Tag Archives: Dr. Robbie Melton

TSU’s national coding hub welcomes 12 new HBCUs to be community centers

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service)Tennessee State University’s national coding hub is welcoming 12 new HBCUs to be community centers as part of Apple’s Community Education Initiative.

The schools will become community centers for Coding and Creativity as part of Apple’s Community Education Initiative and Tennessee State University’s HBCU C2. The teaching and learning initiative is designed to empower Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to expand technology and creativity experiences within their institutions and broader communities. 

“In expanding the partnership to include the twelve new HBCUs we are on track in reaching our goal to empower all 106 HBCUs with the digital competencies and technology skill sets to meet the job demands for our global digital workforce careers,” said Dr. Robbie Melton, associate vice president of the TSU SMART Innovation Global Center.

The new schools are: Alabama State University, Clark Atlanta University, Edward Waters College, Elizabeth City State University, Florida A&M University, Harris-Stowe State University, Lane College, LeMoyne-Owen College, Lincoln University, MO, Simmons College of Kentucky, Virginia State University, and Texas Southern.

They join nearly three dozen universities across the country serving as HBCU C2 community coding centers or regional hubs. Since 2019, participating HBCUs have offered new learning opportunities to thousands of degree-seeking students and community learners and expanded their impact through partnerships with local K-12 schools, community organizations, local governments, and more. 

As part of its Community Education Initiative, Apple is supporting the institutions with equipment and ongoing professional development to become the pre-eminent HBCU C2 community center to bring coding and creativity to their communities.

Faculty and educators will learn about coding and app development, and work with Apple to identify opportunities to incorporate its comprehensive Everyone Can Code and Everyone Can Create curricula, which utilizes the easy-to-learn Swift programming language. Support from Apple also includes mobile iPad and Mac labs, opportunities for student jobs and scholarships, and funding for staff. 

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

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 staying competitive in booming gaming industry with establishment of Academic eSports Center

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University is continuing to make its presence known in the billion-dollar industry of competitive video game playing, or eSports, with the establishment of an Academic eSports Center set to open on the main campus this fall.

Dr. Robbie Melton

TSU’s SMART Innovation Technology Center will oversee the new center, which seeks to promote pathways and increase diversity in STEM and STEAM programs for underserved students.

“eSports is a chance to attract underserved students into our STEAM programs for opportunities to design, code, compose, coach, manage, market, produce, and become innovators and game entrepreneurs,” says Dr. Robbie Melton, associate vice president of the SMART Innovation Technology Center and dean of Graduate and Professional Studies at TSU.

“eSports also complements our TSU-HBCU-C2 National Center’s mission in promoting ‘Everyone Can Code and Create’ partnership with Apple, Inc. for empowering underserved students and communities with technological knowledge, skills, and opportunities for the global digital workplace.“

Mena Azzoz

Leaders at historically black colleges and universities say it’s not all about fun and games, and believe eSports is a steppingstone to jobs and internships for students. TSU has launched eSports classes, and joined eSports organizations and leagues that allow students to improve their gaming skills, as well as network with tech companies. A starting salary in eSports management is around $67,000.

However, there are some students who want to become professional gamers, like TSU’s Mena Azzoz, winner of the FIFA national championship in April.

“There are a lot of opportunities out there,” says Azzoz, a senior computer science major who lives in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. “For me personally, I’m hoping that I can land a job in eSports as a FIFA player and play for a team that pays their players like a lot of FIFA pros. Winning the FIFA tournament was a step closer for me to do so.”

Henry Logan, Jr. is a sophomore English major at TSU and co-captain of the university’s eSports team. He says the new center will be game-changing.

Henry Logan Jr.

‘It’s a great expansion and investment for TSU,” says Logan. “It puts us one step closer to the goal of being successful in something we can make a long-term career in. This can draw attention to those who are interested in competitive gaming and who want to make a career in doing what they love.”

Classes that will be offered this fall through TSU’s new Academic eSports Center include “Academic eSports Pathways to STEAM” and “The Rise of eSports and Gamification in PreK-Higher Education”. Also offered will be current eSports Team programs such as FIFA, Call of Duty, Fortnite, NBA 2K, and Madden. Launching new this fall will be NHL, Rocket League, Track and Field, Valorant, Golf, Hockey, and iRacing.

For more information about eSports and TSU’s Technology Centers, contact Dr. Robbie Melton at rmelton@tnstate.edu.

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.

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 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 joins billion-dollar esports industry, new program prepares students for jobs as game creators, innovators

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University is among a growing number of HBCUs that are getting into the billion-dollar industry of competitive video game playing, or esports. 

Dr. Robbie Melton works with students in a coding program provided through TSU’s SMART Global Technology Innovation Center. (TSU Media Relations)

Historically black colleges and universities say it’s not all about fun and games, and believe esports is a steppingstone to jobs and internships for students. TSU has launched esports classes, and joined esports organizations and leagues that will allow students to improve their gaming skills, as well as network with tech companies. A starting salary in esports management is around $67,000.

 Dr. Robbie Melton is TSU’s associate vice president of the SMART Global Technology Innovation Center and dean of Graduate and Professional Studies. She says “esports crosses every major academic area.” 

 “Problem solving, creativity, curiosity, coding, math. When you play esports, all of a sudden you are into what we call high level critical cognitive skills,” says Melton, who teaches an online course called, The Rise of esports and gamification in higher education. “You’ve got to think, you’ve got to anticipate, you’ve got to now pose strategies. That’s what we call the peak of education. That’s what we want all of our students to do in whatever they’re doing.”

Michael Davis Jr., and his wife, Keyosha, who is taking coding classes at TSU. (submitted photo)

 TSU is a charter member of the Black Collegiate Gaming Association. HBCUs in the association commit to making Black esports more than an extracurricular activity by offering academic esports classes.

 Melton says the curriculum at TSU focuses on how esports connect with traditional forms of education. She also hopes students will be motivated to consider the entrepreneurial side of esports, such as actually designing and creating games. 

 While many Black teens are gamers, this stat doesn’t seem to translate to those who hold jobs in the gaming industry. An estimated 83 percent of Black teens play video games, while 68 percent of video game creators are of European or Caucasian descent, according to data from the International Game Developers Association.

 Michael Davis, Jr., a high school teacher in Nashville, is taking the esports course at TSU. He says he’s been inspired to learn “to create the game,” and not just play it. He wants his students to do the same. 

Tiffany Obiogbolu. (submitted photo)

 “I tell them about TSU, and its esports program,” says Davis. “I tell them they should consider TSU for what it has to offer that the other schools here in town don’t have.” 

Collegiate StarLeague (CSL), with some 2,000 schools and 100,000 players, recently announced a partnership with the HBCU Esports Alliance (HEA) to start a 16-team HBCU esports league to begin competition in early 2021. TSU is with the HBCU eSports League, which is powered by Cxmmunity and Amazon’s Twitch.

 “That’s just phenomenal,” says Tiffany Obiogbolu, who is taking the TSU esports course. “Esports is a great bridge between various industries and where technology will continue to go. Being able to solve real world problems through a video game aspect, will provide a multitude of results.”

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

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

TSU, Apple coding course gives alumni, community a chance to retool amid pandemic

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

            PROFESSIONAL STUDIES-DEVELOPMENT

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

            UNDERGRADUATE PROGRAMS

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

GRADUATE CERTIFICATE PROGRAMS

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

GRADUATE PROGRAMS

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

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

About Tennessee State University

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

TSU Kicks off Dual Enrollment Program with Apple Smart Technology Partnership

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – High school students looking to get an early start on college now have a home at Tennessee State University.

Dr. Robbie Melton, TSU Associate Vice President for Smart Technology and Innovation, conducts a coding class at Kenwood High School in Clarksville, Tennessee. (Submitted Photo)

Through its National Center for Smart Technology, the university has launched a dual enrollment program with three major school districts in the state that offers high school juniors and seniors the opportunity to earn college credits while enrolled in high school.

Participating school districts are Clarksville Montgomery County School System, Metro Nashville Public Schools, and Shelby County Schools.

Jalen Driskell and Larry Perry, 12th graders from Shelby County’s Trezevant High School in Memphis, are excited about the opportunity to earn early college credits. The two were among 130 students also from Pearl Cohn High, and Clarksville’s Kenwood High School, who participated in the Apple Coding class last fall as part of the dual enrollment program.

Officials from the TSU Office of Smart Technology and Innovation join faculty and staff of Kenwood High School to kick off the TSU-Apple-Kenwood Coding initiative. (Submitted Photo)

“I learned a lot from the initiative, especially working as a team,” said Driskell, who hopes to major in engineering after high school. “Being enrolled allows me to move ahead in receiving my college credits and to do better with time management.”

For Perry, he said the coding class was a lot of fun and increased his interest in doing more college work.

“Coding allowed me to gain the experience with talking to others versus typing,” he said. “Receiving this college credit allows me to be prepared for my future.”

Dr. Robbie Melton, TSU’s associate vice president for Smart Technology and Innovation, said with the Apple partnership, TSU has created an amazing opportunity for high school students to start coding and creating.

“All over the state, as well as all over the country, students are interested in coding and creativity,” said Melton. “With this dual enrollment program, it is unique in the fact that students across the state of Tennessee can now embrace the skills of coding and creativity through dual enrollment. We are positioned to provide coding and creativity on site and online, for high school students to have a pathway to our computer science and “Everyone Can Code and Create” curriculums at TSU.”

Dr. Johnnie C. Smith is the executive director of the TSU Dual Enrollment Partnerships. She said students who participate in the program must meet the TSU admission’s requirement. They must be beginning juniors with a GPA of 2.75 or better, and must have recommendations from their principals or guidance counselors to participate. In addition to the Apple coding curriculum, she said the program offers general education courses, as well as engineering and English composition. The courses are offered onsite and online.

“Like all other schools in the state, we are going after courses we know will count in different schools, like general education courses,” Smith said. “We are targeting students within the state of Tennessee. They will gain college credits to get a jump start on college and also use those credits to meet their high school requirements for graduation. We are really excited about the possibility of what this program can do at the institution.”

Some of the teachers whose students participated in the fall 2019 program said it was very beneficial and definitely makes the whole dual enrollment initiative more interesting.

“This program benefited our students by giving them the opportunity to learn the fundamentals of coding and inspired them to create something unique for a problem in their community,” said Abraham Wolfe, a high school AP Physics and Robotics teacher in the Clarksville Montgomery County School System.

Quanita Adams, a high school math teacher with Metro Nashville Public Schools, said, “The students enrolled in DE Coding this semester have tapped into a world that they may have not experienced elsewhere and produced amazing products in a short time.”

Herbert Vannostrand, a high school computer science teacher with the Shelby County Schools, agreed.

“The Apple Coding curriculum provided my students with a clear, concise, up-to-date and fun program to learn the Swift programming language, as well as bringing relevant up-to-date information about how coding can affect change in their lives,” Vannostrand said. “I recommend this program to any computer science teacher and I am ready to teach the course again next year.”

Dual enrollment is just one of many initiatives undertaken in the last year under the TSU-Apple partnership. 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. To date, TSU has impacted 32 HBCUs with the HBCU C2 Initiative. 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.

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 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-Apple coding initiative seeks to spark girls’ interest in STEM

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

Youth from ages 8 to 18 will get an opportunity to experience coding at a free camp Nov. 2, 9 and 16 in TSU’s Farrell Westbrook Complex (The Barn) on the main campus. Parents are asked to have their children at each event by 9 a.m. Lunch will also be provided.

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.

“We want to empower young girls to code and create, and understand their capabilities of being an innovator in the field of STEM,” says Dr. Robbie Melton, TSU’s dean of Graduate and Professional Studies and program director for the coding initiative. 

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

“By exposing STEAM 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,” says Johnson. “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.”

Dr. S. Keith Hargrove, dean of TSU’s College of Engineering, says the camp is 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,” says Hargrove. “The ability to manage information and make data-driven decisions will continue to be a major skill for today and tomorrow’s workforce”

During the girls coding camp, Melton says participants will move around to different stations where they will learn basic coding principles, and “actually code drones and robots to move and function.”

Eleven-year-old Evangeline Davis-Ramos of New York has participated in a similar coding camp, and says she’s glad to see Tennessee State providing such an opportunity for girls her age and older.

“I believe the girls coding camp will be very beneficial,” says Davis-Ramos. “I like building things, and coding helps take ideas I imagine and make them real.”

Melton says the HBCU C2 initiative puts TSU on the forefront of embracing STEM, and she credits the university’s partnership with Apple with being key to its success.

Dr. Robbie Melton works with students at “Everyone Can Code and Create” initiative for youth in July. (TSU Media Relations)

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.

“Apple provides an approach to introduce coding and creativity in a nonthreatening manner,” says Melton. “You have children coding. You have seniors coding, and the fact that we have over a thousand people from high school to senior citizens wanting to code and create is phenomenal.”

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 President Glover welcomes employees back with message of continued teamwork, student success and accreditation

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – “Our decisions must be about the welfare of the students. We are here for the students. We are here on behalf of the students,” President Glenda Glover said as she officially kicked off the fall semester for the university on Aug. 12.

TSU President Glenda Glover, left, welcomes Dr. Belle Wheelan, President of SACSCOC during the Fall Faculty Staff Institute. (Photo by Erynne Davis, TSU Media Relations)

Glover’s opening message continued with service to students during the faculty and staff gathering, held to commence the start of each academic school year.  

“We have an awesome responsibility to challenge minds, to change lives, and to ensure the future. Everything we do must be done with that in mind,” she said.

Her remarks followed the welcome by Interim Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Alisa Mosley; Dr. Geoffrey Burke, chair of the Faculty Senate; and Staff Senate Chair Tequila Johnson, all of whom told faculty and staff they play a role in the success of TSU.

The customary State of the University Address also touched upon the past year of successes and challenges. Hundreds of employees attended the annual event to get an update on those year-long initiatives.  A main topic included the university’s recent sanction by its accrediting body.

“Tennessee State University remains a fully accredited institution,” Glover told faculty and staff. 

TSU was placed on a one-year probation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS COC), for failing to comply with one of 25 accrediting standards, which involves student outcome for educational programs.

A special highlight of the Faculty Staff Institute was the appearance of the President of SACSCOC, Dr. Belle Wheelan, who explained the role of the commission and further assured the gathering that TSU is not in danger of losing its accreditation.

“It is a pleasure for me to be here today,” Wheelan said. “My challenge is to help you understand the accreditation process and to believe within your heart, as I do in my heart, that TSU is going to be alright. I assure you, she (President Glover) has pulled every resource together, both human and fiscal, and you all are going to fix this. I assure you, this time next year, you will be fine.”

Glover discussed a “plan of action” to address the issue. Corrective steps taken so far under the plan include the following:  university has retained a nationally known firm with expertise on accreditation matters; hired a full-time director of assessment and accreditation to guide the process internally; as well as a communication/reputation management firm.

Glover introduced Charlise Anderson, a longtime assessment and institutional effectiveness expert, as the new director in charge of accreditation matters.

“We are 100 percent confident that TSU will do all that is required to prepare and submit the documentation that is necessary to remove us from probation,” Glover said. “We are fixing this and fixing it now.”

Glover also announced progress and challenges in other areas including, recruitment, retention, graduation, campus safety, customer service, but said ensuring student success remains “the key reason we are all here.”

On a major achievement, Glover informed the university of TSU’s recent partnership with tech giant Apple, and the hosting of the inaugural HBCU C2 Presidential Academy last month.

“TSU is now a National Center for Smart Technology Innovations that will bring coding and creativity opportunities across HBCU campuses,” Glover said. “TSU will be the hub for all 104 HBCUs to come here and code and create.

Dr. Robbie Melton, interim dean of Graduate and Professional Studies, and the initiative’s main facilitator, was recognized for spearheading the effort that made the partnership possible. Dr. Melton then presented the TSU-trained code and creative team members.

The University is offering the coding course for free to employees. The institute culminated with lunch on the lawn.

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.