Category Archives: EVENTS

COVID-19 podcast features TSU infectious disease control expert in hour-long national Q&A session

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – With new COVID-19 variants spreading across the country, a Tennessee State University infectious disease control expert is urging all Americans to take advantage of available vaccines and get immunized, as the surest way to protect against the coronavirus.  

Dr. Wendolyn Inman

Data so far suggests current vaccines should protect against the emergence of three main variants from the United Kingdom, Brazil and South Africa, and the pathogen circulating in the United States. 

Dr. Wendolyn Inman, professor and director of public health programs in the College of Health Sciences, was the featured speaker on a podcast organized Monday by the TSU Department of Graduate and Professional Development to address COVID-19 concerns. More than 100 people from across the country tuned in to the podcast themed, “Pacing for the Pandemic, A Question and Answer Session on Preparing for the Next Phase of the COVID-19 Pandemic.” Listeners raised questions from “Who should take the vaccine?” “Is the vaccine safe?” to “When will there be normalcy?” 

Inman, who was previously chief of epidemiology for the State of Tennessee, said she thinks everyone should be required to take the vaccines because they are “effective and potent.” 

“If it shows that it is not killing folks, and if it shows that it is helping people, I think everyone should be required to take it, unless they have a religious or a health exemption,” said Inman. She debunked the idea that the vaccine is a killer. 

Jeia More

“I can guarantee you that some of the most elite people on the planet have had that shot, and they won’t take it if it were a killer,” she said, adding that if Americans continue to observe COVID-19 safety protocols, and get immunized, “life could have some normalcy by August.” 

Currently in circulation are the Pfizer and Moderna two-step vaccines. On Friday, Johnson & Johnson announced that its single-dose coronavirus vaccine is 72 percent effective against the pathogen in the U.S. and will ask federal regulators for approval this month. 

“I suspect that with these new things – like the Johnson & Johnson announcement – we have the potential of having more normalcy by August than we’ve had in the past year,” Inman said. 

Jalaya Harris

Among those watching the podcast were Jeia Moore and Jalaya Harris, two returning TSU students who attend classes online from their dorm rooms because of COVID-19. They wanted to know the efficacy of the vaccines, and when things would return to normal. 

“This podcast helped me understand the vaccine and what it actually helps me with, as well as the pros and cons of wearing a mask,” said Moore, a junior information systems major from Memphis, Tennessee. “To see 100 people on this podcast was heartwarming; the TSU family wants the best for each other.”

Harris agreed. 

“I got a lot of questions answered about how to be safe during this pandemic,” said Harris, a junior computer science major also from Memphis. “This podcast provided an informative and open space to gain and spread awareness and knowledge about this COVID.” 

Dr. Robbie Melton, dean of the School of Graduate Studies, said the podcast, presented monthly by the Department of Graduate and Professional Development, is intended to highlight experts at TSU who are usually heard only on the outside. 

“We are taking advantage of our own faculty members and staff who are usually called by people around the country, but we don’t take advantage of them,” Melton said. “Dr. Inman is an expert in addressing COVID-19 issues. But we have yet to have her present to our own faculty. So, this was a podcast to really address some of the fears, concerns and questions in an open forum.” 

Dr. Timothy Jones, TSU associate professor of Human Performance and Sport Sciences, who also listened in on the podcast, said Dr. Inman’s presentation was informative and highly educational. 

“She (Dr. Inman) was precise in presenting and debunking rumors about COVID-19 and the vaccine,” Jones said.

Dr. Inman is scheduled to do a Part 2 presentation on COVID-19 at the end of February.

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 39 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and eight 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 students, faculty excited about historical knowledge the Rev. Al Sharpton will bring as Distinguished Guest Lecturer

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – It is rare to be able to interact with a living historical figure. But that’s what students and faculty at Tennessee State University experienced on Feb. 3 when the Rev. Al Sharpton, one of the nation’s most renowned civil rights leaders and activists, began as a Distinguished Guest Lecturer for the semester.  

Sharpton will be a featured lecturer in the area of political science grounded in social justice. His lectures will be via Zoom each Wednesday through April.  

The Rev. Al Sharpton speaks to students in virtual lecture. (Submitted photo)

“Not only does the Rev. Al Sharpton, a civil rights icon, know American history and the role African Americans have played to shape that history, he has been an intricate piece of it as well,” said TSU President Glenda Glover. “This will be an amazing opportunity for our students to learn from an individual who comes from the pages of the history books they are reading, and to gain knowledge directly from the source.”  

Sophomore Alexus Dockery

Sharpton, a community leader, politician, and minister, serves as the host of PoliticsNation on MSNBC. With more than 40 years of experience as an advocate, he has held such notable positions as the youth director of New York’s Operation Breadbasket, director of ministers for the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, and founder of his own broad-based progressive civil rights organization, the National Action Network. 

His activism allowed him to walk among other civil rights icons, like Jesse Jackson and A. Phillip Randolph. He also brought attention to high profile cases in New York, such as the Howard Beach incident in December 1986 in which three African-American men were assaulted in the Howard Beach neighborhood of Queens by a mob of white men. Later that month, Sharpton led 1,200 demonstrators on a march through the streets of Howard Beach. His role in the case helped propel him to national prominence.

Junior Gelanni Jones

Sophomore Alexus Dockery is a political science major from Memphis, Tennessee. She said it’s only fitting that Sharpton should be at TSU because of the university’s rich history in the fight against racial injustice, such as students’ participation in the Freedom Rides and sit-ins during the civil rights movement. In 2008, the university honored 14 TSU alums who were beaten and arrested during the Freedom Rides with honorary degrees.

“TSU students embody the meaning of call to action, which is demonstrated through our motto, ‘Think. Work. Serve,’” said Dockery. “Rev. Sharpton understands the importance of this, and the importance of HBCUs contributing to society for the advancement of Black people.”  

TSU President Glenda Glover and the Rev. Sharpton at the university’s 2019 Graduate Commencement ceremony. (TSU Media Relations)

Gelanni Jones is a junior majoring in biology at TSU. However, he said Sharpton, because of his historical significance, should appeal to all students, regardless of their major.  

“The statement that he makes by just being himself, is exciting to have at TSU,” said Jones, a Cincinnati, Ohio, resident. “He’s a civil rights icon at an HBCU that I attend.”  

Sharpton is no stranger to TSU. He gave the keynote address last year at the university’s spring graduate commencement ceremony, where he was given an honorary degree in recognition of his body of work and societal impact.  

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 39 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and eight 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, UT, Motlow State sign agreement to make advanced degree program more accessible

Degree program meets community college students where they are.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) -Tennessee State University and the University of Tennessee Knoxville are partnering to create a program that provides pathways for Motlow State Community College students to take classes leading to bachelor’s and master’s degrees in industrial engineering.  

Students in the program never have to leave home, and all classes are offered at Motlow State in face-to-face, online and hybrid formats.  

A Memorandum of Understanding recently signed between the three Tennessee institutions states that students participating in the 2+2+2 program will complete the applied associate degree at Motlow, the Bachelor of Science degree in applied and industrial technology at TSU, and a research-based curriculum leading to the Master of Science in industrial engineering from UT. 

Matthew Terry and Daniel Luis Campos, now in their last semester at TSU, are among the first in the program who will receive their bachelor’s degree when the university holds its May commencement. Terry and Campos, of McMinnville, Tennessee, who will receive their TSU degrees in applied and industrial technology, with concentration in mechatronics, have full-time jobs. They say the quality of the program is outstanding and convenient for working students, and those who may have a problem driving the long distance to TSU each day. 

Matthew Terry

“Initially, I was going to go to a different college that would require me to travel every day or possibly move away,” says Terry. “With this educational experience here, I have been able to stay home, keep my job, work around my class schedule and not miss any coursework.  It’s been a blessing.”


Campos says in addition to the convenience the program offers, professors are also very helpful and thorough.

“The quality of the program is really good, and all my professors have helped me every step of the way,” says Campos. “Overall, it’s been a blessing and a great experience to expand my education like I have.” 

Daniel Luis Campos

Terrance Izzard, TSU associate vice president for admissions and recruitment, says TSU is excited about the partnership between the three institutions. 

“This partnership gives Tennessee State an opportunity to impact industry with talented students, who are interested in the field of mechatronics,” says Izzard. “We have some of the best and brightest students that have come from that program already and we are looking forward to expanding our efforts to continue to build the program and impact our community.” 

Larry Flatt, executive director of Motlow’s Automation & Robotics Training Center, says creating partnerships with educational institutions and industry furthers the Motlow mission of student success. 

“Our partnership with TSU and UTSI provides a new and exciting pathway for Motlow students,” says Flatt. “The opportunity to earn an associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees without leaving Tullahoma (Tennessee) is cost-effective and convenient for potential students from that area. Additionally, partnerships increase our ability to ensure access and inclusion for all students.” 

In addition to the new pathways program, TSU also partners with Motlow to offer a Bachelor of Science degree in agricultural sciences in Fayetteville, Tennessee, and another in elementary education and criminal justice at Motlow’s main campus in Tullahoma. Also, the university is partnering with several other community colleges across the state to expand its educational initiatives around Tennessee. For instance, TSU’s College of Engineering recently received $1 million from the National Science Foundation to recruit minority transfer students from regional community colleges in Middle Tennessee who are interested in pursuing degrees in engineering, mathematical sciences, or computer science. 

Dr. S. Keith Hargrove, dean of the College of Engineering at TSU, says with the growing need for industrial engineers to work in manufacturing and the automotive industry, the new agreement with Motlow State “allows practice-based technologists” to proceed with a four-year degree, and further validate their experience and credentials with an advanced degree. 

“We are extremely excited about providing an opportunity for students to obtain multiple degrees from three institutions in Tennessee,” says Hargrove.  “The academic pathway demonstrates a partnership of one of our outstanding community colleges, Nashville’s only public university, and the state’s flagship institution, to prepare and produce engineers for the production industry, logistics, manufacturing, and operations for Tennessee’s workforce.” 

Dr. Carlos D. Beane, assistant professor of applied and industrial technology, is one of the TSU instructors in the pathways program. He says that in addition to flexibility, the program is very cost effective. And, with scholarship opportunities, and TSU having the lowest tuition of any university in the state, a full-time student in the program can possibly attend school tuition free. 

“The benefit is that the student never has to leave the McMinnville area. So, the program comes to them,” says Beane. “The only time they will ever have to come to TSU will basically be to graduate.” 

For more information on the TSU College of Engineering, visit https://www.tnstate.edu/engineering/moreaboutus.aspx 

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 39 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and eight 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 professor wins prestigious NSF CAREER award, receives nearly $500k grant for cybersecurity study

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – A Tennessee State University computer science professor has received the National Science Foundation’s Faculty Early Career Development Award, the federal agency’s most prestigious honor for junior faculty members.

Dr. Swastik Brahma’s CAREER award comes with a nearly $500,000 grant, which he plans to use to enhance his research in networked systems, signal processing and cybersecurity.

“I feel very excited and thankful to the NSF for getting the award,” says Brahma, an assistant professor of computer science. “The grant will help us in addressing many fundamental issues and questions that remain unanswered for building crowdsensing systems,” he says.

The awards, presented once a year, are in support of junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through research and education, and the integration of these endeavors in the context of their organizations’ missions.

Dr. Swastik Brahma

Dr. S. Keith Hargrove, dean of the College of Engineering, says the college is pleased Dr. Brahma is being recognized.

“As we continue to recruit and hire outstanding faculty in the College of Engineering, this recognition promotes the quality of education in our computer science program, and the innovative research that engages students, dedicated faculty, and our external partners,” says Hargrove.

Dr. Ali Sekmen, chair of the Department of Computer Science, adds that the award is proof of the quality of research that Dr. Brahma has developed at TSU as an early career faculty.

“This prestigious award, along with his other recent grants from NSF and ARO, will help him strengthen TSU’s leading research efforts in cybersecurity and networking,” says Sekmen. “We are very proud of him.”

Brahma, who is entering his fourth year as a faculty member at TSU, was also the principal investigator for a nearly $400,000 NSF grant to study the “Infusion of Cyber Physical System Education and Research Training in the Undergraduate Curriculum in the College of Engineering at TSU.”

He says the new funding will enable him to address “fundamental questions that remain unresolved” for building crowdsensing systems.

“This research will adopt a novel approach for the design of crowdsensing systems, one that not only focuses on signal processing and communication engineering aspects, which are vital for designing such systems, but also on the characteristics of the human agents who power crowdsensing frameworks,” says Brahma. “The research will enable us to acquire information at a societal-scale and utilize it to sustain smarter, safer, and more resilient communities.”

Satyaki Nan, a Ph.D. student in engineering and computational sciences, says he is glad to see Dr. Brahma recognized for his work.

“I am very excited about my Ph.D. advisor, Dr. Brahma, winning the prestigious NSF CAREER award,” says Nam, who is from Kolkata, India. “It will help us pursue cutting-edge research and advance the frontiers of our understanding of human decision-making behavior and capabilities to design human-in-the-loop crowdsensing systems. I feel privileged to work with Dr. Brahma.”

For more information on the TSU Department of Computer Science, visit https://www.tnstate.edu/computer_science/degrees.aspx

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 39 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and eight 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 students, fellow sorority members inspired by Vice President Harris and impact on HBCUs

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Members of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated chapter at Tennessee State University say they are proud to see Kamala Harris, a fellow member and HBCU grad, become vice president of the United States, but they’re even more excited about the attention she brings to historically black colleges and universities.  

TSU President Glenda Glover

Harris was sworn in at a star-studded inauguration in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday with former Vice President Joseph Biden Jr., now the 46th president of the United States. Harris is an alumna of Howard University, an HBCU.

“Senator Harris’ swearing in is a full circle moment for HBCUs and African-American Greek organizations that worked tirelessly to give the black community a voice from the turn of the century, through Jim Crow and the civil rights movement, to present day,” said AKA International President and CEO Dr. Glenda Glover, who is also president of TSU. “Vice President Harris’ ascension to a successful, dedicated public servant is a direct correlation to the philosophy HBCUs and our Black Greek organizations impress upon our students.”

Tiara Thomas

Before the inauguration, Glover announced that the service organization would declare Wednesday, January 20, 2021 as Soror Kamala D. Harris Day. 

“Like so many of you, I am simply beaming with pride as we witness the inauguration ceremony of a HBCU graduate, member of the Divine Nine, and a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha, Kamala D. Harris, to the Office of Vice President of the United States,” said Glover. 

Junior Tiara Thomas, a member of TSU’s Alpha Psi Chapter of AKA and student representative on the university’s Board of Trustees, said she was “overwhelmed with emotions” when Harris was sworn in by Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the first woman of color to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court.  

Jeia Moore

“I am joyful to see a black woman elevate to such heights, especially during these racially divided times,” said Thomas, a political science major from Olive Branch, Mississippi. “VP Harris has done for little black girls what President (Barack) Obama was able to do for little black boys. Vice President Harris has broken the concrete ceiling for girls like me aspiring to succeed in politics. I could one day be the next Kamala Harris.” 

AKA member Jeia Moore is a junior from Memphis majoring in business information systems. She said the fact that Harris graduated from an HBCU shines a spotlight on the 100-plus historically-black institutions.  

“It shows that despite their struggles, HBCUs prepare students for success,” said Moore. “As an HBCU student at TSU, I’m ready for what comes after graduation.”  

Ammria Carter

AKA member Ammria Carter agreed.  

“It speaks volumes to how prepared you can be after attending an HBCU,” said Carter, a junior political science major from Cleveland, Ohio. “Vice President Harris has inspired me to work even harder.” 


When Biden selected Harris to be his running mate, TSU Political Science Professor Brian Russell predicted Harris would cause more young people to consider attending HBCUs if she became vice president.  


“It’s going to energize a lot of younger African-American students to look in the HBCU direction,” said Russell. “That’s going to be exciting.” 

In a virtual address to TSU’s faculty and staff on Tuesday, Glover said she is among HBCU leaders who have personally met with Biden and Harris to discuss ways to help HBCUs and other minority-serving institutions. Glover said the Biden-Harris administration has pledged $70 billion to the institutions, including $20 billion that will help them increase research facilities they need to compete with larger universities.  

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 39 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and eight 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 lauds employees’ dedication, stresses campus safety in Spring 2021 Faculty-Staff Institute address

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University President Glenda Glover on Tuesday thanked the institution’s employees for their dedication amid the pandemic, and re-emphasized that safety is a priority for the entire campus family.

TSU President Glenda Glover

“Our number one issue right now is your safety,” said Dr. Glover in a virtual address to the Spring 2021 Faculty-Staff Institute. “We are still working our way through the most unprecedented crisis of our time. I commend you on how you have responded to this crisis. We will not hesitate to protect the safety and the health and the welfare of our students, faculty and staff.”

She said the university is sticking with a comprehensive plan that was put in place last semester and was effective. Like last year, there is a 14-day “safer in place” policy upon arrival for all students in residence halls. Online classes begin Jan. 25 for two weeks. The majority of the classes will continue online, with some in-person and hybrid instruction. Students receive a 15 percent discount for enrolling in all online classes. The semester will conclude with a commencement ceremony on May 1.

Other safety measures for the campus include wearing of face coverings and social distancing at all times; regular cleaning and sanitizing of buildings; temperature checks upon entering campus and randomly throughout campus; and use of shields throughout the campus. There’s also a non-emergency COVID-19 phone line and email for reporting concerns.

Before Glover’s address, Dr. Michael Harris, Interim Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs, as well as the chairs of the Staff and Faculty Senates, also lauded employees for their commitment during these unprecedented times, and provided words of encouragement.

“This too shall pass,” said Harris. “We will get through it by working together. That is the key.”

Dr. Kimberly Triplett, the Faculty Senate chair, echoed his sentiment.

“We face many uncertainties, but I’m sure we will come together to move this university forward,” said Triplett. “We can only do this together.”

Dr. S. Keith Hargrove, dean of the College of Engineering, said he’s pleased with measures TSU has taken to keep the campus safe.

“The university has ensured the safety and well-being of its students and employees throughout this challenging health crisis,” said Hargrove. “It is important that we adhere to the protocols put in place, and practice a behavior that allows us to continue to instruct, learn, serve, and operate as an institution.”

Despite its challenges, Glover also noted the university’s successes, like first-year enrollment being up over 1,600 freshmen, and establishment of the Dr. Levi Watkins, Jr. Institute, a partnership with Meharry Medical College to create a pipeline for early entry into medical college.

She also pointed out that, to date, TSU has received more than $59 million in grant and research awards. TSU ranks in the top five historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in receiving research funding, and is the top HBCU in receiving funds from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

“They have a respect for us; how we have handled their money in the past,” said Glover.

She also noted that she is among HBCU leaders who have personally met with President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, a Howard University alumna, to discuss ways to help HBCUs and other minority-serving institutions. Glover said the Biden-Harris administration has pledged $70 billion to the institutions, including $20 billion that will help HBCUs and MSIs increase research facilities they need to compete with larger universities.

In her address, Glover said TSU is scheduled to receive an additional $12.5 million this semester under the HBCU provision of the CARES Act. Last year, TSU received $7.2 million in general CARES Act funding, with an additional $16.2 million under the HBCU provision.

The federal relief funding will be used primarily for scholarships and technology devices, which the university has been providing students to assist them with distance learning. 

“What TSU is doing is great,” says Alexus Dockery, a sophomore from Memphis, Tennessee, majoring in political science at TSU. “It will allow students to get the support they need, and further advance their education.”

To view TSU’s operational guidelines during COVID-19 and more, visit http://bit.ly/37DPoAY.

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 39 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and eight 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’s famed Aristocrat of Bands to be part of Biden, Harris inauguration celebration

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University’s world-renowned Aristocrat of Bands will be part of the “We Are One” virtual celebration for the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.

The celebration on Tuesday, Jan. 19, is an evening hosted by the Presidential Inaugural Committee, which will celebrate and honor the Black community and African Diaspora. The event will feature performances and speeches from distinguished guests, including TSU President and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated International President and CEO, Dr. Glenda Glover.

The celebration will be live-streamed from 8:00-9:30 PM Eastern (7:00-8:30 Central) at https://bideninaugural.org/watch/. It will also be broadcast

AOB participates in Battle of the Bands. (Submitted photo)

on Urban One, Revolt TV, and the Instagram pages of HBCU Grad, NowThis News, The Source, The Shade Room, BET, TheGrio TV, Daily Kos, Watch The Yard, Blavity, and on NBC Peacock’s The Choice.

“The Tennessee State University Aristocrat of Bands is very excited to be a part of the inauguration celebration of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris,” says Dr. Reginald McDonald, TSU’s director of bands. “In the midst of a very challenging year, our band program continues to display the excellence of Tennessee State University.”

McDonald says the band submitted four videos for inauguration organizers to include in the celebration, and that footage from the videos will be used in some capacity.

Band member Tiara Thomas says the band’s inclusion says a “lot about the elite nature of the Aristocrat of Bands.”

“Although virtual, this is one of multiple appearances the AOB has made in Washington, D.C. over the years,” says Thomas, a political science major from Olive Branch, Mississippi. “However, I feel this one is as monumental as the performance for President Obama, because we are celebrating a fellow HBCU graduate, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris,“ a Howard University alumna.

Former President Barack Obama greets AOB band members during their visit to the White House in 2016. (TSU Media Relations)

In 2016, during the administration of President Barack Obama, the band was invited to Washington, D.C. to celebrate the opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture. The band performed on the south lawn of the White House, the first HBCU band to perform for the Obama administration at the White House.

The AOB was the first band from a historically-black university invited to march in the inaugural parade for President John F. Kennedy. One of the students who marched in that parade was Edward L. Graves, who became director of bands from 1979 to 2014 (retired).

The AOB also returned to Washington, D.C. in 1993 and 1997 for the Inaugural Parades of President Bill Clinton.

To learn more about the AOB, visit https://www.tnstate.edu/aristocratofbands/.

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 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 students participate in virtual Joint Day of Service to honor legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University students and their peers from other area higher education institutions did not let the pandemic stop them from honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The students participated in a virtual MLK Joint Day of Service on Jan. 18. Before the coronavirus, students would gather at one of their schools before being bused to various locations throughout Nashville to volunteer as part of the special day.

This year, once students register, they had a choice of four nonprofit organizations to virtually learn about the entities, how they are faring during the pandemic, and how to volunteer with the nonprofits. A short service activity followed with a reflection on the students’ experiences.

Besides TSU, participating schools included Fisk University, Meharry Medical College, Belmont University, Trevecca Nazarene, Lipscomb University, Vanderbilt University, and Nashville State Community College.

“All of the schools agreed that despite the pandemic, students needed the opportunity to honor the legacy of MLK in a virtual setting through service,” said Dr. Erik Schmeller, director of the Center for Service Learning and Civic Engagement at TSU. “Given the racial and political upheavals of the last year and more recently, we felt the Dr. King quote, ‘Everybody can be great, because everybody can serve,’ was particularly relevant and serves as our theme this year.”

Volunteers organize classroom at Harvest Hands Community Development as part of last year’s MLK Joint Day of Service. (TSU Media Relations)

The organizations participating this year were Greater Nashville Regional Council, Turnip Green Creative Reuse, Robert Churchwell Museum Magnet Elementary, and Project Transformation.

TSU junior Brittanie Pruitt, a nursing major from Covington, Tennessee, said community service is critical, particularly amid the current pandemic.

“It’s definitely important to give back; everybody needs a helping hand,” said Pruitt. “You might need help one day.”

On Jan. 16, TSU’s Honors College joined the Interdenominational Ministers’ Fellowship in a Virtual Nashville MLK Day Youth Symposium. The theme was “Moving the Movement: Honoring Our Past, Present and Future.

For more information about TSU’s Center for Service Learning and Civic Engagement, visit https://www.tnstate.edu/servicelearning/.

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 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 continuing to prioritize safety of students, employees with COVID-19 plan for spring return

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University officials are continuing to take steps amid the pandemic to ensure students and employees are safe when classes resume next week. A comprehensive plan that was put in place last semester was effective, officials say, and they plan to utilize it once again and enhance it where necessary.

Currently, the plan is to open residence halls on Jan. 21 and begin online classes Jan. 25 for two weeks. In-person classes will resume Feb. 8. The semester will conclude with a graduate commencement ceremony on April 30, and undergraduate ceremony on May 1.

“The health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff are a top priority,” says TSU President Glenda Glover. “While there appears to be a light at the end of the tunnel, it is important that we remain COVID-19 vigilant, which is why we continue to consult with TSU stakeholders and public health officials to ensure the well-being of everyone on campus.”

Dr. Curtis Johnson, chief of staff and head of the TSU Coronavirus Pandemic task force, says the university will “repeat the process used in fall 2020 for students returning to the university for spring 2021.”  

“The university experienced success in the process and will review the after-action comments and data yields,” says Johnson. “Meetings are presently occurring to ensure changes to improve services for students and employees are considered and instituted when and where possible. The university is conducting numerous cleaning and sanitizing processes to prepare facilities for the spring opening.” 

Like last semester, the university is implementing a 14-day “safer in place” policy upon arrival for all students in residence halls. The policy requires students to stay in their places of residence unless they need to perform essential activities, such as getting food, or going to medical appointments.

Classrooms will continue to be assessed to determine the number of students that can occupy the rooms, based on guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Computer labs are also being marked to determine the number of persons allowed to use them at the same time. Desks and high-touch surfaces will be cleaned and disinfected throughout the day for classes, labs, and public areas between usage.

Other safety measures for the campus include wearing of face coverings and social distancing at all times; regular cleaning and sanitizing of buildings; temperature checks upon entering campus and randomly throughout campus; and use of shields throughout the campus. There’s also a non-emergency COVID-19 phone line and email for reporting concerns.

The University will also work closely with the Tennessee Department of Health for contact tracing. For any positive diagnostic test results, TSU will operationalize the protocols in place, and will follow the state reporting guidelines.  A contact tracing team will be in place to identify potential secondary cases to limit the spread of infection. TSU has also established its own early contact tracing.

Frank Stevenson, TSU’s associate vice president of student affairs and dean of students, says about 2,200 students will be living on campus in the spring, and that the university is doing everything it can to create a safe and comfortable learning environment for them.

“We will continue to provide (COVID-19) testing for our students on campus through our Health Center,” says Stevenson. “Students can schedule a time to be tested with our health professionals five days a week. We will also continue our telehealth services. This was a new initiative to provide services to students 24 hours a day, including mental health services.”

Since students began distance learning in March 2020, TSU has also worked diligently to make sure they have the electronic devices needed to complete their coursework, like laptops. Students say they appreciate the university’s effort in this regard, as well as what it’s doing to keep the campus safe during the pandemic.

“I feel very safe returning in the spring,” says Treveon Hayes, a sophomore elementary education major from Memphis, Tennessee. “At the beginning of last semester, I was uncertain. But with the requirements and guidelines TSU has put in place, I feel safer than ever. TSU has my trust.”

As for distance learning, the university has received thousands of dollars to assist with technology needs, including support for course redesign software and staff to aid in remote teaching and learning.

“What TSU is doing is great,” says Alexus Dockery, a sophomore from Memphis majoring in political science at TSU. “It will allow students to get the support they need, and further advance their education.”

TSU is scheduled to have a virtual Spring 2021 Faculty-Staff Institute on Jan. 19. To see a calendar of other spring events, visit https://bit.ly/3awJqUl.

To view TSU’s operational guidelines during COVID-19 and more, visit http://bit.ly/37DPoAY.

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 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 Glenda Glover named one of ‘Ten Most Dominant HBCU Leaders of 2021’

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University begins the new academic year with a major accolade for the University’s president.

Dr. Glenda Glover has been named one of the “Ten Most Dominant HBCU Leaders of 2021,” by HBCU Campaign Fund, a national non-profit organization that advocates for student and higher education.

“I am honored to be included with this distinguished group of university presidents selected by HBCU Campaign Fund, a well-respected organization that advocates for our students and institutions,” President Glover said.

“It is particularly gratifying because of the common mission we share of ensuring the highest academic achievement of our students.”

According to HBCU Campaign Fund, presidents and chancellors selected for the Ten Most Dominant HBCU Leaders award have “proven their responsibilities for shaping policies, changing perspectives, and making decisions that affect millions of individuals in the higher education space, and the daily needs of what an HBCU or Minority-Serving Institutions contributes.”

“These individuals play a prominent and influential role in leadership and display the characteristics of the following responsibilities in the progression of effectively moving an institution forward,” said Demetrius Johnson Jr., president, CEO and founder of HCF.

See the complete listing of award recipients and fourth-class inductees via https://hbcucampaignfund.org/the-ten-most-dominant-hbcu-leaders-of-2021/.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State UniversityFounded 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.