Category Archives: Magnolia Avenue

Pellissippi State pilot retention program to focus on black male students

Pellissippi State Community College has received a $10,000 grant to improve the retention rates for black male students at the Magnolia Avenue Campus.

The Student Engagement, Retention and Success grant, awarded by the Tennessee Board of Regents, Pellissippi State’s governing body, begins this fall. The pilot retention program will serve up to 50 students.

“Nationally, African-American male students have the lowest college completion rate—32.8 percent—among both genders and among all racial and ethnic groups in higher education,” said Rosalyn Tillman, dean of the Magnolia Avenue Campus.

The program’s objective is to provide assistance and encouragement for black male students to persist through college and graduate.

“The project is designed to provide empathetic advising sessions, workshops and a mentoring component to help our African-American male students in their pursuit of higher education,” said Tillman.

Specifically, the pilot program combines New Student Orientation sessions, success workshops, monthly developmental seminars and learning sessions, advising and academic tutoring, and mentorship to provide social and emotional support.

“Research often shows that African-American men struggle with barriers to academic success,” said Tillman. “They’re juggling jobs, managing finances, trying to meet family commitments, and they often combat other barriers like the absence of role models, low self-esteem, social exclusion or even the fear of success.

“All students need one-on-one support, but that’s often true for minority students. And sometimes that’s just having someone to talk to.”

For more information about the programs and resources offered by Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call (865) 694-6400.

Single mother returns to school at Pellissippi State to study horticulture

April-Ellis

On days with good weather, April Ellis rides her bicycle to school.

Ellis, a Pellissippi State Community College student, doesn’t consider her transportation options to be a limitation, though. She simply rides her bicycle or takes the bus to the Magnolia Avenue Campus, where she’s pursuing an associate’s degree with the plan of going on for a bachelor’s in public horticulture.

A single mother who didn’t complete high school, Ellis enrolled full time at Pellissippi State last spring. Like many nontraditional students, the 29-year-old has to balance returning to school with a multitude of other responsibilities: working a full-time job, fulfilling a work-study commitment and raising a child.

“It’s been so crazy, but you make it work,” she said.

Ellis is taking courses to earn a general studies degree, and once she graduates, she plans to transfer to the University of Tennessee.

“Public horticulture has a wide variety of job opportunities, anything that integrates gardens and people,” she said. “Specifically, I’m interested in horticulture therapy.

“People go into gardens and feel better, and horticulture therapy brings that recreational therapy aspect into gardening. You can take a person who needs to work on an injury and say, ‘Let’s work with your weak hand grip by pruning these roses.’”

Ellis was a stay-at-home mother and housewife during her son’s growing-up years. When she began going through a divorce, she realized she needed and wanted a fulfilling job that could provide for her family.

“At that time, I didn’t even have a GED or any kind of formal education,” she said, “and I wanted to be someone that my son could look up to.”

She first attended classes at the Knox County Career Center, where she earned her GED, and two months later, in spring 2014, she began classes at Pellissippi State.

“Here, I’m not the odd person out,” Ellis said. “A lot of students here are nontraditional, so I’m not alone in those struggles about being in college and having a job and a family.

“And professors understand that, too, that you have homework and a family. Having that kind of nurturing, supportive environment has been crucial. People here have gone above and beyond to make sure I get more than just good grades.”

Pellissippi State supports its population of nontraditional students with a host of services, among them, alternative scheduling; cohort programs, in which students start and finish their coursework as a group; tutoring; workforce development; and career placement. The college even offers nontraditional students credit for previous military and work experience through what’s called “prior learning assessment.”

For more information about Pellissippi State and its programs and resources, visit www.pstcc.edu or call (865) 694-6400.

Pellissippi State: Civil Rights film ‘Say It Loud’ to show at Magnolia Avenue Campus

Rich-ProtestPellissippi State Community College’s Magnolia Avenue Campus hosts a showing of “Say It Loud: Knoxville During the Civil Rights Era,” a documentary chronicling local events that were part of the Civil Rights Movement, Thursday, April 16.

The film runs 2-3:20 p.m. in the Community Room, and the community is invited to the free event.

The event also features a brief presentation by Theotis Robinson Jr., a retired vice president for diversity and equity at the University of Tennessee and a columnist for the Knoxville News Sentinel. Robinson was one of the first African-American students to desegregate the UT campus in 1961. His brief presentation and question-and-answer take place after the documentary.

 “Say It Loud” uses archival footage, recently rediscovered, to study the African-American community in Knoxville and Civil Rights up to the 1970s. It was produced by the Tennessee Archive of Moving Image and Sound, a unit of the Knox County Public Library.

“It’s an unusual documentary that lets these rare images tell the story themselves,” said Bradley Reeves, archivist at TAMIS.

The documentary is being screened as part of the Magnolia Avenue Campus’ American History II class. The campus is located at 1610 E. Magnolia Ave.

For more information, visit www.pstcc.edu or call (865) 329-3100. To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources at (865) 694-6607 or humanresources@pstcc.edu.

Pellissippi State honors Knox County, City of Knoxville

group of people standing in rows, holding award
Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett and City of Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero, recipients of the Tennessee Board of Regents Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Philanthropy, celebrated the grand opening of the Center for Student and Community Engagement at Pellissippi State Community College’s Magnolia Avenue Campus Friday, Feb. 6. Also pictured are Pellissippi State president L. Anthony Wise Jr., Magnolia Avenue Campus dean Rosalyn Tillman, TBR chancellor John Morgan, TBR vice chancellor of community colleges Warren R. Nichols, TBR board member Danni Varlan, and other elected officials.

On Friday, February 6, Pellissippi State Community College and the Tennessee Board of Regents honored the support of Knox County and the City of Knoxville during an awards ceremony at the College’s Magnolia Avenue Campus.

Knox County and City of Knoxville representatives, including mayors Tim Burchett and Madeline Rogero, were presented the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Philanthropy in honor of their combined investment of more than $1 million to the College, particularly the Magnolia Avenue Campus.

“The support and partnership of our local governments has been critical to our success in reaching students and helping them succeed,” said Pellissippi State President L. Anthony Wise Jr. in his nomination letter.

“Courses and programs offered at the Magnolia Avenue Campus help build our regional workforce. Local government investment in the College has helped to support the expansion of our regional tax base and keep unemployment low in East Tennessee.

“At Pellissippi State, our collaboration with local government is impacting workforce development and student success. Without question, our mission to serve our community has been enhanced through our partnerships with the governments of Knox County and the City of Knoxville,” he added.

For more information about Pellissippi State’s Magnolia Avenue Campus, visit www.pstcc.edu or call (865) 329-3100.

Pellissippi State announces opening of support center at Magnolia Avenue Campus

group of people in a lab on computers

Today, Pellissippi State Community College celebrated the grand opening of the Center for Student and Community Engagement at the Magnolia Avenue Campus.

The center provides a one-stop resource for student support services, including financial aid, advising, counseling, tutoring, service-learning, and safety and security.

“Life sometimes gets in the way of academic success,” said Rosalyn Tillman, dean of the Magnolia Avenue Campus. “The goal of the center is to provide every service we can to help our students overcome those distractions and roadblocks to success. Everything we do, we do so they can focus on school.”

Tillman was joined for the grand opening by L. Anthony Wise Jr., Pellissippi State president, as well as representatives from the Tennessee Board of Regents, Knox County and the city of Knoxville.

The center is designed to encourage student engagement within the school and in the community. Support programs and other resources will promote overall student health and wellness, prepare students for careers, and connect them with essential social support.

For more information about the Magnolia Avenue Campus and the Center for Student and Community Engagement, visit www.pstcc.edu or call (865) 329-3100.

New ‘cohort’ programs available at Pellissippi State campuses this fall

Pellissippi State Community College is adding several new “cohort” options to its degree and certificate offerings this fall, with courses scheduled to be convenient for working adults, in particular.

Cohorts allow students to enter and finish college together, as one dynamic group. Pellissippi State offers two pathways—accelerated and traditional—for earning a cohort degree.

Students can earn a degree more quickly through the accelerated than the traditional pathway, thanks to shorter-length courses. Accelerated pathway cohorts are ideal for those who work during regular school hours, who have family or other responsibilities and/or who may have been out of school for a while. Both pathways offer opportunities to gain college credit for prior life and learning experience.

Cohort certificate programs are designed for working students who want to learn new skills or upgrade their abilities/expertise in a shorter amount of time than a degree would require. 

Here are the degree and certificate cohorts that are new in fall 2014 and the campuses where they are offered. All of these cohorts follow the accelerated pathway:

Magnolia Avenue Campus:

  • Associate of Applied Science in Early Childhood Education degree. This degree program is offered two evenings per week for four semesters. The Early Childhood program leads to career opportunities in teaching, assistant teaching, and administration in Head Start and the field of child care.

Blount County Campus:

  • Industrial Automation certificate. This certificate program is offered two days per week for two semesters. It prepares students with the skills needed to troubleshoot and maintain programmable logic controller, instrumentation, and data acquisition systems.

Hardin Valley Campus: 

  • Associate of Science in Teaching degree. This two-year, five-semester, two-evening-a-week program includes a common core of courses for prospective elementary school teachers. Students who graduate with an A.S.T. degree can transfer to any Tennessee Board of Regents university, as well as Carson-Newman University, King University and Tusculum College. Students also have the option of completing their final two years of K-6 licensure at the Hardin Valley Campus through a partnership between Pellissippi State and Tennessee Technological University.

  • A.A.S. degree in Engineering Technology with a concentration in Industrial Maintenance. This two-year, six-semester degree curriculum prepares students for careers in large manufacturing companies working as multicraft, industrial machinery maintenance and repair technicians.

  • A.A.S. degree in Engineering Technology with a concentration in Civil Engineering Technology and a Construction Engineering Technology option. This two-year degree program is offered two evenings per week over six semesters. It prepares students for careers in the commercial, industrial or residential construction industry.

  • Medical Insurance Coding and Reimbursement certificate. This certificate program meets two evenings per week for two semesters, preparing students for employment in medical insurance and health-care claim processing.

  • Electronic Health Records Specialist certificate. This certificate program meets two evenings per week for two semesters. It prepares students for entry-level employment in a medical office. The certificate is offered jointly with the Medical Insurance Coding and Reimbursement certificate.

  • A.S. General Education Core certificate. This three-semester certificate program gives Associate of Science degree students the opportunity to complete the foundation courses (math, English, science, etc.) for a bachelor’s degree before transferring to a four-year school. This certificate program is available not only as a cohort but also in a traditional format.

For more information about cohort-structured degree and certificate programs at Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu/cohorts or call (865) 694-6400.

Pellissippi State campuses host free Black History Month events

Pellissippi State Community College is celebrating Black History Month with numerous events at its five campuses throughout February. Activities are free and the community is invited.

The Magnolia Avenue Campus starts the month-long activities with “Healthy Pelli: Campus Health Fair,” Wednesday, Feb. 5. Each Friday in February, the site hosts an African Jazz Cafe in the Lobby.

The Division Street Campus offers two films in February: Disney’s “Ruby Bridges” on the 11th and “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom” on the 20th. Both are at 12:15 p.m. in the Student Lounge.

The Magnolia Avenue Campus hosts a “History of African-American Music: Freedom Songs, Blues and Jazz” 10:45 a.m.-Noon Wednesday, Feb. 12, in the Community Room. The presentation features local jazz artist Kelle Jolly.

The Blount County Campus presents the documentary “The Underground Railroad” Tuesday, Feb. 18, in the Educational Resources Center.

At the Hardin Valley Campus, Feb. 21 brings “A Celebration of African-American Art, Music and Literature.” The event is in the Goins Building College Center, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. It features an art display, performance by the Vine Middle School African Dancers and Drummers, poetry reading by Oak Ridge poet Rose Weaver, and “Taste of Soul Food.”

Also at the Hardin Valley site, Feb. 27 the community is invited to a Faculty Lecture Series presentation: “John Brown: Maniacal Egotist or Moral Crusader?” by Joy Ingram, an associate professor. The talk is at 2 p.m. in the Goins Building Auditorium.

Throughout the month, African-American history exhibits will be on display in the Community Room of the Magnolia Avenue Campus, the Lobby of the Strawberry Plains Campus, the Student Lounge of the Division Street Campus, and the Educational Resources centers of the Blount County and Hardin Valley campuses.

The theme of the display at the Magnolia Avenue Campus is “All About That Jazz”; Division Street, “Embrace African-American Heritage Board of Fame”; and Strawberry Plains, “African-Americans of Influence.”

Other ongoing events include African tea and coffee tastings:

  • Hardin Valley, Goins Building Rotunda, 8:30-10 a.m. Wednesdays
  • Division Street, Student Lounge, 9-10:30 a.m. Wednesdays
  • Strawberry Plains, Lobby, 9-10:30 a.m. Mondays

For more information about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call (865) 694-6400. To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources at (865) 694-6607 or humanresources@pstcc.edu.

Pellissippi State: Poet Dunbar topic of Feb. 6 Faculty Lecture Series talk

portrait of a male in black hat and gray sweatshirtThe enduring poetry of African-American poet Paul Laurence Dunbar will be the topic of two Faculty Lecture Series presentations at Pellissippi State Community College in February.

Robert Boyd presents “A Salute to Dunbar,” reading selections from “The Complete Poems of Paul Laurence Dunbar,” on Thursday, Feb. 6, and Thursday, Feb. 20.

“Dunbar was a ‘griot’ [an African tribal storyteller] who told his tales in verse,” said Boyd, an associate professor of English. “Words, rhythms, rhymes and voices became verse, verse that flowed from his imagination and his life on to those of us who read.”

The Feb. 6 presentation is at 12:30 p.m. in the Goins Building Auditorium of the Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road. The Feb. 20 presentation takes place at 6:30 p.m. in the Community Room of the Magnolia Avenue Campus, 1610 E. Magnolia Ave.

Both events are free. The community is invited.

Boyd’s presentations will include a discussion of Dunbar’s life and selected readings from his works.

Dunbar was an African-American poet, novelist and playwright of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Born in Ohio to parents who had been slaves in Kentucky, he was one of the first black writers to establish a national reputation.

“He wanted to be known for his more traditional poetry, but most of his better-known works are written in dialect,” Boyd said.

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 “A Salute to Dunbar” or The Arts at Pellissippi State, call (865) 694-6400 or visit www.pstcc.edu/arts. To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources at (865) 694-6607 or humanresources@pstcc.edu.

Pellissippi State recognizes veterans during Civic Engagement Week

Pellissippi State Community College is placing special emphasis on veteran fellowship and veteran strength with a planned Civic Engagement Week Sept. 10-17.

“Civic Engagement Week is about promoting a culture of altruism among our students. This year, the focus of Civic Engagement Week will be on veterans and their families,” said Cat Carr, AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer for Pellissippi State’s Service-Learning program.

“With nearly 100,000 troops home from Iraq and another 30,000 expected home from Afghanistan in the next year, it is crucial that communities understand the reintegration obstacles that veterans and military families face.”

On Pellissippi State’s Hardin Valley Campus, the week opens with “The Things We Carry: What War Does,” featuring guest speaker L. Caesar Stair III, a Vietnam veteran. The presentation is free and open to the public. It takes place in the Goins Building College Center 12:30-1:15 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 10.

On Wednesday, Sept. 11, Pellissippi State faculty, staff and students pause for a moment of silence beginning at 9:03 a.m., as they remember the events of Sept. 11, 2001. Following the activity, guest speaker Clyde Luttrell, also a Vietnam veteran, delivers a brief address in the Courtyard.

Residents of the Ben Atchley State Veterans’ Home are on campus 10-11 a.m. Friday, Sept. 13, in the Courtyard for a meet-and-greet. Therapy dogs from HABIT (Human-Animal Bond in Tennessee) also will be on hand.

Pellissippi State’s Service-Learning students join others participating in Knoxville Stand Down for Homeless Veterans on Saturday, Sept. 14, at the National Guard Armory, 3300 Sutherland Ave. The special community service event, part of a nationwide support movement, provides area homeless veterans with clothing and other services.

Pellissippi State replays a recent “Dialogue” WUOT radio talk show broadcast that features Rachael Cragle, the college’s director of Advising, among others, in a segment dedicated to supporting veterans in East Tennessee. The replay is at 12:30 p.m. in the Goins Building Cafeteria Annex, Monday, Sept. 16.

Civic Engagement Week on the Hardin Valley Campus wraps up Tuesday, Sept. 17, with a special Constitution Day observance featuring Ron Bridges. Bridges, an associate professor in Natural and Behavioral Sciences at Pellissippi State, talks of veterans’ sacrifices as they uphold the U.S. Constitution. The presentation is 12:30-1:15 p.m. in the Goins Building Auditorium. The event is free and open to the public.

The Blount County Campus observes the National Day of Service and Remembrance at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 11, by the campus’ flagpoles. The event recognizes veterans and their service and includes an introduction to Service-Learning.

The Division Street Campus kicks off the week on Tuesday, Sept. 10, 10-11 a.m. in the Student Lounge, by providing students with the opportunity to learn more about volunteerism and electoral participation.

The campus marks the National Day of Service and Remembrance at 8-9:30 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 11, in the Student Lounge. Students can attend “Protecting Our Financial Future” at 11 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. in Room 118. “Celebrate Our Veterans” is 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Monday, Sept. 16, and Constitution Day is observed all day Tuesday, Sept. 17. Both events are in the Student Lounge.

The Magnolia Avenue Campus hosts its third annual Call to Service Volunteer Resource Fair 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 11. The event introduces students and faculty to 35 agencies with community service opportunities and volunteer programs. The campus also hosts SunTrust Bank for a Finances 101 workshop Tuesday, Sept. 10. Three sessions are available: 9:10 a.m., 12:25 p.m. and 2 p.m. Topics include debt-free living, money management, retirement, investments and emergency preparedness, among others.

Students at the Strawberry Plains Campus have an opportunity to serve as part of a cleanup crew for the East Tennessee State Veterans Cemetery the week before Veterans Day (Nov. 11). They can sign up for the service project during Civic Engagement Week as well as throughout fall semester.

For more information about Civic Engagement Week events, contact Pellissippi State’s Service-Learning program at (865) 694-6492 or visit service-learning@pstcc.edu. To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources at (865) 694-6607 or humanresources@pstcc.edu.

Pellissippi State offers two open houses, chances to win a scholarship

Members of the community are invited to attend open houses at the Magnolia Avenue Campus and Strawberry Plains Campus of Pellissippi State Community College in early March.

Both events offer information for potential students, as well as a chance to win a $250 scholarship. There will be one scholarship drawing at each campus, and all attendees of the open houses are eligible to enter. The scholarships are provided by the Pellissippi State Foundation.

The open house at the Magnolia Avenue Campus takes place on Tuesday, March 5, and the open house at the Strawberry Plains Campus on Thursday, March 7.

Pellissippi State staff members will be on hand to share information regarding programs of study, admission, distance learning, financial aid and dual enrollment. The Fast Forward Dual Enrollment program at the college allows high school students to earn high school and college credit simultaneously for selected courses.

The open houses are free, and registering in not necessary. Pellissippi State’s Magnolia Avenue Campus is located at 1610 E. Magnolia Ave. Open house hours on March 5 are 5:30-7:30 p.m. The Strawberry Plains Campus is located at 7201 Strawberry Plains Pike. Open house hours on March 7 are 5:30-7:30 p.m.

For additional information, call (865) 694-6400 or visit www.pstcc.edu. To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources and Affirmative Action at (865) 694-6607 or humanresources@pstcc.edu. Requests should be made at least two weeks in advance.