Monday, April 27, 2015

Vol State Graduation will be Streamed on Internet

The Vol State graduation ceremony on Saturday, May 9 will be streamed live on the Internet again this year for people to watch all over the world. Last year a family in India watched a student graduate. This year a student will have their family watching in El Salvador. The streaming video does not require any special equipment. People can simply visit the website The live video on the Internet will start at 10 a.m. The recorded video will be played at various times on Thursday, May 14 on Comcast Channel 19 in Gallatin and Hendersonville, and U-verse Channel 99 throughout Middle Tennessee. The speaker for graduation this year will be Emily J. Reynolds, vice-chairman of the Tennessee Board of Regents.

June Spears Teacher of the Month

June Spears of the Vol State High School Equivalency Adult Education Office has been named Teacher of the Month for Adult Education statewide. June teaches High School Equivalency classes in Macon County. This is from the announcement:

“June Spears is an exceptionally skilled, dedicated, innovative and knowledgeable teacher.”

The recognition places her in the running for Teacher of the Year for Adult Education (AE) in Tennessee. That announcement will be made at the AE annual Academy of Excellence in July. June will be presented a plaque and monetary gift by Jason Beard, the State Administrator of Adult Education this week. Congratulations to her!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Yarbrough Receives Lambda Award

Dr. Kenny Yarbrough, director of Student Life and Diversity Initiatives at Volunteer State Community College, has been honored with the Terry Whitesides Ally of Diversity Award at the 2015 Lambda Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Plus (LGBT+) College Conference. The meeting, held this year at Middle Tennessee State University, brought together thirty colleges and universities from across the region, along with corporate and community leaders, to discuss diversity and inclusion issues impacting students and their future in the workplace. The Vol State student Spectrum club nominated Yarbrough for the award.

Pictured: Kenny Yarbrough and Blake Coker, the president of the Vol State student Spectrum club.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

New Scholarship Helps High School Students get Dual Classes for Free

Help us spread the word! A new program just announced by Vol State now makes it possible for many high school students to take up to four  dual enrollment classes for free thanks to a last dollar scholarship. The general education courses can transfer to universities and colleges across the country. Students can take Vol State dual enrollment classes at high schools in Davidson, Robertson, Sumner, Wilson, Macon, Trousdale, Putnam, Overton, Pickett, Smith, Jackson and Clay counties.

“We are excited to be able to offer this opportunity to the students in our entire service area,” said Vol State president, Dr. Jerry Faulkner. “The head start that students gain from dual enrollment sets them on a path for success. It enhances their ability to benefit from the TnPromise program once they finish high school.”

Students must apply for the Tennessee Dual Enrollment Grant program, which provides grant money for high school students taking dual enrollment classes. Vol State will now cover tuition costs not covered in the Dual Enrollment grant, so that many students can take four classes for free.

Students are limited in funding from the grant to two dual enrollment classes per semester. Scholarships for high school seniors, who have previously taken dual enrollment courses, will be handled individually, based on current scholarship guidelines.

The revised dual enrollment grant funding amounts will begin in the fall semester of 2015. High school students should meet with their school counselors to determine the process for enrolling in Vol State dual enrollment courses and applying for the dual enrollment grant. For more information students and parents can also call the Vol State Dual Enrollment Office at 615-230-3742

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Vol State in the News

Congrats to Pioneer Softball coach Johnny Lynn on 800 career wins! The Tennessean has the story.

The push is on for summer registration. Here's a piece in the Hartsville Vidette.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

The Three R's Replaced by the Five C's

Last year there was a series of articles in the American School and University magazine exploring if the three R’s have been replaced by the five C’s.  The five C’s they proposed are Competence, Communication, Collaboration, Creativity, and Choice.  Because the magazine is directed toward facilities and business decisions, the articles concentrated on how the built environment affects the five C’s but the acknowledgement of the shift in education is valid.

Competence:  Increasingly we hear more about competence based education.  Western Governor’s University, which is now operating in our state, advertises that they are about competence not just credit.  Some programs are offering badges to signify the attainment of competence.  SACS has even changed some of the accreditation principals to accommodate programs that emphasize competence.  We normally associate the term with career programs and mastery of skills.  But why can’t we apply it to what we usually think of as the liberal arts.  Is it possible to say that someone is competent to solve a quadratic equation?  Could a student be competent to write a research paper?  If a student can explain the factors leading up to the Civil War, is that a competence.  I would submit that all of our learning objectives whether associated with a career program or with general education should be demonstrations of competence.  Of course VP McGuire would want me to add that it doesn’t demonstrate anything till we record them and assess them and use the results of assessment to refine them.

Communication:  No man is an island and no one can exist without communication with others.  It is an essential part of life.  I’m reminded of Dr. Ruby Payne’s lesson to us about the different language registers.  Our task as educators is to move students from the casual register to the consultative and formal registers.  OMG and LOL are not acceptable in business communication.  We must continue to stress the competencies that are part of our written and oral communication courses and to be sure that there are communication components in all our courses.

Collaboration:  We consistently hear from employers that our graduates need to be able to work in teams.  Traditional education tends to emphasize solo efforts but we must transform to value group-thinking and interaction.  Group projects provide an opportunity for student to learn how to collaborate with others.  Also we know that research demonstrates that student cohort groups are more successful.  Assignments that promote collaboration also foster cohort groups that support one another.

Creativity:  A few years ago, Sir Ken Robinson was a key-note speaker at the SACS COC annual meeting.  He is the author of several books on creativity including Out of Our Minds.  He proposes that modern education is squeezing creativity out of our children.  Sir Ken offers that to be creative, you must be willing to be wrong.  His hypothesis is that the modern educational system stymies creativity by making students fear a mistake. Our challenge is to not restrict opportunities for creativity to just the arts, but to find opportunities for students to be creative in all disciplines.

Choice:  Finally, we must remember that students have many choices for their education.  The days when we were the only game in town are long gone.  And so we must be responsive to the changing climate.  Students are expecting more technology and more mobile devices to be part of their educational experience and so we must remain current in our pedagogy and our interactions with students.

-Dr. Jerry Faulkner

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Managing Stress Positively

The Vol State Healthier TN Workplace Task Force presents the first in a series of presentations focusing on Behavioral Health: “Managing Stress Positively.” Please join us for an informal and interactive session where you will: identify personal stressors, learn healthy ways to manage stress and learn about additional resources for assistance. Presenters:  Angela Neal, Ed.D and Kathy Sowell, M.S. Dates and Times:  Monday, April 20, 12:20-1:20pm and Thursday, April 23, 3pm-4pm in the Ramer Conference Room 182.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Classified Staff Appreciation Award

Staff Council would like congratulate Mike Hitzelberger, winner of the Classified Staff Appreciation Award for the month of March! Mike is the Library Assistant I in Library/Learning Resource Center.

Also nominated in the month of March for exceptional service:
Beverly Peden from The Learning Commons
Debra Lindsay from the Humanities Division
Jimmy Hargrove from the Business and Technology Division
Rebecca Loftis from the Library

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. The Staff Council web page can also be found using the A-Z Index.

Thank you for supporting this Staff Council initiative and your fellow coworkers!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Welcome Kevin Blankenship to Vol State

Kevin Blankenship has been named the new chief information officer at Vol State. In the position he will supervise the Information Technology department at the college. Blankenship comes to Vol State from Berea College in Berea, Kentucky, where he served as interim CIO and associate CIO/director of the Information Systems and Services division. He served in these and other roles at Berea College for nearly ten years. Previous to that, he was director of Information Technology Services at Madisonville Community College in Madisonville, Kentucky. Blankenship said he’s excited about the possibilities at Vol State.

“It’s an opportunity to help shape the future, especially with the Tennessee Promise. I’d like to see us embrace mobile devices more on campus and change how we approach students,” Blankenship said. 

Blankenship has a Master’s of Business Administration degree from Morehead State University in Morehead, Kentucky and Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Western Kentucky University.

For more information about Information Technology at Vol State visit

Events this Week at Vol State

April 13                                Lecture: Troy Tomlinson, CEO of Sony/ATV Publishing, Thigpen Library, 1:30pm

April 14                                Spring Fling, Library Lawn, 10am-2pm

April 14                                TMTA High School Math Contest, Pickel Field House

April 15                                Lecture: “History and the Environment” by Merritt McKinney, Thigpen Library, 12:20pm

April 15                                Ramer Oratorical Contest, Mattox Room 104, 12:30pm

April 16                                Coffee with the Prez, Cafeteria, 10am-11am

April 17                                Game Day, ping pong, board games, sponsored by Thigpen Library, Rochelle Center, 10am-1pm

April 19                                Vol State Singers and Portland High School Choir Concert, Caudill Hall, 3 pm

Friday, April 10, 2015

Vol State in the News

Volunteerism was in the Tennessean last week as the paper ran a story on our Mayor's Day of Service event.

Our Healthier Tennessee Workplace designation ran in the Tennessean Sumner A.M. section.

The CD release and concert for the Music Department is coming up on April 24 and 25. Here is a story in the Gallatin News Examiner.

Get Ready to Ride

The Vol State Cycling Group welcomes you to get ready for spring riding.  They will be hosting a fix-a-flat clinic in conjunction with Biker’s Choice on Saturday April 18 at 9:00AM outside of the Pickel Fieldhouse.The clinic will provide hands-on experience in fixing a flat tire. Following the clinic at 10AM will be a community bike ride. Everyone is welcome to join in.

WHET on Capitol Hill

Lisa Borre and Connie Martin met with Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam’s wife, Crissy, in her office last month as part of the Women in Higher Education in Tennessee (WHET) “Day on the Hill.” Borre and Martin are two of Vol State’s institutional representatives to WHET. Lisa organized the day, which included meetings with the First Lady, Mrs. Haslam, Senator Dolores Gresham, Representative Harold M. Love, Jr., and Mike Krause of the Governor’s Office.WHET is an organization of women in higher education. For more information visit their Facebook page.

Students on the Hill

Vol State students were also visiting the Tennessee Capitol recently. The occasion was the Tennessee Campus Compact Day on the Hill. It was an opportunity for Tennessee college students to share their Service Learning experiences with lawmakers. In this picture Senator Ferrell Haile meets with Vol State students Anna Eppstein, Terry Pickering, and Joey Olsen.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Fast Weather Action Saves Lives

The President's Office in the Ramer Building. The tornado went through the lobby. The information desk was never found.

More than 90 cars were destroyed in the Ramer parking lot.
It's an interesting anniversary. Someone had to remind me that today marks the nine-year anniversary of the April 7 tornado that tore through campus in 2006. I had completely forgotten about the date. While none of us who were on campus that day will ever forget the tornado, it is good to see everything back to normal. But that doesn't mean we can relax. We are in tornado season here in Tennessee. We had only minor injuries on campus in 2006 because everyone did what they were supposed to before the tornado hit. Let's have this date be a reminder to everyone to pay attention to the weather, listen for Campus Police announcements and follow instructions closely. Hopefully, we will have many years of tornado warnings where we just get to chat in our tornado safe spaces and then go back to work when the all-clear is sounded. We were happily chatting away when the tornado touched down on campus, hit the Caudill Building and swept through the Ramer lobby. Tornado warnings and the correct action on your part can save lives. That is something we should never forget.
There were people taking cover on the first floor of the Caudill Building when the tornado hit. We had only minor injuries on campus.

Vol State Named Healthier Tennessee Workplace

Campus-wide walking programs, a fitness center, a tobacco-free campus, and access to filtered water are just a few of the reasons that Vol State has been selected for the Healthier Tennessee Workplace designation from the Governor’s Foundation for Health and Wellness. Vol State is the first community college in Tennessee to receive the designation.

“Studies have shown that a workplace emphasis on a healthy lifestyle increases productivity and reduces absenteeism,” said Vol State president, Dr. Jerry Faulkner.  “Beyond the institutional advantages, we just want people to have a happy, healthy life.”

Events at Vol State include the Vol State Cycling Classic, which features a 15 mile, 33 mile and 61 mile bike ride. Fitness opportunities, nutritious food options in the Vol State Grill, and tobacco cessation support are just a start for the Healthier Workplace plan at Vol State. The college is conducting a survey to determine what needs to be offered next.

“The Healthy Workplace committee is planning information sessions, wellness communities, and developing ways to share strategies to support and motivate one another,” said Dr. Lauren Collier, executive assistant to the president. “We are fortunate to have highly qualified experts, and active amateurs, who gladly share their knowledge and guide others in building healthy habits.” 

One sign of our commitment to health is the Vol State cycling group, formed in part to get ready for the Vol State Cycling Classic on May 2. Chrysa Malosh, who is a professional cyclist and Vol State Biology laboratory technician, is leading the group, which is designed for bikers of all levels. They meet once or twice a week for rides, starting from the Gallatin campus. If you're interested in participating contact Chrysa at

For more information about Healthier Tennessee Workplace program visit the website at

Monday, April 6, 2015

Mayors Honor Sumner Volunteers at Vol State Event

Mayors from across Sumner County gathered at Vol State Wednesday to salute volunteerism. The Mayors Day of Recognition for National Service event acknowledged the importance of service work in the community, and the contributions of Vol State students, faculty and staff in that effort. Each mayor spotlighted volunteers and community groups, including the Mid-Cumberland Action Agency, Sumner CASA (Court Approved Special Advocates), the Sumner County Anti-Drug Coalition, the Sign Club, and the Moon Ranch Adventures cancer camp for children. Westmoreland Mayor Jerry Kirkman announced the formation of the Westmoreland Council of the Arts. White House Mayor Mike Arnold spoke of two young brothers, Cayden and Conner Long, who worked together to get a wheelchair-friendly playground built in the city.

Dr. Faulkner, mentioned Vol State Service Learning student projects, which are tied to specific classwork. Projects this year included emergency planning for daycare centers, ophthalmic examinations for people in Guatemala and local water quality research.  Faulkner also mentioned individual student community service, where students utilized skills learned in the classroom, with everything from blood pressure checks for the community to setting up a computer lab in a local elementary school.

Adjunct Faculty Hiring Event April 14

We're getting ready for more students, as the Tennessee Promise free tuition program is expected to boost enrollment this fall. As part of the effort to get prepared, Vol State is holding an adjunct faculty recruitment fair on April 14. The college is hiring college instructors in Humanities, Mathematics and Science, Social Science and Education, Business and Technology, Health Sciences and Continuing Education. Adjunct faculty members are required to have a master’s degree and 18 hours in the teaching discipline. There may be exceptions for some Health Sciences and Continuing Education positions, which require different credentials. The fair will be held from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Thigpen Library on the campus at 1480 Nashville Pike in Gallatin. Deans and department heads will be available to talk to job seekers. Job seekers don’t need to attend the event to apply for adjunct faculty positions. For specific hiring areas and to apply visit and click on the Vol State logo. Applicants may be subject to a background check.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Olympic-Size Pool Planned for Vol State

The addition of an Olympic-sized pool on the Vol State campus was announced today. The pool, shown under construction in the above photo, will support the newly announced Water Polo Studies program at the college.

Water Polo studies, which will reside in the Health Sciences division, will be lead by Tami Wallace, former Director of Marketing and Public Relations. Wallace captained the Auburn University Water Polo teams for three years, losing the conference championship each year to the University of Alabama.

"TBR has mandated that every community college have a Water Polo Studies program," said president Jerry Faulkner. "We're excited about this new pool, which will replace the Humanities Building project. We thank Jay-Z and Beyonce for their generous donation to the college which will allow us to expand into the rapidly growing field of Water Polo Studies. This is just one of many new programs coming to Vol State, including the exciting addition of Gopher Husbandry and Whiskey Distillation."

"I am so excited about my new role leading the Water Polo Studies program," said Wallace. "I think assistant coach Emily Short and locker room attendant Tim Amyx will do a fine job in their new roles as well."

The Humanities Building project has been transitioned to a make-over of the former smoking area gazebo, which will house 27 faculty offices and four classrooms.

The editor of this publication does not condone April Fools pranks, but when asked to do such, will do it right.