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.

Department of Education awards $1.9 million grant to Pellissippi State

posted in: Faculty and Staff, Grants, TBR | 0

The U.S. Department of Education has awarded Pellissippi State Community College a five-year, $1.9 million grant to support student success and engagement through providing comprehensive professional development for faculty.

“Faculty development is often fragmented,” said Kellie Toon, Pellissippi State’s Quality Enhancement Program director and the grant lead. “But a comprehensive professional development program will strengthen our faculty, which will in turn strengthen our students — and that’s what it’s all about.”

The grant will fund a center for teaching excellence that will include pedagogical training programs and other professional development opportunities to teach faculty members the newest and best-practice methods of teaching in meaningful, engaging ways.

“Professional development opportunities through a center for teaching excellence will give faculty the ability to lead change through academics,” Toon said. “Through improved academic quality and teaching, we can strengthen student learning and retention.”

Pellissippi State’s Quality Enhancement Program, “Strong to the Core,” focuses on improving student learning in targeted academic courses, including writing, oral communication and mathematics. Pellissippi State’s QEP was first developed as part of the college’s accreditation renewal process in 2012 through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

The QEP continues to support student success and engagement through promoting active learning techniques to faculty members — from a new faculty academy to online training and beyond.

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

 

Download this press release: Teaching Excellence Grant

Pellissippi State writer-in-residence publishes two books

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Pellissippi State Writer-In-Resident Edward Francisco
Pellissippi State Writer-In-Resident Edward Francisco

Pellissippi State Community College writer-in-residence and English professor Ed Francisco has published two books — a literary textbook and a collection of poems for children.

“Mallory’s World from A to Z” was co-created by Francisco and his great-niece, Mallory Dillon, and published by Celtic Cat Publishing. The collection of alphabetical poems in large part features Ed’s and Mallory’s favorite animals, from the farm to the zoo. Nine-year-old Mallory illustrated each poem with an original drawing — sometimes illustrating a poem that had already been written, other times creating a drawing that later inspired Francisco’s poetry. Inspired by poet laureate Richard Wilbur’s Opposites series, the whimsical poems and illustrations appeal to children and parents.

“The Literary Relationships of Robert Coles and Walker Percy: An American Search for Meaning” is published by Edwin Mellen Press. The textbook explores the literary relationship and personal friendship of Robert Coles and Walker Percy, as well as the concept of “thirdness,” or the idea that humans exist and operate as trinities — that all humans have an internal mediator who can observe and reconcile the dual natures of man’s soul and man’s body.

Coles was a child psychiatrist, Harvard professor and author, winning the Pulitzer Prize, MacArthur Award, Presidential Medal of Freedom and National Humanities Medal. Percy was an author from Louisiana with interests in philosophy and semiotics. His works were awarded the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award, and he helped found the Fellowship of Southern Writers.

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

 

Download this press release: Francisco Published

Pellissippi State named one of ‘Great Colleges to Work For’

posted in: Awards, Faculty and Staff, TBR | 0

The Chronicle of Higher Education has named Pellissippi State Community College one of America’s “Great Colleges to Work For.”

Only 93 institutions across the country are recognized as a 2016 Great Colleges to Work For, and only 25 of those — including Pellissippi State — are two-year institutions.

“Pellissippi State is proud to be recognized by both Great Colleges to Work For and by our own employees as a great place to work,” said L. Anthony Wise Jr., Pellissippi State’s president. “We strive to provide not only the best education for our students, but the best working environment for all of our employees.”

Now in its ninth year, The Chronicle’s Great Colleges to Work For survey is one of the largest and most respected workplace recognition programs in the country. The Chronicle awards colleges based upon institutional audits and the result of anonymous surveys distributed to college employees as part of a random sample.

Pellissippi State was recognized in two categories — Job Satisfaction and Teaching Environment. To earn an award for teaching environment, faculty members must report that the institution recognizes innovative and high-quality teaching. To earn recognition for Job Satisfaction, employees must report satisfaction with job fit, autonomy and resources. Results also are reported for small, medium and large institutions, with Pellissippi State included among large institutions, or those that have 10,000 or more students.

“The colleges and universities that make the list are highly rated by their employees for creating great working environments, an important achievement that helps them recruit top academic and administrative talent,” said Liz McMillen, editor of The Chronicle.

The Chronicle of Higher Education is the top professional source for news, jobs and information for college and university administrators and faculty. For more information about Great Colleges to Work For, visit www.chronicle.com. For more information about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call 865-694-6400.

 

Download this press release: PSCC Great Work

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