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

Pellissippi State honors employees

posted in: Awards, Faculty and Staff | 0
Winners of Pellissippi State's Innovations Award, from left, Richard Smelser, Nadia Keyes and Jacob Moore.
Winners of Pellissippi State’s Innovations Award, from left, Richard Smelser, Nadia Keyes and Jacob Moore.

Pellissippi State Community College recently hosted its annual employee recognition ceremony, honoring faculty and staff for outstanding service.

At this year’s ceremony, the Excellence in Teaching Award went to Christie Cunningham, assistant professor in Natural and Behavioral Sciences. The award recognizes innovative teaching techniques and the positive impact they have had on students. Cunningham has integrated technology, hands-on activities, group projects and other learning methods to increase student engagement in her psychology courses.

The Innovations Award was bestowed upon Richard Smelser, Jacob Moore and Nadia Keyes from the Financial Aid office for the creation of a Default Aversion Unit that helps Pellissippi State graduates repay school loans. The DAU group offers budgeting and financial literacy events and an online live chat to help students identify their best repayment option. Since the DAU was implemented in 2013, the College’s student loan default rate has dropped from 22.7 percent to 16 percent. The award is given in recognition of a project that demonstrates success of creative and original instructional and learning-support activities.

The Gene Joyce Visionary Award was given to Gitti Negahban, associate professor in Business and Computer Technology, in recognition of her work on an outreach project that has made a positive impact on the community. Negahban has arranged for real-world jobs — serving local businesses and nonprofits — to be built into capstone projects for her Computer Science and Information Technology students. Students gain real-life experience that helps a local organization, while employers have the opportunity to meet students who might become their employees.

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

Additional award recipients — each of whom received $100, a plaque and a medallion — include:

  • Outstanding Adjunct Faculty, Robyn James, Liberal Arts
  • Outstanding Administrator, Melanie Paradise, Records
  • Outstanding Contract Worker, Janet Cope, Blount County Programs
  • Outstanding Full-Time Faculty, Jennifer Brickey, Liberal Arts
  • Outstanding Support Professional, Donna Pasternak, Budget and Payroll
  • Outstanding Technical/Service/Maintenance Worker, J.J. Patterson, Network and Technical Services

Funding for all awards is 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.

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

 

Download this press release: Employee Awards 2016

Christie Cunningham
Christie Cunningham
Gitti Negahban
Gitti Negahban
Jennifer Brickey
Jennifer Brickey
Donna Pasternak
Donna Pasternak
J.J. Patterson
J.J. Patterson
Melanie Paradise
Melanie Paradise
Robyn James
Robyn James
Janet Cope
Janet Cope

 

Pellissippi State Announcements, Oct. 19

posted in: Events, Faculty and Staff | 0

Charles Dodd White, assistant professor of English at Pellissippi State Community College, has received the 2015 Thomas and Lillie D. Chaffin Award from Morehead State University in Kentucky. The award, which includes a prize of $1,000, recognizes outstanding Appalachian writers. White is the author of “A Shelter of Others,” “Lambs of Men” and “Sinners of Sanction County.” Previous winners of the Chaffin Award include Denise Giardina, Silas House and Donald Ray Pollock.

Julie Reed leads a book discussion at Pellissippi State Community College’s Magnolia Avenue Campus 6-7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 22. Reed will speak about the history and culture of the Cherokee in Appalachia. The event is free and open to the community. The Magnolia Avenue Campus is located at 1610 E. Magnolia Ave.

Download this press release: PSCC Announcements Oct 19

Pellissippi State earns grant funding to study Knoxville’s Cherokee Caverns

posted in: Academics, Faculty and Staff, Grants, TBR | 0
Cherokee Caverns Anthodites
Anthodites like these are just one of the unique rock formations that Pellissippi State Community College students will study in Cherokee Caverns, thanks to a National Speleological Society grant.

Strange as it might seem, East Tennessee was once quite beachy.

Geologically speaking, this area lay on the floor of a warm, shallow sea 500-plus million years ago, and Pellissippi State Community College students will soon be studying the rock formations and mineral deposits in Knoxville’s Cherokee Caverns that point to the fact that East Tennessee once had a climate similar to that of the Bahamas.

“[Cherokee Caverns] is good exposure to the geological history of East Tennessee and a new way to see your own hometown,” said Kathleen Affholter, associate professor in Natural and Behavioral Sciences at Pellissippi State. “This cave is unique — not just in Tennessee, but in the world. It’s a great outdoor laboratory.”

Affholter and Garry Pennycuff, an associate professor in the same department, recently applied for and were awarded a $750 grant from the National Speleological Society to study the mineralogy of Cherokee Caverns, one of the most geologically unique caves in the world. The cave, despite the effects of vandalism and improper use, is still home to flower-like crystal formations called anthodites and hollow stalactite-like formations that hang from the ceiling and look like bulbous soda straws. There are only a handful of caves around the world that feature anthodites and few others reported to have the bulbous-soda-straw stalactites.

“Tennessee has more caves than any other place in the United States — more than 10,000,” Affholter said. “But Cherokee Caverns is special.”

“When we grow up in a place, we often don’t realize or don’t take advantage of the amazing resources that are around us,” Pennycuff said. “But this amazing cave is right in our students’ backyards.”

The professors say their beginning physical geology, chemistry and environmental geology students will have the opportunity to take field trips to Cherokee Caverns. In class, students will study responsibly collected research samples and have remote access to Florida International University’s scanning electron microscope to analyze those samples. Some of the grant funds will be used to pay for the use of the electron microscope.

The biggest advantage of using an electron microscope over a more common optical microscope is that the electron microscope has a higher resolution and is able to magnify an object up to two million times. Optical microscopes can only magnify up to 1,000-2,000 times.

“So many times, students think of school as one thing and the ‘real world’ as another thing,” said Pennycuff. “But this opportunity lets them conduct real-world tests, explore real-world places and make real observations. This is what science looks like.”

 “For community college students, this is a rare opportunity to have this type of field experience and to use special equipment like the scanning electron microscope,” Affholter said.

The duo hopes the hands-on science experience will teach students the importance of conservation, particularly given Cherokee Caverns’ history. (Today, the cave can be accessed only with the permission of its caretaker.) But more than that, Affholter and Pennycuff hope students take away a love of science.

“Maybe the students will learn terms like ‘anthodites,’ but what’s more important to me is that they see that science is fun,” Affholter said.

“We can’t hide our enthusiasm,” Pennycuff said. “Hopefully, it’s contagious.”

The National Speleogical Society grant funds came through the Pellissippi State Foundation. The Foundation works to provide student scholarships and emergency loans as well as to improve facilities and secure new equipment.

For more information about the Foundation, visit www.pstcc.edu/foundation or call (865) 694-6528. For more information about Pellissippi State and its science and other academic offerings, visit www.pstcc.edu or call (865) 694-6400.

Download a copy of this press release: Cherokee Caverns Grant

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