Pellissippi State honors innovation, dedication among employees

Employee Award Winners
The Innovations Award winning team. Alphabetically, Brenda Ammons, Kristy Conger, Stephanie Gillespie, Angela Lunsford, Martha Merrill, Deanne Michaelson, Paul Ramp, Trish Roller, Allison Stein and Kellie Toon.

Pellissippi State Community College honored innovation and dedication among its faculty and staff at a ceremony in April.

Judy Sichler
Judith Sichler

Judith Sichler, an assistant professor teaching anthropology, won the Excellence in Teaching Award.

Pellissippi State alumna and Sichler’s former student, Heather Woods, praised her in a nomination letter. Woods is currently a graduate teaching assistant at the University of Tennessee.

“I chose to take a human origins class at Pellissippi to fill an elective requirement … I enjoyed her [Sichler’s] teaching so much that first day that I immediately added myself to her prehistoric archaeology class,” said Woods.

Woods, a first-generation college student who returned to college as an adult, working mother, had a goal of becoming an English teacher. But she was so inspired by Sichler’s teaching that she eventually changed her major to anthropology.

“More than 20 years of dreaming and planning for an English degree ended up in second place to anthropology,” Woods said. “Dr. Sichler literally made such an impact in my education and life that I am following in her academic footsteps. Any college would be hard-pressed to find even one professor with her skills, heart and dedication.”

Annie Gray
Annie Gray

Annie Gray, English professor and Service-Learning coordinator, is the Gene Joyce Visionary Award winner for her creation and management of Pellissippi State’s Service-Learning program, which combines community service and civic responsibility with traditional classroom learning. Last year, 2,677 student volunteers served more than 37,000 service hours in the community, for an estimated impact of around $887,759.

“People thrive when connected to causes bigger than themselves,” Gray said.

Gray has been recognized across the state and the nation for her work. The Tennessee Board of Regents, Pellissippi State’s governing body, has encouraged all its institutions to adopt Service-Learning programs because of her program’s success. Tennessee Campus Compact recognized Gray with the Tennessee Treasure Award in 2014, and the Service-Learning program was named a President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll winner in 2015.

This year is Gray’s last as Service-Learning coordinator. She is returning to the classroom, and a full-time director will manage the Service-Learning program. Gray donated the monetary portion of the Gene Joyce Visionary Award to the Pellissippi Pantry, a food pantry for students in need at Pellissippi State.

A team of faculty and staff representing each department in the college won the Innovations Award for their creation of a training program for faculty on best practices for using online teaching platforms. Online courses are becoming a more popular option for students. The training helps faculty learn to better use online platforms to create more meaningful experiences for students. All faculty members at Pellissippi State have completed at least level one of the training, which introduces faculty to Pellissippi State’s online learning platform, D2L — which is used in many classes, not just those that are online. The level two training is required for faculty members who teach any hybrid or online courses.

The Innovations Award team includes Brenda Ammons, Kristy Conger, Stephanie Gillespie, Angela Lunsford, Martha Merrill, Deanne Michaelson, Paul Ramp, Trish Roller, Allison Stein and Kellie Toon.

Pellissippi State Foundation board members select the recipients of the Excellence in Teaching, Innovation and Gene Joyce Visionary awards based on nominations. Recipients also receive a monetary award provided by the Foundation.

Additional college awards for employees recognize excellence among faculty and staff:

  • Outstanding Contract Worker: Amy Satkowiak
  • Outstanding Adjunct Faculty: Gabe Crowell
  • Outstanding Full-time Faculty: Alex Fitzner
  • Outstanding Administrator: Kathy Byrd
  • Outstanding Support Professional: Aneshia Brown
  • Outstanding Technical/Service/Maintenance: Scott Bell

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

Food Lion supports Pellissippi State food pantry

FoodLion_PSCCGrant
Pellissippi State Community College Service-Learning Coordinator Annie Gray accepts grant funding from Food Lion representative Roger Scarbro.

 

The Food Lion Feeds Charitable Foundation will support Pellissippi State Community College’s food pantry with a $2,000 grant not only for its continuing operation, but its nutrition education goals.

The Pellissippi Pantry provides hunger relief for at-risk students at the college by delivering enough food for students to prepare one healthy meal a day for themselves and their families, for up to two weeks at a time. Students can pick up food on any of Pellissippi State’s five campuses. The pantry provides canned and packaged goods, healthy recipes and seasonal fresh produce from Pellissippi State’s Hardin Valley Garden.

To remain operational, the Pellissippi Pantry relies on packaged food donations from the community as well as monetary donations that cover the costs of food ordered through Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee.

“We’re immensely grateful to partner with Food Lion in this productive way, which will translate to an increased ability to do community outreach and education through the Pellissippi Pantry,” said Annie Gray, Service-Learning coordinator at Pellissippi State — the program that oversees both the Pellissippi Pantry and the Hardin Valley Garden.

“Although the Pellissippi Pantry only began last May, we already know it’s making a huge, positive difference in students’ lives,” Gray said. “One hundred percent of our participants reported in a survey that the Pellissippi Pantry services helped them stay in school.”

Funding for this grant goes through the Pellissippi State Foundation. The Foundation works to provide student scholarships and emergency loans, to improve facilities and to 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, visit www.pstcc.edu or call 865-694-6400.

Pellissippi State named to President’s Honor Roll for community service

posted in: Awards, Service-Learning, TBR | 0
Annie Gray
Annie Gray, Pellissippi State Service-Learning coordinator, harvests produce from the Hardin Valley Campus Garden, which is used to provide fresh food for a five-campus food pantry.

 

Pellissippi State Community College has been named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll 2015 for its Service-Learning program and community outreach initiatives.

The President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll recognizes higher education institutions with exemplary community service programs that raise the visibility of effective practices in campus-community partnerships. The college was recognized in the general community service division of the 2015 awards.

“We’re honored and grateful that Pellissippi State’s deep and active commitment to serving the community has been recognized at a national level,” said Annie Gray, Service-Learning coordinator and English professor.

In the 2013-2014 academic year — the year for which Pellissippi State was evaluated for the 2015 Honor Roll — the estimated economic impact of all of Pellissippi State’s volunteer service hours in East Tennessee was $899,205. In the past 2015-2016 academic year, the value of Pellissippi State’s Service-Learning hours rose to $971,617.

At Pellissippi State, students who complete community service hours and submit them through Service-Learning can have their verified community service hours listed on their official college transcripts.

“Service-Learning not only helps our students in the classroom, it provides meaningful ways for them to give back to their community — and it demonstrates to future employers or four-year universities that our students are well-rounded,” said L. Anthony Wise Jr., Pellissippi State president.

The Good Food For All initiative, which took place in 2014 as part of Pellissippi State’s Service-Learning program, worked with community partners to address issues of food access, nutrition education and environmental stewardship. The initiative placed Pellissippi State students, employees and AmeriCorps VISTA volunteers in community service positions with local community gardens, food banks and poverty alleviation organizations — including Pond Gap Elementary School, Knoxville’s Great Schools Partnership, Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee, the Center for Urban Agriculture at Knoxville Botanical Garden and Arboretum and the Knoxville Permaculture Guild.

The Good Food For All initiative oversaw the Pellissippi State-sponsored community garden at Pond Gap and was the inspiration behind the new garden on the college’s Hardin Valley Campus this year. Produce from the Hardin Valley garden is used to stock a five-campus food pantry program for Pellissippi State students in need.

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

 

Download this press release: SL President Honor Roll

Pellissippi State launches sustainable garden, food pantry

Annie Gray
Annie Gray, program coordinator of Service-Learning at Pellissippi State, shows off lettuce grown in the Hardin Valley Campus Garden.

Pellissippi State Community College is building on a history of sustainability and service with a new campus garden and food pantry.

The garden, which is located on the Hardin Valley Campus, is not only an outdoor education and community service hub, but a supplier of local produce to the college cafeteria. A significant portion of the food produced will help low-income students at Pellissippi State.

“What makes this project unique is not only the sustainability aspect, but the emphasis on providing for students in need and educating them about healthy food choices amid real concerns about poverty,” said Annie Gray, Service-Learning coordinator and leader of this project.

The Hardin Valley Campus Garden will complement a new food pantry that will support college students who struggle with chronic hunger issues. Most of the garden’s produce — 75 percent — will supplement the food distributed through this new Pellissippi Pantry, which also will partner with Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee.

The remaining food from the garden will supplement Hardin Valley Campus cafeteria food offerings, available to anyone.

The Pellissippi Pantry will be available on all five Pellissippi State campuses in Knox and Blount counties. It will offer qualified students healthy packaged and fresh food, as well as nutrition education. It will launch for at-risk students this summer.

Research shows there’s a need for this type of outreach. A 2015 study out of the University of Wisconsin has shown that, nationally, about 52 percent of community college students experience ongoing food insecurity, or the inability to readily access healthy or nutritious food. Atlantic magazine has reported that 22 percent of community college students nationwide reported they’d gone hungry due to a lack of money.

Pellissippi Pantry will operate on a basis of confidentiality. Students will be identified to workers only by an ID and will be able to discreetly pick up food at a pre-specified time and location.

Pellissippi State has a history of launching sustainable and service-oriented gardens. In partnership with other local organizations, the college opened the Pond Gap Elementary School community garden in 2013 as part of the Service-Learning program. That community garden has been a widely-regarded success in enhancing curriculum and after-school programs and providing healthy food for Pond Gap students and their families.

For more information about how to support the Pellissippi Pantry or the Hardin Valley Campus Garden, contact the Pellissippi State Foundation at www.pstcc.edu/foundation or call 865-694-6528. For more information about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call 865-694-6400.

 

Download this news release: PSCC Garden Pantry