Friday, November 21, 2014

Dr. Faulkner: What I’m Thankful For

Roy Exum was a local columnist and Executive Vice President for the Chattanooga News – Free Press until it was sold in 2001.  His columns were always quite good and cast a critical eye on southern life, sports, and a variety of other topics.  My favorites of his columns were printed on Sundays before Thanksgiving.  Each year he wrote a column of 99 things for which he was thankful.  Here are a few of mine. 

I am thankful for:

1.      Medical science and the degree with which doctors are able to diagnose and treat illnesses both minor and major.
2.      Miracles which sometimes defy the medical logic and surprise the doctors.
3.      Changing seasons in Tennessee.  I really like that there is a noticeable difference in the four seasons without any of them being too severe.  I’ve often said I wouldn’t want to live where the weather was the same all the time.  We will see if I maintain that attitude in my declining years when year-around warmth beckons.
4.      Digital photography that allows me to take thousands of pictures at almost zero cost (beyond the cost of the device.)
5.      Modern technology that allows me to be in constant contact.  Is it a pain in the anatomy some times?  Absolutely.  But the benefits outweigh the down sides.
6.      Church services where there is ample opportunity for worship, praise, prayer, and learning.
7.      The diverse forests in Tennessee.  I really need an occasional dose of nature and fortunately it is never far away.
8.      Those who have served in the U.S.  Military.  All gave some.  Some gave all.
9.      The atmospheric phenomena of Mie Scattering and Rayleigh Scattering that result in the brilliant, colorful sunrises and sunsets so common here in Tennessee.
10.  The many places near here to get in a good walk.  (Station Camp Greenway, Hendersonville Greenway, Town Creek Greenway, Moss-Wright Park, and Bledsoe Creek State Park.)
11.  Music.
12.  Talented, gifted people that use their abilities to help others.
13.  Friends that you can call on at any time, day or night.
14.  Taking touch typing in high school.  It is probably the most important skill I acquired in those four years.
15.  The opportunity to hear the personal stories of hundreds of people who’s lives have been impacted by attending Vol State.

Have a happy and blessed Thanksgiving!
-Dr. Jerry Faulkner

Red Solo Cup Repeat

The Red Solo Cup award recognizes outstanding advising for Campus Connect orientation students. Once again, the award goes to the Social Science and Education Division. You may remember that they won the inaugural award last year. Retention Services Director Heather Harper started the Red Solo Cup award to remind everyone of how important academic advising is for new students. Dean Phyllis Foley and former Interim Dean Grady Eades accepted the award for the Division. We are told it is available for viewing in the Division office. Kudos to everyone in Social Science and Education.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Vol State in the News

The Tennessean is catching up with some of our news stories. Here's an article on Vol State science research students traveling to Washington to educate lawmakers on the importance of undergrad research.

Vol State Number 21 in Nation on Student Ranking Site has announced that Vol State placed number 21 in the nation, in terms of student satisfaction, for community and junior colleges for its 2013-2014 report. The measurement combines faculty ratings with campus ratings. More than 8,000 colleges and universities are listed on the site. This is the second year in a row that Vol State has placed in the top 25 nationally.

MTV runs the popular website that has more than 15 million ratings. It asks students to rate professors in terms of how helpful they are and how clear they are. Those categories are used to determine an overall quality score. The overall campus score is judged in several categories, including reputation, internet access, food, library, clubs, social life and overall happiness. Vol State scored four out of five for the campus and 3.83 out of five for the average faculty score.

The complete rankings can be found at

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Vol State Veterans Recognition Lunch

You don't have to go far at Vol State to find someone who has served their nation in the military. Vol State student, faculty and staff veterans were honored, along with veterans from the community, during a lunch today. The group represented all military branches and service spanning many decades and several wars.

Kody Sharman, the president of the Vol State Student Veterans of America chapter, explained the symbolism behind the POW-MIA table, traditionally set during any veterans meal. The chair is reserved for all of the service people held behind enemy lines or missing in action. The salt on one of the plates symbolizes the tears family members have shed.
Dr. Faulkner told the group that support of student veterans can come from everyone at Vol State, but especially from faculty and staff veterans. He asked Veterans Affairs Coordinator Ken Hanson to come up with ideas for how to visually show student veterans which faculty and staff members have served, in hopes that they could become mentors, and even just a friendly person to listen to problems, for the students.

We thanks all veterans on this day for their service. 

For more information on Veterans Affairs at Vol State visit the web page:

Dr. Faulkner: Nostalgia

I recently attended a meeting in Clarksville.  Driving down a street there I passed McReynolds - Nave and Larson Funeral home.  Parked in the front drive was a shiny red 1957 Chevrolet ambulance. I was reminded of the time in my life when all the ambulance services were run by the local mortuary and not by the fire-department or a municipal emergency department. It got me in a nostalgic frame of mind.  I thought about many things that were true in my childhood and early adult life and how the "younger" generation doesn't even know about them.

This reminded me of the Beloit College Mind Set List. Each August since 1998, Beloit College has released the Beloit College Mindset List, providing a look at the cultural touchstones that shape the lives of students entering college each fall. The list is prepared by Beloit’s former Public Affairs Director Ron Nief and Keefer Professor of the Humanities Tom McBride.

So I concluded I would prepare my own nostalgia list.  I have to warn you that if you remember all these things you may need to join me in old foggy land.

So do you remember. . . .

Ambulances were run by the local funeral home? 
Police cars did not have blue lights?
How to play Far Away with Coke bottles?
The Three Stooges?
The name of Roy Rogers' horse?
Needing Butch Wax to maintain your flat top?
If the car was really full you could always put a kid on the shelf behind the back seat?
Someone had to get up and walk across the room to change the TV channel?
A party line had nothing to do with a celebration?
If you wanted to look up something you went to the encyclopedia or dictionary?
The Sears -Roebuck catalog was the only way to shop without going to the store?
Teachers had paddles that had nothing to do with boating?
The only music in your car was AM or YOU?
Tennis shoes only came in black or white?
A nine volt transistor radio made music portable.
The initial release of the Hula-Hoop, Slinky, and Silly Putty.
The device you used to make a call actually looked like the phone icon on your smart device.
Grocery items had a price instead of a bar code.
It was all about Hi-fi not Wi-fi.

A trip down memory lane is fun, but I don't want to live there because some of the good old days weren't really all that good.

-Dr. Jerry Faulkner

Vol State in the News

The new CIT A.A.S degree is receiving plenty of attention. At the heart of the new program is certifications, the measure employers use to asses skill levels for IT employees. Here is a story in the Tennessean.

The Lady Pioneers have been battling hard on the court, with mixed results lately. Here's a story in the Gallatin News Examiner.

The men's basketball team is off to a rough start. Here is the latest, also from the Gallatin News Examiner.

Monday, November 10, 2014

A Busy Dr. Torrence

Assistant vice president for Academic Affairs, Dr. Michael Torrence, has been busy in several different areas lately. He graduated from the TBR Maxine Smith Fellowship Program. He was also elected Co-Region 3 Director for the National Association for Multicultural Education (NAME). The region includes;  (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee). He is organizing the development of the TNNAME Chapter as well. Congratulations to him.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Dr. Faulkner on Multi-tasking

At the risk of sounding like Gomer Pyle, “Surprise! Surprise! Surprise!”  (You young folks can Google Gomer.)  A recent $439,000 study by Michigan State University found that multi-tasking in class on non-academic activities lowers test scores of all students – even the smartest. The article which appeared in the September issue of Computers and Education looked at non-academic Internet use in an introductory psychology class with 500 students.  The study found that irrespective of intellectual ability, as measured by ACT scores, “attention to distracting information reduces memory performance.”

This confirms what many of us have long suspected – students aren’t paying attention.  I remember in elementary school being prohibited from chewing gum because it distracted from learning.  I don’t really believe that is true, but it is certainly the case that the multiple devices ubiquitous in our classrooms detract from learning if not used appropriately.  This also disproves the contention by students that because they are digital natives they can learn and play at the same time.

Contrary to what you might suspect, the authors do not suggest banning the use of mobile devices in class.  It would be “nearly impossible.”  Instead they suggest that we develop a culture of personal responsibility to educate students to avoid distraction in the same way we remind people to not text and drive.

Another goal of the research was to explain “why unexciting information is more likely to be forgotten. . .” To me that is also a no-brainer.  If it is boring then it doesn’t get attention and without attention there is no memory formed.  This should serve as a challenge to all of us to make our efforts memorable.  I’m not suggesting you stack BBs while standing on your head, but we could all ask how our teaching could be more engaging.

-Dr. Jerry Faulkner

Vol State in the News

The big chemistry competition for our research students made it into the Tennessean and the Lebanon Democrat.

Tennessee Promise is on the front cover of Community College Week.

And also several stories from Nashville Public Radio WPLN including this one on sign-ups and another on mentors.

Classified Staff Appreciation Award

Staff Council would like congratulate Delois Reagan, the winner of the Classified Staff Appreciation Award for the month of October! Delois is the Coordinator in the Learning Commons.

The other nominees for the month of October were:
Bonnita Beasley from Academic Affairs
Rhonda Custer from the Humanities Division
Teresa Jackson from Continuing Education
Sharon Langford from Livingston
Holly Nimmo from Public Relations
Beverly Peden from Learning Commons
Janet Poindexter from Livingston
Tabatha Roll of the Office of Admissions

Every month a winner is drawn from the pool of nominees who were seen offering exceptional service to the Vol State community. The award recipient receives a certificate of appreciation and a $20 gift card. Any Vol State employee can fill out the short nomination form to recognize any permanent classified staff employee by going to the Staff Council web page

Monday, November 3, 2014

Painting for a Good Cause

The Vol state Men's Basketball team helped to paint  a house in Gallatin recently as part of a Habitat for Humanity project. Vol State athletes perform many hours of community service each semester.