Category Archives: RESEARCH

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.

TSU Thanks Healthcare Workers On the Frontlines Fighting COVID-19, Highlights National Nurses Week

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University recently showed its appreciation for frontline workers in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic by gifting more than 2,500 potted African Violet plants to healthcare workers at several hospitals, clinics and other facilities in the Nashville metro area.

Each healthcare worker received an African Violet plant with a note thanking them for their effort on the frontline. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

Representing TSU President Glenda Glover, the Dean of the College of Agriculture, Dr. Chandra Reddy, led a group of university officials and staff to deliver the plants to doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers at Ascension Saint Thomas West, Select Specialty Hospital, Nashville General Hospital, Matthew Walker Comprehensive Health Clinic, and Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

The act of kindness was in recognition of National Nurses Week, May 6-12.

Each plant, decorated in a see-through shimmering plastic wrap, carried an inscription that said, “Thank you for being on the frontline for all of us.” They were donated through a partnership with Optimara, a horticulture company in Nashville.

“We just want to say thank you to nurses, doctors, medical technicians, and other hospital workers for risking their lives to save COVID-19 patients and the community,” Reddy said, as dozens of nurses, each observing required social distance, lined up at the main entrance at St. Thomas Went to receive a plant.

Dr. Chandra Reddy, Dean of the College of Agriculture, talks to the media about TSU’s immense gratitude to the frontline workers in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

“The African violet plant we are gifting is just a symbol of freshness and hope going forward in our fight against this pandemic.”

Samantha Straton, Chief Nursing Officer at Ascension Saint Thomas West, who received the TSU representatives, thanked the university and said the hospital staff was grateful for the gift.

“This is really meaningful for our frontline caregivers who have been working so hard through the COVID-19 pandemic, and it happens to be Nurses Week,” Straton said. “This is a great way to express appreciation for the hard work of all our nurses and frontline caregivers. We really value our relationship with TSU. We often have clinical students here at Ascension Saint Thomas West as well as  some of our other facilities. It is a great partnership and we really just want to say thank you.”

The Director of the BSN program at TSU,  Dr. Pinky Noble-Britton, was among those representing the university. Like Straton, Noble-Britton highlighted the “outstanding” partnership TSU has with medical facilities in Nashville.

Samantha Straton, left, Chief Nursing Officer at Ascension Saint Thomas West, joins Dr. Reddy, and Reinhold Holtkamp, Sr., President of Optimara, to present plants to the staff of the hospital. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

“As a nurse and an educator, it’s heartwarming to see the community support, especially for the men and women on the frontlines providing care during this pandemic,” said Noble-Britton, who is also associate professor of nursing.

“We have a great nursing program and want to also thank St. Thomas West and all of the other hospitals and clinics, as well as Optimara for being such focused community partners with us.”

Reinhold Holtkamp, Sr., president of Optimara, said his company and TSU have had a long relationship in many areas.

“We have collaborated together for many years with the College of Agriculture, and they have given us a lot of support,” Holtkamp said. “So, when we had the opportunity to work together on this sign of friendship for our frontline workers together, we immediately ceased that moment.”

TSU is currently accepting applications for the traditional BSN program. For information on the program, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/nursing/bachelor.aspx

For information on the TSU College of Agriculture, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/agriculture/

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 8,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Tennessee State University to Hold Virtual Spring Preview Day April 9

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The COVID-19 pandemic may have suspended in-person recruitment activities for Tennessee State University, but it hasn’t stopped recruiters from seeking out the best and brightest students to join the TSU family. The university is inviting them along with parents and relatives to experience Spring Preview Day 2020 live on Thursday, April 9 beginning at 5p.m., and it can all take place from the comfort of their homes.

“Vision 2020: I See You At TSU” will give these potential students a new and innovative way to learn about the institution, officials say.

Terrence Izzard, associate vice president for Admissions and Recruitment says the annual event will be bigger and better than previous ones because of the circumstances and the live element.   

“Vision 2020: I See You At TSU” is more than a theme and staff have worked extremely hard to plan the ultimate TSU experience for students,” says Izzard.

The admissions and recruitment team, student ambassadors, faculty and staff will be on hand for a virtual tour that will include live student interviews about campus life, meeting academic demands, and most importantly what it takes to apply and enroll to TSU.  

“Live streaming and virtual meetings are the new normal for institutions across the country as we navigate COVID-19,” adds Izzard. “However, there is only one Tennessee State that offers students a path to success that is uniquely ours based on exceptional academic offerings, cultural awareness and access to a thriving global market in Nashville.” 

Through video clips, participants will also see some of TSU’s pride points such as the world-renowned Aristocrat of Bands, the award-winning gospel choir, and our beautiful campus through a virtual tour.

For information on Spring Preview Day and how to participate, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/admissions/preview.aspx

Department of Media Relations

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

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

TSU Health Sciences Experts Share Advice For Students, People Concerned About Contracting Coronavirus

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The coronavirus has existed for years, causing people to have respiratory infections, essentially colds.  However, Tennessee State University public health experts say the current outbreak is the result of a new strand, and that researchers are quickly trying to develop an antiviral drug.

TSU experts say students and Middle Tennessee residents can take precautionary measures to minimize their chances of contracting the coronavirus.

Dr. Wendelyn Inman, associate professor and interim Masters of Public Health program director at TSU, held an in-depth discussion with students in her Health Conditions In Functions and Disabilities Class about the coronavirus.

“The best protection is to get immunized to what we know. Many people are probably so worried about the coronavirus that they are getting the flu,” she explains.  “When the flu season starts, I always recommend to everyone the flu shot. When your immune system is alert, and it is alerted by the flu shot, other things don’t hit it as hard.”

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that there are 15 persons in the United States who have tested positive for the COVID-19, the official name given to this new coronavirus, which was first detected in Wuhan China. An East Tennessee woman recently tested positive for the coronavirus when she and her husband were about to leave quarantine on a cruise ship off the coast of Japan.

Brenda K. Batts

Brenda K. Batts, assistant professor and director of clinical education at TSU, says they should not be fearful because of the effective quarantining of people who have tested positive for the virus. However, she says there are still preventive measures that can be taken.

“Just really be very cautious about people who have coughs and colds and have high temperatures. If you are experiencing that, get checked by your physician, but don’t expose others or yourself,” Batts says. ”Make sure you use lots of hand washing and sanitizing techniques, such as when you go to gas stations, restaurants or whenever you go anywhere in the public. Keep some hand sanitizer with you and clean your hands very well.”

Coronavris symptoms, which can last from 2-14 days, include runny nose, fever, headache, sore throat, feeling unwell, and cough. To prevent the disease, the CDC recommends: washing hands; avoiding touching eyes, nose, mouth with unwashed hands; avoiding close contact with people who are sick; staying home when sick; covering cough or sneeze with tissue; and cleaning and disinfecting objects and surfaces.

Robyn Hanna, a senior public health major who works as a patient care technician at St. Thomas West Hospital in Nashville, says she’s not concerned about contracting the virus at work because of the thorough precautionary measures they are instructed to take.

“As soon as you walk through the doors, there’s a sign, ‘If you have any of these symptoms, here’s a mask. Put it on.’ It’s at every exit and every entrance,” says Hanna, a Mississippi Gulf Coast native.

“Working on the floors we know people that are diagnosed with diseases.  If they are being tested for it, they still get the precautionary items on the door. All the nurses and doctors and techs are vaccinated.  That’s a must at the hospital.”

Fellow students Joseph Racine and Meleah Haley have varying concerns regarding the disease that recently surfaced in China. Racine works as a car maintenance specialist at the Nashville International Airport when not attending classes. The senior occupational therapy major says he has noticed travelers at the airport wearing personal protective equipment, such as gloves and masks. Racine says he is not afraid of contracting the virus.

“Most of the time that I am dealing with the rental cars that I touch, I have on gloves.  Most of us wear gloves, but the people who don’t, you just kind of let them know, ‘You might want to put on some gloves,’” says Racine.

Haley, a senior health science major with a minor in public health, says she is concerned about the virus, primarily because of her upcoming travel plans.

“I’ll be taking an airplane. I’ll be going to Miami. Everybody knows that’s a place where a lot of people are,” says Haley, a Cincinnati, Ohio, native who is considering wearing a protective mask while flying.  “I am really concerned about that. I’m even concerned about being in the airport and being on the airplane with all these cases of coronavirus.  I don’t feel threatened at the university.  I don’t necessarily feel threatened in the community, but I am definitely going to be alert.”

Dr. Wendelyn Inman, associate professor and interim Masters of Public Health program director at TSU, discussing coronavirus with students. (TSU News Service, Michael McLendon)

Dr. Inman supports wearing a mask while traveling, she says students and professors should understand that wearing masks to class for protection may create suspicion that they have contracted the virus.

“If you wear a mask, it is just as protective for you as the person wearing the mask to keep you from catching something,” she says. “But, if you are on a college campus and you put one on because you are concerned, everybody thinks you have it.”

Batts says students and employees who feel sick should not attend class or visit campus.

“I do think when students or faculty have colds or fevers, and they are coughing, that they should not be coming to campus.  They should be seen to make sure they don’t have any form of that virus,” she says. “Most of the time people transport any type of respiratory virus to the environment by tabletops, instruments, equipment and labs.”

Walretta H. Chandler, TSU’s Student Health Services nurse, says students experiencing flu-like symptoms should visit the university’s health center located in in the Floyd-Payne Campus Center, Kean Hall, Room 304. Students can also call (615) 963-5291 to schedule an appointment.

Visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-in-us.html to learn more about the coronavirus. For more information on TSU’s College of Health Sciences, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/health_sciences/

Department of Media Relations

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

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

TSU Students Named Fellows of National Transportation Research Board Minority Student Program

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Five TSU students are now members  of the prestigious Minority Student Fellows Program of the National Transportation Research Board, or TRB.

Kahlil Andrews, a graduate student in civil engineering, presents his research at the TRB annual conference in Washington, D.C. (Submitted Photo)

The students, from the Colleges of Engineering, and Public Service, were recently accepted into the program at the TRB’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C. This followed the acceptance of technical papers the students presented from research conducted late last year.

“Representing my university in the Transportation Research Board Minority Fellows Program was one of the most wonderful and involving experiences I’ve ever had,” said KeAnna Dakwa, a sophomore civil engineering major from Huntsville, Alabama. Dakwa’s research was on “Analyzing Traffic Circles as They Pertain to Crash Severity.”

Tyler Thompson, a senior urban studies major from Naperville, Illinois, who presented on  “After the Referendum: Fixing Traffic in Nashville, TN,” said he was honored to be accepted as a fellow of the TRB program because of the opportunities it affords him.

Dr. Kimberly L. Triplett

“I enjoyed my experience at the TRB annual meeting,” Thompson said. “I was able to network with people who are in the same field of study as myself, while sharing my research with people from all over the country.”

Other TSU students who were accepted into the TRB  Minority Fellows Program were: Cam’Ron McKinney, sophomore civil engineering major from Cleveland; Dominique Wallace, senior civil engineering major; and Kahlil Andrews, who is pursuing his master’s degree in civil engineering.


Dr. Kimberly L. Triplett, associate professor of urban studies in the College of Public Service; and Dr. Deo Chimba, associate professor of civil engineering in the College of Engineering, accompanied the students as advisors.


A program unit of the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, the TRB annual conference promotes innovation and progress in transportation through research. The Minority Student Fellows Program, established in 2010, actively explores research, ideas, and solutions from diverse perspectives with the goal of increasing the number of underrepresented minorities in the transportation field.

The new members of the Minority Student Fellows Program and one of their professors attend a reception in Washington, D.C. Pictured from left are: KeAnna Dakwa, Kahlil Andrews, Dr. Deo Chimba, Cam’Ron McKinney, Tyler Thompson and Domnique Wallace. (Submitted Photo)

According to Chimba and Triplett, the TSU students and new TRB fellows applied classroom theory to transportation problems in their research, got critical exposure to the range of transportation issues, and gained the ability to improve research writing skills.

“This program has boosted and exposed TSU underrepresented civil engineering minorities to the transportation field and TRB activities,” Chimba said.

Triplett added that participating in the TRB program has motivated non-civil engineering students to find their place in the transportation industry as urban planners.

“Participation in this program will continue to encourage student growth at TSU in urban planning within the transportation field and in TRB activities,” said Triplett, adding that previous TSU students have received employment in the transportation field through their participation in the TRB program.

This year’s TSU students received sponsorships from the Tennessee Department of Transportation, TRB and the Federal Highway Administration.

For more information on the TSU Colleges of Engineering, and Public Service, go to http://www.tnstate.edu/engineering/index1.aspx and http://www.tnstate.edu/cpsua/

Department of Media Relations

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

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

TSU Receives Funding to Train 49 Aspiring Assistant Principals in Middle Tennessee

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University’s College of Education has received a $300,000 grant to train 49 aspiring assistant principals in Middle Tennessee school districts.

Dr. Jerri Haynes, Dean of the College of Education, says the college has developed a special program of study to train the aspiring school leaders. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

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, Rutherford County Schools, Sumner County Schools and Clarksville-Montgomery County School System.

“This is an opportunity that Tennessee State University is certainly proud to receive,” said Dr. Jerri Haynes, dean of the College of Education. “It is a further recognition of the quality of our programs. It helps to increase our enrollment and helps fill the void or shortage of assistant principals, especially minorities.”

According to Haynes, participants in the program are teachers in their various systems who show leadership potential and 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, will be offered online. When completed, participants will receive professional licensure as educational leaders.

“We have developed a special program of study for this project,” Haynes said. “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. Eleni Elder, left, Professor of Educational Leadership, holds discussion with graduate students in her school finance class. The course is part of the curriculum for the aspiring assistant principal training program. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

Dr. Kirmanj Gundi is the interim chair of the COE’s Department of Educational Leadership. His department will be primarily responsible for conducting the training, which he called a “remarkable opportunity.”

“When we became aware of the grant through Dr. Haynes, we had less than 10 business days to come up with a winning proposal,” Gundi said. “We were successful, thanks to our leadership and a remarkable team.  Getting this grant is another opportunity for TSU to go out there and put its name out. We have an outstanding state-approved licensure program, we have great faculty.”

Current TSU students in the educational leadership program talked about the strength of the curriculum and how beneficial it would be 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. “We have practical experience, and gaining that knowledge and seeing what leaders are already doing in the field help us reflect on what we should do.”

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.

Dr. Terrance McNeil, assistant professor of educational administration and coordinator of the training program, said the partnership with the state gives TSU a great opportunity to “take an active role” in training principals.

“We at TSU believe that we have a great program that can prepare principals in a very unique manner, given our history of educator preparation,” McNeil said. “We already do a great job with educators and all-around teachers, but when you start talking about principals, you are talking about the ability to create leadership and policies that can be implemented for the betterment of the students.”

TSU’s College of Education, which has been recognized as the highest producer of teachers among HBCUs in the nation, has had a long relationship with the Tennessee Department of Education for many years. In October, the college received more than a half million dollars from the department’s Title III program to develop a Global Education Student Support Services Lab to increase student learning across the curriculum.

In 2017, TSU was one of only four applicants out of 18 to receive the Tennessee Innovation in Preparation grant, or TIP. The grants are designed to support an increase in the development of a diverse educator workforce, an increase in the production of educators in high-demand licensure areas, and promote collaboration to improve educator preparation in literacy.

For the assistant principals’ training program, Dean Haynes congratulated the following committee members for their hard work in coming out with a successful proposal that made the grant possible: Dr. Heraldo Richards, associate dean; Dr. Trinetia Respress, assistant dean; Dr. Gundi, department chair; and faculty members: Dr. Carole De Casal, Dr. Eleni Coukos Elder, Dr. McNeil, and Dr. Darren Kennedy.

For more information on programs 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

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

Tennessee State University to Begin Construction of Two New Residence Halls in January

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – In January, Tennessee State University will begin construction on the first new residence halls on the campus in 23 years.

The State Building Commission recently gave the green light for the six-story, 700-bed facility estimated at $75.3 million. It will be located between Eppse Hall and the Performing Arts Center on the main campus. The new project is part of a number of planned and ongoing constructions, including a new Health Sciences Building, that are changing the landscape at TSU.

TSU President Glenda Glover believes the new residence halls and academic building will play a major role in recruitment efforts.

“The university is undergoing a renaissance of sorts; it began with our new, higher admission standards, and continues with the new construction of the residence halls and Health Sciences Building for prospective students to enjoy and reap the benefits,” Glover said.

“We are proud of our legacy and the current buildings on campus are a part of that legacy. The facilities are the first state-funded construction projects on our campus in 23 years. These are exciting times for the university and our partners.”

Joni McReynolds, president of the TSU National Alumni Association, agreed that “building the residence halls with the best of technology will help us recruit” new students.

“I am extremely pleased to hear that the university will be able to move forward with the construction of two new residence halls,” McReynolds said.

At last year’s Homecoming, TSU broke grounds for the new residence halls, a new Health Sciences Building, and an Alumni Welcome Center. The Health Sciences Building, currently under construction on the main campus, is expected to be completed in early 2020.

Dr. Curtis Johnson, chief of staff and associate vice president for administration, said construction of the residence halls will last for 18-20 months beginning in January 2020. Prior to that, he said the university will soon begin making modifications in parking that will include groundbreaking activity.

“The facility will require some parking shift,” Johnson said. “The intent is not to lose any parking spaces, but to just relocate those parking spaces to another lot to allow the construction area laydown for the new facility.”

The building will also have a high-tech security infrastructure that gives exclusive access to occupants, he said. Outsiders coming in to use dining facilities on the first floor will not be able to enter living areas.

“Security design in this facility will include elevator lobbies, meaning that occupants will have access through their IDs to be able to access the floor you live on. There will be cameras and monitoring equipment throughout the facility,” Johnson said.

Katelyn Thompson, president of the Student Government Association, called construction of the new residence halls “a historic endeavor that will make a big and exciting difference” in student living.

“I am so happy about this news,” Thompson said. “To have them starting the construction this early means the world because I love my university, and to watch it grow with new things is amazing, as new Tigers continue to enroll and leave their mark at TSU.”

TSU’s Dean of Student and Associate Vice President for Student Affairs, Frank Stevenson, said the new residence will greatly help relieve the university of the growing demand for student campus housing.

‘This will be a state-of-the-art facility that creates a more dynamic student experience,” Stevenson said. “We are tremendously excited about the progress.”

The new residence facility will include an assortment of room types, four dining concepts, a fitness facility, indoor and outdoor meeting spaces, spa concept in some bathrooms, and laundry rooms. It will have three towers, and 4,5 and 6-story living areas. Construction is expected to be completed in summer 2020.

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 38 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 Initiative Introduces Girls To Coding and STEM

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University recently partnered with Apple, Inc. to teach middle and high school girls how to code, as well as consider careers in STEM.

Youth from ages 6 to 19 from various schools, including McKissack Middle School and HIllsboro High School, had the opportunity to experience coding at a free camp on Nov. 2, 9 and 16 in TSU’s Farrell Westbrook Complex (The Barn) on the main campus.

Apple CEO Tim Cook tweeted about the camp: “We’re proud to team up with @TSUedu and @nc100bwinc to show girls in Nashville how coding can help them realize their dreams. Can’t wait to see where your imaginations take you! “

Dr. Robbie Melton, TSU’s dean of Graduate and Professional Studies, serves as the program director for the coding initiative.

“We were able to introduce these girls to coding in a very fun, active and stimulating way,” she said.  “The students were only supposed to pick one Saturday, but some of the girls came back every Saturday.”

During the camp, participants moved around to different stations where they learned basic coding principles, and “actually coded drones and robots to move and function.”

Melton said because of the success of the camp, her office has received requests from local high schools, as well as schools in Memphis, Clarksville and Shelbyville that hope to explore coding.

“The students went back to their schools and talked to their teachers, and because of that we are now having special sessions for schools,” Melton said.  “We got a call from Hillsboro High School’s parent community where we went on Monday to do ‘Everyone Can Code. Everyone Can Create.’ Antioch is also on board. These are schools that have reached out because of their students to say, ‘Hey, can we have more?  Can we bring students to you, or can you all come to us?”

Students from various schools in Nashville gather for photo following a free coding camp held in TSU’s Farrell Westbrook Complex. (Submitted Photo)

In July, TSU launched  HBCU C2 “Everyone Can Code and Create,” a national initiative supported by Apple, which seeks to bring coding experiences to historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and underserved communities. The initiative is part of TSU’s newly established National Center for Smart Technology Innovations, created through the  HBCU C2 Presidential Academy. The girls coding camp is an extension of the initiative.

Dr. Veronica Johnson is president of the Metro Nashville Chapter of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Inc., which partnered with TSU and Apple. She said black women and girls are “vastly underrepresented” in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, as well as performing arts.

“By exposing STEM projects at an early age, it could help increase their chances of exploring these fields, as they pursue academic degrees and seek future career opportunities,” Johnson said. “Having access to develop needed skill sets to survive in the 21st digital landscape will be critical to the economic impact of the future of black communities.”

Eleven-year-old Genesis Wells, who attends Cresswell Middle Prep School of the Arts, said she found out about the camp from her mother, Ariel Wells, who works at TSU.

Genesis Laniah Wells, a student at Cressell Middle Prep School of the Arts, attended the girls’ coding camp with her mom Ariel Wells, who works at TSU. (Submitted Photo)

“I enjoyed playing in Swift Playgrounds the most and GarageBand,” she said. “I enjoyed Swift Playgrounds because you get to control a character named Bright and make him collect coins, and it makes your brain think a little bit. I enjoyed GarageBand because I got to make beats and I love music, so that’s just a dream for me.”

Wells, who aspires to be a singer, actor and dancer, said she is also considering a career as a pediatrician.

Dr. S. Keith Hargrove, dean of TSU’s College of Engineering, said the camp was also beneficial to the participants’ parents, or guardians.

“The program also informs parents and adults about the digital world of information technology, and how as individuals you can take control of your learning and knowledge based on your own needs and career goals,” said Hargrove. “The ability to manage information and make data-driven decisions will continue to be a major skill for today and tomorrow’s workforce”

TSU has been charged with strengthening the collaboration by offering the company’s coding curriculum to new audiences. That expansion also includes providing TSU alums the opportunity to learn the fundamentals of app design and app development for free.

To date, TSU has impacted 32 HBCUs with the  HBCU C2 Initiative, including visiting every HBCU in Arkansas and meeting with a representative from each HBCU located in Louisiana. Melton said in April 2020 Apple will establish an HBCU Appstore, where HBCUs can share the various apps they have created. 

“If you can dream it, we can design it and we can code it. Everyone is not going to be a coder, but everyone can think and create.,” she said. “We leave every academy with apps that they have designed to address a community, an education or a workforce need.”

Also in July, TSU launched the first community “Everyone Can Code and Create” initiative for youth on its Avon Williams Campus. The initiative is also part of the National Center for Smart Technology Innovations.

For more information about the girls coding camp, contact ablack1@tnstate.edu, or call 615-963-7269.

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 38 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 Secures $11.4 Million To Help Provide Families With Better Childcare In Tennessee

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Child care providers in Tennessee will have the opportunity to receive additional training thanks to a new $11.4 million federal grant secured by Tennessee State University’s Center of Excellence for Learning Sciences. The university believes better trained daycare providers will mean better daycare services for Tennessee families.

(Photo by Michael McLendon, TSU Media Relations)

Dr. Kimberly Smith, the center’s director, says the grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will allow TSU to continue to serve as the professional development hub for the state as it relates to child development and early childhood training.

“We are expanding our online courses through the Tennessee Child care Online Training System, and we will now be responsible for the state’s workforce registry for all child development professionals who work in the area of childcare across the state,” says Smith.

Tennessee Early Childhood Training Alliance (TECTA), a statewide professional development system that provides assistance for employees at licensed childcare facilities, is funded by Tennessee State University through a contract with the Tennessee Department of Human Services and is housed under the Center of Excellence for Learning Sciences.

Some of the additional courses that will soon be available include: Early Literacy Matters; Eat, Play and Rest; Inclusion; and Brain Development.

“One thing that makes TECTA so unique is that we work with early childhood professionals to strengthen the workforce within the state for childcare. We get to work with the family home providers and the centers, and then we provide funding for students,” adds Smith.

Dr. Kimberly Smith (Photo by Michael McLendon, TSU Media Relations)

Carmen Davis says without help from TSU’s TECTA program, she
would not have been able to open her three-star childcare company, Ms. Carmen’s Precious Moments.

“I was working full-time and going to school, and I couldn’t afford to do both,” says Davis, who started her business in 2007. “TECTA came in to offset the price, which allowed me the opportunity to go and achieve my CDA (Child Development Associate) through their grant and their funding.”

Davis, whose company is licensed to care for seven clients, says she has taken advantage of many of the courses currently offered by TECTA.

“I went through all of the TECTA orientations which were very beneficial because I work with a multi-age group. I went through the infant–toddler training, the preschool training and the administration training, which benefits me as far as my business part,” she says. “I also went through the TECTA Business Administration credential which helped with putting together a portfolio, the taxes part of it, the business sheets part of it and being professional. It took me to another level of professionalism.”

Tonita Robinson’s children have attended Ms. Carmen’s Precious Moments since they were six-weeks old. She says her two-year-old and four-year-old have benefited from Davis’ experiences with TECTA.

Carmen Davis, owner of Ms. Carmen’s Precious Moments. (Photo by Michael McLendon, TSU Media Relations)

“She does a good job identifying my kids’ triggers,” says Robinson. “She makes sure if my son is acting out, she doesn’t say he’s just acting out. She’s able to say why he was acting out, what she thinks might have caused him to act out, and what we can do to work together to fix it.”

Robinson, who works as a financial advisor at Napier Elementary School, believes the new funding is necessary for child care professionals to provide the best services.

“Everything changes everyday. Nothing stays the same,” she says. “The curriculum changes, and if the childcare provider’s job is to help prepare kids for when they get into school, then they need to have the training that regular teachers in the school system have so they will be on one accord.”

Dr. Frances Williams, associate vice president for Research and
Sponsored Programs at TSU, credits Smith, TECTA Statewide Program Director Lin Venable and the center’s team approach for TECTA’s success.

“Under Dr. Smith’s leadership, she and her team have grown the center, as well as the funding. In this case, with TECTA receiving a little over $11 million for the year, this is the largest award for TECTA to date,” says Williams.

Shelia Westbrooks, the Middle Tennessee regional advisor for TOPSTAR, says the advisors have found the “most-needed” areas for the new programs and TECTA services in general are rural areas.

“They are not familiar with the program, and if they are, they don’t have internet access,” says Westbrooks, who worked as a licensed childcare provider for more than 20 years. “We try to make sure that we get materials to them to keep them aware of how family child care is changing in the state of Tennessee.”
Westbrooks contends that many rural family care providers don’t know that there is funding available to assist them.

“TECTA helped fund my education. With the fund I got I was able to get my degree and now as an advisor, I work with over 239 providers in the Middle Tennessee Region,” she says. ‘It’s all about higher education and we want them to get their CDA credential and their accreditation credential, and TECTA helps to pay for all of that. A provider who works for themselves may not always have that extra funding, and so TECTA is that bridge to get them where they want to be.”

The Tennessee State University Center of Excellence for Learning Sciences was established in 1984, and began administering the TECTA Program in 1993.

For more information about TECTA, visit tecta.info or call 615-277-1697.

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 38 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.

Hundreds of High School Seniors, Juniors and Parents Review TSU Programs and Offerings During Spring Preview Day

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Atlanta high school senior Trinity Holt has made up her mind for college. She is coming to Tennessee State University to study pre-law, and she plans to play a little golf while she is at it.

Trinity Holt, a graduating senior from Mill Creek High School in Atlanta, will be a freshman at TSU Next fall semester. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

“I fell in love with TSU after watching the school band play in the Honda Battle of the Bands in Atlanta. It was so nice,” said the Mill Creek High School standout. “I talked to the band members, and even though I was not playing, I felt like I was part of them.”

A competitive golf player since her freshman year, Holt wants to bring her game to TSU. She was among hundreds of high school seniors and juniors from across the country who attended Spring Preview Day at TSU on Nov. 9 to get information on the university’s offerings and programs.

The visitors – from about 15 states including, California, Texas, Michigan, Illinois and Wisconsin – had the opportunity to see the campus, get acquainted with admission processes, and meet with academic departments with displays in Kean Hall. They also interacted with student organization leaders, including Mister TSU and Miss TSU. They toured the campus, as well as took in the Big Blue Tiger Spring Blue & White Football Game in Hale Stadium, with entertainment by the world-renowned Aristocrat of Bands.

From right, high school senior Le’Kieffer DeBerry, her brother Kanaan, mother Kendra, a TSU alum, niece Mc’Kenzie, and father Dale DeBerry attend Spring Preview Day 2019. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

“Today was amazing because students from all across the country got the opportunity to see exactly what makes TSU special,” said Terrence Izzard, associate vice president for Enrollment Management and Student Success. “Today was filled with activities for parents and students. We were also blessed to have members of our academic departments on hand to give information about programs, scholarships and internships.”

Earlier in a ceremony in Kean Hall, Dr. Curtis Johnson, TSU chief of staff and associate vice president for administration, greeted the visitors on behalf of President Glenda Glover, who was traveling. He directed his comments mainly at parents.

Terrence Izzard, TSU’s Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Success, middle, talks to a family during Spring Preview Day in Kean Hall. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

“I encourage you parents to be excited and to know that those leaders that you brought here today are going to meet leaders that I want you to talk to,” Johnson said. “Drill them about what they are doing here and how that will help your child. We want you to know that TSU is about business and that we are going to take care of your children.”

Katelyn Thompson, president of the student government association, also spoke and introduced the visitors to the various campus organizations.

TSU admissions officials assist visiting students and parents in Kean Hall during Spring Preview Day. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

Like Trinity Holt, many students came to Spring Preview ready to make TSU their next home for their college careers, while several others said they were impressed with the reception they received, the programs, as well as the campus and the family atmosphere.

Le’Kieffer DeBerry, from Holly Springs, Mississippi, came with her mother Kendra, a TSU alum,  father Dale, brother Kanaan, and her niece Mc’Kenzie. With a plan to major in pre-med, Le’Kieffer said she is trying to make up her mind after looking at other programs, and she thinks TSU would be a good fit, especially since her mother attended TSU and her grandmother, Eloise Thompson Jackson, was a longtime professor in the dental hygiene program.

“I am not a stranger to TSU. My mother and grandmother always talk a lot at about the programs and the nurturing students receive,” Le’Kieffer said. “I have been seriously thinking about coming here.”

“I definitely think TSU will be a good choice for her,” Kendra DeBerry, who graduated TSU in 1989, added. “I want her to have that HBCU experience. I love TSU. I think the school has a lot to offer.”

Kito Johnson, who also traveled from Rosswell, Georgia, with his son Immanuel, said Spring Preview Day was very encouraging.

“We have looked at quite a few colleges,” he said. “This is the first HBCU we have looked at and am very glad that we came.”

“My experience here was pretty cool,” added Immanuel, who first heard about TSU at a college fair. “After the counselor talked about the school, I decided to come and look at it. I like what I see – a nice campus, nice people and great programs.”

Immanuel wants to major in psychology. He is also interested in the Honors College.

For more information on admission to TSU, go to http://www.tnstate.edu/emss/

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 38 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.