By Lucas Johnson, Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee State University’s new president said troubles at her alma mater, including accusations of grade fixing, can be resolved by creating a sense of unity along with better communication.
Glenda Baskin Glover, current dean of the College of Business at Jackson State University in Jackson, Miss., was chosen from four finalists last week. The Tennessee Board of Regents voted unanimously during a special meeting Tuesday to approve her appointment.
Glover, who earned her bachelor’s degree at Tennessee State in mathematics in 1974, will take over as president on Jan. 2 with a salary of $279,000.
She told the board she’s “honored and excited” to return to the historically black college in Nashville.
“It’s an awesome feeling, as well as an awesome responsibility,” Glover said.
Glover replaces interim president Portia Shields, who came to the university in early 2011 to make reforms for the school to gain a necessary full accreditation.
She also takes over an institution that has been heavily scrutinized over the years and the subject of negative headlines.
Earlier this year, the Senate Higher Education Subcommittee held a hearing to address allegations that university officials changed more than 100 students’ grades of “incomplete” for two introductory-level courses into letter grades without instructors’ permission.
Board of Regents officials told the panel there were mistakes made and that there was a lack of communication, but they said an internal audit found no wrongdoing by university administrators.
However, during the subcommittee hearing, one of the faculty members who made the allegations said she voiced her concerns outside the school because she didn’t think they would be addressed by university administrators. Another faculty member said he was simply “afraid.”
Glover told The Associated Press that she believes such issues can be resolved by creating a sense of unity on the campus, as well as better “communication and disclosure.”
“Those are areas that I’m going to enforce and ensure that take place on campus,” she said.
Glover said she’s also going to make sure TSU is in compliance with the Complete College Tennessee Act, which changed the formula for how Tennessee’s universities are funded, rewarding them for graduating students, not just enrolling them.
“I’m going to put together a committee that will start the process of combing through the Complete College Act and assuring that we are doing everything possible to be in compliance,” she said.
Glover has been at Jackson State University since 1994 and is a licensed attorney and certified public accountant. She has degrees from Clark Atlanta University, Georgetown University Law Center and George Washington University.
Glover also helped to fundraise for Jackson State University and obtain the university’s first endowed chair. She spearheaded the implementation of online learning programs and developed the university’s internal fiscal accountability measures.
Gov. Bill Haslam was involved in the search for the new president and said he believes Glover will be a good fit at TSU.
The Republican governor told board members by way of a telephone conference that Glover understands the university, is passionate about developing leaders out of the school, and that several business leaders spoke highly of her.
“TSU is a critical piece of what we’re doing in Tennessee,” Haslam said. “And I just happen to think that getting a leader right is the most important thing that we can do. I’m encouraged that Dr. Glover will be that right person for TSU.”
TSU freshman Javona Hanson of Atlanta said she’s looking forward to having a new president at the helm.
“Don’t get me wrong, our last president was great,” said the 18-year-old biology major. “But sometimes change is a good thing.”