Category Archives: GRANTS

TSU reports more than $70 million in annual research funding, highest ever in school history

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Faculty at Tennessee State University attracted more than $70 million in sponsored research and external funding during the 2020-21 fiscal year, a new school record.

President Glenda Glover

This marks the third consecutive year the university has exceeded $50 million in annual sponsored research funding and beats the previous record of $54.5 million set in 2016. TSU ranks among the top historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) attracting the most research funding in the nation. 

“This continued record-breaking endeavor is a true testament to the hard work and tenacity of our faculty and staff, especially as we navigate the financially rough waters caused by COVID-19,” says TSU President Glenda Glover. “A crucial cornerstone of an institution’s success is measured through its research.”  

Dr. Frances Williams

In addition to the increased research awards, TSU officials say faculty and staff also submitted the highest number of proposals in the university’s history for a single year. Of the 221 proposals submitted to various funding agencies, a record 160 were awarded for funding. 


“This increase in research awards received shows the commitment of our faculty, staff, and students to their scholarly activities,” says Dr. Frances Williams, associate vice president for Research and Sponsored Programs.  “These efforts demonstrate the university’s research competitiveness, which is also evidenced by TSU’s Carnegie Classification as an R2: Doctoral University.” 

Of the funding received this year, a $14 million grant to the Center of Excellence for Learning Sciences to support the Tennessee Early Childhood Training Alliance (TECTA) from the US Department of Health and Human Services was the single largest award received. Next was a $6 million grant from the US Department of Agriculture National Institute for Food and Agriculture to lead a national effort in developing new tools to manage a wood-boring beetle that attacks trees. 

Dr. Kimberly Smith

“I am thrilled about TSU reaching this record accomplishment in research funding,” says Dr. Kimberly Smith, director of the Center of Excellence for Learning Sciences at TSU. She is using her funding to provide professional development support, such as training, tuition assistance, and mentoring to center-based and family childcare providers across the state of Tennessee.

“I am excited about the positive energy and momentum and look forward to TSU continuing to reach new milestones in research funding,” adds Smith. 

Dr. Karla Addesso

In the College of Agriculture, whose faculty account for more than half of all awards received, Dr. Karla Addesso is using her $6 million NIFA grant to lead a team of researchers and graduate students in a multi-state and multi-commodity project at TSU’s Otis L. Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee. They are studying the “management of a genus of related flatheaded borer beetles” that attack trees and other woody plants in nursery, landscape, fruit, and nut orchard systems. 

“These beetles are a key concern to nursery producers in Tennessee and other states, as well as in walnut in California, hazelnuts in Oregon, and blueberries in Florida,” says Addesso, associate professor of entomology. 

Axel Gonzalez

Axel Gonzalez, a graduate student with Addesso, says working on the project and the TSU research environment have allowed him to gain experience in different areas, such as learning to set experiments in field and lab conditions, as well as data collection and analysis.  He is also excited about the level of research funding the university is receiving.

“Under Dr. Addesso’s supervision, my skills as a researcher have improved exponentially,” he says. “Now I’m able to see science from a different perspective.”

Here are some of the other top awards received in 2020-21: 

  • Dr. Jerri Haynes, Dean of the College of Education, multiple awards totaling $1,325,000, from the Tennessee Department of Education.  
  • Dr. De’Etra Young (College of Agriculture), $1,005,263 for the “TSU 1890 Scholarship Program: Training and Mentoring the Next Generation of Leaders in Food and Agricultural Sciences” from the US Department of Agriculture. 
  • Dr. Lin Li (College of Engineering), $1,000,000 to provide scholarships to support Undergraduate Student Success and Broaden Participation in Engineering and Computer Science, from the National Science Foundation. 

  • Dr. John Ricketts (College of Agriculture), $1,000,000 for Rapid Rollout of eight National Standard-based Rigorous and Remote AFNR Courses for Underserved College-bound Students, from the US Department of Agriculture. 
  • Dr. Margaret Whalen (College of Life and Physical Sciences), $877,180 for the “MMC, VICC, & TSU Partnership in Eliminating Cancer Disparities,” from the US Department of Health and Human Services. 
  • Dr. Robbie Melton (Graduate School), $788,577 to provide Strategic Planning to Implement Open Educational Resources and Practices in HBCUs 2020-22, from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. 

For more information on sponsored programs at TSU, visit https://www.tnstate.edu/research-1/

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 39 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and eight doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

30 TSU Students receive business, leadership training in PetSmart paid summer experience

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Thirty TSU students are participating in a seven-week virtual paid summer experience with PetSmart, the nation’s largest retailer of pet products and services. The TSU Career Development Center is coordinating the training, which started June 21 and ends Aug. 6. 

Tanya McNeal

Participants, who are mostly freshmen and sophomores, are receiving training in personal development, business, and leadership as part of PetSmart’s diversity and inclusion initiative. The initiative offers college students the opportunity to increase their knowledge in such areas as relationship building, effective presentation, emotional intelligence and being a team player. 

“This training is allowing me to take another look at myself as I prepare for the business world,” says Tanya McNeal, of Milwaukee, a junior agricultural science major with a business concentration. “They really try hard to make sure that you understand yourself and how you develop as an individual when it comes to emotional control.” 

Zoe Brown

Zoe Brown, a sophomore psychology major with a minor in entrepreneurship, says it is very encouraging for PetSmart to reach out to students to learn about its business practices.

“In entrepreneurship, you learn to run a business primarily by yourself and it can be difficult and challenging,” says Brown, of Austell, Georgia, “For PetSmart, which has been around for years in terms of professional development to reach out and provide us this opportunity is really helpful when I have my own business.” 

Denzel Wilcox, a sophomore business major from Nashville, adds: “This summer experience is giving me an advantage to learn the ropes on how to become a good intern. It exposes me to the corporate world as a business major.” 

Denzel Wilcox

Participants in the PetSmart Summer Experience Learning Series earn $15 an hour at three hours a week. The retail giant is underwriting the training with a $20,000 donation to the university. 

Lauren Givens, PetSmart’s Manager of Emerging Talent, says the training program is aimed to fill the gap for soft skills such as emotional intelligence, which are not taught in school, as well as to develop a pipeline of students ready to fill potential internship or full-time employment with her company. 

“At PetSmart, we look at developing and retaining the best talent from all backgrounds to really drive innovation and deliver superior result,” says Givens, adding that TSU’s offerings of concentrations in supply chain, business, marketing programs, and fashion merchandising were key in reaching out to the university. 

“So, one of the things that we develop this program for is to really create a career path. If individuals come to this summer experience, the hope is that when we start opening up our internship or full-time opportunities at PetSmart, we will have a pipeline of students ready to go that we can reach out to.” 

Antoinette Hargrove Duke, TSU’s director of the Career Development Center, says the goal of the center is to provide career readiness opportunities to “prepare our students to go in the workforce,” and PetSmart’s summer experience is helping to meet that goal. 

“The center is proud to partner with PetSmart to provide this first PetSmart Summer Experience for our students,” says Duke.  “We are excited about this seven-week business and leadership series that gives these 30 students the opportunity to increase their knowledge of the retail industry, as well as gain career readiness skills that employers seek.” 

Based in Phoenix, PetSmart has about 56,000 employees and operates approximately 1,650 stores in the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico. 

For more information on the TSU Career Development Center, visit https://www.tnstate.edu/careers/

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 39 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and eight doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU professor wins prestigious NSF CAREER award, receives nearly $500k grant for cybersecurity study

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

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

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

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

Dr. Swastik Brahma

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 39 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and eight doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU researchers named among ‘1,000 Inspiring Black Scientists in America’

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Two Tennessee State University researchers have been named among the “1,000 Inspiring Black Scientists in America” by Cell Mentor.

Dr. Frances Williams

Dr. Frances Williams, associate vice president of Research and Sponsored Programs and professor of electrical engineering; and Dr. Quincy Quick, associate professor of biology, were cited by Community of Scholars in its latest posting in Cell Mentors, a web resource that provides support and resources for emerging scientists.

Williams and Quick, acknowledged as top scientists in the nation, have extensive research, teaching and scientific backgrounds.

“It is an honor to be recognized as one of the ‘1000 Inspiring Black Scientists in America’ on Cell Mentor,” Williams said upon receiving news of her selection. 

“I am humbled to be included with some of my STEM heroes and sheroes.  I hope that students see the list and are able to envision themselves as the next generation of scientists and innovators that make a positive impact on our world.”

Williams is widely published, and holds a patent in the areas of advanced materials and devices, biosensors, and nano- and micro-electromechanical systems processing and devices. She has received grants totaling over $15 million as a principal investigator or co-principal investigator.

Dr. Quincy Quick

Quick, who investigates brain tumors and serves as scientific grant reviewer for several cancer journals in the nation, said it is a “humbling and grateful experience to be acknowledged for your work, along with your peers like Dr. Williams, as well as the other African American scientists” around the United States.

“The visibility from a minority standpoint is critical,” Quick said. “Often times our work at HBCUs is overlooked in comparison to other majority institutions. Acknowledging the breadth of all of the African Americans across all types of institutions is a critical exposure for everybody.”

In addition to research projects supported by federal state funding, Quick has mentored more than 80 students at the Ph.D., master’s and undergraduate levels, as well as a research mentor for several NSF and NIH training and developmental programs.

At TSU, students are also celebrating the selection of Williams and Quick as inspiring black scientists by Cell Mentor.

“It is no surprise that Dr. (Quincy) Quick would be recognized for an accomplishment such as this,” Mariel Liggin, a senior biology major from Louisville, Kentucky, said about her professor. “His dedication to science can be been in the classroom as well as in the lab. He is one of the reasons why I continue to pursue my major in biology.”

Of Dr. Williams, civil engineering graduate student Morgan Chatmon, congratulated her professor for the recognition.

“Dr.  Williams is a dynamic leader, powerful motivator, and beneficial contributor to the STEM staff and student at TSU,” said Chatmon, of Omaha, Nebraska.

According to the Cell mentor, The Community of Scholars is “a group of Persons Excluded because of their Ethnicity or Race (PEER) composed of postdoctoral fellows, early-stage investigators, instructors, and consultants with a common passion to advance scientific discovery while innovating diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives.”

To see the complete list, visit: https://crosstalk.cell.com/blog/1000-inspiring-black-scientists-in-america(link is external).

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 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, 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.

TSU program is helping 101 educators from the state’s largest school districts achieve their dream of becoming assistant principals

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The Tennessee State University College of Education has received another $300,000 grant from the Tennessee Department of Education to train an additional 51 aspiring assistant principals in Middle Tennessee school districts. This brings to 101 the total number of individuals to be trained in the one-year program.

Dr. Jerri Haynes

“Tennessee State University is taking the lead in the state’s assistant principal training program, as a further recognition of the quality of our programs,” says Dr. Jerri Haynes, dean of the College of Education.”

“This is an opportunity the university is certainly proud to receive. Through this program we are helping to fill the void or shortage of assistant principals, especially minorities.”

Dr. Eleni Elder, professor of educational leadership, is one of the leads on the Aspiring Assistant Principals’ Program. (TSU Media Relations)

Last January, the college received $300,000 to begin the training of the first group of 49 aspiring assistant principals. Officials say this is part of a longstanding collaborative partnership between the university, the state agency and K-12 systems aimed at attracting more qualified applicants for positions in school leadership.

The funding from the Tennessee Department Education will be used to conduct a one-year, master’s degree-level training for cohorts from the region, including four of the state’s largest school systems – Metro Nashville Public Schools, Shelby County Schools, Rutherford County and Clarksville. In May, the first cohort took one course during Maymester, an accelerated summer program. To catch up, the new group will take two courses during next year’s Maymester to finish the program at the same time.

Dr. Terrance McNeil, assistant professor of educational administration and coordinator of the training program, says to have the ability to have “such a large influence” on what happens next across the state in terms of educational leadership is a tremendous opportunity for the College of Education.

“We have taken the lead in the state in terms of this initiative,” says McNeil. “What that mean is that we have the rare opportunity to prepare the next generation of principals in cooperation with the Tennessee Department of Education, and that really makes us happy from the professional standpoint.”

TSU students in the educational leadership program contacted in January said the strength of the curriculum would be helpful in developing the leadership skills of the aspiring assistant principals.

“This program helps build character because it offers a lot of field experiences where we go and directly talk to people and observe what they are doing,” said Pragati Natraj, a first-year graduate student from India majoring in instructional leadership.

Bridney Jones, who’s also pursuing her master’s degree in educational leadership, agreed.

“I believe this course will benefit the new cohorts by giving them strong hands-on and practical experience they will need as leaders,” said Jones, of Chattanooga, Tennessee.

According to Haynes, participants in the program are teachers who have been selected by their superintendents or principals to take part in the training. All courses in the program, which is from June 2020 to June 2021, are offered online. When completed, participants will receive professional licensure as educational leaders.

“We have developed a special program of study for this project,” says Haynes. “We are going to provide them the theory and application, as well as internships and on-the-job training. They will receive university mentors, and we will work to identify mentors at their schools where they work.”

Dr. Latasha Lang, an adjunct faculty, who is one of the instructors in the program, says to be able to be taught by people who have experience as principals or assistant principals is a “wonderful opportunity” for the trainees.

“For those that are aspiring to become assistant principals, this is an excellent way to get information about what actually occurs in the school building,” says Land, who also currently serves as a high school assistant principal. “The program offers the opportunity to discuss scenarios, to be able to ask questions, and get information on things that have actually occurred. I am very excited about this.”

For more information about the Aspiring Assistant Principals Program and other graduate-level programs  in the in the College of Education, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/coe/.

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 Launches Nation’s first COVID-19 Academy to continue support and recovery for Nashville families

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) –  Tennessee State University has long-term plans to continue outreach to Nashville families, especially underserved communities hit hardest from the novel coronavirus with the newly established COVID-19 Academy.  

President Glenda Glover

“TSU has established the COVID-19 Academy to continue efforts to help the Nashville community as it recovers from the pandemic,” says TSU President Glenda Glover. “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. This is being done through a holistic approach combining access to care, human services and education.” 

Glover says the academy will connect residents with health services, such as telehealth and telemedicine providers, food banks and pantries, as well as employment and educational resources. For its online and certificate learning component, the COVID-19 Academy will conduct webinars on outreach, community gardening and preparedness, workforce development, entrepreneurship and small business development, and continuing education for healthcare individuals. 

The Academy will also maintain a strong link with Nashville Nurtures, a food resources partnership between TSU and Mount Zion Baptist Church, under the auspices of the Oprah Winfrey Foundation, to serve the needs of the community.

Dr. Ronald Barredo

TSU alumna Oprah Winfrey recently awarded a $2 million grant to NashvilleNurtures through her charitable foundation to provide immediate relief to families needing food.

Ms. Winfrey said she was compelled to help because of how African-American communities are being disproportionally affected by the virus. She voiced her concern about the lack of access to healthcare, leading to a larger number of deaths and the economic toll on communities of color.

“The reason I’m talking about it is because there is going to be a need for people of means to step up, and you got those people right here in Nashville,” said Ms. Winfrey. “I mean, this thing is not going away. Even when the virus is gone.”

Agreeing with Winfrey, Glover said it was important that TSU continue to help families as they face uncertain futures due to the devastating impact of the virus and that’s being done with the newly created COVID-19 Academy at the university.

Dr. Ronald Barredo, dean of the College of Health Sciences and a member of the university’s task force on COVID-19, says the academy, which was launched recently, serves as an institutional response to the current pandemic.

“Among its various components, the Academy provides up-to-date information about the coronavirus and links not only to the metropolitan and Tennessee state governments, but also to pandemic-related information from recognized authorities and national agencies,” says Barredo.

Dr. Veronica Oates

Through the Department of Human Sciences in the College of Agriculture, the Academy provides links to resources in nutrition education and food safety, child development and parenting, emergency preparedness, youth development, community gardening and faith-based initiatives.

According to Dr. Veronica Oates, interim chair of the Department of Human Sciences and a member of the task force, in addition to child development and family care, food handling and management is another key area of emphasis for the Academy. 

“The idea is for restaurants and people who are in food service to actually be able to implement some of the new post-COVID-19 requirements and suggestions,” says Oates. “We could provide the type of expertise or consultation to help them with how they can actually run their businesses and make sure that they are safeguarding their employees and the public.”

Rita Fleming, assistant professor and extension specialist, adds that at a time when many Americans are worried about their ability to afford food or groceries due to the pandemic, the academy, through the TSU extension services, can help people stretch their food budget.

“Tennessee State Cooperative Extension has always been dedicated to serving current and future needs of Tennesseans by providing educational information and programs that safeguard health, increase livelihood, and enhance the well-being of community needs, “ says Fleming, a task force member.

Workforce development, another key part of the COVID-19 Academy’s certificate learning component, will use available resources at the university, such as the Career Development Center, and in the community to help meet the skills and employment needs of the people.

“The Career Development Center recognizes the unique employment needs of all individuals,” says Antoinette Hargrove Duke, associate director of the center.  “We will serve as a gateway to offer career service resources to help assist in exploring different career options during these challenging and uncertain times.”

For more information on the COVID-19 Academy at Tennessee State University, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/covid19academy/educationalresources.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.

IBM Executives say TSU Students developing right Skills for tech workforce

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Two IBM executives were on campus recently to talk to TSU students about job-readiness skills and employment opportunities with the tech giant and its affiliates.

Meredith Stowell, vice president for IBM Z Ecosystem; and Shirley Meierarend, IBM’s Z series skills leader for North America, spoke to a group of students, faculty and deans about “very lucrative” job opportunities available for those with skills and knowledge in Enterprise Computing, which supports IBM’s mainframe technology.

“IBM is here today because we are very interested in building a talent pipeline for enterprise computing for both our clients or IBM,” Stowell said in a presentation on Enterprise Computing and Digital Transformation.

John Thompson, right, TSU’s Enterprise Systems Consultant, talks to a cross-section of students, deans and chair during the IBM executives’ visit. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

“We do have a number of very large clients here locally, but the other great thing about TSU is that many of their students are interested in relocating to other areas. So, that’s why I am here today, to share more with the students, and to connect students to talent and to the talent pipeline.”

Enterprise-related classes are currently being offered at TSU through an initiative that was launched in 2014 through the Department of Computer Science. The initiative was designed to prepare TSU students to be able to compete for high-paying enterprise internships and permanent job opportunities with enterprise clients. According to TSU’s Enterprise Systems Consultant, John Thompson, a former IBM senior manager, between 2015 and 2018, more than 20 students were placed with enterprise companies earning annual average starting salaries of more than $82,000, with some receiving signing bonuses of up to $10,000.

Citing a Wall Street Journal 2020 projection, Thompson said there will be more than 84,000 enterprise-related jobs available for students across all disciplines. TSU, being the only school in Tennessee offering courses in this area, can be a major source to fill the huge demand for enterprise computing skills that is being created by the retiring baby boomer generation.

During the IBM presentation, TSU President Glenda Glover, who was on travel, called in to thank Stowell and Meierarend for their visit, and Thompson, for arranging and coordinating the visit.  She stressed the importance of the TSU partnership with the company.

“This partnership is making a great difference in the lives of our students,” Glover said. “Student placement is a very key part of what we are and a major performance indicator for our state stakeholders and our accrediting body. Training our students to be adequately ready is so important. That is why we are so appreciative of this great collaboration.”

In her presentation, Stowell spoke about specific areas of enterprise computing that students should focus on in “sharpening your job-skill readiness.”  She and Thompson emphasized the importance of taking classes in fundamental COBOL business language programming, as well as a basic introduction to programming, such as C++ and Java. 

“Once again, it is really about this openness between industry and academics, and academic environment opening up to understand what specific skills that the industry needs and then partnering with those industry partners to incorporate and infuse those skills within their curriculum. So that, when the student graduates, there is a job lined up for him already,” Stowell said.

Thompson added:  “What makes TSU students so attractive is that they understand the distributing networking environment, but also, when you put them on an enterprise platform, they are right at home, and that’s where we come in. So, I work with the companies to find what they need from the enterprise platform, then I come back and work with Dr. (Ali) Sekmen and the deans, and say, ‘Look, how can we put this in the curriculum for the students to learn that skill?’ Once we do that, then we go and bring these companies in to recruit the students.”

Tamarcus Summers, a senior computer science major from Memphis, and Donovan Varnell, also a senior political science major from Nashville, were among the diverse group of majors at the presentation.

“As a computer science major, I am glad to see the focus on key areas emphasized here today that my professors talk about in preparing us for the job market,” Summers said.

For Varnell, he said he is impressed with IBM’s integration of technology into all disciplines.

“This really opens my eyes to how it is important to understand that all these technologies and coding are a need-to-know no matter your discipline,” said Varnell.

Dr. Sekmen, who is chair of the Department of Computer Science, and a facilitator of the Enterprise Systems Program, said TSU is seeking funding to establish a comprehensive enterprise computing program in the department with a mainframe computer lab.

“We will be the first institution in Tennessee to have such a computer,” said Sekmen. “We are going to develop an undergraduate concentration in enterprise computing, as well as training opportunities for TSU faculty, students and all HBCU faculty.”

Other university officials who spoke at the gathering were Dr. Jacqueline Mitchell, professor and Enterprise Systems Program manager, as well as Dr. S. Keith Hargrove, dean of the College of Engineering. Frank Stevenson, associate vice president for Student Affairs and dean of students; Dr. Coreen Jackson, dean of the Honors College; and Dr. Ray Richardson, Enterprise Program liaison, were present. Students from a cross section of disciplines and majors were also present representing computer science, engineering, criminal justice, business and social work.

For more information on TSU’s Department of Computer Science, please go to http://www.tnstate.edu/computer_science/

Department of Media Relations

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

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 39 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.