Friday, December 4, 2015

Dental Tips

In celebration of National Dental Hygiene month, the Vol State Dental Assistant Students. along with instructor Marilyn Sweat, completed their Service Learning Project at the DCI dialysis clinic in Lebanon. The students provided oral hygiene instructions to the patients by performing a skit demonstrating the proper methods of brushing their teeth, caring for their dentures, and the importance of healthy eating. Each person received gift bags that included toothbrushes, toothpaste, dental floss, denture container, and facts relating to brushing to maintain good oral hygiene. The patients and students enjoyed their time together. 

Red Solo Cup Pizza Party

And the winner is....actually, you already know the answer. Humanities won the coveted Red Solo Cup award for outstanding student advising during the summer. On Friday they received their reward- a pizza party for the whole division. Despite power outages and other craziness, the faculty on hand seemed to have a nice time. It was noted that an actual Red Solo Cup was not part of the trophy. Interim dean, Mickey Hall, promise to rectify that immediately and find an appropriate place for display.

Kudos to the Humanities faculty for the fantastic work. Great advising is on the front line of student success.

Monday, November 30, 2015

The Cutting Edge of Tech

If you heard yelps, giggles and gasps emanating from the Ramer Great Hall on Monday, you'll have to forgive the people vocalizing. In all fairness, they were in the midst of being wheeled through a scary hospital, walking around on stage with the band U-2 or interacting with a baby inside a womb. Virtual reality (VR) was on display, along with other emerging technologies, as part of a demonstration by Tennessee Board of Regents tech tester Dr. Robbie Melton. She's traveling the state showing faculty, staff and students the latest technology.

"Any time something new comes out, we get our hands on it, so faculty and staff can see how it could be used for teaching," Melton said to the crowd. Dr. Melton is looking for input as much as inspiration. So, how could a smart Barbie doll be used in the classroom? IT students could learn about hacking such a device, or even better, how to prevent the hacking of a smart Barbie. That's something that parents would certainly appreciate.

"We want faculty to tell us: are these tools, toys or junk?" said Melton.

The students in the audience are eager to try out the virtual reality headsets. There are several different manufacturers and a number of different demonstrations available. The students learn to twist their heads around- because they can see behind, below and above. This makes it possible to spin around to see that U-2 guitar player the Edge is right behind you and he's looking serious. Maybe he's upset that you're standing on his stage?

The big question is how this fun could be used for learning. Melton points out that criminal investigators are starting to use virtual reality for crime scene recording. It will allow them to revisit a crime scene with a depth and clarity that no normal video could provide. VR could provide a virtual a chemistry lab with advanced equipment, too expensive for a college to purchase, giving students experience that they may not otherwise be able to get, and perhaps a safer experience in some instances.

Dr. Melton showed off programmable robots, interactive clothing, many new computer designs. What will pass the tool over toy test is yet to be seen. It's clear that all involved will have a grand time finding out.

Dr. Faulkner: Chain Saw Carving

In a previous entry, I talked about technology as a tool and our opportunity to use this tool to improve student learning.  The message I tried to convey is that technology can be a highly valuable instructional tool when used appropriately.

One of my father’s favorite sayings was, “Use the right tool for the right job.”  As an auto mechanic for most of his adult life, he had a large collection of tools.  Some highly specialized and others more general.  Knowing which would accomplish the task at hand was a skill he developed over years of practice.

Another thing I’ve noticed is that there is room for creativity when it comes to using tools.  I’m intrigued by chain saw art.  Perhaps some would say it isn’t art at all, but I’m fascinated by those that can take a tool designed to cut down trees and use it to create sculpture.  I’m also mystified by those that can engrave a picture on a grain of rice.  A Taiwanese artist Chen Forng-Shean carves amazing works of art on single grains of rice. Certainly you can’t carve a grain of rice with a chainsaw but you also can’t turn a tree stump in to art with the tools Chen Forng-Shean uses.

Two relevant articles recently crossed my desk - one from Campus Technology and the other from NBC News.  Both offer that using a laptop to take notes in class is not the best tool.  The NBC News article cites a study out of Princeton and UCLA that when students take notes on laptops, their “tendency to transcribe lectures verbatim rather than processing information and reframing it in their own words is detrimental to learning.”  In the article from Campus Technology Ronald Yaros, associate professor at the University of Maryland talks about “low digital self-regulation.  That is, if the device is in my hand, I’ll think of a way I can use if for personal reasons, not just for the task at hand.”  So Yaros abandoned laptops in favor of tablets and smartphones.  He goes on to offer that the most effective use of technology is not just in presenting material but in engaging the student in researching, interpreting, writing, posting and discussing.

So the question remains what is the right tool for the right job?  It is easy to resist change by failing to try new things – by using the same old tool when there might be a better one.  Pick up a technology chain saw and try some carving.

Iron Ladle Chili Service Learning Project

David Johnson's English 1020 Service Learning class in Livingston raised 1400 dollars for the Putnam County Adult Literacy Center, the department of the Putnam County School system that does GED prep, with the their Iron Ladle Chili Cook-off project. This is a Cookeville Herald Citizen article with details. 

Vol State in the News

The big news last week was the change in service areas for Vol State and Nashville State. This includes Vol State assuming the full community college role in the future for the Cookeville CHEC campus. It also has Nashville State providing service for northern Davidson County. This is the TBR news release.

Coach Key has a nice write up in the Tennessean. The former Harlem Globetrotter discusses playing and coaching.

The announcement that Johnny Lynn is to be inducted into the Tennessee Community College Athletic Association also made the Tennessean.

You may have seen a story about the postcard received at Vol State radio WVCP-FM a few weeks ago. An individual claimed to be be a murderer and called themselves the "Green Light Killa." There have been no further postcards or contact. We don't know why the person chose to send the postcard to WVCP. It was sent generally to the station, not to a specific individual. Gallatin police have the postcard and are leading an investigation. The story has gone national. We wanted to update you on the status. There have been no new developments in some time.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Johnny Lynn Selected for Hall of Fame

Johnny Lynn has been selected for inclusion in the Tennessee Community College Athletic Association (TCCAA) Hall of Fame. The Vol State Softball Head Coach has been with the college for 25 years. He founded the softball program here and has been coach for 23 years.

"It feels good for the school," Lynn said. "This school has done well with its athletics program. Dr. Ramer, Dr. Nichols and Dr. Faulkner- I've enjoyed being around them and getting to know them. Dean Powell has been here throughout my entire career. If you enjoy who you work for, it's not a job."

Lynn took the softball team to win the Region Seven championship in 2011. The team traveled to Utah for the national tournament.

For Lynn, his coaching was just a continuation of a remarkable athletic career. He was a men's basketball standout in high school and college.

"I graduated from Beech High School in 1984 as an All-American," he said. "I signed with Auburn University and went to the NCAA Basketball Tournament for all four years. We went to the Elite Eight once and the Sweet Sixteen twice."

As for the Vol State softball team this year?

"They're young, very young. They have to get stronger and quicker. This team has a chance. They remind me of the 2011 team. If they can stay together, like the 2011 team did, they might have a remarkable season."

Congratulations to Johnny! The induction ceremony is likely to occur in April at one of the home games.

Karen Mitchell Award

Karen Mitchell, vice president for Resource Development, was honored with the Women Impacting the Community award by the Hendersonville Area Chamber of Commerce. It was presented during a dinner last week. She is shown here with presenter, friend and Vol State assistant VP, Hilary Marabeti. Needless to say, Hilary and Karen look happy with the honor. Hilary was honored with the same award last year. Congratulations to Karen! This awesome photo is by Don Claussen.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Christmas Concerts at Vol State

Vol State students will be performing two evenings of music, song and dance to get people in the holiday spirit. Songs will include Christmas favorites in many musical styles. There will be choreographed performances from the Showstoppers, rock and roll from the Commercial Music Ensemble, blues and jazz classics by the Commercial Jazz Ensemble, and country musical renditions by the Bluegrass Ensemble, Bluegrass Ablaze. The event will show off the wide-ranging talents of more than seventy-five students.

The concert includes a CD release of Vol State student work. This year’s CD will be for sale at the shows on December 4 and 5 in the Wemyss Auditorium in Caudill Hall on the Vol State campus at 1480 Nashville Pike in Gallatin. The show time is 7:30 p.m. each evening. A suggested donation of $5 benefits the Music Department Scholarship Fund. Admission and a copy of the Christmas CD are $10. For more information contact the Office of Humanities at 615-230-3202.

Pictured: The Vol State Showstoppers, led by James Story, perform in the 2014 holiday concert. Photo by Tony Young.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

No Smoking or Vape Anywhere, on any Campus, in 2016

After January 1, 2016, Volunteer State Community College will prohibit the use of tobacco on any campus property for all students, faculty, staff, contractors and visitors. The use of tobacco and vaping (e-cigarette) products will be prohibited in college buildings and on college grounds, including parking areas, walkways and buildings.  This does include any vehicles located on campus property on campus locations in Gallatin, Springfield and Livingston. 

Prohibited products include:

·         Cigarettes
·         Cigars
·         Tobacco Chew or Snuff
·         Clove Cigarettes
·         Electronic Cigarettes (Vaping)
·         And all other products that are smokable substances and/or use tobacco

The tobacco-vape-free policy is a part of Vol State’s commitment to creating a healthy and sustainable environment for all members of our campus community and is designed to be positive and health directed.  Individuals noticing violations of the policy should strive to be non-confrontational and respectful to tobacco or vape users when communicating our policy.  Additionally, tobacco or e-cigarette users are expected to adhere to the policy and likewise be respectful to the remainder of campus.  Enforcement of the policy will be achieved primarily through education, awareness and a spirit of cooperation.

Vol State is not requiring faculty, staff and students to quit using tobacco products; however, we do expect the policy to be followed while on Vol State property, and we are offering support to our students and employees who wish to stop using prohibited products.

For more information and tips on how to stop using tobacco, please visit

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Food Drive for Vol State Students

Many of our students need outside assistance to get by. Each year they are helped by the Christmas for the Kids program with presents and a party. Lately, we have also been doing a food drive for those families.

The Employee Relations Food Drive benefits the families from the Christmas for the Kids program run by the Vol State Student Government Association each year. Once all food drive donations are collected, they are sorted and distributed evenly among the families. We are able to provide food for 16-20 families through the Christmas for Kids program each year.

November 9 – December 2
Non-Perishable Food Items
No Glass Please
v Meals: canned meat, stews, soups, tuna, ravioli, lasagna, spaghetti and meatballs, beefaroni, peanut butter, hamburger healper, jerky, etc.
v Grains: cereal, rice, pasta, dried beans, crackers, tortillas, etc.
v Fruits: canned fruit, fruit cups, dried fruit, applesauce, 100% juice and juice boxes, etc.
v Canned Vegetables: carrots, beans, tomatoes, corn, etc.
v Snack Items: pudding, granola bars, fruit snacks, crackers, pop tarts, etc.
v Dry Goods: flour, seasonings, spices, sugar, bisquick, muffin mix, etc.
v Milk Products: powdered, evaporated, shelf-stable milk
v Toiletries

Locations for Food Drive Boxes
Contact Person
Contact number
Caudill 222
Holly Harvey
Gibson Hall 102
Judy Merritt
Great Hall
Lesa Cross
Mattox 101
Jimmy Hargrove
Ramer 101
Rhonda Custer
Wallace 102
Suzanne Hesson
Warf 100
Gayle DeSalles
Warf 126
Regina Pierpaoli
Wood 217
Penny Tucker
Pickel 128
Lynn Peterson

Monday, November 9, 2015

Dr. Faulkner: Swiss Army Knife

I have long admired but never owned a Swiss Army knife.  The red handles with the iconic white cross always looked sleek but the real attraction was the number of tools contained in one device.  One model boasts containing 34 different implements.  There is even a Swiss Army flash drive available.  For the same reason, I have looked longingly at the Leather Man multi-tools.  “Quality tools for every adventure.”  For the urban adventure, Leather Man now makes a multi-tool bracelet that is both fashionable and functional. 

I did once own a multi-device knife.  It had about 30 implements including a full size fork and spoon.  It was a cheap knock-off and was huge.  In fact it was so large that it required a belt holster because it would not fit in any pocket.

Having the right tool for the job is critical.  My auto mechanic father taught me that.  In education, technology is a tool.  It may be a multi-tool because it can be used in so many different ways, but it is a tool.  Our task is to determine how best to use this tool and to develop the skills to use it most effectively. 

Even a great tool in the hands of a novice can produce a poor result.  My grandfather was an excellent carpenter.  He mostly used hand tools.  He could make a cut perfectly straight and square with a handsaw that I can hardly duplicate with modern power tools.

Students expect us to use technology.  Their lives are full of instances where technology is used effectively.  They interact with each other and with the world via technology.  A recent study conducted by Wakefield Research appeared in Campus Technology magazine. The survey revealed that 56% of students would feel more comfortable being in a digital class than an in-person class and 74% reported that they’d do better in their courses if only their instructors would use more technology.  Also 51% report receiving better grades in online courses and 87% said they use technology to read course materials.  Both numbers reflect substantial increases from previous surveys.

So again, the question is not, “Should we use technology?”  The question is, “How can we use this tool most effectively.”  Trial and error are good but as Franklin said, “Experience keeps a dear school . . .”  A better way to learn is to use the best practices of others.  That’s why module repositories like Merlot are so helpful and that is why Quality Matters is helpful in our quest to use technology most effectively.  These and a multitude of others can help us become more effective in and out of the classroom.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Congrats to Terry

Terry Seals is the new director of Radiologic Technology at Vol State. Previously she was interim director and an associate professor. She has been at Vol State and with the program since 2004.

“I believe that just about every hospital in Middle Tennessee has at least one Vol State graduate working in various areas,” Seals said. Radiologic technology is one of the most competitive programs at Vol State. Students from across the South apply. The program has a 100 percent five-year, in-field, job placement rate for graduates.

“When people go into radiologic technology the options for advancement are many, including specialties in CT, MRI, mammography, interventional, ultrasound, nuclear medicine and radiation therapy,” she said.

Seals holds a Master of Science in Education degree from Walden University in Minneapolis; a certificate in Radiation Oncology from Methodist Hospital in Memphis; and a Bachelor of Science in Radiologic Technology degree from the University of Tennessee Center for the Health Sciences in Memphis.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Chinese Music, Dance and Costumes at Vol State

Music, dance and colorful costumes will come to Volunteer State Community College on November 8 with a performance by the Chinese Music and Dance Troupe from Huang-Gang City, China. The show is sponsored by the Confucius Institute at Middle Tennessee State University and the Chinese Language Council International. The Vol State show will be held at 7:30 p.m. in the Wemyss Auditorium in Caudill Hall.  The show is free and open to the public. The performance is part of the International Education program, bringing global culture and perspective to Vol State students, faculty, staff and the community.

Vol State in the News

Technology is the focus of a new Criminal Justice class starting spring semester. Computer databases and information technology will be a big part of the curriculum. But students will also get hands on experience with other types of technology being used by law enforcement. The Tennessean has the details.

Get Rid of Household Hazardous Waste on Saturday

It’s time to get ready for the annual Household Hazardous Waste Collection Event (HHWCE) sponsored by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, the Resource Authority in Sumner County and Volunteer State Community College. This year the event will be held on Saturday, November 7, 2015 from 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. at Volunteer State Community College. If you are a Tennessee resident you can bring in your household hazardous waste for FREE!  

Any household product that has at least one ingredient in it that is flammable, corrosive, reactive or toxic is considered hazardous and should not be thrown in the regular trash. Many household cleaners, automotive products, lawn care products and home maintenance products are considered hazardous. Waste from non-household sources such as businesses, schools, churches, etc. will not be accepted.  Latex and oil based paints will not be accepted at the event.  Instead, these items can be taken to the Resource Authority in Sumner County during regular business hours. The Resource Authority is located at 625 Rappahannock Wire Road in Gallatin.  For questions regarding the Resource Authority you may call 615-452-1114. 

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Clean-Up Leads to Big Book Donation

Clean-up day did more than just clear out clutter on campus. Faculty members and division offices donated more than 850 used textbooks. Forty-eight cartons were collected and packaged by the Vol State Bookstore staff and sent to a group called Better World Books. They are a for-profit social venture company that supports literacy causes around the world. Social venture companies operate under a for-profit business model in which success is measured by the positive impact a company makes in addressing a specific social issue. In the case of Better World Books, that issue is literacy. The donated books are re-sold, primarily overseas, and funds are used to drive those programs. Since many of the books are faculty editions those sales are closely monitored. The funds collected from sales of the donated Follett books (They are the company that runs the Vol State Bookstore) are donated to The Thirst Project. The Thirst Project, a non-profit organization, is dedicated to bringing clean drinking water to communities around the globe. 

Faculty members can always donate used textbooks to Better World Books. There is a collection box in the Bookstore in Gallatin year-round.

Costumed on Campus

Halloween at Vol State isn't particularly scary, unless you have a big assignment due. It's more amusement than anything else. Here is the collection of costumed faculty, staff and students on campus today. Kudos to Advising for the Willy Wonka theme - creative and well-done. If you missed it, imagine these green-haired oompa-loompas sitting with students in the Advising Center. Quite the scene. Thankfully Mr. Wonka was there to supervise. Check out the Student Services/Evil Scientist Lair in the Wood Campus Center. It is rather spooky.Those scientists also did a great job. It will be tough judging for the Employee Relations Committee, who will award group and individual honors.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Vol State in the News

As part of ongoing coverage of TN Promise students, the Tennessean also took a look at how we are getting the next round of TN Promise students ready for the program.

The Tennessee Small Business Development Center at Vol State named the 2015 Rising Star Award for the local business achieving the most using TSBDC services. The Tennessean has this story.

Vol State leads the area P-16 Council. It's a group of secondary school and higher ed leaders from our area. Each year they recognize community people who have championed education in their county. The 2015 BEST awards were announced recently. The Lebanon Democrat has the story.

Friday, October 23, 2015

How to Recycle in Your Office

We have a new single stream recycling method on campus now. That means we can put mixed recycling in one container. You may have seen the new receptacles around campus. But many people are still wondering what they need to do in their office. Here are the important points:

-Some office suites have new common office receptacles for people to put recycling into. If your office suite has that new, larger, common receptacle, you need to put your mixed recycling in it.

-Many office suites do not have these receptacles yet. Those folks can continue to put the proper mixed use recycling in the recycling containers that they have always used. Just make sure you follow the rules below.

-When you get a new common receptacle for your office or suite you will need to put your mixed use recycling in it each night or whenever you want to.

-If you do not have a recycling container in your individual office you will need to take your recycling down to the nearest common receptacle, which are in lobby areas and hallways.

What can be Recycled:
-Plastic containers
-Aluminum cans
-Mixed office paper
-Newspaper and magazines

What can’t be Recycled:
-Food containers and food waste
-Used tissues
-Used paper towels
-Plastic bags
-Light bulbs

Home Recycling

You can use the new recycling bins that are next to the Fox Maintenance building if you want to bring recycling from home.

If you questions about recycling contact Plant Operations at 230-3605.

Abstract Faculty

"Storm" by Sue Mulcahy
Art Professor Sue Mulcahy is curating and participating in a new art exhibit coming up at Monthaven in Hendersonville from November 14 through January 9. It’s called “Women of Abstraction’ and also features another Vol State faculty member- Beth Boquel. As you might take from the title, the show is abstract art in a number of different styles. It’s sponsored by the Hendersonville Arts Council. Sue has shown her work in many venues from the Frist Center for the Visual Arts in Nashville to galleries in the Netherlands. The exhibition hours will be Monday through Friday 9am to 3pm and Saturdays from 10am to 2pm. Monthaven is located at 1017 Antebellum Circle in Hendersonville. For more information visit

An Honor for Dr. Torrence

Michael Torrence, assistant vice president for Academic Affairs, has been selected as one of 36 college leaders to attend an Executive Leadership Institute sponsored by the League for Innovation in the Community College. He was selected by a national review panel. The Institute provides an opportunity for potential community college presidents to refine their skills, review their abilities, and participate in discussions on leadership with faculty from across the country. 

Monday, October 19, 2015

Dr. Faulkner: Dropout-ism

I recently encountered an info-graphic from American Student Assistance that listed the 7 Warning Signs of Dropout-ism.  Although written from a university perspective, six of the seven describe our average student:

- Trying to balance school and work as early as freshman year.  The info says this affects twice as many students as the actual cost of tuition.

-Paying for school with no help from family.  62% of these students leave early.

-Choose college based on convenience.  66% end up with no degree.

-Part-time student.  68.5% become no-time students

- Non-traditional student.  1.5 times less likely to complete.

-Starting School over the age of 20.  58% walk away without a diploma.

So what are we to do when many of our students have one or more dropout-ism factors? 
We can’t change their circumstances but we can give them encouragement.  At the Trio program celebration this Spring, five students were chosen to give their personal story.  Each mentioned the encouragement to not give up that they received from Trio personnel.

We can teach coping skills so they can succeed despite their circumstance.  Time management and financial management skills are often lacking in our students.  Many don’t even know how to organize their study time in order to optimize their results.

And finally, we can help them see that the “tassel is worth the hassle.”  If we help keep their eyes on the goal they will be less likely to be overcome by the clutter of life occurring around them.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Diversity Week at Vol State

A wide-ranging line-up is planned for Diversity Week, October 19-23. These events are sponsored in conjunction with the Diversity and Cultural Awareness Committee.  Here's the line-up:

Dalia Lama Film 
DATE     Monday, October 19, 2015
TIME      11:30 am – 2:00 pm CDT
EVENT LOCATION            Wood Campus Center
ROOM  Mary Cole Nichols Dining Room B
A film featuring the Dalia Lama will be shown with discussion to follow facilitated by Kenny Westmoreland.  This event is sponsored in conjunction with the Diversity and Cultural Awareness Committee

Discussion: Male & Female Roles in Pop Culture
DATE     Tuesday, October 20, 2015
TIME      12:45 pm – 2:00 pm CDT
EVENT LOCATION            Ramer Administration Building
ROOM  Great Hall
Dr. Michael Torrence will lead the discussion. 

Discussion: Religion 
DATE     Wednesday, October 21, 2015
TIME      11:30 am – 12:30 pm CDT
EVENT LOCATION            Ramer Administration Building
ROOM  Great Hall
Professor Deborah Moore, Professor Sherri Person, and Professor Peter Pagan will make up the panel to discuss religion.  The talk will be facilitated by Dr. Kenny Yarbrough.  This event is being sponsored in conjunction with the Diversity and Cultural Awareness Committee

Race: Implicit Association Test
DATE     Friday, October 23, 2015
TIME      11:30 am – 1:00 pm CDT
EVENT LOCATION            Wood Campus Center
ROOM  Mary Cole Nichols Dining Room B
Instructor Jamie Fuston will administer and analyze the results of the Implicit Association Test which is a survey to help individuals understand their own perspectives of race and all that it implies.

Vol State in the News

The Atlantic magazine has a story about Tn Promise and interviews some Vol State folks. The article does have some criticisms, not of us directly, but of the Tn Promise system and the other challenges students face in graduating. 

Vol State hosted Camp STEM for secondary school students over fall break. It's the first year for the Sumner County part of the science, technology, engineering and math program, which started at MTSU. The News Examiner has the story.

Monday, September 28, 2015

October Calendar of Vol State Events

Oct. 1                    “What is Race?” panel discussion, Thigpen Library, Rochelle, 1pm

Oct. 1                    Brock McGuire, Irish musical group, Nichols Dining Room, 3pm and 7pm

Oct. 1                    TN Promise Sign-Up Event, campus-wide, 5pm, RSVP to

Oct. 3                    Commercial Music Ensemble, Main Street Festival, Gallatin, Noon

Oct. 6                    Solid State Logic consoles talk, recording industry, Thigpen Library, Rochelle, 1:30pm

Oct. 7                    Hispanic Heritage Celebration, Nichols Dining Room, 12:45pm, RSVP Student Life

Oct. 8                    TN Promise Sign-Up Event, Livingston, 5pm, RSVP to

Oct. 9                    What Matters? Movie and Discussion, Mattox 104, 9:30am

Oct. 10                  TN Promise Sign-Up Event, campus-wide, 8am, RSVP to

Oct. 10                  Women’s Basketball Scrimmage, Pickel Field House, 10am

Oct. 12, 13            Fall Break – No Classes

Oct. 12-16             STEM Camp for kids, campus-wide

Oct. 13                  TN Promise Sign-Up Event, campus-wide, 5pm, RSVP to

Oct. 15                  TN Promise Sign-Up Event, Cookeville CHEC, 5pm, RSVP to

Oct. 17                  Community Garden Work Day, next to Mattox, 8am

Oct. 17                  Fall Fiesta at Vol State, celebration of Hispanic culture, campus-wide, 10am-3pm

Oct. 19                  Diversity Week: Movie and Discussion, Nichols Dining Room, 11:30am-2pm

Oct. 20                  Diversity Week: Male & Female Roles in Pop Culture, discussion, Ramer Hall, 12:45pm

Oct. 20                  Coffee with the Prez, Cafeteria, 10:30am-11:30am

Oct. 22                  Diversity Week: Religion and Christian Privilege, Nichols Dining Room, 11:30am-1pm

Oct. 22                  Ming Wang, ophthalmic surgeon shares life story, Caudill Hall, 11:15am 

Oct. 23                  Diversity Week: Race Test, Nichols Dining Room and Cafeteria, 11am-3pm

Oct. 24                  TN Promise Sign-Up Event, campus-wide, 8am, RSVP to

Oct. 27                  Food Fair, local food advocates, farmers, pumpkin carving, Library Lawn, 11a-2p  

Oct. 28                  Fall Festival, Nichols Dining Room, 10am-2pm

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Vol State in the News

TRIO receives some nice attention in this WKYU NPR affiliate story from Bowling Green.

The Fall Fiesta at Vol State is coming up on October 17. The Hendersonville Standard has the release.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Remembering a Remarkable Young Man

Meeting amazing students is one of the great joys of working at Vol State. Jon VanDoran was truly a stand-out on campus. He may be best known in a public way for his ability to walk on his hands for distances. It was just one of the many things he learned to do as a result of  being born prematurely. Jon had a blood clot in his spine that left him paralyzed for the first year of his life. Even after his legs started working again, miraculously, it was with greatly diminished strength.

Jon died last week of a brain tumor. He was a student at Tennessee Tech, which was the next step in his journey, after graduating from Vol State in 2013. 

Jon walked around the Vol State campus using crutches, and only using a wheelchair when it became absolutely necessary. His reason for doing so was something that defined him, as he told us in an interview in 2012.

“My parents were very old fashion and they weren’t willing to take it easy on me,” VanDoran said. “I wanted to use my wheelchair and my father wouldn’t let me. They just wanted me to develop the discipline to be successful. They wanted to push me hard, but not too hard. Their big challenge was finding that balance.”

His drive to succeed helped him earn a second degree black belt in San Soo Kung Fu. He also built a motorcycle that he could use without his legs. His dream was to help kids with disabilities, by creating new adaptive technology. His mechanical engineering studies provided him with the tools he would need. Jon knew from experience that adaptive technology is often cumbersome and clunky.

“Kids want something that is cool. I want to develop pieces that kids would be proud to have.”

There are many of us here on campus who were both shocked and saddened to hear of Jon's passing. He touched many lives.

"Jon was an inspiration to all who knew him," said Parris Powers. "Truly a remarkable person and a great student while at Vol State"

"I have no doubt that when I retire and think about all of the students I've had, Jon will still stand out as one of my favorite people I've ever had the pleasure to teach," Pete Melvin said. "He was a good student, but it was much more than that - he was an inspiration. Jon didn't let his disability hold him back physically or psychologically. I think he viewed it as an extra challenge, which he triumphantly overcame again and again. That problem-solving drive led to his pursuit of an engineering degree, with a vision of designing mechanical accommodations to help others achieve more out of life."

This info on services for Jon comes from his family. We wish them the best in this difficult time. Jon will be fondly remembered here at Vol State.

The memorial services for Jon Ironman VanDoran will be held in two locations. At Presley funeral home in Cookeville Tennessee on Saturday, September 26, there will be a visitation at 3 PM and a service at 4 PM followed by a potluck picnic at Cane Creek Park in Cookeville at 6 PM. All are invited to the picnic and encouraged to come fellowship with us. The second service will be at First Baptist Church in Pulaski Tennessee on Sunday, October 4 with visitation at 2 PM and service at 3 PM followed by a potluck at the church. 

TN Promise Sign-Up Push - We Need Your Help

There was a lot of media attention last year about TN Promise sign-up for high school seniors. There won't be that kind of coverage this year, so we need everyone to help spread the word. High school seniors who want to take part in TN Promise need to sign-up now. The deadline is November 2.

Vol State has been holding sessions to get students ready. At each session, participants have access to computers to complete the on-line Tennessee Promise application, and the online Vol State application. Those who apply to Vol State at the sessions will be waived from having to pay the normal $20 application fee. The Gallatin campus sessions will be Saturday, September 26 at 8 a.m.; Thursday, October 1 at 5p.m.; Saturday October 10 at 8 a.m.; Tuesday, October 13 at 5 p.m.; and Saturday, October 24 at 8 a.m. A Springfield session will be held at the Highland Crest campus on Tuesday, September 29 at 5 p.m. A Livingston session will be held on Thursday, October 8 at 5 p.m. A Cookeville Higher Education Campus session will be held on Thursday, October 15 at 5 p.m. Reservations are required for all sessions and can be completed online by visiting Exact locations at the campuses 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.

Camp STEM for Your K-6 Kids over Fall Break

Vol State and community parents looking for something for their children to do during fall school break can use the opportunity to get kids excited about science, technology, engineering and math. Those areas make up what is referred to as STEM. Camp STEM for kids will provide hands-on educational fun. The camp will be held on the Vol State Gallatin Campus from October 12-16. The science camp is designed for kids in K-6. The students will use Vol State science labs and other facilities. The activities are taught by area grade school teachers. Topics covered include Earth Science, Astronomy, Aerospace, and Robotics.

“Camp STEM gives local students the opportunity to explore science in a way that challenges and stimulates them while broadening their horizons through building, creating, and designing,” said organizer, Beth Moore. “These activities give them skills that have real-world applications and allow them to get an early start on their future.” 

Camp STEM started at Middle Tennessee State University several years ago. The popularity is bringing it to new locations. The camp runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day. The cost is $125 for the week. For more information about the camp and to register, visit the website at

Monday, September 14, 2015

Listening and Planning for the Future

If you haven't been able to attend a strategic plan Listening Session, you might be wondering what they have been like. The goal is to set a course for the future. A recent session brought faculty and staff to the Nichols Dining Room. Attendees formed into smaller groups and were asked to provide short answers to three big questions. Here are some of the responses from the group I attended.

What does Vol State do well?
-Friendly and welcoming campus
-Talented faculty and staff
-Students feel a part of campus

What can Vol State do better?
-Interdepartmental communication
-Do more with high schools to facilitate academic preparation
-Student retention and graduation

Given all the resources necessary, what should Vol State do in five years?
-All Health Sciences programs should be in one location
-Have more academic programs in sync with employer needs
-Connect the curriculum better to workforce needs
-Update employee job descriptions to better match current needs and technology
-Better adjunct pay
-TRIO for all students on campus

Needless to say, every group came up with some similar ideas and some unique ideas. There will be a distillation process to formulate responses in a way that allows them to be considered in writing the strategic plan.

You still have an opportunity to participate. Other sessions are coming up for the public, but faculty and staff are welcome to attend. Note the Gallatin campus session below on September 29.  Faculty and staff are also encouraged to submit thoughts and ideas online.

A Davidson County Listening Session will be held on September 15 at 4:30 p.m. at 50 Forward, 301 Madison Street in Madison.

A Macon County Listening Session will be held on September 17 at 10:00 a.m. at the Macon County Welcome Center, 685 Hwy 52 Bypass West in Lafayette.

A Smith and Trousdale County Listening Session will be held on September 22 at 7:30 a.m. at the Smith County Chamber of Commerce, 939 Upper Ferry Road in Carthage.

A Wilson County Listening Session will be held on September 23 at 7:30 a.m. at Courtney’s CafĂ©, 4066 N. Mt. Juliet Road in Mt. Juliet.

A Livingston Listening Session will be held on September 24 at 1 p.m. on the Livingston Campus at 113 Windle Community Road.

A Sumner County Listening Session will be held on September 29 at 8:00 a.m. at the Wood Campus Center, Nichols Dining Room B, on the Gallatin campus at 1480 Nashville Pike.

A Robertson County Listening Session will be held on September 29 at 9 a.m. at the Highland Crest Campus, 150 Laureate Avenue in Springfield.

Upcoming Career Events for Students

Please let your students know about career events coming up this week and next. The first are Career Readiness Symposiums. These are designed to get students prepped for the upcoming Job Career Fair. The sessions will include info on resume writing and meeting company representatives. They will be held on Tuesday, September 15 and Wednesday, September 16 from 12:45pm to 2;10pm in Caudill Hall. Everyone is welcome and no reservations are needed.

Internships, job search skills training, and using social media in a job search are three of the topics set for discussion at the 2015 Fall Job Career Fair at Vol State. Dozens of employers will be on site and everyone is invited. The event provides an opportunity for job seekers to talk directly with the people responsible for hiring at many area companies. Participants are encouraged to bring their resumes.

The Vol State Job Career Fair will have information about internships available at local businesses. The skills training will include how job seekers can dress for success, enhance communication skills, and use social media as part of their search. The Career Fair will be held in the gym at the Pickel Field House on Wednesday, September 23 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Volunteer State Community College is located at 1480 Nashville Pike in Gallatin. For more information call 615-230-3307 or visit

Meet the Ambassadors

Please join us in welcoming a new group of President’s Ambassadors for 2015-2016. The Ambassadors represent the College at events, conduct campus tours and help with public relations. They're always an impressive group of students and it's fun to work with them on events over the course of the semester. So, here they are left to right, back row first: Jenny Hernandez of Gallatin; Brenly McDonald of Westmoreland; Brandon Herbert of Mount Juliet; Sarah Cody of Cookeville; KJ Kitchens of Lafayette; Peyton Leach of Hendersonville; Megan Ratliff of Gallatin; Charlotte Masiongale of Byrdstown; Whitney Dickerson of Riddleton; Kristen Dedman of Lebanon; and Allison Goodpaster of Hendersonville.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Vol State in the News

The PBS Newshour story about TN Promise and featuring Vol State has finally aired, after a couple of delays. Here is a link to this national coverage. Thanks to everyone who helped to make it happen.

The Tennessean has this piece on TN Promise enrollment numbers. Vol State is near the top for both enrollment increase and FTE increase.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Park and Ride Grand Opening

 The Greensboro North Park and Ride location had an official opening on Friday. It's located on Enterprise Drive, directly across from the back entrance to Vol State. It's home to the Metro Transit Authority Express bus to downtown Nashville. Here are some details on the park and ride and future development for that area in the Tennessean.

Welcome International Scholars

The Humphrey’s program returns to Vol State this year. The group of International scholars is shown here with Dr. Faulkner during their first visit to campus recently. There will be more visits, including opportunities for classroom talks and student interaction,  throughout the school year. International Education director John Espey has an update:

The Humphrey’s program is a Fulbright US State Department – Institute for International Education (IIE)   professional program that brings selected educational leaders from developing countries to the U.S. for two semesters of professional development through program participation with only about 12 universities in the country, including Vanderbilt. 

Volunteer State is the affiliate campus for the Humphrey’s program at Vanderbilt University and that gets us speakers, contacts and provides us an opportunity to contribute to the professional development of these international leaders who will return to their countries with an experience that will touch thousands of faculty, students and countless communities.

Our relationship and our participation in the program is that we teach the Fellows what a community college involves and they provide us with their national, professional, and cultural backgrounds throughout the year.  During the year the Fellows will be back on our campus several times and present a session in Livingston as well. 

This year’s ten Fellows are representing several countries including –

Cote d’Ivorie
Papua New Guinea

-John Espey