Category Archives: Faculty/Staff

Pellissippi State instructor’s work selected in international photo competition

Portrait of a man with short hair and a mustache wearing a light blue dress shirt with a blue striped tie.John Edwin May, who teaches photography at Pellissippi State Community College, is a first-round winner in ONWARD Compé, an international photography competition for emerging photographers.

Juried each year by a leading figure in contemporary photography, ONWARD Compé spotlights new work that pushes the boundaries of the medium.

Contest organizers compiled 2,100 submissions from 29 countries for the sixth annual competition. Guest juror Mark Steinmetz chose a total of 80 submissions, including one of May’s photographs. Steinmetz is a Guggenheim fellow whose has work in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Museum of Modern Art, among others.

All first-round winners will be displayed in the online Galerie. May’s work will be printed in the exhibition catalog and will be considered for the ONWARD Summit exhibit in Philadelphia on April 12-14.

May chronicles a form of entertainment widely known in towns across America: wrestling. He starting photographing matches five years ago and attends about three a week in East and Middle Tennessee. He shared his commitment and interest with judges in a statement about his work.

“In this series I am investigating the simulacrum of small town entertainment known as wrestling,” May wrote. “The constructed reality fascinates me. This fantasy sport thrives on a small intimate scale just as the national version that fills stadiums. The spectator can interact with the performers as well as approach and meet at the end of the theatrical performance.”

Learn more about Pellissippi State at www.pstcc.edu or call (865) 694-6400.

Instructor from China shares culture, language with Pellissippi State students

Photo of Asian female with a red buttoned-down shirt and a black jacket.When Shuang Liu told friends in China she would be teaching in Tennessee, they first asked if she planned on going to the mountains. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is well known in her hometown of Shenyang, the capital of and largest city in northeast China’s Liaoning province, says Liu, Confucius Classroom instructor at Pellissippi State Community College.

According to Liu, who answers to “Lydia” at the college, she has enjoyed not only the mountain vistas but also other differences between East Tennessee and China since her arrival here last August. For starters, she has become accustomed to finishing her meals with Southern desserts rather than with the traditional Chinese dessert of grapes or other fruits.

She laughs when describing another dining custom she has adopted.

“I’m used to chopsticks,” said Liu. “Here, though, there are hamburgers, pizzas and the like. I eat with just my hands a lot now. The food is different, but very good. I especially enjoy the desserts.”

In the classroom, Liu shows her students that the Chinese language is not as difficult to learn as some people believe. She explains that the characters that make up Mandarin Chinese all have a meaning. Once students become comfortable with those meanings, they have overcome the biggest obstacle.

“The grammar part of Mandarin Chinese is very, very easy compared to English,” said Liu. “Pronunciation is not too difficult, either. The characters are the hardest part, but even that is not difficult once students learn the meanings behind them.”

One of the first things her students learn is their Chinese name. Liu encourages discussion about students’ families as a way of practicing the language and honoring the Chinese emphasis on familial relationships. She also reaches out to students from China, whom she welcomes to her classroom.

“Please let students from China know that I love for them to visit my classes,” said Liu. “I enjoy seeing them make friends with my students.”

Liu serves as the full-time instructor for Chinese culture and language classes at Pellissippi State thanks to the college’s 2010 establishment of a Confucius Classroom, which is the result of a prestigious grant made by the Confucius Institute at the University of Memphis. The first language class offered in 2010 was full long before registration ended.

Pellissippi State students may now choose from a series of beginning- and intermediate-level courses in Mandarin Chinese. With nearly a billion primary- or first-language speakers, Mandarin Chinese is the most widely spoken language in the world, according to geographer Matt Rosenberg. Chinese is the third most widely spoken language in American homes, a 2009 census reports.

Fall 2013 courses available as part of the Confucius Classroom are “Beginning Chinese I” (CHIN 1010), “Beginning Chinese II” (CHIN 1020), “Intermediate Chinese I” (CHIN 2010) and “Peoples and Culture of China” (LAS 2020).

Registration for fall semester begins April 1.

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

Pellissippi State art faculty member named to City of Knoxville Public Arts Committee

jeffJeffrey Lockett, Art professor and program coordinator at Pellissippi State Community College, has been invited by Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero to serve a three-year term on the City of Knoxville Public Arts Committee.

The committee was created in 2008 to enrich the lives of Knoxville residents and visitors through the involvement of professional artists in integrating public artwork throughout the city. The members oversee all the artwork in downtown Knoxville, Lockett says, including approximately 50 sculptures along Gay and Church streets and in Krutch Park.

Lockett’s work has been included in countless local, regional, and national exhibitions and is housed in such collections as the Harriet V. Cornell Museum of Fine Art in Florida and the Ewing Gallery at the University of Tennessee. He has served as an instructor and visiting artist for multiple arts institutes across Tennessee. Lockett is the owner of Highland Pottery.

jeff2Lockett earned a bachelor’s degree in art from Rollins College in Winter Park, Fla., and an M.F.A. in ceramics from UT. He has been a full-time member of Pellissippi State’s Art faculty for the past 23 years and currently teaches Ceramics I (Handbuilding) and Ceramics II (Throwing).

For more information about Pellissippi State’s art course offerings, visit www.pstcc.edu or call (865) 694-6400. To learn about upcoming exhibits, go to www.pstcc.edu/arts.

Pellissippi State book-and-rummage sale to benefit students

Prowling through the gently used items at the upcoming Second Hand Heart and Book Sale Fundraiser can pay off not only for attendees who grab great deals but also for students who attend Pellissippi State Community College.

The combination book-and-rummage sale is set for March 7 and 8 at the Hardin Valley Campus. Items available include books, CDs, DVDs, videos, vinyl records, magazines, calendars, puzzles, computer games and assorted household goods.

Pellissippi State’s Administrative Council and Support Staff Council are coordinating the sale. Proceeds go to the Pellissippi State Foundation, which supports student enrichment services by providing scholarships, new technology and equipment. Funds raised are earmarked for the coordinating councils’ scholarships.

The Administrative Council Scholarship awards $1,500 per academic year to a Pellissippi State student who demonstrates financial need, maintains a 2.5 GPA and meets other selection criteria.

Two Support Staff Council Scholarships are available either to a student whose parent is a Pellissippi State support staff employee or a student who meets Support Staff Council criteria. Six students were awarded Support Staff Council Scholarships last semester, with another five scholarships awarded spring semester.

Hours are as follows: Thursday, March 7, 8 a.m.-6 p.m., and Friday, March 8, 8 a.m.-2 p.m. The event takes place in the Goins Building College Center.

For additional information, call (865) 694-6400 or visit www.pstcc.edu. For information about scholarships and other Foundation giving opportunities, call (865) 694-6528 or visit www.pstcc.edu/foundation.

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.

Pellissippi State professor gives input to improve math understanding in Tennessee

Dave Vinson has taught college students at Pellissippi State Community College math for the past 21 years. Now the associate professor is taking on an educational challenge aimed at a younger population.

Vinson has agreed to serve as Tennessee’s lead math curriculum writer for a project that could potentially change the way high school math is taught and learned. The Tennessee Board of Regents, the college’s governing body, contacted Vinson when the Tennessee Higher Education Commission sought TBR’s input on someone to work on the project.

The project is being done for the Southern Regional Education Board. SREB is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that works with member states to improve public pre-kindergarten through grade 12 and higher education.

SREB is targeting high school seniors, after tests revealed that many haven’t comprehended previously taught math skills. Vinson is leading the team on restructuring the curriculum.

“The format is a modified version of what are called ‘active learning strategies,’” Vinson said. “In a pure active learning format, there are no lectures. The teacher moderates, but the goal is to get the students in a small group using the math skills they’re supposed to already know. The lessons, as designed, cannot be completed without an understanding of these forgotten skills. This is especially good for students who don’t learn well by sitting and listening.”

The hope is that having actively participated in the learning and recall process in high school, students will better understand the math they were taught early on. If so, they will be better prepared for college math, and some will be able to avoid developmental prerequisites.

Once the SREB curriculum is complete, it will become public domain. If state legislators ultimately decide to embrace the material, Vinson believes it will have a direct impact on future college freshmen.

The project is part of a larger push by SREB to develop math and English curricula that will help students who graduate from high school be better prepared to succeed in first-year college courses. The undertaking is grounded in Common Core State Standards that have been adopted by 45 states. Those standards dictate the skills that students should have mastered at each grade level.

The Common Core State Standards Initiative is a state-led effort coordinated by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and the Council of Chief State School Officers. The standards were developed in collaboration with teachers, school administrators and experts to provide a clear and consistent framework to prepare students for college and the workforce.

For more information on Vinson’s role in the project, call (865) 694-6400. To learn more about Pellissippi State in general, call 694-6400 or visit www.pstcc.edu.

Pellissippi State hosts Backstage Pass event to launch arts series

For more than 35 years, Pellissippi State Community College has welcomed the community to take part in the institution’s many cultural activities. Beginning this fall, Pellissippi State launches The Arts at Pellissippi State, an arts series that offers more opportunities than ever to enjoy everything from music and theatre to cultural celebrations, lectures, and the fine arts.

The series showcases the talents of Pellissippi State students and faculty, as well as those of special guest performers. To set the new series in motion, the college is hosting Backstage Pass, an evening that will showcase a sampling of the arts-related events slated for the upcoming season.

Backstage Pass offers attendees not only a behind-the-scenes look at future arts activities but also a live auction and cocktail buffet. The setting is Knoxville’s Cherokee Country Club. Proceeds from the special event will be used by the Pellissippi State Foundation to support The Arts at Pellissippi State.

“Backstage Pass” takes place on Friday, Sept. 7, beginning at 7 p.m. Cherokee Country Club is located at 5138 Lyons View Pike.

Individuals interested in attending are encouraged to order tickets early. Tickets are $100 per person. Sponsorships also are available.

For additional information on Backstage Pass, call the Pellissippi State Foundation at (865) 539-7351.

Pellissippi State appoints new vice president of Academic Affairs

Pellissippi State Community College has named Ted Lewis, a college administrator from Texas, to be the new vice president of Academic Affairs.

The appointment comes after a nationwide search that resulted in more than 40 applicants for the position. Lewis begins on July 2, when he will be welcomed by faculty, staff and students of the five campuses: Blount County, Division Street, Hardin Valley, Magnolia Avenue and, starting fall semester, Strawberry Plains.

“I am duly impressed by Lewis’ commitment to student success, his creativity and energy, and his interest in our work at the college and in the community,” said Anthony Wise, president of Pellissippi State.

Lewis served most recently as the dean of instruction at Lone Star College–CyFair in Cypress, Texas. Located outside Houston, Lone Star College–CyFair is part of the Lone Star College System, which includes six colleges serving more than 75,000 credit-seeking students.

During his nine years as the dean of instruction, Lewis oversaw the administration of the institution’s science and public services division. He also brought together a unique collaboration with local emergency services agencies in order to train first responders. Lone Star College–CyFair and local agencies teamed to train more than 500 first responders, establish a special fire academy and provide a free Community Emergency Response Team academy made possible by a grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Prior to his tenure at Lone Star College–CyFair, Lewis spent 12 years with Collin County Community College. Located north of Dallas, the educational institution is a seven-campus college serving more than 27,000 credit-seeking students. Lewis served as a professor, chair of the political science department and director of the school’s award-winning learning communities program.

He earned a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Texas Wesleyan University, a Master of Science in political science from the University of North Texas and a Doctor of Education in higher education administration from the University of Texas at Austin.

Lewis spent many years in Texas and was very involved in the Cypress-Fairbanks (Cy-Fair) community. He served on the Cypress-Fairbanks Educational Foundation Board, was an active member of the Cy-Fair Chamber of Commerce and was president of the Cy-Fair Rotary Club.

Lewis has been an advisory board member for numerous organizations, including the Safety Management Program of the University of Houston–Downtown and the Prepare America Network. The network supports the Office of Domestic Preparedness and the Department of Homeland Security in delivering education, training, and credentialing for security and emergency preparedness.

He has received numerous awards, among them, Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers (2002), Lone Star College–CyFair’s Administrative Excellence Award (2005, 2009), the Chair Academy’s International Exemplary Leadership Award (2007) and the Lone Star College System’s Writing Award (2007, 2010).

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

Pellissippi State educator honored with state teaching award

Nancy Pevey, associate professor of Mathematics at Pellissippi State, is the recipient of the Teaching Excellence Award, presented by the Tennessee Mathematical Association of Two-Year Colleges.

Nancy Pevey still uses a document camera in her classroom. She admits to telling some “pretty corny” math jokes. She makes errors while working sample math problems for her students—usually on purpose.

Pevey, an associate professor of Mathematics at Pellissippi State Community College, has a stockpile of low-tech tricks stashed up her sleeve, all of them used to make math easier for her students to learn. Those techniques are some of the reasons she recently was recognized with a statewide education honor: the Teaching Excellence Award, presented by the Tennessee Mathematical Association of Two-Year Colleges.

Pevey, originally from Starkville, Miss., has been teaching math full time at Pellissippi State since 2000. She also has taught middle- and high-schoolers, and she was a teacher at Bearden and Northwest junior high schools before the Knoxville–Knox County system consolidated.

For the veteran faculty member, making math easier for her students to learn is all about interaction. That’s why Pevey chooses to work math problems by hand on the document camera, a modernized overhead projector. Though she certainly has access to newer tools such as PowerPoint presentations, she believes they just can’t replace the give-and-take of talking through a math solution with her students.

“Writing out the math problems on the document camera makes it fresh every time,” said Pevey. “I like to do more than just hit the ‘go’ button. If I happen to think of a better example that addresses a student’s question, I can write it out as soon as I think of it.

“I’d call my classes ‘interactive lectures.’ Students solve the math problems as we talk together about what’s going on.”

But why introduce mistakes?

“I make them to help show the students how they might have easily gotten a wrong answer,” Pevey said. “Of course, every so often I make a mistake by mistake. We can all learn from that, too.”

Telling math jokes, she says, is a tool she uses to help her students more readily remember math formulas and rules.

“A corny joke or story gives students a memory hook,” said Pevey. “Math concepts are easier to remember with a story.”

The TMATYC Teaching Excellence Award is bestowed every two years. This year’s TMATYC conference took place in Chattanooga, with 24 faculty attending from Pellissippi State.

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

Pellissippi State’s Hospitality coordinator receives international leadership award

Tom Gaddis, who coordinates Hospitality at Pellissippi State, was recently bestowed the Idahlynn Karre International Exemplary Leadership Award.

Tom Gaddis, who coordinates the Hospitality concentration at Pellissippi State Community College, has been named a 2012 recipient of the Idahlynn Karre International Exemplary Leadership Award.

The award, presented by the Chair Academy, recognizes leaders in post-secondary institutions worldwide who have modeled “best practices” in advancing academic and administrative leadership development.

Gaddis, who has served in his current role at Pellissippi State since 1997, is highly regarded within the hospitality industry. He was recognized in 2003 and 2008 as the Hospitality Educator of the Year by the Tennessee Hotel and Lodging Association as part of their Stars of the Industry award program.

Also a professor at the college, Gaddis has been instrumental in the development and implementation of Pellissippi State’s concentration in Culinary Arts. Like Hospitality, Culinary Arts culminates in an Associate of Applied Science in the Business Administration degree program.

The Culinary Arts concentration was first offered at Pellissippi State in 2010 and represents a collaboration with the Culinary Institute at the University of Tennessee. Students enrolled in the culinary classes learn hands-on skills in a state-of-the-art laboratory/kitchen at UT’s Culinary Institute on Neyland Drive. They take classroom courses at Pellissippi State’s Division Street Campus, two miles away.

Gaddis joins educational professionals from around the world as a recipient of the Chair Academy’s Idahlynn Karre International Exemplary Leadership Award. The Chair Academy, founded in 1992, offers leadership development for college and university leaders. This year’s award recipients were honored during the organization’s 21st Annual International Conference, which took place in March in Atlanta.

For more information about the Hospitality and Culinary Arts concentrations at Pellissippi State, call (865) 694-6400 or visit www.pstcc.edu.

Registration is currently under way for the fall semester. Classes begin August 25.

Pellissippi State names head of Division Street Campus

Esther Dyer has been chosen to be the new assistant dean of the Division Street Campus of Pellissippi State Community College.

“She brings experience to the position in both education and business,” said Pellissippi State President Anthony Wise. “We are fortunate to have someone of her caliber to lead the Division Street Campus.”

Dyer was most recently the associate dean of Knoxville’s ITT Technical Institute. A native of Morgan County, she earned a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Tennessee and a master’s in organization development from Central Washington University.

Her experience as an educator includes teaching at virtually every academic level, elementary through college, as well as managing day-to-day operations in a postsecondary school setting. From the business perspective, she has significant experience in process improvement facilitation, conflict resolution, management coaching, strategic planning and team skills training.

Dyer says she looks forward to working with the employees of the Division Street Campus.

“I find the faculty and staff at Division Street to be family- and team-oriented and, specifically, focused on caring for and supporting the students in their various endeavors,” she said. “I want to be an integral part of maintaining that learning atmosphere and contributing to the ongoing growth at the campus.”

The Division Street Campus was home to 1,700 students fall 2011 semester. Pellissippi State also has four other campuses: Hardin Valley, Blount County, Magnolia Avenue and Strawberry Plains.

Learn more about Pellissippi State by visiting www.pstcc.edu or calling (865) 694-6400.