Lipscomb Academy breaks ground on $5M indoor athletics facility

Fall 2016 completion eyed for center honoring McCadams
Nov 25, 2015 11:15 AM

Peabody lands $1.93M federal grant for ed program

Next Steps at Vanderbilt — Tennessee’s first postsecondary education program for students with intellectual disabilities — will expand significantly thanks to new federal funding.

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Postsecondary Education has awarded a five-year $1.93 million grant to the Vanderbilt University Peabody College of Education and Human Development to broaden the impact and reach of the program, the university announced in a release.

Vanderbilt was one of 25 colleges and universities nationally awarded funding as a Model Comprehensive Transition and Postsecondary Program for Students with Intellectual Disabilities (TPSID). Other Tennessee recipients of TPSID awards were Lipscomb University and the University of Memphis.

The Vanderbilt Kennedy University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (VKC UCEDD) established Next Steps in 2010. The two-year certificate program focuses on 18- to 26-year-old students with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

“Next Steps has been successful in preparing its students for employment, promoting independence and self-advocacy, and providing an inclusive experience within Vanderbilt,” Erik Carter (pictured), professor of special education and VKC UCEDD faculty member, said in the release.

“This award makes it possible to take Next Steps to the next level, permitting us not only to expand in significant ways within Vanderbilt but also allowing us to promote growth of such programs in Tennessee,” added Carter, the principal investigator on the TPSID grant.

Read more here.

Nov 25, 2015 7:25 AM

New Peabody associate dean to focus on diversity, inclusion

The Vanderbilt University Peabody College of Education and Human Development has named Dr. Monique Robinson-Nichols associate dean for students and equity, diversity and inclusion.

The appointment is effective immediately, according to a release.

The newly created position is a promotion for Robinson-Nichols, who has served as the college’s assistant dean for student affairs since 2011. Prior to that, she was director of student life and diversity services at Volunteer State Community College in Gallatin.

Robinson-Nichols (pictured) is a Peabody alumna, having earned a Master of Education degree in student personnel services in 1994 and a Doctor of Education degree in higher education administration in 2002. 

“We all have benefited from working with Dean Robinson-Nichols over the last few years as she cared for our students, especially those in distress,” Camilla P. Benbow, Patricia and Rodes Hart Dean of Education and Human Development at Peabody, said in the release. “We all have gained much from her wisdom, courage and strategic thinking. And it is fitting that we ask her to expand her duties to assist us as Peabody, with other Vanderbilt colleges and schools, works to address issues of diversity and inclusivity. I am personally grateful to have her counsel and leadership.”

Read more here.

The announcement follows last week's announcement that VU has appointed veteran academician George C. Hill to serve as chief diversity officer and vice chancellor for equity, diversity and inclusion, also a newly created position. (Read more here.)


Nov 24, 2015 12:15 PM

'Money' ranks VU among most affordable for low-income students

Money magazine has ranked Vanderbilt University No. 10 among the nation's 40 most affordable colleges and universities for low-income students.

The list includes schools at which students from families earning less than $48,000 annually can typically graduate debt-free.

For its criteria, Money cited a new benchmark for affordability established by the Lumina Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to improving higher education access and success. The foundation has proposed that a college be describe as “affordable” if the cost of earning a bachelor’s degree is no more than the total of 10 percent of a family’s discretionary income over a 10-year span, or the equivalent of the amount a student can earn working 10 hours per week during the school year.

Read more here at

Nov 24, 2015 6:45 AM

Lipcomb, Vanderbilt land federal grants

Lipscomb and Vanderbilt universities have simultaneously announced work fueled by federal monies.

HIV diagnoses are disproportionately high among young African American males, especially those who engage in sexual activity with men, according to a recently completed $1.5 million VU study supported by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services.

Unrelatedly, LU's educational program for students with developmental and intellectual disabilities has received a $1.6 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education through its Model Comprehensive Transition and Postsecondary Programs for Students with Intellectual Disabilities (TPSID) initiative. Of note, Vanderbilt secured a TPSID grant, too.

The Vanderbilt study involved VU and First Response Center, a nonprofit HIV/AIDS prevention and care organization run by Metropolitan Interdenominational Church in North Nashville.

The study, “Black Young Men Building Capacity,” was developed by Sandra L. Barnes, a professor in the Department of Human and Organizational Development at Vanderbilt’s Peabody College of Education and Human Development.

“Interventions and services are out there, but the numbers are still rising,” Barnes, lead investigator of the study, said in a release. “That suggests there is a disconnect somewhere. How do you establish trust and reach a demographic that has a history of being marginalized?”

During the next five years, Barnes (pictured) said the aim is to reach 5,000 members of the target population of black males who have sex with males, known as MSM. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, MSM account for 75 percent of new HIV diagnoses among 18- to 24-year-old black men.

“The overall goal of BYMBC is to educate, equip and empower members of the target population to access prevention and testing services,” Barnes said.

Read more here.

Lipscomb and VU were two of only 25 universities in the nation to receive the aforementioned TPSID grant. The grant will help support and expand services in the LU College of Education’s IDEAL (Igniting the Dream of Education and Access at Lipscomb) program.

“This grant is significant to our IDEAL program in several ways,” Deborah Boyd,  LU College of Education dean, said in a release. “Being one of only a few universities in the country to receive a TPSID grant is a strong indication that the program we launched just last year is already being recognized for its quality and for the positive impact it is having having on campus and all students, in addition to the students in the program, who otherwise might not have an opportunity to have a college experience. The size of the grant is also very significant in that it will allow us to add resources, to serve students and their families better, to expand our programming.”

IDEAL is a two-year certificate program, accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, designed to encourage and support students with intellectual and developmental disabilities to experience college as their peers do. Launched in January 2014, the IDEAL program includes academic and skill-building classes, exercise sessions, daily internships, leisure time and a daily study period.

The initial cohort included three students. This fall, 19 students comprising three cohorts are enrolled in the program. (Read more here.)


(Photo courtesy of VU/John Russell)

Nov 20, 2015 7:15 AM

Vanderbilt names first chief diversity officer

Veteran academician has background in biomedical research
Nov 19, 2015 10:41 AM

Trevecca to add School of Music and Worship Arts

The trustees of Trevecca Nazarene University approved a new School of Music and Worship Arts, effective Jan. 1, 2016. The traditional music programs, the National Praise and Worship Institute and the Center for Worship Arts will move under a single umbrella. The music education program will remain in the TNU College of Education, and the music business program will stay in the TNU College of Business.

A release:

Trevecca Nazarene University is the place to study music in Music City. Trevecca’s Board of Trustees underlined their commitment to musicians and the music industry when they voted unanimously on November 6 to form the School of Music and Worship Arts.

Effective January 1, 2016, the action moves all of Trevecca’s music programs under one umbrella, giving students a single point of entry and a large selection of majors and minors to choose from.

University President Dan Boone describes the strategic move as Trevecca’s “next great step forward.”

“Nashville is globally recognized as Music City, U.S.A., and our programs reflect many ways that a student can prepare for a career in music,” Boone said. “By creating the Trevecca School of Music and Worship Arts, we are able to provide a single entity that can explain the different programs and how they interact.”

The new school will be comprised of Trevecca’s existing Department of Music, the Center for Worship Arts and the National Praise and Worship Institute. Each program will retain its unique approach, but the realignment will allow for greater collaboration.

“The unification of our programs brings together a great group of music educators and musicians who can more easily collaborate with each other across our various majors and program concentrations,” said Dr. Steve Pusey, University provost. “This will allow the individuals units to maintain their distinctiveness while drawing upon the unique abilities and strengths that the faculty as a whole brings to the school.”

Dr. David Diehl, who has been named the first dean of the School of Music and Worship Arts, says the new school will provide Trevecca’s music programs with greater reach and impact.

“By combining our resources we can have a larger footprint in our community—educational, musical, local—which should help raise the awareness of our programs and impact our ability to recruit and become a leading voice regarding music and worship arts in our community, city and [the] church,” said Diehl, who has served as the chair of Trevecca’s music department for 10 years.

Diehl says the realignment will create more opportunities for students in each program to interact. The new structure will also expose students to wider range of ideas and teaching styles, while also giving rise to more efficiency in recruitment.

The School of Music and Worship Arts will become Trevecca’s fifth school, joining the School of Arts and Sciences, Skinner School of Business and Technology, School of Education and the Millard Reed School of Theology and Christian Ministry. Trevecca's music business program will remain housed in the business school, while music education programs will remain in the School of Education.

Nov 18, 2015 7:10 AM

Preds to launch hockey-based STEM program

The Nashville Predators will launch the Future Goals program tomorrow at Franklin's Liberty Elementary, part of a league-wide initiative that uses hockey as a vehicle to team science, technology, engineering and math skills.

From a release:

The Future Goals educational experience:

● Engages students in the real-world application of key science, technology, engineering and math topics by using the fast-paced, exciting game of hockey as a learning vehicle.

● Curriculum aligns with standards established by the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE).

● Introduction to a variety of science, technology, engineering and math careers, including discussion on life and academic paths that may lead to certain opportunities.

● Students develop the technical foundation, vocabulary and skills needed to succeed in the 21st century workforce.

Nov 17, 2015 12:02 PM

VU launching marketing master's

Vanderbilt University's Owen Graduate School of Management will next summer launch a master's degree in marketing. The 10-month program will feature classes on statistics and pricing strategies, among others, and will be directed by professor Stephen Posavac, who is pictured here.

Modern marketing skills, including digital marketing tools such as social media and web-based marketing, are in high demand in the workforce. Master of Marketing students will take courses in marketing analytics, statistics, digital marketing, communications, new product development, consumer insights, brand management and more. Two immersion-based independent studies enable students to customize the program to fit specific industries, desired roles or other career goals.

Nov 17, 2015 8:36 AM

Barry's office to co-lead task force searching for next superintendent

Nashville Mayor Megan Barry announced Monday at the Nashville Rotary meeting a new task force designed to aid Metro Nashville Public School Board in finding its superintendent.

The Metro school board has struggled with how to find a suitable candidate for superintendent after offering the position to Williamson County Director of Schools Mike Looney, who decided to stay in his current role after much courting from Metro.

Barry told rotary members at Wildhorse Saloon that the task force would be charged with identifying what Nashville needs in a superintendent, who fits that profile and whether the city has what it needs to attract that candidate. A report of the group's findings is expected by January.

“The school board is fully in support of this process,” Barry said “[Metro Nashville Public School Board Chair Sharon Gentry] has been incredibly supportive of this, and I think it’s going to lead us to a great superintendent hire.”

The task force, which is co-chaired by the Mayor’s Office and the Nashville Public Education Foundation, will be made of up the following 17 members:

- David Briley, Vice Mayor

- Sheila Calloway, Juvenile Court Judge

- Bill Carpenter, Chairman and CEO, LifePoint Health

- Rev. V. H. Sonnye Dixon, Interdenominational Ministers Fellowship

- Marc Hill, Chief Policy Officer, Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce

- Shannon Hunt, President and CEO, Nashville Public Education Foundation

- Erick Huth, President, Metropolitan Nashville Education Association

- Kristin McGraner, Founder and Executive Director, STEM Prep

- Janet Miller, CEO, Colliers International

- Rich Riebeling, Chief Operating Officer, Mayor Barry’s Office

- Mark Rowan, President, Griffin Technology

- Renata Soto, Executive Director, Conexión Américas

- Stephanie Spears, President, MNPS Parent Advisory Council

- Rev. Ed Thompson, Nashville Organized for Action and Hope

- Robbin Wall, Principal, McGavock High School

- Ludye N. Wallace, President, NAACP Nashville

- David Williams, Vice Chancellor, Vanderbilt University

Nov 16, 2015 2:28 PM