Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Meet the New Dean of Humanities

Erin Mann is the new dean of Humanities at Vol State. She comes most recently from Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Missouri, where she was associate provost of Academic Operations. The Humanities Division is the largest academic area at Vol State.

“I’d been looking for a leadership position that would let me work more closely with faculty and students than my previous position, and I really wanted to find something at a community college because I think they’re doing cutting-edge things for students who need it,” Mann said. “I value a clear mission. The Vol State Humanities Division, in particular, seemed like a really great mix of traditional general education transfer classes, hands-on and practical degrees, and arts and letters all working together.”

Mann has taught English at Lindenwood University Belleville, the University of Iowa, and Mount Mercy University. She holds a Ph.D. and M.A. in English Literature from the University of Iowa, and a B.A. in English and German from Rice University in Houston.

“My goals are to support the faculty to the fullest extent as they begin the new semester, and to get to know them, and through them, the students,” she said. “This semester will be a lot of listening and communicating, I expect. Long term, my goals will probably align with those of the college and schools across the country: continue to grow enrollment in our programs. Continue to improve graduation and transfer rates. Find new ways to serve our students and keep perfecting the old ways.”

A Reminder of the Spring COVID Screening Process

A reminder that the COVID screening process will remain in place for the spring semester, with a few changes. You will still need to fill out the form on the front page of the college website each time you visit a campus. However, check-in locations at each building are no longer staffed. You will find a self-screening kiosk. Simply open your confirmation email and scan the QR code. Masks are still required on all campuses.

Monday, January 11, 2021

Vol State Faculty Member Works on Netflix Movie “The Prom”

A Hollywood movie musical is all about making the stars sound great. A big part of that is done with an orchestra. Vol State Director of Entertainment Media Production, Steve Bishir, was part of the team that recorded the orchestra for the Netflix hit “The Prom.” The movie stars Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman, and James Corden. Bishir traveled to London, England last March for the project. It was recorded at the famous Air Studios, a converted church turned into a high-end studio that has been used by artists such as Paul McCartney and Coldplay.

We had 56 strings on Monday and Tuesday, French horns, saxophones, trumpets, and trombones on Wednesday and Thursday. Woodwinds on Friday and Saturday,” Steve said. “We did this so that in the mix they could have full separation sonically among the parts. All told, I think we had 72 musicians on the dates over the course of the week. This was my 43rd trip to do orchestra in London starting way back in 1993. There was a period of about 10 years or so where I was travelling to London 3 times a year for orchestra.”

The producers- Adam Anders and Peer Astrom- had programmed all the individual parts beforehand and had recorded all the final vocals. This gave me a great map to understand how the orchestra should fit sonically into the overall picture.”

And the professional project also provided teaching opportunities for Steve as he worked to capture things that he could bring back to the classroom.

“I have the scores we used on the sessions and I made a video of one of the songs with me turning the pages of the score along with it so they can see what was happening. I also have pictures and videos I took to show the mics I used and the placement. Then we did some mock up set ups to show kind of what I was doing on the gig.”

“I've had long talks with many students about where the bar is to be hired for this type of gig. It was inspirational to some and I had one tell me it gave him new energy to pursue his own path.”

Hilary Marabeti Serves with TBR Center for Workforce Development

Hilary Marabeti, Assistant Vice President of ECD, was selected by the TBR’s Center for Workforce Development to serve as one of the three regional workforce representatives.  As the Middle Tennessee representative, she will be responsible for assisting in meeting with industry for regional/state expansions and recruitment; attending meetings representing the Center; assisting with planning TN Trained events; serving as a workforce mentor for the region; assisting in grant writing projects for the Center; and, other duties as assigned.  She will be in regular contact with the four community colleges and nine colleges of applied technology in Middle Tennessee to generate reports, identify unique programming, and to connect colleges with industry needs and interests.