Pellissippi State honors employees and retirees

Pellissippi State Community College recently hosted its annual recognition of employees for outstanding service, longevity and retirement.

At this year’s ceremony, the Excellence in Teaching Award went to Denise Reed, an associate professor in Business and Computer Technology. The award recognizes innovative teaching techniques and the positive impact they have had on students.

Denise Reed
Denise Reed

Reed was instrumental in the launch of Pellissippi State’s Accelerated Higher Education Associate’s Degree program. AHEAD allows students to earn an Associate of Applied Science degree with a major in Business Administration and a concentration in Management in only 16 months. Reed is also on the college’s Service-Learning advisory board and is a faculty advisor to the Rotaract Club, a Rotary Club student affiliate.

Marilyn Harper
Marilyn Harper

The Innovations Award was bestowed upon Marilyn Harper. This award is given in recognition of a project that demonstrates success of creative and original instructional and learning support activities. Harper, director of Academic Support Services, was recognized for her work in improving the use of tutoring resources at Pellissippi State’s Academic Support Center.

(L-R) Celeste Evans, Chuck Wright and Terri Strader
(L-R) Celeste Evans, Chuck Wright and Terri Strader

Two teams were honored at the ceremony with the Gene Joyce Visionary Award, which recognizes external outreach projects that have a positive impact on the community. The team of Celeste Evans, Terri Strader, and Chuck Wright was honored for its work toward establishing criteria by which students with credentials in industrial, trade, and military fields may be awarded credit for prior learning.

(L-R) Keith Norris, Rob Lloyd and Trent Eades.
(L-R) Keith Norris, Rob Lloyd and Trent Eades.

Another Gene Joyce Visionary Award was given to the team of Trent Eades, Rob Lloyd and Keith Norris for the trio’s efforts in promoting and producing Pellissippi State’s Faculty Lecture Series. The series, which is free and open to the public, features Pellissippi State faculty presenting educational and often entertaining lectures on everything from stem cell research to solar power.

Tracy Rees
Tracy Rees
Kathy King
Kathy King
John Ruppe
John Ruppe

The Excellence in Teaching, Innovations and Gene Joyce Visionary awards carried with them monetary recognition ranging from $1,000 to $1,500. Recipients of the awards also received a plaque and a medallion.

Rachael Cragle
Rachael Cragle

Additional award recipients—each of whom received $100, a plaque and a medallion—included the following: Outstanding Adjunct Faculty, Tracy Rees; Outstanding Administrator, Rachael Cragle; Outstanding Contract Worker, Rebecca Harmon; Outstanding Support Professional, Kathy King; Outstanding Technical/Service/Maintenance Employee, John Ruppe; and Outstanding Full-time Faculty, Jonathan Fowler.

Funding for all awards was provided by the Pellissippi State Foundation. The Foundation works to provide student scholarships and emergency loans, as well as to improve facilities and secure new equipment.

Rebecca Harmon
Rebecca Harmon

Pellissippi State also recognized employees at five-year increments of service, as well as council presidents and retiring employees. This year’s faculty and staff retirees included Bill Galyon, Dorothy Giles, Carl “Pete” Jones, Larry Morgan, Teresa Myers, Brenda O’Neal, Bonnie Powell, Robert Sayles and Catherine Williams.

As this year’s recipient of the Outstanding Full-time Faculty Award, Fowler carried the college’s mace at the 38th Annual Commencement Ceremony. Reed, recipient of the Excellence in Teaching Award, gave the Commencement address. Pellissippi State’s Commencement took place May 10 at the Knoxville Civic Coliseum.

Jonathan Fowler
Jonathan Fowler

This year, Pellissippi State conferred a record number of 1,393 associate’s degrees. Approximately 938 students also completed certificates during the academic year. In 2012, another graduation record was broken when 1,166 students were awarded associate’s degrees.

For additional information about Pellissippi State, call (865) 694-6400 or visit

Pellissippi State graduates earn degree on accelerated path, as a group

A row of people standing in front of buildings and trees.
Front row, left to right: Lee Blackburn, Rick Stogsdill, Heather Hatfield, David Carr, Diane Mannis, Brandi Dockins, Amber Slaterbeck, Amy Proctor, Harmonie Wallace and Denise Reed. Second row, left to right: Jim Wolfenbarger, Walter Radny, Philip Woods, Bobby Snodderly, Elizabeth Donaldson, Sevaughn Green, John Carter and Joe Junemann. (Bridget Webb is not pictured.) Photograph by Austin Webb.

Pellissippi State Community College’s Accelerated Higher Education Associate’s Degree program gives working adults the chance to earn a two-year degree in 16 months—an option that has grown more popular, and in some cases essential, for students.

At Pellissippi State’s 2013 Commencement Ceremony on May 10, AHEAD marked its sixth year with the graduation of its Management cohort, the first cohort the program offered when it was launched. Students in the cohort earned an associate’s degree in Business Administration with a Management concentration.

In a cohort, a group of students follows the same schedule and progresses through the program together.

“Getting to work with a team that you stay with through the whole thing was appealing to me. I knew I would have a good support system,” said David Carr, a new AHEAD Management graduate.

“You know everybody’s strengths and weaknesses, and who you can depend on to do what. It’s not like a regular class where you’re on a different team, with different people. You form more of a bond and do better work.”

AHEAD is a full-time program, and many students balance school with full-time jobs and family.

“It’s fun, it’s challenging, it’s worth the struggle,” said Lee Blackburn, a 2013 graduate in the Management cohort who worked as a construction subcontractor while a Pellissippi State student. “Juggling work and school and home, it’s tough. But it’s worth it.”

AHEAD faculty member Denise Reed agrees. “You have to have such a determination that you’re going to succeed and do this,” said Reed, “and I’m just so proud of them for all they accomplish in such a short amount of time.” Reed  has taught classes in AHEAD’s Management cohort from the beginning.

AHEAD provides two ways for students to accelerate their studies: credit for prior learning and shorter-length courses.

“I do work full time, so this was the best, quick way to do it,” said Heather Hatfield, who also graduated with the cohort. “You need to be dedicated and focused in order to finish. It is not a traditional class, for sure. It is for those who are committed and wanting that degree.”

Pellissippi State offers several AHEAD programs in the cohort-style format: Computer Accounting, Culinary Arts, and Management, all in the Business Administration major; Industrial Maintenance, in Engineering Technology; the Associate of Science in Teaching; and the A.S. 41-Hour General Education Certificate.

To learn more about AHEAD and other cohort programs, visit or call Celeste Evans at (865) 539-7381.

Pellissippi State offers five-day training to be solar photovoltaic installer

In only five days, students who enroll in the Solar Photovoltaic Training Series at Pellissippi State Community College will be prepared to enter the growing field of solar design and installation. Those who complete the course will also be eligible to take the optional North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners exam. The series is offered through the Business and Community Services Division.

Solar photovoltaics, the conversion of solar power to electricity, is a growing field in Tennessee. As of May 2012, Tennessee is second only to California in the number of solar photovoltaic installers employed. Approximately 670 individuals worked as installers in the state last year, according to the U. S. Department of Labor.

No specialized knowledge is required to take the class. Basic high school math is reviewed, and the foundations of electricity and electronics are covered. Students then go on to the design and installation portions of the coursework. Additional topics include photovoltaic history, market developments and safety.

The class is May 20-24, 8 a.m.-5 p.m., at the Hardin Valley Campus. The cost is $799, plus a textbook fee of $175. The fee for the optional NABCEP exam is $125.

To register or to learn more about this and other classes, call (865) 539-7167 or visit The BCS website lists updated class schedules and information on new course offerings.

DENSO gift boosts Pellissippi State Engineering Technology program

The DENSO North America Foundation has presented the Pellissippi State Foundation with a $50,000 donation for new equipment and technology that enhances Pellissippi State Community College’s Engineering Technology degree program.

Providing students with the equipment and technology that they will use upon graduation is a key priority at Pellissippi State.

“Pellissippi State and DENSO Manufacturing Tennessee have collaborated since 1992,” Pellissippi State President L. Anthony Wise Jr. said. “This partnership has included training programs for DENSO employees, programmatic and curriculum recommendations for our academic programs, and donations from DENSO Manufacturing Tennessee and the DENSO North America Foundation.”

DENSO’s gift pays for Mechatronics Training Systems, also called MecLabs, and thermography equipment for Engineering Technology, as well as for workforce training and STEM—science, technology, engineering, and math—awareness.

Students enrolled in Engineering Technology and participants in Business and Community Services training will benefit from the new equipment and technology. Knox County and Blount County students will also be introduced to the new MecLabs.

“This equipment will be used to generate interest at middle and high schools by providing demonstrations and hands-on activities for students with the goal of encouraging potential careers paths involving science, technology, engineering and mathematics,” said Wise.

To learn more about giving opportunities, email or call (865) 694-6528. For more information on Engineering Technology and other academic offerings, visit or call (865) 694-6400.

May 10 Pellissippi State graduates began college as high-schoolers

Portrait of a male with buzz cut hair, glasses, and wearing a white polo shirt.As graduates cross the stage May 10 at Pellissippi State Community College’s Commencement ceremony, some of them will have begun classes at the college while they were still high school students.

Jonathan Caylor began taking college classes through Pellissippi State’s Fast Forward Dual Enrollment program as a junior at Hardin Valley Academy.

“Dual enrollment let me get a head start into something I really enjoyed. I could test the waters and see how things were before I fully committed,” he said. “It was really valuable.”

Caylor became a full-time Pellissippi State student in 2010. He graduates with an associate’s degree in Media Technologies, concentrating in Communication Graphics Technology. He also takes away three certificates: Web Design Tools, Accessible Web Design and Mobile Web Design.

Spencer Joy, the college’s Dual Enrollment specialist, said Fast Forward provides many Knox and Blount county high school students the opportunity for an inexpensive jump-start on a postsecondary education.

“It is a huge savings to students,” Joy said. Students can take a dual enrollment class at Pellissippi State for less than $60. Eligible students also may qualify for the Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation Dual Enrollment Grant.

“Students who complete dual enrollment courses enter college ahead of others who didn’t start early,” said Joy. “It is also a transitional experience—students get acquainted with registration and what life is like on a college campus. Although still in high school, the vast majority of them succeed as college students, earning A’s and B’s.”

“The high school experience is nothing like the college experience,” said Caylor. “In high school, your hands are held, everything is planned, and everything is sort of in order. College is not exactly that way.

“Getting to do dual enrollment, even just a single class per high school semester, was a taste of college. I could experience the high school classes I had and merge over to this new college lifestyle.”

Following graduation, Caylor plans to seek employment in graphic design, perhaps eventually pursuing a bachelor’s degree.

Kelsea Smith started in dual enrollment at Pellissippi State as a way to graduate early from Maryville High School. After graduating from high school, she elected to continue on at Pellissippi State.

“It’s the lowest price around, and it’s a really good college,” she said. “I like the professors and I like the environment: small classes where you get individual help, versus the larger universities and colleges.”

Smith graduates tomorrow with an Associate of Science in Teaching, with an Elementary Education option. Through a partnership between Pellissippi State and Tennessee Technological University, she plans to begin working toward a four-year degree in the fall.

For more information about the Dual Enrollment program, call (865) 694-6400 or visit

Pellissippi State to honor Distinguished Alumni at May 10 Commencement

Portrait of Caucasian female in a white collared shirt with a black jacketAt its May 10 Commencement ceremony, Pellissippi State Community College will recognize more than a thousand new graduates—and one 1995 graduate.

Tracie Livesay, who completed an associate’s degree 18 years ago, will be honored with the 2013 Distinguished Alumni Award. The award, which premiered at the 2012 Commencement, is in recognition of significant professional achievement, service to the community and support of Pellissippi State.

Livesay, who earned the Associate of Applied Science in Legal Assistant Technology (now Paralegal Studies), has gone on from Pellissippi State to a successful career in the legal field, working as a paralegal for more than 18 years. She continually updates her professional knowledge with special certifications and is now pursuing a master’s degree in business management.

Her many volunteer efforts include service in the Smoky Mountain Paralegal Association, where she has worked on projects in support of local organizations such as the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Tennessee Valley, Knox Area Rescue Ministries, and the Knoxville-Knox County Community Action Committee’s Mobile Meals program.

During her 2006-07 tenure as SMPA president, the group grew to be the largest paralegal organization in the Southeast. In addition to SMPA, Livesay is also a member of the American Association for Justice, National Association of Legal Assistants and National Federation of Paralegal Associations.

Livesay has also given freely of her time and talents to Pellissippi State. Since 2007, she has volunteered as a member of Pellissippi State’s Advisory Committee for Paralegal Studies. She also assists the Pellissippi State Paralegal Association with event planning, serves as an adjunct faculty member for various classes in the Paralegal Studies program and volunteers for fundraisers hosted by the Pellissippi State Foundation.

At this year’s ceremony, the college will again confer a record number of associate’s degrees. A total of 1,393 students will receive degrees. In 2012, another graduation record was broken when 1,166 students were awarded degrees.

Pellissippi State’s Commencement begins at 7 p.m. It takes place at the Knoxville Civic Coliseum, 500 Howard Baker Jr. Ave.

For additional information regarding Commencement or Pellissippi State, call (865) 694-6400 or visit

Two Pellissippi State cohort students to study in Scotland this summer

Portrait of a young, Caucasian male wearing a light blue shirt.
Jacob Johnson, a student at Pellissippi State, will study abroad in Scotland this summer as part of the new Communication Studies cohort. Students enrolled in cohorts enter college together and finish together as one dynamic group. Another Communication Studies cohort begins in August and is open for registration.

Enrolling in a cohort at Pellissippi State Community College means that students enter college together and finish together as one dynamic group. For two students enrolled in the new Communication Studies cohort, it also means studying abroad together this summer in Scotland.

From June 4 through June 24, Jacob Johnson and Bonnie Walker will take classes for college credit while in Scotland. They do so through the Tennessee Consortium for International Studies. TnCIS, based at Pellissippi State, coordinates study abroad opportunities as part of its mission of boosting international experience and culture in higher education across the state.

This summer, TnCIS is coordinating 18 different study abroad experiences for Tennessee students. Last year, more than 400 students and 50 faculty members from the state participated in TnCIS’ study abroad programs.

For Johnson, the 21 days in Scotland represent his first journey outside the U.S. A seasoned traveler within the country, Johnson says he looks forward to experiencing a different culture while developing skills such as public speaking. He also likes the “stateside” aspect of cohort studies.

“It’s pretty cool to see the same people in classes,” he said. “You already know people, and everyone can help each other to make sure you get what you need out of class. With Communication Studies, I have lots of options. I can get a job or go on for a four-year degree in business, communications or marketing.”

Portrait of a young, Caucasian female wearing a black shirt.
Bonnie Walker, a student at Pellissippi State, will study abroad in Scotland this summer as part of the new Communication Studies cohort.

Walker has previously traveled outside the U.S., but she is equally excited about her study abroad in Scotland. Her career plans include further studies in international affairs, and she hopes to land a job that involves work overseas.

Though her preference is to have a job based in Asia, Walker says that she is open to employment in a wide variety of locales. She, too, likes the cohort aspect of studying at Pellissippi State.

“By being in a cohort, you get to see the same professors on a regular basis,” she said. “That continuity is great, especially if you need help in your studies.”

First offered during the fall 2012 semester, the new Communication Studies cohort is for incoming students planning to enter a communication field such as journalism, mass communication, interpersonal communication, conflict resolution, argumentation and debate, or speech writing or performance. The course of study is two years, including summer. Students enrolled in the Communication Studies cohort take 12-16 hours of credit classes during fall and spring semesters.

The summer semester of the Communication Studies cohort consists of 6 credit hours and is centered this summer on study abroad in Scotland. Faculty involved with the program conducted fundraising activities to assist cohort students with the study abroad fees. Those who did not wish to study abroad elected to take the summer classes on campus. The first group of Communication Studies cohort students graduates from Pellissippi State in May 2014.

For some students, a potential roadblock to attending college is the worry that scheduling classes around work, family, and other activities may be difficult and result in additional time spent in pursuing a degree. The cohorts offered by Pellissippi State are designed to take the worry out of students’ plans.

Not only do enrollees have the support of fellow students pursuing the same discipline of study, but they also have a predetermined set of classes mapped out over the course of four or five semesters. Cohort students do not have to be concerned that a required class will be full and, therefore, unavailable to them.

Class sizes for cohorts are limited to allow for more in-depth individual and group instruction. Students chosen to be part of a cohort will have demonstrated the maturity and self-motivation to work well in teams and manage their time effectively.

Other cohorts available at Pellissippi State: Associate of Science General Education Certificate, Associate of Science in Teaching, Culinary Arts and Industrial Maintenance. All of those cohorts are now enrolling students for fall 2013. Cohorts available for spring 2014 include Computer Accounting, Culinary Arts and Management.

Another Communication Studies cohort begins this August, with graduation slated for spring 2015. Upon successful completion, students may earn an Associate of Arts or Associate of Science degree in Speech Communication or in Mass Communication. They are then eligible to transfer to any state university as a junior.

Pellissippi State’s fall 2013 application deadline is Aug. 14. Classes begin on Aug. 24.

For additional information, visit or call (865) 694-6400.

Pellissippi State hosts two summer New Student Orientation sessions

Summer semester begins at Pellissippi State Community College the end of this month, and those who plan to attend should reserve a spot in New Student Orientation. Only two sessions are offered, so accepted students are urged to save their space as soon as possible.

Orientation is required of all first-time degree-seeking freshmen. It is also recommended for transfer students and those who have been out of school for a while. Pellissippi State encourages parents, spouses and others supportive of the students to attend as well.

The sessions give new enrollees the opportunity to meet with Pellissippi State students, faculty, and staff; learn strategies for college success; explore degree, major, and transfer options; and discover campus services and resources such as financial aid. Summer orientation sessions are geared specifically to helping ensure students’ success in the faster-paced classes of summer term.

Both New Student Orientation sessions for summer take place in the Goins Building Auditorium at Pellissippi State’s Hardin Valley Campus. The dates and times are Tuesday, May 21, 5:30-8:30 p.m. or Friday, May 24, 9-noon.

Prospective students need to keep in mind that summer classes often fill early. Other key dates to remember:

  • May 20—application deadline
  • May 21—entrance testing (if applicable) deadline
  • May 23—registration deadline
  • May 28—first day of classes (end of classes: July 24)

Visit or call (865) 694-6400 to make your reservation. To request accommodations for a disability, contact Disability Services at or (865) 539-7153.

International exhibit features Pellissippi State Photography instructor’s work

Portrait of a man with a mustache in navy blue suit with a yellow tieJohn Edwin May’s photographs capture a microcosm familiar to some but seldom chronicled by professional photographers: small-town wrestling. May, who teaches photography at Pellissippi State Community College, has a regional following that recently expanded to an international audience.

May’s work was selected by judges for the ONWARD Compé international photography competition to be displayed in an April 12-14 exhibit in Philadelphia. Juried each year by a leading figure in contemporary photography, ONWARD Compé spotlights new work that pushes the boundaries of the medium.

May entered three photographs from his series “Bell Time,” a project that spans five years and continues today.

The artist first attended a wrestling match to assist a student who asked for some help with lighting. The performers and fans captivated May. In fact, the spectacle compelled him to return again and again to high school gyms, armories and flea markets throughout East Tennessee.

Male professional wrestler walking towards ring with smoke and lights behind him.
KFW wrestler Keith Knox makes his way to the ring for a match at the National Guard Armory in Pigeon Forge during the annual Black Harvest 2012.

“I really enjoy the special exchange that happens at this spectacle, because the crowd is as much a part of it as the wrestlers are,” he said.

May was one of 53 photographers chosen for the Philadelphia exhibit. Contest organizers compiled 2,100 submissions from 29 countries for the sixth annual competition. Guest juror Mark Steinmetz chose a total of 80 submissions for the first-round selection in late March and narrowed the field for the exhibit selection. Steinmetz is a Guggenheim fellow whose has work in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Museum of Modern Art, among others.

Male wrestler with championship belt on his shoulder and he bleeding from his head.
“Black Top Bully” with the Extreme Wrestling Alliance in Newport in June 2011. On this night he had just won the Extreme Heavyweight Championship Title.

In addition to exhibiting at ONWARD Compé, May’s work was displayed in the online Galerie and printed in the exhibition catalog.

While attending the exhibit and two-day ONWARD Summit, May said he planned to participate in conference workshops and bring that knowledge back for Pellissippi State students. He teaches a range of photography courses at Pellissippi State and shares his work with students. He says that he wants them to see the rewards that can come from long-term projects such as “Bell Time” and to observe how work in local, regional, and national shows can translate to an international exhibit.

In addition to recognition from exhibits, May’s work has gained a following through social media. He shares his photos on his website ( and Facebook page, where he has almost 1,000 friends that follow the “Bell Time” series.

Two male wrestlers grappling and one in a headlock submission on the mat.
Two grapplers square off in a Tennessee Mountain Wrestling match last year. Lee Moore has Joe Webb on the mat in a headlock during the Anderson County Fair 2012.

Fans and performers know May, and he receives invitations to matches in Tennessee, Kentucky, and Georgia. He attends matches two to three times a week and always discovers something new to photograph.

“Each one is different. I just look for new things,” he said. “And now that I am becoming more known, more people will approach me and talk to me about my work. If they can’t make the wrestling event, they like to go and look at the work and see what they missed that night.”

To learn more about Pellissippi State’s Photography concentration, one of four in the Media Technologies degree program, visit

Pellissippi State’s Swing Big tournament: Enjoy a round of golf, support students

About 5 men practicing their golf swing early on the green golf course

Early May in East Tennessee usually offers perfect golfing weather. It also offers the perfect opportunity to assist area students while enjoying a round of golf.

Pellissippi State Community College’s ninth annual Swing Big for Students Golf Tournament, scheduled for May 7, brings together players united in a friendly game that ultimately benefits students pursuing their education. Registration is open until May 3.

This year, the Swing Big Signature Sponsor is Pilot Travel Centers. And thanks to Hole-in-One sponsors Karen’s Jewelers and Smoky Mountain Harley-Davidson, a player who sinks that perfectly timed hole-in-one could walk away with a diamond ring or ride off on a Harley.

The tournament, hosted by the Pellissippi State Foundation, raises money that goes toward programs that directly impact deserving students. Funds have been used not only to provide student scholarships and emergency loans but also to improve facilities and secure new equipment. The tournament has raised more than $114,000 during the past eight years.

A portion of the proceeds from the 2013 tournament will be awarded to a recipient of the Swing Big for Students Scholarship, which was established in 2010 for Pellissippi State students in Exercise Science or Sport Management.

The golf event takes place at Egwani Farms in Rockford, and shotguns are scheduled at 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. The cost is $100 per player or $400 for a four-person team. Entry fee includes 18 holes of golf, cart, driving range, snack, lunch and prizes. In case of inclement weather on May 7, a rain date is scheduled for May 21.

Sponsorship opportunities begin at $150, and a limited number are still available. To learn more about sponsoring, contact Pat Myers, tournament director, at (865) 539-7242 or

To register, visit for the entry form. Completed forms may be faxed to (865) 539-7241 or mailed to the Pellissippi State Foundation, P.O. Box 22990, Knoxville 37933-0990.

Pellissippi State Community College, Knoxville, TN