Tennessee State University Partners With African Universities To Provide Coding Classes For International Students
The goal of the program is to use the popularity of coding and app design to encourage Black students to pursue STEM careers.
June 01, 2021 at 5:44 pm
Beginning this fall, the course will be made available through a partnership between Tennessee State University and the African Methodist Episcopal Church, which operates multiple schools in Africa. The participating schools include the African Methodist Episcopal University as well as its auxiliary high school, Monrovia College and Wilberforce Community College, which enrolls both high school and college students in a township in South Africa.
Robbie Melton, vice president of the Smart Technology Innovation Center at TSU, said that the popularity of app design and coding is an easy introduction for students to careers in STEM.
"This is really to whet their appetite for the need for STEM degrees," Melton told the Tennessean. "We have to do something different to really motivate and promote STEM among minorities.”
AME Church Bishop E. Earl McCloud Jr., who presides over the participating African schools, initially reached out to TSU in hopes of creating a program that will empower students interested in STEM fields that have limited resources.
"It's a fulfillment of a dream," McCloud said in an interview. "This is one of the enlightening opportunities, especially when the International Monetary Fund says that Monrovia, Liberia is one of the poorest countries in the world."
If students in the program desire to advance their education with the HBCU, the school will be offering degrees remotely via virtual courses.
“Our global mission is to empower underserved populations,” TSU President Glenda Glover said. “Access to education is challenging in parts of Africa. We're meeting that challenge and breaking those barriers.”
According to the Tennessean, the course is available to students interested in pursuing careers in STEM or for those seeking a one-time course. All high school students are eligible to join TSU’s Dual Enrollment program, which has other classes available in the Language Arts and Liberal Arts.
Additionally, the historically Black institution currently partners with several other schools in some of the largest districts in Tennessee, including Clarksville-Montgomery County, Hamilton County and Metro Nashville Public Schools.
Despite the recent wave of support for HBCUs, a bipartisan legislative committee found last month that the state of Tennessee failed to appropriately fund TSU in matched land grants since the 1950s, potentially costing the public university anywhere from $150 million to $544 million.
State Rep. Harold Love Jr., an alum of the school, leads the joint committee. It was his vision to begin the probe with the intent of having the state calculate how much money was missing and then try to reallocate it, according to a press release.
“Today’s meeting was a very crucial step in the committee’s work to investigate the funding arrearage amount for Tennessee State University,” Love said. “It is my hope that we can put a plan in place to address this in the very near future.”
The committee is scheduled to meet in the future to evaluate the amount TSU is owed and how it will be awarded, the press release stated.
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