Friday, January 29, 2010


All events scheduled on the campus of Tennessee State University have been cancelled for the weekend due to inclement weather.

Any further inclement weather closings may be confirmed by calling the TSU Police Department at 615.963.5171.

Individuals may also check online for additional weather closing announcements at the University’s web site, Facebook and Twitter pages.

TSU Web site:


Effective immediately, Tennessee State University is closed today due to inclement weather.

Employees can confirm any further inclement weather closings by calling the TSU Police Department at 615.963.5171.

Faculty/staff may check online for additional weather closing announcements at the University’s web site, Facebook and Twitter pages.

TSU Web site: 

Thursday, January 28, 2010


The Tennessee State University Athletics Department is joining forces with the Nashville Area Chapter of the American Red Cross to raise funds for disaster relief in Haiti during this week's basketball games.   

Cash donations will be collected by TSU student-athletes at the Tigers and Lady Tigers OVC matchups with Morehead State (1/28) and Eastern Kentucky (1/30) at the Gentry Center.  The women's games will tip off at 5:30 P.M., followed by the men's game at 7:30 P.M. each night. 

TSU Football Head Coach Rod Reed has helped spearhead the Haiti relief efforts by the athletic department and has felt the effects of the earthquake within the Tiger football family.  

"When you see things on the news, sometimes they seem so far away but this disaster has certainly hit close to home with its affect on one of our own in Renaloski," Reed said.  "It's incumbent upon us to do something and we hope all of our fans will join the TSU Family in giving to the Red Cross at our basketball games this week." 

Renaloski St. Fleur, a junior and member of the Tiger football team is a native of Hollywood, Fla. but is of Haitian descent has made a personal interest in assisting in the effort.  

His parents, siblings and family were born and raised in Port-au-Prince. With several family members still residing in Haiti, St. Fleur received word that he had lost a cousin and heard an aunt was missing.  

"It's a great feeling to be able to see the teams and the student body come together so quickly for such a world-wide cause," said St. Fleur. "We need to do as much as we can towards helping Haiti. If its clothes, shoes, food, money, anything helps."  

The American Red Cross is working with its partners in the global Red Cross and Red Crescent network, including the Haitian Red Cross, and other partners to assist those affected by this disaster. 

The Nashville Area Chapter of the American Red Cross is not accepting individual household goods for the Haiti earthquake response. Your cash donation will help respond to the needs of the Haitian people in the most effective, efficient way.  In addition to this week's games, fan can donate online at, or call 615-250-4300. 

For more information, visit the TSU Athletics Website

Free Seminars for Senior Citizens

Tennessee State University will host free two-hour seminars in the areas of interest for people ages 55 and over. The seminars will be hosted at Clement Hall Room 260, TSU Main Campus. The public is urged to RSVP to attend. For more information, contact Dr. Natalie Housel at 615.963.2168. 

Seminar Title

Caring for the Person with Parkinson’s Disease
Friday, March 5, 1:30 - 3:30 p.m.
Your Diet: A Dietician Answers Your Questions
Friday, March 19, 1:30 - 3:30 p.m.
Managing Your Finances After Retirement
Friday, March 26, 1:30 - 3:30

Dealing with Loss and Grief/Living with Chronic Depression
Thursday, April 1, 1:30 – 3:30 p.m.

THINK BIG: TSU Nano-science, Biotechnology Facility Expands Multidisciplinary Approach To Research

Stationed within the first and second floors of the Research and Sponsored Programs building on the main campus of Tennessee State University, the Nanoscience and Biotechnology Core Facility (NBCF) is a state-of-the-art gem created to cultivate a multidisciplinary approach to discovery among faculty and students.

The NBCF at TSU provides students and faculty with hands-on proficiency via its growing collection of technical equipment and with a better understanding of contemporary analytical nanoscience and biotechnology instruments through web-enhanced courses, tutorials, and other tools.

“We would like to see our laboratory as the central hub for  research at the university, a platform for faculty- and student-conducted research as well as small business incubation,” said Susan Verberne-Sutton, director of the laboratory.

The NBCF, with initial funding from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research and the Department of Defense Research and Engineering Office, constitutes a platform for the University’s Division of Research and Sponsored Programs to deliver 7,000 square feet of dedicated laboratory and office space to the TSU community. Subsequent institutional support has enabled the purchase of an extensive array of multi-user instruments and other research equipment.

A faculty researcher in one of the science, technology, engineering, or mathematics disciplines has mastered each piece of equipment in order to mentor the next generation of researchers. In addition, graduate student fellows serve as student experts on the equipment to train incoming students.

Additionally, Verbene-Sutton hosts monthly interdisciplinary seminars that inform the public of capabilities in the laboratory that might enhance or broaden the scope of individual research endeavors. Each seminar has a focus on one of the laboratory instruments and is supplemented with faculty presentations that show how the equipment has enhanced their research.

 “The faculty and experts describe their research projects and discuss  protocols and challenges they have met along the way so that others can learn from their experiences. It’s a hands-on look at the types of problem solving our students will one day themselves meet,” Verbene-Sutton said.

THINK BIG: Tennessee State University Scholars Selected For Omicron Delta Kappa Society Inc.’s Collegiate Leadership Conference

Tennessee State University honor students Chanelle Ward and Sheldon Welch were selected to take part in an annual leadership conference with 40 other scholars across the nation. 

Omicron Delta Kappa, The National Collegiate Leadership Honor Society’s the Campus Leaders Today, Community Leaders Tomorrow program, scheduled March 11-14, will bring college leaders together to prepare them for service as board members for nonprofit organizations.

The students will travel to Richmond for a series of lectures and discussions and they will experience a meeting with selected nonprofit board and staff members.  This is the sixth year for this highly successful program which has become the signature program of Omicron Delta Kappa.

The Omicron Delta Kappa Society Inc., The National Leadership Honor Society for college students, recognizes and encourages superior scholarship, leadership and exemplary character.  The organization was founded Dec. 3, 1914 at Washington and Lee University in Lexington Va. by 15 student and faculty leaders.  

Omicron Delta Kappa was the first college honor society of a national scope to give recognition for meritorious leadership and service in extracurricular activities: membership in Omicron Delta Kappa is a mark of highest distinction and honor.  The society is now present on the campuses of over 300 colleges around the country.

For further information about Omicron Delta Kappa Society Inc., please visit

                     Chanelle Ward                      Sheldon Welch

THINK BIG: Tennessee State University Faculty Member Nominated For Two Emmy Awards

On the evening of January 30, Tennessee State University assistant professor Alan Griggs will hear word of whether he will receive two more Emmy awards to add to an already impressive collection of journalism and broadcast awards he has earned over his career.

Griggs was nominated in the categories of Magazine Program and Magazine Series for his work with, Tennessee’s Wild Life, a family-oriented show funded by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. Griggs and his colleagues produce 26 half-hour shows each year. Now, in its ninth season, the show airs on PBS stations across Tennessee and Kentucky.

“I have learned an awful lot being a reporter, writer and producer on the show because I wasn’t the very experienced at being an outdoorsman. I have come to respect the natural world and the creatures—big and small—that live in it,” Griggs said.

Griggs has an extensive background in broadcast news and marketing. He was a reporter and anchor at WAPI-TV in Birmingham, Ala., before moving to Nashville’s WSMV-TV. For nine of 20 years at the NBC affiliate, Griggs served as news director, helping to steer the newsroom to recognition as the winner of more awards than any station in the country.

Griggs worked full-time at Tennessee’s Wild Side from 2001 until 2009, when he accepted a faculty position in TSU’s Department of Communications. He teaches courses in the department’s recently updated mass communications curriculum and oversees a student-led multimedia convergence effort.

Griggs said the lessons from the outdoors that he brings to his students into the classroom include the idea of living as green as possible, and firmer conviction that the same basic principles of writing scripts apply in nearly every environment. As a result, he has developed a deep love for conserving and preserving the land.

“Working on the show, I became a student all over again. It took a little time at first, but I quickly fell in love with being in nature, watching it unfold under the beauty of pre-dawn. From the mountains of East Tennessee to some of the most majestic rivers all over the state, the experience sharpened a part of me I hadn’t developed before.”

Alan Griggs

Message from TSU President Melvin N. Johnson

See a message from Tennessee State University President Melvin N. Johnson on the University's planned Haiti relief efforts by clicking here.

Friday, January 22, 2010

THINK BIG: Tennessee State University Earns Grants for Scholarly Endeavors

Tennessee State University colleges and departments have earned more than 70 grants for projects in areas of instruction, service, research, scholarships and fellowships.
This year, significant amounts over $500,000 have been awarded to:  
• Academic Affairs;
• Agriculture and Consumer Sciences;
• Arts and Sciences;
• Business and Finance;
• Center of Excellence for Learning Sciences;
• Engineering, Technology and Computer Science;
• Massie Chair of Excellence for Environmental Engineering;
• Title III;
• TRIO Programs;
• Libraries and Media Centers

In accordance with TSU's strategic integrative goal to become a "premier regional public research land-grant university," as stated in the University's Strategic Plan 2010-2015, faculty and staff have enhanced the University’s reputation and prominence through securing grant funding and building scholarly inquiry.

THINK BIG: Six Campus Leaders Selected for President’s Fellowship Program

Six Tennessee State University faculty and staff members were selected for the University's President’s Fellowship Program, a seven-month program that combines service and mentorship.

An initiative designed to provide participants with an in-depth exposure to University administration and policy-making, the President’s Fellowship Program provides mentoring, networking, research opportunities, university service and guidance in preparation for career advancement for emerging leaders.

Open to all full-time employees who have been at the University a minimum of three years, the program lasts from October to April. Applicants may nominate themselves or be nominated by a co-worker. Each fellow completes a service project that will improve TSU or the surrounding community; the fellow also collaborates with a campus administrator as a mentor. At the culmination of the program, fellows make a presentation about their projects.

“One of the University’s goals is to prepare our students to navigate the global marketplace. In order to facilitate this goal, it is essential that we cultivate our employees to bring innovative ideas, services and programs to our students. The President’s Fellowship Program equips outstanding employees with more tools and knowledge to better serve TSU and the surrounding community,” said Sandra Keith, director of equity, diversity and compliance, who leads the program.

The 2009-2010 President’s Fellows are:

• Dr. Carolyn Caudle, associate professor in the department of biological sciences.
• Ginger Hausser-Pepper, assistant director of service learning and civic engagement
• Dr. Natalie Housel, associate professor of physical therapy
• LaKecia Hudson, assistant director of the career development center
• Dr. Reginald McDonald, assistant professor of music and associate director of bands
• Dr. Teresa Kent Todd, assistant professor of French and Spanish
• Anjetta Williams, coordinator of maintenance and scheduling for facilities management

L to R: Dr. Teresa Kent Todd, Dr. Reginald McDonald, Dr. Natalie Housel, Dr. Melvin N. Johnson, Ginger Hausser-Pepper, Anjetta Williams, and LaKecia Hudson. (Not pictured: Dr. Carolyn Caudle)

THINK BIG: Tennessee State University Welcomes Distinguished Lecturer George Curry

Tennessee State University will host its annual Distinguished Lecture Series with nationally acclaimed and multi-faceted journalist George Curry.

The Tennessee State University Division of Student Affairs is delighted to continue the tradition of enlightening and inspiring students across the spectrum with the 2010 Distinguished Lecture Series. The annual lecture series has also featured Nikki Giovanni, Tavis Smiley and Judge Greg Mathis.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010, 1 p.m.

Tennessee State University Campus Center, Robert N. Murrell Forum Room 210

Thursday, January 14, 2010


U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity John D. Trasviña and Tennessee State University President Melvin N. Johnson will kick-off a new National Collegiate Fair Housing Partnership Campaign on the campus of TSU at a press conference on Monday, January 18, 2010, at 2:15 p.m.

Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity John Trasviña
TSU President Melvin N. Johnson

Press Conference announcing innovative National Fair Housing Collegiate Partnership campaign with colleges and universities

2:15 p.m. Central Standard Time 
Monday, January 18, 2010

Tennessee State University
Gentry Center Complex, room 226 A
3500 John A. Merritt Blvd.
Nashville, Tennessee 37209

For more information, contact April Brown at (202) 402-2107 or


TSU Partners With Adventure Science Center For Alignment Nashville Program For Girls

Three Tennessee State University programs-the Center for Service Learning and Civic Engagement, the Institute for Understanding Biological Systems (lUBS) and the College of Engineering-have entered a $1.35 million grant partnership with the Adventure Science Center and Alignment Nashville to provide tutors and summer camps for Metro Nashville Public Schools girls, grades 7-9.

The grant, funded by the National Science Foundation, provides support to the Art to STEM program. This program was created to promote girls' interests, skills and abilities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

TSU will receive $5,200 for mentor recruitment, as well as $50,000 for hosting the summer camps in 2010 and 2011.

TSU faculty members, Dr. Todd Gary and Dr. Virginia Tickles, and the Center for Service Learning will provide student mentors to work with girls twice a week in an after school program to expose them to the STEM disciplines.

The week-long summer camps will allow Art to STEM participants to be on a college campus attended by many of their mentors. They will utilize the science, math, and aerospace labs, as well as the art gallery on campus and stay in the residence centers to experience college life.

Gary, who serves as co-director of the NASA Science, Engineering, Mathematics and Aerospace Academy (SEMAA) program at TSU, said, "Having TSU students as role models and mentors will be a great asset to the program and will encourage more young women to pursue science careers."

Dr. Sue Fuller, director of the Center for Service-Learning and faculty member in the College of Education, said she views the partnership as a win-win opportunity for both students and their TSU mentors. She also said the program is a fine example of TSU's leadership role in P-16 activities in our area schools.

"The middle and high school students will be engaged in challenging and interesting learning activities while on our campus," she added.

To help recruit mentors, TSU will involve both student organizations-Association of Pre-professional Life Scientists (APLS) and Society of Women Engineers (SWE).

"Our students relish the chance to give back in meaningful ways," said Dr. Lonnie Sharpe, TSU's Massie Chair of Excellence. "They are exceptional, not only for their intellectual abilities but also for their character and maturity."

TSU has a strong and rich science tradition, including being recognized as the first University to directly detect a planet outside the solar system in 1999. Also, for many years, the University has offered summer camps on the campus to school-aged students in math and science. TSU has more than 400 female students majoring in a STEM related discipline.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Astronomers Find Second Smallest Exoplanet

Planet hunters, including Tennessee State University (TSU) astronomer Gregory Henry, have detected an extrasolar planet that is only four times the mass of Earth. The planet is the second smallest exoplanet ever discovered and adds to astronomers' growing cadre of low-mass planets called super-Earths.
"This is quite a remarkable discovery," said astronomer Andrew Howard of the University of California at Berkeley, or UCB. "It shows that we can push down and find smaller and smaller planets." He announced the discovery at the 215th American Astronomical Society meeting held Jan. 4-7, 2010 in Washington D.C.
Dubbed HD156668b, the planet orbits its parent star in just over four days and is located roughly 80 light years from Earth in the direction of the constellation Hercules. Howard, along with California Planet Search team colleagues Geoff Marcy (UCB), Debra Fischer (Yale), John Johnson (CalTech), and Jason Wright (Penn State), discovered the new planet with the 10-meter Keck I telescope atop Mauna Kea in Hawai’i.
The researchers used the radial velocity or wobble method, which relies on Keck’s High Resolution Echelle Spectrograph, or HIRES instrument, to spread light collected from the telescope into its component wavelengths or colors. The result is called a spectrum. When the planet orbits around the back of the parent star, its gravity pulls slightly on the star causing the star’s spectrum to shift toward redder wavelengths. When the planet orbits in front of the star, it pulls the star in the other direction. The star’s spectrum shifts toward bluer wavelengths.
The color (velocity) shifts give astronomers the mass of the planet and the characteristics of its orbit, such as the time it takes to orbit the star. Nearly 400 planets around other stars have been discovered using this technique. But, the majority of these planets are Jupiter-sized or larger.
"It's been astronomers long-standing goal to find low-mass planets, but they are really hard to detect," said Howard. Because low-mass planets produce such small spectral shifts, it is valuable to have complementary observations that support the discovery. CPS team member Gregory Henry (TSU) made repeated brightness measurements of the planet's host star with one of TSU's automatic telescopes located in the mountains of southern Arizona. "These observations show there is nothing intrinsic to the star, such as dark spots similar to spots on our Sun, that might mimic the observed spectral shifts," said Henry. "This provides additional evidence for the existence of the planet."
Howard added that the new discovery has implications for not only exoplanet research but also for solving the puzzle of how planets and planetary systems form and evolve. Astronomers have pieces of the formation and evolutionary puzzle from the discovery of hundreds of high-mass planets. But, "there are important pieces, we don’t have yet. We need to understand how low-mass planets, like super-Earths, form and migrate," Howard said.
The goal of the CPS Eta-Earth Survey for Low-Mass Planets, which was the brainchild of Marcy, was to find these super-Earths. So far the survey has discovered two near-Earth-mass planets with more on the way, Howard said.

Tennessee State University Forensics Program Students Excel In Qualifying Tournaments

Tennessee State University’s forensics team won 135 awards during the fall semester and is poised to surpass the number of awards earned in previous years, Director of Forensics Kimberley LaMarque said.

In the two-day 2009 Holiday Frolic tournament hosted by the Ohio State University Dec. 4-5, the team won 19 awards and placed third in the team sweepstakes of the 30 competing colleges and universities. Two weeks prior, two team members nabbed 21 of 26 possible awards at the 2009 Tennessee Porch Swing Tournament, hosted by Carson-Newman College and Belmont University.

“Forensics is the competitive art of public speaking. The more our students compete, the better they and the program will become. Competitions prepare the students to think on their feet and give them the necessary tools to produce under pressure,” said LaMarque, who also serves as associate professor in the University’s Department of Communications.

LaMarque credited the stronger showing to having an increased coaching staff, allowing for a specific plan of learning objectives to be created for each team member. Emily Kofoed, assistant director of the forensics team, and TSU alumnus Clarence Ball, assistant coach, have both joined LaMarque’s administrative team within the past year.

“Since joining the forensics team, I’ve become a faster thinker and more confident speaker. Preparing speeches for tough competitions and challenging practices has also made me a better writer. There’s nothing like it,” said first-year team member Derrick Johnson, a sophomore speech communications and theater major from Cleveland, Ohio.

LaMarque said the team prepares to compete in at least six tournaments per semester and often hosts one tournament on campus each fall. However, budget restraints have limited the team’s participation to only four-to-five events per semester.

Each tournament consists of 11 different categories of competition, including interpretation, prepared and limited preparation events. Andrea Durham, who serves as the team’s president and is a second-year team member, said she loves the interpretation events, which include prose, dramatic, poetry, dramatic duo and program of oral interpretation.

“In 10 minutes, I get to tell a story that wouldn’t be told otherwise. In a world of instant gratification, 10 minutes can be a long time to get your point across and keep an audience captivated,” said Durham, a junior biochemistry major from Bowie, Md., about her love of competition.

Next up for the team is the Mid-Year Championships hosted by University of Texas-Austin this month. LaMarque said the team members have worked hard and are prepared to win even more awards at the upcoming tournament.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Highlights from 2009 Fall Commencement

Tennessee State University celebrated its 2009 Fall Commencement on Dec. 18 awarding degrees to more than 400 graduates.

Students from the College of Arts and Sciences, College of Business, College of Health Sciences and School of Graduate Studies made up over half of all fall graduates. As they depart from TSU as graduates, they are prepared to continue educational studies toward advanced degrees and find success in entering the global workforce.

The 2009 Fall Commencement at TSU marked the institution’s 98th year and proved to be evidence of a continued tradition of excellence in lifelong learning. Judge Monte Watkins, a 1970 graduate of Tennessee State University, delivered the commencement address. The legendary Coach Edward Stanley Temple was honored as the recipient of the Doctor of Humane Letters. 

Tennessee State University Among Most Admired Companies for Minorities in Research Science

The 24th Black Engineer of the Year Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Conference announced the 2010 Most Admired Companies in Research Science.  The list represents a full array of employers who are working in critical areas of U.S. health care, agriculture, education, government and industry.

This list, published for the past five years, is unique because it is a survey of the readers and editors of US Black Engineer & Information Technology, Hispanic Engineer & Information Technology, Women of Color and Science Spectrum Online magazines regarding their impressions of diversity programs at today’s top organizations. Tennessee State University was among the universities and colleges that made the list.

Despite the economic recession, many of the top companies have maintained their commitment to diversity, retention and recruitment according to the survey of professional minority research scientists, technologists and engineers.  This is in part because of the global demand for scientists and researchers who remain the backbone of knowledge-based economies. Without them we would not have the worldwide web or many other advances we take for granted in our lives, from health care to food safety, even engineering feats such as power stations or the Channel Tunnel. 

The awards come at a time when the country is facing a science and technology crisis: Baby boomers are retiring, more restrictions are being placed on immigrating students and science workers, and foreign countries are fast catching up to the United States technology lead.

The Obama Administration is attempting to reverse these trends by making science research a priority. President Obama set a goal of spending 3% of our GDP on Research and Development. According to Obama, “I believe it is not in our American character to follow – but to lead. And it is time for us to lead once again.” However, to meet these goals, 10,000 more scientists, students, postdoctoral fellows, and technicians, as well as 100,000 highly qualified math and science teachers, must be contributing to America’s scientific enterprise by 2015. 

According to Dr. Tyrone D. Taborn, the founder of the conference and publisher of US Black Engineer & Information Technology magazine, “This survey is important because it gives employers an insight to minority employees’ attitudes and increases their abilities to recruit outstanding scientific talent. “Recruiting women and minorities, only to see them walk out of the door within a few years is a loss of investments and opportunity.”

Retaining promising employees is just as important as recruiting them. Companies are moving beyond simply acquiring a diverse work force and calling it quits. Taborn pointed out, “Our survey shows that many employers are successfully managing, embracing, and cultivating a diverse work environment. Minority employees give their employers improved marks on managing diversity and being fair.”

“I am thrilled to present and honor the organization’s that are providing opportunities for our nation’s brightest stars,” says Taborn. “Clearly, if we are to bring on a new cohort of science talent, we must begin by recognizing and applauding those in the employer community who are actively seeking a diverse workforce of the nation’s most talented scientists, technologists and engineers.”

About the conference:
The 24th BEYA STEM Global Competitiveness Conference has attracted top professionals and students from every part of the nation and every field of science, engineering, and technology for more than two decades. Throughout the conference, our seminars and workshops will offer new information on a variety of topics affecting multicultural technology professionals such as career advancement, diversity programs and specialized industry updates. The Career Fair will link qualified engineers, scientists, business professionals and students with employers both regional and national. The conference is sponsored by Lockheed Martin Corporation, The Council of the Engineering Deans of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and US Black Engineer & Information Technology magazine.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


The Tennessee State University Office of Marketing and Public Affairs will make announcements of University closings through media and other outlets. Employees can confirm inclement weather closing announcements by calling the TSU Police Department at 615.963.5171.

Faculy/staff may check online for weather closing announcements at the University’s web site, Facebook and Twitter pages.

TSU Web site:


Due to anticipated inclement weather conditions, the two-day Faculty/Staff Institute scheduled for Thursday, January 7 and Friday, January 8 has been postponed until Monday, January 11, announced President Melvin N. Johnson. The University will not be closed unless weather conditions deteriorate. Please pay close attention to news announcements for any delays in operating hours.

“We must take precautionary measures to ensure that our University community is safe,” said President Johnson in making the announcement. He added that although weather conditions remain uncertain, the safety of TSU’s faculty and staff must continue to be a top priority.

Monday’s condensed schedule is being finalized; however, the institute is slated to begin promptly at 7:30 a.m. with a coffee sip in Kean Hall. Once finalized, the revised schedule will be disseminated via University Communications and the TSU web site.