NASHVILLE, TN (TSU News Service) — Tennessee State University President Glenda Glover welcomed faculty and staff back to the university on Monday, and challenged them to strive for “greatness.”
“This is an exciting time because the history of TSU is still being written,” Glover said at the Faculty-Staff Institute. “We’ve been called to greatness. We are building our TSU legacy.”
She said the university has some challenges, but that they can be overcome by working together.
“It takes all of us to make TSU work,” Glover said. “We are team TSU.”
Part of the president’s discussion was about enrollment, which she said has been affected by the state’s program that offers high school graduates free tuition at a two-year institution in Tennessee, and higher admission standards TSU implemented in 2016 to attract better and brighter students.
She noted the higher standards are paying off because the university is attracting more quality students, including two highly sought after high school seniors from Memphis.
Jayla Woods, a graduate of Whitehaven High School, received nearly $9 million in scholarship offers. A fellow student, Meaghen Jones, got more than $10 million in offers. Both will be at TSU when classes start this month.
“We’ve moved to quality over quantity,” Glover said.
She also pointed out the university is continuing to excel in research, as well as campus growth. In the next few months, ground is expected to be broken on a new Health Sciences Building and two new residence halls.
As for research funding, TSU ended the past year with $52 million, which was $8 million more than the previous year and placed Tennessee State No. 2 among historically black colleges and universities in new research funding.
Dr. Lesia Crumpton-Young, TSU’s vice president of research and institutional advancement, said she’s excited about the future of TSU.
“I’m looking forward to this year,” she said. “The plan is to keep the momentum, and actually accelerate this year with larger initiatives, that once again still provide greater impact to the research we’re doing.”
Tequila Johnson, chair of the Staff Senate, said she was pleased to hear the positive outcomes and outlooks shared by President Glover, as well as others who presented during the retreat.
“I think it was a great opportunity to be able to fellowship with staff and faculty members,” Johnson said. “It was also a good opportunity to be able to hear some of the ideas that staff have in relationship to customer service and how we can work together to improve satisfaction.”
Assistant College of Business professor Isaac Addae said the Faculty-Staff Institute was “very effective in setting the tone for the upcoming semester.”
“Dr. Glover’s holistic approach to student-centered customer service, and reiterating to faculty that it takes all of us, is a step in the right direction,” he said. “As an alumnus and business faculty member, I was proud to see the upward trend of enrollment in our academic unit. I am inspired to do my part to embrace the Team TSU mindset and provide excellence in teaching, research and service to the institution.”
Dr. De’Etra Young, assistant professor of Urban Forestry in the College of Agriculture, said the information shared during the retreat provided inspiration for the year ahead.
“I thought it was great. I thought it set the tone to build teamwork and collaboration and putting students first,” she said. “I really liked the president’s message of ‘Team TSU,’ and using that throughout the year to build the TSU family and putting that at the forefront.”
Kiana Hughes, who earned a master’s degree from TSU in 2017 and now works as Title III program coordinator and completion coach, echoed similar sentiments.
“Being a recent graduate I really enjoyed seeing the actual numbers and the growth of the university. Also, being a recent graduate of a graduate program I am really excited to see the way the graduate school is progressing,” Hughes said.
Hughes, who received her undergraduate degree from TSU in Exercise Science HPSS (Human Performance Science), said she looks forward to a great year at the university.
“One thing I want to see and I am really excited about is faculty and staff coming together to make TSU a better environment over all. I am really excited about that,” Hughes said.
Following the annual faculty and staff institute employees gathered for lunch on the campus lawn where they continued to fellowship and share excitement about the new academic year.