Tag Archives: Dr. Jason Smith

Dr. Jason Smith receives OVC Outstanding Faculty Award

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Ask students in Tennessee State University’s Human Performance and Sports Sciences (HPSS) about Dr. Jason Smith and all will have the same response. Dr. Smith is known for his dedication, leadership, mentorship, and open-door policy.

These are just some of the reasons he received one of the 2024 Ohio Valley Conference (OVC) Outstanding Faculty – Commitment to Student Success Awards.

Smith’s honor was announced at the 2024 OVC Basketball Championship

“As professors, we all devote a considerable amount of time to ensure our students’ success,” Smith said. “This award makes me feel proud of the time I dedicated, knowing it contributed meaningfully to the success of our students.”

The award recognizes educators who have significantly contributed to their institutions through student impact, university and curriculum development, and community involvement.

“Dr. Jason Smith is more than a great faculty member; he’s a great man,” said Calen Johnson, a senior majoring in Human Performance and Sport Sciences at TSU.

Johnson and fellow students shared the impact they believe Dr. Smith, who also serves as the Department Chair of the HPSS program, has had on students. One of those students is TSU junior Maya Grady, a Student Athletic Trainer with the University’s football team.

Calen Johnson

“Dr. Smith has such a family presence about him,” Grady said. “It flows from the head of the department all the way down to every single professor within our department. His energy is top-tier, and he captures every classroom or meeting he’s in with his vulnerability and compassion.”

Approximately 480 students are enrolled in HPSS program, with one-fourth of them being student athletes. Smith emphasized the strong rapport between student athletes, coaches, and the entire department.

Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Robbie Melton commended Dr. Smith’s constant drive for innovation in the classroom.

Maya Grady interned with the NHL Nashville Predators last semester at Bridgestone arena.

“This award also highlights his strong leadership within the department, leading key initiatives to update the curriculum and create new learning opportunities,” Melton said.

“Most importantly, it celebrates his role as an exceptional mentor to students, making time to provide guidance both within and outside of class. His door is always open for students seeking advice or support. This award is a well-deserved recognition for the immense impact he has made through his teaching, mentorship, and leadership.”

HPSS students have had numerous hands-on opportunities with national sports organizations here in Nashville. These initiatives include collaborations with the NFL’s Tennessee Titans, the NHL’s Nashville Predators, the minor league baseball team Nashville Sounds, and more. All have resulted in internship and employment opportunities for TSU students.
“If we can fill that gap and build that bridge to get our students into their aspiring career field, that is our ultimate goal. That’s what gives me great pleasure,” Smith said.

Smith and other faculty members from across the athletic conference were announced at the 2024 OVC Basketball Championship. Smith’s dedication to his students’ success and his contributions to the HPSS program highlights the impact educators can have beyond the classrooms at TSU.

To learn more about TSUs Human Performance and Sport Sciences program, visit www.tnstate.edu/hpss/.

Nashville firefighter receives undergraduate degree from TSU

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – He’s been fighting fires in Nashville for 11 years. But now, Edwin Feagins Jr., is one degree hotter after securing his diploma from Tennessee State University this week.

Feagins of Nashville, received a bachelor’s degree in human performance sports sciences with a concentration in exercise sciences. A milestone that he was once told that he couldn’t accomplish. After graduating high school from Pope John Paul II Preparatory School in Hendersonville, he began his higher education journey at The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC) in 2007.

Edwin Feagins Jr. (Photo by Ryan H from Ryanhmedia)

Feagins started off his first semester of college with a .7 GPA.

“My freshman year of college was a lot of newfound freedom and responsibility,” Feagins says. “I wasn’t a focused student at the time. And I was told by my advisor that four years of college isn’t for everyone.” Feagins said he was placed on academic suspension shortly after. But he knew he was capable of walking the stage eventually. Feagins re-enrolled at UTC and continued his studies there for three years, until he was accepted into the Nashville Fire Training Academy in 2011.

Feagins, 33, says his grandmother, who is a former Memphis educator, was proud of him for being a fireman, but told him to finish what he started by graduating college.

A holiday portrait of the Feagins family. (Photo submitted)

“I wanted to fulfill that promise for her,” he says.

Feagins received his associates of applied science degree in fire science at Volunteer State Community College in 2014. Four years later, he enrolled at TSU. “I went searching for that newfound freedom (at UTC) but in retrospect, I should have leaned on my resources that I had available to me right here at home,” Feagins says. “I am excited and extremely grateful for the opportunity to even attend TSU.”

It was difficult being a non-traditional student while sometimes working 24-hour shifts, but he kept faith and believed in himself, Feagins says, graduating with a 3.3 GPA.

He noted that he had instructors at the university like Dr. Jason Smith, that kept him going. “His passion is beyond the degree,” says Smith, the department chair of the human performance and sports sciences department. “The degree was important for him to continue giving back to the community. Edwin has devoted a lot of his time to the community and to people that are in need,” Smith continued.

Edwin Feagins Jr., has been with the Nashville Fire Department more than 10 years.

“He has a servant heart.”

Smith says that Feagins has extended his services by becoming an adjacent professor next semester, teaching CPR courses at the university.

District Chief of the Nashville Fire Department Moses Jefferies IV describes Feagins as a hard worker who has been a ‘tremendous asset’ to the fire department.

“Along with his work, he has shown dedication and a level of commitment that is consistent with the Nashville Fire Department to prepare its members physically to be able to do the job and deliver the best service possible to the citizens,” Jefferies says.

“He’s just really a great guy.”

In the near future, Feagins says he looks forward to creating health initiatives centered around fire fighter fitness with wellness and health disparities.