Monday, February 27, 2017

Colombian Educators Visit

Many Americans still think of drug wars and violence when it comes to the South American country of Colombia. Much has changed in recent years and the country is currently undergoing what many observers call a renaissance. Vol State had a visit from nine Colombian educators recently- three college presidents and six faculty from the country. They were here to learn about American higher education. Vol State was just one stop on a whirlwind tour. They met with Vol State leaders to discuss and compare higher education. Students from John Espey's Marketing class also had an opportunity to meet the visitors. The Vol state part of their visit was organized by the Vol State International Education program.

Honors Program Students and Faculty Gather

Three Vol State Honors Program students recently traveled to Motlow State Community College for the Tennessee Collegiate Honors Council Conference, an annual gathering of students from honors programs and colleges at community colleges and universities around the state. Vol State students have attended the conference before, but this was the first one at which students presented papers. 

John Butkevicius presented “Tainted Success: Links between the Height and Fall of the Mayan Classical Era,” which was his semester-long project in Honors world history. Josh Ashby presented “The Ritual: A Sociological Exercise,” which he developed in his Honors sociology class. Hannah Giles shared her paper from the Honors history/literature class, “American Christianity and the Female Sex.” 

The students were accompanied by their own personal cheering section, Asst. Prof. of History and Honors Director Merritt McKinney and Associate Professor of English Betty Mandeville.

Vol State in the News

The Vet Tech program has a new home on campus. They're now located in the former Art building. The new facility gives Vet Tech five times more space. You can check it out during an Open House for the public on March 21. The Tennessean has details on the new facility and the event.

Academic Sneak Peek is back again for high school students. The Wilson Post has our news release and News2 ran this story.

The International Education program held a Chinese Cultural celebration on Sunday. The Gallatin News ran this piece advertising the event. And the Tennessean had a nice story about our Vol State Chinese scholar this year, Ellen Gao.

Robertson County Schools are considering a Middle College program in the county. There are two proposals to run such a system, one by APSU and another by Vol State. The Robertson County Times has this story.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Dr. Faulkner: Feedback

It doesn’t happen as much anymore, but do you remember a time when a public address system produced that ear splitting, high pitched screech?  That is a case of feedback. 

As a student of ecology and biology, we often explore feedback systems in living organisms.  Feedback systems are associated with maintaining a state of health, balance, and proper function.  This state is called homeostasis and the systems are homeostatic systems.  

In living systems, negative feedback systems are not negative because they are bad but are labeled as negative because they say, “No.” to a change.  For example when the air temperature is cold enough to lower your body temperature, a negative feedback occurs that causes you to shiver to say, “No.” to the change by generating heat.  Or inversely, when the temperature increases your body says, “No.” by producing sweat to reduce the body temperature.  A positive feedback says, “Yes.” to a change and increases the rate or magnitude of the change.  An often cited positive feedback system occurs in childbirth where the process results in increasingly stronger and longer contractions to deliver the infant.

More commonly, when we have conversations about feedback we are considering what happens when one receives criticism, praise, or assessment from others.  And we often incorporate similar language (positive, negative, constructive) to describe the feedback.  In this realm positive means good and negative means bad.  Constructive feedback is usually negative delivered in a good way. 
In education we talk about formative assessments which are designed to give students feedback on their progress.  We have a variety of mechanisms to provide each other with feedback.  Student evaluations, peer evaluations, evaluations of the administration, promotion and tenure committee evaluations are all designed to provide feedback. 

In a recent interview in Inc. Magazine, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg was asked the number one thing she looked for in someone that can grow with a company.  She replied, “Someone who takes feedback well.  Because people who can take feedback well are people who can learn and grow quickly.”

The article goes on to explain that anyone can accept positive feedback and praise.  It is more difficult to accept and grow from negative feedback.  “Simply put, it never feels good to hear we’re wrong.”  Because it doesn’t feel good we often react to negative feedback in an emotional way and miss an opportunity to learn and benefit.  The situation is exacerbated when negative feedback is delivered in an emotional way.

The author of the article advises, “But if you’re on the receiving end of negative feedback, don’t waste time rating how ideally it was delivered.  Instead ask yourself the following:

·         How can I use this feedback to help me or my team improve?
·         Putting my personal feelings aside, what can I learn from this alternate perspective?”

The takeaways for me are that we should be willing to deliver constructive feedback to our colleagues even when it is negative.  It should be delivered with the goal of helping each other be the best possible.   Secondly, we should not fear feedback opportunities but should rather seek them out with the goal of being the best possible person and best possible member of the Vol State community.

-Dr. Jerry Faulkner

Vol State in the News

There was more TN Reconnect coverage last week. The Governor's proposal for free community college tuition for adult students brought Channel 5 to the Gallatin campus. They talked to some of our many adult students. Here is the story.

Free community college proposals are spreading across the country. USA Today included this story that has an interview with a Vol State student.

Help us spread the word about free OB scans for expecting moms. It's part of the Vol State Diagnostic Medical Sonography program. The Tennessean has details.

International Education has a fun event coming up later this month to celebrate Chinese Culture. The Tennessean has the details.

Lawmakers for Lunch

One way that the college stays in touch with our area lawmakers is through periodic legislative lunches in conjunction with TBR. The purpose of the meetings is to dialogue with members of the General Assembly about how legislative initiatives affect higher education and the ability of the college to impact the community.  It's also our opportunity to show off new programs and initiatives at Vol State. Here's a pic from a recent lunch: left to right: Ginger Hausser, Director of External Affairs, TBR, William Lamberth, Representative, Dr. Faulkner, Courtney Rogers, Representative, Ferrell Haile, Senator.  

Monday, February 6, 2017

A Fond Farewell for George Wilson

George Wilson and some of his former Vol State students.
Recently retired Logistics and Supply Side Management Associate Professor George Wilson had a surprise send-off last week in Madison. The Delta Nu Alpha (DNA) logistics organization held a dinner with much help from George's wife, Beverly. Attendees included  the former Tennessee Board of Regents Vice-Chancellor of Community Colleges, Dr. Warren Nichols, Vol State President Dr. Jerry Faulkner, Vol State Dean Patricia Anderson, and Vol State Adjunct Associate Professor Don Ellis.

Recent Vol State Graduates who attended included-Ron Moe, CJ Kolek, Sandra Domino Hunt, Gayle Wilmore, Dawn Leady, Jeff Hartmann, Adam Mamula, and Mary Hoppenrath.

Always so proud of his graduates, George took yet another moment to talk up their accomplishments. Many have been student participants in DNA as well as ISM-Nashville (another logistics organization. CJ and Domino are continuing students for their bachelor degrees (Lipscomb and TSU, respectively).The other LGM Graduates all have full-time jobs in supply chain management.

Congrats to George for his hard work and success in growing Logistics and Supply Chain Management. 

Vol State in the News

The Tennessee Reconnect free tuition for adult students proposal by the Governor has attracted quite a bit of media attention. Channel 4 came to the Gallatin campus to do interviews for this story  and the Tennessean ran a front page story  on Sunday with our students and staff.

The Tennessean also did a wonderful side-bar video with adult student Gaynell Buffinet Payne and her focuses on the challenges adult students face, aside from just money. Check it out here.

International students have been watching the situation with travel visas and the President Trump executive order restricting travelers from certain countries. No Vol State students have been impacted by the order, as far as we know. Recently Dr. Faulkner reiterated the college support for international students and their studies in this Gallatin News Examiner story.

Friday, February 3, 2017

A BIG thank you to our first "Friday Bow Tie" participants!!!

Just a bit of fun showing off our first "Friday Bow Tie" participants!  There's room for more in this party -- please join in for the next bow tie fest coming up on Friday, March 3.