Monday, September 16, 2019

Respiratory Care Honored

The Respiratory Care program at Vol State has been honored with the Distinguished Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) Credentialing Success Award from the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC). The award was presented at the American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC) Summer Forum awards ceremony held in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The award is given as part of CoARC’s continued efforts to value the RRT credential as a standard of professional achievement.

With a focus on program effectiveness, the CoARC views the RRT credential as a measure of a program’s success in inspiring its graduates to achieve their highest educational and professional aspirations. When selecting programs for the recognition, the CoARC Board used objective criteria based on key accreditation metrics documented in the 2018 Annual Report of Current Status. Programs are required to: (1) have three or more years of outcome data; (2) hold accreditation without a progress report; (3) document RRT credentialing success of 90 percent or above, and (4) meet or exceed established CoARC thresholds for certified respiratory therapist credentialing success, attrition, and positive job placement.

Presenting the award from left to right: Dr. Allen Gustin, Jr, CoARC’s president of the Board of Commissioners; Kim Christmon, Vol State program director; Mallory Higginbotham, director of Clinical Education; and Bradley Leidich, CoARC’s immediate past president of the Board of Commissioners.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Vol State in the News

Vol State is bringing more specialty courses to the Highland Crest campus. The Robertson County Connection has this story about a new phlebotomy class.

Foundation donations come from many community sources, some of which have been donating regularly for many years. The Gallatin News has a story on one of those donors.

The EYH science event for girls is coming up soon on the Gallatin campus. The Gallatin News has this piece.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Documentary Film Crew Comes to Gallatin Campus Next Week

A documentary film crew will be on the Vol State Gallatin campus next week, Tuesday and Wednesday. They are shooting a project tentatively titled “Voices of Pathways.” The project is focusing on guided pathways implemented at community colleges across the country. Guided pathways is an educational approach that includes clear academic plans for all students and a range of supports, including career exploration, first-year experience programs, completion coaches, and academic assistance, such as our co-requisite Math and English classes.

The crew has filmed at four colleges thus far, in Milwaukee, Austin, Maryland, and Oregon. The filmmakers will conduct a few interviews and film scenes around campus. They have already identified participants for the film, but you may be included in a scene if you happen to be where they are filming. The production team may ask you to sign a release if you are on camera. Next Chapter Communications, and documentary filmmakers Meridian Hill Pictures, are leading the project. The finished product may be up to five short films on the subject. We’ll have more word on where it is available once the project is completed.

Photo by Sam McGhee on Unsplash

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Body Farm Founder Speaks in Two Presentations

Dr. William Bass, the creator of “The Body Farm” in Knoxville, makes a return engagement to Volunteer State Community College on Thursday, October 3 for two public lectures. The forensic anthropologist is best known for his work in founding the Anthropology Research Facility at U-T Knoxville. Researchers there study the decomposition of donated bodies in various weather and burial conditions. The findings, including methods to help determine when a person died, revolutionized forensic science and criminal investigation. To expand the work, and provide expertise to the world, the Forensic Anthropology Center was opened in 1987. It curates the largest collection of contemporary human skeletons in the nation and provides professional training. Bass, now retired, became a bestselling author and inspired many fictional characters in TV and movies. His first presentation, at 11:15 a.m., will discuss “The History of the Body Farm.” His second lecture will be at 6 p.m. and is titled “The Mysterious Case of Colonel William Shy.” Both events are free and open to the public and will be held at Caudill Hall on the Vol State campus at 1480 Nashville Pike in Gallatin.  The college encourages attendees to bring non-perishable food donations for the Feed student food bank.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Vol State in the News

The story of a Robertson County alumnus who has been awarded a US State Department fellowship is in the Robertson County Connection.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Vol State Graduate Wins Prestigious State Department Fellowship

Orlinda, Tennessee is 6,934 miles from Beijing, China, but that didn’t stop a young Isabella Greene from dreaming about China and what it was like to live in Asia or Africa, for that matter. She was homeschooled in Robertson County, worked in her parents flower shop in Portland, and found joy in arranging stems and blooms. Greene took her talents to Volunteer State Community College at the age of 19. It didn’t stick. She returned again at age 25. Now the 35 year-old has arrived in Washington, D-C to work on master’s degree at American University. It’s part of a prestigious U.S. Department of State scholarship as a Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellow.

“I always wanted my degree,” Greene said. “I just felt that for me to get the most out of myself I needed to get a bachelor’s degree. I changed my major at Vol State several times- Business, Nursing, and Respiratory Care.” Greene still had that love of world history. A meeting with an advisor convinced her to follow her dream.  “Michelle Vandiver talked about a relative of hers that was not happy in their career and they finally made a change. She encouraged me to take the leap.”

That leap of faith led to China studies, and a mastery of the Chinese language, while at Western Kentucky University (WKU). There she also met a liaison with the U.S. State Department. He encouraged her to apply for State Department scholarships. It took several tries, a process that involved interviews, applications, and a lot of preparation. Finally, this summer, she received notice that she had been accepted.
“I balled my eyes out and so did my mother. It was very emotional. There was so much hard work that went into it. I read books and magazines and watched videos online; anything to learn about the State Department.”

The Fellowship includes two summer internships: one year working with the State Department in Washington, D-C and the other summer in an international posting. If she does well, she will serve as a U.S. Foreign Service Officer after graduation.

“Those positions are usually filled with Ivy League or large university graduates,” said History professor, Carole Bucy. “Isabella always says, whenever she is asked, how remarkable her educational journey has been.  The fact that a 35-year-old from Orlinda, Tennessee received the fellowship is a testament to the confidence she developed while at Vol State.  Now, she has become an inspiration to me.”

The international experience won’t be Greene’s first. She answered some of her childhood questions by studying in China for 10 months while at WKU. She described arriving in Beijing for the first time. “At first, I was exhilarated and then I felt culture shock when I realized it was nothing like Tennessee,” Greene said. “I freaked out. It was the first time in my life I had to find someone that could speak English.” She settled into her China experience and soon reveled in the fact that she was studying with students from across Europe and experiencing Chinese culture at the same time.

Greene knows that her Tennessee upbringing provides unique insights for international relations. “We’re in a time, more than ever, that we need to understand other cultures, which is why I want to be a diplomat. There’s often miscommunication between cultures. I would like to use commonalities to work together for a greater good.”

Pictured: Vol State History professor, Carole Bucy, wishes Isabella Greene well the day before her travel to Washington, D-C. They are shown in the family flower shop in Portland, Tennessee.

PTA Students Community Service

Health Sciences students often get out into the community as part of their education. Here is another example. Physical Therapist Assistant students spend 3 hours each week at Veranda Ministries assisting clients in fun, engaging activities for those who have been diagnosed with Dementia or Alzheimer’s. Here's a video of them in action.

Saturday, August 31, 2019

Vol State in the News

The EYH science event for girls is coming up in October. Help us get the word out. Here's a story from the Gallatin News.

The Gallatin News also has this piece about the upcoming Foundation dinner, which is celebrating 30 years of service to the college.

Monday, August 26, 2019

A Busy Spring and Summer for Plant Ops and IT

2019 has been The Year of Renovation on the Vol State Gallatin campus. The results are awesome, but getting here has taken plenty of hard work for the Plant Operations and IT staff. The Warf project involved moving a Division Office, labs, classrooms, and faculty offices and spreading them across campus. The project was just completed last week. That meant hundreds of boxes and computers being moved back and forth. And that was just Warf. Four offices in Ramer also moved for renovations in the past 8 months: Admissions, Public Relations, Advising, and Human Resources. Each move meant packing up, temporary offices and then a move back. Contractors may have done most of the renovation work itself, but supporting those projects required a lot of planning and physical work.

The faculty and staff in those offices also had to pack and un-pack, spend time as a refugee in some other office, and then pack and un-pack again. However, we have lovely new offices to show for it.

So, take a moment to look around to see what has been done to improve the campus and thank the Plant Ops and IT staff and administration on a job well done.

Vol State in the News

Leslie LaChance retired from the English Department last year. She has been battling lung cancer. Recently, she did an interview with US News and World Report for a piece that shared personal stories of fighting cancer. 

Catherine Berresheim in the English Department has taught in prisons. She describes that work and what creative writing means for the incarcerated in a recent post for the Spalding University's School of Creative and Professional Writing's blog: "Life of a Writer." 

History professor Joe Douglas recently joined Davis Nolan from News2 at Mammoth Cave for a segment they call "Davis Nolan Underground." Check out the story here.

Meet the New President's Ambassadors

Vol State has a new group of President’s Ambassadors for 2019-2020. The Ambassadors represent the college at events, conduct campus tours and help with public relations. Students selected for the President’s Ambassadors scholarship program go through a rigorous vetting and interview process.  Successful candidates are selected from over two thousand eligible students.  To be eligible for the program students must have a cumulative 3.0 grade point average and have completed at least 12 college-level credit hours at Vol State.  The scholarship covers full tuition and fees at the in-state rate, as well as a $300 per semester book stipend.  Students selected serve a one-year term.

Front row: Alex Carman, Human Services, Portland; Maddy Woodson, Pre-Law, Camarillo, CA; Lindsey Wray, Pre-Nursing, Mt. Juliet; Hunter Casteel, Computer Information Technology: Programming, Gallatin; Erika Hix, Biology, Lafayette; Rodrigo Galvez Vega, Accounting, Lebanon; and Guadalupe T. Hernandez, General Studies, Santa Fe, NM. Back Row: Giulia Giordani, General Studies, Desenzano del Garda, Italy; Stephen Thomas, Speech Communications, Hendersonville; Dylan Phillips, General Studies, Hilham; Austin Phann, Biology, Cookeville; Joshua Bryant, Chemistry, Gallatin; and Tori Reagan, Health Science, Livingston.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Convocation Welcome Picture

Here is the group photo from Convocation.

Employee Service Awards

Congrats to all of the faculty and staff honored for their service at Convocation. If you would like a copy of the photo, double click to bring it full screen and then save it to your desktop.

Middle College High School is Underway

You may have noticed students on the Gallatin campus this week. They're Sumner County Middle College High School students. They get a head start for the semester since they come to campus at the same time that students report at other Sumner County high schools. With that extra time, students participate in special seminars about "learning how to do college" and take condensed classes such as INFS 1010 or personal finance. The students have also been taking some time to explore campus. These pictures show some of those travels. It's a big group this year with 72 students- 26 juniors and 46 seniors. They come from every zoned school in Sumner County. Betsy Hunter and Kathy Freeman have retired, but there is a new full-time counselor: Beth Dorris. 

When classes start on August 26 the Middle College students will be joining our other students in classes across campus. 

Jonathan Kenigson Earns a Ph.D.

Math and Science faculty member, Jonathan Kenigson, was recently awarded a Ph.D. Former student social media writer, Rachel Keyes, shares that accomplishment, but also delves into his 20 year history with Vol State, which began as a very young student.

Imagine having the ability to mentally calculate the gravitational force of a falling rock at six years old. To Vol State math professor Jonathan Kenigson, this is just how he spent his typical childhood afternoons.

“It was just evident that I’d be a mathematician, there was no question about it. I always knew I wanted to teach math. I’d make my parents sit through after dinner lectures that I’d construct, and they’d get worksheets and stuff. They’d have to watch the lecture and fill in notes and things,” he said.

Both Jonathan and his twin sister Jessica were homeschooled and excelled in their studies from a young age. They entered Vol State as students at thirteen years old and quickly became tutors in New Skills, the predecessor of the Learning Commons.

“That’s where I learned how to teach, it’s the best training you could get,” Jonathan said. After attaining their associate’s degrees at sixteen years old, the twins went on to the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.

Jonathan designed his own undergraduate degree, specializing in Mathematics and Comparative Religion. Jonathan was also fascinated with cosmology, the science of the origin and development of the universe.

“Math opens the door to understanding the cosmos. I always wanted to understand how the cosmos functions. And so I said, ‘I need enough math to be able to understand the best currently existing theories of the world of the universe.’”

From UTK, Jonathan went on to graduate school at the 
University of Sofia in Bulgaria, attaining a dual master's in Mathematics and Philosophy. Most recently, he has completed his Ph.D. online through Sofia with two concentrations: Philosophy of Mathematics and Philosophy of Cosmology.

“A fairly large piece of my dissertation is a mathematical journey through f(R) gravity’s predictions of what a black hole would be like. My dissertation is called Mathematics and Mathesis. I try to determine that mathematics ultimately has an empirical foundation, that mathematics is based in practice. Now I’m just looking for post-docs, probably in Ukraine. Nothing has changed, I’ll never stop.”

Jonathan has been affiliated with Vol State for over twenty years now. Since becoming a professor in 2017, he’s formulated a black hole research group for students, which he hopes to make more formal and documented in the near future.

“The reason I do this is because so many people hate math. I want to teach them that it
’s perfectly possible to do well in math and to have a great mathematical understanding even as an average guy. There’s this idea that math is somehow for this elect remnant of people and I think that’s a big lie. I think anybody can do math if they’re taught with compassion and conviction and if they really try. I think that the average person has enormous mathematical potential that they just can’t see. It’s my job to open that up for them.”

Teaching math just seems to be encoded in his DNA. Since he’ll be able to complete his post-doc research online, Jonathan plans to continue teaching at Vol State for the long haul.

-By Rachel Keyes

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Remembering Terry Cothran

Vol State lost a faculty member last week. Assistant Professor Terrell “Terry” Cothran passed away on August 7 at the age of 72. A Celebration of Life was held earlier this week. Terry taught mathematics at Vol State in a full-time position since 2014. He started with the college as an adjunct in 2010.

“Terry was very much loved,” said Dean Tom Ekman. “He was always willing to do whatever it took to get things done. He was very caring with students and always focused on their success.”

“When he taught in the Learning Commons, he would always come by, and we would talk and laugh,” said Carolyn Harlan. “I loved his laughter and willingness to help students succeed in his classes. I will miss him.”

“He was always willing to help, whether it be with a student or a need in the Division,” said Rita Sowell. “He was very well liked by the students. He was a great guy.”

“Terry was a kind and caring man,” said Delois Reagan. “He loved our students and wanted to see them succeed. He had an infectious laugh, and you couldn’t help but to laugh with him. I will truly miss him and his laughter.”

The Austin Funeral Home in Brentwood had this obituary with more on Terry’s life of service.

“Terry earned a Bachelor of Science degree at Peabody University in 1968 and Master of Arts degree at Vanderbilt in 1973.  He began his teaching career in 1968, and loved teaching mathematics. He taught mathematics from middle school to then college level in all disciplines from algebra to quantitative methods and statistics.  In 1971, while teaching, Terry also began his ministerial career serving part time at Whitsitt Chapel Baptist Church and Dalewood Baptist Church. In 1978, Terry moved into a full-time ministerial position at Dalewood Baptist Church.  In 1981, he attended The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.”

“With his superb leadership, communication and organizational skills and his musical talents, he faithfully served full-time in the music, youth, church administration, and church association leadership ministries for over 35 years at Whitsett Chapel Baptist, Dalewood Baptist, Norcross First Baptist, Gwinnett Metro Baptist Association and Harpeth Heights Baptist Church.  Highlights of his ministry were the Singing Christmas Tree, Living Pictures of Easter, Gwinnett Metro Baptist Association Women’s Conference. He served on the National Board of Church Administration and was a Fellow in Church Business Administration (FCBA).  His successful ministry touched many hearts and lives through the years.”

“In 2006, Terry made his way back into the world of mathematics and teaching. He has been an adjunct mathematics professor for Belmont University, Lipscomb University, Cumberland University, Gupton College and other institutions.  At the time of his death, Terry was a full-time mathematics professor at Volunteer State University where he been teaching since 2014.  In his spare time, he loved to spend time with his family and loved ones, watching his grandchildren’s sports and activities, spending time with friends, traveling, watching sports, and enjoying good chocolate!”

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Vol State in the News

The new Vol State Nursing Program is underway this summer in Gallatin and Livingston. Here's a story about the Livingston group.

A Vol State student says she found new focus for her academic work after a Loop Abroad trip to Australia to study animal science at a zoo. The Gallatin News has the story.

Monday, August 5, 2019

Meet the New VP of IERPA

Colette Catania is the new vice president of Institutional Effectiveness, Research, Planning, and Assessment (IERPA) at Volunteer State Community College. She comes most recently from Southwest Tennessee Community College in Memphis where she held a similar position. IERPA is charged with improving performance at the college by collecting and analyzing data, and providing that data and analysis to the college community, public, governmental agencies, and various organizations.

“I’m passionate about accreditation and assessment. It drives organizational change,” Catania said. “It’s an opportunity to make an impact on the college by using data to steer institutional and classroom decision making. I want to make data readily accessible, visible, and transparent at Vol State through business intelligence software. I will be working closely with faculty to help improve the student experience by using data to inform change and improve student learning in the classroom. Generally, I want to open the lines of communication across the college and look forward to engaging in discussions within the college community.”

Catania also served in higher education at Saint Leo University in Florida, working in Graduate Studies. She holds an associate of science degree from Saint Petersburg College in Florida; a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Management and Applied Organizational Leadership from Saint Petersburg College; a Master of Business Administration in Marketing from Saint Leo University; and a Doctorate of Business Administration, also from Saint Leo University.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Employee Discussion Board

A while back we moved the Vol State employee discussion board to eLearn. We used to have a link here on the blog. Now you just go to the eLearn home page and you will find it there.

I.T. Help Center has a New Look

The Vol State I.T. Help Desk has undergone a remodel this summer. It’s part of a rebranding to make the center more student focused.

“We’re trying to create a more inviting atmosphere for students and employees alike,” said Leslie Norwood, Manager of Client Services.

In addition to responding to the ticket queue system online, the Vol State I.T. Help Desk accepts walk-in requests and phone calls. That number is 615-230-3302. The I.T. Help Center is located in the Learning Commons in Thigpen Library.

Monday, July 29, 2019

Vol State in the News

Workforce Development has a new IT Academy program, non-credit offerings designed to help adults build IT skills. The Tennessean has the story.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Warf Building Update

Plant Ops is moving cabinets and such back into the Warf Building, as much of the construction for the classroom side of the building is about finished. Work continues on the areas near the new Mechatronics wing and faculty offices. We were given permissions to take a peek inside last week, and as noted by many, - you won't recognize the place. Warf is much more open now, with wider spaces and bigger offices. And of course everything is nicely updated. Furniture is on the way soon.

The Microbiology lab features a new scrub room with sinks and lockers. Each lecture room will be outfitted with a HoverCam electronic teaching station. Dr. Faulkner demonstrated those at convocation last year.

The building is still not open to visitors, except for those authorized. So, here are some pictures in the meantime.

Vol State in the News

The recent Tennessee Comptroller's Report focused primarily on business practices at the college. And while we did have one finding to respond to regarding IT security, overall it was a good audit report. The findings did include a section on enrollment and the strength of new programs which was very positive. The Tennessean did a story about that section of the audit.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Wilson County Campus Fundraiser

The College Foundation held an event at Beretta Vineyards in Mt. Juliet recently to launch the effort to locate a Vol State campus in Wilson County. The McFarland family has donated 2.5 acres and the college is purchasing an additional 7.5 acres for the campus. The college is raising funds for the development and design of the campus. It will be located on East Division Street in Mt. Juliet, a half mile east of the Mt. Juliet Chamber of Commerce Building. The college is currently working through a multi-part State of Tennessee process for the new campus. The finished facility will have multiple classrooms and other educational facilities that will allow Vol State to offer a variety of classes. The size of the building and a timeline for the project are still being determined.  

Pictured left to right, seated: Sandra McFarland and Vol State president, Jerry Faulkner. Standing: Susan Redmond-Vaught, daughter; and College Foundation executive director, Karen Mitchell.