Monday, October 13, 2014

Dr. Faulkner: Mentors

As we have been recruiting mentors for the Tennessee Promise program, an article from the Gallup Business Journal ( arrived in my in-box.  The article reports on a Gallup survey of more than 30,000 college graduates.  According to the survey, “the three most important elements linked to long-term success for college grads are . . . feeling they had a professor who made them excited about learning, that the professors at their alma mater cared about them as a person, and that they had a mentor who encouraged them. . . “

The term mentor actually comes from Greek mythology and more specifically from Homer’s Odyssey.  Odysseus, king of Ithaca, goes off to fight in the Trojan War.  He entrusts the care of his family and household to a person named Mentor, who serves as teacher and overseer of Odysseus' son, Telemachus.

I’ve been fortunate to have had many good mentors in my life. Most of the time, the mentoring came along with a relationship such as parent, minister, teacher, friend, or boss. 

In only one instance did we actually use the term “mentor.”  During a yearlong experience with the Chair Academy Advanced Leadership Academy, I had the opportunity to enlist a mentor as one of the requirements of the academy.  My mentor was the retired CEO of a large appliance manufacturing company.  Although a great friend of the college, he had little higher education experience and so the strength of what he shared with me was the unique non-academic perspective he brought to issues with which I was dealing at the time.  We met monthly over lunch and it was an extremely beneficial relationship.

My point is that mentoring can be extremely important in the future of a student here at Vol State and it is something that doesn’t necessarily require a huge time commitment.  It could be a formal relationship like Tennessee Promise mentoring or an assigned advisee or it could be a spontaneous opportunity.  Mentoring doesn’t just occur between faculty and students.  It can occur between any two members of the campus community.

The title of the article I referenced is The Biggest Blown Opportunity in Higher Ed History. It decries the fact that colleges don’t do a good job of mentoring students.  I would really hate to think that we at Vol State are blowing the opportunity to help students succeed. 

-Dr. Jerry Faulkner

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Congrats X-Rayders

Vol State Radiologic Technology students took first place in the annual TN State Radiologic Technology Student Bowl recently. The X-Rayders took the top spot in the knowledge and skill contest. They are: Deanna Smith, Tiffany Anderson, Katy Potts and Amberly Culver. It's the second year in a row that a Vol State team has wound up on top. There were 13 teams that competed. Radiologic Director Monica Korpady says that if there had been a "third place" it would have gone to another Vol State teams, this one called the Photon Slingers: Lindsey Hartfield, Cindy Coffee, Brittany Bolton and Christine Price.   

Pictured: Vol State students at the TN State Radiologic meeting: L - R: 1st row: Lindsey Hartfield and Amberly Culver. Second row: Hailey Cassanova, Cindy Coffee, Brittany Bolton, Cody Cashion, Katy Potts, Tiffany Anderson, Deanna Smith, Laurie Bagwell, and Lindsey Arrington.

Not Your Average Race

Racing down Demonbreun Street in Nashville on a tricycle or big wheel, and in a silly costume, may seem like a dangerous event and perhaps that's why the organizers of Race the Hill called on the Vol State EMS program to provide some medical first response. Vol State EMS provided first aid coverage for the inaugural Race the Hill event, which is a fundraiser for Renewal House of Nashville. Prior to the event, nine EMT students from the Nashville cohort received training on sports event medical support and athletic injury treatment protocols. Mandatory safety equipment requirements (i.e. leather gloves, safety helmets, knee pads, and elbow pads) resulted in zero injuries for the event. 

Brandie Park, EMS Clinical Coordinator, reported, “Although this race was designed for fun, many of the participants took painstaking measures to be highly competitive in the races.” 

In the end, the results exposed bruised egos and hurt feelings for those that left without a trophy. Event organizers promised a larger and more competitive race for 2015.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Remembering Sarah Ingram

Sarah Ingram passed away recently. The former Humanities adjunct faculty member was last teaching English 1010 in the Fall of 2012. She was married to former faculty member Ray Ingram. Sarah is remembered not only as a dedicated educator, but also as a prolific writer who brought the Tennessee hills to life with her prose. Sarah and Ray have both showcased in their writing a Southern tapestry vivid in character and setting. They have been involved for years with a Vol State faculty writing group. Members share their writing by reading a few pages aloud and then each member provides comment for editing.

"Her writing style made homemade cooking so real that sometimes my mouth would water thinking about it," said Paul Farmer. "I can’t help but think that wherever she is now, she already has a crowd gathering around from the smell of some good southern vittles, as they prepare to listen to a great story about some of her experiences in this life."

"She did a lot of writing about old Nashville, the city back when she was a child," said Cindy Wyatt. "It was always very charming. She was such a sweet person."

"Sarah was my student, then my friend and fellow writer in a group.  She was always a giving person:  She gave to her family, her friends, her church, her students, and anyone she knew who was in need.  She will be remembered and missed," Betty Nelson said.

"I am so grateful I got to know Sarah through our Vol State writing community," said Leslie LaChance. "She was always ready with a helpful comment and sincere encouragement when it came to our writing projects. Her kindhearted, generous spirit will remain an inspiration to me and, I'm sure, to all those lucky enough to have known her.  I'm going to miss her at our writers' table."

Our hearts go out to Ray and their family. Funeral services for Sarah will be held on Friday in Whites Creek.

Visitation:                               Thursday, October 9, 2014, 2:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
                                              Anderson & Garrett Funeral Home
                                              3501 Old Clarksville Pike
                                              Joelton, TN 

Visitation and Funeral:          Friday, October 10, 2014, 9:00 a.m. until time for service at 10:00 a.m.
                                            Beach Grove United Methodist Church
                                            4318 Brick Church Pike
                                            Whites Creek, TN  

Monday, October 6, 2014

Vol State Institutional Briefing Link

Vol State reports to TBR on a variety of topics in what is called an Institutional Briefing. Topics include: academics, student services, and information technology, among others. You can view the Briefing on the College web page

Vol State in the News

The announcement that James Story has made the cut to the top 25 for the GRAMMY Foundation Music Educator award made the Sumner A.M. section of the Tennessean.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Dr. Faulkner on Innovation

We live in a rapidly changing world and educational institutions are often on the leading edge or as a friend is want to say, the bleeding edge.  We are challenged to consider new ways of teaching, new equipment, and new technology.  Often new things are met with resistance because of perceived problems or detrimental influences.  Sometimes our resistance is just based on the discomfort of moving beyond the status quo.

I recently came across this quote from a legendary educator.

“…this discovery of yours will create forgetfulness in the learners’ souls, because they will not use their memories; they will trust to the external . . . . .  and not remember of themselves. The specific which you have discovered is an aid not to memory, but to reminiscence, and you give your disciples not truth, but only the semblance of truth; they will be hearers of many things and will have learned nothing; they will appear to be omniscient and will generally know nothing; they will be tiresome company, having the show of wisdom without the reality.”

Words similar to this have probably been said about the calculator, the computer, the Internet, and most recently about mobile devices.  But this quote comes from Socrates (469 – 399 B.C.) and it is about “written characters.”  In other words, he was worried about the effect of people learning to write.

So the challenge we then face is to embrace new things.  We should try them and test them until we know clearly their worth and not reject them initially just because they are new.

-Dr. Jerry Faulkner

Business and Technology Faculty meet with Amazon Employees

Vol State was invited by Amazon Fulfillment Center to participate in their college fair held recently in Lebanon. Members of the Business and Technology Division were on hand to talk to Amazon employees. More than 30 people stopped by the Vol State table to gather information about Vol State programs.  Amazon will be allowing their employees tuition reimbursement.  

Vol State was represented by (L  - R): Louise Stephens, Brenda Buffington of Student Services, Marty Bollin, Joan Weaver, Phil Hearn, Teresa Moore, and Dean Patty Anderson.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Vol State Grad Best in DeKalb County

Please join me in congratulating Kristie Johnson being recognized as 2014 “Best of the Best” EMT/Paramedic for DeKalb County. Kristie is a 2012 Vol State paramedic graduate. We are proud of Kristie for setting the standard of professionalism for EMS in DeKalb County.

-Robert Davis, Director of EMS Education

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Vol State in the News

We're making a push for workforce training this fall through the many programs of Continuing Education. Here's the story in the Tennessean.

The Fall Fiesta at Vol State is coming up on Saturday, October 18 from 10am to 4pm. It's a celebration of Hispanic culture with free music, food, dance and fun. Everyone is invited. The Tennessean has the story of some new features of the Fiesta this year.