Amazon investing $800,000 for TSU professor endowment

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Amazon is investing $800,000 to endow a professor at Tennessee State University and equip computer science students with the skills they need to one day work for the company or elsewhere in the technology space.

The idea originated in 2018 as a part of announcing Amazon Nashville, which is expected to ultimately create 5,000 jobs in Nashville. Over the next two years, Amazon and TSU discussed the endowment in greater detail and it was mutually decided that the “Amazon Endowed Professorship Chair” would be in the university’s Computer Science Department. The funding will support the endowed professorship for four years — $200,000 per year.

“We appreciate this partnership with Amazon and applaud them for making this investment in Tennessee State University,” said TSU President Glenda Glover. ”The Amazon Endowed Professorship Chair will expand the knowledge of our students, and allow them to gain important workforce skills to utilize at Amazon, and in the corporate marketplace. Partnerships like this between the business community and TSU show the concern companies like Amazon have for the future of our students. Working together, we will continue to expand corporate collaborations that ensure student success.“

As a part of the curriculum, the professor will be trained to teach the 12 to 16-week course created by Amazon. This course will be taught to computer science students in their junior and senior years. It will be based on important Amazon knowledge, skills, and abilities to equip TSU students with the skills necessary to interview and work at Amazon. In addition to the course, Amazon leaders will guest lecture to the class, as well as serve as adjunct professors.

“As a growing employer in Nashville, we have a responsibility to continue developing local talent pipelines and creating career opportunities for our neighbors,” said Courtney Ross, Amazon’s Sr. Manager of External Affairs in Nashville. “TSU is a natural partner in this endeavor and we’re excited to formalize this program and get it off the ground.” 

Students will also have the opportunity to visit Amazon facilities and the corporate office for hands on learning, and Amazon will host job fairs with TSU specific to Nashville hiring.

The course is expected to launch in the 2022-2023 academic school year. Amazon will participate in a check presentation at TSU’s October 30 homecoming game.

Department of Media Relations

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