Thursday, January 21, 2016

Vol State to share in funding for undergraduate research

The National Science Foundation has awarded $1.5 million to a network of community colleges that includes Volunteer State Community College for the expansion of research opportunities to students.

The grant was awarded to the Community College Undergraduate Research Initiative (CCURI), a project launched by Finger Lakes Community College in upstate New York. FLCC received a $3.35 million grant in 2011 to share its model for teaching science through research with other community colleges across the country.

Over the last four years, FLCC provided training and support for Vol State to launch its own research projects. Students in several Vol State science classes are learning scientific principles and procedures as part of green and microscale organic synthesis, water quality analysis, genomic annotation of prokaryotes and biodiversity using non-invasive camera trapping.

“I didn’t think I was going to enjoy my environmental geology class, but the research helped me to understand how this is so important,” said Vol State student Genna Batchelder. “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”

“At FLCC, we believe he best way to teach science is to do science,” said James Hewlett, FLCC professor biology and director of CCURI. “Vol State has been a great partner in implementing this approach across the country.”

Vol State will share in the latest four-year $1.5 million grant, along with FLCC and dozens of other schools in the CCURI  network, including Mesa Community College in Arizona, Ivy Technical Community College in Indiana, Oklahoma City Community College, Moreno Valley College in California, and Seminole State College in Florida.

The grant is part of the National Science Foundation’s fund for improving undergraduate education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). For more information on the grant project, called “Community College Undergraduate Research Initiative, Creating a Culture of Change,” visit

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Inside the New Humanities Building

Faculty and staff had their first look inside the new Humanities building on Tuesday during tours of the facility. What can't be conveyed in these pictures is the width of the hallways- plenty of room for class change times and the overall scope of the building. It also has some of the best views on campus. There are three stories of classrooms, offices and many different types of specialized instructional spaces. Faculty offices are organized to put people from the same department near each other...and near to their classrooms. Here are some of the highlights.

The live recording room of the new music studio
This first floor hallway will have a bank of big picture windows looking out on what will be the new plaza.
The music area will include special soundproof practice rooms.
Tough to capture the size of the multi-use instructional space. It will be home to theater instruction and more.
This second floor hallway will connect to the Wood Campus Center via an elevated walkway.
The view across what will be the outdoor amphitheater and plaza.
Wide hallways reflect the overall roominess of the building.
This adjunct faculty work room may have one of the best views on campus.

The Newest Pioneer

Ryan Hunt of Gallatin is the new head baseball coach at Vol State. Hunt has been an assistant baseball coach at Cumberland University in Lebanon since 2003, the school where he also played second base as a student.

“Ever since I got into coaching professionally, Vol State stuck out to me as someplace I’d like to coach someday,” Hunt said. “There’s a history of winning at Vol State. I’m familiar with the program and it’s close to home and family.”

Hunt has both a bachelor’s and master’s degree from Cumberland. He arrives at Vol State as the team is preparing for the spring baseball schedule. The Pioneers start play in February.

“I hope to take the program to new heights,” he said. “Being part of three national titles at Cumberland, I’d like to see that happen here someday. The biggest thing is to have a positive impact on the program and the players.”

Everyone is encouraged to come out and root for the Vol State teams during home games in Gallatin. For the complete Pioneers baseball, softball and basketball schedules visit

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Thanks from Seth Walker

Faculty members will tell you that Seth Walker is a top-notch student at Vol State. Many of you have had a class with Seth or seen him around campus. He has high tech tools to work on his computer and has a personal assistant, Ken, to help him get around on campus and communicate. We asked Seth to write a blog post about his experiences at Vol State thus far. If you see him around campus be sure to say hello. Here's the post:

Going to college seemed daunting to me. Being at a new school in a totally different atmosphere scared me. However, those fears were put to rest shortly after coming to Volunteer State Community College. From the moment I came on campus, I could sense I was welcomed with open arms.

The faculty at Vol State have gone above and beyond to make sure of my success. Whether it was shortening a test or giving me extra time on an assignment, they have been more than accommodating. The faculty have  also taken an interest in me as a person. They want to get to know me and my personality. In addition, the offices and administration at Vol State have been more than helpful to me. Whenever my assistant, Mr. Ken Brassell, and I walk into an office for help, the staff is always eager to assist me with any needs that I may have. I would like to give a special thanks to Ms. Kathy Sowell and the staff in the Office of Disability Services for their help throughout my time at Vol State. I would not be as successful as I am today without them.

The student body at Vol State have embraced me. They treat me as if I did not have Cerebral Palsy. I love hanging out with my peers on campus. They brighten my day and make college interesting. I am thankful that I can always count on my peers for help. Whether taking notes in class, giving me a ride home, or just hanging out with me on the weekend, my peers are always there for me. Even something as simple as holding a door open for me means a lot.

Vol State is a very disability friendly college. Everyone at the college truly values inclusion. I could not ask for a better first two years.

-Seth Walker