Monday, January 28, 2013

Remembering Ken Stiles

Ken Stiles and Ken Lovett
The passing of Ken Stiles, known to many on campus as "Chico", is a great loss.  He was employed at the College as shipping and receiving clerk in the Office of Plant Operations.   Few people on campus were as well-known as Ken due to his unique position delivering packages to offices. However, it was his sense of humor that made him stand out. You usually received much more than just a package from Ken...your received a bit of gruff humor and a smile.

"Ken always had a positive, fun outlook about him," said Holly Nimmo. "He made people smile. Personally, I remember Ken helping me move boxes to my car after the tornado. His kind disposition meant a lot to me during that time."

At the Athletic Association golf tourney
Ken was an avid golfer and usually playing when it came time for a Vol State fund raising tournament.

"He was just tremendously fun to play golf with," said Terry Heinen. "He had a great time, a great joy on the golf course."

"He was the most pleasant face of Vol State," said Lesa Durham. "But he was also the gruffest at times. He would argue with a fence post, but you had to love him. He's definitely going to be missed."

Our condolences go out to Ken's family, especially his brother Ray, who works in the IT Department here at Vol State.

Services for Ken are as follows:

Visitation:  Tuesday, January 29th, 2:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.

Funeral: Wednesday, January 30th, 2:00 p.m.

Family Heritage Funeral Home - 100 Albert Gallatin Ave.
Burial:  Crestview Cemetery - 1623 Hwy. 109 N

Dr. Nichols, Ken Lovett, Terry Heinen with Ken Stiles.

Lisa Borre Joins WHET Board

Lisa Borre of the Advising Center has been elected to the position of Corresponding Secretary for the Board of Women in Higher Education in Tennessee (WHET).WHET is a professional organization that provides mentoring, networking and professional opportunities. The corresponding secretary initiates and maintains a record of formal communication on behalf of the organization. Borre is an advisor/counselor at Vol State. She holds as associate’s degree from Northwest Shoals Community College, a bachelor’s degree from the University of North Alabama and a master’s degree, also from the University of North Alabama.

For more information on WHET visit the web site.

February Calendar


Discussion: The Politics of Gun Control: Uncle Sam’s War on the Second Amendment,
Carpeted Dining Room, 12:20pm


Honors Lecture: Sustainability or the Sixth Extinction by Parris Powers, Caudill 102,12:30pm


Reflections of Black History Brown Bag Lunch Ramer Great Hall, 12:30pm


Hispanic Family Night- college information in Spanish and English, Cafeteria, 5:30-8pm


Concert: Chinua Hawk, Cafeteria, 12:30pm


Honors Event: Meet Mr. Lincoln, Dennis Boggs,
Carpeted Dining Room, 12:30pm


College Transfer Day: college and university information, Ramer Great Hall, 10am-Noon


Soul Food Luncheon to celebrate Black History Month, Carpeted Dining Room, 12:30pm


Reflections of Black History, Brown Bag Lunch, Ramer Great Hall, 12:30pm


Chili/Soup for Books Cook-Off, Carpeted Dining Room, 11:30am-1:30pm


Commercial Music Ensemble and Vol State Musicians, Whippoorwill in Gallatin, 6:30pm


Black History Recognition Luncheon,
Carpeted Dining Room, 12:30pm

Dr. Faulkner: Celebrate Mistakes

“Mistakes are a part of being human. Appreciate your mistakes for what they are: precious life lessons that can only be learned the hard way. Unless it's a fatal mistake, which, at least, others can learn from.”   Al Franken, "Oh, the Things I Know"

“We must not say every mistake is a foolish one.”   Cicero (106 BC - 43 BC)

“No one who cannot rejoice in the discovery of his own mistakes deserves to be called a scholar.”   Donald Foster

“The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually afraid you will make one.” Elbert Hubbard (1856 – 1915)

“It's always helpful to learn from your mistakes because then your mistakes seem worthwhile.”   Garry Marshall, "Wake Me When It's Funny"

“When you make a mistake, don't look back at it long. Take the reason of the thing into your mind and then look forward. Mistakes are lessons of wisdom. The past cannot be changed. The future is yet in your power.”   Hugh White (1773 - 1840)

“If you ain’t makin’ mistakes, you probably ain’t doing nothin’.”  Lora Braden (My grandmother)

“In the corporate world, when someone makes a mistake, everyone runs for cover.  At Microsoft, I try to put an end to that kind of thinking.  It’s fine to celebrate success, but it’s more important to heed the lessons of failure.  How a company deals with mistakes suggest how well it will bring out the best ideas and talents of its people, and how effectively it will respond to change.”  Bill Gates

So here’s the point.  In times of change within an organization (like Vol State), there will be mistakes.  We must not let fear of a mistake keep us from innovating.  Yes.  We want to be reasoned and rational, responsive not reactionary.  But there will always be some risk.  (How’s that for alliteration?)  What we want at Vol State is a climate where people feel secure to take reasoned chances, pilot new ways of doing things, and be creative, progressive and innovative.  If there are mistakes then we will place more emphasis on learning lessons for the future and less on placing blame.

-Dr. Jerry Faulkner

(Quotes taken from the Quotations Page

Vol State in the News

NBA Champ John Salley spoke at Vol State recently. The Tennessean has this story:

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Unity Day: Dr. Faulkner on Diversity

Vol State celebrates Unity Day today. NBA Champ John Salley will speak at 12:30pm and 7pm in the Wemyss Auditorium in Caudill Hall. Both appearances are free and open to the public.

On this day that the college celebrates Martin Luther King, Jr's call to action, Dr. Faulkner has a personal story about what diversity means to him.

I grew up in a home with significant prejudices – mostly racial.  It wasn’t that my mother and father were hateful or evil people.  Quite the contrary; they were loving, Christian parents.  The root of their prejudice was what they had been told by their parents and relatives.  They accepted that as truth.  This was reinforced by the fact that all of their friends held the same ideas. 

As I grew up I heard the stories from my family and friends.  I had no reason to question them and so I also accepted them as truth.  I watched the evening newscasts about the civil rights movement but I filtered all that through what I believed was the truth.

When I began high school I attended a newly integrated school.  It was, as far as I can remember, the first time I had been in a non-commercial situation with a person of another race.  It was the first time I had a real conversation with an African - American person.  I was startled to learn that what I had been told was false.  Additional experiences in high school and college confirmed that I had been misled.

Prejudice can only exist in an atmosphere of ignorance.  That is why diversity on our campus is so important.  It provides opportunities for all of us to learn about things where we may ignorant or misinformed. 

As we observe the holiday to honor Martin Luther King, Jr. and as we move into the next few weeks of diversity centered activities, let’s all take the time to search for the truth.  Remember, the truth will set you free.

-Dr. Jerry Faulkner

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

A Big Visit for Vet Tech

Dr. Doug Shaw has an update on Vol State's growing Veterinary Technology program:

Representatives from The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) will be on campus from Feb. 13-15 for a review of our new Veterinary Technology Program.  The purpose of the site visit is to confirm that our curriculum meets or exceeds the requirements for accreditation.  Once our program is accredited by AVMA, our students will be eligible to take the national board exam for licensure…much like many of our human Allied Health programs operate.   It is a five member team composed of two AVMA representatives, a Tennessee VMA representative, a licensed veterinary technician working in our area and a non-veterinary member of the community at large.  The findings of these individuals will be summarized, and a recommendation to accredit the program (or not) will be presented to AVMA administration.  Our first graduating class is this May.  So we hope to have our first graduates be graduates of an accredited institution.

-Doug Shaw

Dr. Faulkner on SACS

SACS (săks) – an organization that strikes fear in the heart of college administrators, staff, and faculty through-out the southeastern U.S.

That is the definition that most likely comes to mind when we hear about SACS.  Having been to the SACS annual meeting in early December, I am reminded that it should mean far more to us.

SACS stands for Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.  It encompasses two entities – The Council on Accreditation and School Improvement which accredits K-12 schools and the Commission on Colleges (COC) of which we are a part.  SACS-COC is the regional accrediting agency for degree granting institutions of higher education in the southern U.S.  They also accredit a handful of institutions in Latin America and one institution in Dubai.

SACS-COC issues accreditation based on our compliance with the Principles of Accreditation.  From the SACS web site:

“Accreditation by SACS Commission on Colleges signifies that the institution (1) has a mission appropriate to higher education, (2) has resources, programs, and services sufficient to accomplish and sustain that mission, and (3) maintains clearly specified educational objectives that are consistent with its mission and appropriate to the degrees it offers, and that indicate whether it is successful in achieving its stated objectives.”

We demonstrate this by a variety of reports, an intensive compliance report and on site visit once each 10 years, and a smaller compliance report each 5 years.  We have some anxiety about this because loss of accreditation would have significant impacts on things like the transferability of our courses and the ability of our students to receive federal financial aid.

At the recent conference, Dr. Belle Wheelan, current President, reminded us of two important aspects of SACS.  First it is “our organization.”  There is no SACS without the 800 + member institutions.  The College Delegate Assembly (CDA) consists of the CEO from each member college - i.e. me for Vol State.  The CDA elects the 77 member Board of Trustees which guides the organizations work and implements the accreditation process.  The CDA also approves any changes to the Principles of Accreditation.  So if SACS is the enemy then we must say like Pogo, “we have met the enemy and he is us.”

Secondly, we ought not to use SACS as an excuse for doing what is right.  We too frequently give as the rational for some action, policy, rule, or procedure that, “SACS requires it.”  We have created the Principles for Accreditation.  We have amended them from time to time.  We have concluded that these are the foundations for quality in higher education.  We are part of the peer evaluation process that holds all member institutions to the same level of quality.  SACS as an organization merely signifies that we comply with the three areas listed above.  And so we probably out to say, “We will do this because it is the right thing to do and so we can demonstrate that we are doing what is right.”

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Ribbon Cutting for Landscaping Project

It was a cold morning for a ribbon cutting, but Vol State faculty, staff, students and dedicated supporters turned out to celebrate the completion of the new entrance landscaping in between Ramer and Caudill. The project was quite the process for those Vol State folks supervising the work and for everyone on campus who detoured around the construction this summer (or had a jackhammer outside their office window). Everyone seems to agree that it was worth it. The brick entrance way and sign provide a warm welcome to visitors entering that side of campus. Sumner County Executive Anthony Holt joined Dr. Faulkner for the chilly ribbon cutting, along with brave members of the Gallatin Chamber of Commerce.

Linn Chosen for National Fire Academy Course

David Linn, an instructor with the Vol State EMT program, has been accepted as a student in the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Research course at the National Fire Academy (NFA) in Emmitsburg, MD. This is a pilot project that will be directed by leaders and educators in EMS. Director Robert Davis says that it's a sign of the success of the Vol State EMS program that Linn was chosen for this national project.

Coach Crossland Battles Cancer

You may have heard that Michael Crossland, the Vol State baseball coach, has just been diagnosed with cancer. Craig Harris of the Gallatin News Examiner and Hendersonville Star News, who does such an exceptional job covering Vol State sports, has this emotional story:

Monday, January 14, 2013

Honors for the Science and Math Expo

Congratulations to the Science and Math faculty for an important nomination. The Vol State Science and Math Expo was recently nominated for a prestigious Bellwether Award. The nominations come from the  Community College Futures Assembly which "convenes annually as an independent national policy forum for key opinion leaders to work as a “think tank” in identifying critical issues facing the future of community colleges, and to recognize Bellwether Finalist colleges as trend-setting institutions."

It's always nice to be counted among "trend-setting" institutions. However, the innovative nature of the event is of no surprise to folks here at the college who have witnessed the Expo and it's impact on area kids. For those of you who have not been to an Expo yet, the annual event brings in hundreds of secondary school kids and their parents for hands-on activities in science and math. Those activities are designed and presented by Vol State students, who work closely with faculty members during the school year to prepare. Parris Powers put together the Bellwether entry. He will be making a presentation with Math and Science Dean Nancy Morris at the Community College Futures Assembly conference coming up later this month.

"This nomination goes to our hard working students and faculty who put together the event," said Parris Powers, a long-time organizer of the Expo. "For us the Expo is community outreach to excite students about science, technology, engineering and math. Almost all of the activities are hands-on, which stimulates students."

A number of Math and Science faculty have lead the event organizing over the years, including this year's Expo Chair Glenn McCombs, Parris Powers, Tim Farris, Bob Carter and Sue Forrester.

Here is the official release:

Community colleges selected as 2013 Bellwether Award Finalists

For immediate release

Gainesville, FL.— The Community College Futures Assembly (CCFA) issued a call for Bellwether Award nominations in the fall of  2012, and 30 finalist colleges in three categories were competitively chosen from the applicants. The field of Bellwether nominations was very competitive this year with nearly 250 Bellwether applications. Ten finalists were selected in each category: Instructional Programs and Services, co-sponsored by the National Council of Instructional Administrators; Planning, Governance and Finance, co-sponsored by the Council for Resource Development; and Workforce Development, co-sponsored by the National Council for Continuing Education and Training.  All finalists will present at the Assembly on January 28th, 2013 in Orlando, Florida, and one winner will then be selected from each category by a panel of national experts within each category. The winners will be announced on Jan. 30th  at the CCFA annual meeting in Orlando.

The Community College Futures Assembly (CCFA) has the following programs as 2013 Bellwether Finalist programs:

Instructional Programs & Services (IPS):

Programs or activities that have been designed and successfully implemented to foster or support teaching and learning in the community college.

El Paso Community College

Math Emporium Redesign:  Using the Force of High-Technology for the Good of High-Touch Teaching and Learning

Elgin Community College

One School Can Do So Little; Together We Can Do So Much

SC Technical College System

SCTCS's Teaching and Learning with Technology Conference: Planning and Hosting a National-Caliber Technology Conference

Monroe Community College

The Civility Project; Enough is Enough – An Anti-Violence Campaign at Monroe Community College (MCC)

NHTI, Concord's Community College

Communicating Mindfully: Helping Others Help Themselves

Queensborough Community College of the City University of New York

The Freshman Academy Assessment Protocol

South Texas College

Dual Enrollment Medical Science Academy

Tarrant County College, South Campus

Innovations in Bioscience Courses to Improve Student Success Without Sacrificing Rigor

Virginia's Community Colleges

Mobilizing Virginia’s 23 Community Colleges for Student Success Through Statewide Redesign of Developmental

Volunteer State Community College

Creating A STEM Pipeline: A Community & College Event

Sharpening the Saw

My grandfather was a really good carpenter.  His skill was likely developed as a result of raising a large family first in the coal fields of Kentucky and then as a share cropper in Tennessee.  He raised a large family during the first half of the 20th century when you made things yourself or did without.

I never saw him use a power tool.  He only worked with hand tools – brace and bit, plane, and hand-saw.  Papaw was a master with the hand-saw.  He could make quick, clean, straight and square cuts almost as fast as a power saw.  He was also the only person I knew who could sharpen and set the pitch of the teeth on a hand saw.  He knew the secret that making accurate cuts required a sharp saw.

In Stephen Covey’s book, Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” he talks about taking time to sharpen the saw.  Covey describes it as taking the time for “renewing the four dimensions of your nature – physical, spiritual, mental, and social/emotional.”  Our professional development days are designed as times to sharpen the saw.  As our registration processes have changed, I know that closing offices and suspending regular business is something of a burden.  But the goal continues to be to equip us to work more efficiently and effectively when we re-engage.

With the change of the common calendar set to take effect in the Fall 2014 we will take the opportunity to evaluate when and how we conduct professional development.  Perhaps some changes are in order.  But we will continue to emphasize the importance of taking time to sharpen the saw.

-Dr. Jerry Faulkner

Vol State in the News

Vol State Veterans Affairs story in the Gallatin News Examiner:

Vol State is in discussions to run the Sumner County Adult Ed program:

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Vol State Faculty Member Art Show

Prove You are Different

I found this quote in a publication titled "Mentoring Success:  Guiding the Future."  It is published by the Ayers Foundation – a Tennessee based foundation “created in 1999 to sustain and/or significantly improve the quality of life in Tennessee. . ." 

"Most of the students do not expect you to understand their problems, and even if you do understand they do not expect you to care.  And even if you care, they do not expect you to do anything about it.  And even if you do something about it, they do not expect it to last.  To be an effective college mentor/ coach, you must prove that you are different."
Two thoughts:

You don’t have to be a faculty member or a part of the Advising Office to be a mentor / coach.  Anyone in the campus community can be a mentor and coach to a student.
We must prove we are different.  That means we must consistently demonstrate our commitment to the success of each individual student, one student at a time.

-Dr. Jerry Faulkner

Monday, January 7, 2013

Alex Paulus Art Exhibit at Vol State

Memphis artist Alex Paulus brings his collage art work to Volunteer State Community College this winter in an exhibition that runs from January 8 to February 9.

“This group of works is an exploration of the human impact on the universe, as well as what humans think they know about the space they occupy,” said Paulus. “The pieces range from ancient aliens to planetary debris and are executed with minimal imagery and color.  The minimalism of the pieces represents the vastness of space that is all around us.  This space can make you feel extremely insignificant, but it also demands to be investigated.  The pieces are ultimately about exploring the unknown and passing on information to the next generation of living beings.”

Paulus has a BFA from Southeast Missouri State University and a MFA from Memphis College of Arts. He works in painting, drawing, collage, photography and video.

Pictured: Alex Paulus, "Ming Releases the Dark Matter," mixed media on panel.

January Calendar


Campus closed - Professional Development Day
cashier open for student payments

January 8-
February 9

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


Spring classes start

17, 18

Welcome Back Days, Wood Campus Ctr.


Campus closed - MLK Holiday


Diversity Dialogue, Ramer, 12:30pm




Speaker: John Salley, former NBA champ speaks for Unity Day, Wemyss Auditorium in Caudill Hall, 12:30pm and 7pm


Hands Across Campus, Ramer flagpole, 12:30pm


Diversity Soup Wood Campus Ctr. Hallway 5:30pm


Diversity Day Party, Cafeteria, 12:30pm