Christie Cunningham to speak as Pellissippi State Commencement speaker

Christie Cunningham
Christie Cunningham

Award-winning faculty member Christie Cunningham will join hundreds of Pellissippi State Community College graduates as the speaker at the college’s Commencement ceremony Dec. 9 at 8 p.m. at Thompson-Boling Arena.

Cunningham, an assistant professor in Natural and Behavioral Sciences, is this year’s Excellence in Teaching Award winner at Pellissippi State, as well as a 2016 winner of a national John and Suanne Roueche Excellence award.

“I’m planning to speak to students about what to do when life throws something unexpected your way,” Cunningham said. In spring, her husband was diagnosed with cancer and is currently undergoing treatment.

“When life knocks you down, when people tell you no, when doors close in your face, you have to continue. You have to put one foot in front of the other and keep working toward your goal. It’s during these times that your character is built,” Cunningham said. “It’s been a difficult road, but I try to take one day at a time, put aside my problems and provide the best learning experience possible for my students.”

Cunningham has been recognized this year for her innovative teaching techniques and the positive impact they’ve had on her students. She has integrated technology, hands-on activities, group projects and other learning methods to increase student engagement in her psychology courses.

“Learning should be engaging and active, and if you can make it fun, that’s even better,” Cunningham said.

One of the ways she encourages her students to proactively study throughout the semester is to play “Jeopardy” using questions and answers that the students compile over the course of the semester.

“Something like ‘Jeopardy’ is a way to comprehensively study for a final exam, but it’s competitive and fun and doesn’t feel as worrisome as studying for a cumulative test,” Cunningham said. “And I see through test scores that techniques like this help with long-term retention.”

Other techniques she uses are role-playing — for instance, role-playing what it might be like to have a mental or physical disability — and hands-on activities like using household items to discuss the physical functionality of the human eyeball or the brain’s neural pathways.

To request accommodations for a disability at Commencement, contact the executive director of Equity and Compliance at 865-539-7401 or accommodations@pstcc.edu. For more information about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call 865-694-6400.

Pellissippi State third in nation for study abroad

This photograph, taken by Pellissippi State Community College student Elicia Ferrer, depicts the interior of St. Peter's Basilica in Rome.
This photograph, taken by Pellissippi State Community College student Elicia Ferrer, depicts the interior of St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City near Rome, Italy.
 

Pellissippi State Community College ranks third in the nation among two-year colleges for the number of students it sends to study abroad. In 2015, the college sent 204 students on study abroad programs.

Elicia Ferrer
Elicia Ferrer

“Study abroad was a great experience,” said Pellissippi State student Elicia Ferrer, who spent time over the summer studying in Italy and England. “I had been out of the country before, but for mission experiences. Study abroad is different because you’re there to learn and to experience the place. It’s pretty magical.”

In Tennessee, Pellissippi State ranks eighth among all higher education institutions in the state for the number of students who study abroad. In fact, the college is the only community college in the top 15.

Ferrer, who is studying Chinese language and plans to transfer to a four-year university in the spring, said, “Studying abroad is an eye-opening way to observe different cultures and faiths. It gives you a front row seat to history. In my World Civilizations class, we were studying the Medicis, who did terrible things but who also funded the Renaissance. When you’re in Italy and can physically see their legacy, it gives you an interesting perspective.”

Pellissippi State works with the Tennessee Consortium for International Studies to provide study abroad opportunities for students. TnCIS, headquartered at Pellissippi State, organizes study abroad opportunities as part of its mission of boosting international experience and culture in higher education across the state. In the 10 years since its founding, TnCIS has supported more than 3,000 students statewide in pursuing a global education.

Additionally, Pellissippi State offers unique opportunities for students from around the world to study here in East Tennessee. In the 2015-16 academic year, Pellissippi State had 156 international students enrolled — the ninth highest among all higher education institutions in the state and  the only community college in the top 20.

“Community colleges are diverse, and the ability to offer study abroad opportunities and to have international students on campus only increases that diversity. In a global economy, students need to be able to understand and appreciate diverse points of view,” said Pellissippi State President L. Anthony Wise Jr.

For more information about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call 865-694-6400.
 
 

 

Pellissippi State recognized for its study abroad practices

posted in: Awards, Students, Study Abroad, TBR | 0

IIE Seal

The Institute of International Education’s Generation Study Abroad initiative recognized Pellissippi State Community College for exceeding its study abroad goals during the 2014-2015 school year.

The college was one of only 12 higher education institutions to be recognized during the IIE Summit on Generation Study Abroad in Washington, D.C. This is the second year in a row that Pellissippi State has been recognized by the IIE.

This past summer, Pellissippi State sent 204 students on study abroad trips in partnership with Tennessee Consortium for International Studies. That exceeds Pellissippi State’s annual goal for study abroad participation.

“Students who study abroad have been shown to earn better grades and are more likely to persist through college to earn their degree,” said Pellissippi State President L. Anthony Wise Jr. “Study abroad isn’t something that should be reserved only for the few.”

According to IIE research, fewer than 10 percent of American undergraduates study abroad. Pellissippi State offers students scholarships, up to half the cost of the trip, to make study abroad accessible to more students.

“Just two years after joining Generation Study Abroad, colleges and universities across the country are seeing measurable results in their study abroad participation rates,” said Allan Goodman, the president and CEO of IIE. “Studying abroad is one of the best ways to prepare to enter and succeed in the interconnected, globalized workforce, yet 90 percent of American college students do not study or intern outside of the United States. We owe it to the next generation of Americans to explain why study abroad is more crucial than ever and to find ways to make it more accessible to a wider range of students.”

TnCIS, headquartered at Pellissippi State, organizes study abroad opportunities as part of its mission of boosting international experience and culture in higher education across the state. In the nine years since its founding, TnCIS has supported 2,656 students statewide in pursuing a global education.

IIE Generation Study Abroad grants funding and scholarships to community partners and higher education institutions in its network.

For more information about TnCIS, visit www.tncis.org or call 865-539-7280. For more information about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call 865-694-6400.

 

Download this press release: Study Abroad Recognition

Pellissippi State ranks among top in nation for degrees, certificates

posted in: Awards, Students | 0

Pellissippi State Community College ranks among the top community colleges in the nation for the number of associate degrees and certificates it awards.

According to Community College Week’s 2016 report of Top 100 Associate Degree Producers, Pellissippi State ranks sixth in the nation — among both two- and four-year institutions — for the number of associate degrees it awards in the field of communication technologies, technicians and support services. Pellissippi State offers Media Technologies degrees in five concentrations: Communication Graphics Technology, Design for Web and Print, Photography, Video Production Technology and Web Technology.

In addition, the College ranks 65th in the nation for the number of one-year certificates it awarded in the 2014-2015 academic year.

For the past two academic years, Pellissippi State has been the largest community college by enrollment in the state of Tennessee. This fall, the college has 10,244 students. Last academic year, the college awarded 2,498 diplomas and certificates.

For more information about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call 865-694-6400.

 

Download this press release: CCWeek 2016 Rankings

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