NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University President Glenda Glover on Monday lauded employees for TSU’s continued success despite challenges caused by the pandemic. For instance, its research funding of more than $70 million is the highest in school history.
This semester’s Fall 2021 Faculty and Staff Institute was held in a hybrid format. Some faculty and staff attended in-person, while the entire program was also live streamed.
“We appreciate how you have responded to this crisis,” said President Glover, who was in-person. “Thank you for making the adjustments in your personal lives to meet the needs of our students. This is a historic year in the life of TSU. Yes, there are some difficulties, but … despite this pandemic, we continue to move forward. We will continue to do it together, as one TSU.”
Faculty Senate Chair Kimberly Triplett shared a similar sentiment.
“Even though we are under challenging times, we are moving forward providing one of the greatest services of all, and that is to educate the minds of students who will continue to impact change,” she said.
Early in her presentation, Dr. Glover highlighted steps the university is taking to make sure employees and students are safe, like continuing to closely monitor COVID-19, the Delta variant, and any other emerging variants.
TSU officials announced a few months ago that the university will be open and fully operational for the fall 2021-22 academic year, with continued enforcement of federal and state health and safety regulations. All students, faculty, staff and other campus community members are asked to wear face coverings while indoors, and social distancing will continue to be stressed. Classes start Aug. 16.
Faculty are being asked to be prepared to change to online operations during the fall semester if pandemic conditions require it. They are also asked to have both in-person and online office hours to minimize added in-person interaction.
TSU officials are also strongly stressing vaccinations for all employees and students, with on-campus vaccinations each day for the first four weeks. Additionally, the university is offering incentives for individuals that can show proof of receiving a full COVID-19 vaccination. Students can receive a gift card up to $150, while employees get $100.
Regarding enrollment, Glover noted there would be a slight increase, and that first-year enrollment is up for both undergraduate and graduate students. She also pointed out the announcement TSU made last week that is paying off account balances of students returning this fall using federal funds from the CARES Act also resulted in an enrollment boost.
One of the main highlights of Glover’s presentation was the university’s record-breaking research funding of more than $70 million for fiscal year 2020-2021. TSU ranks in the top five historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in receiving research funding.
“This increase in research awards received shows the commitment of our faculty, staff, and students to their scholarly activities,” says Dr. Frances Williams, associate vice president for Research and Sponsored Programs. “These efforts demonstrate the university’s research competitiveness, which is also evidenced by TSU’s Carnegie Classification as an R2: Doctoral University.”
Also noted in the presentation is that TSU’s endowment and reserves have climbed to an all-time high, and that the university is expected to receive $150 million to $540 million in accrued land grant funds. Discussions are continuing with state lawmakers to determine an exact amount.
Campus construction was also highlighted, such as the recently-opened new Health Sciences Building, and the current construction of two new residence halls scheduled to open in fall of 2022.
Despite the challenges, TSU officials said they are optimistic about what lies ahead.
“We’ve always prevailed, we’ve always moved forward,” said Dr. Michael Harris, interim provost and vice president for Academic Affairs. “The reason is because of each one of you sitting here today.”
For more information on COVID-19 and campus operations, visit https://www.tnstate.edu/covid19/.