Monday, December 16, 2013

Dr. Faulkner: Christmas Wish List 2013

I am submitting my Christmas Wish List in hopes that I will get everything this year.  Most of the things on my list are inexpensive and I have been a good boy, so please do your best to fill my wishes.

- Give a pint of blood.  Contact your local Red Cross or blood agency and donate a pint.  Remember - this is giving the gift of life.

- Get a physical or have that medical test you’ve been putting off. (Mammogram, colonoscopy, prostate exam, etc.)  This is the most expensive thing on my list but it will protect my most precious possession – your friendship.

- Go sit alone in the woods.  Find the most remote area you can get to easily and just go sit in the woods for at least a half-hour.

- Feed the birds. Buy an inexpensive bird feeder and some birdseed and put it where you can see the jewels of God’s creation.  You will be in good company because God is a bird watcher too.  (Matthew 10:29)

- Send a letter.  (Not an e-mail.)  Think of someone who impacted your life – a teacher, a mentor, or a business associate – and write them a letter telling them how they changed your life.

- Give some money to a homeless person.  Yes, I know they may not use it for good purposes, but who knows – you may just make a difference in their life.

- Give a hug.  Identify someone in your life that you just don’t hug often enough.  Seek them out and give them a long, warm hug.  Maybe even throw in a kiss.

- Read to a child.  If you don’t have any in your immediate family, call the local library and volunteer to read at children’s hour.

- Attend a Christmas pageant.  Not the professional one at the civic center and not the spectacle at the mega church in town.  Go to the one at your neighborhood church. The one where the little kids with coat hanger halos make up the angel choir.  The one where shepherds are dressed in bathrobes, and Mary and Joseph look like the young couple from down the street – the ones with the new baby.

- Volunteer some of your time.  Yes I know you are busy but there are so many good organizations doing wonderful things that could use a few hours of your time.

- Visit an art museum.  Walk slowly and pause at each work.  Consider your feelings as you observe because art should elicit emotions not just intellect.

- Read an uplifting book.  Not something related to your job.  Not a fiction work.  Read something that challenges you to be better human.

- Take one hour and play.  Remember the play of your youth.  Running, biking, skating, rolling in a pile of leaves, tossing a ball, hide and seek – whatever makes you feel like a kid again.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Nathan Farrar Remembered

Teachers touch so many lives. Nathan Farrar was a man who by all accounts truly loved the art and practice of education. He served Vol State for 18 years as an adjunct faculty member in Biology. Nathan passed away last weekend.

The Math and Science Division has set up a memorial web page that describes his dedication to his students and to education. Please take a moment to visit. Students have been leaving testimonials on the page and also on Facebook. It's just a small indication of the many, many lives that Nathan touched while teaching at Vol State. Our deepest sympathy to his family and friends.

Vol State in the News

Multi-talented English professor Cindy Wyatt is highlighted in the Gallatin News Examiner for her recent duck related harp work.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

A Special Edition of The Insider -- Vol State's 7th Annual Holiday Door Contest Photos and Announcement of Winners!

The Employee Relations Committee would like to extend a big THANK YOU to all who participated in the Holiday Door Contest!  Creativity and a festive spirit touched just about every corner on campus!  Our judges for the event were Mrs. Wanda Faulkner and Foundation Trustee, Ed Mayberry who volunteered their time to view and vote on our entries.

Each entry is listed below along with the ranking of winners:

Off-Campus Services features "The Elf on the Shelf"

The Office of Human Resources has a Christmas tree puzzle to solve.....
2nd Place, Single Decorated Area

IERPA and Programming Services feature a winter wonderland.....TBR style!
2nd Place, Large Decorated Area

The Office of Public Relations features "A Social Media Nightmare Before Christmas" -- Courtesy of the Grinch!

The Humanities Division features "Hark the Humanities Angels Sing!"
3rd Place, Single Decorated Area

Advising featured the movie, "Elf".
1st Place, Inside and Outside Office Area

The Office of Student Life and Diversity Initiatives featured "Santa's Workshop".
2nd Place, Inside and Outside Office Area

The Office of Financial Aid featured "Funderland".  
1st Place, Large Decorated Area

The Business and Technology Division featured "A Christmas Story".
3rd Place, Inside and outside of office area

Allied Health featured "A Christmas Package".  

The Art Department features a "green" version of "Twas the Night Before Christmas".
1st Place, Single Decorated Area

The Foundation Office presents "Frosty".  

The Records Office presents "An Old Time Christmas".

The Business Office presents "Christmas Around the World". 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Vol State Professor Lends Harp Skills to Duck Dynasty Christmas

It’s not the typical musical instrument for a kid to choose. Cindy Wyatt says the appeal for her was immediate. She knew that she wanted to play the harp. “I started when I was 11,” she said. “It was very glamorous. A harp is a beautiful thing for a kid.”

That harp has taken the Vol State Associate Professor of English many interesting places. When she is not teaching literature or composition, she can often be found in a Nashville recording studio. You may have heard a few of the artists that she has recorded for: “Faith Hill, Garth Brooks, Barbara Mandrell, Ronnie Milsap and Glenn Campbell,” she said, with just a partial list. “Johnny Cash did a Christmas TV special and I was on camera with him. They put makeup on me and it gave me a rash for two weeks. I looked like a pumpkin.”

Like many Nashville session musicians, she usually does her tracks by herself and long after the artist has finished. She remembers one recording moment in particular. “Usually I’m overdubbing and so it was eerie to me that this was Elvis singing in my head. It was just amazing.” It was harp work for Elvis’s last album, before he died.

Wyatt has plenty of memories and even played on a big hit, “When I Dream” by Crystal Gayle. But it may be a rather odd piece of recent Christmas music that brings her artistry to the widest audience.

“I got the call in early October. It was for the Duck Dynasty Christmas CD. I was called in to do a harp overdub for “Duck the Halls.”

“Duck the Halls: A Robertson Family Christmas” debuted in the Billboard top ten in November and is being called one of the hottest selling CDs of the Christmas season. The CD features the cast of the mega-popular reality TV show “Duck Dynasty.”

“I thought the music was kind of hokey, actually,” said Wyatt. “But they are so popular, everyone is getting it.”

Wyatt plays everything from jazz and classical to Celtic music on the harp. She is also a writer and that ties in with a life-long dream. “I had a fantasy that I would write a novel that would be published and Johnny Carson would have me on and I would play my harp,” she said with a laugh.

The Carson dream may now be unobtainable, but the harp session work will most likely continue. “My mother realized early on that harpists are pretty rare in the music world. So, there are more jobs available to harpists; which is still true.”

There is still one more dream and, perhaps, a more achievable one. “I never have had a gold record,” she said.

If the Duck Dynasty CD continues to sell, the television stars may help her reach a milestone that Elvis Presley, Garth Brooks and Faith Hill could not.

Wishing Laurette Well

Laurette Nuckols began her Vol State career in 1991. She is retiring this year after more than 22 years of service to the College, most recently as Executive Aide in the Office of the VP for Academic Affairs. Friends and co-workers gathered to wish her the best during a party this week. Many people, including Jane McGuire, attended.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Memories of Wanda Evitts

Wanda Evitts was a fixture on the Vol State campus for 17 years, last working in Human Resources. She passed away on December 2. She started working here in 1993 as a work study and then part time Payroll Clerk until 1998 when she became full time.  She retired in 2010 as Human Resources Clerk. 

“Wanda loved working at Vol State,” said Lori Cutrell, director Human Resources. “She was typically a quiet individual; however, she had a great sense of humor, and, when you least expected it, she would make the funniest remarks that would make everyone laugh.  She was also our historian, as she could remember everything about the college and those who had worked here.  She was a very sweet person and will be greatly missed.”

Monday, December 2, 2013

Major League Baseball All-Star Returns to Vol State

When six foot four Steve Delabar walks down a hallway it’s hard not to notice, even in the Pickel Field House, where athletes come and go all day long. The Major League Baseball All-Star pitcher is back at Vol State.

“It feels like I never left, walking the halls,” Delabar said. “A lot of the staff is the same. It feels like only yesterday since I was here.”

Yesterday was actually 11 years ago, the last time Delabar pitched for the Vol State baseball team. In that time, the Toronto Blue Jays player has been in and out of surgery and in and out of the majors. His latest stint, though, is going quite well. He pitched in the seventh inning of the 2013 All-Star Game in New York.

“It was kind of a blur going there,” Delabar said. “You try to soak it up all you can and enjoy it.”

When asked what it felt like when he walked out on the field to pitch, he said it was all business.

“It felt like my job. I didn’t know who I was facing. I got in there and threw my warm up pitches.”

Delabar secured a strike out. He then went on to pitch an immaculate inning, the first in Blue Jays history, a few weeks later. An immaculate inning is nine pitches for three strike outs.

He returned to Vol State recently to speak to the young Pioneer pitchers.

“I’m just going to talk to them,” he said. “I’m sure they have a lot of questions. When it comes down to it they have their own path they need to create.

Much of the talk focused on strength, repetition and velocity. Baseball trainers look for conditioning ideas from all sorts of sports. For pitchers, that means considering what tennis players do to build strength.

And when asked about playing community college baseball, compared to big university programs Delabar says the path depends on you.

“The Vol State program was really good when I was here and there were a lot of scouts watching us.  If you play well enough here you can get picked up by a major league team.”

Meet Will Newman – New Senior Director of Plant Operations

Will Newman of Ashland City is the new Senior Director of Plant Operations at Vol State. In that role, he supervises the maintenance, facilities and custodial staffs at the College. Newman comes most recently from DELEK/MAPCO in Brentwood where he was Senior Manager of Maintenance for 374 retail locations. He was also Facilities Manager at Hemlock Semiconductor in Clarksville. He worked in higher education at Fisk University as Assistant Director of Facilities and Grounds. 

“I’ve worked in all the aspects of property management and the one that was the most fulfilling was education,” he said. “You can really enjoy the people around you and see the students go on and graduate.”

Newman is a decorated war veteran with service in the US Army for Operation Iraqi Freedom. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Professional and Technical Management from Austin Peay State University.

“The team here at Vol State is above and beyond other local colleges. I want to add some new techniques and opportunities using what they have already worked so hard to establish. There are just so many opportunities here. I’m working with a staff that really wants to be here.”