Monday, February 20, 2017

Vol State in the News

Robertson County Schools are considering a Middle College program in the county. There are two proposals to run such a system, one by APSU and another by Vol State. The Robertson County Times has this story.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Dr. Faulkner: Feedback

It doesn’t happen as much anymore, but do you remember a time when a public address system produced that ear splitting, high pitched screech?  That is a case of feedback. 

As a student of ecology and biology, we often explore feedback systems in living organisms.  Feedback systems are associated with maintaining a state of health, balance, and proper function.  This state is called homeostasis and the systems are homeostatic systems.  

In living systems, negative feedback systems are not negative because they are bad but are labeled as negative because they say, “No.” to a change.  For example when the air temperature is cold enough to lower your body temperature, a negative feedback occurs that causes you to shiver to say, “No.” to the change by generating heat.  Or inversely, when the temperature increases your body says, “No.” by producing sweat to reduce the body temperature.  A positive feedback says, “Yes.” to a change and increases the rate or magnitude of the change.  An often cited positive feedback system occurs in childbirth where the process results in increasingly stronger and longer contractions to deliver the infant.

More commonly, when we have conversations about feedback we are considering what happens when one receives criticism, praise, or assessment from others.  And we often incorporate similar language (positive, negative, constructive) to describe the feedback.  In this realm positive means good and negative means bad.  Constructive feedback is usually negative delivered in a good way. 
In education we talk about formative assessments which are designed to give students feedback on their progress.  We have a variety of mechanisms to provide each other with feedback.  Student evaluations, peer evaluations, evaluations of the administration, promotion and tenure committee evaluations are all designed to provide feedback. 

In a recent interview in Inc. Magazine, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg was asked the number one thing she looked for in someone that can grow with a company.  She replied, “Someone who takes feedback well.  Because people who can take feedback well are people who can learn and grow quickly.”

The article goes on to explain that anyone can accept positive feedback and praise.  It is more difficult to accept and grow from negative feedback.  “Simply put, it never feels good to hear we’re wrong.”  Because it doesn’t feel good we often react to negative feedback in an emotional way and miss an opportunity to learn and benefit.  The situation is exacerbated when negative feedback is delivered in an emotional way.

The author of the article advises, “But if you’re on the receiving end of negative feedback, don’t waste time rating how ideally it was delivered.  Instead ask yourself the following:

·         How can I use this feedback to help me or my team improve?
·         Putting my personal feelings aside, what can I learn from this alternate perspective?”

The takeaways for me are that we should be willing to deliver constructive feedback to our colleagues even when it is negative.  It should be delivered with the goal of helping each other be the best possible.   Secondly, we should not fear feedback opportunities but should rather seek them out with the goal of being the best possible person and best possible member of the Vol State community.

-Dr. Jerry Faulkner

Vol State in the News

There was more TN Reconnect coverage last week. The Governor's proposal for free community college tuition for adult students brought Channel 5 to the Gallatin campus. They talked to some of our many adult students. Here is the story.

Free community college proposals are spreading across the country. USA Today included this story that has an interview with a Vol State student.

Help us spread the word about free OB scans for expecting moms. It's part of the Vol State Diagnostic Medical Sonography program. The Tennessean has details.

International Education has a fun event coming up later this month to celebrate Chinese Culture. The Tennessean has the details.

Lawmakers for Lunch

One way that the college stays in touch with our area lawmakers is through periodic legislative lunches in conjunction with TBR. The purpose of the meetings is to dialogue with members of the General Assembly about how legislative initiatives affect higher education and the ability of the college to impact the community.  It's also our opportunity to show off new programs and initiatives at Vol State. Here's a pic from a recent lunch: left to right: Ginger Hausser, Director of External Affairs, TBR, William Lamberth, Representative, Dr. Faulkner, Courtney Rogers, Representative, Ferrell Haile, Senator.  

Monday, February 6, 2017

A Fond Farewell for George Wilson

George Wilson and some of his former Vol State students.
Recently retired Logistics and Supply Side Management Associate Professor George Wilson had a surprise send-off last week in Madison. The Delta Nu Alpha (DNA) logistics organization held a dinner with much help from George's wife, Beverly. Attendees included  the former Tennessee Board of Regents Vice-Chancellor of Community Colleges, Dr. Warren Nichols, Vol State President Dr. Jerry Faulkner, Vol State Dean Patricia Anderson, and Vol State Adjunct Associate Professor Don Ellis.

Recent Vol State Graduates who attended included-Ron Moe, CJ Kolek, Sandra Domino Hunt, Gayle Wilmore, Dawn Leady, Jeff Hartmann, Adam Mamula, and Mary Hoppenrath.

Always so proud of his graduates, George took yet another moment to talk up their accomplishments. Many have been student participants in DNA as well as ISM-Nashville (another logistics organization. CJ and Domino are continuing students for their bachelor degrees (Lipscomb and TSU, respectively).The other LGM Graduates all have full-time jobs in supply chain management.

Congrats to George for his hard work and success in growing Logistics and Supply Chain Management. 

Vol State in the News

The Tennessee Reconnect free tuition for adult students proposal by the Governor has attracted quite a bit of media attention. Channel 4 came to the Gallatin campus to do interviews for this story  and the Tennessean ran a front page story  on Sunday with our students and staff.

The Tennessean also did a wonderful side-bar video with adult student Gaynell Buffinet Payne and her focuses on the challenges adult students face, aside from just money. Check it out here.

International students have been watching the situation with travel visas and the President Trump executive order restricting travelers from certain countries. No Vol State students have been impacted by the order, as far as we know. Recently Dr. Faulkner reiterated the college support for international students and their studies in this Gallatin News Examiner story.

Friday, February 3, 2017

A BIG thank you to our first "Friday Bow Tie" participants!!!

Just a bit of fun showing off our first "Friday Bow Tie" participants!  There's room for more in this party -- please join in for the next bow tie fest coming up on Friday, March 3.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Vol State will Host Eclipse Watching Event August 21

Vol State is hosting a total eclipse watching family educational event on August 21. It is a week before classes start. Up to a million people are expected to travel to Middle Tennessee to watch the total eclipse. It's a narrow path for viewing the totality and the best spot in our area is Gallatin. Faculty and staff don't need to register at the link below. Members of the public will need to register, but it's just for a count. Tickets will not be needed and the event will be first come, first served. 

We're very excited to announce a special guest presenting that day: Todd May, the Director of the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center.

Here are the details thus far:

Total Eclipse 2017
On August 21, 2017 there will be a total solar eclipse on a narrow path across the United States. A total solar eclipse occurs when the new Moon passes between the Sun and the Earth. The event creates fascinating lighting and allows viewers to see the corona of the Sun.

Gallatin, Tennessee will be one of the best spots in the country to view the total eclipse with totality lasting two minutes and forty seconds. Eclipse viewing in the area will be from noon-3 p.m. Totality will occur at 1:27 p.m.

Of course, viewing is dependent on the weather. Overcast skies may make eclipse viewing marginal.

Watch the 2017 Total Eclipse with Us
Volunteer State Community College is hosting a free eclipse watching event on our campus in Gallatin from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. It is open to everyone. We will have educational presentations, live video viewing of the eclipse in other parts of the country, live narration during the totality, and fun science exhibits for kids and adults. The activities will be held both outside and in air-conditioned buildings.

While there will be limited outdoor seating, attendees should be prepared to sit on the lawn. People are encouraged to bring blankets or lawn chairs. There will be room for picnicking. We will also have food and beverages for sale. The campus has plenty of bathrooms and heat relief zones (seating areas) in many buildings.

Parking is also free. Buses and RV's are welcome, but there will be no overnight parking, before or after the event. Parking lots open at 8 a.m. Once the lots are full, the campus will be closed to new entrants. Entry is first come, first served. The campus will close at 6pm on the day of the Eclipse. No alcohol will be allowed in vehicles or on campus. There is no smoking on campus. This is designed as a family event.

We need to have an idea of how many people will be attending. We have set-up an Eventbrite registration webpage. We ask that people register on that page and let us know how many people will be attending in their group. The ticket that is emailed back to each person signing-up does not guarantee admission. Admission will be first-come, first-served. You don’t need to bring the ticket to the event. The registration is simply for our count of attendees.

If you have questions you can email or call 615-230-3571.

General Information
Parking lots open to the public at 8 a.m.
The event will run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Totality at 1:27 p.m.
The campus closes to the public at 6 p.m.
Most events will be on and around the Thigpen Library lawn
Food and drinks will be available for purchase at the Vol State CafĂ© in the Wood Campus Center.  They open at 8 a.m. and close at 4 p.m. It is fine for people to bring in outside food and beverages. Alcohol is not allowed on campus.

Vol State Tops in State for Workforce Training Hours

Workforce development may sound like a bureaucratic title. But the essence is simple: it’s about businesses investing in training for their employees. Partnerships between colleges and the business community are essential for workforce development. The Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) recently announced that Vol State has the most training hours for workforce development among TBR colleges and universities. Vol State provided 121,639 contact training hours. That’s 22 percent of the entire state total for TBR.

“The Vol State programs that generated the greatest hours were our OSHA health and safety training and the American Heart Association certification and recertification courses,” said Hilary Marabeti, assistant vice president for Continuing Education and Economic Development. “But businesses can come to us to customize anything they need. Customer service is an example. Our training is made to order to match your company culture and your employee knowledge and skills base.”

Vol State trains OSHA trainers for courses held across the southern U.S. as an OSHA Training Institute Education Center (OTIEC). That means Vol State offers courses not only at the Gallatin campus, but all over the region.

The U.S. Department of Commerce has called Workforce Development one of the most important economic tools for the nation. But in the end it comes down to the human factor. Marabeti has this message for business leaders.
“Retool your most valuable resource- your employees,” Marabeti said. “When you do, you retool your productivity, your profit and you foster economic growth. It’s win-win for everyone.”

For more information about workforce development training offerings at Vol State visit or call 615-230-3358.

The Last of Many Awards for Squatter's Rites

The “Squatter’s Rites” student literary magazine at Vol State has received its last award. The magazine took first place in the American Scholastic Press Association national contest, winning in the Junior/Community Colleges category with enrollment of 2501 or more. It’s just the latest in a string of national awards for the student publication, but it will be the last for “Squatter’s Rites.” Don't worry- it's not going anywhere. The magazine officially has a new name: “Pioneer Pen.” Students and faculty are already preparing for the first issue and student submissions are open now with a March 19 deadline. For more information email

Pictured from left to right: Emily Andrews, instructor of English; Aiden Walker, student writer, Gallatin; Carrie Thompson, student writer, Cookeville; Laura McClister, instructor of English; and Darya Stein, student writer, Cottontown.