Tag Archives: Dr. Verontae L. Deams

TSU administrator, professor named to state post-secondary education reform group

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) -The State Collaborative on Reforming Education has selected two Tennessee State University officials to be part of its Complete Tennessee Leadership Institute for 2021-22.

Dr. Verontae Deams

Dr. Verontae Deams, university registrar; and Dr. Alexis Gatson Heaston, assistant professor in the College of Health Sciences, will join 30 other higher education, K-12, government, business, and nonprofit organization leaders selected by SCORE as the next cohort of the institute.

In partnership with The Hunt Institute, a leader in the movement to transform public education, SCORE will provide learning opportunities for participants in CTLI, whose goal is to eliminate barriers to post-secondary education and completion in Tennessee.

“I am honored to be selected as a participant in the 2021-2022 Complete Tennessee Leadership Institute,” Deams said. “This opportunity will allow collaboration with other thought leaders to ensure academic success in higher education throughout the state of Tennessee.”

Dr. Alexis Gatson Heaston

Heaston, who teaches public health, health administration and health sciences, said she is “humbled and excited” to be a part of the CTLI cohort.

“I look forward to working alongside a group of outstanding professionals whose aim is to ensure Tennessee attracts, recruits, and retains students on a post-secondary level,” she said.

According to the latest figures from the Lumina Foundation, Tennessee’s college attainment rate is just shy of 47 percent. Since 2019, SCORE has partnered with The Hunt Institute to provide national perspective for CTLI participants and help lead them in translating what they learn into action in their communities.

“Community college enrollment rates in Tennessee dropped significantly in the fall of 2020, most notably for Black and Hispanic students,” SCORE President and CEO David Mansouri said. “Given the compounding effect the pandemic is having on college enrollment, persistence, and completion, it is more urgent than ever that we partner with the leaders in this cohort to ensure that every Tennessee student has the opportunity and support needed to attend and complete postsecondary education.”

Dr. Javaid Saddiqi, president and CEO of The Hunt Institute, added, “Over the past three years, we’ve been impressed with the way in which CTLI has brought together a diverse group of thought leaders from across Tennessee. Among past cohort members, we’ve seen an immense increase in leadership capacity and knowledge regarding higher education issues.”

Since 2016, CTLI has created a space where leaders from across Tennessee collectively focus on eliminating barriers to postsecondary education and completion. Over the coming year, Deams, Heaston and their colleagues in the CTLI will work to identify the barriers and equity gaps that exist in the state’s post-secondary system and advocate within their own communities to drive systemic change.

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 streamlines process for welcoming returning students; program saves time, money

 NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – For Tennessee State University students planning to return for the fall semester, the university has announced new streamlining measures to make the admission process much simpler and easier. The new measures affect housing application, registration, and financial aid processes. Officials say the course of action will save students time, money, and make campus living more accessible.  

Jeia Moore

In Residence Life, for instance, between now and July 22, students with a balance of up to $5,000 are eligible to apply for housing. That’s up from the previous threshold of $400. Additionally, students can now apply for and receive housing assignment immediately, while returning students get the opportunity to select their rooms, using a new, self-serve (RMS Mercury) software that enables housing and residential staff to deliver customized content to students.  

Registration for summer and fall began March 1 and ends August 20. The university plans to return to in-person classes in July.  

Jeia Moore, an information systems major from Memphis, Tennessee; and Michael Forney, a mass communication major also from Memphis, are already enrolled. Moore is returning for her junior year, and Forney, his senior year. Both students say navigating through the system is “so much easier” than years back when they first came to TSU.  

Michael Forney

“This smoother process has really made the procedures so easy and helps students understand what we are registering for,” says Moore. “Being able to select your own room choice and roommate is an exciting privilege.”

“The new housing portal system is very efficient, with step-by-step instructions,” adds Forney. “This is really exciting.” 

For registration and records, the university says it has enhanced the myTSU portal to help students register for classes at a much faster and easier pace. It also provides step-by-step instructions on how to log-on, pay outstanding balances, and how to remove holds – prerequisites to getting fully registered. For upperclassmen and those in doubt about their academic standing, DegreeWorks – a web-based degree audit and academic tool – provides students and advisors with an overview of remaining courses and credit hours required for degree completion.  

“We encourage returning students and all other students to use the myTSU portal. Once they have met with their advisor, it is very efficient in helping them register themselves,” says Dr. Verontae L. Deams, TSU’s registrar. “DegreeWorks is updated regularly, and it lets students know where they stand academically.”   

In enrollment and student success, officials say innovation and strengthening relationships and communication are helping to get the message across to returning and prospective students about the quality learning environment at TSU.  

“There are many things we learned during the pandemic, many of which we will keep as we look forward to serving our students for the 2021-2022 academic year,” says Terrence Izzard, associate vice president for admissions and recruitment.

In financial aid, officials say most scholarship offers are geared toward returning students, but students must act fast.

“Applying for admission and completing all admission requirements timely allows a student to be considered,” says Amy Boles Wood, assistant vice president for Financial Aid and Scholarships.  

Overall, admissions and student affairs officials say with the coming return to in-person learning, everything possible is being done to make the transition easy and seamless for all students – using technology and lessons learned during the pandemic to make “learning and campus life far more exciting.”  

According to Frank Stevenson, associate vice president for student affairs and dean of students, the university is establishing a “virtual one-stop space,” equipped to handle students’ concerns.   

For instance, says Stevenson, with the virtual space, if a student has questions about housing, financial aid, or records, they won’t have to go to all three offices physically to get answers.   

“They can visit the one-stop through an appointment and individuals from each of those areas will be available in a virtual space to address the student’s concern,” he says. “Using Zoom or TEAMS, you can get on and schedule a meeting and someone will meet you in that virtual space. That’s exciting!”  

Stevenson also announced that the university will continue its partnership with myURGENCYMD, a national telemedicine firm, that provides 24-hour, seven-days-a-week virtual doctors’ visits at no cost to the university’s student population. The service connects students to doctors via phone, video, and email.  

“We offered telehealth as a trial during the pandemic,” says Stevenson. “We are very satisfied with the services our students were able to receive. So, we are currently preparing to offer that as a full menu during the fall and spring to our students.”

To learn more about TSU’s fall return operations, visit https://www.tnstate.edu/return/

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.