Monday, February 25, 2013

The Coach is Back Where He Belongs

Vol State baseball coach Michael Crossland is back on the playing field. While it’s always a joy for him, this season the return to the diamond is taking on new significance. Crossland is battling cancer. That’s taken him away from baseball and forced him to take on a new challenge. He says the surgery and treatments have gone well.

“There’s not a lot of effects from the treatments, just some general back stiffness from the surgery and fatigue from the chemo treatments,” coach Crossland said. “Everything looks great. I just finished cycle two of my chemo treatments. There will be four cycles.”

Even better, the Coach says doctors have determined he won’t need radiation, which means he’ll be able to use his own stem cells when he has a bone marrow transplant at the end of May.

“Everything is ahead of schedule,” he said. “Everything is looking good.”

The season is already underway and the team is 3 and 3 so far. Assistant coach Cody Gaskill kept things going with help from athletic director Bobby Hudson. Crossland says he’s grateful for the support.

Being back on the field is a big boost for Crossland in many ways.

“That was the best medicine, to be able to get back and see my guys. That was my major concern. I have 35 kids who play baseball for my program; for me not to be there for them hurt.”

As hard as it has been, Crossland says there has been one big benefit to illness.

“It has put a new perspective on everything for me. We all take life for granted. It shows you what’s important.”

Vol State Vision Screening for Sumner County Kids

Vol State Ophthalmic director Alisha Cornish has this report on a recent Service Learning project: 

The Vol State Ophthalmic Technician Program recently partnered with the Sumner County Schools Coordinated School Health Division to provide vision screenings to students at Bethpage Elementary School and Robert Ellis Middle School in Hendersonville.  The two-day Service Learning project resulted in the screening of approximately 500 students.  Vision was checked at distance and near, as well as, the coordination of the eyes and how they work together.   Any child who did not meet the school system’s vision guidelines will have a letter sent home with a recommendation for an eye exam.

Vision is an integral part of learning.  Young children often don’t complain about their difficulties seeing the board or the words in a book, because they don’t know a difference.  Basically they don’t know what it is like to see clearer.  This lack of clear vision can cause students to lag behind their classmates because they can’t see what they need to in order to learn.  Decreased vision, especially in one eye, or lack of coordination between the two eyes, as when one eye turns in or out on its own, can also cause a permanent condition called amblyopia.  When one eye sees better than the other, a person normally doesn’t notice the vision out of the poorer seeing eye.  The brain prefers the eye with the “good” vision and will essentially “ignore” the eye with the poorer vision.  If this isn’t caught when a child is young, preferably before the age of eight to ten, the poorer seeing eye won’t develop the ability to have good, sharp vision.  If caught early enough, and the earlier the better, an eye doctor can make the poorer seeing eye “catch up”.  It is the hope that through school screenings, conditions like amblyopia and learning difficulties due to poor vision can be alleviated.

The Vol State Ophthalmic Tech students also benefited from this experience.  Good communication skills are important in any healthcare field.  It is especially important to understand how to relate to and communicate with children, because they don’t always understand the usual explanations of how to perform a test or give easy answers to questions.  Often you must “think outside the box” in order to obtain the information that is needed.   Ophthalmic students were able to improve on their communication skills with younger individuals, as well as, observe conditions and situations taught in class this semester in regards to children.

It is the hope that this partnership can continue well into the future.

-Alisha Cornish, Vol State Ophthalmic director

March Calendar of Events

Feb 18
-March 15

John Knox art exhibit, Ramer Great Hall,
Monday through Saturday 7 am to 9 pm


Science Olympiad competition,
campus-wide, 8am to 2pm


Miss Representation event and discussion,
Cafeteria, 12:30pm


Lindsay Benner, performer, Cafeteria,


Living Legends of Vol State Women’s Tea,
Carpeted Dining Room, 12:30pm


Spring Break: no classes, offices open


Reflections on Women’s History, brown bag lunch, Ramer Great hall, 12:30pm


"Into the Woods" a Vol State Theater
Production, Auditorium in Caudill Hall,
7:30pm, $5 suggested donation


"Into the Woods" a Vol State Theater
Production, Auditorium in Caudill Hall,
2:30pm, $5 suggested donation


Sumner County Elementary Art Exhibition, through April 14, Ramer Great Hall,
Monday through Saturday 7 am to 9 pm


Discussion - "Challenging the Politics of
Progress: A Philosophical Vision of
Sustainability", Caudill 102, 12:30pm


SGA candidate debate, Cafeteria, 11:30am


SGA student forum with President’s
Cabinet, Cafeteria, 12:30pm


Carlos and Bluz, Slam Poetry, Cafeteria, 12:30pm


Good Friday, campus closed

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Vol State in the News

You may, or may not, know that our own Charles Alexander is a regular columnist for the Gallatin News Examiner. The TSBDC director discusses small business best practices. Here is his latest column and congrats on the new boy Charles!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

And the Top Chef is...

Congrats to Kim Morris from Plant Operations. Her taco soup took first place in the annual Employee Relations Committee Chili/Soup Cook-off. Dr. Faulkner presented the "Top Chef" toque to Morris during the event. It's a fundraiser for the Employee Relations Vol State book scholarship. There was a great turnout of hungry folks who had lunch for the bargain price of $5. Stacy Womelduff with the Foundation came in second place with her white chili and Amanda Foster from the Advising Center took third place with her spicy chili. Congrats to all!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Dr. Faulkner: Are You Uncomfortable Yet?

Sammy Hagar is not necessarily a household name.  In fact if you know who he is you may be saying a lot about your age and/or your taste in music.  Hagar has been in several rock bands including two stints as a singer for Van Halen.  (Those of you under 30 can Google it.)  He has been inducted in to the Rock and Roll of Hall of Fame and is known as the Red Rocker.

In addition to his musical interests he is a self-described “middle market CEO.”  His business ventures include a mountain bike store, a chain of restaurants including the Lake Tahoe Cabo Wabo Cantina, a brand of tequila and rum, and endorsing Yamaha guitars.

In his recent autobiography (Red: My Uncensored life in Rock) he says, “Put 10 or 20 percent of your time or effort or money or all three into the ‘uncomfort zone.’ That’s where the excitement is.  That’s where things happen.”

It is easy to stay in our comfort zone because, let’s face it, it is comfortable.  It is easier.  It requires less energy and creates less angst.  But staying in our comfort zone also means nothing changes – nothing gets better.  Change means taking a risk.  It means turning our back on the usual and accepting some uncomfort for the sake of the possible.

So?  Are you uncomfortable yet?
-Dr. Jerry Faulkner

Vol State in the News

Vol State and Western Kentucky University signed a dual admissions agreement last week. It received coverage in several states after being picked up by the Associated Press. Here is the Tennessean Sumner A.M. coverage.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Hunter Harris tears it up at ETSU

Former Pioneer basketball star Hunter Harris is making a big impact after transferring to Eastern Tennessee State University. He's a standout player for the Division 1 team, and also a team leader. Check out this profile on You Tube. What Vol State stars await? Get to an upcoming game and find out. It's exciting hoops action and it's free for faculty, staff and students. Here's the schedule for the men and for the women.

Dr. Faulkner: What Does the Future Hold?

Did you hear the joke about the psychic convention that was cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances? 

In a previous blog (Education in 30 Years) I endorsed some general predictions about the future of education.  Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately) none of us can precisely see the future. 

We are privileged to live in a time of unprecedented expansion of technology.  Our task is to be aware of emerging trends and experiment with the effectiveness of new technology.  When PCs first emerged, I remember a colleague stating, “They are nice toys but they have no place in the classroom?”  But creative people imagined applications that proved to enhance learning.  My first sense of this was a text based game called The Oregon Trail that was played on the Apple II.  Now, of course it is hard to imagine the face of education without computers and the access to the resources they provide.

Here from is a graphic that lays out some major ed-tech trends for 2013.   Also, you may want to take a look at a Campus Technologies article titled “6Technologies That Will Impact Higher Ed.”  

So again, I challenge us – Which of these are you already using and what will you try in the future?

-Dr. Jerry Faulkner

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Vol State Grad Finds Help (Human and otherwise) on the Road to a Doctoral Degree

The path to a doctoral degree can be arduous under the best of circumstances. Dr. James Perdue struggled more than most. His story begins with a backyard football game.

“I scored a touchdown and I put the ball down. I turned my back around towards everyone and another guy hit me. I heard something pop. I knew instantly that I was paralyzed.”

Perdue was a quadriplegic. Surgery eventually gave him limited use of his arms. The school jock had to reevaluate everything in his life.

“I played baseball in Gallatin as a two-time MVP in high school. My dream was to play professional. When I was in high school I was just maintaining a C grade to keep playing.”

The football accident happened while Perdue was attending Martin Methodist College in Pulaski on a baseball scholarship. The college freshman was derailed. He withdrew from school and physical therapy became his focus.

Perdue tried to return to college, taking classes at Vol State. He admits that he was only sitting-in on the classes and not really participating.

“After my injury what first started me going back to school wasn’t for education, it was to get out of the house.”

He dropped out of Vol State and went to work. Any journey requires help and his next step in education came thanks to a Vol State faculty member.

“Dr. Alice Amonette came into where I was working. After talking to her, I realized that if I was going to make it I needed an education.”

Amonette wouldn’t leave it at that. She knew the obstacles people face in returning to college. She asked for his personal information and returned later that week with a complete schedule of classes for him to take at Vol State. His brother helped to provide a new focus.

“He told me that the intensity and determination I used in baseball I needed to use now with education.”
Perdue graduated from Vol State in 1992 and earned a bachelor’s degree at MTSU. He completed a master’s degree in health and education a year later.

“I wanted to get into coaching and teaching. Coaching baseball at that time was my therapy.”
After years of teaching he decided to go back for a doctoral degree. However, he faced another huge challenge along the way.

“My health went down and I needed people to help me get dressed. I felt like a burden to people. One night I couldn’t get into bed so I called my brother, who wasn’t supposed to lift anything due to a health problem. He got me back into bed, but he ended up dying that night.”

The guilt was too much for him to bear.

“I tried killing myself after that. Paramedics were called. I tried three times in three days.”

Once again, an educator came to his rescue.

“Talking with the psychologist and my TSU doctoral chairperson put me right back in school. My advisor said ‘James, you need to go back to school. You don’t need to sit around worrying about things’.”

Dr. Mary Ann Pangle got him back on track in college and the psychological help gave him the support he needed to keep going. Perdue finished his course work and dissertation for an Ed.D. in 2011.

“The main thing I’ve learned from all of this is that you can’t do this alone. You have a support system whether you know it or not. People want to see you succeed.”

You may have seen Dr. Perdue exercising on the Vol State campus with his service dog Ricardo. The black lab came from the Orlando chapter of Canine Companions for Independence. Ricardo can help Perdue if he falls by fetching the phone. He can open drawers and pick up keys. Perdue says the canine gives him a new measure of confidence. There are other benefits, as well.

“He’s a great ice breaker to meet new people.”

Perdue is sharing his story in a new book published by West Bow Press, a division of Thomas Nelson. “One More Play” chronicles his life struggles and accomplishments. He is also speaking publicly about his journey.
“I had an epiphany and thought about a child that was disabled and about our soldiers coming back disabled from Afghanistan and Iraq. I started thinking- is there something I could do to help make life easier for them so they wouldn’t have to struggle like I did?”

“One More Play” is available on Amazon. You can visit Dr. Perdue’s website at

Vol State in the News

The story about Android phone apps developed by our CIS students made the front page of the Community College Times today.

And it also appeared in the Gallatin News Examiner:

Vol State folks and members of the community have been remembering long-time English faculty member Betty Hawkins. She clearly touched a lot of lives in her time at Vol State. This is the Tennessean obituary.

Please help get the word out about the Sumner County Education and Grow Scholarship deadline. It is available to all Sumner County high school students who meet certain requirements to attend Vol State. This is the Tennessean story.

We Love the Bickles!

A Vol State education has been a family affair for the Bickles. You may remember Gary for his extensive work in the logistics program and Misty for her tenure as a President's Ambassador. Now Misty's daughter, Kacie, is attending Vol State, so the tradition continues. Gary just landed a management job at O'Reilly Auto Parts in Livingston. Go Pioneers!

Misty Bickle

Graduated 2010 - Summa Cum Laude
Associate of Applied Science – Ophthalmic Technician
Presidential Ambassador 2009-2010
Employed at Eye Centers of Tennessee, Cookeville

Gary Bickle
Graduated 2012 - Summa Cum Laude
Associate of Applied Science – Logistics and Supply Chain Management
Presidential Ambassador 2011-2012
TnCIS China 2011
Employed at O’Reilly Auto Parts, Livingston

Kacie Schook
Graduation 2014  est.
Associate of Applied Science – Veterinary Technology
She's planning to be part of the TnCIS  Ecuador Galapagos Islands 2013 trip