Tag Archives: Dr. Robbie Melton

TSU receives recognition for Best Online Master’s Programs in State

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University has received the 2024 “Best Online Master’s in Tennessee” award from Online Masters Colleges (OMC), reaffirming its commitment to providing exceptional online education. The recognition highlights TSU’s dedication to quality instruction and the success of its students.

Brionna Brown, a recent graduate of TSU’s online Master’s program in instructional leadership, received her degree this fall. Brown, from Jackson, Tennessee, currently works as a 5th-grade educator in Metro Nashville Public Schools.

Brionna Brown, a recent graduate of TSU’s online Master’s program currently works as a 5th-grade educator in Metro Nashville Public Schools.

“Even though its online, you could still feel the passion from the people,” Brown said regarding the professors and the college of education program she just completed.

Brown embarked on the TSU one-year online program through the state’s Aspiring Assistant Principal Program, with hopes of administrative leadership roles in education. Her journey reflects the impact of TSU’s online education in preparing aspiring administrators.

She expressed gratitude to Dr. Pamela Tanner, the Department chair for the Department of Teaching and Learning, for her passion and helpfulness in student growth. “She has years of experience and such knowledge to pour into her students,” Brown said. “She is very passionate about growing her students, and that was the best part,” Brown said.

The online program featured guest speakers, including superintendents, providing students with valuable real-world insights, she said. Despite the program being virtual, Brown found it easy to navigate technologically, due to weekly Zoom meetings.

Dr. Trinetia Respress

The “Best Online Master’s in Tennessee” award from OMC is a testament to TSU’s overall excellence in online education. The comprehensive evaluation process considered factors such as graduation rates, affordability, and program accreditation, according to an OMC press release. TSU is one of 22 universities selected for the 2024 best online master’s in Tennessee title.

Dr. Trinetia Respress, TSU Interim Graduate Dean, expressed pride in the university’s recognition. “This recognition is fabulous and well-deserved,” Respress said. “It speaks to the dedication, creativity, and hard work of faculty in providing quality online instruction to students.”

TSU offers a wide variety of online master’s programs, including Instructional Leadership, Masters in Counseling Psychology, Executive MBA, Masters in Public Health, Masters of Social Work, Masters in Nursing, and many more.

Dr. Robbie Melton,

With 32 master’s graduate programs and over 850 current master students, TSU continues to be a hub for online education excellence.

Dr. Robbie Melton, the former graduate dean and current interim provost for academic affairs, said the university is committed to providing quality online master’s level education. She highlighted new technology tools, such as artificial intelligence, to enhance learning. “We are incorporating new technology tools such as AI to enhance the learning environment for online graduate students,” she said.

She also promotes these innovative tools for research.

TSU’s recent recognitions by OMC also include being ranked for one of the Best Masters in Speech Pathology Online Programs and being listed as one of the most affordable Online Master of Social Work (MSW) programs for 2023.

TSU will continue to set the standard for students seeking a high-quality, accredited online master’s degree, offering flexibility, support, and the convenience needed for adult learners. For more information about online graduate programs, visit https://www.tnstate.edu/online/graduate.aspx.

TSU leads artificial intelligence impact in higher education

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University has positioned itself as a trailblazer in the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) into higher education. A five-week online AI course is just one of the ways Dr. Robbie Melton has had TSU bridge the digital divide by bringing this latest technology to the Nashville community and others. Melton, who also oversees the smart innovation technology center, taught the free AI course that attracted over 160 participants globally.

“I strategically positioned TSU to serve as the professional development center for the HBCUs, looking at the opportunities, the possibilities, and the challenges regarding AI,” Dr. Melton said.

Dr. Robbie Melton

Reflecting on the course, Dr. Melton noted that the participants, “walked away with a full knowledge base, not just in written applications but also in AI in the arts, photography, video, and music.” The course exposed participants to dozens of diverse AI tools. Melton initiated faculty, staff, and student webinars about AI over a year ago, showcasing TSU’s commitment to staying ahead as technology continues to evolve. The recent course, titled ‘The Impact of AI in Higher Education,’ highlighted technological opportunities from a higher education standpoint. TSU Dean of the college of Liberal Arts Dr. Samantha Morgan-Curtis, said participating in the weekly course was well worth the time.

 “Other people have to go to conferences or sign up for workshops, while at Tennessee State University, we have the privilege of having internationally recognized experts like Dr. Melton and her Smart Center team readily available,” she said.

Morgan-Curtis noted that the courses and tools provide an opportunity to stay abreast of developments in generative AI.

“Generative AI will be a benefit in education, but it does not replace expertise,” she added, emphasizing the importance of integrating new technologies into education.

Eula Todd, a graduate student at TSU studying leadership education, believes HBCUs specifically must embrace AI to avoid ‘being left behind.’

“We have an opportunity to be at the table at the ground level,” Todd said. “We have to find a way to incorporate it, where it makes the learning experience better for students.”

Alonzo Rhodes Sr., a local physical education teacher, highlighted the practical benefits of the AI class. “I put the information in, and it comes to life for me,” he said.

TSU students in the Smart Innovation Technology Center utilizing the center’s Alienware gaming desktop computers. (Photo courtesy of Tennessee State University)

Rhodes is integrating AI into lesson plans and assessments, not only benefiting his physical education students but also enhancing his personal and professional development.

Melton’s approach with technology initiatives has been instrumental in shaping the university’s leadership role in AI education. The 5-week course came to an end amid President Joe Biden’s most recent executive order regarding AI, one that Melton says aligns with TSU’s commitment to ensuring that AI is trustworthy and beneficial to society.

“The order recognized the opportunities and the possibilities. It didn’t just shut it down.  It made people be cognizant of the dangers and cybersecurity, so it was a great balance.”

In October, President Biden signed the executive order that seeks a balance between the needs of technology companies, national security, and consumer, as well as the foundation for future legislation.  

The university’s commitment to innovation and inclusivity through AI ensures not only learning about cutting-edge technology but also its trustworthiness and benefits for society.

To learn more about the AI efforts or the Smart Innovation Technology Center visit www.ai-tnstatesmartcenter.org/artificial-intelligence.

Dr. Robbie Melton named top 50 women leaders in education

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University’s interim provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, Dr. Robbie Melton, has been named as one of the top 50 women leaders in education for 2023. The Women We Admire site states that the selected women are instrumental in guaranteeing that educational establishments maintain their adaptability and responsiveness to the ever-changing demands of society.

The recognition showcases the achievements of women in leadership roles, in diverse educational institutions across the nation. 

“This honor acknowledges our collective efforts in education, enriched by the unwavering support of my family,” Dr. Melton said. 

“It underscores the importance of diversity, inclusion, and our collective dedication to empowering future generations.”

The website states that while the first U.S. universities enrolled only men, women have made great strides in higher education. Dr. Melton is ranked number 11 on the list of the 50 honorees. In addition to serving as the interim Provost and VP of Academic Affairs, she is also the VP of Technology Innovations for the SMART Global Technology Innovation Center and global researcher and international consultant for Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Dr. Melton’s past honors include the 2019 USDLA Hall of Fame, 2018’s Distinguished Women of Legend, OLC Leadership in 2017, WCET Lifetime Achievement in 2016, Top 30 Technologists in 2014, and the Apple Distinguished Educator in 2013.

Dr. Melton said she was shocked about the recognition and appreciates the celebration of women who are working relentlessly within the field of education.

“This is a celebration of every woman, teacher, and student working tirelessly for a more equitable world.”

TSU’s second largest class in history takes oath to succeed during Freshman Convocation

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University’s Class of 2027 reached an important milestone, as the institution formally welcomed the students at the annual Freshman Convocation held in Kean Hall on Sept. 18. The ceremony celebrated the arrival of the 1,784 first-time freshmen, who comprise the second-largest freshman class in the University’s history. They also have a collective grade point average of 3.4, an indication of their impressive academic prowess. 

President Glenda Glover and student leaders turn on their flashlights in solidarity with the new freshmen, symbolizing the light the students must be on campus and in the world. (Photo by Aaron Grayson)

TSU President Glenda Glover, school administrators, academic deans, and members of the Student Government Association, were all present to induct the new Tigers into the TSU community.

President Glover greeted the new students with warmth and enthusiasm, encouraging them to be steadfast in their pursuit of success and to follow in the footsteps of TSU graduates who are making a positive impact on the world. She emphasized the significance of their journey at TSU, stating, “You are headed in the right direction by choosing TSU. Step up! You must remain strong in your own faith. Trust God to be strong in your life.” The president said.

Sanyla Clark

“My message to the Class of 2027 is to be strong in your commitment to success, to trust in your own faith, and to find mentors who will support and guide you. As young people, it is on you to make a difference and bear the torch of service. Welcome to Tennessee State University, where you have a strong support system to help you succeed.”

Two freshmen, Sanyla Clark from Atlanta, majoring in communications, and Samuel King from Tallahassee, Florida, pursuing a degree in psychology, embraced President Glover’s words. 

Samuel King

Clark expressed her gratitude, stating, “I am very pleased to be inducted into the Tennessee State University Class of 2027, and the president’s words made me feel so much at home.” 

King echoed her sentiments, appreciating the family-like atmosphere at TSU and the strong support system helping them succeed in their next four years.

“I really enjoy the family atmosphere at TSU. Here you really feel like you belong because of the people here supporting you. With the message that President Glover gave to us, I know that I have a strong support system around me to be successful throughout my next four years,” King said.

As part of the induction ceremony, President Glover instructed the students to turn on the flashlight of their cell phones and raise them as a symbol representing the light they must be on campus and in the world.

New freshman class leaders join in singing the Alma Mater during the induction ceremony. (Photo by Aaron Grayson)

During the ceremony, TSU’s Chief Operating Officer, Jason T. Evans, emphasized that the university’s leaders and faculty were dedicated to supporting the students. 

“The leaders that you see here seated at the platform along with their staffs are here to ensure your wellbeing and that you receive the support you need to be successful,” stated Evans.

Dr. Robbie Melton, interim provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, urged the students to aim for excellence in their academic pursuits, promising to assist them in achieving their doctoral degrees.

Other notable speakers at the Freshman Convocation included Dr. Tasha Carson, Assistant Vice President for First-Year Students, Darrell Taylor, Student Government Association President, Miss TSU Victoria McCrae, and Mister TSU Davin Latiker.

TSU explores AI in education, will hold demonstrations

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University serves as the nation’s only HBCU Smart Technology Innovation Center, and has partnerships with tech giants Microsoft and Apple, along with T-Mobile, Amazon and several others.

Through these collaborations, TSU has worked to bridge the technology divide among HBCUs and communities of color. Now the University is looking to forge deeper into the field by exploring the opportunities and possibilities of integrating education with artificial intelligence (AI).

Dr. Robbie Melton

Dr. Robbie Melton, Vice President of Technology Innovation Strategies and interim provost and acting vice president of academic affairs, heads the TSU SMART Global Technology Innovation Center that researches the effective use of emerging technologies in education, that now includes AI.

Starting June 5, Dr. Melton will be available to conduct AI demonstrations that will include creating curriculum and lesson plans in under 4 minutes, along with art and music in less than 2 minutes.

“TSU has always been on the cutting edge of technology and it’s important that faculty learn more about AI because these tools are already transforming and disrupting the traditional methods of reading, writing, research, teaching and training,” says Melton.  

AI Generated Images as such are created by using text to image prompts, no photography required.

While the concept of artificial intelligence in education presents an array of unprecedented academic, ethical and legal challenges, Melton believes these technological advances have educational value and benefits that can’t be overlooked. 

“It’s important for TSU faculty to learn how AI works in enhancing teaching and learning before taking a stand to ban it or try to stop it in the classroom. AI pushes us to incorporate critical and higher order thinking skills, that go beyond basic observation of facts and memorization.” 

Melton recently conducted a national webinar for several historical black colleges and universities (HBCUs) regarding the educational impact of AI for underrepresented groups and cultures.

To register for this event:
Webinar: June 22ndor 29th1:00 – 3:00
Avon Williams SMART Center

TSU selected to national panel to make instructional materials more affordable for students

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The American Association of Colleges and Universities has named Tennessee State University to a panel charged with finding alternative ways to make instructional materials more accessible. The goal is to help ease students’ financial burden with the high cost of textbooks.

Dr. Robbie Melton

Reports by The Education Data Initiative show that the average four-year college student paid an estimated $1,226 for textbooks and supplies in academic year 2020-2021. Additionally, the price of textbooks increases by an average of 12 percent with each new edition published, the reports show.

“The rising cost of textbooks is a burden for students. This affects their ability to succeed and even complete their classes,” said Dr. Robbie Melton, interim provost and vice president for academic affairs. She cited a 2021 TSU pilot where 28 instructors saved more than $81,000 while using OER versus commercial textbooks.

“Open Educational Resources are teaching, learning, and research resources in the public domain or released under an intellectual property license that permits the unrestricted use and re-purposing by others,” Melton said. “It includes complete courses, course materials, modules, textbooks, streaming videos, tests, software, and other tools, materials, or techniques used to support access to knowledge.”

Destiny Pennington

To address the high cost of textbooks, the AAC&U selected TSU and 72 other institutions nationwide to participate in its 2022–23 Institute on Open Educational Resources (OER). This yearlong institute supports educators in launching, expanding, or hastening campus adoption of accessible and affordable instructional materials. 

“This is great news that my school is part of this effort to help ease this extra burden on students,” said Destiny Pennington, a senior mass communications major from Detroit. “As we matriculate through school and book bundling is no longer an option, we must buy books out of our own pockets, and that’s hard. So, I appreciate TSU for trying to do something.”

Aliyah Holmes, vice president of the Student Government Association, also applauds the effort to identify free or less expensive resources to help students.

Aliyah Holmes

“Sometimes students feel the university is not listening to their problems,” said Holmes, a junior political science major from Houston. “Knowing that TSU is listening to the issue of textbooks as being a problem with the high cost, is very amazing and very appreciative.” 

As part of its role, TSU will serve as the lead HBCU in the curation of the HBCU OER Cultural Collection in partnership with MERLOT.org, www.MERLOT.org (higher education teaching and learning materials), and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Open CourseWare, www.ocw.mit.edu. The effort is supported by a grant from The William and Flora Hewett Foundation: OER Cultural Collection www.HBCULS.ORG.

TSU tops in innovation, wins first place at inaugural T-Mobile ‘Unconventional’ Awards

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University has received a major recognition for innovation. A program developed by the university using 5G technology to recruit and retain underserved students in the STEM field, won first place in the inaugural T-Mobile “Unconventional” Awards for innovation in customer experience, at the Mobile World Congress in Nevada, Las Vegas. The TSU academic eSports program, geared toward creating pathways for students from gaming to STEM, took the top honor in the first-ever awards created to recognize and celebrate T-Mobile’s business customers who dare to innovate. 

TSU beat out several top institutions and companies to win first place for innovation. (Submitted photo)

As a first-place winner, TSU was awarded a $25,000 in in-kind donation to the university’s favorite charity. 

“Being chosen by T-Mobile for Business as an Unconventional Award winner offers TSU more validation for its innovative and decidedly creative approach to addressing the issue of diversity in STEM fields,” says Dr. Robbie Melton, associate vice president for SMART Global Technology Innovation Strategies. 

“This award highlights the educational value of using 5G technology to support eSports as a pathway to STEM programs and careers. Students are rewarded, not punished, for their passion for playing video games.”  

TSU’s T-Mobile recognition in innovation comes in just the second semester of the opening of its Academic eSports Center, which aims to use video games as a crucial steppingstone toward STEM careers. 

T-Mobile celebrates the winning teams at its inaugural ‘Unconventional” Awards ceremony. TSU’s team members appear far left. (Submitted photo)

Egypt Garrett, a competitive eSports gamer and freshman computer science major, says it is no surprise that TSU won the award.  

“I am very excited about TSU winning this award,” says Garrett, of Alexandria, Virginia, who is a member of one of the six teams at the university. “Personally, being at an HBCU, and someone one who enjoys technology and playing, having good gaming is having the best specs (PCs), the best wi-fi, and the center has those. I am so grateful for all the investment that went into it.” 

T-Mobile’s President for Business Group Callie Field says the Unconventional Awards was created to “honor organizations driving business and education forward with original thinking.”

Egypt Garrett, a competitive eSports gamer and freshman computer science major, says she is not surprised TSU won the award. (Submitted photo)

“We know a thing or two about innovating and transforming how work gets done, and we wanted to recognize that same spirit in the customers we support,” says Field. “This is more than just celebrating the winners’ accomplishments — it’s also a tribute to being bold and taking risks to advance business and education.” 

Melton, who is also interim provost and vice president for academic afffairs, says the TSU Academic eSport Center offers a career pathway program to get students interested in “behind-the-scene” work in areas such as coding, programming, game design, business management and entrepreneurship.  

“A state-of-the-art eSports center built on cutting-edge 5-G technology gives students the tools to dive deeply in gaming,” she says. “It also helps level the playing field for those who may not have had access to the technology required to participate in eSports.” 

Following TSU in the category of “Customer Experience” at the Sept. 29 awards were: Amazon Explorer, second place; and Motlow Sate Community College, third place. Other categories were “Employee Enablement,” and “Industry.” 

Award criteria were based on embracing unconventional DNA, demonstrating originality, and measuring impact. 

For more information on TSU’s SMART Technology Center, visit https://tsu-smartinnovationtech.netlify.app/ 

Featured Photo (Submitted)
A T-Mobile representative presents the First Place Award for Innovation in Customer Experience to the TSU team. Team members are, from left, Dr. Robbie Melton, Associate Vice President for SMART Global Technology Innovation Strategies; Dr. Effua Ampadu-Moss, Director of Esports Programs; Dr. Deborah Chisom, Executive Director of eSports Programs; and Robert Hassel, Director of Faculty Training for SMART Technology.

Tennessee State University seeks ‘R1’ status, the nation’s highest research designation

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University, Nashville’s only public university, aims to become only the second HBCU to reach the nation’s top research echelon with an “R1” designation under the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Learning. The designation would mean more doctoral programs, research initiatives and funding for students and the university. Currently, TSU is one of only 11 HBCUs with an R2 designation under the category of “high research activity.”

Dr. Quincy Quick is leading the university’s effort to achieve the ‘R1’ designation.

For its drive to “R1” status or “very high research activity,” the university is mobilizing its research enterprise – teaching faculty, researchers, graduate school, staff, students – to support its vision for the coveted designation. Howard University, an “R2” institution, achieved the “R1” designation in 2000 but lost it in a reclassification.

 On Friday, Oct. 14, under the theme, “R2 to R1,” the university’s Office of Research and Sponsored Programs held an open forum to acquaint the research community with what is needed to help move the university to an R1 status.

“One of the goals of the forum was to find out the needs of researchers as they commit themselves to the execution of the many grant-awarded research projects going on throughout the campus,” said Dr. Quincy Quick, interim assistant vice president of Research and Sponsored Programs.

TSU’s move to achieve an R1 designation comes just three years after receiving the R2 status. (File photo)

“Our goal was to provide an accurate understanding of exactly what is R1 and what going from R2 to R1 requires. We wanted to make sure everyone understood that research is important but it really comes down to programs and the number of Ph.D. completers that you have.”

The R1 designation by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Learning is based on characteristics such as number of doctoral degrees conferred and money spent on research. In Tennessee, if TSU’s effort is successful, it will join the University of Memphis and the University of Tennessee Knoxville as the only institutions with the R1 designation.

 Branndon Jones, a Ph.D. candidate in engineering and computational sciences, said he’s very optimistic about TSU’s effort.

“The research enterprise here at TSU is led by professors and advisors who have immense passion and dedication to their work and field of study,” said Jones, of Franklin, Tennessee, who is in his second year of his doctoral studies. 

“The research areas are also unique since many are in the area of security and defense which forces researchers to think outside the box to develop novel approaches to solve today’s problems and problems that may arise 10 years in the future.”

A cross section of the university’s research community – faculty, staff, administrators – participated in the discussion to make the case for TSU’s quest for the top research designation. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

TSU has a thriving research enterprise. Over the last two years, the University has been awarded more than $70 and $67 million in sponsored research and external funding, the highest in school history.

The university’s move to achieve an R1 designation comes just three years after receiving the R2 status, joining three of Tennessee’s four-year public institutions with that designation. Climbing to the top tier of R1 will be quite a fete. With nearly 4,000 colleges and universities classified by the Carnegie system, only 3 percent are R1s, considered the best research institutions in the world.

“The fact that there is no HBCU in that R1 classification, we are trying to set the standard,” said Dr. Robbie Melton, interim provost and vice president for Academic Affairs.

“We need to let everyone know that HBCUs have the same quality, rigor, and support for an R1 classification.”

To be considered for an R1 classification, an institution must award at least 20 research and or scholarship doctoral degrees during the update year, which takes place every three years, as well as spend at least $5 million in total research expenditures according to the National Science Foundation’s Higher Education Research & Development Survey. The institution must also score high on the Research Activity Index calculation, which is an aggregate level of overall and per capita research activity.

Quick, who is leading the university’s efforts and oversees the research enterprise, said achieving the R1 designation wouldn’t be easy, but TSU is up to the task.

 “We are in a much better shape than most people realize,” he said. “TSU is very strong in the STEM disciplines. We are producing a good number of Ph.D.s in those areas, as well as in education and agriculture. We are also doing well in the number of non-faculty Ph.D. researchers, which now stands at 18.”

Quick added that research expenditures, which stood at $15.4 million in TSU’s most recent ranking, is another area of improvement. The greatest challenge, he said, is in the humanities, which does not currently have doctoral programs. 

“Where we are going to meet the challenge is with the humanities, and there is a consensus across the board at the highest leadership, with President (Glenda) Glover, Academic Affairs, Research and Sponsored Program, and Institutional Research on what it is going to take to meet this challenge,” adds Quick.

Dr. Samantha Morgan Curtis, interim dean of the College of Liberal Arts, said the college is looking at a number of programs that could be elevated to the doctoral level.

“One of the first one we are looking at is criminal justice. There is also great interest in music, another incredibly strong program,” Morgan Curtis said. “We have a master’s program in music that will be rolling out shortly. The natural growth there is to look at the doctorate.”

For more information on research at TSU, visit https://www.tnstate.edu/research-1/

Featured Photo by Reginald Cannon
Dr. Quincy Quick (at the podium), head of TSU’s Office of Research and Sponsored Programs and the University’s chief research officer, spearheads the discussion as he and other officials present the institution’s case for an “R1” research designation. Sitting from left are: Dr. Robbie Melton, Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs; Dr. William Johnson, Executive Research Director for R2 to R1 for New Academic Programs; and DrJohn Robinson, Interim Dean of Graduate Studies.

TSU Faculty and Staff Return for New Semester, to Build Upon Successes

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University
President Glenda Glover applauded employees for their contributions to the success TSU achieved as the university hit major milestones in 2021, challenging faculty and staff to take the university to even higher heights over the next five years.

The 2022 Faculty-Staff Institute brought out more than 150 attendees as Dr. Glover addressed the challenges of operating amid pandemic, stating that the university will continue to adhere to safety plans and protocols.

As she praised faculty and staff, she said the university has kept its faith since 1912. “You have handled our day-to-day operations and kept us going throughout this pandemic,” Glover said.

“You have redefined what it means to be a frontline worker. We begin this new academic year with our continuing goal of serving our students. We celebrate our commitment to our students.”

The 2022 Faculty-Staff Institute brought out more than 150 attendees. An annual event that highlighted short term goals, long term goals and a five-year strategic plan for the university. (Photo: Aaron Grayson.)

In pointing out TSU’s successes, the president discussed record enrollment of 2,500 first year students and the faculty attracting more than $65 million in sponsored research and external funding during the 2021-22 fiscal year.

Glover also cited $250,000,000 being appropriated in state funding for TSUs infrastructure, and a recent 6% salary raise for TSU faculty and staff.

Glover mentioned another important short-term goal of getting approval this year for another residence hall that will hold 1,000 beds for
students. During the event, Glover also highlighted long term goals, a five-year strategic plan for the university. It includes achieving an R1 research status (currently R2); 10 to 15 new doctoral programs on-site and on-line; doubling research funding to $150 million; attracting global talents for chair professor positions, boosting the endowment
to $200 million and $75 million in reserves; development of the downtown campus, increasing overall enrollment to 10,000; and become the number one Center for SMART Technology internationally.

During the presentation Dr. Artenzia Young-Seigler, chair of the faculty
senate, said it is going take teamwork to overcome university internal and external challenges. “The challenges we face this semester will change this university forever,” Young-Seigler said.

Interim Vice President of Academic affairs Dr. Robbie Melton and staff senate chair Reginald Cannon speaks at the 2022 Faculty-Staff Institute. Cannon said he looks forward to advocating for new students as TSU faculty will continue to succeed and advance the university. (Photo Aaron Grayson)

“Remember, our best is in front of us. And every challenge presents an opportunity for exceptional and miraculous possibilities.”

She assured faculty and staff that the university will face challenges with fortitude, not fear.

Staff senate chair Reginald Cannon, couldn’t agree more. “My focus is to make sure that we are in place to be able to support those who need us,” Cannon said. “We have had a lot of discussion about the mental and physical well-being when coming back to the university,” he said referring to the pandemic.

Cannon said he looks forward to advocating for the new students as faculty will continue to find a way to succeed and advance the university.

“We welcome the challenge of taking care of this new generation of students.”

TSU launches academic eSports Center; 30 area school students kick off inaugural program

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – For the love of gaming, kids at a young age can flesh out their skills and get into the multibillion-dollar industry of video gaming, or eSports right here at Tennessee State University.

More than 30 students from the Metro Nashville area and surrounding counties were eager to learn about coding and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math)  programs as they were introduced to virtual reality applications, game design and coding at TSU’s first academic eSports event.

A young student tests skills at the virtual reality gaming event. (Photo by Aaron Grayson)

Students from Backfield In Motion, an academic after school program for students grades 1-12, cheered as they geared up for gaming and coding at the University’s Avon Williams Campus.

Dr. Robbie Melton, Assistance Vice President of the SMART Innovation Technology Center at TSU said the purpose of academic eSports and coding robotics is to take video gaming and pathway it into the University’s esteemed curriculum.

“We want them (students) to know that they can be gamers and also game makers, so we’re going to introduce game design, basic coding skills … as well as virtual and augmented reality,” Melton said. “Our goal is to take them from playing, into the world of coding.” 

Junior Ambassadors assist young gamers at the launching of the Academic eSports Center. (Photo by Aaron Grayson)

Upon arrival, the students had a virtual Q & A session with Jyden Mcbath-Spencer, a professional eSports NBA2K League player for the Brooklyn Nets, who talked about his career path and gaming experience.

The students then broke off into groups to begin their academic eSports day.

The first group of students enjoyed playing their favorite games in the eSports gaming area, while others were tasked to code a robotic ball that went through a maze.

The third group of students were in a virtual reality center that, “takes student into a virtual world so they can now … immerse themselves into the teaching and learning,” Melton said.

More than 30 area students participated in the one-day Academic eSports Center Summer Community Camp. (Photo: Aaron Grayson)

Dr. Effua Ampadu-Moss, director of TSU’s eSports program said the goal is to recruit students, graduate and have careers within the eSports industry.

TSU alum Micah Kimble Sr., Chief Operating Officer for Backfield In Motion, said he looks forward to what the center has in store for the students.

“I love bringing the students to my alma mater,” Kimble Sr., said. “They (students) get to see some of these great STEM careers that eSports has to offer … and it gives an opportunity for the kids to see something different.”

“I’m really excited for these kids. They will never forget this day.”

For more information on the TSU Academic eSports Center, visit https://www.tnstate.edu/hbcuc2/index.html

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209

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.