NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University President Glenda Glover on Tuesday thanked the institution’s employees for their dedication amid the pandemic, and re-emphasized that safety is a priority for the entire campus family.
“Our number one issue right now is your safety,” said Dr. Glover in a virtual address to the Spring 2021 Faculty-Staff Institute. “We are still working our way through the most unprecedented crisis of our time. I commend you on how you have responded to this crisis. We will not hesitate to protect the safety and the health and the welfare of our students, faculty and staff.”
She said the university is sticking with a comprehensive plan that was put in place last semester and was effective. Like last year, there is a 14-day “safer in place” policy upon arrival for all students in residence halls. Online classes begin Jan. 25 for two weeks. The majority of the classes will continue online, with some in-person and hybrid instruction. Students receive a 15 percent discount for enrolling in all online classes. The semester will conclude with a commencement ceremony on May 1.
Other safety measures for the campus include wearing of face coverings and social distancing at all times; regular cleaning and sanitizing of buildings; temperature checks upon entering campus and randomly throughout campus; and use of shields throughout the campus. There’s also a non-emergency COVID-19 phone line and email for reporting concerns.
Before Glover’s address, Dr. Michael Harris, Interim Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs, as well as the chairs of the Staff and Faculty Senates, also lauded employees for their commitment during these unprecedented times, and provided words of encouragement.
“This too shall pass,” said Harris. “We will get through it by working together. That is the key.”
Dr. Kimberly Triplett, the Faculty Senate chair, echoed his sentiment.
“We face many uncertainties, but I’m sure we will come together to move this university forward,” said Triplett. “We can only do this together.”
Dr. S. Keith Hargrove, dean of the College of Engineering, said he’s pleased with measures TSU has taken to keep the campus safe.
“The university has ensured the safety and well-being of its students and employees throughout this challenging health crisis,” said Hargrove. “It is important that we adhere to the protocols put in place, and practice a behavior that allows us to continue to instruct, learn, serve, and operate as an institution.”
Despite its challenges, Glover also noted the university’s successes, like first-year enrollment being up over 1,600 freshmen, and establishment of the Dr. Levi Watkins, Jr. Institute, a partnership with Meharry Medical College to create a pipeline for early entry into medical college.
She also pointed out that, to date, TSU has received more than $59 million in grant and research awards. TSU ranks in the top five historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in receiving research funding, and is the top HBCU in receiving funds from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture.
“They have a respect for us; how we have handled their money in the past,” said Glover.
She also noted that she is among HBCU leaders who have personally met with President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, a Howard University alumna, to discuss ways to help HBCUs and other minority-serving institutions. Glover said the Biden-Harris administration has pledged $70 billion to the institutions, including $20 billion that will help HBCUs and MSIs increase research facilities they need to compete with larger universities.
In her address, Glover said TSU is scheduled to receive an additional $12.5 million this semester under the HBCU provision of the CARES Act. Last year, TSU received $7.2 million in general CARES Act funding, with an additional $16.2 million under the HBCU provision.
The federal relief funding will be used primarily for scholarships and technology devices, which the university has been providing students to assist them with distance learning.
“What TSU is doing is great,” says Alexus Dockery, a sophomore from Memphis, Tennessee, majoring in political science at TSU. “It will allow students to get the support they need, and further advance their education.”
To view TSU’s operational guidelines during COVID-19 and more, visit http://bit.ly/37DPoAY.
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Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 39 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and eight doctoral degrees. TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee. With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.