Category Archives: Research and Sponsored Programs

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.

One year after tornado, TSU family remembers community support, help from ‘total strangers’

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University may have been caught in the devastation of a tornado that hit northwest and east Nashville early last March, but the campus family also experienced an outpouring of community support and resilience in the aftermath that has fostered healing and a spirit to rebuild.

President Glenda Glover pets 1-year-old Gracie the goat, which was born the night of the tornado. Gracie’s mother survived the storm and gave birth to two kids that night. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

“It was so much outpouring of love and support. People came from different places on different days,” says Dr. Glenda Glover, president of TSU. “Nashvillians stuck together, some students were on spring break and when they came back, they jumped in. We were overwhelmed with the level of love and support and care.” 

March 3 marked the one-year anniversary of the EF2 tornado that struck shortly after midnight. TSU’s Agriculture Farm took the biggest hit. Five of six structures, including research facilities, greenhouses, and a pavilion, were reduced to rubble. Two calves were killed, and several goats injured.

Dr. Chandra Reddy, Dean of the College of Agriculture, talks to a reporter from the spot where the nearly 300-seat pavilion once stood. The pavilion and several other structures were damaged. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

Other parts of the main campus received damage to signs and building rooftops, as well as downed power lines, uprooted trees, and other debris. About 85 students who did not go away for the spring break were on campus, but no injuries were reported.

Officials estimate total damage to the campus to be about $20 million.

However, amid the scars of what was lost or destroyed, one thing that has stood out is the volunteerism displayed by people from all walks of life. When asked what they remembered most about the tornado and the aftermath, faculty, staff, and students noted the general outpouring of support from total strangers.

Dr. S. Keith Hargrove, Dean of the College of Engineering, right, led a team of faculty, staff, student and community volunteers to remove debris. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

Jeia Moore arrived in Nashville from her spring break a few days after the storm hit.  

“It was sad to see my campus like that because so much student work had been lost,” says Moore, a junior information systems major from Memphis, Tennessee. A year later, however, Moore is impressed with how the university has been able to pull through, even with the onset of the coronavirus at the same time. 

“TSU, we are not going to be down too long. We are going to come back,” says Moore. “I am just happy that we are still able to function like we never missed a beat.” 

Volunteers from all walks of life signed up to help with the cleanup effort after the tornado. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

Bryce Daniel, a junior health sciences major from Fort Worth, Texas, was in his dorm room in Hale Hall when the storm hit. Hale Hall was not affected, but the sight of the destruction on the other side of campus was too overwhelming for Daniel to ignore. 

“I immediately felt I needed to give back and help my campus recover,” says Daniel, who’s part of “Generation of Educated Men,” or GEM, a social and educational student group. The group mobilized and was among the first volunteers to join the cleanup effort on the Ag farm. 

Members of Generation of Educated Men, a campus group of TSU students, were among the first volunteers to join the cleanup effort. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

“I was glad to be safe and blessed to still have all of my things. So, it was just natural to go and give back to help clean up my campus,” says Daniel. 

Some renovations on the main campus are either completed or ongoing. As for the Ag farm, TSU officials say discussions with state and federal agencies and insurance underwriters are ongoing, and construction should start soon and be completed by year’s end.  

“Effort to reconstruct is slower, complicated by the COVID-19 pandemic. But we are moving along, it might take some time, but we will get there,” says Glover. 

Debris was thrown about in every corner of the Ag farm in the aftermath of the tornado. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

On the learning aspect, she says it’s been a grueling year, because things are at a slower pace. How students are taught changed drastically, with teaching and learning now about 85 percent virtual.  

“We have some aspects that are not virtual, and we do require in-person learning, so we want to make sure that is taken care of,” says Glover. “Once COVID has run its course, we believe that we will be moving at a faster pace.” 

Dr. Curtis Johnson, associate vice president and chief of staff, heads the reconstruction effort at TSU. He says recovery will take time, but the main concern is making sure teaching and research are not affected.

As the days went by, more volunteers showed up to lend a hand in the cleanup. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

“We look forward to rebuilding a better campus,” says Johnson. “We expect our rebuilding to have better structure, better technology. ”

Dr. Chandra Reddy, dean of the College of Agriculture, agrees, saying the goal is to “make sure all of our buildings and research facilities are much better and much stronger.” 

On the show of support, Frank Stevenson, associate vice president of student affairs and dean of students, says in the aftermath of the storm he saw a campus community determined to bounce back, “not only to represent Tiger pride, but the city of Nashville strong.” 

“Our students, faculty, staff, everyone put the gloves on, rolled up their sleeves and were committed to making our campus continue in the space of beauty,” says Stevenson. 

GEM member Derrick Sanders, a junior secondary English education major from Cincinnati, Ohio, who drove into Nashville the next morning amid the destruction, says “it felt so good to see people come together for the enhancement of TSU.”

“I saw people from the community, people from different churches, even students giving out anything they had to help. It just felt good to know that we are a family, and we can help each other,” says Sanders. 

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

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

Dr. Wendolyn Inman

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

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

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

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

Jeia More

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

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

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

Jalaya Harris

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

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

Harris agreed. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

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

TSU 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 students get ‘Dream Space’; virtual ribbon-cutting highlights university, industry commitment to excellence

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Dream of an initiative that puts smart devices in students’ hands and gives them a space to learn, explore and play all at the same time. Through a partnership with Vulcan Materials Company and its visionary The Yard initiative, students at Tennessee State University now have that opportunity with an all-new Dream Space. 

President Glenda Glover

Uniquely located in the Floyd Payne Campus Center, and equipped with Apple TVs, iPads, multiple monitors with camera systems, ideation resource tools and eco-furniture, the set-up in the Dream Space allows students to achieve collaborative learning.

 “I am just super excited about this Dream Space; it is awesome,” said Destiny Pennington, a junior public relations major from Detroit, at the virtual ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new innovation center.

Mister TSU Naton Smith and Miss TSU Mariah Rhodes cut the ribbon to the Dream Space. (TSU Media Relations)

Fellow student Jeffrey Reed, a freshman business administration major from St. Louis, Missouri, was equally elated.

“Just imagine a place where you can sit right on campus and interact with CEOs from anywhere and gain knowledge about the professional world. This a great opportunity for students at this university,” Reed said.

President Glenda Glover recently led a host of university administrators, Vulcan officials, and student leaders in a virtual ribbon-cutting ceremony, highlighting TSU’s commitment to support student ideas, scholarships and internships. The president described the Dream Space as “a major, positive investment in our students.”

“When you invest in TSU, you are investing in our best and brightest,” she told Vulcan Materials Company and its partner, The Yard.

“I would like to personally thank you for helping TSU to continue to empower tomorrow’s generation today. The Dream Space Reveal today would not have been possible without your generous contribution.  We recognize your commitment to equity, inclusion and diversity. We welcome your commitment to our students.

Darren Hicks, Vice President of Human Relations, Vulcan Materials Company, speaks at the virtual ribbon-cutting.

Last year, Vulcan Materials Company announced plans to support academic excellence programs at historically black colleges and universities. The company partnered with The Yard and built “a unique relationship” with HBCUs in the Southeast, including TSU. The company said Dream Space connects tech, talent and culture to advance innovation, infrastructure and inclusion, as well as a way for students to achieve academic success through technology and virtual learning to become entrepreneurs and successful employees. 

As part of the initiative, Vulcan and The Yard also launched the “Pitch Competition, as a pipeline for HBCU “students to go from classroom to boardroom.” The competition allows students to submit and defend innovative ideas. The winning idea is pitched to companies and industry leaders.

Erskine ” Chuck” Faush, Cofounder and Chair of The Yard, interacts with a Pitch Competition participant in the Dream Space. (TSU Media Relations)

Darren Hicks, vice president of human relations for Vulcan materials Company, who led a team to TSU last year, said through the partnership with The Yard, Vulcan made a commitment to create opportunities for students through scholarships and internships.

“When we visited Tennessee State University last year, we all confirmed that the talent that exists at TSU must also become part of our Vulcan family,” Hicks said. “So, we are all excited to be a part of launching our second season with students here in our Pitch Competition. We are excited to be here as part of the unveiling of the Dream Space, and we look forward to strengthening the relationship with TSU.”

Four TSU student participants in the Pitch Competition display gift items from Vulcan Materials Company and The Yard. They are, from left, Jeffrey Reed, Destiny Pennington, Tredarius Lassiter and Davin Latiker. (TSU Media Relations)

Erskine “Chuck” Faush, cofounder and chair of The Yard, said the goal of the Dream Space is to create and invest in students with physical spaces to encourage and empower global learning. He said the $1 million commitment from Vulcan Materials to fund student ideas and collaboration, scholarships, internships, career placements and Dream Spaces are supporting local communities and global economies.

“Thanks so much for allowing us to be a part of the TSU family. This is the place where excellence lives,” Faush said. “We are really happy and moved to be a part of the next generation of leadership. Our goal is classroom to boardroom.”

The Yard Cofounder and Chair Erskine “Chuck” Faush, left, presents a check for $10,000 to TSU officials to support Pitch Competition student winners. The officials are: Frank Stevenson, Associate VP for Student Affairs; Dr. Curtis Johnson, Chief of Staff and Associate VP; and Terrance Izzard, Associate VP for admissions and recruitment. (TSU Media Relations)

He said the Pith Competition, which started last year, has awarded more than $100,000 in scholarships and grants. Six TSU students participated in the Pitch Competition Oct. 8, with ideas ranging from app development for critical needs, to innovative ways to improve campus life, like a cybercafé. The top three winners were: Widmark Cadet, first place, $4,000; Tredarius Lassiter, second place, $2,500; and Destiny Pennington, third place, $1,500.

“We created the Pitch Competition, Leadership Talks and Dream Spaces so employers can experience first hand how talent, connectivity and collaboration drive growth,” Faush said, as he presented the Vulcan check to the university for $10,000 to support the student winners at TSU.

Terrance Izzard, associate vice president for Admissions and Recruitment; Dr. Curtis Johnson, chief of staff and associate vice president for administration; and Ashley Daniel, chief engagement officer The Yard/FSE, worked with Vulcan Materials and The Yard to coordinate the setup of the Dream Space.

Izzard described the Dream Space as a place for students to share ideas, collaborate around entrepreneurship opportunities, and educational and professional development.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To learn more about the TSU College of Health Sciences, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/health_sciences/.
Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

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

TSU, 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.