Monday, December 17, 2018

Vol State in Upper Cumberland Christmas Parades

The Cookeville Higher Education Campus (CHEC) and Vol State at Livingston have been participating in Christmas parades. CHEC entered a float in the Cookeville parade that students worked to decorate.They had great participation. Vol State at Livingston had the Vol State Campus Police car in the Overton, Clay, Pickett and Jackson Parades.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Vol State in the News

The national publication, Community College Daily, picked-up a story we did about the Logistics and Supply Chain Management program.

A Vol State grad is highlighted in a CNBC story free tuition programs in the United States. 

WPLN, NPR Radio in Nashville, did an update recently with the Bare family, four people all enrolling at Vol State using TN Reconnect this fall. The follow-up is not surprising, two are continuing classes in the spring and two are not. We will continue the important work to help folks who are struggling with the demands of family life and college.

Our Outstanding Fall graduate was Cesar Espinosa from Cookeville, he received this write-up in the Herald-Citizen.

Friday, December 7, 2018

No-Shave November Winners

The Vol State Campus Police department led a No-Shave November Cancer awareness event this year. They raised more than $370 dollars. They even made it a competition. Here are the winners:
The Best Try (at least he tried…)  Winner – Officer McKinley
The Ugly (think desert Island survivor)  Winner – Sergeant Pennington
The Natural (Soap opera handsome)  Winner – Assistant Chief Anschuetz
The Saint Nick (fullest and biggest)  Winner – Officer Grimes
The Mean (Cop you don’t want to roll the window down for)  Winner – Officer Scantland

Before and After Pics

Officer McKinley Gallatin Campus

Sergeant Pennington
Gallatin Campus

Assistant Chief Anschuetz
Gallatin Campus

Officer Grimes
Highland Crest

Dispatcher Rogers
Gallatin Campus

Officer Scantland

Officer Phillips
Livingston Campus

Monday, December 3, 2018

Dr. Faulkner: Last of the 20th Century Students

I read today a short article in the Campbell University Magazine.  Campbell is a small, faith-based, liberal arts institution in North Carolina.  Their student body is majority traditional aged.  The article was reminding the University that their newest class was the first to have never lived in the 20th century.  This poses some challenge to those of us who lived the majority of our life in the 20th century.

That realization reminded me of the Beloit College Mindset List created by Ron Nief, Public Affairs Director Emeritus, Tom McBride, Professor of English and Keefer Professor of Humanities, and Charles Westerberg, Brannon-Ballard Professor of Sociology.

The list explores the culture of the 18 year old incoming class and is a window into the experiences that shaped them. I’ve often shared from the list and find it interesting and challenging. 

Here are a few excerpts from the list:

-Among the iconic figures never alive in their lifetime are Victor Borge, Charles Schulz and the original Obi-Wan Kenobi, Alec Guinness.

-Outer space has never been without human habitation.

-They have always been able to refer to Wikipedia.

-They have grown up afraid that a shooting could happen at their school, too.

-They've grown up with stories about where their grandparents were on 11/22/63 and where their parents were on Sept. 11.

-The Prius has always been on the road in the U.S.

-They never used a spit bowl in a dentist’s office.

-A visit to a bank is a rare event.

-None having served there, American presidents have always visited Vietnam as commander in chief.

-Donny and Marie who?

-Films have always been distributed on the Internet.

So given that this generation of students has an entirely different frame of reference and a vastly different cultural experience is it time to change the “what” and “how” we teach?  Is it time change the “when” and “why” of our processes at the college?

I’ll be thinking about that as I recoil back to the safety of the 20th century.

P.S.  The Mindset list is moving to Marist College

-Dr. Faulkner

Monday, November 26, 2018

Donate to the Foundation on #GivingTuesday Tomorrow

People can make a difference on #GivingTuesday, November 27, by donating to Vol State student scholarships with the Volunteer State College Foundation. Organizers call #GivingTuesday a “global day of giving that harnesses the collective power of individuals, communities and organizations to encourage philanthropy and to celebrate generosity worldwide.” The Volunteer State College Foundation has set a goal to increase donor giving during the 24-hour #GivingTuesday event. Donations can be made online.

“No amount is too small, because each dollar makes an impact in a student’s life,” said Foundation development officer, Alison Muncy. “The money raised during the #GivingTuesday campaign will fund book and tuition scholarships for Vol State students. We’ll be sharing the stories of those students and have messages from our donors on social media over the next few weeks.”

Last year, the Volunteer State College Foundation was able to raise enough money on #GivingTuesday to fund nine book scholarships for students at the college. To donate and for more information visit

A Peek Inside the Warf Renovation

Dr. Faulkner needed some pictures of the Warf Renovation project for a presentation, and so we decided to share them with campus. The interior is virtually unrecognizable, as many walls are torn out in areas that used to make up classrooms. The reconfiguration will provide space for a new science lab and faculty offices. The outdoor work, facing Nashville Pike, is for a new Mechatronics lab and more office space.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Vol State in the News

The published research of Stephanie Voris, adjunct faculty member and coordinator of the CHEC facility in Cookeville, was picked up as a story by the Cookeville Herald-Citizen. Her work examines the impact of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder on the family members of combat veterans.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Vol State Faculty Perform Shakespeare on PBS

You can watch two Vol State Upper Cumberland faculty members perform Shakespeare this weekend on the Cookeville PBS station, which can be seen on Nashville area cable systems. David Johnson and Lucas Flatt were in the play Much Ado About Nothing that was produced as part of the Cookeville Performing Arts Center’s Shakespeare in the Park.  The play was performed at Dogwood Park in Cookeville for the community. Lucas played the role of Benedick and David played the role of Dogberry.  Both Lucas and David are seasoned actors and have had leading roles in plays both locally and regionally.

WCTE, the Upper Cumberland Public Television station, brought a full crew and tech truck and live streamed the show. They also recorded the play to air as part of PBS’s Shakespeare Uncovered Series. The play is scheduled to air on Sunday, November 18, at 3:30 pm on WCTE. You can also watch online:

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

English Professor's Battle with Lung Cancer

“If you have lungs, you can get lung cancer,” said Leslie LaChance, professor of English at Vol State, who was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer in November of 2017. She added that lung cancer is one of the most underfunded, under researched, and highly stigmatized cancers that exist. It’s considered a smoker’s cancer, yet anyone can get it.

“I developed a really bad cough, it wasn’t going away. My doctor and I thought that it was my asthma flaring up and that I needed to get on a different inhaler. A few days later I got a little lump in my neck. It was a lymph node that had swollen up, which could be a sign of something infectious or of something metastatic,” she explained. In her case, it was metastatic. After seeing multiple doctors and receiving CT scans, she got a call two days later stating that it was lung cancer and that it had spread to her lymphatic system. At stage four, the cancer was technically incurable, yet it was treatable.

Leslie discovered that it was an extremely rare form of cancer, caused by a genetic mutation of the ROS1 gene. Her doctor informed her of a drug specifically designed to treat her type of cancer through targeted therapy. On the day she was supposed to begin the treatment, she woke up unable to breathe. She called her doctor, who told her to get to the ER right away. On arrival, Leslie had emergency heart surgery.

“I’m lucky I woke up, because what happened was a bunch of cancer cells had attacked the fluid around my heart and the pericardium, there was all kind of fluid buildup around the heart.” Following the heart surgery, she began the treatment.

“Sadly, in May, I had some follow up scans and it showed that the drug had stopped working.” The cancer had developed a resistance to the drug. “Cancer is really clever and it will do whatever it can to survive.” It had metastasized to her brain. “I had about 20 small tumors in my brain.” At that point there were no drugs available, that she knew of, to treat her type of cancer that had spread to the brain. “The only solution was to go into a chemotherapy kind of thing, and I would have had to have whole brain radiation,” she said.

Leslie began doing research. A tremendous amount of research. “I tried to Google myself to PhD in lung cancer,” she said. In the meantime, she joined a Facebook support group for those with ROS1 cancer. “It’s a group that calls themselves the ROS1DERS (pronounced ROS wonders) because we keep finding ways to stay alive apparently.”

From the support group, she located a clinical trial in Boston for another targeted therapy that would treat her type of cancer, both in the brain and the body, by penetrating the blood-brain barrier. She qualified for the trial. “I got myself a plane ticket and I was there the next week.” 

By July, she had no evidence of disease in her body. “All of the tumors in my brain were gone, I just had a tiny little bit, and by September that tiny little bit was gone. It does not mean I’m cured. It means I have no visible cancer in my body. I have it at the molecular level, but as long as this drug keeps it suppressed, I won’t have tumor growth. So, I can kind of walk around like a normal person.” The current side effects that she’s dealing with are fatigue, forgetfulness, and neuropathy in her hands. 
“Different things work for different people. So many factors determine it. This just happened to work for me. So, I come up lucky on this one … We don’t know how long it will work for, or how long I’ll be able to tolerate it,” she explained.

“The most important thing I’ve discovered is that it’s really important to be your own best advocate. Play an active role in your treatment and treatment decisions. Think of your doctor more as a partner, not necessarily as the person in charge … I’m going to be that person that tells people to do their own research. By doing research, I learned it’s good to do research.”

November is Lung Cancer awareness month. Leslie’s first year “cancerversary” was on Nov. 9, 2018, which was the day she was diagnosed. LUNGevity Foundation is one of the major fundraisers for Lung Cancer research, also providing patient education and support. They’ll host a walk on November 17th at 8:00 A.M. in Nashville, and you can get involved. Colleagues of Leslie have formulated a support group called the “Lit Wits” who will participate in the event together. Everyone is welcome to join them in the walk.

Please visit to register to volunteer or to find out more information. To donate to or join Leslie’s group, please search “Lit Wits” in the search bar on the website.

Leslie is retiring from Vol State at the end of the current fall semester. She plans to return to next fall as an adjunct faculty member. Leslie has been channeling her writing energy into her blog, which she started in response to her journey with cancer. You can follow her blog at:

-By Rachel Keyes

Cookeville Faculty Member PTSD Family Research Published

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a tragic condition, recently highlighted by a mass shooting in California. A combat veteran there killed 12 people in a bar. Friends and relatives say the former Marine suffered from PTSD. The condition doesn’t just impact those afflicted, friends and family have to deal with effects of PTSD. Vol State adjunct faculty member Stephanie Voris, who is also the coordinator at the Cookeville Higher Education Campus (CHEC), was recently published in a journal for her research with PTSD and the wives of veterans. Here is how she explains it:

“My research was part of an opportunity I took in my Master’s Program with New Mexico State University. I have an interest in combat veteran spouses due to my own history with the military at Fort Campbell, Ky. Further, I have direct relatives who suffered secondary trauma from PTSD and Shell Shock aftereffects from both a WWI combat veteran great grandfather and a WWII combat veteran grandfather.”

“Whereas research has been abundant in recent decades regarding PTSD and/or Traumatic Brain Injury in combat veterans, little has been sought in the livelihood after military service of combat veteran spouses who are often the ones picking up the pieces post-combat. In a time of “Thank you for your service,” spouses often hear: “…and thank your husband for his service.” While combat veterans often need help with acclimating into civilian society, spouses needs and struggles tend to be ignored.”

“My study was a qualitative analysis on the struggles that combat veteran spouses face while attempting to support their spouses and in acclimating to the civilian sector. Findings include troubling emotional, financial, and social challenges and, further, social and emotional isolation from both military and civilian communities. Further research is needed in how to better accommodate transitioning for both combat veteran and spouse post-service and also how to give spouses a needed voice throughout and after active military life.“

Story Slam Winners

Congratulations to the winners of the Second Annual Vol State Live Story Slam, student Ryan Kennedy and Nicole Black, shown here with poet and Story Slam host Jon Goode. Students in COMM 2025 and COMM 2045 classes study the art of storytelling. They tell stories in their classes, and then compete in Story Slams within their class and then a finalists' round held online. This enables on-ground and online students to connect by hearing each other's stories. This event started with a TBR grant given to Shellie Michael and Sheri Waltz, which also included the development of a storytelling curriculum in COMM 2025 and COMM 2045.

Monday, November 5, 2018

$102,000 Zoom Room Grant Announced

A new US Department of Agriculture (USDA) grant provides $102,000 for Vol State to install Zoom Rooms in rural high schools in our area. The goal is to provide Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) classes to six high schools. The grant also provides for adding Zoom technology to the Livingston campus. The college has been using Zoom technology on our campuses for a while now and the use is expanding. Zoom is a teleconference system with far more flexibility than previous systems. Kevin Blankenship is the lead for the Vol State grant. It comes as part of $39.6 million in grant funding through the Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) Grant Program. The USDA said that more than 4.5 million residents in 40 states and three territories will benefit from the funding.
 “We are pleased to assist Volunteer State Community College in improving its educational opportunities,” Tennessee Rural Development State Director Jim Tracy said. “Investments such as this one, significantly advance the quality of education made available to its students, specifically those in technology and healthcare.”

Shipley named TPA President

Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Jeremy Shipley, has been named President of the Tennessee Philosophical Association. The naming of the position came at a recent meeting of the organization, where Jeremy also presented a paper titled: “How to Give Equal Weight to Peer Opinion.” This is from the abstract:

“Sometimes, when forming our own views we should give equal weight to the views of our peers. How should we do this? In the context of updating our credences (degrees of belief) on the credences of others there are two main approaches: the ``come together'' approach and the ``synergize'' approach. Neither approach is uniquely correct, and attention must be paid to the difference between the role of probability in credences as attitudes toward a representation with determinate content and credences arising from probability in the content of the representation.”

Congratulations to Jeremy!

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Spread the Word: College Foundation and #GivingTuesday

People can make a difference on #GivingTuesday, November 27, by donating to Vol State student scholarships with the Volunteer State College Foundation. Organizers call #GivingTuesday a “global day of giving that harnesses the collective power of individuals, communities and organizations to encourage philanthropy and to celebrate generosity worldwide.” The Volunteer State College Foundation has set a goal to increase donor giving during the 24-hour #GivingTuesday event. Donations can be made online.

“No amount is too small, because each dollar makes an impact in a student’s life,” said Foundation development officer, Alison Muncy. “The money raised during the #GivingTuesday campaign will fund book and tuition scholarships for Vol State students. We’ll be sharing the stories of those students and have messages from our donors on social media over the next few weeks.”

Last year, the Volunteer State College Foundation was able to raise enough money on #GivingTuesday to fund nine book scholarships for students at the college. To donate and for more information visit

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

No Shave November

People may be getting hairy here at Vol State. Campus Police are participating in No-Shave November. The annual national event is designed to raise awareness for the importance of cancer research, and also raise money for that research. You can get hairy with Campus Police, just be sure to tell people why you are doing it and how they can make a difference by supporting cancer research. You can also drop-off monetary donations for the American Cancer Society at the Campus Police office in Gallatin. Here's info on the effort:

Vol State in the News

WPLN, Nashville NPR radio, did a story recently about TN Promise and students who are still struggling financially. They highlighted the work of the Feed, our student food pantry.

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation led a hazardous waste drop off day at Vol State last Saturday, as they have done for many years. This year was a bit different, after someone dropped off a tiny amount of what was thought to be TNT. Despite the exciting headlines, the four ounces of powdered TNT was in the parking lot at the event, never inside the college, and was picked up by the Tennessee Highway Patrol for disposal. In case you are wondering- TNT is not allowed at a Hazardous waste drop off event. Fox 17 had this story.

Fox 17 also ran a story about TN Reconnect. We're not sure where they got the idea that we filled up classes due to TN Reconnect. We accepted and enrolled everyone who applied and was eligible. We are encouraging people to apply for TN Reconnect for the spring semester.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Meet Jeff King and Celebrate Diversity Week

In case you haven’t met him yet, Jeff King is the new Manager of Diversity and Inclusion at Vol State. He came most recently from Vanderbilt University where he held the position of Associate Director of Bishop Joseph Johnson Black Cultural Center. The office has had several successful events this semester, and now they have an entire week of activities planned for Diversity Week.

The Color of Fear, Part One (90 min)
3:00 pm • Mary Cole Nichols Dining Hall B
Refreshments provided
Co-sponsors •Returning Students Organization

The Color of Fear, Part Two (56 min)
3:00 pm • Mary Cole Nichols Dining Hall B
Refreshments provided
Co-sponsors •Returning Students Organization

The Color of Fear, Part Three (60 min)
3:00 pm • Mary Cole Nichols Dining Hall B
Refreshments provided
Co-sponsors •Returning Students Organization
Fall Festival and International Food Day
11:00 am to 2:00 pm
Thigpen Commons/Weather Contingent is Gym
Lunch provided
Sponsored by Student Engagement and Support

(Count It, Lock It, Drop It) Nugs for Drugs
10:00 am – 2:00 pm • Duffer Plaza
Sponsored by Student Engagement and Support
Identity and Career Choices/Challenges
Featuring Lamont Holley, Nashville Cares
12:30 pm • Mary Cole Nichols Dining Hall B
Lunch provided • Co-sponsors • Spectrum
The Color of Fear Wrap-Up Discussion
Featuring Rev. Dr. Michael McDonald
3:00 pm • Mary Cole Nichols Dining Hall B
Reception following
Co-sponsors • Returning Students Organization

For additional details, flyers, and program descriptions, please visit  .  Be sure to click on the Inside Diversity and Inclusion button.

Vol State in the News

The $6.2 Million Warf Renovation groundbreaking event received coverage on Channel 5 and in the Tennessean. We appreciate the help of Vol State Math and Science students and faculty for making it a fun celebration of science.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

EYH Science Program for Girls Has Great Success

A hundred girls recently attended what has become one of Vol State's largest K-12 learning events. EYH stands for Expanding Your Horizons. The third edition was held last weekend here on the Gallatin campus. Girls in 5th through 9th grades attended a panel discussion featuring successful women in STEM areas (science, technology, engineering and math) sharing their life and career experiences. The kids also participated in workshops involving chemistry, biology, math, health science, animal science, and computer programming. Congrats to all of the organizers and volunteers! Lingli Ni shares her excitement in a poem:

Was It A Dream? Or Was It Not?
By Lingli Ni

One hundred girls registered,
For Vol State EYH,
At its third annual conference!
It is the record number,
That we have been seeking.
Now it is in front our eyes,
Was it a dream? Or was it not?

That ordinary dining room,
Was transformed into a colorful conference room!
Filled with beautiful, young ladies,
And lots of volunteers.
Presentations and interviews,
Questions and Answers,
Eye-catching door prizes,
Music and drum rolls.
Fancy EYH photo booth with a skeleton,
Science lab equipments and funny eye props.
Now the room is empty and quiet.
Was it a dream? Or was it not?

All workshop sessions were fully staffed,
With experienced and dedicated leaders.
We even had extra workshop leaders,
Prepared to help fill in for others.
Professionals from colleges and companies,
Provided quality workshops!

At this third annual EYH,
We had several new things.
We had our first keynote speaker,
We had our first ever essay competition.
We had a group picture taken,
We even had a few emergencies.
But everything worked out perfectly,
Make me wonder whether it was reality?

Over a hundred Vol State students volunteered,
And EYH girls loved them!
They are big brothers and sisters,
And they are college students and role models.
When those little legs got tired from walking,
A piggy back ride service is standing by,
Our volunteers worked so hard,
And they ate every slice of pizza.

A big crowd gathered at Vol State,
On that beautiful, sunny day.
Something strange happened at EYH,
The little girls asked big questions!
The first Saturday of October will be reserved,
Vol State EYH is going to happen annually!
One father said it was the best event his daughter attended,
That comment put me on cloud nine right away.
Was it a dream? Or was it not?
Maybe it is a dream,

A wonderful dream came true at the magic third conference!

Monday, October 1, 2018

Vol State Professors View American Culture Through the TV Show Mad Men

You may think that your professors just come to class, teach, and then go home to their families, yet a lot of our Vol State professors do some pretty interesting work in their off time.  As fanatics of the American TV show Mad Men, married Professors Scott McMillan and Jennifer James have been analyzing the TV show and the constant theme of “work” within American culture. Their work has turned into a research paper titled “Revisiting Mad Men: The Nature of Work in American Culture.” They will present some of their research and ideas at The Popular/American Culture Association in the South Conference in New Orleans during the weekend of October 4th, 2018.

“Part of our culture, from our very early history, is this American work ethic,” said McMillan. “We’ve always been about work, work, work. It’s at the heart of who we are, it drives us as a nation, and Mad Men symbolizes this. It’s not just a good TV show, its great American literature. Ultimately it’s just Americans working just like we all are… It transcends just being set in the 1960’s, it deals with the struggles we all face in any workplace, regardless of the era.” 

“We’re moving away from that sort of Ford economy, of assembly line production, into creative work," said James. “We see their focus of work (in Mad Men) while the country is falling apart around them, it’s this very tumultuous time in the U.S. and we see these main characters go through that time. We see them working, but they also focus on other work, the psychoanalytical work, the work of overcoming alcoholism, the work of becoming a better person, the spiritual work of meditation, it’s a beautiful series, and every time you watch it, a different theme emerges.” 

They soon realized the themes provided an opportunity for scholarly exploration.

“In the paper, we focus on this idea of work, and what work means to identity. Boomers live to work, Xers work to live. Does the job become our identity? Where do we stop and the job start, where does the job stop and we start? The American ideal is that we are workers, we are the job. We work more than any culture on the planet, constantly trying to find identity in work,” explained James.

McMillan said that he often ties pop-culture, including TV shows, into his Political Science curriculum to get the students engaged. 

“We not only teach the stuff, we’re also thinking about it, exploring ideas, presenting them and to a hopefully receptive audience, that will allow other people to think about things in a different way. I think it’s an important part of what we do as professors, that we stay active in this larger academic world… and it’s always nice to carry the Vol State flag into these kinds of things,” McMillan added.

For more information on The Popular/American Culture Association in the South Conference in New Orleans, please visit: 
-By Rachel Keyes

QEP Focus Groups

 The Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) is part of our SACSCOC accreditation process. The focus is the First Year Experience, plans for helping freshmen be successful college students. Ideas include a new College Success class. The QEP Development Committee has been working since May to research best practices and develop a plan. They presented those findings in focus groups last week on the Gallatin campus. These are some pictures from one of those meetings. The 30 minute sessions provided an opportunity for a quick overview of the plan and input from group participants.  
The next step will be to take those focus group ideas and form a QEP Implementation Committee to decide how to carry out the plan.

If you have an opportunity to participate in future focus groups, please do so. Everyone from the college community is welcome to attend and participate. Cookeville and Livingston focus groups will be scheduled soon.

Vet Tech Hosts Scenting Trial

Vol State Veterinary Technology hosted Performance Scenting Dogs (PSD) scenting trial this past weekend. PSD held a silent auction in the week before the trial and raised enough money to award a second year Vet Tech student the funds to pay her national board examination fee once she has graduated. The winner was Holli Ann Hill. PSD will be at the Vet Tech Pinning Ceremony in May of 2019 to award the prize. Pictures courtesy Heather Coiner Photography.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Vol State in the News

Our story about the Hawkins family and their tornado connection to Vol State was picked up by the Brentwood Home Page.

There are plenty of Vol State events coming up in October. The Lebanon Democrat has stories about the Fiesta and the upcoming children's play featuring the popular character Junie B. Jones.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Meet the New Vice President

Nicholas Bishop has been hired as vice president for Economic and Community Development at Volunteer State Community College. Bishop comes most recently from the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development where he was director of Compliance and Policy in the Workforce Services Division. Bishop is the first person to hold the newly created vice president position at Vol State.

“I’ll be working on economic development initiatives. That includes reaching out to employers for workforce development,” Bishop said. “We want to make sure employers have the workforce they need and that students are being trained for the jobs of the future. I hope I can bridge some gaps and strengthen partnerships.”

Previous to his work for the State of Tennessee, Bishop served on the Morgan County Commission. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from U-T Knoxville, and a J.D. from the Nashville School of Law.