Monday, January 29, 2018

Dr. Faulkner: TIPS for Teaching

I’ve written on previous occasions about lessons learned from Training, a magazine for professional trainers in business and industry. I find many similarities between what they do and what we as an educational institution aspire to do.

In a recent issue author J. Brooke Hoover offers a methodology called “TIPS” which stands for Teach, Illustrate, Practice, and Simulate.  Hoover says, “The goal is to go from zero grounding to fluency without compromising quality as quickly as possible.”
The first step, Teach, involves subject grounding and knowledge transfer.  This is perhaps the most traditional step in higher education.   Unfortunately in many cases, this step has become routine and done without much planning or forethought.  For example, lecture has been described as the quickest way to get information from the teacher’s notes to the students’ notes without going through the brain of either.  Knowledge transfer doesn’t have to be boring.  We should use all the technology and bells and whistles that we can to make this step fun and exciting.

The next step is Illustrate.  In many classrooms Teach and Illustrate are combined.  If teach is the let me tell you part then illustrate is the let me show you part.  Often this is where the students have that discovery moment.  This is particularly true in our visually centered society.  Again, technology is our friend and the multiple online resources provide us with multiple media devices for illustrating.
This is the point where Hoover makes what we in higher ed might see as a startling suggestion.  He offers that, “Teach and Illustrate should take up about 20 to 25 percent of the training time . . . tops!  Practice and Simulation should take up the remaining 71 to 80 percent.”

The third step is Practice.  “This is the ‘Now you do it’ part.”  Hoover believes that this is where real learning results are exponential.  In Math these are the practice problem sets.  In other classes it may be the writing assignments.  In skills based classes like our Health Science classes it is demonstrating proper technique.  In science classes, laboratory sections are much about practice.  Even assessments like quizzes and tests can be considered practice, especially those that require students to do more than regurgitate information.  Our efforts to have more flipped classes give us more time for practice.

And the final step is Simulate.  The author acknowledges that it is hard to separate Practice and Simulation.  Simulation involves “real world conditions, situations and sometimes unfortunate realities.”  In Health Science the hi-fidelity, mannequins are the ultimate simulation.  I remember when we obtained the first one in the nursing program at Cleveland State.  The most impactful lesson came when students were allowed to simulate treatments and make mistakes that ultimately lead to the “death” of the patient.  Problem based learning in business and critical thinking in other disciplines is a way to simulate.  This is often referred to as authentic assessment.  Service learning is a highly effective real world opportunity that even goes beyond simulation.

So the challenge for us as educators is to find ways to enhance but shorten the Teach and Illustrate steps and find opportunities to increase the Practice and Simulate steps.

-Dr. Jerry Faulkner

I Am Not Your Negro Movie Screening for Unity Day

The Oscar-nominated documentary “I Am Not Your Negro” will be presented at Vol State for Unity Day on January 31 at 5 p.m. The film explores the lives of leaders of the Civil Rights movement in the United States from the perspective of author James Baldwin. Samuel L. Jackson narrates the movie that is based on an unfinished book by Baldwin focusing on the assassinations of Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King, Jr. The free screening will be followed by a panel discussion featuring people involved in the Civil Rights struggle in Sumner County.

Unity Day is an annual event. It explores the legacy of Dr. King and the racial equity challenges still inherent in American society. The movie will be shown in the Caudill Hall auditorium. For more information please call 615-230-3461.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Vol State Students Perform Well in Math Competition

Tennessee community college students went head-to-head in the Tennessee Mathematical Association of Two-year Colleges (TMATYC) math competition. The results are exciting: Vol State had 28 students, including several Middle College students, among the 225 students from across the state competing in all five math competitions. Vol State students performed very well in all categories.  Our students were represented in the “Top Ten” in every competition, racking up a total of twelve “Top Ten” positions. Of those, we had one first place winner, one second place winner, and three third place winters. A list of all competitors and placeholders is below.

Math and Science Dean Tom Ekman said: “If you do the math (sorry – I just had to say that), Vol State students made up 12.4% of the competitors but received 29.4% of the “Top Three*” cash prizes, and 23.1% of the “Top Ten*” placeholders. (*There were some ties).”

Among the 15 top three cash prize winners in all five categories: 
Pellissippi State had        6 top three winners
Volunteer State  had       5 top three winners
Chattanooga State had   2 top three winners
Cleveland State had        1 top three winners
Nashville State had         1 top three winners 
Northeast State had        0 top three winners

Congrats to all of our students! Here is the list:

Top Ten Survey of Math

Christian Bass  second place

Sara Eaton   third place

Top Ten Statistics
Kailyn Fournier   third place

Ashtyn Gillihan

Top Ten Precalculus
Emily Bentley   sixth place

Jaimee Brown   seventh place tie

Kush Patel   seventh place tie

Anamarie Hinson

Blaine Birk

Ethan Denson

Kartesh Patel

Lakshmi Ramesh

Sky Nichols

Tyler Clay

Top Ten Calculus A
Chaohui Zheng   first place

Siyuan Zhang    fourth place

Zachary Houtman   fifth place

Rachel Stoneman   ninth place tie

Hannah Bates

Hannah Hudson

Jeny Starnes

Kaylee Wheeling

Top Ten Calculus B
Mark Skelton   third place
Jacob Wheeling   tenth place

Dalton Davis

John Cruz

Kohen Williams

Tatera Roe

Pictured above: The participating faculty and students: Back Row left to right: Lingli Ni, Sara Eaton, Christian Bass, Mark Skelton, Chaohui Zheng, and Kailyn Fournier. Front Row left to right: Jonathan Kenigson, Thomas Ekman, Chuck Conrad, Peter Melvin

Pictured below:  Kailyn Fournier (left), third place winner in TMATYC statistics test, and Elizabeth Forrester (right), Kailyn’s instructor for statistics.

DMS Offers Free Pregancy Ultrasounds

Please let your friends and family know:
The Vol State Diagnostic Medical Sonography program is offering free ultrasounds for expecting moms in their second or third trimester this spring. The program organizes the scans so that Vol State students can gain experience with real obstetric patients. The scans will be performed in the Sonography Center at the Vol State campus in Gallatin. It’s equipped with six beds, HD screens and state-of-the-art ultrasound machines. All ultrasounds are supervised by a Vol State faculty member. The students will be scanning on Mondays and Wednesdays through the end of April. The scans usually last one-hour.  Patients must sign a release of liability, and already have had an initial ultrasound exam before they can participate. To schedule an appointment please contact the Jessica Campbell at 615-230-3322. For more information about the Diagnostic Medical Sonography program visit

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Warf Renovation Plans

The Warf Renovation project continues in the design phase. There may be demolition/ground work starting this summer, with construction expected in the fall. Here are some pictures from the architect, J Holmes, showing changes to the building itself and the new Mechatronics wing that will be added.

Lisa Lorek Quine Art Exhibit at Vol State Gallery

The work of lettering artist and graphic designer Lisa Lorek Quine will be on display at the Vol State Art Gallery in January and February. The Cleveland based artist’s presentation has ranged from coloring books and murals to magazine covers and gallery shows.

“I enjoy beginning with a quote, lyric, or headline,” she said. ”I then challenge myself to bring it life using hand-drawn type and illustration. I strive to create a human connection with each piece. The slight imperfections and the organic nature of the forms are what I love most about the art of hand-lettering.”

After graduating from the University of Dayton with a BFA in Visual Communication Design, Quine began her career in the fast-paced world of advertising. After five years in the industry, she made the decision to leave a full-time role as an art director at Global Prairie to dedicate more time to lettering. 

The Vol State exhibition will run from January 16 to February 19. There will be a meet and greet with the artist on Monday, February19 at 11:30 a.m. at the Gallery. The Vol State Art Gallery is located on the first floor of the Steinhauer-Rogan-Black (SRB) Humanities Building on the Gallatin campus at 1480 Nashville Pike. Gallery hours are Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. For more information call 615-230-3202. 

Monday, January 8, 2018

Dr. Faulkner: 50 Tough Questions

I’ve written before about things I’ve learned from and the magazine for entrepreneurs that they publish.  A recent post on their website was “50 Tough Question You Never Ask Yourself, But Should.” 

The article address the New Year Resolution theme and suggests that rather than make commitments that are forgotten or abandoned in 30 days or less, that you should ask yourself some tough questions and set goals based on the answer to these questions.  As expected, many are about business.  For example #20, “What do I need to grow my business, but don’t have?

But many are more introspective.  The article offers the quote from Carl Jung, “Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart.  Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.”  I encourage you to read the entire list at the link above, but here a few of my favorites.

#1.       What is my ideal definition of success?
#2.       Is this definition well-rounded, to include all of the important aspects of my life?
#5.       Do I feel good about the way I treat the most important people in my life?  (My addition to this one would be, “Who are the most important people in my life?”
#10.     What are three things I want to pay closer attention to in 2018?
#19.     What is the single, most significant change I can make in 2018?
#24.     What would I be risking if I did some of the things that are outside of my comfort zone?
#26.     On a scale of 1-10, how optimal is my self-care?
#33.     Do I acknowledge and celebrate my wins, even the smaller ones?
#39.     If someone were to observe the inner workings of my business, would my values and a healthy culture be visible to them?  (Of course this is geared to business owners but it definitely applies to our lives and work.)
#45.     When was the last time I had a good laugh?
And perhaps my favorite:
#49.     Am I living my passion? (If the answer to this one is no, then the next questions should be, “What is keeping from my passion and what can I do to make the change?”

Happy New Year to all!

-Dr. Faulkner

Vol State Spring Events Discuss Incarceration

The American prison system has been the focus of a year-long project at Vol State. The One Book, One Community initiative continues this spring with new events. The community-wide book read is "Just Mercy" by Bryan Stevenson. The non-fiction book is an examination of the criminal justice system in the United States, and a myriad of problems with that system. It focuses on a notorious murder case in Alabama, and widens the scope to include the stories of people caught up in the system.

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

Molly Lasagna is the program coordinator for Tennessee Higher Education Initiative (THEI) college programs. THEI funds and coordinates on-site degree-bearing college programs to incarcerated individuals in Tennessee prisons leading to associate’s degrees in one of three major areas: Business Administration, Psychology or Political Science. She will be joined by Vol State faculty members in a panel discussion on January 24 at 1 p.m. in Caudill Hall.

Alex Friedmann is the associate director of the Human Rights Defense Center and managing editor of Prison Legal News. He is responsible for news research, investigative research, editing, advocacy campaigns and other tasks, including litigation support as a paralegal. While incarcerated, he litigated his own cases in state and federal court. Friedmann will speak on February 21 at 1 p.m. in Caudill Hall.

Graham Reside is the executive director of the Cal Turner Program (CTP) in Moral Leadership for the Professions at Vanderbilt University. CTP states the purpose of facilitating “discussions across the various professions about their moral purposes and perspectives and to encourage professionals to consider how they contribute to the common good.” Reside will be joined by Rahim Buford, a formerly incarcerated social justice advocate from Nashville. Buford was paroled in 2015 after being locked up for 26 years. While in prison, he acquired certifications from a number of educational institutions and became a leader in SALT (Schools for Alternative Learning and Transformation).  Reside and Buford will speak on March 28 at 1 p.m. in Caudill Hall.

“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

Pictured: Author Bryan Stevenson. Photo by Nina Subin. 

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Frozen Fountain

Cold weather can bring some beauty with it. Graduate Steve Yorlano took this picture of the frozen East Campus fountain over the weekend.