Monday, April 29, 2013

Dr. Faulkner: Values – Students

Our fifth and final core value is:

“We believe every STUDENT matters:  Students invest in Vol State to meet their individual needs; we are responsible for helping them realize their potential.”

This is really our primary core value.  We hold the other four in order to fulfill this one.

Over the last couple of weeks, I have been privileged to attend events where I heard from two current students and one alumna.  At the Vol-E Ball in Livingston, a Livingston Academy dual enrollment student talked about how the college courses he has taken assisted him in receiving a scholarship to Vanderbilt University.  Another current, freshman college student talked about her aspirations to be a nurse.  At the Educate a Woman luncheon on this past Friday, I heard from a graduate who has gone on to receive her bachelor’s degree, find a career, and begin a graduate program.  Informally, I hear from students and alumni every day that express the difference Vol State has made in their lives.  These testimonials drive home to me that students are why we exist.

In our day to day efforts we can become so fixated on our task that we forget our real purpose – to help students realize their potential.
  • Our task may be to balance the budget, but our purpose is to be fiscally responsible so that the resources are available for students.
  • Our task may be to complete forms and enter data, but our purpose is to help students meet requirements.
  • Our task may be to clean and maintain buildings and grounds, but our purpose is to provide a safe, hygienic, and attractive place for students.
  • Our task may be to deliver scholarly information, but our purpose is to teach students.
  • Our task may be to lead departments, divisions, or the college but our purpose is to make decisions and plans that lead to student success.
The theme we have chosen for the humanities building capital campaign is “The Power of Possibility.”  Just after choosing this theme, an article appeared in the MiCTA Learning Abstracts that offered the role of community colleges is to help students become their “best possible selves.”

Many students come to us with definite goals in mind.  Some are fuzzier about the future and some have no idea why they are here.  But all expect something in return for their investment of time, effort, and money.  Our goal, our purpose is to help them become their best possible selves.

Student Success is Job One!

-Dr. Jerry Faulkner

Friday, April 26, 2013

Vol State at Livingston Professor Honored with Statewide Service Award

David Johnson has been involved in civic service and leadership in the Upper Cumberland for more than 22 years. Now the Vol State at Livingston associate professor has been awarded the Harold M. Love Community Service Award by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission. It’s an honor presented to just a few higher education professionals each year in Tennessee. Johnson’s work with the United Way and numerous community groups led to the nomination.

“Dave’s knowledge of the needs and services in our area make him a sought after volunteer and community advocate,” said Melinda James, executive director of the United Way of Putnam County, serving the Upper Cumberland, in her nomination letter. “The collective effect of his work has a tremendous impact on the organizations themselves and the community at large.”

The list of Johnson’s community service runs long. He is current president of the Putnam County Adult Literacy Council and secretary of the board of directors of Friends of the Appalachian Center for Craft. He has served on the board of many other area nonprofits, including the United Way, M.A.D.D., U.C. Dismas House, Mediation Services, the Upper Cumberland Alliance Against Domestic Violence, the American Heart Association, and the Wesley Foundation.  He has organized several partnerships leading to the annual Bard’s Day fundraiser and the Hippie Jack Music Festival, events raising more than $20,000 over the past few years for child abuse prevention programs headed by The Stephens Center. 
Johnson is described as a “tireless advocate” for the local arts. His extensive community theater work includes acting and directing. He has worked with Shakespeare in the Park programs and produces the annual Putnam County Adult Literacy Council “Write Voices” fundraising event. He hosts several radio shows in the Upper Cumberland, which ties into his position teaching English and Communication at Vol State.

"I share this award with my wife, Sandy Dunavan-Johnson, who not only supports me in all my community involvement, but who directly participates as a partner in these activities,” said Johnson. “Honestly, I couldn't do all this without her help and encouragement."

The individuals selected to receive recognition with the Harold M. Love Award represent the many dimensions of community service – volunteer work, public service, charitable service and leadership roles in community organizations. Those honored each year are chosen from colleges and universities across the state.

“Dave is always thinking of innovative ways to identify, address and find solutions to our community’s most pressing needs,” said James. “As a knowledgeable and well-versed playmaker in our community, Dave advocates for starting where you are, using what you have, to do what you can.”

Johnson has served on the faculty at Vol State at Livingston since 1996. He holds a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree from Tennessee Tech University. He was presented with the Love Award during a reception with Tennessee Higher Education Commission on April 25.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

More pictures from the Chinese martial arts performance

The Lion Dance, Pictographic Boxing and the Warriors Triumphal Dance were some of the demonstrations merging the martial art of Kung Fu with colorful costumes and dance during a performance by the Capital University of Physical Education and Sports at Vol State recently. The Chinese group has been touring the United States. The show was sponsored by the Confucius Institute at Middle Tennessee State University and the Chinese Language Council International. It was brought to Vol State as part of the ongoing International Education program.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Vol State in the News

We had extensive coverage of Vol State PTA students running in the Music City Marathon with disabled kids as part of a Service Learning project. Channel 5 News had this story and the Tennessean this story.

The Lady Pioneers have clinched a spot in the upcoming TCCAA softball tournament. It will happen here at Vol State May 3-5, so let's get out there and cheer them on to victory!

The baseball team is still fighting for a spot. The key games to clinch are this weekend. Here is a story on their final push to the tournament. GO PIONEERS!

If you haven't heard the Vol State student magazine, The Pioneer, has just published its last issue. The magazine has won many awards over the years, including this latest for best cover. The Gallatin News Examiner has that story. Kudos to Maggie Blakemore and the students who put together this final issue. It's fitting that the theme of the final issue is social media.

Vol State held the first annual AutoCAD competition recently. AutoCAD is a design software program used by engineers and architects. The contest brought in area high school students. Technology News has the story.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Dr. Faulkner: Values – Resourceful

Our fourth core values statement is:

“We are RESOURCEFUL:  We use our skills, abilities, and technology to develop creative and innovative solutions.”

All of us are keenly aware that we have limited resources.  About 60% of our resources come from student tuition and fees, about 38% from state appropriations, and about 2% from grants and other sources.  We owe it to our students and the taxpayers to make wise use of the resources we have.

The cabinet just completed a series of meetings to determine what to put in the proposed budget for next year.  It is never an easy task because we never seem to have enough resources to do all the things we want.  We are in a period of declining enrollment which reduces our resources even more.

One answer, of course, is to get and keep more students.  We have several things in place to address that issue, but it still requires all of us to make student success job one.

The other thing all of us can do is to use our skills and abilities to find ways to be more efficient.  It is not, “do more with less” but “do more in a smarter way so we need less.”  Technology can be important, but it is not the solution to every problem.

As I mentioned at the Fall Convocation, we have to embrace change.  We have to be always looking to see if there is a better way to do things.  Surely part of that burden falls on me and the on the leadership of the college, but every employee has a wealth of experience that we need to tap into.

I remember the story of several engineers standing around a piece of manufacturing equipment trying to solve a problem that caused the machine to need repeated cleaning leading to extended down time.  As they reasoned and discussed, one of the engineers noticed the long time machine operator standing nearby.  The engineer asked the operator what he would do to fix the problem.  Without a word the operator, poured out his cup of coffee and strategically placed the Styrofoam cup on the machine to solve the problem.  The engineers were astonished at the simplicity of the solution and inquired of the operator why he hadn’t suggested this before.  His reply was, “No one ever asked me.”

So I am asking you.  What can we do in your area of responsibility to be more resourceful?
-Dr. Faulkner

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Retirement Celebration

Dr. Faulkner gives a retirement gift to Jim Neilan
A few of us will either be sleeping late or pursuing new endeavors soon...and many of this year's retirees are already doing such. They were honored at the annual Retirement Celebration.

Congrats to everyone!
Maxine Bowden
Mark Brown
Reola Buford
Claire Hampton
Jim Hiett
Jim Neilan
Mel Timberlake

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Vol State in the News: Go Pioneers and Way to Go Humanities

Kudos to all of the Humanities faculty and students who volunteered to make the Bluegrass Jamboree such a success. The Tennessean has a nice story and photo gallery from the event.

The Pioneer Men and Women are battling for spots in the upcoming TJCAA baseball and softball tournaments, which will be held here at Vol State May 3-5. The Tennessean has updates on a big series for baseball and important wins for softball, as well. Let's cheer our student athletes on to victory! GO PIONEERS!

Vol State TRIO student, Daniel Jones, was on NewsChannel 5 recently.  He had a specially-made tricycle stolen from his home.  He has since had 12 offers from donors willing to buy him another bike. Daniel will be getting a new bike soon and resume his five miles per day commute.  One stop includes Vol State. It's always great to see a happy ending, especially when it helps a student continue with their education.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Dr. Faulkner: Values – Educators

This week’s core value is EDUCATORS.

"We are all EDUCATORS:  Faculty are educators within and beyond the classroom, staff and administrators are educators without a classroom."

This core value speaks to the fact that we are an educational institution.  Our mission is to teach.  The statement emphasizes that it is not true that education only occurs in the classroom and that faculty are the only teachers.  We all have a role in educating our students.

Certainly a major component of education at Vol State is the subjects that are taught in the classroom.   But beyond the classroom we have the opportunity to teach our students lessons such as:

  • ·         What it means to be a professional.
  • ·         How to treat one another with respect and kindness.
  • ·         How to provide good customer service.
  • ·         How to resolve conflict and solve problems.
  • ·         What it means to function as a community.
  • ·         How to embrace change.
  • ·         How to use resources wisely.
  • ·         How to lead and manage.
  • ·         The value of an education.
  • ·         The value of hard work.
  • ·         To overcome difficulty and disappointment.
  • ·         A sense of pride in accomplishment.
  • ·         Honesty and integrity.
  • ·         The pride and joy of a job well done.
Remember, it is not always what we say that makes the biggest impact, but rather what we do.  A story is told of an old monk who invited a young monk to go with him to preach to the people.  The young monk was excited about the prospect and so they set out on their journey.  In the first village they encountered an old woman struggling with a load of fire wood so they helped her to her home.  In the next village they encountered a lost child and helped him find his home.  In the next they encountered a hungry man and they shared their meager lunch.  They traveled all day through the countryside serving those they encountered.  As they returned to the monastery at nightfall the young monk lamented that they had no chance to preach.  The older and wiser monk replied that they had preached by their actions not by their words.  You could substitute the word “educate” for the word “preach” and demonstrate the fact that we are all educators.

-Dr. Faulkner

Friday, April 12, 2013

Food Drive Delivery - Way to Go Vol State!

Holly Nimmo and Beverly Houser getting ready to deliver the food
The Vol State campus collected 2,069 items for the Mid-Cumberland Action Agency food bank. Last year the college provided 1,600 items. That's an increase of over 400 items! Special thanks to Cindy Johns who helped with counting the items for the food drive and for her help in consolidating everything into boxes in preparation for transporting to the food bank.

The office that collected the most food won a pizza party. This year it was a tie between the M&M/Building 400 and Learning Commons. 

Honorable mention goes to the following offices: (they brought it more than 100 items per office):

Financial Aid – 116 items
Math and Science – 143 items
Records Office – 170 items
Business Office – 191 items
Human Resources Office 113
IERPA – 149 items
Continuing Education – 101 items

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Vol State in the News- A Busy Weekend of Fun!

The Gallatin News Examiner has an excellent story, including video, of the Vol State bluegrass ensemble, Bluegrass Ablaze. They have their first CD for sale and the group will be a big part of the upcoming Sumner Bluegrass Jamboree this weekend (it's free and everyone is invited).

The News Examiner is also letting folks know about the upcoming Spring Job Career Fair. It's Wednesday, April 14 from 10am to 1pm. Please help get the word out to students and the community. Everyone is welcome and job seekers are encouraged to bring copies of their resume.

Here's the latest on the Vol State Pioneers baseball team. They're struggling but playing hard. Make sure you join the baseball and the softball teams for home Plate Family Day on Saturday. Once again, it's free and everyone is invited. There will be games at noon on both fields (free with your Vol State ID) and lunch served starting at 11 a.m. The weather should be fine and you could make a combo out of it by swinging into Caudill Hall to check out bluegrass!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Respiratory Care experiences another 100% pass rate!

The Respiratory Care Program at Volunteer State Community College is celebrating the completion of another fantastic year! Every one of Vol State’s Respiratory Care graduates successfully completed and passed their national certification exam on the very first attempt. It’s the sixth year in a row that Respiratory Care program graduates have experienced a 100 percent board passage rate on the first attempt. This board examination is necessary for graduates to obtain their national credentials in order to become licensed and employed as Respiratory Therapists in the state of Tennessee.

The Respiratory Care degree program consists of a general education core and four semesters of major core courses that combine class, laboratory and clinical experiences for the students.

Members of this Respiratory Care program will walk in the May 2013 graduation ceremony.

Vol State’s Respiratory Care credentialing board examinees:

Front row: Suzanne Jackson and Ter’rez Crabtree;

Second row: Kim Christmon, Clinical Director, LaDona Hoyt, Traci Heckerman, Kristel Pruitt, Micah Pausina, Jamie Dorris, Tazlyn Saez, Kristyn Ellison, John McNab, Chris Martin;

Third row: Cory Martin, Program Director, Edwin Aymara, Josh Mullinax, Jonathon Rich and Chase Shehane.

-Cory Martin

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Core Values and Golden Ticket Winners

Kristen and Fran show off their tickets
You're seen plenty on this blog recently about our core Vol State values. Those values have been distilled to a series of words by the Core Values Committee. Dr. Faulkner has been discussing them in his blog, one word at a time. It's a valuable project for the college, as it can help us keep focused on what is most important to our mission and why we do what we do. Of course, all of this serious reflection doesn't mean that we can't have some fun along the way. That's the purpose for a series of contests and events that the Core Values Committee has been holding. You'll hear about those events here in the Insider and in emails.

The first event was a literary scavenger hunt of sorts. Len Assante worked with faculty to provide a series of clues tied to great books in literature and philosophy on the shelves of Thigpen Library. There were several folks stalking the Golden Tickets hidden inside the books first thing in the morning. You had to pay close attention to the clues and the talented group of winners did so pretty quickly. Congrats to these crafty hunters:

Kristen Foster
Fran Henslee
Teresa Corlew
Judy Schuelke
Scott Hilgadiack
Lisa Borre
Lenore Maurer

Gabriel Marquez

There are still two more riddles to be solved...numbers three and ten on the list sent out on Monday. 

The Golden Tickets were traded in for prizes, and so you'll see a few more Vol State hats, t-shirts and bags around campus this week. Look for more events coming soon. And be sure to keep in mind the bigger purpose to all of this: our core values help us define what we do here at the college.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Dr. Faulkner: Values – Learners

This is the second in the series on our core values.  This value statement is:

“We are all LEARNERS:  We aspire to continuously increase our knowledge to improve ourselves and those we serve.”

One of my signature themes is that I am a learner.  I enjoy learning new things.  It doesn’t matter the topic, I’m just intrigued by learning.  Sometimes my new found knowledge comes in handy.  Sometimes it doesn’t.  Wanda says I am a huge repository of worthless knowledge.  That’s OK.

I was searching on the Internet for a quote that a colleague at Cleveland State used as the closing line of all her e-mails.  Along the way I found so many good quotes, I thought I’d just share them all with you.  (The first one is the one I was actually searching for.)

In times of change learners inherit the earth; while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.  Eric Hoffer

Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.  Mahatma Gandhi

There is no end to education. It is not that you read a book, pass an examination, and finish with education. The whole of life, from the moment you are born to the moment you die, is a process of learning.  Jiddu Krishnamurti

It is what we know already that often prevents us from learning.  Claude Bernard

It's what you learn after you know it all that counts.  John Wooden

We now accept the fact that learning is a lifelong process of keeping abreast of change. And the most pressing task is to teach people how to learn.  Peter Drucker

The minute that you're not learning I believe you're dead.  Jack Nicholson

Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.  Henry Ford

Learning never exhausts the mind.  Leonardo da Vinci

Develop a passion for learning. If you do, you will never cease to grow.  Anthony J. D'Angelo

Learning is the beginning of wealth. Learning is the beginning of health. Learning is the beginning of spirituality. Searching and learning is where the miracle process all begins. Jim Rohn

Life-long learning should be more than a buzz word.  It should be a way of life for all of us.  If learning is good for our students it should be good for us.  We are fortunate that part of our benefits here at Vol State is the ability to take classes free or at a reduced rate.  It is a benefit everyone should take advantage of. 

A former colleague did his dissertation on learning.  What he found is that a majority of learning actually occurs outside a formal class structure.  Informal learning through our interactions with others is often more prevalent and powerful.  Add to that the multiple special events and speakers that we bring to campus and you almost have to work hard to avoid learning something.

So, what have you learned today?

Vol State in the News

Another great event last week for the Science and Math Expo. More than 600 kids and parents attended, taking part in more than 50 activities put together by Vol State students. The Tennessean has this story.

Here is the Tennessean on the announcement of Bobby Hudson as Vol State alumnus of the year.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Staff Council Canned Food Drive

The 2010 Food Drive
Last year, with your help, the Staff Council collected over one thousand six hundred canned goods/non-perishable food items for local families through the Mid-Cumberland Action Agency. The timing of last year’s drive was perfect. The MCAA was down to their last box of food to give away.

The Staff Council is once again sponsoring a Canned Food Drive at the Gallatin Campus
 to benefit
Mid-Cumberland Community Action Agency beginning Wednesday, April 3 and ending Wednesday, April 10 at 4 p.m. 

Boxes can be found in department and division offices on the Gallatin campus starting this Wednesday. The winning office will be provided a pizza party. In order to make the contest more fair to the smaller offices, the total number of items donated by each office will be divided by the number of full-time employees who work in that office. The pizza party will be awarded to the office that has donated the largest number of items per person. 

Acceptable Food Items Include:
Peanut Butter
Dried Beans
Rice or Other Cereals
Food in Jars
Canned Meats
Canned Veggies

The deadline to get your food to the Business & Finance Office (Ramer 180) and
counted is before 4 p.m. Wednesday, April 10. Please contact Beverly Houser at 3561 if you need
assistance in delivering the food to Ramer 180.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Dr. Faulkner: Values – Community

As I mentioned last week this will be the first in a series of five blogs dealing with our core values.  This week we are emphasizing the core value of community.  The full statement is, “We are all part of a larger COMMUNITY:  We are all responsible for supporting the communities where we live and work, and the global community beyond."

I hope you remember that community was one of the three things I stressed at convocation last year.  This core value statement applies to the external civic community of cities, towns, and counties but also applies to the internal college community.

We are all part of the college community and we all have a vital role to play in the community.  Unlike a family, our roles are not defined by birth order but by our abilities, talents, skills, and desires.  Our roles are all inter-related.  We must work together for the college to function.  Because of this we are inter-dependent on one another.  Therefore, we should value and respect all the roles of members of the community.

As we look beyond the boundaries of the college, we see our role in the external community.  The college is a major force in this community and we need to recognize that when we leave the campus, we are a continuing representation of the college.  That means we must take advantage of opportunities to be good citizens and to be active in our community.

For us, community does not end at the county line, state line, or even the borders of the United States.  We are citizens of the world community.  And so it is an important part of our mission to prepare students to think and act globally. Vol State was recently named as one of the top 40 community colleges in the nation in our international opportunities for our students.  As a follow up to the recent trip to Ireland, all the students on that trip are completing an intercultural competency assignment which they will submit to me.  The early submissions confirm that experiences like this trip have tremendous meaning for our students and make great strides in preparing them to function in a global society.

To celebrate community, we are working to prepare a photo directory of college employees.  At two of the recent campus forums, questions have been submitted asking for some type of photo directory to help us get to know the members of our campus community.  We have made a special arrangement with Life Touch Photography to produce a directory for us and to include family photos as well.  The cost to you is zero.  You will have an opportunity to purchase photo packages, but that is not required.  Please watch for details to be released this week.

-Dr. Jerry Faulkner