Monday, February 24, 2020

Debate Tournament at Vol State

This weekend, dozens of volunteer faculty, staff, and students, organized by Communication professor Karen Johnson, helped with the Tennessee Intercollegiate Forensics Association Tournament held at Vol State. Students from eleven colleges and universities across Tennessee took part in the competition. There were a variety of team and individual events, including parliamentary debate, which I helped to judge. The two topics I covered included whether Presidential pardon power should be removed and if the Federal Trade Commission should regulate Presidential advertising to follow truth in advertising standards. Students argued in two-person teams with one side representing the government and the other side the opposition. It was impressive to see the students put together thoughtful and cogent arguments.

Career Exploration Event

Vol State hosted hundreds of Sumner County middle school students Friday for a Career Exploration Day in the Pickel Field House on the Gallatin campus. Companies and institutions from all over the area sent representatives to talk to students about possible careers. Students also had the opportunity to talk to higher education educators in Health Sciences, Social Science and Education, Math and Science, Humanities, and Business and Technology to help the students understand the links between careers and school course requirements.  The event is a partnership of Sumner County Schools and the area P-16 Council, an educational group made up of school and college leaders and industry representatives from across the North Central Tennessee region. 

Criminal Justice High School Competition

Nearly 100 High school students from across the area processed a mock crime scene, conducted practice traffic stops, participated in mock court arguments, and responded to a simulated domestic situation recently as part of a Criminal Justice Competition at Vol State. Students from Nashville, Hendersonville, and Gallatin competed. Judges included police officers, emergency managers, and prosecutors.  Awards for the winners were presented in a ceremony at the end of the day. Vol State director of Criminal Justice, Bradley Tracy, thanked the 35 law enforcement and judicial volunteers who made the event possible, and the Vol State Criminal Justice students who ran many of the events.

Vol State in the News

Vol State is partnering with Robertson County Schools for new dual enrollment classes focused on computer programming. It's part of a grant project with the Greater Nashville Technology Council. The Robertson Connection has the story.

The Foundation Educate A Woman luncheon fundraiser is coming up soon. The Hendersonville Standard has this story on the headliner.

Long-time Vol State Music professor, James Story, is keeping busy in retirement. His new project called "New World Spirituals" debuted at the Palace Theater in Gallatin this weekend.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

New Feed Location in the Wood Campus Center

The Feed Vol State student food bank has moved to a new location on the first floor of the Wood Campus Center. It is right off of the SRB plaza and down the hall from IT. The old location in the Ramer Building is being used for an expansion of the Adult Learners and Veterans Affairs office. The Feed will continue the current system of requiring students to sign-up for appointments in order to use the Feed. Such meetings help Student Engagement staff find out whether the student may have other needs. There is a microwave and ready-to-eat meals available for a student who wants to heat up their food on location. Another new feature for the Feed will be read-to-go lunch bags in several offices around campus for any student in need.

The new Feed is in room 102 of the Wood Campus Center. There will be an open house next week, February 25, from 11am to 3pm.

New Business and Technology Suite

The first phase of the Mattox Building refresh is the new Business and Technology Division office suite. Faculty and staff moved back into the renovated offices this week. The Division Office is now located at the end of the building and numbered Suite 118. Next up will be more faculty offices and learning spaces for students. It's all part of a upgrade of Mattox facilities taking place this spring.

Monday, February 17, 2020

Dr. Seuss Book Drive

Dr. Seuss Book Drive: To Celebrate the Birthday of Dr. Seuss & support the efforts of Read Across America. Vol State faculty, staff, and students are encouraged to donate children's books from February 17th-March 2nd. Drop off boxes are located inside the following buildings: Wood, SRB (2nd floor), Ramer, Pickel, Thigpen Library and Caudill Hall.

Please Remind Pre-Nursing Students

The Vol State RN Nursing A.A.S. Degree Program is offering information sessions over the next few months for students who are interested in applying for the next class, which starts in June 2020.  The sessions will be held on the Vol State campus locations in Gallatin, Livingston, Springfield, and Cookeville. Nursing program classes are held in Gallatin and Livingston.

The application to apply will be available in March and be due in May. There are general education classes required to be taken before application. The program is competitive and there are GPA requirements. The students most likely ready to apply for the summer start are current pre-nursing students. However, everyone is welcome to attend the info meetings.

For the dates, times, and locations of the meetings please visit

Monday, February 10, 2020

Belmont Business School Agreement Signed

Belmont University and Vol State signed a new partnership recently that allows Vol State associate degree students the opportunity to earn a Bachelor’s of Business Administration (B.B.A.) from Belmont’s Jack C. Massey College of Business. Eligible students must earn a Vol State Associate of Science Degree in a business program  by completing the transfer coursework developed and approved by both institutions. Through this agreement, Vol State students who meet stated requirements can be granted early admittance into Belmont’s Massey College of Business.

The degree completion program is open to any Vol State student pursuing an associate’s degree in accounting, business administration, information systems, finance, management or marketing who successfully completes 24 credit hours with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Students applying for need-based aid or VA benefits as well as adult students seeking reduced tuition options are all eligible for this program. In addition, a transfer scholarship has been created to support students pursuing the 2-to-4 year Vol State/Belmont option. The scholarship, open to Vol State Associate Degree in Business graduates who meet GPA qualifications, has a value of $3,000 per semester for four semesters of continuous study at Belmont.

Vol State Pick-Up Location for Tennessee Tree Day

Tennessee residents are invited to beautify their properties and their communities by planting trees on Tennessee Tree Day, March 21, 2020. The initiative is providing a variety of tree species for sale. Trees are available to reserve for a $2.49 donation or $4.99 per tree, depending on species, now through March 1 or while supplies last. One of the pick-up locations will be the Volunteer State Community College campus at 1480 Nashville Pike in Gallatin. Visit the event website at for a list of participating tree pick-up locations statewide.

More than sixty trees are classified and listed as a certified arboretum at the Vol State Gallatin campus. An arboretum is a collection of trees that have been identified and listed for nature exploration and scientific study. The Tennessee Urban Forestry Council has certified the campus as a Level II Arboretum. It is named for former Vol State Chemistry professor, Parris Powers.

Monday, February 3, 2020

Lady Pioneers Basketball on Channel 4

The Lady Pioneers basketball team was featured on the WSMV Channel 4 morning news on Friday. Great job by Coach Key and the players. Here's a link to the segments:

1989 Graduate Returns to the Classroom

Jeff Roberts was an undecided major when he came to Vol State as a student in the 1980s. He soon found an interest in history and political science. He admits that his grades were not the best in the early years of his education. However, with persistence and much hard work he became a practicing attorney. Now he’s back at Vol State and this time he will be at the front of the classroom.

“I always thought about coming back to teach,” he said. “After 20 years practicing law I finally feel competent to teach an Intro to Law class. I’m at the point in my life when I can give back.”

Roberts has his own personal injury law practice in Nashville. He said that being a community college student was good experience for his path to the courtroom.

“Going to Vol State and working at the same time really set me apart from the other students. When I got to MTSU, juggling school and work was part of who I was. At Nashville School of Law I was working 40 hours a week and going to law school at night.”

Roberts isn’t the only lawyer teaching at Vol State. Criminal Justice Director, Bradley Tracy, also a lawyer, recruited Roberts. Adjunct Bill Sorrells is not only a lawyer, but also assistant chief in the Gallatin Police Department.

“I came to Bill’s class last year as a guest speaker. I guess that’s when the bug bit me.”

Roberts is also recruiting professionals to talk to his Intro to Law students this semester, including some big names. He recently had a class Facetime appearance by former FBI agent James Freeman, who led the law enforcement task force that caught the Unabomber in the 1990s.

Graduates often remember the moment where things began to click for them in college; the revelation that learning is actually enjoyable and the valuable lessons that could be used for a career.

“Dr. Bob Ruff was the first instructor to teach me to think critically.”