Category Archives: Featured

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.

TSU uses covid-19 exercise to help with Fall Reopening Plan

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – With Tennessee State University planning to reopen this fall, state health and emergency management officials say the university is moving in the right direction to ensure a safe environment for its reopening plan.

Tennessee Emergency Management Agency, the Tennessee Department of Health and the Tennessee Higher Education Commission joined TSU President Glenda Glover and other TSU officials in a COVID-19 tabletop exercise on the university’s main campus.

President Glenda Glover talks to the media about the importance of the tabletop discussion on TSU’s fall reopening plan. (TSU Media Relations)

“Today’s tabletop was very critical in our reopening plan, in that it covered areas that we need to know about, and emphasized things that we had missing in our plan,” Glover said. “It was very strategically timed today because we have to communicate something to students this week. So, this was very good, very complete and very comprehensive.”

The tabletop was coordinated by the three agencies that praised the positive level of cooperation between TSU’s administration and staff in trying to come up with a comprehensive plan for the campus, including safety protocols, testing and tracking.

Representatives from the university’s Pandemic and Fall Course Delivery Task Forces, as well as student affairs, emergency management, legal affairs, athletics, police, and academic affairs, among others, attended the workshop. (TSU Media Relations)

“What we saw here with TSU is that you have an administration that’s being collaborative and finding ways to mitigate the threat of COVID-19,” said Jeff Brown, a planner with TEMA and key facilitator of the tabletop.

“They want to open campus up and I think they are taking the right precautions through communicating with each other and coming up with contingency plans on how to deal with any potential problems down the road.

The goal of the tabletop was to identify areas in the group’s emergency response plan that needed improvement in addressing coronavirus outbreak scenarios.

Members of the university’s Pandemic and Fall Course Delivery Task Forces, representatives from student affairs, emergency management, legal affairs, police, academic affairs and others attended the workshop. Scenarios included real-life on “what-if” situations, such as positive tests in dormitories, cluster outbreaks, how to respond to COVID-19 within athletics, situations, and how to handle mass gatherings.

 Dr. Curtis Johnson, chief of staff and head of the TSU Pandemic and Fall Course Delivery Task Forces, said the tabletop exercise helped to make individuals in key areas evaluate their policies and processes.

“Today’s process put individuals who are decision-makers involved in managing those decisions in one room to talk about the what-ifs, such as ‘when this occurs,’ ‘should this occur,’” Johnson said.

“It also helped in ensuring that our policies and processes are in line with the state and federal government, the CDC, and that the university is protecting everyone as best as possible.”

The exercise also assessed the validity of TSU’s current emergency response plans; challenges posed by COVID-19; how the university coordinates responses with the campus health services; and reviewed plans to clarify lines of accountability and communication to enable timely, well-coordinated, and effective response.  This is extremely crucial as TSU continues its plans for reopening. The University has said it will move forward, but understands that those plans could change as cases increase. 

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 fall reopening plan provides additional safety protocols, fee discounts for students

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University officials said they are looking forward to welcoming new and returning students this fall. TSU will reopen 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.  

TSU President Glenda Glover

Currently, the plan is to begin the fall semester on August 17, with all classes online for the first two weeks. Due to COVID-19, there will be both in-person and online instruction throughout the semester, which will end by Thanksgiving.

“This innovative and comprehensive plan for fall 2020 was developed in consultation with TSU stakeholders and public health officials,” Tennessee State University President Glenda Glover said July 8 in a letter to TSU students, faculty and staff.

“This pandemic is unlike any challenge we have ever faced.  All decisions have been made with the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff as the top priority.” 

With that in mind, TSU 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.

Aleyah Hargrove

Transfer student Aleyah Hargove, like many new students attending TSU for the first time, understands things will be different but is still looking forward to the college experience. The business major from Goodlettsville said that, based on the plan, she believes the University is taking the right measures to keep everyone safe. 

“I am excited to attend TSU and have the campus experience despite the pandemic,” Hargrove said. “Though it will be somewhat different, I’m confident efforts are being made to learn in a safe environment”.

Matthew Benton, a rising senior and fellow business major, said he’s decided to take all-online courses. 

“I really appreciate all that the University is doing for student safety, but my parents and I have decided it is in my best interest to attend remotely,” said Benton, who is from Atlanta. 

“It was really a tough decision. I’m sad I’ll be missing out on campus life. I’ve talked with several of my friends and they have mixed feelings, and haven’t made a decision yet.”

In addition to other safety measures, such as wearing of face coverings and social distancing at all times, classrooms and buildings will be cleaned and sanitized regularly. (TSU Media Relations)

The University is also offering discounts of up to 15 percent on fees and tuition for students who take all online courses. These discounts will depend on students’ in-state or out-of-state status. Additionally, students who choose to do so will be allowed to cancel their housing and receive a full refund of their deposit. The discounts come on the heels of the University announcing that it is freezing tuition with no increase this year.

 “I am pleased that these discounts will result in significant savings for our students during these challenging times,” said Dr. Glover, adding that the university will also continue to offer laptops and technology devices to students that need them.

In addition to a Pandemic Task Force that has been meeting just about every day to address issues related to the coronavirus, President Glover also appointed a Fall Course Delivery Task Force to help develop the best strategy for classes this fall.

Classrooms are being assessed to determine the number of students who can occupy each room, 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 campus safety measures include required 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.

The University will also work closely with the Tennessee Department of Health for contact tracing. For any positive diagnostic test results, TSU will follow the protocols in place and adhere to 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.

For athletics, the University has a comprehensive plan that outlines the safe return to training, practice and competition for student-athletes, and also complies with public health guidelines and NCAA and Ohio Valley Conference requirements. Part of this plan includes a delayed opening for the upcoming football season, set for the end of September. The first three games of the season will not be played. The University is still reviewing information pertaining to the Homecoming game on October 10.

On July 8, TSU held a COVID-19 tabletop exercise that was coordinated by the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency, the Tennessee Department of Health and the Tennessee Higher Education Commission. The three state agencies praised the University for its level of commitment among all divisions in creating a comprehensive plan for the campus, including safety protocols, testing and tracking. 

“What we saw here with TSU is that you have an administration that’s being collaborative and finding ways to mitigate the threat of COVID-19,” said Jeff Brown, a planner with TEMA and key facilitator of the tabletop. 

“They want to open campus up and I think they are taking the right precautions through communicating with each other and coming up with contingency plans on how to deal with any potential problems down the road.”

In an effort to provide outreach services to the community, TSU launched the COVID-19 Academy in May to connect residents with crucial resources.  Areas include health services, such as telehealth and telemedicine providers, food banks and pantries, as well as employment and educational resources. 

“The academy will work to bridge the health care disparity for people of color that experts say will have a lasting impact for generations to come,” said Glover. “This is being done through a holistic approach combining access to care, human services and education.” 

The university will continue to monitor the virus and make changes to the reopening plan if there is a continued surge of reported cases in Davidson County and the State of Tennessee.

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

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, Vanderbilt Partner with National Initiative to Bring Engineering to Tennessee High Schools

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University is collaborating with Vanderbilt University in a national initiative to bring engineering to area high schools. 

Engineering for US All, or E4USA, a National Science Foundation initiative, provides a standardized educational curriculum for pre-college students to learn and demonstrate engineering principles, skills and practices. The curriculum affords students the opportunity to earn college credit at participating colleges and universities.

Under the initiative, TSU’s College of Engineering will work with students at Stratford STEM Magnet High School in a curriculum that introduces basic principles of engineering, and allows students to design and build projects through a hands-on learning experience. For the last eight years, the TSU College of Engineering has been working with Stratford in many other precollege engineering programs.

Dr. S. Keith Hargrove, dean of the College of Engineering, says providing the E4USA course allows the university to expose more students to career opportunities in engineering and “the preparation needed.”

“It also allows TSU to collaborate with multiple high schools, teachers, and recruit students to TSU and to STEM fields,” says Hargrove, who serves on the Engineering Advisory Board at Stratford. “Students will get a head-start for those interested in academic careers in engineering and are eligible to receive academic credit at a university.”

The Engineering for US All initiative was launched across the country early this academic year as a pilot with Vanderbilt and four other universities paired with high schools in their states to enroll students in E4USA’s free, design-based introductory engineering course.

In the 2020-2021 academic year, TSU, MTSU and the University of Tennessee will work with Vanderbilt University to move the program into Metro Nashville’s Stratford and Glencliff High Schools, Rutherford County Schools’ Riverdale High, and Girls Preparatory School in Chattanooga.

Ronald Glenn, an incoming freshman, who was part of the TSU pre-college engineering program at Stratford during his freshman, junior and senior years, says adding the E4USA course will be great for the program . He says it helped him develop a strong foundation in engineering.

“I enjoyed working with TSU professors during those years,” says Glenn, of Nashville, who will major in architectural engineering.   “The program helped me get a head-start on my college work.” 

According to the E4USA website, the program fills a current gap in engineering education training by recruiting high school teachers of all disciplines. No prior engineering experience is required to become an E4USA teacher. 

“High school teachers are trained and supported by engineering colleges with curriculum and laboratory resources,” says Hargrove.

In this pilot year, E4USA has reached more than 400 students, including several seniors who plan to study engineering and have been accepted to colleges. In the coming year, it is anticipated that E4USA will reach over 2,000 students across 14 states and territories.

 For more information on the TSU 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 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.

New TSU, Nashville Opera Partnership to Expose TSU Music Students to Real-World Musicians and Artists

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University music majors with dreams of performing with some of the best entertainers in the world, may actually be a step closer to making that a reality thanks to a new partnership between the university and the Nashville Opera.

The joint venture, made possible with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, will launch a digital masterclass series in performance, music industry and arts management. 

Led by the Nashville Opera, working professionals will present masterclasses that bring real-world musical artists to TSU students. The university will also lead in coordinating with other historically black colleges and universities to participate in the virtual educational experience.

Isaiah Batey

Isaiah Batey, a senior vocal music major and opera singer, is excited about learning from “the best in the business.”

“This is just the kind of opportunity I am always looking for,” says Batey, a Nashville native who wants to be a professional singer “traveling around the world and sharing my talent.” Inspired by opera singers like Luciano Pavarotti, Renee Fleming and Jessye Norman, Batey says the new partnership will give TSU students like him the opportunity to learn from professionals who are actually in the music industry.

“To have these people work with us college students who are trying to get to where they are professionally, technically and vocally, is just so fulfilling,” says Batey, a graduate of the Nashville School of Arts, who currently sings with the Concert Chorale of Nashville and the William Crimm Singers, a group organized by TSU music instructor William G. Crimm.

Dr. Robert L. Elliott, professor and chair of the TSU Department of Music, says the new joint venture is a continuation of the long-standing partnership with the Nashville Opera that will better position TSU and other HBCU students for success in a digital, virtual world upon graduation.

“This partnership will provide new and different experiences for our students, and facilitate learning at multiple universities,” says Elliott.

An NEA release says the Nashville Opera will receive $25,000 to fund the digital masterclass series with TSU beginning September, and will be free to the public through livestreaming.

“We are deeply grateful for this support from the National Endowment for the Arts,” says John Hoomes, Nashville Opera CEO and artistic director. “It helps us do the important work of creating more equity in our art form.”

The Nashville Opera’s relationship with TSU spans more than a decade and includes such activities as presentations of masterclasses, free student tickets to performances, and Opera 101 lectures for the Department of Music.

For more information on the music program at TSU, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/music/

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 uses $200K grant to provide students financial assistance for fall 2020

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Students interested in attending Tennessee State University this fall could get financial assistance to help with expenses. TSU is using a $200,000 grant from the Charles E. Schell Foundation for Education to help new and returning students stay in school by providing financial relief to those impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

TSU President Glenda Glover

The Foundation was established as a revolving student loan program, with Fifth Third Bank as trustee. Qualifying students will receive a maximum of $2,000.

“TSU is appreciative of the collaboration with the Schell Foundation and Fifth Third Bank and their support of the university and our students,” says President Glenda Glover. “The funds will not only help our students to stay in school, but will also provide a form of relief to them and their families impacted by COVID-19 and the economic downturn we are currently experiencing.”

The foundation gave TSU $100,000 last year, but decided to double the amount this year, partly because of the hardship many students are facing as a result of COVID-19. 

“We are pleased to honor Mr. Schell’s wishes to grant these loan dollars to Tennessee State as its administration helps students with expenses on their educational journey,” says Heidi Jark, senior vice president and managing director, The Foundation Office at Fifth Third. “Part of the mission of the Foundation Office at Fifth Third Bank is continuing our clients’ philanthropic impact that provides pathways to opportunity.” 

Applicants will be required to meet the selection criteria established by the Charles E. Schell Foundation. They must be citizens of Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia and states adjoining them (including Tennessee); and be between the ages of 18-25, with a minimum 2.0 grade point average. Students are also asked to sign a promissory note to repay the funds to create a revolving loan fund to benefit future TSU students.

The grant is one of several ways TSU is helping students during these unprecedented times. 

To help students interested in attending TSU, the University is temporarily waiving the ACT and SAT scores as requirements for incoming freshmen for Fall 2020, and will accept an unofficial transcript.  However, students will still be required to have a GPA of 2.5 or higher and a completed application. Students transferring from a 2-year or 4-year institution must submit an official transcript from the last college or university attended. 

Not long after TSU students began distance learning in March, President Glover and other university administrators held a live meeting via Zoom with over 200 student leaders to assure them that TSU is dedicated to helping them succeed.

TSU student Treveon Hayes, who will be a sophomore in the fall, says the University’s assistance has been motivating to him and other students.

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

Other efforts by TSU to help students include: a virtual hourly-workshop on completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA; the 250-Mile Radius Tuition Rate for students from high schools in surrounding states; the HOPE scholarship for Tennessee residents; the Academic High Achiever Scholarship; the TSU Academic Work Scholarship; the TSU Building Bridge Grant, and several others.

To learn more about TSU’s financial aid programs, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/admissions/

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 alumna and Amazon Teacher of the Year Shasta Charlton inspires students to be successful

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University alumna Shasta Charlton didn’t know much about robots. But that didn’t stop the first-year teacher and her students from building and coding one, and winning $50,000 from Amazon.

TSU alumna Shasta Charlton

Charlton, a computer science teacher and Robotics Club staffer at Whites Creek Comprehensive High School in Nashville, is a 2020 Amazon Future Engineer Teacher of the Year Award recipient. She is one of 10 individuals selected from among thousands of eligible teachers to receive the prestigious award, which includes $25,000 for the school and $25,000 in school supplies.

Charlton’s ability to relate to students helped get the attention of Amazon. When her school presented she and her students with the challenge of building and coding a robot, they did not back away.

“I don’t have a computer science degree, but I went home and I buried myself in YouTube videos and read every book that I could get my hands on to make this happen for them,” recalls Charlton, who also convinced the students to start a Robotics Club. “In about six months we had a fully working coded robot, and we actually ended up winning third in the state competition. I could have easily just said no, but instead, me and my students said we were going to buckle down and figure it out.”

Amazon award recipients were chosen based on a variety of criteria, which included their commitment to promoting diversity and inclusion within computer science education, a recommendation from a school administrator, and compelling, personal anecdotes about their school and students.

While she’s thrilled to be nationally recognized by Amazon, Charlton says she’s even more excited about the number of students she’s convinced to attend TSU in just her first year of being a teacher.

“I’ve really been trying to connect my students with TSU as much as possible,” says Charlton, who graduated from TSU last year with a degree in agricultural sciences. “I have four students this year who are going to TSU to major in some form of agriculture.”

Dr. John Ricketts is an Ag professor and extension specialist at TSU who encouraged Charlton to transfer to the university and major in agriculture when she was at Nashville State Community College. He says he’s not surprised at the success she’s having after just one year of teaching.

“She was extremely motivated as a student; she’s incredibly brilliant too,” says Ricketts of Charlton, whose concentration was in agricultural education. “When she went to Whites Creek, we knew that they had a home run. And frankly, it’s a home run for TSU because she’ll be sharing the good word about Big Blue.“

Dr. Chandra Reddy, dean of TSU’s College of Agriculture, agrees.

Students work on robot for competition. (Submitted photo)

“As a student, she was very active and passionate about her program,” says Reddy. “She is also typical of our agricultural education graduates who have been getting very high scores on the state education exams and are doing extremely well as teachers and leaders in the communities they serve.”

In 2009, Nashville State Community College and TSU formed a Dual Admission Agreement. It provided certain guarantees to students who committed to TSU early in their community college matriculation, such as priority advising and registration, as well as access to TSU’s campus.

Since then, the Tennessee Board of Regents instituted the Tennessee Transfer Pathways program, which superseded DAAs and provided guarantees to community college graduates statewide.

Dr. Sharon Peters, executive director of community college initiatives at TSU, says students at Nashville State continue to be on TSU’s radar.

“Nashville State should be our pipeline,” says Peters. “The majority of the students that leave Nashville State should be coming here, or considering us, particularly if they live in Davidson County.”

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

For more about community college initiatives at TSU, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/commcolleges/

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 Board of Trustees welcomes New student trustee, Approves Flat Tuition and Fees for 2020-21 Academic Year

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The Tennessee State University Board of Trustees on Thursday welcomed Tiara Thomas as the new student trustee selected by President Glenda Glover, and officially announced freezing tuition for the 2020-2021 academic year.

Attorney Andre Johnson will serve a two-year term.

Also taking his seat for the second time was Attorney Andre Johnson as the newest full voting board member appointed by Gov. Bill Lee. Johnson attended his first board meeting on March 12. He will serve a two-year term.

The board made it official that there will be no increase in tuition for the 2020-2021 academic year. The “Tiger Tuition Freeze” recommendation, put forward by President Glover to keep fees flat for undergraduate and graduate students, was also accepted unanimously.

Johnson, who will serve on the Academic Affairs and Student Affairs Committees, is a senior partner with the law firm of Manson Johnson Corner. A Tennessee native, Johnson holds a bachelor’s degree and a law degree from Howard University. He also earned an MBA from TSU. His bar admissions include the Supreme Court of Tennessee, and the United States District Court for the Middle Tennessee District.

Tiara Thomas, from Olive Branch, Mississippi, is the new Student Trustee.

Thomas, the new student trustee, is a junior political science major with a 3.95 grade point average. She is a native of Olive Branch, Mississippi. The very active student is a member of the Aristocrat of Bands, and serves as the executive chair of the TSU Votes Student Coalition. With a goal to work for the U.S. Department of Education, Thomas plans to further her education after college to pursue a career in educational policy. She will serve a one-year term.

Thomas replaces Braxton Simpson on the Board of Trustees. A top-agricultural sciences major, Simpson served two one-year terms on the board.

Bishop Joseph Walker III, chairman of the Board of Trustees, described Simpson as an outstanding member of the Board.

“We want to thank her for her tremendous service to the Board of Trustees,” Walker said. “We certainly appreciate her talent and commitment. She has been an important member of our Academic Affairs Committee. On behalf of the Board we want to thank you so much. You represented everything that TSU exemplifies, not only on campus, but all around the country.”

In early June, President Glover, in consultation with the board, announced the tuition freeze saying that her administration would not seek a hike in fees because it would cause a burden on students.

“The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic coupled with the current economic downturn would pose an additional hardship for our student population and their families,” Glover said. 

On Thursday, the board agreed with the President and unanimously approved the measure.

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.

Future Lawyer, Politician Sets Sights on Becoming Agent of Change for Justice, Says TSU Opened Doors to Opportunities

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Mariah Rhodes always wanted to be a “change agent,” to fight the injustices she saw growing up in her hometown of Memphis, Tennessee. And Tennessee State University is giving her the opportunity to make a difference.

Mariah Rhodes

“I witnessed many wrongful convictions and disparities in education while growing up as a child in Memphis,” says Rhodes, a top political science student at TSU. “I knew right then that I wanted to be a change agent because the injustices and disparities affected my family, friends and many others.”

To accomplish her dream, Rhodes says she set her sights on becoming a lawyer and eventually entering politics as an elected official focusing on education and criminal justice reform. Coming to TSU, therefore, was no accident, she says, because the university was centrally located in the “political capital” of the state, with some of the best schools, and it is closer to home.

“I am a mama’s girl. I am really closed to my mother. So, a college for me had to be three hours away or less so I can quickly get back home in case of an emergency,” says Rhodes, the older of two children raised by their single mother.

Mariah Rhodes participates in student convocation as a member of the Student Government Association. (TSU Media Relations)

“Second, as a political science major, I was looking for a school that offered the best opportunity that I can get for my future and my career. And, the state capitol is located in Nashville. Then I started looking at campus life and I fell in love with TSU. There are so many events, so many opportunities for minorities.”

Saying that coming to TSU was the best choice, the former academic standout at Power Center Academy High School graduated fourth in her class with a 3.93 grade point average and received more than $3.8 million in scholarship offers.

Mariah Rhodes, with her sister, Brianna Mason, left, and mother Denise Woods, received more than $3.8 million in scholarship offers when she graduated Power Center Academy. (Submitted photo)

“I had many opportunities to go to many other schools with full academic scholarships. I chose TSU because that was the best place that was home to me,” she says. “The family atmosphere – people willing and ready to help. The professors, advisors motivate me. Once they see that you are trying, they will take you under their wings, and that’s something I will always be grateful for.” 

Rhodes has adjusted well and proven to be an overall outstanding student. Advisor and professor, Dr. Kyle Murray, refers to Rhodes as “one of the top students in the Political Science degree program at TSU.”

“Mariah has thrived in the program and set an outstanding example of discipline and leadership among her peers,” says Murray, assistant professor of political science. “ Not only is Mariah one of the top current Political Science majors, her natural leadership skills have been exemplified by her service on the Student Court, and as TSU’s official ambassador to the White House HBCU Summit.”

Currently TSU Student Court Chief Justice, Rhodes is an HBCU White House Competitiveness Scholar. She is an honors intern with the U.S. Department of Justice. Although numerous, her extracurricular activities clearly exhibit her quest for knowledge and to be the best. With a 4.0 GPA, Rhodes is a member of the TSU Honors College, Golden Key International Honor Society, a graduate of the TSU Collegiate Police Academy, and president of Phi Alpha Delta Pre-Law Fraternity International, among others.

“Mariah is a natural born leader, academically talented and committed to inspiring her peers,” says Frank Stevenson, associate vice president of Student Affairs and dean of students, one of the people Rhodes credits with her success at TSU.

“She is the essence of Tiger perfection,” adds Stevenson.

Rhodes’ proven leadership skills and desire to bring out the best in others have followed her from her days at Power Center Academy. At TSU, she mentors fellow students. A former vice president of Modern Distinctive Ladies, a girls’ mentoring program , Rhodes is still actively engaged in the program.

“I love to help because I know how difficult it can be sometimes, besides many have helped me, and I am so grateful. I am just trying to give back, and I look forward to doing even more in my future career,” says Rhodes. After college, Rhodes says there is a “strong chance” she may stay in Tennessee for law school.

For more information on the TSU Political Science program, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/history/polisci.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 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, Apple coding course gives alumni, community a chance to retool amid pandemic

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University is giving its alumni and others affected by the coronavirus an opportunity to retool. The University is partnering with Apple to help those individuals learn how to code and design apps.

The “Everyone Can Code and Create” course will be offered online in the fall through TSU’s National Center for Smart Technology Innovations, which is supported by the tech giant. Scholarship applicants must show how they have been impacted by COVID-19.

Michael Davis Jr. and his wife, Keyosha, to attend coding class in the fall

Dr. Robbie Melton, the center’s director, says many people have lost their jobs or been furloughed as a result of the virus. The course gives them an opportunity to retool or gain a new skill so that they can get back into the workforce and be even more competitive, says Melton.

“TSU is the only institution that is taking what I call a comprehensive approach to help all of our stakeholders of alumni, faculty, students, staff and community,” she says. “We’re not leaving anyone out, due to the fact that COVID-19 hasn’t left anyone out.”

Michael Davis, Jr., a science teacher with Metro Nashville Public Schools, says he and his wife plan to take the class in the fall. In addition to improving his own skill set, Davis says he wants to pass what he learns on to his students.

“This is so beneficial for me as an educator because I can share this with my students,” says Davis. “It’s so important that they learn this.”

His wife, Keyosha, is a stay-at-home mother with their seven children, three of  whom have special needs.

“When my husband told me about this opportunity, I thought, this could help me finish my degree where I can be at home with my kids, and I can also teach them,” says Keyosha, who currently has an associate’s and is planning to get her bachelor’s at TSU. “I can teach my 8-year-old, who loves STEM.”

TSU and Apple launched the “Everyone Can Code and Create” initiative last year through the university’s National Center for Smart Technology Innovations. Another initiative offered by the Center is a dual enrollment program with three major school districts in Tennessee that offers high school juniors and seniors the opportunity to earn college credits while enrolled in high school.

Dr. Robbie Melton, director of TSU’s National Center for Smart Technology Innovations, assists youth learning to code. (TSU Media Relations)

“We are positioned to provide coding and creativity on site and online, for high school students to have a pathway to our computer science and “Everyone Can Code and Create” curriculums at TSU,” says Melton.

Here’s a list of some online programs at TSU for Fall 2020, beginning with the coding courses:

            PROFESSIONAL STUDIES-DEVELOPMENT

  • Apple Part I: ‘Everyone Can Code & Everyone Can Create’ – App Design and          Prototype Development
  • Apple Part II: ‘Everyone Can Code & Everyone Can Create’ – Advanced App Prototype Design
  • The Rise of eSports and Gamification in Higher Education

            UNDERGRADUATE PROGRAMS

  • Bachelor of Science (BS) in Criminal Justice
  • BS in Health Information Management
  • BS in Interdisciplinary Studies

GRADUATE CERTIFICATE PROGRAMS

  • Graduate Certificate in Applied Geospatial Information Systems
  • Graduate Certificate in Educational Technology
  • Graduate Certificate in Health Administration and Planning

GRADUATE PROGRAMS

  • Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Educational Leadership with concentrations in: Higher Education Leadership and Pre K-12 Administration
  • Education Specialist (Ed.S.) in Instructional Leadership with concentrations in: Licensure and Non-Licensure
  • Executive Master of Business Administration (Hybrid)

For information about more programs, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/online/.

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.