TSU students participate in virtual Joint Day of Service to honor legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University students and their peers from other area higher education institutions are not letting the pandemic stop them from honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The students will participate in a virtual MLK Joint Day of Service on Monday, Jan. 18. Before the coronavirus, students would gather at one of their schools before being bused to various locations throughout Nashville to volunteer as part of the special day.

This year, once students register, they will get a choice of four nonprofit organizations to virtually learn about the entities, how they are faring during the pandemic, and how to volunteer with the nonprofits. A short service activity will follow with a reflection activity on the students’ experiences.

Besides TSU, participating schools include Fisk University, Meharry Medical College, Belmont University, Trevecca Nazarene, Lipscomb University, Vanderbilt University, and Nashville State Community College.

“All of the schools agreed that despite the pandemic, students needed the opportunity to honor the legacy of MLK in a virtual setting through service,” said Dr. Erik Schmeller, director of the Center for Service Learning and Civic Engagement at TSU. “Given the racial and political upheavals of the last year and more recently, we felt the Dr. King quote, ‘Everybody can be great, because everybody can serve,’ was particularly relevant and serves as our theme this year.”

Volunteers organize classroom at Harvest Hands Community Development as part of last year’s MLK Joint Day of Service. (TSU Media Relations)

The organizations participating this year are Greater Nashville Regional Council, Turnip Green Creative Reuse, Robert Churchwell Museum Magnet Elementary, and Project Transformation.

TSU junior Brittanie Pruitt, a nursing major from Covington, Tennessee, says community service is critical, particularly amid the current pandemic.

“It’s definitely important to give back; everybody needs a helping hand,” says Pruitt. “You might need help one day.”

On Saturday, Jan. 16, TSU’s Honors College will join the Interdenominational Ministers’ Fellowship in a Virtual Nashville MLK Day Youth Symposium. The theme is “Moving the Movement: Honoring Our Past, Present and Future.

For more information about TSU’s Center for Service Learning and Civic Engagement, visit https://www.tnstate.edu/servicelearning/.

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 enhances student preparation for careers in technology in partnership with Propel Center, a New Global HBCU Headquarters for Innovation

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University is partnering with Propel Center, a new global campus headquartered in Atlanta that will support innovative learning and development for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) nationwide. TSU will collaborate with Propel Center and the entire HBCU community to bring leadership and career development programming to its students.

TSU President Glenda Glover

For the past two years, TSU has been working with Apple to launch and expand the school’s HBCU C2 initiative through the TSU Global SMART Technology Innovation Center. The initiative brings coding and creativity experiences to all 100-plus HBCUs and their communities.

In the new partnership, TSU officials say Propel Center will focus more on helping students, where the TSU Center will concentrate on faculty at HBCUs and their communities.

“Tennessee State University is excited to be partnering with Propel Center,” says TSU President Glenda Glover. “The TSU Global SMART Technology Innovation Center has been working with HBCU faculty leaders to help them learn about coding and app design and development, as well as bring coding and creativity experiences to their communities. This new partnership will strengthen that effort.”

Dr. Robbie Melton, Associate Vice President of the Global SMART Technology Innovation Center, agrees.

Dr. Robbie Melton

“The Propel Center expands the TSU Apple HBCU C2 National Hub “Everyone Can Code and Create” by creating a state-of-the-art technology innovation physical site for all HBCU students to now have full access to the latest 21st century technology tools, engineers, computer scientists, and resources to prepare them for the digital workforce,” says Melton. “Our students will now have a place to take them to the next level of innovation and entrepreneurship for the new digital careers of the future.”

Lisa Jackson, Apple’s Vice President of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives, says the tech giant is pleased to be part of the initiative.

Lisa Jackson, Apple

“We are thrilled to join with partners and community stakeholders to support the Propel Center and be part of this groundbreaking new global hub for HBCU innovation and learning, devoted to helping faculty create best-in-class curriculum and ensuring students have access to cutting-edge skills,” says Jackson.

Propel Center was imagined and designed by Ed Farm, a nonprofit dedicated to advancing education through technology — with Apple and Southern Company supporting the project as founding partners. The Propel Center is designed to connect HBCU students to technology curriculum, cultural thought leaders, entrepreneurship skills development, and accelerator programs, with a focus on social justice and equity. 

Curriculum options will include AI (artificial intelligence) and machine learning, agricultural technologies, social justice, entertainment arts, app development, augmented reality, design and creativity, career preparation, and entrepreneurship tracks. 

TSU freshman Elise Russ

Students from participating schools will access Propel Center’s online digital learning platform from anywhere, and will also have access to the 50,000 square-foot Propel Center headquarters in Atlanta, equipped with state-of-the-art lecture halls, learning labs, and on-site living for a scholars-in-residence program.

TSU freshman Elise Russ says she is looking forward to the benefits of the new partnership.

”I believe the Propel Center partnership will significantly enhance the greatness that is within not only TSU students, but all HBCU pupils,” says Russ, a civil engineering major from Nashville. “The digital platform that will be accessible to us will also readily display our research, enhance talents, and create a network among students that will ignite knowledge and mastery in various fields.”

Treveon Hayes, a TSU sophomore elementary education major from Memphis, Tennessee, says the partnership is an “amazing opportunity.”

TSU sophomore Treveon Hayes

“It’s another example of HBCUs preparing students for life after graduation,” says Hayes.

Last month, TSU’s national coding hub welcomed 23 new HBCUs to be community coding centers, which means almost three dozen schools are now part of the initiative.

To learn more about TSU’s HBCU Cinitiative, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/hbcuc2/.

For more information about Propel Center, visit PropelCenter.org.

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 continuing to prioritize safety of students, employees with COVID-19 plan for spring return

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University officials are continuing to take steps amid the pandemic to ensure students and employees are safe when classes resume next week. A comprehensive plan that was put in place last semester was effective, officials say, and they plan to utilize it once again and enhance it where necessary.

Currently, the plan is to open residence halls on Jan. 21 and begin online classes Jan. 25 for two weeks. In-person classes will resume Feb. 8. The semester will conclude with a graduate commencement ceremony on April 30, and undergraduate ceremony on May 1.

“The health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff are a top priority,” says TSU President Glenda Glover. “While there appears to be a light at the end of the tunnel, it is important that we remain COVID-19 vigilant, which is why we continue to consult with TSU stakeholders and public health officials to ensure the well-being of everyone on campus.”

Dr. Curtis Johnson, chief of staff and head of the TSU Coronavirus Pandemic task force, says the university will “repeat the process used in fall 2020 for students returning to the university for spring 2021.”  

“The university experienced success in the process and will review the after-action comments and data yields,” says Johnson. “Meetings are presently occurring to ensure changes to improve services for students and employees are considered and instituted when and where possible. The university is conducting numerous cleaning and sanitizing processes to prepare facilities for the spring opening.” 

Like last semester, the university is implementing a 14-day “safer in place” policy upon arrival for all students in residence halls. The policy requires students to stay in their places of residence unless they need to perform essential activities, such as getting food, or going to medical appointments.

Classrooms will continue to be assessed to determine the number of students that can occupy the rooms, based on guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Computer labs are also being marked to determine the number of persons allowed to use them at the same time. Desks and high-touch surfaces will be cleaned and disinfected throughout the day for classes, labs, and public areas between usage.

Other safety measures for the campus include wearing of face coverings and social distancing at all times; regular cleaning and sanitizing of buildings; temperature checks upon entering campus and randomly throughout campus; and use of shields throughout the campus. There’s also a non-emergency COVID-19 phone line and email for reporting concerns.

The University will also work closely with the Tennessee Department of Health for contact tracing. For any positive diagnostic test results, TSU will operationalize the protocols in place, and will follow the state reporting guidelines.  A contact tracing team will be in place to identify potential secondary cases to limit the spread of infection. TSU has also established its own early contact tracing.

Frank Stevenson, TSU’s associate vice president of student affairs and dean of students, says about 2,200 students will be living on campus in the spring, and that the university is doing everything it can to create a safe and comfortable learning environment for them.

“We will continue to provide (COVID-19) testing for our students on campus through our Health Center,” says Stevenson. “Students can schedule a time to be tested with our health professionals five days a week. We will also continue our telehealth services. This was a new initiative to provide services to students 24 hours a day, including mental health services.”

Since students began distance learning in March 2020, TSU has also worked diligently to make sure they have the electronic devices needed to complete their coursework, like laptops. Students say they appreciate the university’s effort in this regard, as well as what it’s doing to keep the campus safe during the pandemic.

“I feel very safe returning in the spring,” says Treveon Hayes, a sophomore elementary education major from Memphis, Tennessee. “At the beginning of last semester, I was uncertain. But with the requirements and guidelines TSU has put in place, I feel safer than ever. TSU has my trust.”

As for distance learning, the university has received thousands of dollars to assist with technology needs, including support for course redesign software and staff to aid in remote teaching and learning.

“What TSU is doing is great,” says Alexus Dockery, a sophomore from Memphis majoring in political science at TSU. “It will allow students to get the support they need, and further advance their education.”

TSU is scheduled to have a virtual Spring 2021 Faculty-Staff Institute on Jan. 19. To see a calendar of other spring events, visit https://bit.ly/3awJqUl.

To view TSU’s operational guidelines during COVID-19 and more, visit http://bit.ly/37DPoAY.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

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

TSU President Glenda Glover named one of ‘Ten Most Dominant HBCU Leaders of 2021’

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University begins the new academic year with a major accolade for the University’s president.

Dr. Glenda Glover has been named one of the “Ten Most Dominant HBCU Leaders of 2021,” by HBCU Campaign Fund, a national non-profit organization that advocates for student and higher education.

“I am honored to be included with this distinguished group of university presidents selected by HBCU Campaign Fund, a well-respected organization that advocates for our students and institutions,” President Glover said.

“It is particularly gratifying because of the common mission we share of ensuring the highest academic achievement of our students.”

According to HBCU Campaign Fund, presidents and chancellors selected for the Ten Most Dominant HBCU Leaders award have “proven their responsibilities for shaping policies, changing perspectives, and making decisions that affect millions of individuals in the higher education space, and the daily needs of what an HBCU or Minority-Serving Institutions contributes.”

“These individuals play a prominent and influential role in leadership and display the characteristics of the following responsibilities in the progression of effectively moving an institution forward,” said Demetrius Johnson Jr., president, CEO and founder of HCF.

See the complete listing of award recipients and fourth-class inductees via https://hbcucampaignfund.org/the-ten-most-dominant-hbcu-leaders-of-2021/.

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 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.