Category Archives: Faculty/Staff

Pellissippi State honors outstanding employees, recognizes retiring faculty/staff

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

Gray-Annie
Annie Gray

At this year’s ceremony, the Excellence in Teaching Award went to Annie Gray, an English professor and the college’s Service-Learning coordinator. The award recognizes innovative teaching techniques and the positive impact they have had on students.

Gray launched and has since expanded Pellissippi State’s Service-Learning program. Service-Learning connects classroom learning to real-world problem-solving situations by pairing students with area organizations to work jointly on community service efforts.

Gray, an active member of the college’s Sustainable Campus Initiative, also serves as Pellissippi State’s AmeriCorps VISTA project supervisor for the 2014-2015 Good Food for All! Initiative. Additionally, she is on advisory boards for the Pond Gap Elementary UACS After-School program and the University of Tennessee’s TENN TLC Institute for Reflective Practice.

Jerry Burns and Laxman Nathawat
Jerry Burns and Laxman Nathawat

The Innovations Award was bestowed upon faculty members Jerry Burns in Chemistry and Laxman Nathawat in Computer Science and Information Technology for their work on one of four Chemistry Simulations Projects. The award is given in recognition of a project that demonstrates success of creative and original instructional and learning support activities.

The projects paired chemistry students with computer science students to create visual, interactive, computer-based models of chemical interactions. The goal is to provide a new way for chemistry students to learn chemical processes and give student programmers experience with peer clients. The simulations have since become part of the general chemistry curriculum.

The Gene Joyce Visionary Award was presented to Teri Brahams, head of the Business and Community Services Division, and Mary Kocak, who teaches in Engineering Technology. The award was in recognition of their work on an outreach project that had a positive impact on the community.

Teri Brahams and Mary Kocak
Teri Brahams and Mary Kocak

Brahams and Kocak worked on the launch of an additive manufacturing (3D printing) training initiative at Pellissippi State with community partners that included Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Tech 20/20 and the University of Tennessee Center for Industrial Services.

The initiative—the AMP! Advanced Manufacturing and Prototype Center of East Tennessee—creates partnerships and new jobs and increases workforce development and training. It also provides scholarship money and an opportunity to work on projects with small businesses to 160 Pellissippi State students.

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 awards and their recipients, each of whom received $100, a plaque, and a medallion: Outstanding Adjunct Faculty, Saralee Peccolo-Taylor; Outstanding Administrator, Holly Burkett; Outstanding Contract Worker, Michael Hurst; Outstanding Full-Time Faculty, Mary Monroe-Ellis; Outstanding Support Professional, Karen Ghezawi; and Outstanding Technical/Service/Maintenance Worker, Tracy Smith.

Pellissippi State also recognized employees who were at five-year increments of service to the college, as well as acknowledging council presidents and retiring employees. This year’s faculty and staff retirees include Rick Barber, Alberta Boring, Bill Davis, Judy Eddy, Pat Grant, Cathy Hurrell, Jim Kelley, John Reaves, Bookie Reynolds and Elizabeth Wade.

Funding for all awards is provided by the Pellissippi State Foundation. The Foundation generates support for student scholarships and emergency loans, facilities improvements, and new equipment.

For more information about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call (865) 694-6400. To learn more about giving opportunities, call (865) 694-6528.

Pellissippi State answers learning needs with help from TBR grant

Pellissippi State Community College faculty will seek to improve student success through a new course redesign, with the help from Tennessee Board of Regents Course Revitalization Initiative grants.

Two English courses and a math course will pilot the project at Pellissippi State.

In MATH 1530 Elementary Probability and Statistics, faculty will develop an “embedded remediation” component to enhance the class. In other words, students who formerly would have been placed in pre-college-level learning support at Pellissippi State will now take part in a standard, college-level course, but with extra support.

“There’s been a lot of data on success with embedded remediation, which is a type of just-in-time intervention,” said Brittany Mosby, project leader for the MATH 1530 course. Mosby’s team includes Math faculty Sue Ann Dobbyn and Claire Suddeth.

“Students who might have been placed into a learning support course will instead take a college-level class with their peers. As part of the embedded remediation component, these students will have additional classroom time to reinforce the material and be sure they understand the concepts.”

In the English Department, faculty will revitalize two gateway classes, ENGL 1010 Composition I—the only Pellissippi State course that all students are required to take—and its follow-up, ENGL 1020 Composition II. The revamped 1010 course will place more emphasis on regular, consistent writing and on sentence structure and grammar skills.

ENGL 1020, similarly, will be reworked to more appropriately continue skills learned in ENGL 1010, rather than spending the time reteaching or reviewing skills that should have been mastered in 1010. Revitalized 1020 will teach students more refined, advanced and specialized writing skills.

“Our faculty members have some exciting ideas about how to revise these courses to make them more effective,” said Kathryn Byrd, dean of the English Department. “Notably, their approach includes plenty of writing practice, clear communication of academic expectations and an emphasis on the student’s responsibility for his or her own learning.”

English faculty members participating in the pilot project are project leaders Alex Fitzner and Tara Lynn, with Casey Lambert, Teresa Lopez, Kelly Rivers, and Heather Schroeder.

The TBR Course Revitalization Initiative grants, awarded by the TBR Office of Academic Affairs, target high-enrollment gateway classes and encourage faculty to develop creative strategies to engage their students and teach critical thinking skills. TBR is the governing body for Pellissippi State.

“These grants will provide an opportunity for these faculty members to create an innovative class for students to review their prerequisite skills just in time for new college-level content,” said Nancy Pevey, dean of the Mathematics Department.

The pilot revitalized classes at Pellissippi State begin this fall. The effectiveness of those classes will be evaluated, and the pilots may be enlarged to include other classes.

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

Pellissippi State hosting adjunct faculty recruiting fairs

Pellissippi State Community College has scheduled adjunct faculty recruiting fairs at two of its site campuses: the Blount County Campus on March 27 and the Strawberry Plains Campus on April 22.

“Pellissippi State relies heavily on a professional, experienced, well-trained body of part-time instructors,” said Ted Lewis, vice president of Academic Affairs.

Interested individuals are invited to each recruiting fair, where they can expect information sessions, meetings with department representatives and an overview of the application process. Both events are 6:30-8 p.m.

Pellissippi State adjunct faculty in most subject areas are required to have a master’s degree and at least 18 hours of graduate hours in the subject they wish to teach. Positions are open in Accounting, Chemistry, Computer Science and Information Technology, Economics, English, History, Mathematics, Microbiology, Spanish and Theatre, among others.

Candidates for adjunct faculty positions in three areas—Video Production Technology, Photography and Communication Graphics Technology—require a bachelor’s degree and three years’ work experience. To be considered for an adjunct position in Clinical Nursing requires an RN with MSN and three years’ clinical experience.

Pellissippi State’s Blount County Campus is located at 2731 W. Lamar Alexander Pkwy., and the Strawberry Plains Campus is at 7201 Strawberry Plains Pike.

For more information about employment at Pellissippi State and for a full list of open adjunct faculty positions, visit www.pstcc.edu/hr/employment 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 names Pevey new Mathematics Department dean

female portraitIn December, Pellissippi State Community College named Nancy Pevey the new dean of the Mathematics Department. Pevey has served as a Mathematics faculty member at the college since 1996.

“She has been a leader in a variety of design, improvement and implementation initiatives at Pellissippi State,” said Ted A. Lewis, vice president of Academic Affairs at Pellissippi State.

“As student success coordinator of the Mathematics Department and developer of the supplemental instruction program for the college, she has demonstrated her commitment to student success.”

Pevey began her career at Pellissippi State as an adjunct faculty member in math in 1996 and became a full-time faculty member in 2000. She also has served as director of the college’s Quality Enhancement Plan, “Strong to the Core.”

In 2012, Pevey received a Teaching Excellence Award from the Tennessee Mathematical Association of Two-Year Colleges.

“I’m looking forward to the opportunities of this position to serve the math faculty and the new challenges and responsibilities that will unfold in the coming years,” Pevey said.

Pevey earned an undergraduate degree from the University of Tennessee and a master’s from the University of South Carolina, both in mathematics education. She has instructed students in middle and high school as well as college.

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

Faculty exhibit photographic works this Thursday at Pellissippi State

Be inspired by the photographic talents of Pellissippi State Community College faculty during the Faculty Photo Gallery exhibit at the Bagwell Center for Media and Art, 4-7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 21.

“The Faculty Photography Gallery is an annual show of all the photography work of the faculty members who teach photography at Pellissippi State,” said Kurt Eslick, an assistant professor in Engineering and Media Technologies.

Faculty photographs will be on display in the Bagwell Gallery, located on Pellissippi State’s Hardin Valley Campus, Nov. 16-Dec. 13. Gallery hours are 10 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. The event is free and the community is invited.

Participating faculty include Eslick, Fred Draper, Gene Forest, Ron Goodrich, John Edwin May, G.W. Meredith Jr., Julie Poole and Teresa Mabry Reed, showing a variety of photography subjects.

For more information, contact Pellissippi State at (865) 694-6400 or visit www.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 earns two state public relations association honors

protrait of female with glassesPellissippi State Community College came away with two awards at the Tennessee College Public Relations Association conference in Cookeville this summer.

Julia Wood, Pellissippi State’s director of Marketing and Communications, was named the Charles Holmes Award recipient, and the college received a silver Communications and Marketing Award for design of a campus sustainability poster.

The Charles Holmes Award is presented annually to a member of TCPRA who demonstrates steadfast service and earnest dedication to the organization. A founding member of TCPRA, Holmes is a former public relations director at the University of Memphis.

“It was a complete surprise,” Wood said of receiving the award. “It was also very special for me, because I used to work for Charles Holmes at the University of Memphis. Receiving an award named for him is a great honor.”

Wood has been a TCPRA member for 28 years and has served as president and vice president of the organization. Her two-year term as president ended in June.

sustainability poster with ladybug on a leafPellissippi State’s Marketing and Communications Office also produced the campus sustainability poster that won an award. Designed by Mark Friebus, the brightly colored poster sports an illustration of a ladybug on a leaf. It was designed to hang in the Goins Building Rotunda on the Hardin Valley Campus to educate students and visitors about the college’s sustainable campus initiative.

Pellissippi State students initiated a small campus fee to support sustainability initiatives in 2011, and those funds have been used for various projects, including recycling and waste reduction programs, educational events, and building plans for conversion to energy efficient operations.

“Pellissippi State has made great strides in promoting a sustainable campus, and we’re very proud of that,” Wood said. “We’re also very proud to have garnered a TCPRA award for the poster.”

Pellissippi State faculty member featured in New York Times March on Washington retrospective

Robert Boyd, an associate professor of English at Pellissippi State Community College, was featured last week in a New York Times article commemorating the March on Washington in 1963.

The 50th anniversary of the event, which included the now-famous “I Have a Dream” speech by Martin Luther King Jr., is today, Aug. 28.

According to “Pass the Bill,” Boyd’s written account of the march, he was called upon as a New York City fireman to guard the Lincoln Memorial area.

“My job was to make sure Martin was safe,” he wrote in the Times, “so I was paying attention to my job. Consequently what I remember from the speech was more about the crowd than him.…

“I remember the impact it had on people, the audience. When he started to speak, there was silence. Thousands and thousands of people, and not a word. And then when he finished, it was an uproar, a crescendo, and this joyous noise. Then I realized, this is something.”

Before the pivotal event, Boyd wrote, “I had no idea about the march, or anything about the civil rights movement at all…. And I tell you, it changed me.… It ignited something in me that has lasted forever. Will always last.”

The 80-year-old Boyd recounts his involvement in starting the “Pass the bill!” call for civil rights legislation through the Washington Mall that day, as well as his later activism in the community and term as president of the Flushing (N.Y.) NAACP.

“Robert was selected by The New York Times to serve as a witness to history,” wrote L. Anthony Wise Jr., Pellissippi State president, in an emailed notice of the Times piece to faculty and staff.

“His story is a timely reminder of how events change lives and how people change communities. I am grateful to Bob for his service to our country and this College.”

To see the complete New York Times article, link here.

Pellissippi State’s Behavioral Intervention Team certifies on two assessment tools

Portrait of female with short gray hair wearing a blue collared shirt.
Mary Bledsoe

Pellissippi State Community College has a new set of tools for evaluating campus threats, thanks to the college’s Behavioral Intervention Team.

Mary Bledsoe, Pellissippi State’s dean of students and BIT chair, and Holly Burkett, campus dean for the Blount County Campus, were certified to use two assessment tools at the recent National Behavioral Intervention Team Association conference. Bledsoe leads the five-member core group that makes up Pellissippi State’s BIT, while Burkett is a consulting member to the team.

The NaBITA Threat Assessment Tool, one of the tools added to BIT’s resources, is a standard aid that a number of colleges and universities are using, says Bledsoe. Known as SIVRA-35, the other tool is the Structured Interview for Violence Risk Assessment. SIVRA-35 (a 35-item inventory) is used, if needed, as a secondary step in conducting a more thorough and research-based violence risk assessment.

Portrait of female with short blond hair and a purple blouse.
Holly Burkett

“The NaBITA Threat Assessment rubric gives a wide focus for generalized risk, mental and behavioral health, and nine levels of aggression,” said Bledsoe, “while the SIVRA-35 enables BIT to fine tune the assessment of behavioral risk and/or threat.”

BIT represents a cross-section of college areas. Resources like the Threat Assessment Tool and the Structured Interview assist the team at Pellissippi State in the complicated and ever-evolving task of ensuring safety in the academic environment.

To learn more about BIT and its role at the college, visit www.pstcc.edu/bit.

Pellissippi State: Employee publishes instructional ‘cookbook’ on learning management system

Portrait of a male with short hair and glasses in plaid standing in front of computersSometimes good questions prompt more than answers. Sometimes they inspire a book.

For Brandon Ballentine of Pellissippi State Community College, that book is the “Desire2Learn Higher Education Cookbook,” recently released by Packt Publishing, a U.K.-based technical book publisher.

A D2L administrator for the college, Ballentine fields questions daily from faculty members who use D2L for their online classes. The D2L learning management system enables instructors to upload and manage online class materials such as study guides, tests, and grades. It is used by colleges and universities in the U.S. and around the globe.

Ballentine says he first envisioned what came to be the book as an online resource for use nationwide.

“I thought, ‘So many schools are writing their own tutorials, their own documentation, and their own tips and tricks,’” he said. “‘Wouldn’t it be great if there was a central site that everyone could go to so that everyone isn’t duplicating work across the state or the country?’”

Before Ballentine could complete the website, however, Packt Publishing contacted him through LinkedIn and proposed the idea for a book.

“I had some decent notes and had started writing some chapters,” he said. “So when Packt got in touch, I had an idea of at least some things I wanted to include in the book.”

The goal of the “cookbook” is to help teachers gain expert knowledge of the tools within D2L, become more productive and create online learning experiences with the easy-to-follow recipes. And Ballentine was just the person to write it.

Having begun working at Pellissippi State in 2009, he is an instructional technology specialist in Educational Technology Services. He also teaches a course on mobile web design. While earning his master’s degree in English at East Tennessee State University, Ballentine worked in the university’s Academic Technology Support group. He says he has always been comfortable with both words and technology.

“As a former English major, it was really nice to have the chance to write a longer piece again. I definitely enjoyed finishing the project, though.” he said. “I have a few ideas for some future writing projects, but I’m not going to start those for a while.”

The “Desire2Learn Higher Education Cookbook” is Ballentine’s first book. It is available through Packt Publishing (www.packtpub.com) and Amazon.

Pellissippi State honors employees and retirees

Pellissippi State Community College recently hosted its annual recognition of employees for outstanding service, longevity and retirement.

At this year’s ceremony, the Excellence in Teaching Award went to Denise Reed, an associate professor in Business and Computer Technology. The award recognizes innovative teaching techniques and the positive impact they have had on students.

Denise Reed
Denise Reed

Reed was instrumental in the launch of Pellissippi State’s Accelerated Higher Education Associate’s Degree program. AHEAD allows students to earn an Associate of Applied Science degree with a major in Business Administration and a concentration in Management in only 16 months. Reed is also on the college’s Service-Learning advisory board and is a faculty advisor to the Rotaract Club, a Rotary Club student affiliate.

Marilyn Harper
Marilyn Harper

The Innovations Award was bestowed upon Marilyn Harper. This award is given in recognition of a project that demonstrates success of creative and original instructional and learning support activities. Harper, director of Academic Support Services, was recognized for her work in improving the use of tutoring resources at Pellissippi State’s Academic Support Center.

(L-R) Celeste Evans, Chuck Wright and Terri Strader
(L-R) Celeste Evans, Chuck Wright and Terri Strader

Two teams were honored at the ceremony with the Gene Joyce Visionary Award, which recognizes external outreach projects that have a positive impact on the community. The team of Celeste Evans, Terri Strader, and Chuck Wright was honored for its work toward establishing criteria by which students with credentials in industrial, trade, and military fields may be awarded credit for prior learning.

(L-R) Keith Norris, Rob Lloyd and Trent Eades.
(L-R) Keith Norris, Rob Lloyd and Trent Eades.

Another Gene Joyce Visionary Award was given to the team of Trent Eades, Rob Lloyd and Keith Norris for the trio’s efforts in promoting and producing Pellissippi State’s Faculty Lecture Series. The series, which is free and open to the public, features Pellissippi State faculty presenting educational and often entertaining lectures on everything from stem cell research to solar power.

Tracy Rees
Tracy Rees
Kathy King
Kathy King
John Ruppe
John Ruppe

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

Rachael Cragle
Rachael Cragle

Additional award recipients—each of whom received $100, a plaque and a medallion—included the following: Outstanding Adjunct Faculty, Tracy Rees; Outstanding Administrator, Rachael Cragle; Outstanding Contract Worker, Rebecca Harmon; Outstanding Support Professional, Kathy King; Outstanding Technical/Service/Maintenance Employee, John Ruppe; and Outstanding Full-time Faculty, Jonathan Fowler.

Funding for all awards was 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.

Rebecca Harmon
Rebecca Harmon

Pellissippi State also recognized employees at five-year increments of service, as well as council presidents and retiring employees. This year’s faculty and staff retirees included Bill Galyon, Dorothy Giles, Carl “Pete” Jones, Larry Morgan, Teresa Myers, Brenda O’Neal, Bonnie Powell, Robert Sayles and Catherine Williams.

As this year’s recipient of the Outstanding Full-time Faculty Award, Fowler carried the college’s mace at the 38th Annual Commencement Ceremony. Reed, recipient of the Excellence in Teaching Award, gave the Commencement address. Pellissippi State’s Commencement took place May 10 at the Knoxville Civic Coliseum.

Jonathan Fowler
Jonathan Fowler

This year, Pellissippi State conferred a record number of 1,393 associate’s degrees. Approximately 938 students also completed certificates during the academic year. In 2012, another graduation record was broken when 1,166 students were awarded associate’s degrees.

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