Monday, March 31, 2014

Vol State Events March 31-April 5

Vol State events this week:

Ongoing Sumner County Elementary Art Exhibit, Ramer Great Hall, through April 6, reception April 3 at 3:30pm

SGA Elections are Monday, March 31, and Tuesday, April 1. Elect your student representatives. There will be a table set up in the main hallway of the Wood Campus Center from 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM both days. On the ballot this year is also a Referendum to increase the Student Activity Fee from $10 to $14. The increase would allow for more quality activities for the student body to participate in. Make sure you vote!

Monday, March 31
Tennessee Technological University representative Dennis Tennant will be in the Wood Campus Center main hallway in front of Student Services 10:00am—2:00pm.

Softball, versus Harper, 11am

Tuesday, April 1
Union University representative Renee Dauer will be in the Wood Campus Center main hallway in front of Student Services 10:00am—2:30pm

Lecture: “Room for Everyone: The Gay and Lesbian Experience” by Kathy Halbrooks and Deb Moore, Mattox room 104, 12:45pm

Wednesday, April 2 
Tennessee State University representative Lynette Perry will be in the Wood Campus Center main hallway in front of Student Services 9:30am—11:00am. 

Lecture: “Star Trek” by Laura Black, Nichols Dining Room, 12:20pm

Thursday, April 3 
WWII Display by Peter Johnson, Nichols Dining Room, 8am to 3:45pm

Middle Tennessee State University representative Tyler Henson will be in the Wood Campus Center main hallway in front of Student Services 10:00am—3:00pm.

Science and Math Expo, for kids and parents, Wallace Building North, 2:30pm to 6pm

Elementary Art Exhibit Reception, Ramer Great Hall, 3:30pm-5:30pm

Friday, March 28, 2014

Vol State Events for April and May

Vol State April and May Events Calendar 2014

All events are free, unless specified.

Ongoing          Sumner County Elementary Art Exhibit, Ramer Great Hall, through April 6

April 1             Lecture: “Room for Everyone: The Gay and Lesbian Experience” by Kathy Halbrooks and Deb Moore, Mattox room 104, 12:45pm

April 2             Lecture: “Star Trek” by Laura Black, Nichols Dining Room, 12:20pm

April 3             WWII Display by Peter Johnson, Nichols Dining Room, 8am to 3:45pm

April 3             Science and Math Expo, for kids and parents, Wallace Building North,

2:30pm to 6pm

April 3             Elementary Art Exhibit Reception, Ramer Great Hall, 3:30pm-5:30pm

April 7             Student Showcase, arts and crafts, Wood Campus Center Hallway, 10am to 1pm, 4pm to 6pm

April 7             Lecture: “The Lonesome Democracy of American Poets” by Matthew McDonald, Mattox 104, 12:20pm

April 8             Baseball, versus Motlow, 5pm

April 10           STEM Expo for secondary school students, Gallatin campus

April 11           Avancemos Juntos Hispanic Higher Education Conference, 7:30am-3pm, Nichols Dining Room, RSVP required at

April 11           Lecture: “The Poetics of Consciousness” by Thomas Mether and Melissa Fox, Mattox 135, 10:10am

April 11           Baseball, versus Southwest, 3pm

April 11           Softball, versus Walters, 4pm

April 11, 12     “A Night in Italy”, dinner and concert, Ramer Great Hall, 6:30pm, $20 advance tickets are required through Humanities, 615-230-3201

April 12           Sumner County Bluegrass Jamboree, free performances, register for competitions, Caudill Hall, 10am to 6pm

April 12           Vol State Family Day, Easter Egg Hunt, Library Lawn, 11am

April 12           Vol State Home Plate celebration, baseball and softball games at noon, free food

April 15           Honors Night: celebration and information for students considering the honors program, Nichols Dining Room, 6pm

April 16           Lecture: “Hispanic Immigration: Misconceptions and Truths”, by Jaime Sanchez, Mattox 104, 12:20pm

April 16           Honors Student Presentations, Nichols Dining Room, 12:20pm

April 16           Music Department show at the Whippoorwill on the Square in Gallatin, 6:30pm

April 17           Coffee with the Prez, Cafeteria, 10am-11am

April 17           Spring Fling, Plaza and Library Lawn, 10am to 2pm

April 17           Pre-Nursing Advising Session with Belmont University, Warf 110, 12:45pm

April 22           Vol State Student Art Exhibit, Thigpen Library and Ramer Great Hall, continuing through May

April 22           Pre-Nursing Advising Session with Union University, Warf 110, 12:45pm

April 22           Baseball, versus Wallace, 2pm

April 23           “The American Empire and the Consequences for Humanity” by Michael Lenz, Nichols Dining Room, 12:20pm

April 23           Vets Next Steps, advice for veterans, Pickel Field House room 130A, 9:30am

April 23           Job Career Fair, Pickel Field House Gym, 10am to 1pm

April 25, 26     Music Department Spring Showcase Concert, Wemyss Auditorium in Caudill Hall, 7:30pm, free with Vol State ID, $5 suggested donation for public, $10 with copy of the spring music CD

April 26           Commercial Music Ensemble, Gallatin Square Fest, Gallatin Square, Noon

May Events Calendar 2014

May 2              Student Services Graduate Awards, Cafeteria and Nichols Dining Room, 5:30pm

May 3              Vol State Cycling Classic, scholarship fundraiser, start 8:30am and after, Vol State campus in Gallatin, registration required, visit

May 10            Graduation, Pickel Field House, 10am, tickets required

Educate A Woman - April 25

Educate a Woman is an annual luncheon held by the Vol State College Foundation as a fundraising opportunity, with all proceeds benefiting women’s scholarships.
This year the guest speaker is Lisa Smartt—who is back by popular demand. Lisa Smartt was our speaker in 2010. She was so popular that many women have asked us to have her back. Lisa is from Dresden, TN, has two teenage sons and has been married for 24 years. She travels nationally as a motivational humorist and writes a weekly newspaper column called, “The Smartt View.” You won’t want to miss this fabulous experience.

Join us for this fun and inspiring event. Here are the details:
Date: Friday, April 25, 2014
Location: Long Hollow Baptist Church, Youth Center (3031 Long Hollow Pike, Hendersonville, TN)
Registration: Begins at 11:00 a.m.
Lunch and program: 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Tickets: This event does not require tickets, but there is a suggested minimum donation of $40.00
Summa Cum Laude Sponsor: Ms. Sue’s Medspa and Sumner Women’s Associates   
Sponsorship opportunities

For Additional Details: Please visit the Educate A Woman website.
Space is limited, reserve your place now. To RSVP or for sponsorship opportunities contact Lynn Jones at (615) 230-3506 or email

Pledging Your Support: An opportunity to make a pledge or donation will be extended (minimum suggested donation $40.00) during the lunch.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Student Tornado Tour

We live with the threat of tornadoes. Keith Bell took a class on a tour to learn more recently. Here is his report:

My physical geography class took a tour of the National Weather Service (NWS) in Old Hickory recently.  We took this field trip as part of the course curriculum that focuses on weather and climate.  Tom Johnstone,  Warning Coordination Meteorologist, led the tour.  We learned about the mission of the NWS, and the do’s and don’ts of extreme weather.  We saw their computer programs and modeling approaches and saw a brief video of a weather balloon launch.  (Weather balloons are launched from this site twice daily, around 6 am and 6pm.)  Tom even spoke about the trend for increasingly deadly tornadoes in our region.  We have more deaths than “Tornado Alley” (on the Great Plains) because we have: 

1)  more people,
2.)  more mobile homes,
3.)  more nocturnal tornadoes, and
4.)  more difficulty seeing the tornadoes due to the undulating landscape.  (The flat plains make it very easy to see when a tornado is coming.)

Service Hydrologist James LaRosa led us outside and described some of the older rain and temperature gauges that they still use to generate data for the site.  He also detailed the structure and function of the Doppler radar, where all the forecast data for local news stations originates.  He told us about the dual-polarization radar upgrade.  This upgrade allows meteorologists to know what type of precipitation is in the air: rain, snow, sleet, or hail.  It can even give an accurate rendering when debris is in the air, signaling a tornado has touched down.  This office is just one of only two offices that take ozone readings daily.

Keith M. Bell
Associate Professor of Geography

Paralegal Students Team Up with Legal Aid

The Student Paralegal Association volunteered at the Legal Aid Society's open clinic in Nashville recently. This type of community work gives them real experience and a chance to network. Legal Aid Society's mission is to enforce, advance and defend the legal rights of low-income and vulnerable families in order to obtain for them the basic necessities of life.  

“I worked with attorneys Richard Green and Russ Gallagher,” said Paralegal student Aubrey Burns. “Two of the three cases I worked dealt with employment law! One was gender discrimination and the other was ADA with a side of defamation and possibly breach of contract. I got to read the EEOC Right to Sue letter. I learned so much and will definitely be participating again.”

Pictured from left to right: Paula Cagle, Heather Blair, and Aubrey Burns. Jeff Reynolds (not pictured) also participated.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Dr. Faulkner: The Cost of College

I’ve written and spoken before about the cost of college and the value of a college education.  Currently, many people are questioning the value of a college degree.  In the face of declining state support for higher education, more of the cost has been passed along to the students and their families.  Consequently we have had a period of rising costs and at the same time unprecedented under and unemployment of college graduates.  You perhaps have heard of Peter Thiele, the co-founder of PayPal offering $100,000 grants to people to not go to college.

In recent days two publications have crossed my desk that address the issue of cost versus value.  The first is from a study conducted by Economic Modeling Specialist International (EMSI) for the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC).  The resulting report is titled, “Where Value Meets Values:  The Economic Impact of Community College.”   

I would encourage you to read the entire report.  To whet your appetite here are a few main points from the report:

During the analysis year (2012) former students of America’s community college generated $806.4 billion in added income in the U.S. economy.

·  For every $1 students invest in America’s community colleges in the form of out-of-pocket expenses and forgone time and money, they receive a cumulative of $4.80 in higher future wages.

·  For every dollar of investment in America’s community colleges, society as a whole in the U.S. will receive a cumulative value of $25.90 in benefits from reduced health, crime and unemployment.

·  For every $1 of public money invested in America’s community colleges, taxpayers receive a cumulative value of $6.80 over the course of students’ working lives.

The second article titled, “Is College Worth Cost?  New Study Says ‘Yes’,” is from the March 3 issue of Community College Week. The report is based on research by the Pew Research Center.  Some key findings are:

· Young adults with just a high-school diploma earned 62 percent of the typical salary of college graduates.

·  College graduates ages 25 to 32 typically earn about $17,500 more annually than employed young adults with just a high school diploma.

·  Young adults with just high school diplomas now are also much more likely to live in poverty, at 22 percent compared to 7% in 1979.

Pew’s executive vice president, Paul Taylor says, “In today’s knowledge-based economy, the only thing more expensive than getting a college education is not getting one.”

-Dr. Jerry Faulkner

Vol State Events March 24-29

Monday, March 24
Western Kentucky University representative Christian Montgomery will be in the Wood Campus Center hallway by the Bookstore 10:00am—3:00pm.

Tuesday, March 25
Trevecca Nazarene University representative AnnaGee Harris will be in the Wood Campus Center main hallway in front of Student Services 10:00am—2:00pm.

Baseball, versus Bethel, 3pm

Softball, versus Calhoun, 1pm

Thursday, March 27
Lindsey Wilson College representative Danette Hurley will be in the Wood Campus Center main hallway in front of Student Services 9:00am—3:00pm.

Honors Lecture: “Women and Pop Culture” by Carole Bucy and Stella Pierce, Nichols Dining Room, 12:20pm

Lecture: “The deaf Community: Diverse and Divided” by Cindy Chanin, Mattox 104, 12:45pm

Friday, March 28
Alumni Breakfast, free for all alumni, Thigpen Library-Rochelle, 7:30am-9:30am

International Education Presentation: “Examining the Current Situation in the Ukraine” by Dr. Max Melnikov of Cumberland University, Dr. Melnikov is a native of Ukraine and witnessed the breakup of the former Soviet Union, Mattox Room 102, 2:30pm

Baseball, versus Columbia State, 1pm

Softball, versus Columbia State, 4pm

Saturday, March 29
Baseball, versus Columbia State, Noon

Softball, versus Columbia State, 1pm

Monday, March 17, 2014

Dr. Faulkner: Awe Struck

Have you ever experienced something that was totally awesome?  In current society that term gets used so much that it has lost some of its – well – awesomeness. I’ve had the good fortune to have many experiences that I would categorize as awesome.  As a bona fide tree-hugger, one awesome experience was to see the General Sherman Tree in Sequoia National Park.  This is the largest tree in the world.  Another awesome experience happened when I was driving home from work one day.  A little girl with long, fine blond hair was running across a playground alongside the street.  Just as I passed, the sun shone through her blowing hair and golden framed the expression of childhood joy on her face.  That was awesome.

A research article that appeared in the journal Psychological Science and was mentioned in The Atlantic reported that people “who felt awe, relative to other emotions, felt they had more time available, were less impatient, were more willing to volunteer their time to help others, and more strongly preferred experiences over material goods.”  One of the authors, Kathleen Vohs, says that, “When you are in a state of awe, it puts you off balance and as a consequence, we think people might be ready to learn new things and have some of their assumptions questioned.”

So we might want to start making time for things that blow our mind.  Clearly we can’t travel to a distant location every day.  But there are multiple things we can do each day.  Gaze at the star filled sky.  View a work of art.  Watch a mind-bending You Tube video or a Ted Talk.  Spend some time closely observing nature. 

My daily experience often happens when I go out in the morning to retrieve the daily newspaper.  Even in my manicured neighborhood there are spectacular sunrises, and frost crystals on the grass, and birds flying, and an occasional snow flake drifting down, and the garden spider spinning her web so delicately.

And in the classroom, when was the last time we exposed students to something awesome?  I remember my high school chemistry teacher scaring half the class by demonstrating a dust explosion in a paint can.  The girl who sat in front of me was so affected that after that she flinched each time the teacher struck a match.

So look for awesomeness and be awesome!

-Dr. Jerry Faulkner

Vol State Events this Week

Tuesday, March 18

Lecture: “New Pioneers-The Renegade Culture of the DIY” by Alyssa Dawson, Mattox 104, 12:45pm

Wednesday, March 19

Women’s History Tea, speakers and lunch. Nichols Dining Room, 12:30pm RSVP to

Vol State Music Night at the Whippoorwill on the Square in Gallatin, 6:30pm

Thursday, March 20

Coffee with the Prez, ask questions and get answers, Cafeteria, 10am-11am

Lecture: “Thomas Jefferson: Intellect, Architect and Musician” by Patrick McGuffey, Mattox 104, 12:45pm

Saturday, March 22

Sumner County Elementary Art Exhibition opens, through April 13 in the Ramer Great Hall

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Vol State in the News

The new Wallace South Health Sciences building has a write-up on the Nashville Medical News website.

Renee Austin's promotion made the Hendersonville Star News recently.

The Associated Press picked up a story about the texting while driving simulator coming to Vol State on March 26, prompting stories across the state, including this one on Channel 5.

A Vol State student was featured in a Tennessean story about undocumented students attending college in the state.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Dr. Faulkner: From Weeder to Leader

Perhaps you have had a classroom experience similar to one of mine.  Do you remember sitting in a class room where on the first day of class the teacher instructed you to look at the person on your left and then the person on your right and then proclaimed, “One of you three will not pass this class.”  I remember in my undergraduate days at U.T. Knoxville, English Composition was the “weed out” course.  They bragged about a 40% failure rate.  It was a common attitude that there was a need to eliminate early the less fit that could not succeed in college.

This all came back to me when I read a Chronicle of Higher Education blog from which I borrowed this title. Mika Nash, the author refers to this as “pedagogy of elimination.” Nash challenges the idea that we must set our criteria so high that only a select few can succeed.  He offers the alternative that, “If the creed of the doctor is to “first, do no harm,” then the central tenet of the educator must be to create a learning environment that cultivates the potential of all students. . . “

Let’s be clear.  I’m not suggesting that we reduce the rigor of our courses.  Nor am I claiming that every student should pass.  Some students will fail because of a variety of reasons including life circumstances or a lack of motivation.  What I am suggesting is what Nash offers – that we construct courses and experiences that “lead” students into an exploration of the discipline and gives them an opportunity to succeed.  The article says, “we stopped thinking about the course as an exercise in the process of elimination and instead designed one that would open up a new world to an interested student.”

And the idea extends beyond the classroom.  What if we see that our goal is not to impose a strict set of policies and guidelines but instead our focus is helping students navigate the labyrinth to reach their goals?

I’m so glad that our faculty and staff are not operating in a “weeder” mindset.  But all of us have room for improvement and so as we function in our respective roles within the Vol State community, let’s evaluate what we do to see if we are weeders or leaders.

Student Success Is Job One!

-Dr. Jerry Faulkner

Vol State events calendar for this week:

Here is the Vol State events calendar for this week:

Tuesday. March 4
Reflections on Women’s History, Rochelle Center of Thigpen Library, 12:30pm

Wednesday, March 5
Lecture: “Revival of the Counterculture” by Michael Lenz, Nichols Dining Room, 12:20pm

Dash for Dollars Game Show, Cafeteria, 12:30pm

Thursday, March 6
LGBTQI Awareness Rally and discussion on the awareness of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning, and Intersex individuals. We will have a guest speaker: Dr. Derrick Tennial who is the Assistant Director of Curriculum and Instruction at Georgia Perimeter Community College, Nichols Dining Room, 12:45pm

Friday, March 7
Lecture: “Murder at Bellamy Cave” by Dr. Joe Douglas 12:20pm, Rochelle Center of Thigpen Library

Women in Higher Education in Tennessee (WHET) Regional conference, Nichols Dining Room, 8am to 4pm

March 10-15
Spring break, no classes