Pellissippi State uses grants to open Veterans Success Center

A Veterans Success Center is well on its way to opening at Pellissippi State Community College, thanks in part to grants from the Tennessee Board of Regents and the Tennessee College Access and Success Network.

The new center is expected to serve about 500 military veterans, reservists, and family members and will bring many of Pellissippi State’s veteran-related services into a centralized location on the Hardin Valley Campus.

“We’re trying to provide an additional layer of support to an important group of students—and a growing group of students—who are returning to college after service in Iraq or Afghanistan,” said L. Anthony Wise Jr., Pellissippi State president.

“We want to provide the best possible environment for them to learn and grow while they’re here at Pellissippi State.” The college serves more than 500 veterans who use the GI Bill each year, accounting for about 5 percent of the student population.

Pellissippi State is providing staff and equipment to the Veterans Success Center with the help of a $37,982 Tennessee College Access and Success Network grant. A three-year, $98,000 TBR Access and Diversity grant brings in additional funding for veterans support, including supplemental educational opportunities through tutoring and workshops.

With the assistance of the grants, Pellissippi State hopes to increase student veteran participation and enhance veteran persistence in completing higher education degrees.

Through the new facility, an estimated 125 veterans each year will receive graduation-focused support. The students also will have access to tutoring, mentoring, advising, financial aid assistance, job placement services and a fully equipped study lounge. Internship opportunities with local, veteran-owned businesses will be available through a partnership with the Tennessee Veterans Business Association.

But the center plans to play another, at least as important role in supporting student veterans.

Statistics indicate that more than 88 percent of veterans using the Post-9/11 GI Bill abandon higher education pursuits after the end of their second semester of college, and only 3 percent graduate.

Feelings of isolation are said to be a major contributing factor to veterans dropping out.

“The Veterans Success Center will offer not only the ‘formal’ network of support these students need,” said Ted Lewis, vice president of Academic Affairs. “It will also provide them with an informal network through which they can work together, socialize, share common concerns.”

Among veterans attending college now, most take advantage of either the Post-9/11 GI Bill (Chapter 33) or the Veterans Retraining Assistance Program. A majority of those using the Post-9/11 GI Bill are younger combat veterans who have served within the last 10 years.

To be eligible for VRAP, veterans must be between the ages of 35 and 60, unemployed and ineligible for assistance from any other VA education program. Typically, a large number from both programs are low-income, first-generation college students.

For more information about the Veterans Success Center or other programs and services offered by Pellissippi State, call (865) 694-6400 or visit

Pellissippi State’s Oct. 4 Pacific Rim Street Fest highlights Asian cultures

Pellissippi State Community College hopes a look at new cultures will prompt the community to look at the world from a new perspective.

Pacific Rim Street Fest: A Celebration of Asian Pacific Rim Heritage is slated for 10 a.m.-3 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 4. The free event takes place in the Goins Building College Center on the Hardin Valley Campus.

“Each semester, we have events that focus on different cultural experiences,” said Gayle Wood, the college’s director of Access and Diversity. “We’ve spotlighted cultures as diverse as Mediterranean, Hispanic, African and Native American in the past. We hope each event encourages our students, faculty, and staff members and the community at large to look at the world from a new cultural perspective.

“The idea to focus on Pacific Rim countries—including China, Japan, Vietnam, Korea and Taiwan—came from a student who also is a military veteran. He had amazing stories about serving in some of those Pacific Rim countries and the cultural experiences he had there.”

Pacific Rim Street Fest is one of the events that make up this academic year’s The Arts at Pellissippi State. The arts series brings to the community cultural activities ranging from music and theatre to international celebrations, lectures, and the fine arts.

Pacific Rim Street Fest features Wah Lum Kung Fu of Knoxville performing a traditional lion dance, a Japanese dancing troupe from Atlanta and a Japanese tea ceremony. Other tentative activities include a Chinese fine artist and personal booths set up by Pellissippi State students native to Pacific Rim countries.

The Access and Diversity Office will give away chopsticks, Chinese and Japanese folding fans, and fortune cookies. Asian teas will be served as well. The Pacific Rim Street Fest also allows attendees to sample traditional foods, including Taiwanese Kong Bao chicken, Japanese wasabi pork shumai and Vietnamese dau phong, or boiled peanuts.

For more information about Pacific Rim Street Fest, call Access and Diversity at (865) 539-7160 or visit For more information about The Arts at Pellissippi State, visit

To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources at (865) 694-6607 or

Pellissippi State kicks off 2013-14 Music Concert Series

Pellissippi State Community College’s Music Concert Series for the 2013-14 academic year gets under way Thursday, Oct. 3, with a showcase of musical talents performing in the annual Faculty Recital.

The Faculty Recital, which normally runs about 90 minutes, begins at 7 p.m. in the Clayton Performing Arts Center on the college’s Hardin Valley Campus. The event features the talents of the Music program’s faculty. It is free and the community is invited.

“It’s a good way to showcase the faculty’s talents to the community and the college,” said Bill Brewer, Music program coordinator and an associate professor. “Attendees will hear musical genres ranging from classical to jazz and opera to Broadway. It’s an eclectic, very fun program.”

The Faculty Recital is the first of nine concerts to take place throughout the academic year. Close on its heels is the Fall Choral Concert, 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 24, and also in the Clayton Performing Arts Center.

The Faculty Recital features performances by 17 faculty members, solo and in small ensemble, with voice and various instruments, including piano, guitar, violin, and flute. All piano performances and accompaniments will be performed on Steinways, in keeping with Pellissippi State’s status as an All-Steinway School.

The Music Concert Series is part of The Arts at Pellissippi State, which brings to the community cultural activities ranging from music and theatre to international celebrations, lectures, and the fine arts.

All series events are free, but donations are accepted at the door for the Pellissippi State Foundation on behalf of the Music Scholarship Fund. All performances are also open to the public, and plenty of free parking is available.

For additional information about the Pellissippi State Music Concert Series or The Arts at Pellissippi State, call (865) 694-6400 or visit

To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources and Affirmative Action at (865) 694-6607 or

Pellissippi State: Online privacy topic of Oct. 3 Faculty Lecture Series talk

Personal privacy rights have been a national hot topic recently, and Pellissippi State Community College’s next Faculty Lecture Series speaker has them on her mind.

Lisa Bogaty, associate professor in Business and Computer Technology, delivers the lecture “What They Know: Privacy in the Age of Digital Tracking” at 12:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 3. The free event, which takes place in the Goins Building Auditorium on the Hardin Valley Campus, is open to the public.

“There’s a huge debate going on about people’s right to privacy following various leaks about information gathering by businesses and governmental entities such as the NSA,” Bogaty said.

“The issue is, should we be collecting this level of data about the public when people have not been charged with a crime or are not the subject of an investigation, and how long should this information be stored?”

Bogaty, who teaches business administration and e-commerce courses at Pellissippi State, will focus on behavioral online tracking—tracking an internet user’s shopping patterns, search queries, online friends, social media behavior, and other information—and how businesses and marketers use that information. Bogaty will touch briefly on government online tracking.

“There was a time when almost everyone got junk advertisements in their emails,” she said, “but that doesn’t happen often anymore. Your online experience now involves very focused advertising based on your real shopping and searching patterns. These ads can only be this targeted by knowing you—and they do know you.”

Bogaty says she hopes her lecture leaves listeners with more questions than answers, since the debate about online privacy is an ongoing one.

The Faculty Lecture Series is part of The Arts at Pellissippi State, which brings to the community cultural activities ranging from music and theatre to international celebrations, lectures, and the fine arts.

To learn more about “What They Know” or The Arts at Pellissippi State, call (865) 694-6400 or visit To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources and Affirmative Action at (865) 694-6607 or

Pellissippi State awarded record-breaking $4.6 million grant by federal Department of Labor

The U.S. Department of Labor has awarded Pellissippi State Community College a grant for $4,569,689—the largest single amount the school has ever received.

The funding is part of a $474.5 million DOL effort to help community colleges around the country train the workforce and facilitate students in earning credentials. The award was announced Wednesday, Sept. 18.

The grants are to be used for the development and expansion of innovative training programs in partnership with local employers. Pellissippi State was one of only three Tennessee colleges awarded funds in the competitive process.

“We are excited and proud to have won this very competitive grant for the expansion of our workforce training programs,” said L. Anthony Wise Jr., Pellissippi State president. “The funding will significantly enhance our efforts with business and industry partners to create more and better jobs for graduates throughout East Tennessee.”

The college wrote and submitted the grant as the leader of the Southeastern Economic and Education Leadership Consortium. The consortium includes five other community colleges in the Southeast: Northeast State Community College, Palm Beach State College and Polk State College in Florida, and Randolph Community College and Vance-Granville Community College in North Carolina.

The SEELC proposal resulted in a total of $12.7 million for use in advanced manufacturing projects.

“At Pellissippi State, we will use the grant to expand welding, machining, and manufacturing programs, with the long-term goal of ensuring that our graduates are well prepared to enter the workforce,” said Wise. Funds will be used to purchase equipment and new technology and to hire program faculty and staff.

“As a SEELC member, we will also work with national credentialing bodies to make sure our training continues to meet industry-recognized standards of excellence.”

Through the consortium, Pellissippi State will partner with organizations such as the American Welding Society and the National Institute for Metalworking Skills to offer national credentials as part of the college’s degree and certificate programs. Pellissippi State has available a wide variety of short-term training certificates that enhance job opportunities for students.

Consortium members also will work with public partners in their respective states to open the door for more students and workers to receive advanced manufacturing certificates and degrees.

The six colleges that make up the SEELC are leaders in partnering in regional workforce development and education, and the six were specifically chosen to represent economic and demographic diversity. Each SEELC member is located in a state in which governors and other community leaders are working to improve economic development and workforce system change.

To learn more about Pellissippi State’s programs and services, call (865) 694-6400 or visit For more about the federal grant, visit the U.S. Department of Labor’s website.

Pellissippi State offers credit-by-exam testing to save time, money

Knowledge from educational or professional experience might carry you further than you think.

Pellissippi State Community College offers the College-Level Examination Program, or CLEP, test—a credit-by-examination program that allows individuals the opportunity to earn college credit depending on their scores—not only to Pellissippi State students but to anyone wishing to take the exam.

“Earning qualifying scores on a CLEP exam can shorten the time it takes you to earn a degree and save money,” said Patrick Morin, a testing technician at the college.  “And it can reduce the number of introductory or general education courses you take.”

Qualifying scores on the CLEP can be forwarded to any college or university that accepts the test for credit, says Morin, meaning test-takers don’t need to attend Pellissippi State to take the exam. The CLEP is offered at the Hardin Valley and Blount County campuses.

“Anyone can take a CLEP exam: there are no age or education requirements,” he said. “We want everyone to know about CLEP so they’re aware of the opportunities available to them.”

The fee for taking the CLEP is $100. Testing hours are available during the day and evening. Most exams are approximately 90 minutes long, with College Composition taking 120 minutes.

The CLEP covers 33 subjects in five larger topic areas: composition and literature, science and mathematics, world languages, history and social sciences, and business. The test covers materials that often are taught in courses taken in the first two years of college.

Students who take the multiple-choice exams receive a score report immediately upon completion, though essay examinations take longer to score.

Test-takers can prepare for CLEP testing by visiting Pellissippi State’s Educational Resources Center. The ERC keeps copies of sample examinations in all 33 subject areas. Sample tests and other study resources also are available at

For more information about the CLEP at Pellissippi State, call the Testing Center at (865) 694-6454 or visit

Pellissippi State: Bridge Program helps freshmen jump-start college experience

More than 50 incoming college freshmen got a jump-start on college life this summer at Pellissippi State Community College through the TnAchieves Summer Bridge Program.

The Bridge Program is designed to provide academic and non-academic support to entering college freshmen whose ACT scores fall below the standards established for college-level coursework. The intention is for the students, through a three-week intensive summer experience, to test out of pre-college-level courses and to feel better prepared for college.

“This is the first time many of these students have been on a college campus, and most of them don’t know anyone else who has ever been on a college campus,” said Mary Monroe-Ellis, dean of Transitional Studies at Pellissippi State.

“This is a time for them to meet other college students; familiarize themselves with the campus; get intensive instruction in writing, reading, and math; and, hopefully, progress enough that they are able to test out of learning support classes.”

This summer was the second year Pellissippi State hosted a Summer Bridge Program. In 2012, the college was the pilot school for the project. In 2013, Pellissippi State received a three-year, $97,435 Access and Diversity Initiative grant from the Tennessee Board of Regents to continue the program.

During the 2013 Summer Bridge Program, which ended last month, 52 incoming freshmen spent three weeks on campus reading and discussing a common book; receiving academic instruction in reading, writing, and math; and hearing from community leaders during “Lunch and Learn” sessions.

At the end of the program, 76 percent of participating students improved or tested out of learning support English classes; 74 percent, learning support reading; and 79 percent, learning support math.

“We were incredibly pleased to see so many students improve their test scores and become better prepared for college and more familiar with the campus,” Monroe-Ellis said.

The TnAchieves Summer Bridge Program has now expanded to Walters State Community College and plans to continue to expand to other community colleges across the state.

For more information about the program, call Pellissippi State at (865) 694-6400 or visit

DENSO, Pellissippi State partner on classroom automation equipment

Row of males and females standing in a line
DENSO North America Foundation presented a $50,000 check to Pellissippi State Community College officials during a ceremony and tour Wednesday, Aug. 21, on the college’s Hardin Valley Campus. The grant will be used to purchase programmable controller training systems, a robotic arm training station with software and motor training equipment for the newest Engineering Technology concentration, Automated Industrial Systems. Pictured from left are Kenneth Swayne, Engineering Technology faculty, Pellissippi State; Robyn Blair and Sara Harris, DENSO Manufacturing Tennessee representatives; Carl Mallette, Engineering Technology; Brian Crawford, DENSO Manufacturing Tennessee; Peggy Wilson, executive director, Pellissippi State Foundation; Pat Riddle, Engineering Technology; L. Anthony Wise Jr., Pellissippi State president; Dennis Hopkins, vice president, DENSO Manufacturing Tennessee; and Ted Lewis, vice president, Academic Affairs, Pellissippi State.

After more than 20 years of collaboration, Pellissippi State Community College and DENSO North America Foundation are joining forces once again, this time to help provide new equipment to students studying Automated Industrial Systems at the college.

Automated Industrial Systems is a new concentration in the Engineering Technology program that launches at Pellissippi State this fall. Students who graduate in Engineering Technology earn an Associate of Applied Science degree.

Representatives from DENSO Manufacturing Tennessee presented a $50,000 check on behalf of the DENSO North America Foundation to the Pellissippi State Foundation during a ceremony at the school’s Hardin Valley Campus Wednesday, Aug. 21. The donation will apply toward the purchase of programmable controller training systems, a robotic arm training station with software and motor training equipment.

“The partnership between DENSO and Pellissippi State is one that benefits both our students and DENSO employees,” said L. Anthony Wise Jr., Pellissippi State president, “as, together, we strive to provide great education and technological training both on the job and in the classroom.”

group of males and females looking at computer and equipment

“For the auto industry to continue to advance, we need to further develop and invest in students’ technological skills—that’s what we hope to accomplish with Pellissippi State and this grant,” said Mike Brackett, DENSO Foundation board member and senior vice president of Corporate Services at DENSO Manufacturing Tennessee.

“At DENSO Manufacturing Tennessee, we specialize in robot design and programming and now have more than 800 robots on our production lines. Automation will continue to be critical in the future of DENSO and our automotive customers, meaning we need talented and knowledgeable people in this area.”

The equipment will be similar to that used in DENSO and other manufacturing settings where much of the automation is controlled by computer. With the robotic arm and programmable controller training systems, Pellissippi State students will learn relevant and technologically advanced techniques used in engineering technology and manufacturing.

“In order for students to be ready to go to work, we must continue to integrate newer technology into our training programs,” said Wise. “This cutting-edge equipment will be used for our new and existing engineering technology, workforce training, and STEM [science, technology, engineering and math] awareness programs.”

“Our partnership with DENSO is a win-win relationship,” said Peggy Wilson, executive director of the Pellissippi State Foundation. “Support from donors like DENSO helps the college provide its students the best education possible, and when those students graduate, they bring to employers the knowledge business and industry need to succeed.”

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



The DENSO North America Foundation was established in January 2001 to support the advancement of higher education in science, math, engineering and related business programs through grant-making to colleges and universities throughout North America. A priority is given to programs that demonstrate technological innovation and advance automotive engineering.

DENSO Corporation, headquartered in Kariya, Aichi prefecture, Japan, is a leading global automotive supplier of advanced technology, systems and components in the areas of thermal, powertrain control, electric, electronics, information and safety. Its customers include all the world’s major carmakers. Consolidated global sales for the fiscal year ending March 31 totaled U.S. $38.1 billion. In North America, DENSO employs more than 17,000 people, with consolidated sales totaling U.S. $6.8 billion for the fiscal year ending March 31.

‘A Celebration of Baskets’ exhibit at Pellissippi State starts Sept. 23

Swing Handle Market Basket - Artist Susan Mowan
Swing Handle Market Basket – Artist Susan Mowan

Weave your way to the Bagwell Center for Media and Art at Pellissippi State Community College and gain a new appreciation of an Appalachian heritage craft, basket weaving.

“A Celebration of Baskets” by the Foothills Craft Guild Basket Weavers is on display at the Bagwell Gallery Sept. 23-Oct. 15, with an opening reception 3-5 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 24. The event is free, and the community is invited. The gallery is located on the Hardin Valley Campus.

“The Foothills Craft Guild exhibit will present original work created by guild members, along with examples of work done by a special guest,” said Jennifer Brickey, an art instructor at Pellissippi State. “A Celebration of Baskets” features the work of Pam Parham, a Shaker-basket weaver from Sevierville.

According to Virgil Davis, a Pellissippi State adjunct faculty member and also a guild member, the basket exhibit pays homage to a timeless Appalachian craft, as well as introduces traditional and modern weaving techniques.

2 baskets on a table
Traditional Nantucket basket – Artist Susan Mowan

Like Parham, Davis creates Shaker baskets. Whether baskets, furniture or architecture, Shaker style is intended for longevity and usefulness. The display includes not only Shaker pieces but also nesting baskets, Nantuckets with solid wood bases and lids, and Appalachian berry baskets, which were traditionally made quickly, on site, from carved poplar bark.

Heritage basketry is joined in the exhibit by more modern creations. The display is meant to encourage visitors to be conscious of space and enclosures and to find beauty in everyday items.

“A Celebration of Baskets” is one of the events that make up Pellissippi State’s arts series, “The Arts at Pellissippi State.” The series brings to the community cultural activities ranging from music and theatre to international celebrations, lectures, and the fine arts.

For more information about The Arts at Pellissippi State, contact Pellissippi State at (865) 694-6400 or visit To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources at (865) 694-6607 or

High school seniors invited to enter Pellissippi State photography contest

A $500 scholarship is the prize awaiting one aspiring young photojournalist, portraitist or even Instagrammer as winner of the Horizons 2013 Photography Contest.

Horizons 2013, presented by Pellissippi State Community College, is open to high school seniors in Knox and Blount counties. It’s free to enter.

The winner of “Best Photograph” earns a $500 scholarship to attend Pellissippi State. Each of the top 10 winners receives a $50 award. In addition, winning entries will be displayed on the Pellissippi State Horizons 2013 website and will be announced to local media.

The deadline for entries is Friday, Oct. 11. Only one entry per person is permitted.

“Horizons is an opportunity for high school students and their families to get a look at Pellissippi State and see all that we can offer to aspiring artists,” said John Edwin May, an assistant professor in Engineering and Media Technologies.

“Student photographers will have the opportunity to have their work displayed on campus and judged by a panel of faculty and community members, plus they’ll be able to explore Pellissippi State’s campus, meet the Art faculty and college administrators, and get a glimpse of the college art experience.”

All types of photographs are eligible for entry—including black-and-white, color, non-silver and computer-manipulated. To be considered, the photograph must be uploaded in JPEG format, be appropriate labeled, and meet color, sizing, and compression requirements. For a full list of entry specifications, visit

Entries will be judged on creativity, uniqueness of subject matter, composition and overall impact. Judges will include Pellissippi State Photography and Art faculty and community advisory board members.

All submitted work will be on display Nov. 11-15 in the gallery of the Bagwell Center for Media and Art on the college’s Hardin Valley Campus. An artist reception takes place at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 12, in the Bagwell Gallery.

Winners will be announced during a ceremony set for 7 p.m. Nov. 12, in the Clayton Performing Arts Center, also on the Hardin Valley Campus. Artists must be present to win.

For more information or to submit an entry, visit

Pellissippi State Community College, Knoxville, TN