The Board of Regents has unanimously approved a new president for Tennessee State University. The panel – which includes the governor – voted Tuesday to hire Glenda Glover, currently dean of the business school at Mississippi’s Jackson State University.
Glover herself attended TSU as an undergrad and went on to become a lawyer and a CPA.
Like many alums, she has fond memories of the school. But in recent years, TSU tends to make headlines for the wrong reasons, like an episode a few months ago that involved the head of the faculty senate being handcuffed and led out of a meeting.
“I want to ensure that we’re operating the campus in the spirit of unity. That’s very important that the campus has a unified spirit. Of course you operate better when there is no chaos.”
TSU freshmen also tell of getting the runaround on financial aid. Transfers have trouble tracking down a transcript.
Elphonsus Emeanu moved to Tennessee from Nigeria and says there’s a general lack of what might be called customer service.
“There are so many teachers that if you ask this person, they say ask this person, then this person. Just like that, you won’t get the help you need.”
While the historically black university remains nearly 70 percent African American, the school has become more diverse. Senior Kirstin Johnson says she comes from a long line of TSU grads, and worries the HBCU culture is getting diluted.
“People in my family were going here when it was Tennessee A&I, when they were paying tuition in chickens. So it can be multicultural type thing, but still keep the historically black legacy.”
TSU’s most serious academic challenge is in the rearview mirror. The university’s accreditation has been reaffirmed, but Glover says increasing TSU’s completion rate is a top priority. It’s currently the lowest of Board of Regents schools with only 38 percent earning a degree within six years.
Glover’s first day on the job is January 2nd at an annual salary of – $279,000 – well below the national average.