Friday, October 21, 2016

Solar and Recycling for Sustainability

You may have noticed a new addition to the Wood Campus Center. Solar panels have been mounted on top of the physical plant cooling stations. It's a project sponsored by the Campus Sustainability Committee utilizing campus sustainability fees. The four panels can produce 1,124 kilowatt hours a year. It's projected that will save 1.4 barrels of oil each year. Plant Operations will be placing a marker so students and visitors can see the solar panel stats.The energy goes directly into the Wood Campus Center power grid. The panels cost $6,686.

The Sustainability Committee has been actively using the fee money for campus improvements for some time now. Funds have been used to install energy-efficient LED lighting in the Fox Building and on the Highland Crest campus. The committee welcomes suggestions.

"We just approved a request for up to ten hydration stations for the other campuses and for Gallatin campus buildings that don't have one yet," said committee chair Keith Bell.

Those hydration stations encourage the re-use of drinking containers. Plastic water bottles are considered one of the biggest challenges to waste disposal, as use has soared in recent years. Industry consultant R.W. Beck, Inc. estimates that 40 million water bottles are put into landfills each day.

If you do drink water from plastic containers on campus you can recycle them. The Committee paid for the new recycling bins.

"The receptacles are made out of recycled materials themselves," said Plant Operations senior director Will Newman. 

But the committee members stress that they need your help when it comes to recycling.

"We need people to put only clean recyclables in the containers," Bell said. "That's the biggest thing we need- for people to follow the guidelines." Clean means dumping out the last of the Mountain Dew before tossing the can in recycling or washing out a plastic food container.

Another big environmental measure for the college was taking the resource efficiency steps needed to make the SRB Humanities Building LEED Certified. Part of that project  is the electric vehicle charging station across from Wallace North near the Thigpen Library. There are two power cords available for recharging electric cars. It's free and anyone can use it. It's first come, first served.

Future possibilities include solar umbrellas that would provide cell phone and laptop charging stations for students working outside at picnic tables. If you have a suggestion for the committee you can contact Keith Bell at

Dr. Faulkner: Know it All?

A recent newspaper article brought to my attention a quote from legendary basketball coach John Wooden.  “It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.”

Two instances from my personal life resonate with this quote.  First as a teenager, I thought my parents were dumb as posts.  They weren’t hip, cool, or in touch.  I remember a high school speech I prepared that berated the older generation for being so ignorant of the current situation.   Not too many years following, I was amazed at how much my parents had learned and what great wisdom they had developed.

The second was something someone told me when I embarked on the journey to earn a doctorate.  I’ve long since forgotten who said it but the insight stayed with me.  They said, “Getting an advanced degree is choosing to remain ignorant about many subjects so you can learn a whole lot about one subject.”

Believing that we already know it all can cause us to miss out on so many new things.  Entrenched ideas sometimes cause us to dig in our heels and refuse to even try innovative developments in our work and home life.  And of course ego can cause us to be unwilling to admit that we might be unknowledgeable or even wrong.  (Remember what difficulty Fonzie had just saying the word.)

It is somewhat humbling to find out we don’t know it all but it is also liberating to anticipate each day as an opportunity to learn something new.  Now that you know it all, what more can you learn?

-Jerry Faulkner

Monday, October 17, 2016

Dr. Faulkner: That’s a Big 10-4 Good Buddy

I am writing this on October 4th.  This date used to be celebrated as National Citizens Band Radio Day.  Although the citizens band (CB) radio frequency was established in 1945, it did not become popular until the mid to late ‘70s.  In the ‘60s advances in solid state electronics allowed CB radios to become smaller and less expensive giving the public wider access.  Many people, including yours truly, had a CB radio in their car.  Until just recently I still owned an emergency CB that I kept in the trunk of my car.  Much of the use of CB radios in the early ‘70s was by truckers looking to evade speed traps that became prevalent after the national speed limit was changed to 55 mph.  A whole lingo developed for on air use and everyone who used CB had an on-air nickname or “handle.”  Then First Lady Betty Ford’s handle was First Mama.  There were popular novelty songs such as C.W. McCall's Convoy (I'm about to put the hammer down.”) and Kenny Price’s Let’s Truck Together (“You shake the trees and I’ll rake the leaves.”)  The CB radio played heavily in the movie Smokey and the Bandit.  In fact “Smokey” was CB language for a state trooper.  And who can forget the television show, The Dukes of Hazard?  You can still find CB radios and accessories for sale in truck stops.

Fast forward 40 years.  Almost everyone has a smart phone.  Over the last few years, technology has allowed phones to become smaller and less expensive and smarter.  Texting has developed its own lingo.  LOL, OMG, PIR.  Instead of a handle we have a hashtag.  And of course there is Twitter which is the 21st century equivalent of, “Breaker.  Breaker. Anyone got your ears on?”

There is probably a thesis or maybe even a dissertation in there somewhere, but for me the point is that people will communicate by what-ever means available.  Jargon and slang will develop and come and go and how we communicate will impact culture.  The important thing is that we keep communicating.

-Jerry Faulkner

What do you know about Lesotho and Malawi?

The Humphrey's Fellows from Peabody College at Vanderbilt University are back at Vol State this semester. The visiting international scholars program has brought educators from across the globe to Vol State for several years now through the International Education program. They are meeting with classes and recently held a reception to talk about their home countries.

Lineo Segoete spoke to students about Lesotho. It's one of only three remaining kingdoms in Africa.

"Isn't it pretty far south of the equator?" asked student Cameron Pugh.

"Yes, and the whole country is about two million people," Segoete replied.

Elizeo Joseph Odu of South Sudan explained that his relatively new country is still experiencing much unrest. When asked about the educational system there it becomes apparent why this program is so valuable to Vol State students, faculty and staff.

"The government doesn't have much money to pay for teachers," Odu said. "We have parent-teacher associations and they run the schools. We always work with the communities when it comes to the schools."

Those unique perspectives can help enlarge our perspective on education in other nations. In return, the Humphrey's Fellows learn about the American educational system.

"The teacher training and leadership information is quite interesting," Odu said. "Those are my primaries area of practice."

The Humphrey's Fellows come from eight different countries this year: South Sudan, Lesotho, Jamaica, Pakistan, Morocco, Russia, El Salvador, Venezuela, Malawi and Botswana. Vol State is an associate campus for the program. Look for more events later this year.

Vol State in the News

The Tennessean helps us announce our 2016-2016 President's Ambassadors.

They also have great pics from the Fall Fiesta at Vol State.

And the regular column by Charles Alexander of the Vol State TSBDC.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Andrew Dollar Hired as Special Assistant to Dr. Faulkner

Andrew Dollar of Hendersonville has been named Special Assistant for Strategic Initiatives. In the role he will work directly for President Faulkner. Dollar has spent the last five years as owner of FTP Coaching. He has experience in higher education with positions in the Technical College System of Georgia and executive office experience with the Georgia and Alabama governor’s offices

“Deep down I wish everyone worked for the government at one time or another,” Dollar said. “It’s an important part of daily life and certainly facing criticism, some of which is quite legitimate. But for me it’s about the ability to give back and make an impact in the world.”

Dollar has a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and a Bachelor of Art in English degree from the University of Southern Mississippi.

“My job will be to handle community related events and make sure people know what we can do for them, whether it be companies who want to locate here or government entities,” said Dollar.

EYH Girl's STEM Event a Success

Vol State hosted a fun day of hands-on science and math workshops and exploration on Saturday called “Expanding Your Horizons” (EYH). Girls in grades 6 through 8 enjoyed activities in chemistry, biology, math, health science, medical laboratory science, and cyber security. Organizer Lingli Ni said that 95 girls registered and 76 attended. More than 30 Vol State student volunteers and many faculty members made the event a success. There were guest speakers and workshops for the girls. Congrats to everyone who participated.

Meet the President’s Ambassadors

They have been working on campus, helping with events and giving tours for several weeks. But now we officially announce the new group of President’s Ambassadors for 2016-2017. Students selected for the President’s Ambassadors scholarship program go through a rigorous vetting and interview process.  Successful candidates are selected from over two thousand eligible students.  To be eligible for the program, students must have a cumulative 3.0 grade point average and have completed at least 12 college-level credit hours at Vol State.  The scholarship covers full tuition and fees at the in-state rate, as well as a $300 per semester book stipend.  Students selected serve a one-year term.

The 2016-2017 Vol State President’s Ambassadors from left to right: Back Row: Joey Looney, Buffalo Valley; Nicholas Crumble, Murfreesboro; Alex Hill, Lafayette; and Ian Flowers, Livingston. Front Row: Shannon Cherry, Red Boiling Springs; Diedre Miller, Gainesboro; Dallas Eidson, Cottontown; Marissa Edwards, Goodlettsville; Emily Williams, Westmoreland; Crystal Sloss, Gallatin; Rance Muirhead, Hartsville; and Pamela Lockhart, Hendersonville.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Benefits Fair Friday

A reminder: The Vol State annual Benefits Fair for employees will be held on Friday, September 30 between 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. in the Great Hall, Ramer Administration Building. Representatives from a variety of benefit plans will be available to answer questions and to provide updated benefits information. There will also be flu shots available. See the HR email for that form and details.

Friday, September 23, 2016

A Jazzy Opening for SRB

Jazz music and a festive New Orleans-style Second Line procession led students, faculty, donors and the public into the new Steinhauer-Rogan-Black (SRB) Humanities Building on Friday. Attendees crossed over the pedestrian bridge to the new building for the grand opening celebration, signifying a bridge to the future. Guests were treated to student music performances, demonstrations in the art rooms and a sample of award-winning Vol State student publications as they toured the building. Thanks to everyone who made the event possible and especially students and faculty for the lovely performances and demonstrations throughout the building. The talent of our students was the true highlight of the day!

Here are some more pictures from the event: