Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Vol State in the News

We're making a push for workforce training this fall through the many programs of Continuing Education. Here's the story in the Tennessean.

The Fall Fiesta at Vol State is coming up on Saturday, October 18 from 10am to 4pm. It's a celebration of Hispanic culture with free music, food, dance and fun. Everyone is invited. The Tennessean has the story of some new features of the Fiesta this year.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Meet Patty Anderson - Dean of Business and Technology

Patricia Anderson is the new dean of Business and Technology. She comes most recently from Dynetics, Inc., a Huntsville, Alabama engineering, scientific and IT solutions company, where she was a senior account manager. In her new role, she will oversee the Business and Technology Division at Vol State.

“Technology is so fast-evolving,” Anderson said. “You have to stay on the cutting edge. We’re going to enhance our technology electives and look into new programs at Vol State. I want to make sure that we give students the tools that they need to be the first choice in a job interview.”

Dean Anderson has a Master of Science in Information Assurance and Security from the University of Alabama at Huntsville (UAH). She also has a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Athens State College and an Associate of Science degree from Calhoun Community College. Anderson has professional higher education experience as an academic advisor at the UAH College of Nursing and as director of the Gender Equity Program at Calhoun Community College.

“I didn’t start college until I was in my mid-thirties and I was scared to death,” she said. “I didn’t know if I could do it. The most rewarding professional position I’ve ever experienced has been in higher education. I realized how education changed my life and I could see how it could change the lives of my students. Education can truly be a lifesaver.”

Dean Anderson, who goes by Patty, is making the transition to live in Sumner County. But she and her husband already have roots here. Howard Harris Anderson's mother came from Gallatin and his family connections go back decades in Sumner County.

Friday, September 26, 2014

James has made the Top 25!


The GRAMMY Foundation® and The Recording Academy® have partnered to present the Music Educator Award™, to recognize music educators for their contributions to our musical landscape. Vol State’s own James Story was one of the 222 Quarterfinalists, and just this morning it was announced on CBS News that he has made the top 25 semifinalists.

James says he’s excited about what the publicity could mean for the program and the college. We personally think it’s a great recognition of his hard work and devotion to music education for more than three decades in Sumner County and at Vol State in particular.

The award is open to current U.S. music teachers from kindergarten through college, in public and private schools. One winner will be selected from 10 finalists each year to be recognized for their remarkable impact on their student’s lives. The winner will be flown to Los Angeles to accept the award and attend the GRAMMYs, and they will receive a $10,000 honorarium along with a $10,000 grant for his/her school. The nine finalists and their schools will each receive a $1,000 honorarium. Finalists will be announced in December.

The award will be presented at the Special Merit Awards Ceremony & Nominees Reception during GRAMMY Week 2015.

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/2015-grammy-music-educator-semifinalists-announced

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Vol State October Events Calendar


Vol State October Events Calendar 2014
All events are free, unless specified.

Oct. 1              Vol State Employee Benefits Fair, Ramer Building, 10am-3pm
Oct. 1              Vol State Employee Flu Shots, Ramer Building, 10am-2pm
Oct. 1              Hispanic Heritage Luncheon, RSVP to Student Life, Nichols Dining Room, 12:30pm
Oct. 1              Honors Lecture: “Should We Trust Science?” Parris Powers, Thigpen Library 12:20 pm
Oct. 2              The North Korean Human Rights Crisis, presentation sponsored by Collegiate Ministry, Thigpen Library, 12:45pm and 7pm
Oct. 4              Commercial Music Ensemble concert at Main Street Festival, Courthouse Square in Gallatin, Noon
Oct. 4              Kids Play: “The Adventures of Nate the Great” by Vol State Theater, Caudill Hall, 7:30 pm, $5 suggested donation, kids are free
Oct. 7              Gallatin Commit to Completion, signing event, Phi Theta Kappa, Plaza,
10am-2pm
Oct. 8              Lecture: “Peru!” by Keith Bell, Thigpen Library, 12:20pm
Oct. 8              Hispanic Heritage Quiz Bowl, Cafeteria, 12:30pm
Oct. 9              Movie: “Toxic Hot Seat” presented by Fire Science, Caudill Hall, 7pm
Oct. 11            Highland Crest Fall Carnival, Springfield, 10am to 2pm
Oct. 13, 14      Fall Break: A reminder that Fall Break is only two days this year
Oct. 15            Livingston Commit to Completion, signing event, Phi Theta Kappa, 11am-1pm
Oct. 16            Union University Nursing info session, Warf 110, 12:45-2:15pm
Oct. 18            Fall Fiesta at Vol State, a celebration of Hispanic culture, Duffer Plaza, 10am-4pm
Oct. 21            Highland  Commit to Completion, signing event, Phi Theta Kappa, 11am-1pm
Oct. 21            Lecture: Emerson and Transcendentalism, Shannon Lynch and Deb Moore, Mattox 104, 11:10am

Oct. 22            Fall Festival, Duffer Plaza, 10am to 2pm
Oct. 25            Household Hazardous Waste Collection, outside of Wood Campus Center, 9am to 2pm
Oct. 27            Diversity Week, events all week

Oct. 29            Honors Lecture: “Hal 2014” by David Fuqua,  Thigpen Library, 12:20 pm

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Vol State in the News

We have several Vol State events in the news this week, including a kid's play called "Nate the Great" on October 4, a presentation on North Korea on October 2 and a movie about toxic fire issues on October 9. The Tennessean has the stories.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Students Join Police Reserves


After several months of hard work and training, four Vol State Criminal Justice students-Janos Briscoe, Caleb Helson, Derrick Walker and Jacob McCafferty- graduated to become Gallatin Police Reserve officers on Thursday, September 18. They took the police officer oath and had their badges pinned on by family members. Criminal Justice director Kevin Cook explains how it all came about: 

"In spring 2014, students taking CRMJ 1150-Criminal Justice Career Planning had the opportunity to do mock police candidate panel interviews with several police departments/officers in our service area," Cook said. "Several of our Social Science and Education Division faculty, including Dean Foley and Rick Parrent, were panel participants as well. The Gallatin Police Department was one of the partners on the panel. They were very impressed with our students and invited them to apply for the Gallatin Police Reserves."

Congrats to these newest reserves and to the Vol State Criminal Justice program. 

Monday, September 22, 2014

Vol State Students Show Lawmakers the Power of Undergrad Science Research


Scientific research isn’t just a passion for professors and graduate students. Increasingly, undergraduates are getting in on the action. Educators say it can be a creative hook to get students interested in the sciences. Two Vol State State students will show off their undergraduate research to lawmakers in Washington next week. It’s hoped that by seeing the work of undergrads from across the country, members of Congress will get a better idea of the importance of research in teaching science. Student Genna Batchelder of Gallatin will be presenting on water quality.

“I didn’t think I was going to enjoy my Environmental Geology class,” said Batchelder. “But the research helped me to understand how this is so important. It brought together my chemistry, physics and geology classes. It meant more to me when I had a practical application for what I was learning.”

Batchelder was one of hundreds of Vol State Math and Science students who have been studying water quality in local streams over the last two years. Students are taking samples, charting measurements and compiling the information in a database. That database will help environmental engineers determine area water quality. The research gets students out of the classroom and helps them apply science to the world.

“Research is the best teacher,” said Parris Powers, associate professor of Chemistry. “It allows students to think critically and problem solve with real world applications.”

Batchelder will be presenting her project in the form of a poster session across the street from the U.S. Capitol. The event is put together by the Community College Undergraduate Research Initiative.

Professor Powers will be accompanying the students on the trip “It’s important for lawmakers to see what our students are doing. It will help them to understand that education happens in many different ways, not just in the classroom.”

Vol State student Phillip Martinez of Lebanon will be presenting on a tongue teasing topic: Proteo-Genomic Profiling of a Multi-Drug Resistant Acinetobacter baumanni Clinical Isolate. The paper stems from his work at Meharry Medical College, where he held an internship this summer, which then turned into a consultant role.

“The goal of this research is to find major multi-drug resistance indicators,” Martinez said. “This will help identify an appropriate treatment plan for patients in a matter of hours, instead of days.” That can help saves lives.

Martinez said that the excitement of medical research is consuming at times. “Every day that I go into Meharry, I love what I do. I’ve had to set the time on my phone to eat lunch, because I’m in the zone.”

“Gene sequencing, like Phillip is doing, is the future of molecular biology,” Powers said. “That’s the power of undergraduate research.”

Dr. Faulkner: Kudos

One of the great pleasures of being President of Vol State is I get to hear all the compliments about the college.  People share remarks with me about how great the college is and what an asset the college is to the community.  I try my best to pass these compliments along to the department or person that is truly responsible.  Within the last 24 hours, I’ve received several accolades and so I wanted to take this opportunity to remind all of us of the types of great things we are doing at the college.

This past Friday evening was our annual harvest Moon Soiree.  Several folks have approached me including one just this morning to share with me what a great event it was.  From preliminary figures it appears it will be the best in terms of scholarship money raised.  Kudos to our team in the Resource Development office for organizing such a wonderful event.

This week we had a team on campus as part of the American Bar Association accreditation of our Paralegal Program.  The team consisted of two members that are in Paralegal Programs at other community colleges.  We had an outstanding review and had only one minor recommendation that we can easily remedy.  The team was highly complimentary of Loretta Calvert as program director and of the college for our effectiveness.  Kudos to Dr. Calvert.

The team also had great comments to make about our campus.  They observed how well maintained, attractive, and clean are our buildings and grounds.  This is a common theme from all first time visitors to our campus.  Kudos to all our physical facilities team for creating a beautiful, inviting learning environment.

I received a letter just yesterday from the Executive Director of the Community College Undergraduate Research Initiative (CCURI).  This is a National Science Foundation grant funded project to infuse real scientific research experience into the community college curriculum.  Vol State is one of a handful of community colleges from across the national that participate in this program.  The letter was expressing appreciation for the participation of Parris Powers and our students Genna Batchelder and Phillip Martinez.  Parris and the students will be traveling soon to Washington D.C. to participate in an annual meeting and the students will be presenting the research via a poster session to be held in the Hart U.S. Senate Building.  Kudos to Parris and our students.

And then also yesterday I received a letter from the Vice President for University Outreach at the University of Oklahoma.  The letter was to praise the participation of Girija Shinde as a volunteer member of the National Advisory Council of the National Conference on Race & Ethnicity in American Higher Education (NCORE).  The letter acknowledges the valuable contribution Dr. Shinde has made to the advancement of the mission of NCORE.  Kudos to Dr. Shinde

All of this in just 24 hours!  Even if I don’t get to each individually, I want you all to always know how much I appreciate how much each member of the college community contributes and how proud I am to be part of Vol State.

-Dr. Jerry Faulkner

Vol State in the News

We're continuing our Tennessee Promise push in the media, especially focused on our upcoming October help events. Here's the story in the Macon County Times.

The bible story continues to get national interest, including this story in Christian Today. Local coverage continues in Lebanon and the Knoxville paper picked it up, as well.

Vol State Events this Week


Sept. 22           Tennessee Technological University representative, Wood Campus Center, 10am—1pm
Sept. 23           Austin Peay State University representative, Wood Campus Center, 10am—1pm
Sept. 23           Health and Wellness, Nichols Dining Room, 10am to 2pm
Sept. 23           Pre-Nursing Advising Session with Belmont University, Warf 110, 12:45pm
Sept. 24           Job Career Fair, Pickel Field House Gym, 10am to 1pm
Sept. 24           Vets Next Steps – Job advice for veterans, Pickel Field House, 11:30am-1 pm
Sept. 24           The Relationship Guy – Jereme Ford, Rochelle Center – Thigpen Library, 12:30pm
Sept. 25           Sumner College Night, Pickel Field House Gym, 6 pm to 8 pm

Sept. 26           Tennessee State University representative, Wood Campus Center, 9am—11am 

Friday, September 19, 2014

New Student Merit Pages

Students will be receiving an email about our new Vol State Merit web pages. They're designed to help students celebrate their success while at Vol State. Many colleges and universities across the country have them for students. A student Merit page can list a badge for an honors society they belong to or whether they made the dean's list. We'll be adding badges for various student achievements throughout the school year.

What do students need to do? The first thing is to claim their page. The easiest way to do this is to click on the link provided in an email sent to the personal email address that the student listed with the college. Students can then personalize their Merit page however they want - add a picture or add work experience. They can also put in the emails of parents or loved ones, so that they will be notified when the student receives a new badge from Merit.

When they go to claim their page it will ask them for their email address...they should use their personal email address that they listed on the Vol State application. It's trying to confirm that they are who they are. The student's Vol State email address won't work for that confirmation. Everything goes through the student's personal email address.

All students get an enrollment badge, so that they can see what the pages look like and how they work. It also puts them in the system. Vol State Merit pages are run by the Vol State Office of Public Relations. If you have any questions you can contact us at pr@volstate.edu.

If students don't get the email, for whatever reason, they can also visit the main Vol State Merit Pages web page and search from there. If they still can't find their page they can email us their name, city, zip code, and email address and we can create one for them.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Help Spread the Word about Tennessee Promise

Our Tennessee Promise information blitz is in high gear. This is a recent Vol State story in the Tennessean. We could use your help in getting the word out about our Promise information sessions coming up in October. Please grab some info at the Ramer info desk if you know high school seniors and their parents. Also, we're still looking for more mentors. This is a link to the application. Consider mentoring. You can imagine how good it would be to have community college folks mentoring students about community college (and TCATS).

Monday, September 15, 2014

Vol State in the News

The Foundation raised more than $37,000 for student scholarships at the Harvest Moon Soiree. The Tennessean has the details. This is Gallatin Mayor Jo Ann Graves' take on the event,

The bible reunion story garnered some attention in the Nashville and the national media. This is a Newschannel5 online story. Here is the story in the Tennessean. USA Today ran the story on their website. Newspapers from across the country picked up the story, and strangely enough also the Weather Channel and Huffington Post.

The Fall Job Career Fair is coming up on Wednesday, September 24 from 10am to 1pm in the Pickel Field House. The Portland Leader has the story.

We Need Your Help


We're starting a social media campaign with students today as part of our Commit to Completion push at the College. While social media is fine, hearing this from faculty and staff members means much more to students. Don't forget to remind your students what they're working towards. Here's what we're saying.

Let’s have an honest talk about college completion.
College isn’t easy. Many community college students drop out. Don’t be a statistic. You can do this and we will help you each step of the way. Your goal and our goal is the same and it’s simple: graduation. You need to get that certificate or degree. Here are some tips on how to do it:
Get focused and stay on track: Meet with your academic advisor at least once a semester. Pick a major and a degree plan as soon as you can. Take only the classes you need for your degree. How do you do that? Take charge of your college career with free tools, such as DegreeWorks and College Scheduler. You’ll find them on your My Vol State page.
Keep going: Community college students face a real challenge with time. The longer college takes, the less chance you have of graduating. Does that mean you can’t do it as a part-time student? Of course not, but it’s best to take multiple classes each semester. Clearly, you don’t want to get overwhelmed by taking more classes than you can handle. We know its tough balancing work, family and school. Still, the quicker you get through college, the better chance you have of succeeding. Consider online courses and summer courses, but first speak with your academic advisor.
Don’t give up, if you run into problems. Visit the Advising Center for help. Is life getting in the way of college? They will have ideas on how you can keep going to school. The Vol State Advising Center can be reached at 615-230-3702. It’s in the Ramer Administration building, room 174, in Gallatin. You can also ask for advising help at the front desks of Livingston and Highland Crest.
Get free academic help. Is there one particular class that you can’t seem to pass? (We all have that one class.) Make sure you get extra help. Many courses have free Supplemental Instruction study groups. The college also has free help with papers and speeches in the Language Center and free help with Math in the Learning Commons. Smarthinking provides free online tutoring in many subjects. Did you notice that we keep saying “free”?
Graduation is the goal. Whether you want to get a job after graduating with a career degree from Vol State or transfer to a college or university for a four-year degree, the common goal is graduation.
You can do this. We will help.
Commit to college completion.

This is a joint campaign by the Office of Retention and College Success, Advising, Student Services, Student Life and Public Relations. We hope you can join us.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Vol State Events this Week


Vol State events this week:

Sept. 15           Intramural Flag Football meeting, Library Lawn, 2pm
Sept. 16           Hispanic Heritage Lunch and Learn, Nichols Dining Room, 12:30pm
Sept. 16           Intramural Soccer meeting, Library Lawn, 2pm
Sept. 17           Constitution Day- Jaywalking video, Paralegal, Cafeteria, 12 pm
Sept. 17           Civil Rights in the U.S: The 50th Anniversary of the 1964 Civil Rights Act (A Constitution Day Presentation), Stella Pierce, Thigpen Library, 12:20pm
Sept. 18           Coffee with the Prez, Cafeteria, 10am-11am

Sept. 18           Pre-Nursing Advising Session with Cumberland University, Warf 110, 12:45pm

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Vol State Sleuths Track Down Owner of Bible Lost 40 Years


Deborah Savely of Lebanon has a dear keepsake back in her hands again, after it went missing for 40 years. It only took a tornado, a multi-state search and some dedicated Vol State staff members to make the reunion happen. The item in question is a bible given to her by her father. The search began when a well-known Vol State retiree did some cleaning.

“We’d been down in the basement of my house cleaning out,” said Betty Gibson, the former administrative assistant to the president. “There was a box of things that were left over from the tornado at Vol State in 2006. I looked through and found this bible. From the inscription, I thought that this would really mean something to the family.”

The inscription read “To Deborah Savely. From Mother and Daddy. June 1961.” It wasn’t much to go on. No one had any idea where the bible had actually been at the college, as it was in with a box of items uncovered in tornado rubble. Gibson notified the current administrative assistant, Karen Waller, and the search began. Waller put out an email to faculty and staff asking if anyone knew Deborah Savely. A number of people took up the search, including Amber Regan in the Records and Registration Office.

“I saw the email and it pulled on my heartstrings,” Regan said. “I found that there was a student who graduated here in 1974 with that name. I just started Googling and putting names together. I was determined.”

The problem was that Savely had moved several times in the last 40 years, and changed names. Regan scoured through dozens of websites and listings, tracking down Deborah Savely through four states. She called many people to no avail. Finally, another amateur sleuth, Holly Nimmo in the Public Relations Office, found that there was a Facebook page for Deborah Savely. It wasn’t active, so it was unlikely she would check a message.

“I looked at her listed place of employment and I called her corporate office and gave them the name,” Regan said. “They helped, but couldn’t find it. Finally, through a professional services website, I found her Edward Jones office in Lebanon.”

It was not a phone call Deborah could have ever expected at work. “I got this phone call and the person said- are you Deborah Savely? I said yes and she said- I finally found you! I said- is that a good thing?”

After confirming that it really was the person she was looking for, Regan told her about the bible. “I was glad I was sitting down,” Savely said. “All the wind went out of me. I was in tears. I said- my black bible? I haven’t seen that in 40 years.”

It was a family bible with a very special significance for Savely. It was given to her when she was seven years-old by her father, John Savely. He died suddenly of a heart attack when she was just 17 years-old.

“Daddy died in October of 1971. I started at Vol State as a student in September of 1972. So, this was all I had of Daddy. I carried the bible with me in my backpack every day. Obviously, at some point it came out of my backpack. It never dawned on me that I had lost it at Vol State.”

Savely thought that the bible went missing in a house move in 1974, shortly after graduating from Vol State. She was heartbroken at the time and was now rejoicing at the amazing find.  She arranged to meet with Amber Regan and Betty Gibson to get the bible back. And then she called her mother.

“My first reaction was that something terrible had happened,” said June Savely. “She was sobbing. She cried, and I cried when she told me. She could not wait to touch the bible. It has meant everything to her.”

That moment finally came 40 years after the loss, as Regan and Gibson officially returned the bible to Deborah Savely, with her mom looking on.

“You will never know what you did,” June Savely said to Gibson and Regan. “There are not words to tell you.”

Mother and daughter opened the bible to see the inscription written so many years ago.


“I feel complete,” Deborah Savely said. “I’ve got my daddy back. I put my hand on that page and I swear I felt his hand on mine.”

Get Walking Vol State!


The teams are set and now it’s all about the walking. The Fall Walking Program in conjunction with Walk Across Sumner kicked-off in Gallatin recently, with Dr. Faulkner and wife Wanda leading the charge. There are seven teams competing to see who can walk the most. The goal is for all team members to walk at least 34.5 miles (the distance across Sumner County) between Sept. 6 and Oct. 4.  Honors and prestige will go to the teams with the highest average miles per walker and the highest percentage of team members meeting or exceeding 34.5 miles. The person with the most miles will receive a $100 gift card to Academy + Sports.
  
1.      Allied Health Nuts – Mel Matthews
2.      Foley Walkamolies! – Phyllis Foley
3.      Walkie Talkies – Tami Wallace
4.      Witness the Fitness – Beth Cooksey
5.      Livingston Livelies – Josh Hite
6.      Highland Crest Hikers – Dana Davis

7.      Thigpen Building Trailblazers – Sarah Smith 

Vol State in the News

The College is once again hosting and organizing the Sumner College Night on September 25. This annual event brings between 80 and 90 colleges and universities to campus for high school students and for the Vol State community. The Tennessean has the story.

Monday, September 8, 2014

The Promise

I am overwhelmed by the response of the campus to the call for mentors for TnPromise students.  As of the date of this blog, there are  84 employees who have signed up to be a mentor.  We are far ahead of second place.

The TnPromise is a huge event for Tennessee and is attracting national attention.  When I’m at a meeting and encounter educators from other parts of the U.S., they all want to talk to me about what is happening in Tennessee.

But let’s keep our focus on the real impact.  Beyond all the state and national attention and hoopla, the TnPromise will make a huge difference in the lives of those current high school seniors that take advantage of this opportunity.  I once heard a speaker say, “Our lives are not determined by what we want or like, but by the choices we make.”

We have talked about the idea that the required deadlines, mandatory meetings, and community service will result in “students having some skin in the game.”  That is true, but for some students stepping out to attend college on a promise and a prayer is a making major investment.

As we labor together to fulfill the promise to these students, we should all be aware that this goes beyond the promise of free tuition.  It is really about the promise of:

-An escape from poverty.  In the U.S., if a child is born in poverty there is a 60% chance they will live and die in poverty.  Education is the only proven escape.

-A better paying future job.  People with an associate’s degree, on average, have $350,000 more life time earning power than those with just a high school diploma.

-A more stable career.  During the recent recession, people with a post-secondary credential had a 50% lower unemployment rate.

-A more healthy life.  College graduates have fewer health problems.

-A more fulfilling life.  College graduates are more likely to be active in the community.

Thank you all for all you do to help our students have an opportunity for a brighter future.

-Jerry Faulkner



Friday, September 5, 2014

A New Chinese Scholar on Campus

Yang Qi is the new visiting Chinese scholar on the Vol State campus. She joins us for the school year as part of the Confucius Institute program at MTSU. The Confucius Institute is an international Chinese project to share faculty with colleges and university across the globe. You may remember that Jun Zhao taught on campus last year as part of the ongoing program.

“There is a cultural communication,” she said. “We want to let people know about the Chinese culture and the tradition of the Chinese culture and learn something from the American culture.”

Her first name is Qi, as is traditional in China, where first names come last. You pronounce it “chee”. She is from Jiangnan University in the city of Wuxi near Shanghai. Qi earned a graduate degree in teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages from the University of Newcastle on Tyne. She teaches English in China.

This is not her first visit to the United States. From 2010 to 2012 she taught Chinese in New Mexico. She will also be doing so here at Vol State. In fact, she arrived on campus just over a week ago to immediately start a Chinese class for new and intermediate students. She says it has been tough arriving in the United States and starting to teach at the same time. The trip from China takes more than 24 hours. “I feel sleepy during the day because of jet lag,” she said.

Qi is clearly excited about the possibilities here on campus. She plans on teaching classes in Chinese culture later in the school year, with an emphasis on food culture and religion.

“This is a global word. Young people move about. They need something cross-culture to enlarge their horizon. This will also make students more employable. There is a lot of trade between our countries.”

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Health Sciences Faculty Work with MNPS Teachers


“How did you spend your summer vacation?” is a question middle school students from across the country will be answering as they head back to school this fall. But that question is not just for middle-schoolers.  Volunteer State Community College Faculty Monica Korpady and Cory Martin will have a great story to tell as well.

With coordinating help from the PENCIL Foundation, a Nashville nonprofit that links community resources with Metro Nashville Public Schools, Korpady and Martin from the Health Sciences Division spent their summer working with teachers in an in-depth training program bringing project based learning to middle school classrooms. These trainings give teachers a framework for developing projects that teach math, language arts, and science standards through creative ways allowing students to take an active role in their learning. The teachers plan on implementing the projects in the 2014-15 school-year and anticipate engaging 150 to 200 students in these activities. 

All of this is part of MNPS’s larger role-out of its new “Middle Preps of Nashville.” Recently, more than 150 school-district administrators, principals, elected officials, and community partners gathered to celebrate the rebranding of all MNPS middle schools. The rebranding symbolizes the school system’s dedication to meeting the needs of students in 5-8 grade and preparing these students for success in high school, college, and beyond. As part of this reform, teachers are striving to make instruction more hands on and engaging for their students.

For more information on how to volunteer with PENCIL Foundation, please visit www.pencilfd.org

-Matt Seaton, Pencil Foundation

Pictured: Middle School students attended the event and talked about their projects.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Vol State in the News

Channel 2 did stories about our kick-off of Tennessee Promise publicity. Here's the 6 p.m. version.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Get Ready for Tennessee Promise at Vol State

Vol State is launching an extensive Tennessee Promise publicity campaign starting this week. Why have we held off until now? We wanted to avoid confusion for incoming students. The Tennessee Promise will go into effect in the fall of 2015 and for high school seniors graduating next year. There are some other eligible groups, but also many restrictions. Here is the news release going out this week. Please note the special sessions for high school students and their families, listed below.

High School Seniors Apply Now for TN Promise Free Tuition at Vol State

The Tennessee Promise is a statewide program that allows high school seniors to attend community college free of tuition starting next year. Volunteer State Community College is one of the eligible Tennessee Promise colleges and the school is letting high school seniors know that they should apply for the Tennessee Promise now.

The program launches in 2015 with graduating high school seniors, home school students and High School Equivalency recipients eligible. There is a November 1 deadline for students to apply for the program online. That can be done at www.tnpromise.gov. Students will then need to apply to Vol State at www.volstate.edu/apply.

“While this is a free scholarship, students must take responsibility to fulfill the requirements, which includes making all the deadlines,” said Vol State president, Dr. Jerry Faulkner. “Even if a student is not sure they will attend Vol State, it is wise to complete the Tennessee Promise application before the deadline, in order to keep that option open.”

The Tennessee Promise is a last-dollar scholarship, meaning that it comes after a Pell Grant, Hope Scholarship, and TSAA scholarships. Students will need to apply for Financial Aid with Vol State, by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by February 15. That can be done at www.fafsa.gov.

Books and materials are not covered by Tennessee Promise. Students must carefully follow the state guidelines to qualify and stay qualified. The Tennessee Promise covers five consecutive semesters of tuition, if students maintain qualification. They must start college in the first fall semester after they graduate from high school. They must also take at least 12 hours of classes each semester.

“Vol State is gearing up to help students meet the application requirements and to provide the on-campus assistance to help them maintain their eligibility for the Tennessee Promise,” said Dr. Faulkner. “We want to do everything in our power to help students succeed.”

The Tennessee Promise also provides mentors to help students with the college-going process. There will be two mandatory meetings for students in the spring. Students must complete eight hours of community service in the year before attending Vol State. While at Vol State, each student will need to complete eight hours of community service per term enrolled in the program and must maintain a grade point average (GPA) of 2.0. Students must fill out the FAFSA again each year that they are enrolled, by February 15 each year.

Vol State can help students and parents with questions about the program. There will be informational sessions held in October. At each session, participants will have access to computers to complete the on-line Tennessee Promise application, and the online Vol State application. They will also receive an introduction to completing the FAFSA.  

The Gallatin campus sessions will be Saturday, October 18 from 9 a.m. to Noon and Tuesday, October 21 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. A Springfield session will be held at the Highland Crest campus on October 9 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. There will be a session in Livingston on October 8 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Reservations are required for all sessions and can be completed online by visiting www.volstate.edu/promise. Exact locations will be provided after that sign-up. For more information about the Tennessee Promise at Vol State visit the web page or call the Vol State Admissions Office at 615-230-3688.

Don't forget that we still need mentors for the program in Sumner County. Vol State employees are perfect mentors, because you already understand how the system works, in at very least a basic way. Consider filling out the application today: www.tnachieves.org/mentor-application

Monday, September 1, 2014

Dr. Faulkner Receives Impact Award

The Nashville Business Journal honors Sumner County leaders with what it calls Impact Awards. Dr. Faulkner once  again joined the list of Sumner County movers and shakers honored this year. The awards were presented during a luncheon recently at the Bluegrass Yacht and Country Club in Hendersonville. Other recipients included Gallatin Mayor Jo Ann Graves, Sumner County Executive Anthony Holt and Gallatin Chamber of Commerce Director Paige Brown.