Friday, January 31, 2014

Vol State Student in the Presidential Spotlight

You may have seen Sara Santiago highlighted in President Obama's speech at McGavock High School yesterday. Sara is a former McGavock student, now at Vol State in the Entertainment Media Program. She talked about how her McGavock communications teacher go her excited about school. Our Steve Bishir now works with her in Entertainment Media. Sara wants to be a video editor some day. She plans to transfer to to the Savanna School of Art and Design.

Sara mentioned us prominently in several interviews with the media, including this front page story in the Tennessean and this one in the Chattanooga Times Free Press and this story on News2.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Vol State, McGavock and the President of the United States

McGavock Pike was a busy place in Nashville yesterday and several Vol State faculty and staff members were part of the excitement. President Obama visited McGavock High School as part of this post-State of the Union tour that included several states. The White House chose McGavock primarily to highlight the high school career academies that have become quite popular in Nashville public schools. The academies are special academic programs and facilities at the high schools.  Partnerships with businesses and higher education institutions put high school students on a path to specific careers.
The Entertainment Media Production (EMP) program partners with a McGavock academy called the CMT Academy of Digital Design and Communication. EMP director Steve Bishir, who attended the speech, says that McGavock students have come to Vol State to work on projects and he works closely with the McGavock academy in other partnership ventures. You may have seen the high school students working on a live sound project during a concert in the fall. Bishir says that more McGavock academy media partnerships may be coming soon.

Vol State is also closely involved with another of those academies.

“I serve on the board for the Health, Science and Law academy,” said Kevin Cook, director of Criminal Justice at Vol State. “We meet regularly to discuss the program there and how we can better partner with them.”

Vol State is an official partner with that academy, allowing McGavock students to earn dual credit for certain criminal justice classes, if they attend Vol State. Cook was invited to the President's speech.

We have many long-standing partnerships with McGavock High School, including holding Vol State evening classes held there (it’s a degree-granting center) and high school dual enrollment classes. That brought invitations to the President's speech to Off-Campus director Yolanda Ellison and Dr. Michael Torrence, assistant vice president for Academic Affairs. 

While attending a Presidential event is an experience of a lifetime for many, it can be arduous getting there. Our folks report that they had to arrive just after noon, went through extensive security and stood for more than four hours before the speech began.

Here is a photo of Kevin Cook shaking the hand of the President.

Here is the Vol State crew at the event.

Vol State in the News

The Tennessean did a preview of President Obama's McGavock High School visit and the school's ties to Vol State programs.

The Tennessean also had a story inviting the public to the opening of the new Wallace Health Sciences Complex- South building.

Vol State and Sumner County Schools are launching a new  Sumner County High School Middle College. The Tennessean has this piece today.

There are changes coming to the Sumner County Educate and Grow scholarships for Vol State Students. The Gallatin News Examiner has this story.

Monday, January 27, 2014

February Events Calendar

Now thru Feb 21
Rachel Kirk art exhibit, Thigpen Library Gallery, 7 am to 9pm, Monday through Saturday, and closed on Sunday
Honors Lecture: "Bruce Springsteen and the American Promise", Scott McMillan,
Nichols Dining Room, 12:20pm
Soul Food Luncheon to celebrate Black History Month, Nichols Dining Room, 12:30pm
Lecture: "Abolitionists", Carole Bucy, Rochelle Center, Thigpen Library, 12:20pm
Reflections on Black History, Ramer Great Hall, 12:30pm
Slam Poet: Jon Goode, Cafeteria. 12:30pm
Hispanic Family Night- college information in Spanish and English, Cafeteria, 5:30-8pm
Motivational speaker: Odell Bizzell, Thigpen Library, Rochelle Center, 12:20pm
Chili/Soup for Books Cook-Off, Nichols Dining Room, 11:30am-1:30pm
Commercial Music Ensemble and Vol State
musicians, Whippoorwill in Gallatin, 6:30pm
Coffee with the Prez, Cafeteria, 10am
Lecture: "Environmental Justice", Merritt McKinney, Rochelle Center, Thigpen Library, 12:20pm
Honors Lecture: "American Income Inequality", David Fuqua, Nichols Dining Room, 12:20pm
Children’s Play: "Scary Pirate in the Land of Ma"
Wemyss Auditorium in Caudill Hall, 7:30pm
Black History Recognition Luncheon,
Nichols Dining Room, 12:30pm, RSVP to
Student Life Office- Wood Campus Center

Students from Mongolia Experience American Culture Through Vol State

Our Mongolian visitors have come and gone. We hope you had the opportunity to meet them. Student blogger Tiffany Rivera did and she has this report:

One of the great things about Vol State is the opportunities that are available to students. We can travel abroad, connect with students from different cultures, through clubs like VISA, and meet students that are visiting campus from an exotic country, such as Mongolia.

Five students, Bulgansumiya Mungundul, Urtnasan Ariunbold, Naranbat Erdenetsogt, Narangarav Erdenechuluun, and Sosorburam Bayaraa, along with a faculty member Unur Sukhbaatar, have been visiting for the last two weeks. They are from the Institute of Finance and Economics (IFE) in the city of Ulaanbaatar. It's one of the largest higher education institutions in Mongolia, offering bachelor's and master's degree programs.

While visiting Tennessee, the group stayed with Vol State host families. The Mongolians have been introduced to not only American Culture,but also traditions in Nashville.

"We have visited the Country Music Hall of Fame,I thought that it was very pretty in Nashville,"said Bulgansumiya Mungundul. "There is so much food to choose from, it's a lot on one plate," she said laughing.

The students were able to visit with several different clubs on campus

While attending Vol State, they were able to visit with different student organizations learning about each club's by-laws, policies, and the constitution for that club.

They learned about how Student Services here worked, versus how their campus operated in Mongolia.

"On our campus in Mongolia, we have similar buildings. We call a cafeteria,"The Canteen" and all of our services are in one building versus spread out," said student Narangarav.

When asked what they have enjoyed most about the trip thus far, each student simply replied "Our host families." It shows how important host families are for these international visits. It has been tough getting Vol State employees to host visitors. While it may be a mental hurdle to get over having strangers stay in your home, for those who have done it, there are many rewards, not the least of which is making new friends.

"We have learned a lot about this country and the importance of family through our host families," said Urtnasan. "The unity and love that they have for their children is really amazing."

The group and I talked about all the "fun" places that they have visited. The went underground at Mammoth Cave National Park, rode go-carts, went bowling, and experienced American shopping malls.

 "In Mongolia, we love American Music. We listen to a lot of Eminem, Lil Wayne, Miley Cyrus, and Rihanna. A lot of American Music is a big influence in our country," said Sosorburam Bayaraa.

The students say that they found a second family in their host families, and many friends here at Vol State. They returned to Mongolia last week.

-Tiffany Rivera

Dr. Faulkner: More Butterflies

I hope everyone remembers the Walt Disney quote I shared during my first convocation address.  “If nothing changed, there’d be no butterflies.”  I found that quote on a plaque at Cracker Barrel.  The plaque now sits prominently on my desk.

This weekend I made a new find at Cracker Barrel.  I purchased a small book titled, A Butterfly’s View of Life.  Eat, Sleep, Fly by Maryjo Koch.  It too will be on my desk should any wish to see it.  It is a small book of reproductions of Ms. Koch’s watercolor paintings of butterflies.  It also contains some additional quotes regarding butterflies.  Two of my favorites from the books are:

"To become a butterfly, you must want to fly so much that you’re willing to give up being a caterpillar."

"Most of us change, not because we see the light, but because we feel the heat!"

So I ask myself, what am I willing to give up in order to experience the possibilities of the future?  Will I give up routine and habit?  Will I give up the comfort of the status quo?  Will I give up stability to experience disruption?  Will I give up the old for the taste of the new?  And what will motivate me to change – heat or light?

Sometimes I feel like the old hippie in the Bellamy Brothers song by the same title:

'Cause he's an old hippie
And he don't know what to do
Should he hang on to the old
Should he grab on to the new.

One of the often touted advantages of community colleges is our ability to respond quickly to changing needs.  We currently serve in an environment of rapid change not only in our service area but on the state and national stage.

So, my challenge is for each of us to ask these introspective questions so we can be ready when the inevitable changes come our way.

-Dr. Jerry Faulkner

Monday, January 13, 2014

Parking Changes for Spring Semester

We look forward to seeing the Vol State campus bustling and busy soon as the spring semester gets underway. Here are a few things to keep in mind this semester:

-We have a new building open on campus. It’s called Wallace South and it's next to the original Wallace Health Sciences building. Wallace South is the new home to EMS, Ophthalmic, Sonography, Medical Laboratory Technology and Sleep Diagnostics.

-Parking behind the Wallace South building is faculty, staff and disability accessible only.  

-To help give students more spaces the Library parking lot has been converted to general parking with the exception of some staff spaces. The parking spaces near the Library and directly across from Mattox are also now general parking

-The new campus map is available online

Professional Staff Cabinet Representation

Considering that dozens of Vol State employees are designated as “Professional Staff” it may seem odd that they have not had representation on the President’s Cabinet. The situation seemed odd to Vol State Professional Staff member Clarence Dobbins, as well. The now-deceased Dobbins took up the issue with Dr. Faulkner and last semester the President decided to move forward with a plan.  The President asked for initial nominations for the fledgling Professional Staff Council to come from Vice Presidents. That group of Professional Staff then selected Kenny Yarbrough from Student Life as the first chair and Lori Cutrell from Human Resources as vice-chair. Yarbrough has been representing Professional Staff recently at Cabinet meetings.

“It brings parity for Professional Staff, since we do have a Faculty Senate and a Classified Staff Council,” said Yarbrough. “They now have someone to express concerns at Cabinet.”

The other appointed Professional Staff Council members are: Louise Kelly, Academic Affairs; Ken Hanson, Student Services; Jeff McDaniel, Business and Finance; Anne-Marie Calderon, IERPA; and Saranne Winfield, Resource Development. In the future, elections will be held to fill those roles. There will also be at-large positions to represent offices not included in the rather broad categories.

Yarbrough says increased communication will be one big benefit from having a Cabinet rep.

“This is an opportunity for those who don’t get information from the Cabinet to get that information. I will send out cabinet minutes on a bi-weekly basis in an email.”

While prioritization may be one of the primary topics for the new Professional Staff Council, Yarbrough says this is not a temporary change, just for prioritization. He stressed that the Professional Staff Council is here to stay.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

The New Campus Smoking Policy - Now in Effect

You may see some frustrated smokers on campus this semester. Starting January 1, smoking is only allowed in parking lots, and at least 50 feet from buildings. There are now signs stating the new policy at entrances and in parking lots around campus. The folks in Plant Operations have stationed cigarette butt receptacles at and past those fifty feet marks, as well.

So, the big the question is how will students and employees react? Will there be those who choose to ignore the new policy? If you see someone violating the policy, what should you do, if anything?

"Faculty and staff can approach someone and remind them of the new policy," said Campus Police Chief, William Rogan. "Or they can get a name of the person or call us. We're only issuing warnings right now. The only fines will be for littering, if people are throwing butts on the ground."

Here's a link to more information about the new policy. And if you're one of the many people using this change to try quitting, best of luck.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Vol State in the News

George Pimentel's promotion is featured in the Gallatin News Examiner.

The latest Thigpen Gallery art exhibit has this write-up in the Tennessean.