All posts by Lucas Johnson

TSU committed to seeing students succeed during pandemic by providing laptops to those in need

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University is making sure students have the digital devices they need to complete their coursework online as a result of COVID-19.

On March 16, TSU was the first public university in Tennessee to transition to all online classes because of the coronavirus. TSU officials checked with faculty to find out which students needed devices – like laptops and tablets – to be able to successfully work remotely.

Laptops arrive at TSU to be distributed to students. (Submitted photo).

“The impact of COVID-19 challenged us to reflect on student learning and the efforts of us all to maintain quality in the midst of a natural event,” said Dr. Alisa Mosley, interim vice president for academic affairs at TSU. “Faculty are grateful that we were able to provide these devices for use in their courses. We received requests from students in all majors and we addressed them.”

TSU freshman Nakailah Shields-Robinson said the laptop she received has been very useful. She said she wasn’t sure what she was going to do when her computer crashed.

“I have an iPad, but that’s not really good either,” said Shields-Robinson, a criminal justice major from St. Louis, Missouri. “So, when the laptop came, it’s been helping me write my papers. I have a five-page paper that’s coming up, and I probably wouldn’t have been able to do that on the iPad.”

Junior Joyvon Dickerson, a human performance and sports science major from Chicago, agreed.

“It’s kind of hard trying to write a five-page paper off your phone,” said Dickerson, who also received a laptop. “It’s nice to be at a school that cares about its students in this way.” 

Dr. Robbie Melton, TSU’s associate vice president for Smart Technology and Innovation, said once the devices were shipped, “we followed up to give them personalized tutoring on how to use the device.”  

“We had someone personally call them and walk them through, as well as help them with their online courses,” added Melton.

She said the university received donations to purchase more than 20 laptops and 20 tablets. One of the contributions was $25,000 from Fifth Third Bank.

 “To be competitive, both academically and for future work, they’ve got to have a digital device,” said Hosetta Coleman, senior vice president, university relations at Fifth Third Bank. “You look at our world, this whole virtual paradigm. If our communities are not ready for a digital environment, they have one more factor that makes them less competitive against others.”

Mosley said the university plans to “maintain this connection to technology in the future.”

“We moved to e-textbooks for general education in 2015 and we anticipate our work with open educational resources (OER) will increase,” said Mosley. “Our students will need devices as a part of the new landscape for their learning and careers.”

TSU has 23 distance education undergraduate and graduate programs and will offer most of the classes online this summer. Summer sessions are scheduled to begin in late May, early June. To learn more about the university’s online courses, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/online/.

For more on campus operations affected by the coronavirus, and student information, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/covid19.

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 alumna Earnestine Dawson keeps things moving smoothly on Capitol Hill amid COVID-19 pandemic

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University President Glenda Glover and other alumni say they’re proud of the impact alumna Earnestine Dawson is making on Capitol Hill amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Earnestine Dawson poses for graduation shoot at TSU. (Submitted photo)

Dawson, a 2005 graduate of TSU, recently made national headlines when she was profiled by The New York Times. She is the House Democratic Caucus’ digital director, charged with convening and managing digital conferences on congressional activity and policy debate. 

However, because of the virtual Congress the Caucus has set up for members due to the coronavirus, Dawson’s direction has become even more important to lawmakers. 

“At a time of stress and uncertainty, I’m so proud to see a TSU alumna helping to calm the waters at our nation’s capital, and in such an important role,” says President Glover. “Our University motto is Think, Work, Serve, and Ms. Dawson epitomizes that and more, especially during this unprecedented time in our country’s history. Her responsibilities highlight the caliber of students Tennessee State and other HBCUs produce that go on to have a global impact.”

Since March 16, Dawson has moderated more than a dozen two-hour caucus calls, and facilitated over 300 questions from 235 lawmakers. Her cheery voice is a welcome sound to lawmakers as she directs them to do things like “press star three” to ask questions, and to unmute their phones when they have the floor to speak. 

Some lawmakers say her voice is a reminder of what it was like when there was just radio, others describe the calmness of her direction as the glue that holds them together in uncertain times.

Dawson, humbled by their comments and the national attention she’s received, says she’s just doing her job. 

“The work is more important than me as an individual,” says Dawson. “I help them know that everything is going to be OK. They are making some tough decisions for the American people.”

A native of Cleveland, Mississippi, Dawson dreamed of becoming the nation’s first black woman elected to Congress from Mississippi. While at TSU, she majored in speech communication with an emphasis in mass communication, and was active on campus. She was the Junior Class Representative on the Student Government Association, and also pledged Alpha Chi Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. Incorporated.  

Earnestine Dawson (far left) in National Broadcasting Society photo sophomore year at TSU. (Submitted photo)

Amaris L. Johnson joined the sorority the same time Dawson did in 2003. She says even back then, Dawson’s pleasant, cheery attitude stood out. 

“She had this signature tagline. Anytime she gave a report or her name, she would say, ‘Greetings and salutations, my name is Earnestine Elaine Dawson,’” recalls Johnson, adding that her sorority sister was also good at resolving issues. 

“When we were disconnected, she was always able to defuse the situation and bring a level of calmness. When I read the (New York Times) article, I saw the same thing. That’s her.” 

Alum Charles Galbreath agrees.

“What’s so funny about the article, that was her spirit then,” says Galbreath, a former Mr. TSU who interacted with Dawson at the SGA. “Just a good energy. When she walked in a room, her positivity and her attitude walked in with her.”

Joni McReynolds, president of the TSU National Alumni Association, says the attention Dawson is receiving makes her proud. 

“I often say, TSU prepares our alumni to go anywhere and handle the most difficult situations,” says McReynolds. “She is a prime example of this.”

Dawson acknowledges TSU helped make her the person she is today. 

“TSU was my growing up moment,” she says. “I walked away from TSU being much stronger than I came in, and I’m really appreciative of that.”   

To read The New York Times profile on Dawson, visit https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/08/us/politics/democrats-coronavirus-earnestine.html.

NOTE: Featured photo by James Marrow

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.CHERYL

TSU faculty, students use online classes to continue teaching and learning amid COVID-19 pandemic

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Treveon Hayes is not letting anything stop him from completing his course work and ultimately getting his college degree – not even the coronavirus. 

Treveon Hayes. (Submitted photo)

The Tennessee State University freshman is among countless students at higher education institutions across the country who have transitioned to online learning as a precaution to contracting COVID-19. 

“It’s been an adjustment, but I have goals, and I can’t let anything stop me from reaching them,” says Hayes, an elementary education major from Memphis, Tennessee. 

Earlier this month, TSU President Glenda Glover and other university administrators held a live meeting via Zoom with over 200 student leaders to assure them that TSU is dedicated to accommodating them while they finish the semester remotely as a result of the virus. 

“We are going to do everything humanly possible to accommodate you to ensure that you succeed in spite of this very daunting challenge,” said Dr. Glover. “It is tough for everyone across the world as we face the daily uncertainties and dangers that this virus presents. We’re going to do whatever we can to ensure that you remain whole.”

TSU students say they appreciate the effort of university faculty and staff, but they acknowledge the distance learning has been challenging because of the absence of things like face to face interaction with their instructors. 

“We were able to go to their office, now it’s mainly emails,” says Rekha Berry, a senior from Mobile, Alabama, majoring in history and political science. “I definitely miss the face to face with instructors.”

Music education major Jakori Hollinger practicing at home. (Submitted photo)

Nevertheless, they are finding ways to adjust. For Hayes, who has two to four classes a day, he practices better time management.

“After class, I give myself about five minutes to use the restroom, grab a snack, then get right back to class,” adds Hayes. “I have to time manage myself. The work has to be done. No excuses.”

Jakori Hollinger, a music education major from Montgomery, Alabama, says the lack of in-person instruction has caused him to do more reading and research in order to understand certain concepts.

“Whereas, if I was sitting in front of them, they could just show me how to do it,” says Hollinger, “I could just pick it up and it would be no issue.”

However, despite the circumstances, he lauded TSU’s faculty and staff for “working with students to make this transition as easy as possible.”

On March 16, TSU was the first public university in Tennessee to transition to all online classes as a result of COVID-19.

Dr. Robbie Melton, interim dean of Graduate and Professional Studies at TSU, says prior to the coronavirus the university was exploring several types of online options for students. 

“We were already positioned to transition online when the coronavirus hit, which is why it only took us less than a week for a full transition,” says Melton. “We had the software and the tools and the training. And we had faculty training every day, including weekends, to assist the faculty in this new norm.”

Dr. Cheryl Seay is executive director of TSU’s Global Online and the lead person in helping TSU’s faculty transition to online instruction. She says sessions are held seven days a week via Zoom to address faculty questions or concerns, and she’s pleased with the participation and adjustment. 

Speech pathology grad student Jordan Robinson prepares to use a clinical simulation. (Submitted photo)

“The faculty have really stepped up to the plate,” says Seay. “They are doing everything they can to embrace this. I’m just really proud of our faculty.”

Dr. Tina Smith, chair of TSU’s Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology, set up the first distance education program for the state of Tennessee in the area of speech pathology when she came to TSU in 2005. As a result, Smith says her students have had an easier time adjusting to remote learning. The biggest change she’s had to make involves the clinical component. 

“I now use clinical simulation, virtual patients,” says Smith. “Real clients, but online. We’re also using Zoom to do telehealth with our clients. That’s the new frontier for speech pathology.”

Dr. Learotha Williams, an associate professor of history at TSU, says he realizes these are difficult times for everyone, which is why he checks on the well-being of his students at the beginning of each online class. 

“I ask how each of them are doing, and what I can do to assist,” says Williams. “I also ask them to write a journal entry about how the coronavirus is impacting their lives where they live. It allows them to put their feelings on paper. And as a historian, it’s given me a wide gaze of what students are going through during this period.”

Like many students, Dr. Robert Elliott, chair of TSU’s Music Department, says he too misses the face-to-face interaction. He described the challenge of trying to virtually help a student who was playing Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell’s “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” on his bass guitar. 

“I’ve got my instrument (bass guitar) in my living room, and he’s got his instrument in his living room,” says Elliott. “He told me at one point, ‘Doc, I can’t wait until we’re back in your office.’ I said me too.” 

TSU has 23 distance education undergraduate and graduate programs and will offer most of the classes online this summer. Summer sessions are scheduled to begin in late May, early June. To learn more, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/aeao/.

For more on campus operations affected by the coronavirus, and student information, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/covid19.

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 Mourns the Loss of assistant football coach Tarvaris Jackson

Courtesy: TSU Athletics

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State assistant football coach Tarvaris Jackson passed away late Sunday night in Alabama. Jackson served as the quarterbacks coach for the 2019 season.

“My heart is so heavy with hurt hearing of the passing of Coach Jackson,” said TSU Director of Athletics Teresa Phillips. “We were blessed with him for a short time but he did make an impact with our young men in this one season at TSU. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his young family and all who knew and loved him. We lift up all who are mourning today. Each loss is piercing. Today I ask God’s comfort to spread through the TSU community, the nation and the world.”

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Jackson family in this time of bereavement,” said TSU Head Coach Rod Reed. “We are devastated. He was an awesome young man and he will be missed by our players, our staff and the TSU family.”

Jackson mentored TSU quarterback Cameron Rosendahl to one of the better seasons in Big Blue history. The senior signal caller set a program record for completions in a season (241) and became the fourth player at TSU to throw for over 3, 000 yards. Rosendahl’s 3,023 yards is the second highest total in a single season at Tennessee State.

Department of Media Relations

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

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 39 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 Names Mikki Allen New Athletics Director 

By Kelli Sharpe

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Dr. Mikki Allen has been named the next director of athletics at Tennessee State University. TSU President Glenda Glover made the announcement on Thursday during a virtual press conference that included top administrators, head coaches and alumni, along with members of the press.

Dr. Mikki Allen

Allen comes to TSU after 11 years in sports administration, including his most recent position as the assistant director of athletics for Player Relations and Development at the University of Tennessee. Under his leadership, Allen set a new standard in the Southeastern Conference by creating a comprehensive development and transitional assistance program for Tennessee football student-athletes. The program was designed to guide football student-athletes from enrollment through their transition to post-football professional careers.

“With the retirement of AD Teresa Phillips after a stellar career here at TSU, it was essential that we find a leader that could build upon our recent successes, as well as our storied legacy of winning,” Glover said. “I believe we have found that in Dr. Allen. He’s a successful leader who puts student-athletes first, builds strong relationships both internally and externally from his success as a fundraiser, and just as important, Allen is committed to the development of coaches and staff to achieve at a very high level. We are extremely excited about the future of TSU Athletics.”

Allen, a four-year letterman and member of the UT 1999 National Championship Team, has strong ties to TSU, where he earned his master’s degree. His wife received her undergraduate and graduate degrees from the university as well.

“I’m honored that President Glover has entrusted me to be the new Director of Athletics for Tennessee State University. To have the opportunity to be reconnected to our TSU family means everything to my wife, Jekia, and me,” Allen said. 

 “Tennessee State University is very special to my family’s legacy. This is about returning to an institution that I not only have a great passion for, but one that has been both impactful and transformative throughout my life. I have an incredible amount of respect and admiration for the work that Teresa Phillips accomplished during her 16-year tenure.  As the new Director of Athletics, I look forward to carrying the torch forward and elevating the sports programs at TSU to the top of the OVC pyramid.”

After a brief stint in the NFL due to injury, Allen joined the Tennessee Athletics staff in 2009 and excelled during multiple record-breaking fundraising years.  Serving as the Director of Athletics Development, Allen played an invaluable role for Tennessee Athletics in helping to secure more than $20 million in capital campaign gifts during his tenure as an athletics fundraiser.

The new AD will lead TSU Athletics that consist of 15 programs, and will officially begin in his new position May 1.  UT Director of Athletics Phillip Fulmer called Allen a born leader and winner.

“Tennessee State is getting a man of great integrity and a born leader,” Fulmer said. “Mikki has made impactful contributions across several departments here at Tennessee over the years and has earned the respect from administrators and staff all throughout campus. The vast experience he’s gained has him well prepared to lead a department of his own. A former national championship student-athlete, he knows firsthand what a winning culture looks like. I know he’ll work tirelessly to build relationships and develop robust support systems to deliver a first-class student-athlete experience.”

Allen replaces Teresa Phillips, who is stepping down after 16 years with the university. Student-athletes excelled in the classroom under her leadership and posted some of the school’s highest graduation rates.  

Allen’s wife, Jekia, is a ’99 TSU graduate and currently is an elementary school Assistant Principal.  The couple has two children, Mikenzie Rae (12) and Jansen Michael Allen (8). 

Allen, 42, is a native of Middle Tennessee (Murfreesboro, TN), received his Bachelor of Arts and Science degree at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville in 2001, Master of Arts and Science degree in Sports Administration from Tennessee State University in 2007 and a Doctoral degree in Educational Leadership from Trevecca Nazarene University in 2016.

Department of Media Relations

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

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 39 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 President Glover, administrators stress ‘meeting needs’ of students amid the COVID-19 pandemic in virtual meeting

 NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University President Glenda Glover assured students that TSU is dedicated to accommodating them while they finish the semester remotely as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19). Dr. Glover and other TSU administrators held a live meeting via Zoom with over 200 student leaders on April 2.

“I wanted to take this opportunity to just stop and make sure that we are meeting your needs,” Glover said. “We are going to do everything humanly possible to accommodate you to ensure that you succeed in spite of this very daunting challenge. It is tough for everyone across the world as we face the daily uncertainties and dangers that this virus presents. We’re going to do whatever we can to ensure that you remain whole.”

Students submitted their questions via the chat component. Topics included student refunds or credits, graduation, summer classes, and campus preparations for returning students in the fall. TSU registration opens tomorrow, and students may apply for housing now. 

Student Government Association President Katelyn Thompson of Memphis, Tennessee, said she was pleased with what she heard from Dr. Glover and other top staff.

“I’m proud of the university and student body coming together,” said Thompson, a graduating senior double majoring in criminal justice and psychology. “At the end of the day, excellence is our habit. We can’t get anywhere unless we come together.”

Charlie Green Jr., a senior from Jackson, Tennessee, agreed.

TSU President Glenda Glover addresses students in virtual meeting.

“This is a lesson for all of us,” said Green, a double major in architectural engineering and urban studies. “But Dr. Glover showed students that she’s about the business of making sure that we are taken care of and that our needs are being met.”

On March 16, TSU was the first public university in Tennessee to transition to all online classes as a precaution to contracting COVID-19. The university also canceled all campus events where large crowds are expected, and suspended all international travel through the end of April to minimize exposure to the disease. On March 23, the university ceased normal operations, allowing most employees to work remotely.

 Miss Junior Maya Howard, a business administration major, said she’s comfortable that when she returns to the university from Cincinnati, Ohio, that the campus will be thoroughly sanitized.

“I noticed as I was moving out that they were on top of making sure that everything was clean,” said Howard.

The university has continued a complete wipe down to protect the campus from COVID-19 and other diseases. TSU is using professional cleaning companies with disinfectants and sanitizing equipment to wipe down its main campus and downtown location. 

SGA President Katelyn Thompson talks to students in virtual meeting.

President Glover told students the virtual meeting will be the first of several she will hold to keep students updated on campus operations during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Since transitioning to all online instruction and telework for faculty and staff, the university has hosted several virtual student events, such as this. Last week, TSU made history by establishing a chapter of the National Music Honor Society, Pi Kappa Lambda, and inducting its first members. 

For more on campus operations affected by the coronavirus, and student information, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/covid19

Department of Media Relations

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

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 39 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 makes history with virtual installation of National Music Honor Society

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University made history on March 25 when it virtually established a chapter of Pi Kappa Lambda, the National Music Honor Society, and inducted its first student members.

The initial inductees into the Society of Pi Kappa Lambda are: seniors Julien Dooley, Jakori Hollinger, Natasha Machlin, Darien Phillips, Devin Pride and Andrew Walker; junior Jabril Muhammad; and graduates Michelene McKinney and Jordan Thomas.

Hollinger said the experience is one he will never forget.

“It was an honor to be a part of such a historic moment on our campus, amid troubled times,” said Holinger, a music education major from Montgomery, Alabama. “With the addition of the Lambda Delta Chapter, TSU and our Music Department will continue to remain at the forefront of excellence.”

Jakori Hollinger

The installation had to be done virtually because of the new requirements put in place as a precaution to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Hitting the unmute button when each of their names were called, the new members became a part of the coveted organization that recognizes students for high scholastic achievements as music majors. 

TSU President Glenda Glover, Dr. Alisa Mosley, interim vice president for academic affairs, and Dr. Robert Elliott, head of TSU’s Music Department, were among the participants in the ceremony that took place live via Zoom.

Pi Kappa Lambda Regent, Dr. Mark Wait, installed the TSU Lambda Delta Chapter and assisted in the induction into membership of the first group of candidates.

The faculty members whose names appear on the charter are: Robert Bryant, Mark Crawford, Kaylina Crawley, Robert L. Elliott, Susan M. Kelley and Ljerka Rasmussen.

Founded in 1918, Pi Kappa Lambda is an honor society dedicated by its founders to the fostering of scholarly inquiry and artistic accomplishment in the field of music. Of the approximately 70 honor societies recognized by the Association of College Honor Societies, PKL is one of the oldest, and it is the only music group so recognized.

TSU’s Department of Music supports a full range of vocal and instrumental performance opportunities, including the orchestra, string ensemble, Tennessee State University Choir, Meistersingers, symphonic and concert band, two jazz ensembles, percussion ensemble, pep band, the world-renowned Aristocrat of Bands marching band, and a host of small vocal and mixed ensembles.

To learn more, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/music/

Department of Media Relations

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

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 39 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 on the frontline in COVID-19 prevention with production of protective masks for healthcare professionals and hand sanitizer

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University is helping in the global fight against the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). The University is stepping to the forefront and using its educational platform to make protective face gear for doctors, nurses and other medical personnel.

Headband designed by TSU 3D printing machines. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations).

TSU is also sharing information on how families can make their own hand sanitizer while producing the germ fighting solution for campus police.

The Tennessee Higher Education Commission has asked TSU to use its 3D printing machines to help design a portion of the mask, which has three components: plastic shield, headband and elastic band. The College of Engineering is leading the campus effort to produce the protective gear, which also includes the College of Agriculture and Library Services.

Reporters from all four Nashville TV stations, as well as WPLN (NPR), came out on March 24 to see demonstrations by TSU professors and grad students.

“We are currently fabricating several of the headbands to donate to THEC,” says Dr. S. Keith Hargrove, dean of Engineering. “We have faculty, staff and students involved in making this product from four different sites at TSU. We hope to collectively support the state’s effort to mitigate and limit the spread of COVID-19.”

TSU grad students Oluwatosin Fagbuyi (left) and Rotimi Joaquim discuss printing technology with WPLN reporter. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

The masks will be used to protect Tennessee medical professionals, like nurses and doctors, who are on the front lines caring for individuals with the virus. In Italy, the country with the second highest number of COVID-19 cases, more than 20 doctors have reportedly died and thousands of other health workers have been infected since the outbreak.

Oluwatosin Fagbuyi is one of the graduate students helping to make the headbands using the 3D technology. He says he could not pass up the chance “to help save lives.”

“It’s nice to feel like I can help,” says Fagbuyi, who is majoring in mechanical and manufacturing engineering. “It’s an opportunity I couldn’t turn down.”  

In addition to helping with the mask, the College of Agriculture is also making hand sanitizer and sharing instructions on how individuals can make their own. The college is also producing the alcohol-based solution to make available for campus police.

Dr. Sudipta Rakshit in the College of Agriculture talks to reporters about making hand sanitizer. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

“There is such a shortage because of the virus,” said Dr. Chandra Reddy, dean of the College of Agriculture. “The idea is to help people make their own sanitizer in case they can’t get it commercially.”   

The process includes mixing ingredients such as isopropyl alcohol and hydrogen peroxide. But Ag officials say the main goal is to keep the percentage of alcohol greater than 60 percent. 

For information about TSU operations amid the COVID-19 pandemic, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/covid19.

Department of Media Relations

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

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 39 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 employees begin teleworking to ward off spread of COVID-19

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University employees began working remotely on Monday to help prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).  University officials said the move is in-line with directives from the Mayor and Governor in an effort to curtail the spread of the virus. TSU employees were told last week and began making arrangements for teleworking on Thursday and Friday.

“TSU’s modified operations plan, which includes employees teleworking, is in-line with the Mayor and Governor’s directive for individuals to stay home when possible,” said TSU President Glenda Glover. 

Employees with Campus Police, Emergency Management and Facilities Maintenance will continue working on campus. All individuals on campus or coming to TSU should self-quarantine and contact their healthcare provider if they feel sick.

The University has enhanced its cleaning and sanitizing process and will continue a campus wide wipe down of academic buildings and residence halls. TSU began online instruction for all students on March 16, almost all students have left the campus.

The University recently learned that a student has tested positive for COVID-19. 

The individual, who did not live on campus, has been at home in self-isolation for a number of days while receiving the necessary care to treat their condition. No further information is being given about the individual for privacy reasons.

The University has compiled a list of individuals who were in contact with the student, and is in the process of notifying them. 

For more information on campus operations and student information, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/covid19.

Department of Media Relations

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

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 39 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 allowing students to go home and finish semester online as a precaution to COVID-19

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University is allowing students to return home and finish the semester online as a precaution to the spreading coronavirus (COVID-19). Online classes started Monday.

University officials announced last Thursday that TSU was transitioning to online learning. In a correspondence to students, TSU President Glenda Glover stated the decision was in the best interest of the university, as both the federal government and State of Tennessee have declared a state of emergency.

“Concerns pertaining to the coronavirus COVID-19 are affecting all of us and continues to worsen,” said Dr. Glover. “Within the last 48-hours, the country has changed drastically, as the number of U.S cases continue to be confirmed.”   

TSU will close all residence halls and apartments on Saturday, March 21. The university will evaluate requests from students with extenuating circumstances that need more time to make arrangements. Housing officials said those requests will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

Students will continue their classes in an online format and there is no requirement to live on campus.

As further precaution, the University has canceled all campus events where large crowds are expected, as well as suspended all international travel through the end of April to minimize exposure to the disease. TSU has made these decisions to ensure the safety and health of the campus family. 

The university will provide more information on campus operations as decisions are made.     

Department of Media Relations

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

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 39 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.