wild moment.”

He said one of the producers of Sunday Best (Torrance Glenn) “called us out of the blue” and said he had been following New Direction for a long time, and when he needed a choir to perform behind the contestants, the TSU group “instantly” came to mind.

The choir performs at one of its many concerts during the European tour. (submitted Photo)

“It was a wild moment. We didn’t know we had impacted someone all the way in New York,” Butler said. “He just said, ‘I need you all as guest performers for this episode and I need you here’ by this time. He said he felt we would be the best to perform on the show behind the contestants.”

Kedrick Noel, a junior music education major from Memphis, is president of New Direction Choir. He said he got the call from Butler about the opportunity to appear on BET.

“It is just amazing. We are beyond grateful and blessed to have this opportunity to perform on BET Sunday Best,” Noel said. “It was just a blessing how everything worked out. The school was one hundred percent behind us, the choir was one hundred percent behind us.”

Last winter, New Direction spent 31 days touring and performing in different cities across Europe. The group held 24 concerts, including an appearance in the Vatican, where they met and performed for the Pope.

Concert goers cheer on the TSU New Direction Choir during a performance on the group’s recent European tour. (Submitted Photo)

“That was another wild moment,” said Butler. “The people were so excited to see us. They treated us like we were rock stars. The red carpet was laid out for us everywhere we went.”

In 2015, New Direction was voted the “Nation’s Best Gospel Choir ” with a $15,000 prize, when they took their final bow at the National College Choir Explosion in Louisville, Kentucky.

“It was overwhelming to see our students come out and work so hard,” primary group advisor Deborah Chisom, said at the time. “Even though I was not on stage with them, seeing them so excited was just very fulfilling.”

For more information on the TSU New Direction Gospel Choir, go to http://tnstatenewsroom.com/archives/tag/new-direction-choir

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 hosts Metro Nashville Public Schools ‘STEAM’ Project Expo

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University’s College of Engineering partnered with Metro Nashville Public Schools to host the STEAM Project Expo.

About 150 students in grades 5-8 from 18 Nashville area schools participated in the event in TSU’s Kean Hall on May 8.

William Henry Oliver Middle School students showcase project at STEAM Expo. (Photo by Michael McLendon, TSU Media Relations)

During the event, students showcased their collaboration, communication, creativity, and critical thinking skills by displaying projects created throughout the year.

The projects were judged by experts in the fields of STEAM (science technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics). The main difference between STEAM and STEM, is that STEAM includes the “arts.”

“We are focusing on STEM, but we really want to tap into that creative piece,” said Jennifer Berry, director of STEAM/Science for MNPS. “When you look around Nashville, it’s … an art city. So we want to value the culture of Nashville.”

Dr. S. Keith Hargrove, dean of the College of Engineering, said he’s glad to have the partnership with MNPS.

“TSU and the College of Engineering have been a strong supporter of STEM education for a number of years,” Hargrove said. “The goal is to recognize and encourage students in K-12 to consider STEM careers by being engaged in STEM-related projects while they’re in school.”

Brandon Gregoril, a student at William Henry Oliver Middle School, said he enjoyed meeting other students, and experts in the different STEAM fields.

“I feel privileged to do this,” said Gregoril. “Many students don’t get this opportunity. I feel I’ve accomplished one of my goals.”

Jeff Hunter, a senior program manager with the National Parks Conservation Association, was one of the Expo’s judges. He said the students were “impressive.”

“This is the next generation, the next stewards of our public lands, and wildlife,” said Hunter. “It inspires hope in me.”

Catherine Gordon, assistant professor of civil and architectural engineering at TSU, said the Expo was also a great recruitment opportunity for the university.

“To allow students to come to the university and participate in STEM activity is huge for us, especially the College of Engineering, and all STEM-related departments at TSU,” she said. “It allows the students to be familiar with TSU, know where the school is, see what we have, and then feel like they can also do it.”

TSU has received a million dollars from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service to bolster undergraduate students’ interest in STEM.

Earlier this year, TSU President Glenda Glover surprised 20 students who visited the university with scholarship offers if they planned to major in a STEM course and have a good GPA.

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

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 Spring Commencement speakers the Rev. Al Sharpton, Dr. Michael E. Dyson receive honorary degrees

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University Spring Commencement speakers, civil rights leader the Rev. Al Sharpton and bestselling author Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, were presented honorary degrees.

Sharpton gave the address at the Graduate Commencement Ceremony on May 3, and Sharpton spoke at the Undergraduate Commencement the following day.

They received an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters in recognition of their body of work, and their impact on society.

Both men encouraged graduates to continue to better themselves.

“Tonight, you have shown you can achieve something,” said Sharpton, who serves as the host of PoliticsNation on MSNBC. “Only you know … what you went through to get here. But through it all, you got here tonight, which proves that you can achieve something, and it proves that you can keep achieving if you use the same discipline and determination you did to graduate here tonight. You can keep going higher and higher if you push yourself to do that.”

Dyson, professor of sociology at Georgetown University, said to impact the world graduates must be literate, interconnected and transformative.

“You must be ‘LIT,’” he said, attributing the acronym to the young generation’s reference to something fun, good or exciting. “You might think classes are over so you don’t have to read. But you have to be literate in the world we live in because it is important. When you go into the world as proud Tennessee State University graduates they know you come from a great place. You got to be morally and psychologically literate.”

Georgetta Harris-Wyatt received a doctorate in psychology. She said Sharpton’s speech was motivational, that it “encouraged all the graduate students to see beyond where they are now.”

She said Sharpton’s words inspired her even more to use her degree to help youth. 

“Ultimately, I hope to work with children and adolescents in the juvenile justice system, and help them to rewrite their stories,” said Harris-Wyatt.

Charles Alexander Hill, who received his bachelor’s degree in business, said Dyson gave him and his fellow graduates “just what we needed to hear.”

“I am very prepared to face the world,” Hill said. “TSU has given me all the tools I need to succeed in my life, and the speaker was very dynamic with his words of encouragement and wisdom.”

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.

Tennessee State University Commencement Speaker Michael Eric Dyson Tells Graduates to Continue to Learn and Appreciate the Difference in People and Culture

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – “Receiving your degrees does not mean classes are over,” the keynote speaker at Tennessee State University’s spring commencement told more than 700 undergraduate students who received degrees in various disciplines Saturday.

President Glenda Glover and Dr. Michael Eric Dyson enter the Howard C. Gentry Complex for the 2019 Spring Undergraduate Commencement. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, bestselling author and professor of sociology at Georgetown University, said to impact the world graduates must be literate, interconnected and transformative.

“You must be ‘LIT,’” he said, attributing the acronym to the young generation’s reference to something fun, good or exciting. “You might think classes are over so you don’t have to read. But you have to be literate in the world we live in because it is important. When you go into the world as proud Tennessee State University graduates they know you come from a great place. You got to be morally and psychologically literate.”

Before Dyson gave his speech in the Howard C. Gentry Complex, TSU President Glenda Glover congratulated the graduates, parents, relatives and friends for their support.

“I applaud you for having reached this milestone,” said Glover. “Today is only a stepping stone. We thank you. We salute you.”

Dyson, also known as a preacher and radio host, has authored or edited more than 20 books dealing with subjects such as Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Jr., Marvin Gaye and Hurricane Katrina. He has received several awards for his literary work, including three NAACP Image Awards and the Southern Book Prize.

Graduates prepare to receive their degrees at the Spring Undergraduate Commencement. (Photo by Charles Cook, TSU Media Relations)

“You must be interconnected,” he said. “You are going into a world that ain’t reading your same book, not listening to your same culture, and not reared in your home, but you got to make a way to get along with people who don’t look like you or act like you.”

The undergraduate ceremony followed the graduate commencement also in the Gentry Complex Friday evening. Civil rights leader and activist the Rev. Al Sharpton, was the speaker.

Dyson also urged the graduates to be about change and improvement in their communities.

“That means you can’t just leave it the way you found it. You got to make something better where you show up,” he said.

More than 700 students participated in the Spring Undergraduate Commencement in the Howard C. Gentry Complex. (Photo by Charles Cook, TSU Media Relations)

Charles Alexander Hill, who received his bachelor’s degree in business, had not heard much about Dyson, but he thinks the speaker gave him and his fellow graduates “just what we needed to hear.”

“I am very prepared to face the world,” Hill said. “TSU has given me all the tools I need to succeed in my life, and the speaker was very dynamic with his words of encouragement and wisdom.”

Following his speech, Dyson was presented an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters in recognition of his body of work.

Civil rights leader and activist Al Sharpton inspires graduates to keep achieving , receives honorary degree

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Civil rights leader and activist the Rev. Al Sharpton urged Tennessee State University graduates to continue to build on their achievement.

Sharpton gave the address at TSU’s graduate commencement ceremony Friday evening in the Howard C. Gentry Complex. On Saturday, bestselling author Dr. Michael Eric Dyson will address undergraduate students in the Complex. The ceremony will begin at 8 a.m.

The Rev. Al Sharpton and TSU President Glenda Glover. (TSU Media Relations)

Before Sharpton’s speech, TSU President Glenda Glover welcomed attendees and lauded the graduates.

“I applaud you for having reached this milestone,” said Dr. Glover. “Today is only a stepping stone. We thank you. We salute you.”

Sharpton, a community leader, politician and minister who serves as the host of PoliticsNation on MSNBC, challenged graduates “to be the head of your own fan club.”

“Tonight, you have shown you can achieve something,” he said. “Only you know … what you went through to get here. But through it all, you got here tonight, which proves that you can achieve something, and it proves that you can keep achieving if you use the same discipline and determination you did to graduate here tonight. You can keep going higher and higher if you push yourself to do that.”

Following his speech, Sharpton, who is a longtime friend of Dr. Glover, was presented an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters, an honor he said he will always cherish.

Sharpton’s address, which was interrupted with applause several times, seemed to move the audience.

Georgetta Harris-Wyatt received a doctorate in psychology. She said Sharpton’s speech was motivational, that it “encouraged all the graduate students to see beyond where they are now.”

2019 TSU Graduate students .(TSU Media Relations)

She said Sharpton’s words inspired her even more to use her degree to help youth.

“Ultimately, I hope to work with children and adolescents in the juvenile justice system, and help them to rewrite their stories,” said Harris-Wyatt.

Sharpton is no stranger to TSU. In 2014, he came to the university to take up the 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.

He joined university officials and staff, including President Glover, state officials, community leaders and stakeholders, as he presented his cause during a ceremony in Kean Hall.

As a result of Sharpton’s efforts and that of many others, including TSU alumnus Dr. Richard “Dick” Barnett, a member of all three teams, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced last month that the Tennessee State men’s basketball championship teams of 1957-59 will be one of 12 honorees in this year’s Class of 2019. The class will be celebrated at this year’s enshrinement festivities in Springfield, Massachusetts.

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.

Top TSU graduate Alexius Dingle ready to soar even higher

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Alexius Dingle graduated from Tennessee State University at the top of her class, but the agricultural sciences major has even loftier goals. 

“I’m going to grad school to pursue a Ph.D. in genetics,” said Dingle, who graduated on May 4 with a 4.0 GPA.

Alexius Dingle

She was one of more than 1,000 undergraduate and graduate students who received degrees in various disciplines in this year’s dual graduation ceremonies at T’SU.

Dingle was the first in her immediate family to attend college. She said she looked forward to seeing the expression on the face of her mother, who pretty much raised her by herself in the small town of Manning, South Carolina, about an hour from Columbia.

“She sacrificed so much,” said Dingle.

When she arrives at Texas A&M for her Ph.D. program, Dingle said she will be ready, mainly because of the preparation she has received at Tennessee State University, particularly the College of Agriculture.

“One thing that the College of Ag has been very good with doing is making sure that their students are exposed to research, and it’s paid research,” said Dingle, whose concentration is in biotechnology. “It’s a way for you to get exposure, put something on your resume, so you don’t leave without experience. And it also helps you financially.”

Ag professor De’Etra Young, a mentor to Dingle, said she was impressed with her maturity and assertiveness. 

“She set her goals, was extremely focused, and sought out any opportunity that was given to her,” said Young. “Her success has paid off. She will be attending Texas A&M, and she will be going from a bachelor’s to a Ph.D. program.”

Dingle said she encourages her peers, as well as incoming freshmen, to take advantage of opportunities that are available.

“Network, talk to your advisors,” she said. “They have opportunities to help you that you may not know about.”

TSU has received a million dollars from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service to bolster undergraduate students’ interest in agriculture, as well as science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM.

In addition to scholarships, TSU officials said the funds will aid students’ professional development by allowing them to “travel to different professional conferences and meetings to gain exposure” to the latest research.  

Earlier this year, TSU President Glenda Glover surprised 20 students who visited the university with scholarship offers if they planned to major in a STEM course and have a good GPA.

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

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 Lays Foundation for Former TN Titans Cheerleader to Make Her Mark in Male-Dominated Sports Management Industry

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Sports management is a tough business, especially if you are a female, but Ashley Danielle Allen aims to change that.

“You know, it’s a male-dominated industry,” said Allen, director of player relations with a3 Athletics, a full-service sports agency representing football and golf athletes. “You are going to have to have a little bit more just to compete with the guys.”

Ashley Danielle Allen received her master’s degree in sports administration. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

Trying to have ‘a little more’ to be competitive has kept the mother of three young children busy on multiple fronts. But on May 3, Allen took a break and celebrated a major achievement. She was among nearly 250 students who received degrees when Tennessee State University held its spring graduate commencement in the Howard C. Gentry Complex. Allen received a master’s degree in sports administration.

“I am really excited about receiving my graduate degree from such a great institution,” said Allen, who earned her bachelor’s degree in business at TSU in 2008. “For a longtime, I knew I wanted to go back to school. I looked at the surrounding area for competitive programs. But TSU was kind of home for me, and I received good advice, and I am glad I listened and came here.”

In addition to her master’s degree, Allen, who previously wanted to be an NFL agent, is also pursuing a law degree at Nashville School of Law. She has more than 10 years of experience in professional sports – from being an NFL cheerleader to managing player relations.

“I decided to get my master’s because I thought I wanted to be an NFL agent, and in order to be an agent you needed to be a lawyer or have a master’s degree,” said the Nashville native.

At a3 Athletics, she helps NFL and PGA players with community relations regarding activities off the field. Among them, currently, she is conducting 10 football camps for such players as Kevin King of the Green Bay Packers, Terrell Dean of the Arizona Cardinals, and Cameron Irving of the Kansas City Chiefs.

Ashley Allen was a cheerleader for the Titans from 2008-2009. (Submitted photo)

“I put on their camps and handle any appearances throughout the off season, and any appearance efforts they want to do throughout the season. A lot of the players are really focused on the game during that time,” said Allen, who also coaches the Tiger Gems at TSU. “I really love helping kids. Seeing the kids’ faces from hosting camps for players just makes me very happy.” Her children – two girls and a boy, ages 14, 7 and 4 – travel with her to the camps.

Before going into sports management, Allen was a former Titans cheerleader. After two years with the Titans in 2009, she stepped down, but stayed active with the alumni association, later handling media relations for the group.

“We worked together with the coach in terms of tryouts and other events throughout the year. I networked as much as I could, but I did not want to cheer anymore. At that point, I decided that I actually wanted to do something in the management role, especially as an agent,” said Allen.

Ashley Allen is the Director of Player Relations with a3 Athletics sports agency. (Submitted photo)

That’s when she says she decided to pursue her master’s degree, and subsequently, law school. She started work at a law firm, whose owner was also a sports agent. Allen says she would like to one day negotiate contracts for players.

“That’s my favorite in law – contract law – which is what my intention is in the long run with my law degree,” she said.

Allen said she also wants to give back to her alma mater for all she has received from TSU.

“The relations I built being in sports for over 10 years have really helped me, and I can use that as leverage for my institution,” she said. “As a way of giving back, I would love to help the university more once I leave, like seeking internship opportunities for TSU students with my agency. I love to teach, even if I have to go get my doctorate. I would love to come back and teach.”


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 Graduate School Celebrates 75 Years And Unveils New Marketing Initiatives

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.

Dr. Robbie Melton

 “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.

Minzi Thomas

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.