Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Meet the New Dean of Humanities

Erin Mann is the new dean of Humanities at Vol State. She comes most recently from Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Missouri, where she was associate provost of Academic Operations. The Humanities Division is the largest academic area at Vol State.

“I’d been looking for a leadership position that would let me work more closely with faculty and students than my previous position, and I really wanted to find something at a community college because I think they’re doing cutting-edge things for students who need it,” Mann said. “I value a clear mission. The Vol State Humanities Division, in particular, seemed like a really great mix of traditional general education transfer classes, hands-on and practical degrees, and arts and letters all working together.”

Mann has taught English at Lindenwood University Belleville, the University of Iowa, and Mount Mercy University. She holds a Ph.D. and M.A. in English Literature from the University of Iowa, and a B.A. in English and German from Rice University in Houston.

“My goals are to support the faculty to the fullest extent as they begin the new semester, and to get to know them, and through them, the students,” she said. “This semester will be a lot of listening and communicating, I expect. Long term, my goals will probably align with those of the college and schools across the country: continue to grow enrollment in our programs. Continue to improve graduation and transfer rates. Find new ways to serve our students and keep perfecting the old ways.”

A Reminder of the Spring COVID Screening Process

A reminder that the COVID screening process will remain in place for the spring semester, with a few changes. You will still need to fill out the form on the front page of the college website each time you visit a campus. However, check-in locations at each building are no longer staffed. You will find a self-screening kiosk. Simply open your confirmation email and scan the QR code. Masks are still required on all campuses.

Monday, January 11, 2021

Vol State Faculty Member Works on Netflix Movie “The Prom”

A Hollywood movie musical is all about making the stars sound great. A big part of that is done with an orchestra. Vol State Director of Entertainment Media Production, Steve Bishir, was part of the team that recorded the orchestra for the Netflix hit “The Prom.” The movie stars Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman, and James Corden. Bishir traveled to London, England last March for the project. It was recorded at the famous Air Studios, a converted church turned into a high-end studio that has been used by artists such as Paul McCartney and Coldplay.

We had 56 strings on Monday and Tuesday, French horns, saxophones, trumpets, and trombones on Wednesday and Thursday. Woodwinds on Friday and Saturday,” Steve said. “We did this so that in the mix they could have full separation sonically among the parts. All told, I think we had 72 musicians on the dates over the course of the week. This was my 43rd trip to do orchestra in London starting way back in 1993. There was a period of about 10 years or so where I was travelling to London 3 times a year for orchestra.”

The producers- Adam Anders and Peer Astrom- had programmed all the individual parts beforehand and had recorded all the final vocals. This gave me a great map to understand how the orchestra should fit sonically into the overall picture.”

And the professional project also provided teaching opportunities for Steve as he worked to capture things that he could bring back to the classroom.

“I have the scores we used on the sessions and I made a video of one of the songs with me turning the pages of the score along with it so they can see what was happening. I also have pictures and videos I took to show the mics I used and the placement. Then we did some mock up set ups to show kind of what I was doing on the gig.”

“I've had long talks with many students about where the bar is to be hired for this type of gig. It was inspirational to some and I had one tell me it gave him new energy to pursue his own path.”

Hilary Marabeti Serves with TBR Center for Workforce Development

Hilary Marabeti, Assistant Vice President of ECD, was selected by the TBR’s Center for Workforce Development to serve as one of the three regional workforce representatives.  As the Middle Tennessee representative, she will be responsible for assisting in meeting with industry for regional/state expansions and recruitment; attending meetings representing the Center; assisting with planning TN Trained events; serving as a workforce mentor for the region; assisting in grant writing projects for the Center; and, other duties as assigned.  She will be in regular contact with the four community colleges and nine colleges of applied technology in Middle Tennessee to generate reports, identify unique programming, and to connect colleges with industry needs and interests.

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Vol State in the News

Vol State retiree and Covid-19 survivor, James Story, was recently named Gallatin Citizen of the Year by the Gallatin News. The story is also a good update on his condition, as he continues to battle the long-term impact of the virus.

Our Fall 2020 graduation ceremony was virtual. Here's the release in the Upper Cumberland Business Journal.

Vol State placed third for the Nashville area in the Public Colleges section of the Tennessean Community Choice Awards recently.

The new Digital Radio concentration in Entertainment Media Production is a big push for the spring semester. Here is a story in the Robertson County Connection.

Our 50th Anniversary county proclamations are the public kick-off to our celebration. Here is a story in the Upper Cumberland Business Journal.

We recently announced the P-16 BEST awards recognizing supporters of education in our area. Here is a piece in the Robertson County Connection.

The 100 percent Vol State Nursing pass rate release for the NCLEX RN licensure was picked-up in the Overton County News.

Monday, December 7, 2020

50th Anniversary Proclamations

County leaders in our service area are issuing proclamations honoring Vol State and recognizing residents who have received a degree or certificate from Vol State in the last 50 years. It’s a part of our 50th Anniversary Celebration.

This is the picture of the Sumner County presentation: County Executive Anthony Holt; Jerry Faulkner, Vol State President; and Scott Langford, Chairman of Sumner County Commission.

You can see the other proclamation photos here: https://www.volstate.edu/news/county-leaders-issue-vol-state-50-year-anniversary-proclamations

Graduate Profiles for Fall 2020

Graduate Profile: Andrea Benson

Imagine attending two different colleges, three different times, over 30 years. Graduation for Andrea Benson of Westmoreland is a big deal. It’s especially significant because she had to drop two classes this semester and didn’t think she would graduate. The problem was one many people are facing- Andrea had several coworkers sick with COVID, which left her struggling with a 65 hour work week. She did the right thing, though, she contacted an advisor before giving up for the semester. They pointed out that with a major change she would have enough credits to graduate. The fifty-eight year old has been on a long journey to get that degree.

“I started college at 28 years old at Nashville Tech. I transferred to Vol State in 2000, when the company I worked for closed up. We made NASCAR caps,” she said.

She stopped taking classes after a few more years, leaving the degree unfinished, until just recently.

“My daughter went back to school for a social work degree and she said – mom, why don’t you go back?”

And Andrea is taking the virtual graduation ceremony pretty seriously.

“Me and my grandchildren are planning to watch with a celebration party. We have invitations and everything,” she said.

Graduate Profile: Nyalat Bidit

College assignments can be tough, so imagine how hard it would be if English wasn’t your native language? That was the case for fall graduate Nyalat Bidit. The Ethiopian mother of four came to the United States in 2005 from South Sudan.

“I went to school in Ethiopia, but it was in other languages. I knew English, but don’t speak it that well. It was really hard. I appreciate all of the ESOL instructors. They lifted me up so I could learn to write a paper and do college level work.”

She went through Vol State ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) classes and then to college level courses. The road to a college degree wasn’t just hard because of the academics. “I live in Lavergne. I have to travel two hours a day. It’s a long commute.”

Bidit said many people helped her on her path to a degree in pre-nursing. But some Vol State faculty members went even further. “Karen Hutson was more like a mentor to me. She helped me through a lot. She would tell me- keep pushing, you can do it. I don’t know how I can thank her enough.”

Graduate Profile: Patrick Collum

Vol State has many students seeking a mid-life career change, but Patrick Collum’s past career and future calling make him stand out.

“My experience was a decade of emergency medical services. I was an EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) and Captain of the Sumner County Basic Life Support Division,” he said. “I was glad for my years of service, but I want to spend more time with my children.”

Normally, you would expect that someone with a background in emergency medicine would find another career in the Health Sciences. Collum chose a brand new path.

“Growing up my father was a police officer. Today, most cybercrimes go unsolved. People are paying large ransoms and the perpetrators can be operating from the other side of the world. It seems like a challenge.”

And thus the EMT is graduating from Vol State with a Computer Information Technology degree in CyberDefense.

“I just got hired with the Sumner County Board of Education in the IT department. The degree worked.”

His career change is a big milestone in his life. “This last year has been so hard for everyone in healthcare and completing my degree while serving the community has been challenging to maintain momentum toward graduating. My wife, three daughters, and my mother have continued to motivate and support me through this difficult time and encouraged me every step of the way.”

Graduate Profile: Andrew Burgess

Andrew Burgess chose the Vol State Cookeville campus because of close proximity. But he said his decision to go into Computer Information Technology (CIT) was based on conversations with faculty members.

“I talked to professors Imam and Said about the CIT program. I could tell from our conversations that the program was about collaboration and studio thinking, where everyone brings something to the table.”

Burgess is due to graduate with a CIT degree this fall. It’s actually the second step in his IT education. He received a certificate from a CISCO Networking Academy in California nearly 20 years ago. “I went to Vol State to have a second chapter in my IT work and to focus on security and forensics.”

Cyber defense isn’t just an area of study for Burgess. He has personal experience as a victim. “My medical records were wiped out in a cyber attack this year. Cyber crime effects every American eventually. I wanted to be engaged as part of the solution.”

The TN Reconnect student said the support at the Cookeville campus helped him through some challenging times. “They had the same level of passion that I did. They never let me get to a place where I would give up. They advocated for my success at Vol State, from the beginning.”

Burgess is headed to Tennessee Tech next year to continue academic work for a bachelor’s degree.

Friday, December 4, 2020

New Performing Arts YouTube Channel

out Vol State musicians on the new Performing Arts YouTube Channel. They have created a Performing Arts 2020 Christmas/End of Semester playlist for everyone to enjoy. It’s a work in progress, so also check back next week for more additions. The songs are a variety of styles, some holiday and some other themes. And subscribe to get all of the playlist updates.

Photo by David Beale on Unsplash

Monday, November 30, 2020

Vol State in the News

You may remember Vol State student Austin Bonebrake. He was the Outstanding Graduate a few semesters ago. He's doing well at WKU now. WBKO TV in Bowling Green has an update.

The P-16 council, organized by Vol State recently recognized people in the community who are supporters of education with the BEST Awards. The Gallatin News has this story about the winners.

We recently issued a news release announcing that our inaugural nursing class had a 100 percent pass rate on their RN licensure. Here is a copy in the Upper Cumberland Business Journal.

Music Department Goes Virtual for Performances

You may have been wondering about the annual Vol State Christmas concert. While the in-person event was canceled the Music Department has been working with students on songs virtually. They will be putting those up on a special You Tube page soon and we will share the link so everyone can enjoy the performances.

And speaking of performances, faculty member and Pianist Nicholas Reynolds will be performing this Friday, December 4 via You Tube. The live stream
recital will feature works for solo piano, and piano with pre-recorded electronics, by composers Franz Schubert, Missy Mazzoli, and Modest Mussorgsky. Click on the YouTube Live link for program details.

Friday, December 4, 2020 at 7:00 PM CST, https://youtu.be/Drwt9R1yNbM