Monday, August 28, 2017

Much Easier Discussion Board

The Vol State employee Discussion Board is now much easier to use. We have set up links in three different locations. You simply click the link and enter your normal computer credentials and you'll go right there. The links are: one the right hand side column of this blog; under the Faculty and Staff tools links on the website; and also on your My Vol State page under Employee Menu.

The Discussion Board is a way for you to reach campus with any non-work related comments or offers. It could include selling a car, a puppy up for adoption, tickets for sale, or cookies available from your kid's school. If you see a snake on campus or a deer wandering the back lawn, and it's not a problem, you can post about it there and talk about it there.

We hope the new links make it easier to use the Discussion Board. We hope everyone has a great semester!

Vol State Book Read Examines Incarceration with “Just Mercy”

According to numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, the United States has the highest incarceration rate of any nation in the world. The number of American prisoners has increased from 300,000 in the 1970s to 2.3 million people today. The Volunteer State Community College One Book, One Community initiative will examine these issues this coming school year with a group read of the non-fiction book "Just Mercy" by Bryan Stevenson. This is how the publisher, Spiegel and Grau, describes “Just Mercy.”

“Bryan Stevenson takes us on an unforgettable journey into the broken American criminal justice system in his much lauded New York Times bestselling “Just Mercy.” After Stevenson graduated from Harvard Law School he started the Equal Justice Initiative, a law practice dedicated to defending some of America's most rejected and marginalized people. Among the first cases he took on was that of Walter McMillian, a black man from Monroeville, Alabama who was sentenced to die for a notorious murder he insisted he didn't commit. The case would change Bryan's life and transform his understanding of justice and mercy forever. “Just Mercy” follows the suspenseful battle to free Walter before the state executes him, while also stepping back to tell the profoundly moving stories of men, women, and even children, who found themselves at the mercy of a system often incapable of showing it.” 

Bryan Stevenson. Photo by Nina Subin.
The One Book, One Community initiative joins Vol State, local schools, libraries and readers from across Sumner County for the group read. There are three speakers coming to the Vol State campus in Gallatin to discuss issues raised by the book. Everyone is welcome to attend these free events.

Jeannie Alexander will be speaking on September 13 at 1 p.m. in the Caudill Hall Wemyss Auditorium. Readers of the Nashville Scene will recognize her as the publication’s “Best Advocate” in 2017. Alexander, who has been involved in advocacy for those affected by homelessness as well as the prison system, now heads up the No Exceptions Prison Collective, a nonprofit focused on the abolition of prisons as well as the establishment of basic treatment standards for prisoners. Alexander will talk about her experiences as an advocate and more generally about the prison system.

Vanderbilt Philosophy Professor Lisa Guenther will discuss the prison system in America on October 24 at 1 p.m. in the Mary Cole Nichols Dining Room. Guenther’s areas of focus include mass incarceration, capital punishment, the carceral state, race and racism, and the effects of solitary confinement.

The Reverend Joseph B. Ingle will present on November 15 at 1 p.m. in the Caudill Hall Wemyss Auditorium. Ingle is an expert on the history of incarceration in the United States. The Reverend founded the Tennessee Committee against State Killing, and has served as the director of the Southern Coalition on Jails and Prisons as well as the Executive Director of the Neighborhood Justice Center, a Nashville based coalition focused on restorative justice.

“Just Mercy” is available at many Sumner County libraries and all Vol State library locations. For more information on One Book, One Community and “Just Mercy” visit

Here are the references for the above stats:
Highest Incarceration Rate
Number of Americans in Prison

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Red Solo Cup Winner

Advising is a big deal here at Vol State. And orientation, in the form of Campus Connect, is the start for many students. That's why it's no small matter when the Red Solo Cup is awarded at Convocation each year. It honors all of the academic divisions for their hard work in getting students properly advised. Alas, there can only be one winner. The award goes to the Social Science and Education Division this year. Heather Harper made the presentation. Dean Phyllis Foley accepted on behalf of her Division. Thanks to everyone for the great work on Campus Connect this we continue that effort through the school year.

Join us for the Harvest Moon Soiree September 15

Attendees of the Volunteer State College Foundation Harvest Moon Soirée will need to figure out their song requests. The Nashville duo Rock and Roll Pianos will be taking those requests and having fun with the crowd as the dueling piano entertainment for the event on September 15. The Soirée has raised more than a half-million dollars for student scholarships at Vol State over the last 11 years. Tickets are on sale now.

The Soirée will have electronic bidding via GalaBid for the Silent Auction this year. The items will include: lunch with Hendersonville Mayor Jamie Clary; a guided wildflower walk; Nashville Titans tickets with a parking pass; a signed UT football; a Ryan Johansen signed Nashville Predators mini-helmet; and gift cards to various local restaurants and entertainment venues. These items will be available for viewing on the new electronic bidding platform at starting September 8.

The Soirée will be held this year in the St. Joseph Hall of Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church in Hendersonville. The evening will begin at 5:30 p.m. with cocktails and the silent auction. Dinner and entertainment will follow. Sponsorship packages, tables, and individual seats can be purchased through Friday, September 8, while space is available. Individual tickets are $75 each. The returning Titanium and event title sponsor this year is Sumner Regional Medical Center. Sponsorships are still available. Please contact Alison Muncy at 615-230-3526 or for more information. For tickets call the Foundation at 615-230-3506, or visit

The 2017 Harvest Moon Soirée committee includes: Shirley Arrendale, Wanda Faulkner, Jim Harding, Mary Holtman-Reed, Diane Hughes, Dixie Jones, Lori Johnson, Hilary Marabeti, Laurette Nuckols, Sandy Webster, and Betty Zuccarello.

Pictured: Harvest Moon Soirée 2016, left to right: Susan Peach, chief executive officer, Sumner Regional Medical Center; Dr. Jerry Faulkner, president, Volunteer State Community College; and Karen Mitchell, vice president of Resource Development and executive director of the Foundation, Volunteer State Community College

Monday, August 21, 2017

An Amazing Eclipse Event

Thanks to everyone who made the eclipse event such a success. We had visitors from more than 20 states and several different countries. Police and Plant Operations made it all happen and more than 100 faculty, staff and students worked with the public on various activities. We even had 20 employees from Nissan headquarters come out to volunteer. The public seemed to have a great time. And I think we can all agree that totality was a once in a lifetime experience.

Service Awards

Congrats to everyone who received service awards from the college at Convocation. If you would like your picture please email me and I'll send it to you:

Here were some of the long-timers:

Thirty Year Awards
Terrence Heinen
Erica Malone

Thirty‐Five Year Awards
Suzanne Hesson
Donna Davis

Forty Year Awards
Ondis Bible

Forty‐Five Year Awards

Sue Pedigo

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Vol State in the News

More money for community college advising? That's the discussion in Tennessee right now. Dr. Faulkner discusses an anticipated proposal by Governor Haslam in this Tennessean story.

The college has been considering expansion in Wilson County for some time now. The Mt. Juliet location is still being finalized. Here is an update in the Tennessean.

Vol State hosted a transportation meeting last month. The discussion focused on the Sumner County part of the regional transportation plan. This is a Tennessean article about what came out of the meeting.

Angie Lawson is now the chief of Campus Police. We shared that news with the Tennessean recently. Chief Lawson gives a big shout-out to retired Chief William Rogan in the piece.