Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Fire Science and the Tour of Duty Ride

The riders with Fire Science Director Travis Ford.
Vol State faculty and students in the Fire Science program met with riders for the “Tour of Duty Ride” earlier this month as they bicycled through Nashville. The ride began in San Diego and will end when the team of bicyclists walks across the Brooklyn Bridge at dawn on September 11. Here is more info from their web site:

Riding through Nashville.
“The riders are made up of four military, four firefighters, and four police from Australia and four military, four firefighters, and four police from the United States. The participants are soldiers, professional fire fighters and police from both nations who are currently on active service and returned from their tour. In addition to their duties, these professionals have been training for this event for over 15 months. They will be cycling across the United States together as one team from two nations. Their efforts will honor the memory of those who gave all, and pay respect to those serving who protect our lives today.”
The riders having fun with American Idol
contestant Bucky Covington.

The Vol State Fire Science students and Director Travis Ford spoke with the riders about their jobs, profession, and the journey from San Diego.

You can track their progress at or join them on Facebook at “Tour of Duty Ride.”

For info about the Fire Science program at Vol State visit:

Monday, August 27, 2012

Challenging Humanities for a New Home

Laura Black asks the question: can we make a new Humanities building a reality?
Laura Black has a challenge for her colleagues in the Humanities Division: chip in and make the proposed Humanities building a reality. She’s challenging every faculty and staff member to donate to the College Foundation fundraising effort, no matter how large or small the donation might be.

“Ever since I’ve been here, over 10 years, we’ve been talking about getting a new Humanities building,” said Black. “This is the first time that I’ve felt like we’re really close.”

Black made her challenge of 100 percent participation in an email earlier this month. She says the response so far has been good, with many faculty members, and even a few alumni saying they have donated.

The Humanities building has been on the state building list for many years. But it has failed to move up that list until now. The next step is fundraising and the College Foundation is in full swing to bring in donors. The building will provide more than just rooms, but also a real home for humanities.

“One thing that will be great is that most of the humanities faculty will be in one place,” said Black. “We’ll have art in with all of the other disciplines. It will build community.”

A black box theater will provide an intimate venue for plays and small concerts and join the auditorium as a facility that community members can rent for shows. The building will feature a new and enlarged recording studio, special audio editing suites and a live sound studio. The building will also feature new classroom space, which will allow music teachers better interaction with students for individual instruction. A theater classroom will help to immerse students in not only the process, but the emotion inherent in live theater. New drawing, painting, design and printmaking studios will give students better lighting and expanded space.  An honors suite will provide a new home for gifted students so they can collaborate and push themselves academically.

If you would like to donate visit the College Foundation Giving page:

Taking Student Service to the Next Level

The phrase student service may sound like the work of a particular office on campus, but in reality it’s at the heart of what all of us do each and every day. It can be described as customer service. However, we know that it’s much more than that because of the commitment we make to our students and the importance of what we do in higher education.

Student service is something we have always done well at Vol State. The caring attitude towards students is a big part of the Vol State Difference. We can always do better, though. Challenges created by our renewed emphasis on student success and completion make effective student service more important than ever.

“It’s really important that students understand that they matter,” said President Jerry Faulkner.

“The data are clear. Students are more likely to continue their academic journey if they have a connection with someone on campus,” said Advising Center Director, Terry Bubb. “If they’ve experienced negativity or think we don’t care about them, they’re more likely to drop out or not continue their studies.”

For those on the front lines of student reception the mission can seem clear.

“Out here you still need to use the hand holding approach,” said receptionist Lesa Durham. “If it takes walking them down to Admissions or going outside to show them how to get to Financial Aid, that’s what you do. Most of them have not been away from home and when they get here they feel a bit lost. I always watch for them when they come back through and ask them ‘did you get what you needed?’ When they give me that smile and say yes, then I’m pretty sure they’ll be back as a student.”

The type of service provided changes from job to job on campus. For faculty there is an additional level of complexity.

“We have to challenge students and we have to evaluate their work,” said Associate Professor Nancy Blomgren. “We can’t always make people happy and we can’t always go by the customer is always right philosophy. Regardless though, treating them with respect is the baseline, treating them respectfully and fairly. Teaching at its core is establishing a relationship. There has to be that sense of trust.”
Establishing that trust can be tough when you have a room full of students, either in the classroom or waiting for you in the Advising Center.

“We are all trained to look at that individual student and tune out the crowd waiting,” said Bubb. “For that student this is their time.”

“Even if I have to tell a student no, there’s a way to do it,” said Vice President Patty Powell. “I don’t feel like I have the right to talk down to anyone.”

We asked Dr. Faulkner what he would suggest faculty and staff keep in mind.
“Number one is to treat that student standing in front of you as the most important person that you will deal with that day,” he said. “You may have had to say something 400 times that day, but it may be the first time the student has heard it. Try to treat people the way you would want to be treated.”

September Calendar

Aug-Sept 28

Faculty Art Exhibit Ramer Great Hall 7am-9pm Monday through Saturday, closed Sunday

5 & 6

Welcome Days Wood Campus Center Carpeted Dining Room 10am-2pm


Vol State Spirit Day wear your Vol State apparel
group photo at 12:30pm at Student Life Office


Walk Across Sumner County group walking and fitness day on Vol State campus 8am-11am


Dennis Rahiim Watson motivational speaker
Pickel Field House -
Gym 12:30pm-2pm


Service Learning Club Meeting
Carpeted Dining Room 12:15pm


Harvest Moon Soiree $75 Epic Event Centre 392 West Main Street Gallatin 6pm


Constitution Day event Mattox 104 12:20pm


Voter Registration Wood Campus Ctr. 11am-1pm


HIV Testing Wood Campus Ctr. 215 10am-2pm

17 & 18

Job/Career Fair at Highland Crest Springfield Community Room 10am-2pm each day

19 & 20

Health and Wellness Days outside on Plaza or Ramer Great Hall (if rain) 10am-2pm


Vol State music students perform at the
Whippoorwill in Gallatin 6:30pm


Hispanic Heritage Quiz Bowl
Cafeteria 12:30-1:30pm


Fall Job/Career main campus Pickel Field House
10am to 1pm


Lonnie Scott "Make Your Mark and Vote!"
Carpeted Dining Room 12:30pm-1:30pm


Hispanic Heritage Luncheon
Carpeted Dining Room 12:30pm-2pm

Evening Students Get a New Leader at Vol State

Evening classes provide the opportunity for working adults to pursue college. The hours are great but they don’t lend themselves to students necessarily feeling a part of the college campus life. Brenda Buffington is working to change that at Vol State. She is the new Director of Evening Services.

“I’m the liaison between evening students and the campus during the day,” said Buffington. “It’s an evolving department, which I love because I have a pioneering spirit.”

The college has offered evening services for years. The stepped up effort recognizes the importance of evening students to the college.

“Whatever students might do in the Business Office, Advising, Admissions and Financial Aid we can take care of that for them in the evening,” she said.

Online courses and evening classes have made it easier for students to pursue college dreams and it’s a wide variety of students taking part. “We see working students, stay at home moms, middle age, elderly, young; we run the gamut,” Buffington said.

Evening Services are available Monday through Thursday from 4:30 p.m. until 8 p.m. and until 5:30 p.m. on Fridays. Buffington has also started a blog for Vol State Evening Services. It can be found at

Friday, August 24, 2012

Humor and Bluegrass at the Harvest Moon Soirée

The Harvest Moon Soirée is the annual dinner and show that raises money for student scholarships at Volunteer State Community College. This year the event will include music by the Vol State Bluegrass ensemble and entertainment by Nashville humorist Rik Roberts. NorthCrest Medical Center is the Titanium Sponsor again this year. The Harvest Moon Soirée will be held at 6:00 p.m. on Friday, September 14 at the Epic Event Centre in Gallatin. The evening will begin with cocktails and a silent auction, and continue with dinner and the entertainment. Tickets are $75 per person. For sponsorship opportunities or to RSVP call 615-230-3526 or e-mail

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Vol State in the News

The Associated Press ran our story about Vol State students doing water quality research as part of an undergraduate research grant. That prompted statewide coverage, from Knoxville to Nashville.

Here is the Channel 4 story:

And 1510 AM WLAC:

Channel 5 talked to Kay Dayton and Vol State incoming freshmen for this story in reaction to Tennessee low ACT scores:

Dr. Faulkner appeared on the Newschannel 5 Talk of the Town TV show earlier this week. Here's the clip. You may find the first story is about corn muffins, if so just click below to other stories and it will come up.

Lunch Before the Fall

There's no better way to get into the back to school spirit then the Grab and Go Lunch organized each year by the Vol State Foundation. It's an opportunity to take a quick break from getting ready for the fall semester. It's a beach theme, fitting for both the weather and the mood. It's also an opportunity to remind you how important Foundation scholarships are for our students. Many of us give to the Foundation scholarship fund and we're hoping you'll join us. For more information visit:

Dr. Faulkner shows off his bright green Foundation t-shirt.
It recognizes the scholarship fundraising effort here on campus

Note the beach towel tablecloth.

The Coaches did the cooking once again and
they prepare here for another delivery.

Salads and veggie burgers provided
some healthy lunch options.

Summer of Construction - What you Misssed

It was certainly the summer of construction at Vol State. Now that it's mostly done we can begin to see the results. The most important stuff, though, you may not see at all. Warf underwent a major infrastructure overhaul. As you can see from our pictures they put in a new heat and air conditioning system and re-did wiring. While it's easy to see the new sidewalks and plazas in between Ramer and Wood, what you don't see if new drainage, road beds and underground wiring. There are also many improvements for ADA disability access.

The final piece of the Caudill project will be landscaping.  Once it cools down landscapers will finish the project this fall with plantings. As you can see, the improvements give students new places to meet, sit and congregate.

There is a new parking lot near the back entrance to the college. It has a path that leads to Mattox and Wallace. That lot will be important because crews are getting ready to start construction on the new Allied Health building. That project will happen in the parking lot between Wallace and Mattox.

Congrats to everyone in Plant Operations for getting everything done on time and for their hard work this summer. While contractors did much of the construction our folks supervised and did many extra projects in support of the effort. It was a huge team effort to get campus ready for the first week of classes.

Those of us who were here will always remember the lovely jackhammer sidewalk work and the fun of figuring out which entrance might be open on any given day. In the end progress always comes with sacrifice and the campus is much better for the work done.

Here are some progress pictures:

July 18, 2012

August 22, 2012
August 25, 2012

July 18, 2012

August 25, 2012

July 18, 2012

August 25, 2012