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TSU Nursing Graduate Returns Home After Fighting COVID-19 in New York, Credits University with Preparing Her

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Keisha Coleman is finally home for a well-deserved rest. For three months straight and working 13-hour shifts, the traveling nurse and Tennessee State University graduate was on the front line caring for COVID-19 patients in New York.

Keisha Coleman is taking a month off after caring for COVID-19 patients in New York. She plans to return to the front line. (Submitted Photo)

“I love my patients and I miss them but I was excited to come home,” says Coleman, a critical care nurse who worked in the intensive care units at several hospitals in New York.

“I didn’t want to leave them, but I was ready to come home just to see my family because they were home worried for me as well. My mom couldn’t sleep, she would text me late nights on the job to see if I am okay.”

Coleman always wanted to work in critical care and she says TSU prepared her well for the challenge. After earning her associate’s degree in nursing in 2017, she worked at Nashville General Hospital and St. Thomas Midtown Hospital in the Intensive Care Unit. After some time at St. Thomas, Coleman says she decided to be a traveling nurse, “and just then, COVID came.” Her first assignment was New York, one of the country’s hardest hit states.

“It was tough and scary at first, but I do think TSU prepared me well to be the nurse and strong woman I am,” says Coleman. “At some point of my assignment, instead of the usual two, I had four to five critical patients, who were sedated, on ventilators and paralyzed. It was scary when you have all of these critical patients you have to take care of.  You get to thinking about yourself, your health. Some nurses got infected. I can honestly say I was nervous about contracting the virus, but I came back home and I tested negative.”

Keisha Coleman earned her nursing degree from TSU in 2017. (Submitted Photo)

Like many healthcare workers on the front line in the early days of the pandemic, Coleman says the task was daunting – long hours, influx of patients and shortage of critically needed PPE’s, or personal protective equipment.

“From day one we were limited on PPEs that were needed to go in the rooms to take care of patients,” says Coleman. “When I got there, we had all COVID patients. When we gowned up, we had to go to multiple rooms with that one gown. Normally, we would take off that gown prior to leaving the room. Since we were so limited, we had to use the same gown in different patients’ rooms. It was so bad that at some points we had to use bleach to wipe down our gowns to reuse them. We were limited on gloves, masks and certain medications.”

Amid the shortage, Coleman says the patient load continued to climb, as hospitals ran out of space for patients and places to store the mounting number of dead people.

“After a lot of those patients died we didn’t have any rooms,” recalls Coleman. “We were putting them on the roof, in the basement and some in a tractor trailer outside. As all three places were full, we started putting bodies on a sled and just dump ice on them,” she says.

By the end of May, Coleman says things started to slow down. Some patients who had been admitted for up to three months began to get better – being able to walk, learn to talk, and breathe on their own.

“It was a good feeling,” she says. “I didn’t want to leave them, but I was ready to come home. But I am glad I went. It really was a humbling and rewarding experience. It is good to have this experience firsthand to tell my future children, and that I was on the front line helping.”

While Coleman’s situation was dire, she is one of several TSU nursing school graduates among the thousands of healthcare workers around the country responding to the influx of patients suffering from COVID-19. They’re conducting screenings, communicating to patients’ families, and above all, caring for the critically ill.

Dr. Pinky Noble-Britton, associate professor and director of TSU’s BSN program, says like Coleman, TSU nursing students are prepared to perform at the highest level of their profession in administering safe patient care.

“We push them and they are expected to use whatever resources they have to their best ability,” says Noble-Britton.

Knowing that her work is critical, especially with the new surge in coronavirus cases across the country, Coleman says she plans to take another month off and then head back to helping COVID patients.

“I plan to go back and help in one of the other states, like Florida, Texas or Arizona, which are epic centers,” says Coleman. “My plan is to travel and change lives, and just to know that I made a difference.”

Coleman also plans to return to TSU to earn her BSN degree. The program is now accepting applications for Fall 2020. The Traditional B.S.N. at TSU provides an instructional environment that teaches students how to provide holistic, ethical and culturally sensitive care to clients across the lifespan. To learn more about TSU’s nursing program, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/nursing/

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 uses covid-19 exercise to help with Fall Reopening Plan

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – With Tennessee State University planning to reopen this fall, state health and emergency management officials say the university is moving in the right direction to ensure a safe environment for its reopening plan.

Tennessee Emergency Management Agency, the Tennessee Department of Health and the Tennessee Higher Education Commission joined TSU President Glenda Glover and other TSU officials in a COVID-19 tabletop exercise on the university’s main campus.

President Glenda Glover talks to the media about the importance of the tabletop discussion on TSU’s fall reopening plan. (TSU Media Relations)

“Today’s tabletop was very critical in our reopening plan, in that it covered areas that we need to know about, and emphasized things that we had missing in our plan,” Glover said. “It was very strategically timed today because we have to communicate something to students this week. So, this was very good, very complete and very comprehensive.”

The tabletop was coordinated by the three agencies that praised the positive level of cooperation between TSU’s administration and staff in trying to come up with a comprehensive plan for the campus, including safety protocols, testing and tracking.

Representatives from the university’s Pandemic and Fall Course Delivery Task Forces, as well as student affairs, emergency management, legal affairs, athletics, police, and academic affairs, among others, attended the workshop. (TSU Media Relations)

“What we saw here with TSU is that you have an administration that’s being collaborative and finding ways to mitigate the threat of COVID-19,” said Jeff Brown, a planner with TEMA and key facilitator of the tabletop.

“They want to open campus up and I think they are taking the right precautions through communicating with each other and coming up with contingency plans on how to deal with any potential problems down the road.

The goal of the tabletop was to identify areas in the group’s emergency response plan that needed improvement in addressing coronavirus outbreak scenarios.

Members of the university’s Pandemic and Fall Course Delivery Task Forces, representatives from student affairs, emergency management, legal affairs, police, academic affairs and others attended the workshop. Scenarios included real-life on “what-if” situations, such as positive tests in dormitories, cluster outbreaks, how to respond to COVID-19 within athletics, situations, and how to handle mass gatherings.

 Dr. Curtis Johnson, chief of staff and head of the TSU Pandemic and Fall Course Delivery Task Forces, said the tabletop exercise helped to make individuals in key areas evaluate their policies and processes.

“Today’s process put individuals who are decision-makers involved in managing those decisions in one room to talk about the what-ifs, such as ‘when this occurs,’ ‘should this occur,’” Johnson said.

“It also helped in ensuring that our policies and processes are in line with the state and federal government, the CDC, and that the university is protecting everyone as best as possible.”

The exercise also assessed the validity of TSU’s current emergency response plans; challenges posed by COVID-19; how the university coordinates responses with the campus health services; and reviewed plans to clarify lines of accountability and communication to enable timely, well-coordinated, and effective response.  This is extremely crucial as TSU continues its plans for reopening. The University has said it will move forward, but understands that those plans could change as cases increase. 

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, 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.

New TSU, Nashville Opera Partnership to Expose TSU Music Students to Real-World Musicians and Artists

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University music majors with dreams of performing with some of the best entertainers in the world, may actually be a step closer to making that a reality thanks to a new partnership between the university and the Nashville Opera.

The joint venture, made possible with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, will launch a digital masterclass series in performance, music industry and arts management. 

Led by the Nashville Opera, working professionals will present masterclasses that bring real-world musical artists to TSU students. The university will also lead in coordinating with other historically black colleges and universities to participate in the virtual educational experience.

Isaiah Batey

Isaiah Batey, a senior vocal music major and opera singer, is excited about learning from “the best in the business.”

“This is just the kind of opportunity I am always looking for,” says Batey, a Nashville native who wants to be a professional singer “traveling around the world and sharing my talent.” Inspired by opera singers like Luciano Pavarotti, Renee Fleming and Jessye Norman, Batey says the new partnership will give TSU students like him the opportunity to learn from professionals who are actually in the music industry.

“To have these people work with us college students who are trying to get to where they are professionally, technically and vocally, is just so fulfilling,” says Batey, a graduate of the Nashville School of Arts, who currently sings with the Concert Chorale of Nashville and the William Crimm Singers, a group organized by TSU music instructor William G. Crimm.

Dr. Robert L. Elliott, professor and chair of the TSU Department of Music, says the new joint venture is a continuation of the long-standing partnership with the Nashville Opera that will better position TSU and other HBCU students for success in a digital, virtual world upon graduation.

“This partnership will provide new and different experiences for our students, and facilitate learning at multiple universities,” says Elliott.

An NEA release says the Nashville Opera will receive $25,000 to fund the digital masterclass series with TSU beginning September, and will be free to the public through livestreaming.

“We are deeply grateful for this support from the National Endowment for the Arts,” says John Hoomes, Nashville Opera CEO and artistic director. “It helps us do the important work of creating more equity in our art form.”

The Nashville Opera’s relationship with TSU spans more than a decade and includes such activities as presentations of masterclasses, free student tickets to performances, and Opera 101 lectures for the Department of Music.

For more information on the music program at TSU, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/music/

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 Board of Trustees welcomes New student trustee, Approves Flat Tuition and Fees for 2020-21 Academic Year

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The Tennessee State University Board of Trustees on Thursday welcomed Tiara Thomas as the new student trustee selected by President Glenda Glover, and officially announced freezing tuition for the 2020-2021 academic year.

Attorney Andre Johnson will serve a two-year term.

Also taking his seat for the second time was Attorney Andre Johnson as the newest full voting board member appointed by Gov. Bill Lee. Johnson attended his first board meeting on March 12. He will serve a two-year term.

The board made it official that there will be no increase in tuition for the 2020-2021 academic year. The “Tiger Tuition Freeze” recommendation, put forward by President Glover to keep fees flat for undergraduate and graduate students, was also accepted unanimously.

Johnson, who will serve on the Academic Affairs and Student Affairs Committees, is a senior partner with the law firm of Manson Johnson Corner. A Tennessee native, Johnson holds a bachelor’s degree and a law degree from Howard University. He also earned an MBA from TSU. His bar admissions include the Supreme Court of Tennessee, and the United States District Court for the Middle Tennessee District.

Tiara Thomas, from Olive Branch, Mississippi, is the new Student Trustee.

Thomas, the new student trustee, is a junior political science major with a 3.95 grade point average. She is a native of Olive Branch, Mississippi. The very active student is a member of the Aristocrat of Bands, and serves as the executive chair of the TSU Votes Student Coalition. With a goal to work for the U.S. Department of Education, Thomas plans to further her education after college to pursue a career in educational policy. She will serve a one-year term.

Thomas replaces Braxton Simpson on the Board of Trustees. A top-agricultural sciences major, Simpson served two one-year terms on the board.

Bishop Joseph Walker III, chairman of the Board of Trustees, described Simpson as an outstanding member of the Board.

“We want to thank her for her tremendous service to the Board of Trustees,” Walker said. “We certainly appreciate her talent and commitment. She has been an important member of our Academic Affairs Committee. On behalf of the Board we want to thank you so much. You represented everything that TSU exemplifies, not only on campus, but all around the country.”

In early June, President Glover, in consultation with the board, announced the tuition freeze saying that her administration would not seek a hike in fees because it would cause a burden on students.

“The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic coupled with the current economic downturn would pose an additional hardship for our student population and their families,” Glover said. 

On Thursday, the board agreed with the President and unanimously approved the measure.

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.

Future Lawyer, Politician Sets Sights on Becoming Agent of Change for Justice, Says TSU Opened Doors to Opportunities

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Mariah Rhodes always wanted to be a “change agent,” to fight the injustices she saw growing up in her hometown of Memphis, Tennessee. And Tennessee State University is giving her the opportunity to make a difference.

Mariah Rhodes

“I witnessed many wrongful convictions and disparities in education while growing up as a child in Memphis,” says Rhodes, a top political science student at TSU. “I knew right then that I wanted to be a change agent because the injustices and disparities affected my family, friends and many others.”

To accomplish her dream, Rhodes says she set her sights on becoming a lawyer and eventually entering politics as an elected official focusing on education and criminal justice reform. Coming to TSU, therefore, was no accident, she says, because the university was centrally located in the “political capital” of the state, with some of the best schools, and it is closer to home.

“I am a mama’s girl. I am really closed to my mother. So, a college for me had to be three hours away or less so I can quickly get back home in case of an emergency,” says Rhodes, the older of two children raised by their single mother.

Mariah Rhodes participates in student convocation as a member of the Student Government Association. (TSU Media Relations)

“Second, as a political science major, I was looking for a school that offered the best opportunity that I can get for my future and my career. And, the state capitol is located in Nashville. Then I started looking at campus life and I fell in love with TSU. There are so many events, so many opportunities for minorities.”

Saying that coming to TSU was the best choice, the former academic standout at Power Center Academy High School graduated fourth in her class with a 3.93 grade point average and received more than $3.8 million in scholarship offers.

Mariah Rhodes, with her sister, Brianna Mason, left, and mother Denise Woods, received more than $3.8 million in scholarship offers when she graduated Power Center Academy. (Submitted photo)

“I had many opportunities to go to many other schools with full academic scholarships. I chose TSU because that was the best place that was home to me,” she says. “The family atmosphere – people willing and ready to help. The professors, advisors motivate me. Once they see that you are trying, they will take you under their wings, and that’s something I will always be grateful for.” 

Rhodes has adjusted well and proven to be an overall outstanding student. Advisor and professor, Dr. Kyle Murray, refers to Rhodes as “one of the top students in the Political Science degree program at TSU.”

“Mariah has thrived in the program and set an outstanding example of discipline and leadership among her peers,” says Murray, assistant professor of political science. “ Not only is Mariah one of the top current Political Science majors, her natural leadership skills have been exemplified by her service on the Student Court, and as TSU’s official ambassador to the White House HBCU Summit.”

Currently TSU Student Court Chief Justice, Rhodes is an HBCU White House Competitiveness Scholar. She is an honors intern with the U.S. Department of Justice. Although numerous, her extracurricular activities clearly exhibit her quest for knowledge and to be the best. With a 4.0 GPA, Rhodes is a member of the TSU Honors College, Golden Key International Honor Society, a graduate of the TSU Collegiate Police Academy, and president of Phi Alpha Delta Pre-Law Fraternity International, among others.

“Mariah is a natural born leader, academically talented and committed to inspiring her peers,” says Frank Stevenson, associate vice president of Student Affairs and dean of students, one of the people Rhodes credits with her success at TSU.

“She is the essence of Tiger perfection,” adds Stevenson.

Rhodes’ proven leadership skills and desire to bring out the best in others have followed her from her days at Power Center Academy. At TSU, she mentors fellow students. A former vice president of Modern Distinctive Ladies, a girls’ mentoring program , Rhodes is still actively engaged in the program.

“I love to help because I know how difficult it can be sometimes, besides many have helped me, and I am so grateful. I am just trying to give back, and I look forward to doing even more in my future career,” says Rhodes. After college, Rhodes says there is a “strong chance” she may stay in Tennessee for law school.

For more information on the TSU Political Science program, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/history/polisci.aspx

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

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

TSU program is helping 101 educators from the state’s largest school districts achieve their dream of becoming assistant principals

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The Tennessee State University College of Education has received another $300,000 grant from the Tennessee Department of Education to train an additional 51 aspiring assistant principals in Middle Tennessee school districts. This brings to 101 the total number of individuals to be trained in the one-year program.

Dr. Jerri Haynes

“Tennessee State University is taking the lead in the state’s assistant principal training program, as a further recognition of the quality of our programs,” says Dr. Jerri Haynes, dean of the College of Education.”

“This is an opportunity the university is certainly proud to receive. Through this program we are helping to fill the void or shortage of assistant principals, especially minorities.”

Dr. Eleni Elder, professor of educational leadership, is one of the leads on the Aspiring Assistant Principals’ Program. (TSU Media Relations)

Last January, the college received $300,000 to begin the training of the first group of 49 aspiring assistant principals. Officials say this is part of a longstanding collaborative partnership between the university, the state agency and K-12 systems aimed at attracting more qualified applicants for positions in school leadership.

The funding from the Tennessee Department Education will be used to conduct a one-year, master’s degree-level training for cohorts from the region, including four of the state’s largest school systems – Metro Nashville Public Schools, Shelby County Schools, Rutherford County and Clarksville. In May, the first cohort took one course during Maymester, an accelerated summer program. To catch up, the new group will take two courses during next year’s Maymester to finish the program at the same time.

Dr. Terrance McNeil, assistant professor of educational administration and coordinator of the training program, says to have the ability to have “such a large influence” on what happens next across the state in terms of educational leadership is a tremendous opportunity for the College of Education.

“We have taken the lead in the state in terms of this initiative,” says McNeil. “What that mean is that we have the rare opportunity to prepare the next generation of principals in cooperation with the Tennessee Department of Education, and that really makes us happy from the professional standpoint.”

TSU students in the educational leadership program contacted in January said the strength of the curriculum would be helpful in developing the leadership skills of the aspiring assistant principals.

“This program helps build character because it offers a lot of field experiences where we go and directly talk to people and observe what they are doing,” said Pragati Natraj, a first-year graduate student from India majoring in instructional leadership.

Bridney Jones, who’s also pursuing her master’s degree in educational leadership, agreed.

“I believe this course will benefit the new cohorts by giving them strong hands-on and practical experience they will need as leaders,” said Jones, of Chattanooga, Tennessee.

According to Haynes, participants in the program are teachers who have been selected by their superintendents or principals to take part in the training. All courses in the program, which is from June 2020 to June 2021, are offered online. When completed, participants will receive professional licensure as educational leaders.

“We have developed a special program of study for this project,” says Haynes. “We are going to provide them the theory and application, as well as internships and on-the-job training. They will receive university mentors, and we will work to identify mentors at their schools where they work.”

Dr. Latasha Lang, an adjunct faculty, who is one of the instructors in the program, says to be able to be taught by people who have experience as principals or assistant principals is a “wonderful opportunity” for the trainees.

“For those that are aspiring to become assistant principals, this is an excellent way to get information about what actually occurs in the school building,” says Land, who also currently serves as a high school assistant principal. “The program offers the opportunity to discuss scenarios, to be able to ask questions, and get information on things that have actually occurred. I am very excited about this.”

For more information about the Aspiring Assistant Principals Program and other graduate-level programs  in the in the College of Education, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/coe/.

Department of Media Relations

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

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 Infectious Disease Control Expert Suggests Universities Do Fall Openings in Phases

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – With new coronavirus hot spots emerging across the country as states continue to ease restrictions, and some universities consider re-opening for the fall, a TSU infectious disease control expert says, “not so fast.”

Dr. Wendelyn Inman

Dr. Wendelyn Inman, professor and director of public health programs in the College of Health Sciences, says when it comes to universities, re-openings and easing of restrictions must be done in phases, “not all the way.”

“Our students come from all over the world and from so many different backgrounds, and for some, it is not feasible to work remotely, long term. TSU is their home, their jobs are here,” says Inman, a public health professional who was previously the chief of epidemiology for the State of Tennessee.

 “Let some students come back to campus, especially if they need a place to stay, and a place to study.  Provide them with essential tools to complete their education, and for many of them that includes a safe place to live and from which to work.” 

TSU Media Relations

In Tennessee, especially Davidson County where officials have seen a recent uptick in the virus, while some institutions, including TSU consider plans for fall opening, Inman says universities should limit in-person face-to-face interactions with faculty and staff, but require faculty and staff to provide digital, visual interactions. 

In May, TSU announced it was planning to start classes in the fall, but under additional safety protocols to protect the public health and safety of its students and employees. President Glenda Glover appointed a Fall Course Delivery Task Force to help develop the best strategy for classes this fall.

“We are evaluating and developing operational safety measures, best practices, and academic related logistical options to prepare for the return of students in the fall with the focus on the health and safety of the campus community,” President Glover said recently in a correspondence with TSU faculty and staff.  

Courtesy: TDH

“These measures will include the ongoing cleaning of campus facilities, the use of larger classrooms and hybrid in-person and online course presentations, and the implementation of appropriate social distancing standards.”

Like most higher education institutions across the country, TSU’s students completed the semester online and the majority of the university’s employees continue to work remotely.

Inman says as a part of a re-opening plan, and “to make a TSU education” even more special during COVID-19, the university should assess each student and each department for their ability to reach their students.

“Use COVID-19 resources to equip each faculty member with a cellular device, specifically to respond to student and university calls,” she says.

TSU is already implementing many of the things Inman proposes. Whether students are on campus or not, the university has taken steps to meet their needs. For those students who needed digital devices to complete their online coursework for the semester and summer, the university provided them with more than 40 laptops and tablets.

 
“TSU plans to phase in the reopening and return of its students,” says Dr. Curtis Johnson, Chief of Staff and head of the Fall Course Delivery Task Force. “we will be monitoring the virus, the number of people and areas impacted, and of course the university will do all due diligence to make it as safe as possible.”

TSU students say they appreciate the university’s effort to accommodate them, especially their instructors, but they acknowledge the distance learning has been challenging because of the absence of things like face-to-face interaction with their instructors. 

“We were able to go to their office, now it’s mainly emails,” says Rekha Berry, a senior from Mobile, Alabama, majoring in history and political science. “I definitely miss the face to face with instructors.”

For more on campus operations affected by the coronavirus, and student information, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/covid19.

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.

Tennessee State University to Unveil New Bronze Tiger Sculpture

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – New and returning students coming to TSU this fall will see an addition to the main campus when the university unveils a specially commissioned, bronze tiger sculpture on August 1.

President Glenda Glover

The 500-pound, 6-foot long statue culminates a year-long, student-led project by nationally recognized sculptor David Clark, who created Tom the Tiger at the University of Memphis.

TSU President Glenda Glover says the statue represents the Big Blue pride and strength of the entire TSU community and the spirit that drives the university’s excellence, from its academic offerings to its athletic programs.

Nationally recognized sculptor David Clark works on the TSU tiger in his shop in Memphis. (Submitted Photo)

“I want to thank our very courageous students and the student government leadership for their foresight in commissioning this beautiful monument that adds so much beauty and honor to our campus,” says Glover. “Tennessee State University will be proud to showcase this tiger as one of the major artistic pieces for visitors and alumni to see and admire when they return to their campus.”

The tiger will be located in front of the Floyd-Payne Campus Center across from the McWherter Circle. When mounted on its custom-made base, the statue will stand more than 6 feet tall.

Katelyn Thompson, SGA President

Katelyn Thompson, student government association president, says while adding to campus beautification, the tiger will help promote the university, help to bring people on campus, as well as help with enrollment.

“When I ran for the SGA presidency, although I had other ideas, the main thing on my platform was to bring a tiger,” says the graduating senior from Memphis. ”As I became president, I was able to bring administration, alumni, students and the community around the idea for a tiger. They were all on board and we, as students, raised the money for the tiger.”

Thompson says she personally chose David Clark for the project because she was familiar with the sculptor’s work not just around the country, but in her hometown, “especially with what he did to bring to life Tom the Tiger at the University of Memphis.”

Frank Stevenson, Associate VP for Student Affairs

“We just needed a little campus beautification and a lot of students wanted something they can take their senior picture around and we didn’t have one,” says Thompson, a double major in criminal justice and psychology, who will receive her degree at the August 1 commencement.

Frank Stevenson, associate vice president for student affairs and dean of students, congratulated the student leadership for the idea of “placing a permanent tiger statue” on campus.

Braxton Simpson, Student Trustee

“This tiger represents the very best of a challenging time,” says Stevenson. “The student body and the administration came together and got it right with this monument that will forever represent TSU pride.”

Joni McReynolds, president of the TSU National Alumni Association, adds that students and the university have been through a lot – with COVID-19, a tornado in early March – and the tiger will represent their strength and resilience.

“This gives us a sense of our rallying point,” says McReynolds. “Once the students see that, they will be enthused, they will circle that tiger, that will be their strength when we have to come together to face forces. That tiger will be the strength of the campus.”

Like Reynolds, Student Trustee Braxton Simpson also points to the difficulties of the pandemic, requiring students to leave campus, as well as the tornado, which caused major damages to campus facilities.

“In the midst of everything that we have endured this school year, what better time  to leave our mark on TSU when we cannot physically be on campus,” says Simpson, an agricultural sciences major from Atlanta. “This Tiger is not just a tiger—it represents the perseverance, diligence, pride, empathy, and grit of a TSU Tiger, of our student body.”

Fellow student Skylar Suttle, of Memphis, who is Mr. Freshman, agrees. “I am excited about the tiger,” he says. “It shows the determination of the leadership, it shows how much the students of TSU care about the beautification of our campus. I think it is going to be a good sight to look at.”

For more information on student activities, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/activities/

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.

Virtual TSU Financial Aid Workshops Help New College Students Tap into Funding Resources

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – If you need money for college, one of the most important forms to complete is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA. Tennessee State University is making the process easier for prospective students and their parents amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

President Glenda Glover speaks via Zoom to students and parents participating in the Virtual FAFSA Hour. (TSU Media Relations)

TSU is holding a series of “Virtual FAFSA Hour” workshops to meet students where they are and walk them through what can sometimes be an overwhelming task. This also includes making students and parents aware of potential scholarships and other incentives the university can offer to help offset college expenses. The event begins with greetings from TSU President Glenda Glover.

“Welcome to TSU, and good afternoon. I am thrilled and just so happy to greet all of you new TSU students who plan on coming this fall,” said TSU President Glenda Glover, who spoke via Zoom. “We just can’t wait to receive you with open arms. Right now, we are coming to you virtually. I know that there are some issues or questions concerning FAFSA. We are here to answer those questions.”

The virtual sessions allow new admitted students who have not done a FAFSA, and those who have not completed their financial aid file, to directly interact with financial aid counselors for assistance. The virtual workshop is also open to continuing students who have not renewed their FAFSA.

“This was really nice and different,” said Nicole Reese, who joined the call from her living room in Park Ford, Illinois, with her incoming freshman son, Gabriel Reese. Nicole has been through financial aid offices before with an older son, but “the experience was nothing like TSU.”

Tyeisha Weeks, who wants to study physical therapy, calls with a question from her bedroom in Chicago. (TSU Media Relations)

“We got a chance to sit face-to-face with these wonderful people, they were patient and knew what they were doing, we got all of our questions answered, and we got a chance to hear the president of the university. I am ready for my child to come to TSU.”

Gabriel agreed. “I do like TSU,” said the graduating senior from Rich East High School, who visited TSU several times when a cousin attended the university. “I thought their answers were very thorough and they were extremely helpful. I am very excited.”

Dr. Angela Bryant, Assistant Vice President for Financial Aid, responds to calls on the Virtual FAFSA Hour. (TSU Media Relations)

With a goal of reaching about 3,000 prospective students about completing their financial aid requirements, organizers say a stream of students and parents are calling in and taking advantage of the virtual financial aid workshops.

Financial aid officials said the Virtual FAFSA Hour, first of its kind at TSU, is intended to ensure that qualified students have access to all available funding sources, while remaining safe and secure in their home with their families amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“In our efforts to keep everyone safe and adhering to the call to social distancing, it is a benefit for all of us to participate in the virtual opportunities TSU is offering,” said Dr. Angela Bryant, assistant vice president for financial aid. “With regard to financial aid specifically, what better way to  secure funding for fall 2021 than to take advantage of the FAFSA Hour. We are here to help these students meet their financial needs for school.”

 In addition to federal loan and assistance programs, TSU offers many different avenues of financial help to prospective students, including state, local and institutional grants or scholarship opportunities. These include the 250-Mile Radius Tuition Rate for students from high schools in surrounding states, the HOPE scholarship for Tennessee residents, the Academic High Achiever Scholarship, the TSU Academic Work Scholarship, the TSU Building Bridge Grant, and several others.

Diamond Parish, of Nashville, is an architectural engineering major and a returning freshman. She called in from her bedroom to resolve issues with her “TSU account.”

“In no time my issue was resolved, I got the answer I wanted,” said Parish, adding that she saw “very little” difference between her in-person experience in the financial aid office and the virtual call-in. “The way they were doing it, it felt like I was right next to them.”

Like Parish, Tyeisha Weeks, from Chicago, who wants to study physical therapy, also called in to the Virtual FAFSA Hour from her bedroom.  She had already sent in her form but was following up to make sure everything was in order. She was not disappointed.

“They were just so helpful,” said Weeks, a graduating senior from John Marshall Metropolitan High School in Chicago, who heard about TSU from alumni and from newspapers. “Everybody was very nice. They took us through the steps and they were very patient.”

Terrance Izzard, associate vice president for admissions and recruitment, said the series of virtual FAFSA workshops was intended to make it easy for students in the midst of travel restrictions.

“We are excited about you coming to Tennessee State University,” he told callers. “Our team in enrollment and financial aid work closely together to make sure we are here so you don’t get stuck in the process. We want to let you know that you are our priority.”

In addition to the “Virtual FAFSA Hour,” the Offices of Enrollment Management and Financial Aid have planned several other virtual workshops to help ease students’ transition during this pandemic.

For more information on financial aid at TSU, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/financial_aid/

Featured Photo: Nicole Reese, left, and her son Gabriel Reese call in from Park Ford, Illinois.

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.