Dr. Glover speaking

Amid expectations, TSU president embraces “an awesome blessing”

Karanja A. Ajanaku | 9/17/2015, 12:43 p.m.
Amid expectations, TSU president embraces “an awesome blessing”
TSU President Dr. Glenda Baskin Glover and the Tigers head coach Rod Reed hold their team’s winning trophy up after the 35-25 victory in the 26th Southern Heritage Classic Football game at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium last Saturday. (Photo: Warren Roseborough)

Firmly anchored in the present, Tennessee State University President – and Memphis product – Dr. Glenda Baskin Glover takes a look back to her January 2013 start and peeks forward in a sit-down exclusive with the TSD.

Dr. Glenda Baskin Glover took over as president of TSU in January 2013 with a five-point plan: (1) academic progress and customer service, (2) fund raising and partnerships, (3) diversity and inclusion, (4) shared governance and (5) business outreach. (Photo: Karanja A. Ajanaku)

Dr. Glenda Baskin Glover took over as president of TSU in January 2013 with a five-point plan: (1) academic progress and customer service, (2) fund raising and partnerships, (3) diversity and inclusion, (4) shared governance and (5) business outreach. (Photo: Karanja A. Ajanaku)

“It’s an honor to have grown up in Memphis and then to attend TSU and then to come back as president. It’s such an awesome blessing and I don’t take that lightly. I don’t for any reason think that that is a given,” said Glover during an interview at The Peabody Hotel as the Southern Heritage Classic Weekend of activities unfolded.

“I know there are expectations. You asked if there was something the alumni expected. They demand accountability and rightly so. … I am enjoying it, embracing it,” she said, tipping her hat to a quality team of administrators.

Together, and with the support of alumni, the team has managed to increase enrollment, even as enrollment at the other five Tennessee Board of Regents universities stayed the same or declined. And it has done so against the challenge presented by the Tennessee Promise initiative, which offers two years of tuition-free community or technical college to Tennessee high school graduates beginning with the Class of 2015.

Karanja A. Ajanaku: On a macro level, what do you see as the purpose of a university?

Dr. Glenda Baskin Glover: A university exists for more than one reason. It exists first to educate students, to impart the knowledge they will need to function in their daily lives in a professional arena. Then secondly, it is to improve the well being, the overall well-roundedness of our students. So education academically, as well as the mind academic functions. That’s what a university is for.

KAA: So coming down to the micro level and looking at Tennessee State, how well do you say you are doing?

Dr. Glover: We are doing an outstanding job of educating students. Over the years I can give you the names of TSU alums who have done well and made their marks on life. We continue to carry out our mission of serving a population that really needs us. We serve largely Tennessee students but we are open to all students who apply and meet the standards and criteria we have set for TSU and approved by our governing boards.

KAA: Coming in, you had something in your mind, like a baseball manager with a three to five year plan. A few years in, where do you see that you are relative to the plan that you came in with?

Dr. Glover: We are on track, maybe a little bit ahead of schedule. When I came, I had a five-point vision. I knew it would take three to five years. First and foremost was student progress, make sure students are progressing as speedily as necessary through the academic system. (And) to improve the customer service as it related to students. Students who go to TSU deserve the right and opportunity and support they need to graduate. And that is our mission. To get the students the proper amount of knowledge and understanding so that when they are deposited back into the larger community, the larger world, they will be able to function and excel.