Friday, September 19, 2014

New Student Merit Pages

Students will be receiving an email about our new Vol State Merit web pages. They're designed to help students celebrate their success while at Vol State. Many colleges and universities across the country have them for students. A student Merit page can list a badge for an honors society they belong to or whether they made the dean's list. We'll be adding badges for various student achievements throughout the school year.

What do students need to do? The first thing is to claim their page. The easiest way to do this is to click on the link provided in an email sent to the personal email address that the student listed with the college. Students can then personalize their Merit page however they want - add a picture or add work experience. They can also put in the emails of parents or loved ones, so that they will be notified when the student receives a new badge from Merit.

When they go to claim their page it will ask them for their email address...they should use their personal email address that they listed on the Vol State application. It's trying to confirm that they are who they are. The student's Vol State email address won't work for that confirmation. Everything goes through the student's personal email address.

All students get an enrollment badge, so that they can see what the pages look like and how they work. It also puts them in the system. Vol State Merit pages are run by the Vol State Office of Public Relations. If you have any questions you can contact us at

If students don't get the email, for whatever reason, they can also visit the main Vol State Merit Pages web page and search from there. If they still can't find their page they can email us their name, city, zip code, and email address and we can create one for them.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Help Spread the Word about Tennessee Promise

Our Tennessee Promise information blitz is in high gear. This is a recent Vol State story in the Tennessean. We could use your help in getting the word out about our Promise information sessions coming up in October. Please grab some info at the Ramer info desk if you know high school seniors and their parents. Also, we're still looking for more mentors. This is a link to the application. Consider mentoring. You can imagine how good it would be to have community college folks mentoring students about community college (and TCATS).

Monday, September 15, 2014

Vol State in the News

The Foundation raised more than $37,000 for student scholarships at the Harvest Moon Soiree. The Tennessean has the details. This is Gallatin Mayor Jo Ann Graves' take on the event,

The bible reunion story garnered some attention in the Nashville and the national media. This is a Newschannel5 online story. Here is the story in the Tennessean. USA Today ran the story on their website. Newspapers from across the country picked up the story, and strangely enough also the Weather Channel and Huffington Post.

The Fall Job Career Fair is coming up on Wednesday, September 24 from 10am to 1pm in the Pickel Field House. The Portland Leader has the story.

We Need Your Help

We're starting a social media campaign with students today as part of our Commit to Completion push at the College. While social media is fine, hearing this from faculty and staff members means much more to students. Don't forget to remind your students what they're working towards. Here's what we're saying.

Let’s have an honest talk about college completion.
College isn’t easy. Many community college students drop out. Don’t be a statistic. You can do this and we will help you each step of the way. Your goal and our goal is the same and it’s simple: graduation. You need to get that certificate or degree. Here are some tips on how to do it:
Get focused and stay on track: Meet with your academic advisor at least once a semester. Pick a major and a degree plan as soon as you can. Take only the classes you need for your degree. How do you do that? Take charge of your college career with free tools, such as DegreeWorks and College Scheduler. You’ll find them on your My Vol State page.
Keep going: Community college students face a real challenge with time. The longer college takes, the less chance you have of graduating. Does that mean you can’t do it as a part-time student? Of course not, but it’s best to take multiple classes each semester. Clearly, you don’t want to get overwhelmed by taking more classes than you can handle. We know its tough balancing work, family and school. Still, the quicker you get through college, the better chance you have of succeeding. Consider online courses and summer courses, but first speak with your academic advisor.
Don’t give up, if you run into problems. Visit the Advising Center for help. Is life getting in the way of college? They will have ideas on how you can keep going to school. The Vol State Advising Center can be reached at 615-230-3702. It’s in the Ramer Administration building, room 174, in Gallatin. You can also ask for advising help at the front desks of Livingston and Highland Crest.
Get free academic help. Is there one particular class that you can’t seem to pass? (We all have that one class.) Make sure you get extra help. Many courses have free Supplemental Instruction study groups. The college also has free help with papers and speeches in the Language Center and free help with Math in the Learning Commons. Smarthinking provides free online tutoring in many subjects. Did you notice that we keep saying “free”?
Graduation is the goal. Whether you want to get a job after graduating with a career degree from Vol State or transfer to a college or university for a four-year degree, the common goal is graduation.
You can do this. We will help.
Commit to college completion.

This is a joint campaign by the Office of Retention and College Success, Advising, Student Services, Student Life and Public Relations. We hope you can join us.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Vol State Events this Week

Vol State events this week:

Sept. 15           Intramural Flag Football meeting, Library Lawn, 2pm
Sept. 16           Hispanic Heritage Lunch and Learn, Nichols Dining Room, 12:30pm
Sept. 16           Intramural Soccer meeting, Library Lawn, 2pm
Sept. 17           Constitution Day- Jaywalking video, Paralegal, Cafeteria, 12 pm
Sept. 17           Civil Rights in the U.S: The 50th Anniversary of the 1964 Civil Rights Act (A Constitution Day Presentation), Stella Pierce, Thigpen Library, 12:20pm
Sept. 18           Coffee with the Prez, Cafeteria, 10am-11am

Sept. 18           Pre-Nursing Advising Session with Cumberland University, Warf 110, 12:45pm

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Vol State Sleuths Track Down Owner of Bible Lost 40 Years

Deborah Savely of Lebanon has a dear keepsake back in her hands again, after it went missing for 40 years. It only took a tornado, a multi-state search and some dedicated Vol State staff members to make the reunion happen. The item in question is a bible given to her by her father. The search began when a well-known Vol State retiree did some cleaning.

“We’d been down in the basement of my house cleaning out,” said Betty Gibson, the former administrative assistant to the president. “There was a box of things that were left over from the tornado at Vol State in 2006. I looked through and found this bible. From the inscription, I thought that this would really mean something to the family.”

The inscription read “To Deborah Savely. From Mother and Daddy. June 1961.” It wasn’t much to go on. No one had any idea where the bible had actually been at the college, as it was in with a box of items uncovered in tornado rubble. Gibson notified the current administrative assistant, Karen Waller, and the search began. Waller put out an email to faculty and staff asking if anyone knew Deborah Savely. A number of people took up the search, including Amber Regan in the Records and Registration Office.

“I saw the email and it pulled on my heartstrings,” Regan said. “I found that there was a student who graduated here in 1974 with that name. I just started Googling and putting names together. I was determined.”

The problem was that Savely had moved several times in the last 40 years, and changed names. Regan scoured through dozens of websites and listings, tracking down Deborah Savely through four states. She called many people to no avail. Finally, another amateur sleuth, Holly Nimmo in the Public Relations Office, found that there was a Facebook page for Deborah Savely. It wasn’t active, so it was unlikely she would check a message.

“I looked at her listed place of employment and I called her corporate office and gave them the name,” Regan said. “They helped, but couldn’t find it. Finally, through a professional services website, I found her Edward Jones office in Lebanon.”

It was not a phone call Deborah could have ever expected at work. “I got this phone call and the person said- are you Deborah Savely? I said yes and she said- I finally found you! I said- is that a good thing?”

After confirming that it really was the person she was looking for, Regan told her about the bible. “I was glad I was sitting down,” Savely said. “All the wind went out of me. I was in tears. I said- my black bible? I haven’t seen that in 40 years.”

It was a family bible with a very special significance for Savely. It was given to her when she was seven years-old by her father, John Savely. He died suddenly of a heart attack when she was just 17 years-old.

“Daddy died in October of 1971. I started at Vol State as a student in September of 1972. So, this was all I had of Daddy. I carried the bible with me in my backpack every day. Obviously, at some point it came out of my backpack. It never dawned on me that I had lost it at Vol State.”

Savely thought that the bible went missing in a house move in 1974, shortly after graduating from Vol State. She was heartbroken at the time and was now rejoicing at the amazing find.  She arranged to meet with Amber Regan and Betty Gibson to get the bible back. And then she called her mother.

“My first reaction was that something terrible had happened,” said June Savely. “She was sobbing. She cried, and I cried when she told me. She could not wait to touch the bible. It has meant everything to her.”

That moment finally came 40 years after the loss, as Regan and Gibson officially returned the bible to Deborah Savely, with her mom looking on.

“You will never know what you did,” June Savely said to Gibson and Regan. “There are not words to tell you.”

Mother and daughter opened the bible to see the inscription written so many years ago.

“I feel complete,” Deborah Savely said. “I’ve got my daddy back. I put my hand on that page and I swear I felt his hand on mine.”

Get Walking Vol State!

The teams are set and now it’s all about the walking. The Fall Walking Program in conjunction with Walk Across Sumner kicked-off in Gallatin recently, with Dr. Faulkner and wife Wanda leading the charge. There are seven teams competing to see who can walk the most. The goal is for all team members to walk at least 34.5 miles (the distance across Sumner County) between Sept. 6 and Oct. 4.  Honors and prestige will go to the teams with the highest average miles per walker and the highest percentage of team members meeting or exceeding 34.5 miles. The person with the most miles will receive a $100 gift card to Academy + Sports.
1.      Allied Health Nuts – Mel Matthews
2.      Foley Walkamolies! – Phyllis Foley
3.      Walkie Talkies – Tami Wallace
4.      Witness the Fitness – Beth Cooksey
5.      Livingston Livelies – Josh Hite
6.      Highland Crest Hikers – Dana Davis

7.      Thigpen Building Trailblazers – Sarah Smith 

Vol State in the News

The College is once again hosting and organizing the Sumner College Night on September 25. This annual event brings between 80 and 90 colleges and universities to campus for high school students and for the Vol State community. The Tennessean has the story.

Monday, September 8, 2014

The Promise

I am overwhelmed by the response of the campus to the call for mentors for TnPromise students.  As of the date of this blog, there are  84 employees who have signed up to be a mentor.  We are far ahead of second place.

The TnPromise is a huge event for Tennessee and is attracting national attention.  When I’m at a meeting and encounter educators from other parts of the U.S., they all want to talk to me about what is happening in Tennessee.

But let’s keep our focus on the real impact.  Beyond all the state and national attention and hoopla, the TnPromise will make a huge difference in the lives of those current high school seniors that take advantage of this opportunity.  I once heard a speaker say, “Our lives are not determined by what we want or like, but by the choices we make.”

We have talked about the idea that the required deadlines, mandatory meetings, and community service will result in “students having some skin in the game.”  That is true, but for some students stepping out to attend college on a promise and a prayer is a making major investment.

As we labor together to fulfill the promise to these students, we should all be aware that this goes beyond the promise of free tuition.  It is really about the promise of:

-An escape from poverty.  In the U.S., if a child is born in poverty there is a 60% chance they will live and die in poverty.  Education is the only proven escape.

-A better paying future job.  People with an associate’s degree, on average, have $350,000 more life time earning power than those with just a high school diploma.

-A more stable career.  During the recent recession, people with a post-secondary credential had a 50% lower unemployment rate.

-A more healthy life.  College graduates have fewer health problems.

-A more fulfilling life.  College graduates are more likely to be active in the community.

Thank you all for all you do to help our students have an opportunity for a brighter future.

-Jerry Faulkner

Friday, September 5, 2014

A New Chinese Scholar on Campus

Yang Qi is the new visiting Chinese scholar on the Vol State campus. She joins us for the school year as part of the Confucius Institute program at MTSU. The Confucius Institute is an international Chinese project to share faculty with colleges and university across the globe. You may remember that Jun Zhao taught on campus last year as part of the ongoing program.

“There is a cultural communication,” she said. “We want to let people know about the Chinese culture and the tradition of the Chinese culture and learn something from the American culture.”

Her first name is Qi, as is traditional in China, where first names come last. You pronounce it “chee”. She is from Jiangnan University in the city of Wuxi near Shanghai. Qi earned a graduate degree in teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages from the University of Newcastle on Tyne. She teaches English in China.

This is not her first visit to the United States. From 2010 to 2012 she taught Chinese in New Mexico. She will also be doing so here at Vol State. In fact, she arrived on campus just over a week ago to immediately start a Chinese class for new and intermediate students. She says it has been tough arriving in the United States and starting to teach at the same time. The trip from China takes more than 24 hours. “I feel sleepy during the day because of jet lag,” she said.

Qi is clearly excited about the possibilities here on campus. She plans on teaching classes in Chinese culture later in the school year, with an emphasis on food culture and religion.

“This is a global word. Young people move about. They need something cross-culture to enlarge their horizon. This will also make students more employable. There is a lot of trade between our countries.”