Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Service Learning Project Provides Emergency Plans for Child Care

Emergency planning has become a part of institutional life in America. Schools and community centers regularly prepare and practice what to do in an emergency. Vol State students and faculty have taken part in a two-year project to help particularly vulnerable organizations: child care centers. State law requires that child care centers have emergency plans. But it’s tough for a small business or nonprofit to find the time or expertise needed to develop a plan. Vol State classes have prepared emergency planning kits for child care centers in Sumner County. They were distributed to child care directors today. Vol State instructor, Penny Duncan, led the effort with her Early Childhood Education students.

“It’s designed to be tailored to each individual center,” said Duncan. “Child care directors can put in their own maps and their own emergency contact lists. The new standards that just became required last year by the state, include reunification plans, getting kids back with their parents, evacuation procedures and how to work with children with disabilities.”

“We went to visit several day cares and preschools to see if they had a plan and only a few did,” said Vol State student Tamara Tuckson of Nashville. “The project has been very enlightening for us and we hope it can help child cares be ready, especially when it comes to helping children with special needs, which was the part I worked on.”

Holding safety drills with young children can be especially difficult. The plan includes ways to make such activities part of the curriculum and appropriate for the age group. Gallatin Day Care Center Executive Director Linda Boyers is also a Vol State student who worked on the project.

“You always think it’s not going to happen to me,” said Boyers. “But you’ve got to know how to react and you need training to do that. If everyone is on the same page, the chances of everyone surviving an emergency safely are much higher, and that’s important to me as a director, and as a parent and grandparent.”

The project is part of what is called Vol State Service Learning. The student work is directly tied to their class curriculum. More than fifty students in several Vol State classes and three different faculty members worked on the project. Students in Computer Information Systems worked on a phone app as part of the project. The Early Childhood Education students coordinated with students in Criminal Justice to put together the plan.

“The Criminal Justice students provided all of the emergency plans, the evacuation plan, the reunification plan,” said James Brown, Criminal Justice instructor. “The education students prepared the process, to make sure the kids don’t get scared and they have activities to keep them occupied during an emergency. The most important part for the education students was probably the training plan. Without proper training, staff won’t know what to do in an emergency.”

The plan is available for any interested child care operator in Tennessee to download and print for free, on the Vol State website. Visit www.volstate.edu/EarlyChildhood and then click on “Child Care Emergency Plan.” For more information about Education and Criminal Justice programs at Vol State visit www.volstate.edu
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Pictured: Linda Boyers with Gallatin Day Care Center will be using the emergency plan with her staff and children.

Group: Vol State students show the plan to child care managers at a reception, left to right: student Debbie Dominguez of Gallatin; student Tamara Tuckson of Nashville; and Donna Gregory and Gaye Hurt with College Heights Child Care of Gallatin.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Vol State in the News

A recent meeting brought together Sumner and Nashville civic and educational leaders for a discussion. Mayor Jo Ann Graves has this op-ed piece about the meeting and Vol State's role in the future of our community.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Vol State and Russia


Russia is  a major topic in world news discussions, and yet, how much do we really know about the modern Russia? It seems that explorations of Russian politics, history and economy may be big areas of interest in coming months and years.

Dr. John Espey, Director of International  Education and Professor of Business,  was one of five participants chosen to participate  in the 2014 Fulbright Program  -Community College Administrator Seminar in Russia. He traveled to Russia last semester, and has this account of the trip and how the International Education program may do more with Russia in the future:

The  program, about five years old,  was developed to share the community college model with Russian institutions of Higher Education and build relationships for potential  future collaboration. 

The program allowed the delegation to visit a number of Federal and State Universities in the of cities of Kaliningrad,  St. Petersburg, Arkhangelsk and Moscow. We were able to exchange information through presentations and dialog between a number of faculty and administrators about how community colleges operate and fit into American Higher Education.

We visited State and Federal Universities with programs as diverse as education and training for the Fishing and International shipping Industry,  to programs in Information Technology –Mechanics and Optics.  We found a Changing Russia.  The federal government is putting resources into technology education  and we found faculty, students and  leadership most interested in supporting a market economy.  We found a number of programs and individuals that had responsibilities very similar to ours and programs that we might find in our community colleges are embedded in their universities.  Russian institutions have been traditionally very strong in Mathematics and the Sciences. That history  is helping to build programs in Technology from construction to Engineering.

Construction projects and growth in residential construction, modernization of highways and spreading wealth have certainly marked the transition. We were reminded the Russia is only about 40 years into a transition to a market economy. Capitalism is spreading in the cities to be certain. We were told that the rural and remote areas of the country have simply not received the benefits of a market system as well as the urban areas. Infrastructure is still in critical need in many areas, but construction of modern high rise housing was simply booming in Moscow in particular. Many former Soviet style housing and construction is still in place and the contrast to the modernization is striking.

Dr. Joel Ericson, The Fulbright Program Director for Russia was with us at every visit.  He and his staff assistant ,Ms. Polina Babushkina, developed a program for us that made the maximum use of time and travel.  We were welcomed at every visit.  Many younger faculty are fluent in English and Russian.  Graduate students in particular had studied English and often assisted.  When necessary, translators appeared and I felt we never had any problems with language.

With a schedule that was full, we had some time to visit historic sites including palaces and museums in St. Petersburg and Red Square in Moscow. The northern city of Arkhangelsk was still in the grip of a frozen winter.  We say a number of people parasailing with snowboards on the frozen White Sea and inlets!

I found the food was just great at every venue.  We traveled between cities via Aeroflot, the Russian airlines. The aircraft fleet was modern, clean and included great personnel. Airports are modernizing at a very rapid pace.  We say construction at every airport. The vastness of the country really lends itself to air travel.  Flights were full.   Travelers we met included construction personnel and engineers. 

For where we at Volunteer State, TnCIS  and TBR go from here with potential relationships with Russian institutions, I am working in several areas.

-We are seeking  grant support for future foreign language development including Russian.
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      - I am writing every institution we visited with an invitation to send a delegation of students/faculty for a short term visit similar to the multiple  partnerships we have at present. I am offering to share our partner TBR Universities and community colleges as well as the cultural and historic Nashville and Middle Tennessee region.
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      -We are exploring a TnCIS program offering in the future for Russia. We are also exploring hosting a Fulbright Scholar from Russia in the future.

      The experience was certainly a great opportunity to represent Vol State, TBR and Tennessee. Other program  participants were from Illinois, North Carolina, Oklahoma and Washington State.  

For those who have been here at Volunteer State and remember our Russian visitor , Oleg Naumenko, Ph.D. from about 2008, I was able to meet up with him and his parents in Moscow!  Oleg is working for the senior Russian Economics University in research and recalls his visit to Vol State.

I hope to make presentations on requests in the near future.  I really appreciate the  efforts of Dr. Nichols and Tracy Bradley of TnCIS is helping support my application for the program.

John Espey


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Vol State in the News

The Vol State high school equivalancy program is in the news. The Tennessean has the story.

It's nearly time to golf for Vol State scholarships...the Gallatin News Examiner has this piece.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Health Sciences Instructor Remembered

Mike Anderson receiving the Governor’s Outstanding First Responder Award from Asst. Commissioner of Safety, David Purkey. The award presentation came at the Sumner County Commission meeting with his daughter by his side. 
Health Sciences Center of Emphasis faculty member and alumnus Mike Anderson died last weekend at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Mike was a 1989 Vol State EMT graduate. Recently, he returned to Vol State to work towards obtaining a Health Sciences AAS degree.

Mike was a familiar face at Meharry Medical College where he routinely coordinated American Heart Association classes for Vol State, including ACLS, PALS, and PHTLS courses for medical students. 

“Mike was one of our training center faculty, meaning that he advised us and helped to make sure instructors were kept up to date with their training,” said Terri Crutcher. “He’s really going to be missed.”

Mike served in several capacities, including Training Officer, with Sumner County EMS for over 20 years. In 2012, Mike was recognized as an Outstanding First Responder by Governor Bill Haslam's Office in conjunction with the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security. The picture was taken after that ceremony. 

Mike is survived by his wife, Kelly Anderson and his daughter, Casey Anderson. Sanderson Funeral Home of Carthage will be conducting visitation and the ceremony: Visitation: Tuesday (today) at 1:00 PM until 8:00 PM and Wednesday from 10:00 AM until service time at 1:00 PM.


The family has requested that any memorials be made to the Sumner County Heart Association.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Veterans and LGM Grads Get Jobs

George Wilson has these Logistics success stories to share:

Military Veterans Scott Little (Navy), Jeffrey Fullerton (Army) and Cory Wallace (Army & Navy) all graduated in May 2014 with the 16 credit hour, online Logistics & Supply Chain Management Technical Certificate from Vol State. During May and June, Scott, Jeff, and Cory all secured new, full-time jobs in logistics & supply chain management:
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-Scott Little, Site Supervisor for Pro Advantage Supply Chain Services
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             -Jeff Fullerton, Compliance Specialist for Vantec Worldwide Transport
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-Cory Wallace, Import Specialist (recently promoted to Export Specialist)          for American Presidents Lines











Congratulations to Scott, Jeff, and Cory on their new jobs, and we thank them for their military service!

-George Wilson

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Vol State Alumni Band Video Goes Viral

It’s surprising what you can do with a voice, a guitar and a really interesting room. Members of the band Wabash have attended Vol State and now they’re garnering national attention for singing in a grain bin. It’s more than just a gimmick. The acoustics of the metal bin, combined with the soaring vocal of Brandon McDuffee and soulful blues guitar of current student Quinn Bible, make this a must see clip on You Tube. Many other sites have picked it up as well. Bible and McDuffee play by themselves in this particular clip. The rest of the band includes brothers Alex and Luke McDuffee, and James Alan on drums. Alan actually did the video taping of the grain bin performance.

“It was the perfect song for that setting,” Alan said. “It’s amazing what an idea on a whim can do.”

The reaction has been exciting. The clip has more than 44,000 views on You Tube from people all over the world.


“We’ve been getting views from Australia, Malaysia, Japan and Ireland,” said Quinn. “It’s just us doing our thing. Hopefully people will keep enjoying the music.”

“It’s fun, it’s exciting,” said McDuffee. “I didn’t think that was going to happen.”

The band cut material last year in the Vol State recording studio and just finished a new EP in the studio. Vol State student Nikki Lawrence mixed their first release and Vol State Director of Entertainment Media Industry Programs engineered the latest material himself. The band has just decided to officially release the grain bin performance, as well.

Thanks to the Entertainment Media Production and International Education programs, Wabash traded video-taped recordings of songs with British bands for an international TV show called “The Beat.” It’s produced by students at Exeter College in England.

Next up, is a gig at the well-known rock club The End in Nashville on July 31 and hopefully, they say, touring after that. We don’t know if any grain bins are being considered as venues.

Take a moment to listen to the performance (or click on play above) and if you enjoy it, consider visiting the band’s Facebook pageHere's a link to the latest EP.




Saying Goodbye to Jun


Vol State faculty and staff wished Chinese professor Jun Zhao bon voyage recently as the visiting scholar prepared to return home to China. Zhao has been teaching Chinese and participating in International Education events at Vol State over the last year.

“I’m looking forward to seeing my family,” she said. “But I can’t bear to part. I’ll miss it here. The staff and faculty members are very nice and friendly to me.”

Zhao will return to her teaching position at Beijing City University. She’s been doing research in cross-cultural communication, comparing three places: the United Kingdom, China and the United States.

“I came here to teach students Chinese,” said Zhao. “I think people learning a foreign language- you will have a different opinion of the people in the country you are studying.”

Professor Zhao taught at Vol State through a program with the Confucius Institute at MTSU. The Confucius Institute is an international Chinese project to share faculty with colleges and universities across the globe. Director of International Education, John Espey, is working to line-up a visiting Chinese scholar for next year, to continue the work Zhao has started, including Chinese language courses.

“Working at Vol State has helped me to know America and the American people objectively,” Zhao said. “I think American people are very open and generous.”

Vol State in the News

The Sleep Diagnostics program is settling into its new home in the Wallace Health Sciences Complex South. The Tennessean has this story.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

A Fire-Rescue Alumna and Her Assistant Police Chief Daughter


Kim Lawson is an alumna success story. She graduated with a Paramedic certificate in 1981 and then an associate of applied science degree from Vol State in 1994. Now, after 34 years with the Nashville Fire Department, retiring at the rank of Deputy Chief, Lawson has stepped back into the world of first responders as the new assistant chief of medical services for the Murfreesboro Fire and Rescue Department.

“I just can’t stop. I can’t help myself. I love it,” she said. “I’ve had a great career in Nashville. I frankly love the job and so when this opportunity in Murfreesboro came up I knew that was what I wanted to do. I spent most of my career in EMS, it’s my passion.”

Lawson says that part of the attraction for the new position was in developing a growing EMS division in Murfreesboro. “We’re stepping it up to a higher level for our firefighters to be able to do advanced medical techniques. We work hand-in-hand with Rutherford County EMS. But we need to look forward to the future.”

That future is coming up quickly in the booming Murfreesboro area. More people moving to the area means more medical calls.

Firefighting and Emergency Medical Services are a big part of the Lawson family. Which is why Kim’s daughter, Angie Lawson is a bit of a renegade.

“Her father is a firefighter. Her brother is a firefighter,” said Kim. “She comes from a fire department family. She’s still kind of in the area of public safety.”

Mom says the last bit with a smile. She’s clearly quite proud of her police officer daughter.  And therein lies another Vol State tie. Angie Lawson is the Assistant Chief of Police at the College.

“I did attempt to go into fire at one point,” said Angie. “My parents are the most supportive. Anything I want to do they support me 100 percent. Once I got more involved in policing, a lot of investigators said I had a knack for it.”

Angie did talk to her mom when considering the Vol State position. “I knew she had graduated from here,” Angie said. “It was a good move for me professionally. As always, I looked to my mom for advice.”

The long-time rivalry between police and firefighters notwithstanding, Angie sees plenty of similarities in public service. “I still think that’s the biggest thing for me about law enforcement. There’s so much community service we can do. We’re really pushing our community policing forward here at Vol State.”

While the firefighting tradition may have taken a slightly different turn for the family, the Vol State tradition certainly continues. Kim’s other daughter, Tara, is a current Vol State student. Angie is considering taking classes in the fall. And Mom wants to take EMS refresher courses at Vol State later this year.