Monday, August 31, 2020

Vol State TRIO Receives $1.3 Million Grant Renewal

Extensive mentoring, counseling, and tutoring are just a few of the services that are provided in the TRIO Student Support Services program at Vol State. The program has been awarded $1.375 million in funding by the U.S. Department of Education for another five-year cycle: 2020-2025. Vol State has served students with TRIO services since 2005. 

“I’m a first-generation college student, which means my parents didn’t attend college,” said LaBryian Scharklett of Gallatin. “I didn’t have anyone to help me. TRIO staff were like my parents. They helped me to register for classes and fill out the financial aid forms. They even helped me with transfer applications and university visits. I honestly believe that without them I would not be where I am in my academic career.” Scharklett is now a transfer student at TN Tech University.

“I have worked with the TRIO program here at Vol State since the beginning in 2005 and became the director in 2006,” said Andrea Boddie. “Having amazing staff and the support of the campus have been factors in the continued success of the program. Over the years, we have seen students reach their academic goals, some even with master’s degrees now.”

This year, the program is funded to serve 200 Vol State students in the areas of academic support, graduation planning, four-year college transfer planning, career planning, laptop checkout, and cultural enrichment. TRIO Retention Awards may available for eligible TRIO students. Eligibility for TRIO includes first-generation college students and those who may have other challenges. Space is limited. For more information on the criteria and the online application visit

Pictured: 2019 TRIO students and staff.

New WVCP Radio Show

Vol State radio, WVCP-FM, will have some new programming this fall. Main Street Media – “Main Street Preps” is teaming up with popular local sports host George Plaster to produce a weekly high school football show, “On the Field”. The show will debut Friday, Aug. 28 from 6:30–9:30 p.m. and run throughout the high school football season.

“On the Field” will be broadcast live on Main Street Media of Tennessee’s 12 Facebook pages and simulcast on WVCP 88.5. The fast-paced show will feature real time updates, interviews and insights from games across the midstate.

“Especially during this time with the COVID, many people interested in their high school football teams won’t be able to go to the games,” Plaster said. “The service that we are trying to provide will help that as people will be able to keep up with their favorite team as the game is going on.”

Main Street Media of Tennessee is a multi-media company that produces 12 weekly newspapers in 10 Nashville-area counties.

Online Academic Coaches - Share with Your Students

Vol State has Online Coaches for students this semester.We put together an easy message to email to your students, if you want. 

Do You Need Help Taking Online Classes? Coaches Can Help

Vol State now has Online Learning Academic Coaches to provide students with support for online classes. Are you having a hard time navigating eLearn? Trouble uploading an assignment? The coaches can help. They can also help you get organized for your online learning and provide tips for how you can do well in your classes. They don’t offer tutoring for the class subject matter. But they can help with many other things. Students can book an appointment for a virtual meeting, email, or call the coaches. Visit this web page for details:

Vol State in the News

Channel 2 and Channel 4 covered a brief nationwide Zoom outage on the first day of classes last week. While the impact to Vol State was minimal, it provided an opportunity to remind people that students need to keep trying if they have problems getting on a particular platform for an online class. Quite often you can get in after a few tries. We reinforced this on social media, as well. Persistence is critical for online learning.

Monday, August 24, 2020

Vol State Joins OpenStax

OpenStax, Rice University’s openly licensed textbook publisher, welcomed a dozen new colleges and universities to its Institutional Partner Network that together serve the most diverse student populations the program has ever seen. Vol State is now a member.

The OpenStax Institutional Partner Network is a group of more than 60 colleges and universities in the United States dedicated to expanding the use of open educational resources (OER) on their campuses. Each school in the network participates in a first-year program that guides institutions through the development and execution of a highly successful OER adoption program.

“As a past OpenStax intern who attends Volunteer State Community College, I am excited to see the institutional partnership between both OpenStax and Vol State,” said Vol State sophomore Barbara Gooch. “The door that this could open in making more professors aware of OpenStax and OER, and the cost benefits to students, is a cause dear to my heart and I cannot wait to see where this takes Vol State within that partnership. In a pandemic and an ever-changing world, students’ needs – especially saving them money — should be a top priority, along with putting more options in the hands of professors with the high-quality material that OpenStax provides.”

In selecting new partner schools for the 2020-2021 academic year, OpenStax gave special consideration to those with high numbers of Pell grant-eligible students and to minority-serving institutions.

Participating schools in the 2020-2021 first-year program include Lincoln University; the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley; San Antonio College; Lamar State College Port Arthur; Volunteer State Community College; Tarleton State University; Spring Hill College; Saginaw Valley State University; Molloy College; Minnesota State University, Mankato; Texas Woman’s University; and Texas Southern University. These 12 institutions will work throughout the year to expand the use of resources that encourage long-term learning and support greater academic freedom.

Walk to Lunch in Gallatin

Walking to get lunch on the Gallatin campus just became much safer. The new crosswalks are up and running at the Vol State campus in Gallatin. They are located at the main entrance on Nashville Pike and the Gap Blvd. intersection. There is a new sidewalk that runs from the Ramer parking lots to the main entrance intersection. 

The crosswalk was put in by the city of Gallatin this summer.

You simply press the arrow button for the direction you want to go.

It's really quick. Even if the light has just changed you won't wait more than a minute to get a walk signal. On a couple of other uses it was nearly instantaneous. Yes, these signals actually work.

On the other side you will find sidewalks to restaurants and Publix.

It's the same set up at Gap Blvd, with a sidewalk extending down from the baseball field to the intersection.

Thanks to the city of Gallatin for their partnership in this project. It's been a long-time coming.

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Vol State in the News

Vol State History professor Carole Bucy has been quite busy recently discussing the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution, which gave women the right to vote. The history making event happened because of a vote in Tennessee. Carole is an expert in the Tennessee contribution to suffrage. As such, she has been appearing in many media sites, including the WKU NPR station and making appearances, such as this one coming up in Lebanon at Cumberland University. There is so much occurring right now in the country that it would be easy to miss this important anniversary. Don't let that happen. Take a moment to read about Tennessee's pivotal role in women's suffrage. It's an amazing story. That NPR piece linked above is a good start. A version featuring Carole appeared on NPR national and thus radio stations across the country .

Jennifer Brezina's appointment to vice president was picked up in the Tennessean.

Monday, August 17, 2020

Brezina Promoted to Vice President

This is the official news release about the appointment of Jennifer Brezina:

Jennifer Brezina has been promoted to the position of vice president for Academic Affairs at Volunteer State Community College. She was the associate vice president for Academic Affairs. She also served for two and a half years as the dean of Humanities. In her new role Brezina will supervise all of the Vol State academic divisions.

“I am very much looking forward to continuing with Vol State in this new role,” Brezina said. “In particular, I am focused right now on how I can best support faculty and students as we work through the changes to fall semester due to the pandemic. I have been very impressed with the creativity, persistence, and resilience of Vol State’s faculty, staff, and students this year, and I am proud to be part of the Vol State community in this new way.

Brezina previously served at the College of the Canyons in Santa Clarita, California, where she was dean of Humanities and interim project director in the office of Academic Affairs. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from U.C.L.A; a Master of Arts degree in English from San Diego State University; and a Ph.D. in English from the University of California, Riverside.

Honoring Marguerite Voorhies

Marguerite Voorhies was recently honored for a rather remarkable achievement: 65 years as a state of Tennessee employee. She’s been with Vol State since before there was even a campus and with the library since before there was a library building.

“We were down in the old Cordell Hull building in Gallatin and the library was in the basement. I remember the wind blowing through there in the winter.”

When asked about the biggest change from those first days she remarks on expertise.

“The number of employees we have here now is one big change. Back then everyone did everything. Now everyone has a specialty.”

She began her career with Vol State in July 0f 1971. Since that time, the library has had several more homes and the entire field of Library Science has undergone a tidal wave of change.

“I worked through the development of computerization,” she said. “It’s been quite a challenge.”

At 86 years old, she often gets asks when she will retire.

“I’ve thought about it, but as long as I have half my mind and my health I’ll keep working. It keeps me on my toes. It gives me something to accomplish each day.”

Dr. Ramer presents Marguerite with an award:

The celebration of 60 years with the state of Tennessee:

Vol State in the News

Vol State History professor Carole Bucy is also the Davidson County Historian. She recently spoke to News2 about Nashville during the 1918 flu pandemic. The story provides some interesting contrasts to COVID-19.

The Upper Cumberland Business Journal ran our news release that points to a Fed study showing lost lifetime wages for students who take a gap year.

Vol State is offering virtual class sessions in Carthage this fall, in a partnership with the Chamber of Commerce. The Smith County Insider has the story.

The announcement of a Facebook data center in Gallatin has been talked about for months and is now official. Vol State has been working with city leaders and Facebook in the announcement. Here's the Tennessean story.

Meet the Pioneer Connections Peer Mentors

Introducing the 2020-2021 Pioneer Connections Peer Mentors!  They are excited to assist fellow adult learner students this academic year.  New, returning or transfer adult learners can apply  for Fall. Help us spread the word. If you know of a student who might benefit have them email Amy Hoffman at 

Jeremy Shipley Publications

Philosophy faculty member Jeremy Shipley had two articles published recently. The first, published in March, appeared in Philosophical Studies. Here is his description:

"The article concerns issues relating to knowledge and probability judgments for decision making under uncertainty, and has implications for models of rational inference employed in a range of disciplines, including economics, psychology, artificial intelligence, and political science. Specifically, I argue that pragmatic factors have a role in knowledge attributions in the context of decision theory with imprecise probabilities, which generalizes standard Bayesian decision theory."

The second, with co-author Landon Elkind was published this month in Russell: the Journal of Bertrand Russell Studies. 

"It concerns the philosopher Bertrand Russell's understanding of relationship between space as we experience it subjectively and physical space as it exists objectively, along with other issues relating to the idea that physics reveals the logical structure of the world to us. The paper explores the role of logical structure in our understanding of the relationship between mind and world and our cognitive access to real world spatial relations."