Monday, November 20, 2017

Meet Jessica Buchanan

Jessica Buchanan has been hired as Special Assistant for Strategic Initiatives. She will work directly with President Faulkner in developing community partnerships and special projects.

“It’s all about collaboration,” Buchanan said. “I’ll be making partnerships in the campus community and working on initiatives that cross academic divisions. I think a large part of my job is listening; trying to understand what people need.”

Buchanan comes most recently from Be Better Advertising in Franklin where she was operations and data analyst. She was assistant director for Student Success Services and Career Services at Midway University in Kentucky. She has also held career development positions at Berea College in Kentucky and Polk State College in Florida.

“I like this community," she said. "My boyfriend lives here in Sumner County and he graduated from Vol State last May. I was here for the graduation and I looked around and thought the campus looked pretty amazing.”

Jessica holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and Communication Arts from Warner University and a Master of Science in Information Technology from Florida State University.

Vol State in the News

Health Sciences faculty got creative recently, attracting attention from Fox 17. The TV station did live reports before the opening of the Metro Schools Career Exploration Fair. Kevin Alspaugh, Lindi Boyd, Edward Carlton, Kimma Hammers, David Linn, Mel Matthews, and Brandie Park created a Health Sciences booth with a common theme. It was an interactive display featuring Bernie the Sim-Man ( one of our EMS high tech training mannequins). The scenario explained that Bernie had fallen asleep at the wheel, leading to a car accident. Students were able to experience how sleep problems are diagnosed, the emergency medical response, and the diagnostic roles of medical lab, radiology, and ultrasound. Here's the story.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Successful Hazardous Waste Collection on Campus

Vol State hosted a Household Hazardous Waste Event on October 28th. Organizers report that 194 households attended the event.
  • Flammable Liquids (Lighter Fluid, Gasoline, Lamp Oils)-998 lbs.
  • Non-Flammable Liquids (Antifreeze, Soaps)-1,113 lbs.
  • Poisonous Material (Pesticides and Herbicides)-2,231 lbs.
  • Aerosols (Spray Paint and Cleaners)-443 lbs.
  • Fluorescent Lamps-57 lbs.
  • Corrosive Materials (Oven Cleaner, Bleach, Draino)-307 lbs.
  • Oxidizing Materials (Peroxide, Pool Chemicals)-71 lbs.
  • Mercury-35 lbs.
  • Sharps-18 lbs. 
  • Event Total - 7,391 lbs.
Congrats to all of those involved on a successful day!

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Help Get the Word Out About Health Sciences Associate of Science

A new Vol State degree can provide the education for a career on the front lines of public health. The Health Sciences associate of science (not to be confused with the longtime AAS) is the stepping stone towards employment in public health administration. It's a new option for students who may not make it into our highly competitive specialty programs in Health Sciences. Here's a story we did that explores employment in public health. Help us get the word out to students!

The kids hold up their hands excitedly inside the dark tent. There are patches of glowing white here and there. It’s a fun way for the Whitten Elementary School students to learn about handwashing. Sumner County Health Department public health educator, Beth Gray, assists them in the project, making sure they use the glow in the dark lotion correctly. Then the kids head off to wash off the lotion. They return under the black light in the tent to see how they did. The splotches show places they didn’t get “clean”.  Out in the gym, Kimberly Bonds, a health educator II, talks to the third graders about scrubbing beneath their nails and making sure to get the backs of their hands. The demonstration is on the front lines of public health and the simple lesson has big implications for all of us.

“We want to keep them in school,” Bonds said. “When they’re not sick, they’re learning. They may work in fast food restaurants as teenagers, and this can remind them how to keep their hands clean. When they enter the workforce they better understand how to be responsible when you have a cold or flu.”

Vol State has a Health Sciences associate of science degree program that is designed to train workers for public health administration jobs. Working in public health, as an administrator, educator or in community outreach, means a wide range of activities.

“It’s a lot of fun,” said Gray. “We go to many different schools. Rather than sit in the office, we go out into the community and meet people. We have an impact on their lives.”

The Vol State Health Sciences degree includes courses that you might expect, such as Medical Terminology and Anatomy and Physiology, but it also includes other important education for a public health worker, including Fundamentals of Speech Communication and Introduction to Ethics. The program is intended to transfer to a bachelor’s degree program in Health Sciences at a university. Most public health jobs require at least a four-year degree. The Sumner County Health Department handles many responsibilities, including the operation of health clinics, promoting immunizations and preventing the spread of disease. Public health administrators have many roles within the field.

“The roles of Public Health administrators are evolving to include community economic development, community planning, and design,” said Hal Hendricks, county director for the Sumner County Health Department. “We live in a global society, even in what we still consider rural communities. That, along with changes in healthcare, make public health an integral part of community safety and quality of life.”

“We are on the front lines of education and prevention with four major areas of concern: obesity; not getting enough physical activity; tobacco use; and opioid drug abuse,” Bonds said. “One day you can be teaching cute kids and the next day adults. You’re doing something that impacts the community.”

For more information about the Health Sciences associate of science degree program visit

Vol State in the News

The Health Sciences associate of science degree publicity campaign got some help from the Sumner County Health Department. The Tennessean has our news release.

The Foundation recently completed the fundraising requirement for our portion of the Warf Math and Science Building renovation project. The Tennessean has the details.

The Tennessean also covered a recent "To Kneel or Not to Kneel" discussion organized by the Office of Diversity Initiatives.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Why a Vol State Mascot?

We recently unveiled the new physical mascot for Vol State and now we're in the process of taking suggestions for a name. Why are we going to a Pioneers mascot logo and physical mascot after all of these years of not having one? The answer is simple: students in our traditional age groups respond strongly to mascot identities for colleges and universities. This first dawned on those of us in PR after a student panel at a community college PR conference two years ago. The students all expressed regret that community colleges didn't have a stronger mascot presence and to them it reflected a boring campus life. Those who attended colleges with a mascot responded enthusiastically. This generation connects with mascots.

We understand that a community college mascot will never match the marketing power of Smokey the Dog at UT or Big Red at WKU. But a mascot can be a valuable part of student life and student culture, allowing us to share that our campus has many activities and events to offer students.

The mascot logo and character will be used in athletics and student engagement events. However, it will be used sparingly. Our academic foundation is the heart of what we do and student success will continue to be our calling card. Strong academic instruction and support is the primary focus for our marketing and outreach, as always.

A mascot does have a role in retention work interestingly enough. Studies show that students who are better connected to their college tend to do better in courses. A strong campus life and campus identity helps connect students to campus. A mascot can help in that process.

If you're interested in reading more about mascots and marketing, check out this blog article that brings up some of the main points.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Earthquake Drill and Tips if you Missed it

The New Madrid fault line is a couple of hundred miles away from us, but the risk of an earthquake in our area is still something to consider. Experts agree that a large quake on the New Madrid line would impact Middle Tennessee. And there are other fault lines in the region. With that in mind, there was recently a regional earthquake drill called ShakeOut, which Vol State participated in. If you missed it- here’s what it looked like here at the college.

This is the advice from emergency response coordinators:

“You cannot tell from the initial shaking if an earthquake will suddenly become intense…so always Drop, Cover, and Hold On immediately!

In MOST situations, you will reduce your chance of injury if you:

DROP where you are, onto your hands and knees. This position protects you from being knocked down and also allows you to stay low and crawl to shelter if nearby.

COVER your head and neck with one arm and hand

If a sturdy table or desk is nearby, crawl underneath it for shelter

If no shelter is nearby, crawl next to an interior wall (away from windows)

Stay on your knees; bend over to protect vital organs

HOLD ON until the shaking stops.

Under shelter: hold on to it with one hand; be ready to move with your shelter if it shifts
No shelter: hold on to your head and neck with both arms and hands.

If there is no table or desk near you, drop to the ground and then if possible move to an inside corner of the room. Be in a crawling position to protect your vital organs and be ready to move if necessary, and cover your head and neck with your hands and arms.”

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

You Can Still Walk Across Sumner County

You don't really walk across Sumner County for Walk Across Sumner County. The goal is to walk for fitness and keep track of your miles during October and early November. You can still participate with your Vol State colleagues. Just see Lesa Cross in the PR office, Ramer room 103 for a form. You simply fill in the form to record how much you walk each day. If you walk on campus there is a marker near the Library that shows how many laps equal miles. Some of the walkers joined the Walk Across Sumner organizers and Dr. Faulkner this week for a photo. It's great walking weather....we hope to see you out there!

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Vol State in the News

We announced recently the upgrade of the Radiologic Technology to fully-digital equipment. It's a big deal for the program. The Tennessean ran the story.

Two local TV stations surprised us by running stories about the unveiling of our new mascot the morning of the announcement. We certainly appreciate the coverage...perhaps some Pioneers working at those TV stations? Here is the Tennessean story about the new mascot.

The Tennessean sent a photographer to the Fall Fiesta at Vol State. He put together this nice photo gallery.

A Vol State student, who found international success in New York as a doll maker, has returned home to Gallatin. She has a show this month in the Vol State Art Gallery. It's an interesting story, as the Tennessean shows.

The media covered the lockdown situation on campus. A man with a knife made some strange statements at a business across the street from the Gallatin campus. Thanks to Campus Police and the Building Coordinators for the great work in locking down campus. Here is the Tennessean's story about the incident. The man was eventually found by police.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Remind Students to see their Academic Advisor

It's time to get students ready for Spring Priority Registration. We're doing a big push on social media this week and we could use your help. If you get a moment to mention in class that they should see their academic advisor, that would be appreciated.

If they're not sure who their academic advisor is, the answer is just a few clicks away. Have them go to their personal information on their My Vol State page- the advisor will be listed there.

Priority Registration for spring classes for current students opens on November 6 for sophomores (students with 30 credits of more) and November 7 for freshmen (students with less than 30 credits).