Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Congrats Valerie!

Congratulations to Vol State director of Health Information Technology, Valerie Bowling. She has been selected for one of two 2014 Tennessee Health Information Management Association (THIMA) Mentor/Educator Awards.  THIMA is the association for health information management professionals in Tennessee. The award will be presented on Wednesday, March 5, during the Awards Reception at the annual meeting in Franklin.  

Monday, February 24, 2014

Vol State March Calendar of Events

Science Olympiad competition,
Campus-wide, 8am to 2pm
Group art exhibit: "Animal Imagery in Art", through April 12, Thigpen Library Gallery,
Monday through Saturday 7 am to 9 pm
Reflections on Women’s History,
Thigpen Library- Rochelle, 12:30pm
College Transfer Day: universities visit, Ramer Great Hall, 10am to Noon
Lecture: "Revival of the Counterculture", Michael Lenz, Nichols Dining Room, 12:20pm
Dash for Dollars Game Show,
Cafeteria, 12:30pm
LGBTQI Awareness Rally,
Nichols Dining Room, 12:30pm
Lecture: "Murder at Bellamy Cave", Joe Douglas, Thigpen Library-Rochelle, 12:20pm
Women in Higher Education in Tennessee (WHET) Regional Conference,
Nichols Dining Room, 8am to 4pm
Spring Break: no classes, offices open
Women’s History Tea, Nichols Dining Room, 12:30pm, RSVP to Lori.Miller@volstate.edu
Vol State Music Night, Whippoorwill on the Square in Gallatin, 6:30pm
Coffee with the Prez, ask questions and get
answers, Cafeteria, 10am-11am
Sumner County Elementary Art Exhibition, through April 13 Ramer Great Hall,
Monday through Saturday 7 am to 9 pm
Honors Lecture: "Women and Pop Culture",
Carole Bucy & Stella Pierce, Nichols Dining Room, 12:20pm
Alumni Breakfast, Thigpen Library-Rochelle, 7:30am-9am, free and all alumni are welcome

Vol State Students Share Research at National Conference

Recently, Professor Parris Powers and Dean Nancy Morris accompanied five students to Phoenix, Arizona for the 2014 National CURRI Undergraduate Research Poster Session.Genna Batchelder,  Tyler Belisle,  Corbette Jackson, Phillip Martinez and Maria White presented posters on their Vol State undergraduate research  along with 57 other students from  26 community colleges around the nation. The student scholars from Vol State won first place in the molecular modeling contest by creating a bacteriophage with certain elements given to each group of contestants.

The 2014 CCURI Undergraduate Research Symposium was hosted by Mesa Community College in Mesa, Arizona. Funding for travel was provided by the NSF CCURI grant.

Dr. Faulkner: School Spirit

This past week the college hosted the District 9 AA High School Basketball Tournament.  Kudos go again to Bobby Hudson and all the members of the Vol State community that made this a great event.

I was only able to attend the last night (Tuesday) and saw some great games.  Our Richard Moore Gymnasium was packed with “loud and proud” fans supporting their respective teams.  Some had driven quite a distance to be here.

Contrast that with attendance at our college basketball games.  This past Wednesday evening when the Lady Pioneers tipped off there were an estimated 20 people (not counting the Columbia State men’s team) in attendance.  As the evening progressed a few more folks arrived but attendance was far below 100 at the start of the men’s game.

I told Wanda, “I feel a blog coming on.”

Why is it that we don’t support college events?  Not just sports but also our musical and theater events, our diversity events, guest speakers, and many others?  I know all the usual responses.

We are not a residential campus.

Our students are all working and don’t hang around the college.

Non-traditional students that make up half our population aren’t interested in extracurricular stuff.

So maybe students have a reason. But what is our excuse?  I seldom see more than a handful of faculty and staff at events.  If we really mean it when we say we care about students shouldn’t we demonstrate that by caring about what is important to them?  Whether it is basketball or a concert or softball or a theater production our students have put in hours of practice and significant effort and we should honor that with our presence.  And shouldn’t we support each other and show coaches and musical directors, and theater producers that we honor their hard work?  And maybe if we lead by example and communicate to students the importance of supporting one another, they may start showing up also.  Offering a little appropriate extra credit wouldn’t hurt either.

I understand that everyone can’t attend every event.  I’m not able to do so and so I don’t expect you to either.  But here is my challenge to the Vol State community.  I will keep track of how many events I attend for the rest of the semester.  I double-dog dare you to beat my record!

-Dr. Jerry Faulkner

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Learning Support: Redesigning the Redesign

There are major changes coming to what used to be called remedial education at Vol State. You may remember that the college went through a major redesign a few years back that led to the Learning Support model that we use today. Now, TBR has announced that the Learning Support model will be phased out. The new program will be called Immediate Credit or Co-Requisite.

Learning Support classes are currently non-credit. If students test below a certain level in Math, English or Reading they move through a set of Learning Support competencies before moving on to college credit classes. Under the new system, students would enroll directly in credit courses and then receive supplemental academic assistance, of some sort, to help those students keep pace with the class.

The announcement is probably tiring for the many Math and Humanities faculty members who worked so hard to get the Learning Support program up and running. TBR academic leaders point to promising statistics that show the Immediate Credit model to be much, much more effective.

 “Here’s an example,” said vice president of Academic Affairs, George Pimentel. “A student with an ACT of 13 in the emporium model (Learning Support) would enter Math 1010 and have a 2.9 percent success rate. That same level of student enrolled in Math 1010 with extra help under the Immediate Credit model had a 26.9 percent success rate. And it’s that way across the board, for math, writing and reading.”

The TBR stats include university and community college pilots of the new program. Dr. Pimentel says that he wants to see the raw numbers soon. He says faculty members have had the same reaction.

“A lot of them have said if it works, this is great. There is an equal amount of apprehension. We just did a redesign. They’re worried- will we do all of this work and then have TBR change again?”

The plan is to institute an Immediate Credit pilot program at Vol State over the next year. Vol State faculty and deans will come up with a couple of models for what might be done. In the end, there will only be two or three final models used statewide for community colleges. Then, in fall of 2015, the complete changeover will be made.

“There’s a lot more questions than we have answers,” said Pimentel. “I say, let’s put it all on the table. We need to look at how the other guys are already doing it- Cleveland State and Austin Peay.”

One big question is what will happen to the Learning Commons space. Pimentel says it could be used for the extra academic help under the Immediate Credit plan. That help could look like an expanded version of our current Supplemental Instruction or it could be something else entirely.

“We don’t know what we will do,” Pimentel said.” We want to develop the model first and go from there. We need to find the most effective way to help our students.”

Dr. Torrence Chosen for TBR Fellowship

Congrats to Dr. Michael Torrence on being chosen for a prestigious Fellowship with the Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR). The Maxine Smith Fellowship seeks to increase the academic and professional credentials of the Fellows by allowing them to observe and participate in decision-making situations at TBR. Each Fellow works on a project as part of the program. Dr. Torrence is the assistant vice president for Academic Affairs here at Vol State. He has a PhD in Exceptional Learning from Tennessee Tech University in Cookeville. He holds a master’s degree and a bachelor’s degree, both in English, from South Dakota State University.

Vol State has had several people in the program over the years, including Dr. Kenny Yarbrough, Ken Lovett and Dr. Shanna Jackson.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The Vol State Top Chef is...

You can call Will Newman the king of chili at Vol State or by his new official title "Vol State Top Chef." Will won the annual Employee Relations Committee "Chili/Soup Cook-off for Books" contest for his cornbread chili. That's correct- cornbread baked over chili. It was pretty darn good. The win means that Will can keep the coveted Top Chef hat for the rest of the year. Second place went to Kim Morris and third to Alycia Ehlert. The judges this year were Gallatin Firefighters. They had the hard task of picking favorites out of a strong set of contenders.

This event raises money for a book scholarship for a Vol State employee who is going to college. The latest recipient was David McDonald from Maintenance.

"I am returning to school to complete my business management degree that I started more than 25 years ago," McDonald said in his thank-you letter. He received $150 for books for the Spring 2014 semester.

John Espey to Russia

Business Division Dean John Espey will be traveling to Russia this spring as part of a Fulbright Scholarship program. He received a grant from the prestigious federal government program to attend a Community College Administrators Seminar. The administrators will examine the Russian higher education system, focusing on reforms in that system and employment collaborations between schools and businesses.

The group will visit Kaliningrad, Moscow, St. Petersburg and one other city, to be announced, for two weeks starting March 30.

“There are no community colleges in Russia, but the type of students and programs we have in community colleges do exist in a variety of settings,” Espey said. “I’ll be preparing materials for presentation that will include topics such as Vol State partnerships with Business and Industry, the TBR System, Tennessee, Sumner County, Nashville and similar topics.”

Espey said the program will also help Vol State expand International Education.

“We shall be seeking the opportunity to develop relationships for continued collaboration with Russian institutions.  I intend to work to build relationships for short term exchange and visitation for faculty and students similar to the existing relationships we at VSCC currently have with Argentina, Guatemala, The Netherlands, Denmark, China, Ireland, Mongolia and the UK.  Also, I’ll be exploring the possibility of establishing a relationship that could support a TnCIS program in Russia, or with Russia, as a part of a TnCIS program with one or two other countries in the Nordic region of Europe. TnCIS is interested in expanding a student travel-study program to this part of the world.”

The Fulbright program pays for the entire trip as part of the grant award.

Monday, February 17, 2014

From Dual Enrollment Student to Assistant Vice President

Renee Austin has been promoted to assistant vice president of Business and Finance at Vol State. She was director of Accounting. Renee has been with the College since 2005. She holds a Master of Business Administration degree and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree, both from Tennessee Tech University. Renee is a member of the Macon County Education Foundation. She says that it's important for people in the business side of administration to remember the big picture.

"The person in this job needs to be approachable and help people find answers to their questions, so that we can better manage resources. All of that supports student success and that's why I like this position."

Renee took Vol State dual enrollment classes at Macon County High School in the late 1980s, before attending Tennessee Tech. 

Dr. Faulkner: Millennials

During the SACS COC annual meeting in December, I was able to hear a key note address by Neil Howe.  He is co-author of a book titled Millennials Go to College.  Just the other day, Carol Bazenet shared a web site with me about the PreparedU Project of Bentley University. It examines millennials in the workplace.  By 2020 members of the millennial generation will make up 50% of the workforce.  You may remember that Ron Harris discussed the millennial generation during our recent professional development on generational differences.  These are people that were born after 1982.  A majority of our students fall into this category.

There are many interesting characteristics of this generation.  They are the children of late starting baby boomers or members of Generation X.  These folks are the most protected generation of children having been brought up during the “Baby on Board” era.  “Barney and Friends” which emphasized team work stole the limelight form “Sesame Street” and “Mr. Rogers Neighborhood” which emphasized individuality.  This generation also saw the emergence of the “helicopter parents.” Neil Howe says, “Don’t be fooled. They aren’t helicopter parents, they are stealth fighter parents.”

Another characteristic of the millennial generation is their concentration on career and life balance and their expectation that college will prepare them for a job.  According to the Bentley project an overwhelming majority (78%) expect college to prepare them for a job.   Research by STAMATS (a higher ed consulting firm) revealed that job preparation is the number one concern of millennials and their parents when choosing a college.

As we work with these students and their parents, we need to keep these unique characteristics in mind.  We need to tailor our marketing and outreach to include elements that appeal to this demographic.  We need to remember this when we advise students and help them plan for their eventual graduation.  We need to acknowledge that the task most student hire us to do is to provide them with the knowledge, skills, and credentials to get a job.

-Dr. Jerry Faulkner

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Good-Bye Allied Health…Hello Health Sciences

You may have noticed that the college has been using the phrase “Health Sciences” recently. It’s part of the name of the new John B. Wallace Health Sciences Complex- South, and for good reason. That name for the new building was designed to coincide with an overall name change. So, you’ll find us referring to the Allied Health Division as Health Sciences Division from now on.

The change to Health Sciences will take some time. To save money the migration is a “soft” one. That means that any brochures or other materials with Allied Health on them will be used up. When it comes time for a new printing, the new name, Health Sciences, will be used. There are so many references to Allied Health on the website that it could take some time for the web to be completely changed, as well.

Dr. Faulkner says that the reason for the name change is three-fold.

“Health Sciences is a more modern designation,” he said.  “It is also more inclusive of programs like Medical Informatics that have not previously been considered part of the health care professions. The name change will allow us to be more inclusive and flexible in offering programs that are relevant to health care but not directly patient interactive.”

Because of the generous donations from the Wallace family, the Division will be officially called the “John B. Wallace Health Sciences Division” in the catalog and on the main web page for Health Sciences.

Of course, the Health Sciences change will also mean changes in course listings in Banner and such. Records and Registration will have send out info about those changes this week.

Health Sciences is just the latest name change on campus. You may remember that “Distance Learning” is now called “Distributed Education.” That change is also taking place bit by bit.

What You Need to Know About Middle College

Next fall, we’ll have a new set of students on campus. High school juniors and seniors will be taking Vol State classes as part of what is called Sumner County High School Middle College. A recent meeting providing information for Sumner County students and parents was packed- standing room only. Right now, there are 50 seats planned for the inaugural class. However, that may change if popularity warrants. A principal and support staff for the program are being hired. There are several academic requirements designed to make sure the students will be able to handle the college classes. Here is more info from a Middle College brochure, which you can find at the information desk in Ramer

Sumner County Middle College High School

A collaboration between Sumner County Schools and Volunteer State Community College
•             Students can enjoy a more independent learning environment with unique features from a traditional high school. 
•             SCMC is designed to give students and opportunity to receive a high school diploma while earning credits toward a college degree or exploring vocational and career options.
•             This is the right place for high school students who can better reach their full potential in a “non-traditional” school setting.
•             Gain exposure to the college experience and enjoy a more flexible schedule.
•             Typical middle college graduates achieve 100% proficiency on high school benchmark exams.
•             On average, 90% of middle college graduates transfer to a four-year college or university.
•             Middle college graduates are among the most sought-after students in the nation by four-year colleges and universities.
•             Students can get a head-start on college and gain a competitive edge.

You can choose from a wide-variety of courses.  Many will help in career exploration and might not be available at a traditional high school.  In addition, you’re able to focus on degree choices in liberal arts, technology, health, business and more. And since you will be a Vol State student, we invite you to participate in college clubs and activities.  

Student Criteria:
•             Students must have an ACT composite score of 19 or higher (see ACT information below).
•             Students must be entering their junior or senior year in high school.
•             Students must be responsible and mature enough to function in a college environment while managing the freedoms and stress of college.
•             Students must have at least ten (10) high school credits.

Application Process:
•             Sumner County Middle College Applications may be found, completed and submitted to the student’s high school guidance office.
•             Submit recommendations from a teacher, a counselor, and a school principal.  Recommendations may be mailed or faxed to your guidance office.
•             Submit a recent ACT score.  If you have not taken the ACT test, you are encouraged to register to take the test on one of the national test dates.  Registration forms and information may be obtained from your guidance office.
•             When you are accepted to SCMC, a separate application for Volunteer State Community College is required along with a $20 application fee.  This application can be mailed or returned personally to your guidance office.
•             Upon being admitted to SCMC, you will be required to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid and thus compete for a Dual Enrollment Scholarship.

This program has little or no cost to the students or their parents.  To find out more information, contact Middle.College@SumnerSchools.org  or check with your High School Guidance Office.

Sumner County Middle College
Attention:  Todd Stinson
Ph.:  615-451-5200
Fax:  615-451-5216

Who does the middle college high school serve?  The middle college high school focuses on young people for whom the transition into post-secondary education is problematic.  Its priority is to serve low-income young people first, first-generation goers, English language learners, and students of color, all of whom are statistically underrepresented in higher education and for whom society often has low aspirations for academic achievement.  This initiative will increase the number of these young people who attain an Associate’s degree ot two years of college credit and the opportunity to attain a Bachelor’s degree.

Who is eligible to apply for the Sumner County Middle College at Volunteer State Community College?  Any student entering their eleventh or twlfth grade year enrolled in a Sumner County School and has scored a composite score of 19 or better on their ACT assessment is eligible to apply.

Is transportation provided?  Students who attend middle college will be responsible for their own dependable transportation to and from the college campus.

Are there expenses to attend the middle college?  Through the utilization of grants and scholarships, middle college students will not be required to pay tuition nor will they incur the expense of textbooks.  They will, however, be financially responsible for any supplemental requirements.  Students will be apprised regarding any fees that may be assessed.  Students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and apply for the Hope Scholarship after being admitted to the middle college and Volunteer State Community College.

Parents of students who do not meet academic standards will be billed for the cost of an uncompleted semester and/or unsuccessful semester. 

Will middle college students receive a high school diploma?  Yes.  Students that graduate from the Sumner County Middle College at Volunteer State Community College will receive a high school diploma when all graduation requirements have been fulfilled.  Students who earn the required 22 Carnegie units and the 23 ½ credits and also earn the required 60 college credit hours, will receive a high school diploma from Sumner County Middle College and an Associate’s degree from Volunteer State Community College.  There will be a graduation ceremony for Middle College students scheduled in accordance with other high schools in the district. 

Will middle college students receive grades?  Will they take the same mandated assessments as other high school students in the district?  Yes.  Middle College students will receive grades in all subjects.  Parents of middle college students will also receive mid-term grades.  Students will take all end-of-course exams and the PARCC assessment as required of all Tennessee high school students.

What is the typical schedule of a middle college student?  The middle college student will no longer attend his/her previous high school and will attend all classes on the VSCC campus.  Therefore middle college does not follow the same daily schedule as the traditional high school.  In fact, high school courses follow the block schedule of Monday, Wednesday/Friday or Tuesday/Thursday like those of college courses.  Thus, each student has a different schedule based on the days and times of his/her college courses and the days of their high school courses.  In other words, the middle college does not have a set start or end daily time.  If a student’s first class begins at 1:10p.m. on M,W, F, then he/she does not report until the start of class.  If a student completes all classes by 10:00 a.m., he/she may leave campus.  All students must report daily to the middle college high school office.  Per state law, attendance must be recorded on a daily basis and by class period.  Students may eat lunch on the Vol State Campus or students may leave campus to eat lunch, if time permits.  They may also bring their own lunch.  

Vol State in the News

The new Sumner County High School Middle College has attracted quite a bit of interest. Many parents showed up to a recent standing room only meeting about the new program for high school students which will start on the Vol State campus next fall. This is a story about the popularity in the Tennessean.

The contractor has been approved for the new Humanities building project. The Tennessean has this update.

A high school basketball tournament held at Vol State in Gallatin will be televised on local TV.

The Tennessean also has this story about Hispanic Family Night.

The Lady Pioneers basketball squad has a new stand out player topping the conference stat charts. Craig Harris profiles Jenise Davis.

Here's the latest on the men's basketball team.

And it's a squad of freshmen for the softball team. Harris takes a look at their chances this season.

Faculty Work on Display at the Nashville Main Library

Six current and past Vol State art faculty members have created works in collaboration with Vol State book-artist Britt Stadig called “20 Collaborations in Book Art.” It’s a year-long project on display at the Nashville Main Library Art Gallery on the first floor. It runs from February 15 to July 27. 

Here is who is involved: Paul Bock, Tim Brown, Greg Chapman, Claire Hampton, Alicia Henry, Susan Hulme, Jaron Jackson, Melba Williams Kirk, Rachel Kirk, Damon MacNaught, Amanda McCadams, Carrie McGee, Sue Mulcahy, Britt Stadig, Robert Stadig, Terry Thacker, Scott Thom, Lain York, and Mel Ziegler.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Dr. Faulkner: The Beatles

Last evening, CBS broadcast a tribute to the Beatles. It marked the 50th anniversary of the Fab Four’s appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show.  I didn’t see the original broadcast but became aware through TV news and my friends.

I remember that in those days the Beatles were severely criticized.  Their music was said to be simplistic and their voices weak without the amplification.  William F. Buckley said, “The Beatles are not merely awful, I would consider it sacrilegious to say anything less than that they are god-awful. They are so unbelievably horrible, so appallingly unmusical, so dogmatically insensitive to the magic of the art, that they qualify as crowned heads of anti-music."  And in Newsweek a reviewer opined, “Musically, they are a near disaster; guitars slamming out a merciless beat that does away with secondary rhythms, harmony and melody. Their lyrics (punctuated by nutty shouts of "yeah, yeah, yeah!") are a catastrophe, a preposterous farrago of Valentine-card romantic sentiments."

And of course there was their appearance.  The “mop top” hair styles were a significant target.  David Susskind labeled them, "The most repulsive group of men I've ever seen."  A Life magazine article portrayed them as, “a) they were rebellious; b) they were not masculine; c) they were a threat to civilization as a whole.”  Of course viewed through the prism of time, their hair styles were very moderate compared to others.

Some saw them as the downfall of the American way of life.  Elvis Presley would later tell Richard Nixon, "The Beatles laid the groundwork for many of the problems we are having with young people by their filthy unkempt appearances and suggestive music while entertaining in this country during the early and middle 1960s."  A strange comment, coming from “old swivel hips.”

Of course, no one thought they would last.  The head of Decca Records said "Guitar groups are on the way out…the Beatles have no future in show business."  And the L.A. Times predicted, "Appallingly unmusical" and "destined to fade away.”

But we all know the rest of the story.  Their music has become iconic and is known and appreciated around the world.  Those who criticized viewed the Beatles through the frame of the past and the present and didn’t see their potential impact on the future.  As usual hindsight is 20/20.

The lesson for us is to look to the future.  What might we be doing right now that will impact the world of education for the next 50 years?  And more importantly, which students on our campus right now will make monumental contributions to the arts, to science, to literature, to politics, to humanity?

-Dr. Jerry Faulkner

Vol State in the News

The Tennessee Promise proposal of free community college brought a Tennessean news crew to campus last week for this front page piece in the Tennessean on Saturday.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Inaugural Vol State Cycling Classic Fundraiser Set for May 3

Do you enjoy bike riding? We have a new Foundation event  coming up that you might be interested in...it's the first Vol State Cycling Classic. Here is the news release:

A bicycle ride through Sumner County can be more than just enjoyable; it can also raise money to help students achieve their college dream. The inaugural Vol State Cycling Classic, organized by the Vol State College Foundation, will be held on Saturday, May 3. The bike event will raise money for student scholarships at Volunteer State Community College. 

“This is a fun event that combines healthy, physical activity for everyone with an opportunity to support student scholarships at Vol State,” said Vol State president, Dr. Jerry Faulkner. “The routes will provide some of the most scenic cycling in Middle Tennessee, not to mention a great after-ride party for participants.”

The Cycling Classic is intended for the entire family to enjoy.  There will be a 15 mile Fitness Tour; a 32 mile Half Metric Century Tour; and a 63 mile Metric Century Tour. The tours will start and finish on the Vol State campus in Gallatin. There will be rest stops along the way for food, hydration, first aid and restrooms. The Metric Century Tour will leave at 8 a.m. The Half Metric will depart at 8:30 a.m. and the Fitness Tour will get underway at 9 a.m. The event is part of the Gran Tour Series Cup sponsored by Biker’s Choice Bicycle Shop. There will be prizes for participation in the Gran Tour and the awarding of “Strava King” and “Queen of the Mountain” winners.

The after-ride event at the college will feature barbecue, beverages of many types and live music. Changing facilities will also be available at the college. The ride cost is $35 before April 25 and $40 after that date. Riders will get a t-shirt and a goody bag. Only riders who sign up by April 15 are guaranteed to receive a shirt. Route maps for each tour and a link to the registration page can be found at www.volstate.edu/cycling.

Bikers Choice and Crescent Furniture are two of the sponsors for the ride. There are still opportunities for sponsorships. For more information about the ride and sponsorships contact the Vol State College Foundation at 230-3506 or email lynn.jones@volstate.edu.


Monday, February 3, 2014

Vol State in the News

Vol State Unity Day speaker Jewell Tankard garnered this story in the Tennessean.

The opening of the new Wallace South Health Sciences building had coverage in several news outlets, including the Tennessean.