Category Archives: FACULTY

SACSCOC Removes Probationary Status as TSU Demonstrates Academic Excellence

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University has demonstrated to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) that the institution is in compliance with the Principles of Accreditation. The accreditation agency announced Thursday that the sanction has been removed based on the successful report that TSU submitted which addressed one part of the eighty-five standards. In June of 2019, the university was put on probation for not fully addressing the one concern. TSU remained fully accredited during the sanction period and at no point were students, faculty, research, and any other campus activities impacted.

President Glenda Glover

TSU President Glenda Glover confirmed in a letter to the campus family that the one-year probation invoked by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges was lifted and that the institution remains in good standing with SACSCOC.

“We are pleased with the decision by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to remove the probationary status,” Glover wrote. “Our faculty, staff, and administration worked extremely hard to effectively address the one concern advanced by SACSCOC. I know that we are on solid ground for the future with our strong academic programs, record-setting research and grant awards, and unwavering commitment to provide students with a quality education.” 

TSU was placed on probation for failing to provide adequate documentation for the standard outlining the use of assessment findings to improve educational programs. The standard requires institutions to document and determine if students are achieving established outcomes for each academic program, then assess the outcomes, and demonstrate that improvements are being made based on the assessment findings.

“We are extremely pleased with TSU’s efforts,” said SACSCOC President Belle Wheelan. “University leadership along with faculty and staff implemented a successful plan that demonstrated their commitment to students and the university. The commission is always pleased when an institution is removed from this status and can focus on its future.” 

When SACSCOC notified the university of the sanction June last year, Dr. Glover called the action “unfortunate” but vowed to address the probation head on and made it clear to the TSU family that the institution was never in danger of losing its accreditation.

At the time, Dr. Glover stated, “We have a plan in place to meet this standard and we will submit the required documentation immediately. We have every confidence that we can address this standard going forward.”

Glover is confident that the institution now has the infrastructure and internal controls to make sure that the institution will not have to deal with this issue again.

SACSCOC provides accreditation for institutions in 11 states, Latin America and other international sites approved by its board of trustees. 

NOTE: Kelli Sharpe contributed to this story. 

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 College of Engineering receives $1 million NSF grant to benefit community college students

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Community college students looking for a future in engineering will have a home at Tennessee State University, thanks to a $1 million grant from the National Science Foundation. The TSU College of Engineering received the funding recently 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

The grant award, “Promoting Recruitment and Retention of Minority Transfer Students in Science and Engineering,” or PROMISE, will provide 45 scholarships over five years to successful candidates who want to pursue their bachelor’s degrees.

Dr. S. Keith Hargrove, dean of the College of Engineering, said the grant will also support the transfer students through cohort building activities, undergraduate research experiences, summer internships, graduate school preparation, and participation in regional and national STEM conferences.

“This represents our ongoing efforts of increasing the workforce pool of STEM graduates from TSU, and the needed collaboration of faculty from different colleges to reach this objective,” said Hargrove, who is co-principal investigator of the project.

Dr. Lin Li

Hargrove said funds will be available by January 1, 2021, and that scholarship awards will begin in fall 2020. Applications will be reviewed by the College of Engineering, evaluated on a grade point average of at least 3.0, as well as on discipline and career goals.

Ronald Glenn is an incoming freshman who was part of the TSU pre-college engineering program at Stratford STEM Magnet High School during his freshman, junior and senior years. He said although he is not a transfer student, he hopes many students will take advantage of the scholarship program.

“I enjoyed working with TSU professors during those years,” said Glenn, of Nashville, who is majoring in architectural engineering. “They care very much about bringing out the best in you. They helped me get a head-start on my college work.”

Dr. Lin Li, the project’s principal investigator and chair of the Department of Civil and Architectural Engineering, said the overall goal of PROMISE is to increase STEM degree completion of low-income, high-achieving undergraduates with demonstrated financial need.

Dr. Nolan McMurray

“We are excited to expand our partnerships with local community colleges, and provide opportunities for these students to pursue and obtain a BS degree in engineering or computer science from TSU,” Li said.

Dr. Nolan McMurray, interim dean of the College of Life and Physical Sciences, collaborated on the project as co-PI with Hargrove and Li.

“The opportunity to collaborate with the College of Engineering to attract more students in mathematics from regional community colleges, also supports our desire to increase our enrollment and graduation in this field,” McMurray said. 

Project investigators said PROMISE’s intended aims are to improve student engagement, boost retention and academic performance, as well as enhance student self-efficacy. 

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 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 joins other 1890 land-grant universities to celebrate the 130th anniversary of the Morrill Act

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service)TSU President Glenda Glover joined the presidents and chancellors of the nation’s 1890 Universities in a weeklong celebration of the 130th anniversary of the federal legislation that designated Tennessee State University and 18 other historically black colleges and universities as land-grant institutions.

President Glenda Glover

The Morrill Act of 1890 established a land-grant university system of HBCUs in states where African Americans were banned from accessing a public higher education. The first Morrill Act 1862 establishing the land-grant universities did not provide higher education opportunities for African Americans.

“On behalf of the TSU family, our students, faculty and staff, it gives me great pleasure to join in the celebration of the 130th Anniversary of the Second Morrill Act, legislation that authorized 1890 land grant universities,” Glover said.

“For 130 years, although underfunded, the 1890 land-grant universities have been true to their mission of providing essential academic, research and extension services to the public that sustains our nation’s food, fiber and renewable production.”

As part of the activities August 24-31 and due to COVID-19, Glover and other higher education leaders, elected officials and policymakers, business and community leaders will participate in an online celebration, culminating with a two-hour virtual forum on Monday, August 31. The forum will explore the history and accomplishments of the 1890 institutions and the important role they play in the nation’s future. 

“The 1890s, including Tennessee State, have a legacy of educating first-generation and economically disadvantaged college students, enhancing the resilience of limited resource individuals,  farmers, families and underserved communities and conducting innovative research to generate new knowledge and solutions to address regional and global challenges,” Glover added.

Dr. Chandra Reddy

Although TSU, founded in 1912 “came late in the game” among 1890 institutions, officials said the university has remained a leading institution in teaching, research and extension. For instance, the TSU College of Agriculture has more than 100 graduate students, 34 state-of-the-art laboratories, three field research stations, and about 70 staff providing outreach services in 50 of the 95 counties in Tennessee. Overall, TSU received more than $54 million from various funding agencies for 2019-2020, exceeding its annual awards goal, according to the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs.

“We at TSU are doing extremely well relative to all of the other 1890 universities, thanks to federal, state and local government support,” said Dr. Chandra Reddy, dean of the TSU College of Agriculture. “We have the largest outreach program. Our research program is very competitive, and for the last 10 years, TSU has continuously been the number one university among 1890 institutions in terms of securing competitive grants from the USDA, thanks to our faculty. So, we at TSU are very excited for the 130th anniversary celebration of the second Morrill Act that established 19 1890 universities.”

During the week of August 24, leaders and members of the 1890 university community, policymakers, business and community leaders will use an array of platforms to reflect on and celebrate the legacy of these land-grant institutions, including social media using #Celebrate1890s. They will highlight innovative programs at the 1890 land-grant universities and their role in developing solutions for local, regional, and global challenges.

The celebration ended with a virtual webinar on August 31. The webinar had two panel discussions. One panel featured several 1980 university presidents, and Peter McPherson, president of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities. The second panel included private sector leaders such as Fred Humphries, corporate vice president of U.S. Government Affairs, among others.


The other 1890 land-grant universities are: Alabama A&M University, Alcorn State University, Central State University, Delaware State University, Florida A&M University, Fort Valley State University, Kentucky State University, Langston University, Lincoln University in Missouri, North Carolina A&T State University, Prairie View A&M University, South Carolina State University, Southern University and A&M College, Tuskegee University, the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Virginia State University and West Virginia State University.

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.

TSU officially resumes classes for fall semester with enhanced technology, safety measures to ensure student learning and living

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Classes have officially resumed at Tennessee State University with enhanced COVID-19 safety measures to ensure the safety of students and the campus community.

For the first two weeks – August 17–31 – all classes will be online. Following that, students will have a choice of taking classes on ground or continuing online.

President Glenda Glover

In March, amid the coronavirus pandemic, TSU sent students home, closed the residence halls, and asked employees to work remotely. On August 11, the University began its reopening process by welcoming nearly 2,300 first-time freshmen, who moved into their residence halls over several days for safety concerns. Upperclassmen or returning students who choose to stay on campus are arriving over the next few days.

TSU President Glenda Glover has assures students and their families that TSU has worked diligently to create a safe environment amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Two returning students walk to their residence hall on the main campus. (TSU Media Relations)

“Safety is a priority. We made adjustments based on where we are in the world today, and so far, it is working,” Dr. Glover said during the freshman move-in last week. “We couldn’t have everybody coming in at the same time, so we assigned each person a time to arrive.” 

Tiara Thomas, a returning student who is staying on campus, said it is good to be back.

“It feels really good because I missed my TSU family for the past five to six months,” said Thomas, a junior political science major, who is the student representative on the TSU Board of Trustees.

Hand-sanitizing stations are located in various areas on campus for students’ use. (TSU Media Relations)

“I have a great appreciation for my campus and my friends, coz it is home,” she added. “It feels really good to see people back on campus and I am really excited to see how many freshmen we have this year.”

Incoming freshman Yuri Hopkins, of Miami, Florida, said she likes what she has seen so far.

“The health screenings and the orderly move-in process made me feel at home right away,” said Hopkins, a nursing major. “My uncle came here and I have heard a lot of good things about their nursing program.”

To ease the new students’ transition, the university has made efforts to meet their technology needs, as well ensure they are well protected against COVID. All incoming students received welcome kits, including PPEs, or personal protective equipment like masks, facial shields, gloves, etc. Officials said this is all part of the overall plan that include hand sanitizing stations, temperature checks, and the reduction on the number of people allowed on the campus.

First-time freshmen Kassidy Johnson and her brother Kameron Johnson, from Sacramento, California, finish up financial aid discussion with officials via Zoom, in a kiosk set up in Keane Hall. (TSU Media Relations)

“We have limited the number of visitors to the campus, and most services have been moved to online,” said Dr. Curtis Johnson, chief of staff and associate vice president. “The intent is to reduce the possibility of COVID coming to the campus, and to better help manage the number of people on campus at any given time.”

 For their technology needs, all first-time freshmen received laptops. “We wanted them to come in with the tools they need to be able to be successful, even if they have to work remotely,” said Frank Stevenson, vice president for Student Affairs.

As part of TSU’s COVID-19 preparedness, all students, visitors and staff entering the campus must go through a temperature check. (TSU Media Relations)

Russell Waters, a returning junior who will attend classes remotely, said the university has “gone the extra mile” to make sure students have everything they need.

“It feels good to continue my education despite the obstacles I have faced in the past couple of months,” said Waters, a computer science major from Huntsville, Alabama. “TSU has done great things with classes being held virtually. They are doing their best to accommodate this new style of learning and I appreciate what they are doing for the students.”

The Office of Academic Affairs said excellence and student success remain the highest priority of the university.

“Building on our tradition we will continue to adjust as we go along,” said Dr. Michael Harris, interim provost and vice president of Academic Affairs. “We offer our students some of the most original, flexible and innovative learning options across our 82 programs. In addition, we have invested in and put in place a world-class support system to ensure each student’s success.”

To learn more about TSU’s campus operation plan for fall reopening, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/return.

Note: Featured photo courtesy of Seanne Wilson, Director of the Women’s Center

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’s Dr. Courtney Nyange Receives Fulbright Scholar Award to Lecture in Tanzania

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University professor, Dr. Courtney Nyange, has received a Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program Award to Tanzania. Nyange is professor of nursing in the College of Health Sciences.

In Tanzania, she will lecture at the University of Dodoma School of Nursing, as part of a project to build capacity through faculty development, curricular revisions, and teaching. She previously taught at UDOM as a volunteer nurse educator, as part of the Global Health Service Partnership between the US Peace Corps and Seed Global Health.

“I’m honored to be selected as a 2020-2021 Fulbright U.S. Scholar to Tanzania,” Nyange said. “My work as a Fulbright U.S. Scholar will have a lasting impact on students and faculty at UDOM and will also open the door for more collaborative programs between TSU and UDOM.”

As a Fulbright Scholar, Dr. Nyange will share knowledge and foster meaningful connections across communities in the United States and Tanzania. She will engage in cutting-edge research and expand her professional networks, by laying the groundwork for forging future partnerships between TSU and UDOM.  

“The College of Health Sciences is heartened to hear of Dr. Nyange’s accomplishment,” said Dr. Ronald Barredo, dean and professor of the College of Health Sciences. “She is a true embodiment of our commitment to the university’s mission, ‘Think, Work, Serve.’”

A flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government, the Fulbright Program is designed to forge lasting connections between the people of the United States and the people of other countries, counter misunderstandings, and help people and nations work together toward common goals. Its alumni have achieved distinction in many fields, including 60 who have been awarded the Nobel Prize, 86 who have received Pulitzer Prizes, and 37 who have served as a head of state or government.

TSU has been actively engaged in the Fulbright program in the past. Last year, the University received the designation as a Fulbright HBCU Institutional Leader, one of only 19 historically black colleges and universities to receive the recognition for demonstrating noteworthy support for Fulbright exchange participants during the 2018-2019 academic year.  In the same year, Prof. Janice M. Williams, also from the College of Health Professions, received the Fulbright Scholar Award in dental sciences to lecture at the University of KwaZulu Natal in South Africa.

To learn more about the TSU College of Health Sciences, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/health_sciences/.
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 first-time freshmen move in residence halls; parents, students impressed with university’s COVID-19 preparedness

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University President Glenda Glover welcomed first-time freshmen to the campus this week and assured the new Tigers and their families that TSU has worked diligently to create a safe environment amid the coronavirus pandemic.

President Glenda Glover, and Chief of Staff, Dr. Curtis Johnson, tell reporters that the university has taken the necessary steps to ensure a safe campus, as students return. (TSU Media Relations)

“Safety is a priority. We made adjustments based on where we are in the world today, and so far, it is working,” Dr. Glover said Tuesday, as more than 2,300 freshmen began moving into their residence halls. Classes start Monday, August 17. “We couldn’t have everybody coming in at the same time, so we assigned each person a time to arrive.” 

Yuri Hopkins, her mom, dad and younger sister drove all-night from Miami, Florida, to be sure she was on time for the early check-in. She said the health screenings and the orderly move-in process “made me feel at home right away.”

Yuri Hopkins (in red) and her family, from Miami, Florida, were among the first groups to arrive for the early morning check-in. Hopkins will major in nursing. (TSU Media Relations)

“I am ready for TSU besides, I was ready to leave home,” said Hopkins, who will major in nursing. “My uncle came here and I have heard a lot of good things about their nursing program.”

Yuri’s father, Leshawn Hopkins, said he is sad to leave his daughter behind, but he likes what TSU is doing and that gives him hope.

“I am sad but she is prepared,” he said. “The pre-screenings, temperature checks for everybody coming on campus got me feeling more confident that she is in a safe environment.”

President Glover talks to incoming business administration major Oryanna Elizabeth Davis, right, from Memphis, Tennessee, as her brother, Omari Jolliffi, looks on. (TSU Media Relations)

Amiya Jenkins, of Nashville, whose sister Janice Broadway is a senior political science major at TSU, was on time for her early morning check-in at Wilson Hall. She is continuing a long TSU lineage in her family. In addition to her sister, several relatives, including her mom, attended TSU. So, becoming a Tiger is a dream come true.

“I couldn’t wait to join my sister,” said Jenkins, who will also be majoring in nursing.  “Nearly all my relatives came here. It’s a tradition, and the school is offering me what I want, and I like how prepared they are to protect us from the virus.”

Dean of Students Frank Stevenson, right, welcomes Meghan Borrum, second from left, who arrived from Atlanta with her mom Sabrina Borrum, and family friend Brian Papin. (TSU Media Relations)

Amiya’s mother, Tavina Hopkins, added, “The rooms are so clean and the staff has been so helpful. I am proud of my school and how prepared they are.”

In her State of the University address on Monday, Glover emphasized safety, and referred to the implementation of a comprehensive safety plan that includes 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.

Volunteer workers help check in new arrivals at Watson Hall. (TSU Media Relations)

Under the plan, all classes will be online for the first two weeks, and there will be both in-person and online instruction throughout the semester, which will end by Thanksgiving. Additionally, classrooms have been assessed to determine the number of students that can occupy the rooms, based on guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Other safety measures 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; installation of shields throughout the campus; and establishment of a non-emergency COVID-19 phone line and email for reporting concerns.

Dean of Students Frank Stevenson said the university is excited to welcome students back on campus, and will do everything necessary to ensure that students adhere to regulations put in place for their safety.

“We are going to be very intentional about sharing our expectation as students move on campus so that we can have a safe campus community,” said Stevenson, who is also associate vice president for Student Affairs.

Chicago native James Bracey, Jr., right, prepares to check into Watson Hall. Mom America Bracey, sister Kayden Bracey, and dad James Bracey, Sr., came along to see Bracey Jr., off to college. (TSU Media Relations)

“We are excited about how we are facing this challenge to make the student experience very unique. The process has been very smooth. We have parents who have come from all over the country and they are trusting us with their students and we have a plan that we believe is one of the best in the country for how we manage our campus environment during this pandemic.”

 James Bracey, Sr., of Chicago, whose son James Jr., checked into Watson Hall, said he is also excited about his son coming to TSU, and is impressed with how prepared the university is about protecting students from the pandemic.

“I am okay with him leaving; it will be an adjustment but I like where he is going,” said James Bracey, Sr.

James Bracey, Jr., who will major in business and marketing, said he read a lot about TSU and likes the business program at the university.

“I chose TSU because I heard good things about it and when I checked the business program I really like it. I will miss my family and friends but I am ready to start this journey,” Bracey, Jr., said.

James Bracey, Jr.’s mom America Bracey, and 12-year-old sister Kayden Bracey, also came along to see their son and brother off to college.

To learn more about TSU’s campus operation plans for fall reopening, visit www.tnstate.edu/return.
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 Glover Announces New Academic Appointments; Dr. Michael Harris Becomes Interim Provost

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University President Glenda Glover has announced several new administrative changes, including the appointment of Dr. Michael Harris as the Interim Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs. Harris, who previously served as dean of the College of Public Affairs, replaces Dr. Alisa Mosley, who has accepted a position at another university.

Dr. Michael Harris

Also appointed are Dr. Elizabeth Williams, associate professor of public health, who takes over as interim dean of the College of Public Affairs; Dr. Nolan McMurray, chair of the Department of Physics and Mathematics, assumes the position of interim dean of the College of Life and Physical Sciences; and Dr. Samantha Morgan-Curtis, chair of the Department of Languages, Literature and Philosophy, becomes interim Dean of the College of Libera Arts. She replaces Dr. Gloria Johnson, who retired July 31.

Dr. Clara Young, chair of the Department of Teaching and Learning, was appointed interim assistant vice president of Academic Affairs.

In announcing the changes, President Glover touted the readily available pool of capable individuals at the university.

“TSU is fortunate to have so many qualified individuals who can immediately assume these important leadership roles, as we continue to advance our great institution,” Glover said.

She thanked the new appointees for their continued support to TSU.

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 celebrates 2020 graduates with first-ever virtual commencement ceremony

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University celebrated its Class of 2020 with a historic virtual commencement Saturday. More than 700 graduates and undergraduates were honored during the program.

President Glenda Glover

TSU President Glenda Glover greeted the graduates and welcomed alumni, staff and guests watching the program livestreamed on all the major social media platforms.

“It is my distinct honor and privilege to extend heartfelt congratulations to you,” Glover said. “I applaud you for having reached this extraordinary milestone in your academic career. It does not matter how long it took you, you are being honored today because you are graduating. You have endured. We honor your sacrifice. You have overcome obstacles, you have multiplied your talent, you increased your resources.”

Dr. Harold Love, Jr.

State Rep. Harold Love, Jr., a TSU alum, who brought the keynote address, told the graduates that while COVID-19 has been a hindrance to many things, they must reflect on their achievement as a successful story during this time.

“Many years from now, when we look back on 2020, we will reflect on the bright spots and good things we can point to as an indicator that COVID-19 did not completely eliminate the wonderful things of life,” said Love, who earned bachelor’s and doctorate degrees from TSU.

“In that moment, you will be able to declare that ‘yes,’ COVID-19 caused the world to change how we interact with each other, but in the midst of all of that, you graduated from college. Your gifts and graces are desperately needed to make this world a better place. Like so many before you, you heard the clarion call to enter, to learn, and to go forth to serve with an education you received from Tennessee State University. Don’t let the 24-hour news cycle cause you to have fear about what you will do next. Use that creative mind to discover cures, educate the next generation, or help someone else cope with the challenge of life.”

SGA President Katelyn Thompson

Although the delivery was different, the commencement exercises remained generally the same. The program began with a slideshow of the graduates, followed by a presentation by Student Government Association President Katelyn Thompson.

“We did it,” said Thompson, a Memphis native and double major, who received degrees in criminal justice and psychology.

“Four years ago, we took our first step as first-year students at this prestigious university. As we matriculated through our journey, we were blessed with additions to our family. Congratulations to each of you. TSU has taught us to be resilient in the face of adversity. Although we had such an abrupt stop to our day-to-day campus life, we still had the fight, the vision and the determination to accomplish this milestone.”

Tommy Evans of Belleville, Illinois, said he missed walking across the stage, but is appreciative to TSU for making sure that students received recognition another way. 

Orica Kutten received the Academic Excellence Award for the high GPA in her class.

“I’m excited, because either way, we’re being celebrated for our accomplishments,” said Evans, a criminal justice major and senior class vice president. 

Seliene Munroe Bignall, who received her doctorate in education administration, agreed. 

“I feel very, very blessed,” said Bignall of Nashville. “It has been a long journey, especially with what’s going on here and around the world.”

During the ceremony, Orica Kutten, who received her bachelor’s degree in biology, was presented with the Academic Excellence Award for achieving the highest grade point average in her class.

Just like in the past, deans of the various colleges presented candidates to President Glover for the conferring of degrees, as the graduates’ names scrolled across the screen.

Reaction to the first-ever virtual commencement was overwhelmingly positive. One comment on Facebook described the ceremony as “a grandiloquent job.”

“I watched the virtual commencement. It was a beautiful virtual presentation,” the commenter said.

Another added, “Congratulations, it was a nice commencement, and well presented.”

For the next academic year, the University is set to reopen on August 17 under a comprehensive plan that officials say will provide additional COVID-19 safety protocols to protect the health and safety of the campus community. To learn more about TSU’s campus operation plans for fall reopening, visit www.tnstate.edu/return.

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 campus construction intended to enhance students’ living, learning; new Health Sciences Building to open in August

 NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – With the completion of a new Health Sciences Building set for next month, Tennessee State University officials say ongoing construction projects around campus are on schedule and are intended to enhance students’ living and improve their learning environment.

President Glenda Glover

“The new projects are part of a long-term plan to improve academic programs and increase our residence hall inventory, while enhancing the overall status of the university,” says TSU President Glenda Glover. 

“We are extremely excited about welcoming our students and about the future and the new look our campus will take on with the construction. It’s been a long time coming for our students, faculty, staff and alumni.”

In March, amid the coronavirus pandemic, TSU sent students home, closed the residence halls, and asked employees to work remotely, but the construction continued. 

A rendering of the 700-bed residence hall under construction on the main campus. The project, expected to be completed in about 18 months, is estimated at $75.2 million. (Submitted Photo)

As the university prepares to reopen on August 17, officials say all of the projects are still ongoing and on schedule, but construction activities will not have any negative impact on student housing or movements.

Among the projects, the new, ultra-modern Health Sciences Building with classrooms, spaces for clinical simulations, labs and offices, will greet new and returning students when it opens in August. It is estimated at $38.3 million. A 700-bed residence hall estimated at $75.2 million, and expected to be completed in about 18 months, is under construction in the open space between Watson Hall and the Performing Arts Center. Other projects soon to be started are the Gateway Arch, Alumni House and Welcome Center, and a Field Research Organic Laboratory.

Dr. Curtis Johnson, Chief of Staff and Associate Vice President, says ongoing construction will not interrupt students’ movement around campus. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

 “These projects are going to be as less intrusive to students’ ability to move around as possible,” says Dr. Curtis Johnson, chief of staff and associate vice president at TSU. “It won’t hurt student housing. It may be noisy for them during some construction periods, but it won’t interrupt them being able to get into their residence halls or to be able to move around.”

Frank Stevenson, associate vice president for Student Affairs and dean of students, agrees. He says every effort is being made to ensure that students are not inconvenienced in any way.

Frank Stevenson

“We will be intentional about minimizing the inconvenience to students,” says Stevenson. “We are bringing up a huge edifice that is going to be something very special, and as such, there may be a need on the part of students to make some minor adjustments in terms of that construction site.”

He says the current residence halls are ready to welcome new and returning students for the fall semester.

“We really are excited about our students coming back. We left rather abruptly in the spring,” says Stevenson. “We miss the students in terms of the opportunity to see them on campus. We really are excited about this fall. Even though it is different, we are making sure we provide a safe environment, good experience and a quality education for the students.”

With the new construction, some previously designated parking areas are being taken up to make room for the new student housing, but Johnson says the overall plan is ensuring that no parking space is lost.

“All we have done is to relocate some parking spaces,” he says, adding, “That means that we might have to take a few more steps to get to certain locations than we did before. But we are not losing any parking. In fact, we may pick up a few more than we had before.”

Johnson says although campus may look different with all of the projects going on, students are generally excited to see positive changes around them, especially in infrastructure and the future of the university.

“It is always good when the student can say, ‘I remember what it used to be but it is better now.’ That is what we are trying to make – a better TSU,” he says.

TSU announced July 8 it will reopen August 17 under a comprehensive plan that will provide additional COVID-19 safety protocols to protect the health and safety of the campus community, along with student discounts.  

To learn more about TSU’s campus operation plans for fall reopening, visit www.tnstate.edu/return.

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 Nursing Graduate Returns Home After Fighting COVID-19 in New York, Credits University with Preparing Her

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Keisha Coleman is finally home for a well-deserved rest. For three months straight and working 13-hour shifts, the traveling nurse and Tennessee State University graduate was on the front line caring for COVID-19 patients in New York.

Keisha Coleman is taking a month off after caring for COVID-19 patients in New York. She plans to return to the front line. (Submitted Photo)

“I love my patients and I miss them but I was excited to come home,” says Coleman, a critical care nurse who worked in the intensive care units at several hospitals in New York.

“I didn’t want to leave them, but I was ready to come home just to see my family because they were home worried for me as well. My mom couldn’t sleep, she would text me late nights on the job to see if I am okay.”

Coleman always wanted to work in critical care and she says TSU prepared her well for the challenge. After earning her associate’s degree in nursing in 2017, she worked at Nashville General Hospital and St. Thomas Midtown Hospital in the Intensive Care Unit. After some time at St. Thomas, Coleman says she decided to be a traveling nurse, “and just then, COVID came.” Her first assignment was New York, one of the country’s hardest hit states.

“It was tough and scary at first, but I do think TSU prepared me well to be the nurse and strong woman I am,” says Coleman. “At some point of my assignment, instead of the usual two, I had four to five critical patients, who were sedated, on ventilators and paralyzed. It was scary when you have all of these critical patients you have to take care of.  You get to thinking about yourself, your health. Some nurses got infected. I can honestly say I was nervous about contracting the virus, but I came back home and I tested negative.”

Keisha Coleman earned her nursing degree from TSU in 2017. (Submitted Photo)

Like many healthcare workers on the front line in the early days of the pandemic, Coleman says the task was daunting – long hours, influx of patients and shortage of critically needed PPE’s, or personal protective equipment.

“From day one we were limited on PPEs that were needed to go in the rooms to take care of patients,” says Coleman. “When I got there, we had all COVID patients. When we gowned up, we had to go to multiple rooms with that one gown. Normally, we would take off that gown prior to leaving the room. Since we were so limited, we had to use the same gown in different patients’ rooms. It was so bad that at some points we had to use bleach to wipe down our gowns to reuse them. We were limited on gloves, masks and certain medications.”

Amid the shortage, Coleman says the patient load continued to climb, as hospitals ran out of space for patients and places to store the mounting number of dead people.

“After a lot of those patients died we didn’t have any rooms,” recalls Coleman. “We were putting them on the roof, in the basement and some in a tractor trailer outside. As all three places were full, we started putting bodies on a sled and just dump ice on them,” she says.

By the end of May, Coleman says things started to slow down. Some patients who had been admitted for up to three months began to get better – being able to walk, learn to talk, and breathe on their own.

“It was a good feeling,” she says. “I didn’t want to leave them, but I was ready to come home. But I am glad I went. It really was a humbling and rewarding experience. It is good to have this experience firsthand to tell my future children, and that I was on the front line helping.”

While Coleman’s situation was dire, she is one of several TSU nursing school graduates among the thousands of healthcare workers around the country responding to the influx of patients suffering from COVID-19. They’re conducting screenings, communicating to patients’ families, and above all, caring for the critically ill.

Dr. Pinky Noble-Britton, associate professor and director of TSU’s BSN program, says like Coleman, TSU nursing students are prepared to perform at the highest level of their profession in administering safe patient care.

“We push them and they are expected to use whatever resources they have to their best ability,” says Noble-Britton.

Knowing that her work is critical, especially with the new surge in coronavirus cases across the country, Coleman says she plans to take another month off and then head back to helping COVID patients.

“I plan to go back and help in one of the other states, like Florida, Texas or Arizona, which are epic centers,” says Coleman. “My plan is to travel and change lives, and just to know that I made a difference.”

Coleman also plans to return to TSU to earn her BSN degree. The program is now accepting applications for Fall 2020. The Traditional B.S.N. at TSU provides an instructional environment that teaches students how to provide holistic, ethical and culturally sensitive care to clients across the lifespan. To learn more about TSU’s nursing program, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/nursing/

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.