Friday, October 24, 2014

Dr. Faulkner: T Shaped Persons

We’ve all likely heard of the hour-glass figure.  One web site says there are four body types – hourglass, spoon, rectangle and triangle.  A few years ago the idea was circulated that whether you were apple shaped or pear shaped had impacts on your future health.  This idea was refuted by a study done at the University of California, Davis.  I have concluded that I am melon shaped.

A few days ago I came across a new term – T shaped person.  The term apparently was first used in 1991 in a London newspaper to describe the type of computer manager in demand in IT fields.  It has since been used to describe candidates in a wide range of employment.

The term describes someone who is skilled in two planes, hence the use of the letter “T.”  The vertical portion of the T describes the depth of skills in a particular area.  For example, having skills in engineering, architecture, accounting, media, or business.  The horizontal portion represents the abilities of the person in relational skills like collaboration, empathy, understanding, and cooperation.  In short it represents both depth and breadth of characteristics.

We have all known person who were “deep” in their field but could not relate to other people.  These are “I” shaped people.  A common complaint from students is, “He/she is a very smart person, but they don’t know how to teach.” 

As a college, we want our students to become T shaped persons.  We want them to be excellent in the knowledge and skills of their chosen career.  But we also want graduates that can excel relationally.  We want our health science students to have great technical skills but also to have a good bed-side manner.  Sometimes the relational skills are a side effect of the program they are in and sometimes they are more purposed. 

Part of developing that horizontal plane is the general education requirement that is part of all our degrees.  What some may call the liberal arts gives our students a breadth of understanding of a variety of aspects of life and the ability to communicate with others both orally and in writing.  Another way we can broaden a student’s relational skills is the way we relate outside the classroom.  Giving exemplary customer service models relational skills for our graduates.

The challenge is for all of us to evaluate our own “shape” and to model a well-balanced “T” for our students.

-Dr. Jerry Faulkner

Hilary Marabeti Honored for Community Impact

Vol State assistant vice-president for Continuing Education and Economic Development, Hilary Marabeti, was honored recently with the "Women Impacting the Community" award from the Hendersonville Area Chamber of Commerce. Six women leaders were honored at the dinner. Lynn Johnson, owner of Primrose School in Hendersonville, presented Hilary with the award. Congratulations to Hilary, it's a well-deserved honor given her 42 years of service in higher education in a number of different roles.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Vol State Student Researchers Take Top Honors in Organic Chemistry Competition

People may not associate community college students with scientific research. However, Vol State students may be changing that perception. Recently Vol State Math and Science students took top honors in a student competition at the Southeastern Regional Meeting of the American Chemical Society (SERMACS) in Nashville. Vol State was the only community college to compete and the Vol State students beat out more than eighty other students from universities across the South. Emmy Davis of Hendersonville, Nicole Gammons of Mt. Juliet, and Phillip Martinez of Lebanon received the first place award in the Organic Chemistry Division for their research presentation titled “Investigations of Green and Microscale Methods in the Synthesis of Several Flavones.” Chemists from all over the region did the judging.

“I always love interacting with people who really know their stuff,” said Martinez. “A lot of them identified with what I told them I learned about recrystallization.”

“I’m a pre-pharmacy major and this was my first research experience,” Davis said. “I can definitely see myself doing more research in the future. I’m considering pharmaceutical research as a possible career path now.”

“It was amazing that we were the only community college there and that we won. It was definitely nerve-wracking because it was my first conference and there were so many presentations.”

The students attended the conference as part of a Community College Undergraduate Research Initiative (CCURI) grant that also funds scientific research conducted by hundreds of Vol State students each year. This particular project was conducted by a Vol State undergraduate research class. The goal was to develop new labs for chemistry classes next semester.

“To do this well at synthesis is unique in a community college setting,” said faculty member Parris Powers of the winning students. “I think this project allowed them to see the bigger picture, including the connections to pharmaceuticals and biochemistry.”

“We are so proud for our students and for our faculty member, Mr. Powers,” said Vol State President, Dr. Jerry Faulkner. “This is a well-deserved honor reflecting their hard work and dedication. This award is also an acknowledgement of the high quality education and experience that Vol State provides to all students.”

Pictured: The student researchers in the Vol State chemistry lab. Left to right: Nicole Gammons, Emmy Davis, Phillip Martinez and associate professor of Chemistry, Parris Powers.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Vol State in the News

3,000 students have picked Vol State on their Tennessee Promise application thus far. We're not expecting that many people who have applied for Promise to actually attend. We should know more in the Spring semester. Here is a story in the Tennessean about Vol State and the Tennessee Promise sign-up.

Nashville Public Radio, WPLN, has this story about the effort to find enough mentors for the Tennessee Promise program. They visited Vol State at Highland Crest.

Community college educators across the country are excited about our Math and Science students taking top honors in an organic chemistry competition. They beat out more than 80 university students from across the South to do so. It's a testament to the fast-growing role of community college student research in Math and Science education. The Council on Undergraduate Research has the story on their website.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Connie Martin Awarded Scholarship

Connie Martin of the Social Science Division was chosen as the recipient of the Hal R. Ramer Professional Development Scholarship from Women in Higher Education in Tennessee (WHET ) during their annual conference in Murfreesboro recently. The $500 scholarship can be used for a professional conference. Connie says she plans on attending the National Institute on the Teaching of Psychology in January. Congrats to Connie!

Vol State in the News

The man behind WVCP, Howard Espravnik, is in the news up in Indiana, where he returned to Indiana State for a reunion of student workers at the radio station WISU, marking the FM stations fifty year anniversary.

Still one more Tennessee Promise application event to go if you know high school seniors and parents who want help. It's coming up on Tuesday from 5:30pm to 7:30pm in the Thigpen Library. The Tennessean has the story.

Congrats to Mike McDole

Staff Council would like congratulate Mike McDole, the winner of the Classified Staff Appreciation Award for the month of September! Mike is a Technician in the Information Technology department. Every month a winner is drawn from a pool of nominees who were seen offering exceptional service to the Vol State community. The award recipient receives a certificate of appreciation and a $20 gift card.

The other nominees for the month of September were:
Danielle Wright from Financial Aid
Gerri Helms from the Business Office
Mark Dennis from Information Technology
Wanda Smith from the Office of Records and Registration

Remember, any Vol State employee can fill out the short nomination form to recognize any permanent classified staff employee by going to the Staff Council webpage ( Thank you for supporting this Staff Council initiative!

Prior Winners:
August- Carolyn Thomas from Retention Support Services
July- Sydny Simpson from the Office of Admissions
June- Regina Pierpaoli from the Testing Center
May- Teresa Corlew from the Advising Center
April- Kristen Woodmore from Continuing Education
March- Lesa Cross from Public Relations

-Amanda Foster

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.