Category Archives: Cohorts

Keurig Green Mountain, Pellissippi State partner to train employees

Row of males standing in front of a Pellissippi State Community College logo.
Keurig Green Mountain Inc. employees completed an industry-specific workforce development program at Pellissippi State Community College in late May. Pictured, in no order, are graduates Kevin Anderson, Marshall Boyd, Stanley Burgin, Robert Coleman, John Fronczak, Damien Kerr, John LaForge, Tim Mabry, Daniel North, Teddy Phillips, Rodney Reynolds, Josh Sicotte, Stephen Strader and Jeremiah Williams.

Pellissippi State Community College celebrated its first cohort of students completing an industry-specific workforce development program in late May.

The short-term certificate program was designed for Keurig Green Mountain Inc. employees to train them to install, troubleshoot and maintain industrial electrical systems. The curriculum was built through partnerships between Pellissippi State’s Engineering and Media Technologies department and Business and Community Services division with Keurig Green Mountain’s continuous learning department.

“We are pleased to work with our local employers to provide the training and education their employees need to be successful and productive,” said Teri Brahams, executive director of Economic and Workforce Development. “We can do that by either fully customizing a solution or packaging existing course offerings to accomplish the company’s workforce development needs.”

In this case, 14 Keurig employees earned 10 credits toward an Associate of Applied Science degree in Engineering Technology with a concentration in Electrical Engineering. The specialized Keurig certificate is based on Pellissippi State’s Electric Systems Technology certificate.

The Pellissippi State program serves as the model for similar partnerships Keurig Green Mountain is launching across the country with other community colleges.

The 14 graduates are Kevin Anderson, Marshall Boyd, Stanley Burgin, Robert Coleman, John Fronczak, Damien Kerr, John LaForge, Tim Mabry, Daniel North, Teddy Phillips, Rodney Reynolds, Josh Sicotte, Stephen Strader and Jeremiah Williams.

To learn more about the college’s workforce training opportunities, visit www.pstcc.edu/bcs or call (865) 539-7167. For more information about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call (865) 694-6400.

Pellissippi State ‘2+2’ alumnus named ‘Teacher of the Year’

Charlie ArpCharles Arp, a Pellissippi State Community College alumnus, has been named “Teacher of the Year” for Sweetwater City Schools in Monroe County. He teaches fifth grade at Brown Intermediate School.

Arp graduated through a teacher education partnership between Pellissippi State and Tennessee Technological University in 2012. Graduates from what is called the “2+2” program earn an Associate of Science in Teaching degree from Pellissippi State, then a Bachelor of Science degree in Multidisciplinary Studies and K-6 Teacher Licensure from Tennessee Tech.

Students in 2+2 attend the first two years as Pellissippi State students and the last two years as Tennessee Tech students—but they take all of their classes at Pellissippi State’s Hardin Valley Campus. A.S.T. is a cohort program, meaning the students go through the entire sequence together.

“Charlie was one of those students that you don’t forget,” said Barbara Jenkins, program coordinator of the A.S.T. program. “He knew what he wanted to do—to teach and make a difference with children in the elementary classroom—and he pursued his goal without hesitation.”

Arp says he was surprised and pleased to receive the Teacher of the Year recognition after teaching only three years. The honor is awarded through Little Tennessee Valley Educational Cooperative.

In April, he also earned Oak Ridge Associated Universities’ 2015 Extreme Classroom Makeover. The award comes with a $25,000 grand prize that funds new technology in the classroom.

Arp credits his success to Pellissippi State and Tennessee Tech and the partnership 2+2 program.

“Pellissippi State prepared me for nearly every aspect of teaching,” he said. “My students have had some of the highest possible science TCAP [Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program] scores in the state. I would say 75 percent of my teaching toolkit is from things I learned at Pellissippi State.

“The 2+2 program even helped prepare me for the interview for this job [at Brown Intermediate]. The only mistake I made was that I didn’t start the 2+2 program straight out of high school.”

Arp employs a number of distinctive techniques to teach his students, including using the Minecraft video game as a way of teaching mathematics and keeping children moving during math lessons by making use of a class-sized coordinate plane. When teaching reading and English lessons, Arp uses movie trailers based on novels to get his students interested in literature.

For more information about the A.S.T., 2+2 and other programs offered by or in partnership with Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call (865) 694-6400.

Culinary Arts at Pellissippi State: pursue a career creating great food

Group of students in 2 rows in aprons and hats

Confit, crème brûlée, coq au vin. Gnocchi, pierogi, béchamel.

They’re more than just a tableful of fancy foreign foods—they’re what’s for dinner, and breakfast and lunch, when it’s prepared by students enrolled in the Pellissippi State Culinary Arts Institute.

Registration is now under way to launch an exciting culinary career through Pellissippi State Community College, with a new round of courses starting spring semester. The application deadline is Jan. 9, and classes begin Jan. 20.

 “Our students learn to cook to the sensory perceptions,” said Tom Gaddis, Culinary Arts program coordinator. “Before you even see fajitas, you hear them sizzling. Before you bite into them, you see the multicolored peppers. Culinary is truly an art.”

Students who pursue a two-year degree in Business/Culinary Arts learn about every aspect of the institutional kitchen: stocks and sauces (“There are five mother, or foundation, sauces,” one of them the creamy béchamel, said Gaddis); moist and dry cooking methods: blanching, braising, poaching, stewing, baking, barbecuing/smoking; equipment, safety; meats, from beef and fowl (coq au vin, confit) to rabbit and venison; seasonal vegetables; desserts (crème brûlée).

“Each instructor has his or her own specialty,” said Gaddis. “One chef is from Pittsburgh, and his specialty is Polish food like pierogi and gnocchi. Another specializes in Mediterranean, and another in Japanese.

“Students are able to pursue careers they genuinely love,” he said, “and Culinary Arts has maintained a very high level of job placement since its inception.”

Culinary Arts launched in 2010, part of a collaborative venture between Pellissippi State and the University of Tennessee. It’s a cohort, meaning students enter and complete the courses together, start to finish. Classes are at the Division Street Campus and in the laboratory kitchens at UT’s Culinary Institute off Neyland Drive.

Graduates earn an Associate of Applied Science degree in Business with a concentration in Culinary Arts. They’re also certified through the National Restaurant Association in food production and sanitation, and they can apply to the American Culinary Federation to become certified culinarians, the first step toward professional chef certification.

For more information about the Pellissippi State Culinary Arts Institute, contact Gaddis at (865) 971-5246 or tfgaddis@pstcc.edu or visit www.pstcc.edu/culinary or call (865) 694-6400.

Info meetings set for new Pellissippi State accelerated Business Administration pathways

Prospective Business Administration students are encouraged to attend an informational meeting in November to learn more about two new accelerated cohort degree pathways—Business Administration/Management and Business Administration/Computer Accounting—to be offered spring semester at Pellissippi State Community College.

Students who successfully complete the coursework will earn an Associate of Applied Science degree in Business Administration, with a concentration in either Management or Computer Accounting.

Two info meetings are scheduled: at 6 p.m. Monday, Nov. 3, on the Magnolia Avenue Campus and at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 11, at the Hardin Valley Campus.

The accelerated pathway allows students to earn a degree more quickly than normal thanks to shorter-length courses. It’s an ideal choice for those who work during regular school hours, who have family or other responsibilities and/or who may have been out of school for a while.

In a cohort, students begin and progress through a program together, as one supportive group.

Both accelerated cohorts meet Tuesday and Thursday evenings, in mostly five-week courses, for 16 months. The Management concentration provides the skills necessary to effectively manage and lead.  The Computer Accounting concentration prepares students for entry-level accounting positions in business and industry.

For more information about accelerated pathways and cohorts at Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu/cohorts or call (865) 694-6400.

Pellissippi State: Early Childhood Education intro course hits record enrollment for fall

Female handing object to young child.
Hannah Wilson, an Early Childhood Education student at Pellissippi State Community College, interacts with a child through the program’s student club, “Club Ed,” which is devoted to community service and volunteerism. Students volunteer to provide children’s activities at community events such as Fantasy of Trees, Boo at the Zoo, and EarthFest and at Pellissippi State functions like the Festival of Cultures.

Enrollment in the introductory course of the Early Childhood Education degree program at Pellissippi State Community College is at an all-time high this semester.

Twenty-eight students signed up for Introduction to Early Childhood Education.

“These are great numbers for us. We’re so excited to have students interested in Early Childhood Education,” said Terenia Moody, Early Childhood’s program coordinator. “This semester, we’ve also introduced a new cohort program at the Magnolia Avenue Campus that is really taking off.”

An additional 21 students are taking the cohort courses offered at Magnolia Avenue. In a cohort, students begin, progress through and complete their coursework as a group. Cohorts encourage greater community and teamwork among students, as well as providing greater individualized attention from faculty.
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Pellissippi State gives students the opportunity to earn a short-term certificate, an Associate of Applied Science degree in Early Childhood Education and an Associate of Science in Teaching Pre-K-3.

“These different certificates and degrees offer our students a wide range of options for their futures,” said Moody. “They can pursue a career in child care right away, or they can transfer to a four-year institution and finish their education. Our students might be entrepreneurs, wanting to start their own center, or they might wish to be a teacher or a teacher’s assistant.”
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The program also has an active student club, “Club Ed,” which is devoted to community service and volunteerism. Students often volunteer to provide children’s activities at community events such as Fantasy of Trees, Boo at the Zoo, and EarthFest and at Pellissippi State functions like the Festival of Cultures.

For more information about Early Childhood Education, visit www.pstcc.edu/eced or call (865) 694-6400.

New ‘cohort’ programs available at Pellissippi State campuses this fall

Pellissippi State Community College is adding several new “cohort” options to its degree and certificate offerings this fall, with courses scheduled to be convenient for working adults, in particular.

Cohorts allow students to enter and finish college together, as one dynamic group. Pellissippi State offers two pathways—accelerated and traditional—for earning a cohort degree.

Students can earn a degree more quickly through the accelerated than the traditional pathway, thanks to shorter-length courses. Accelerated pathway cohorts are ideal for those who work during regular school hours, who have family or other responsibilities and/or who may have been out of school for a while. Both pathways offer opportunities to gain college credit for prior life and learning experience.

Cohort certificate programs are designed for working students who want to learn new skills or upgrade their abilities/expertise in a shorter amount of time than a degree would require. 

Here are the degree and certificate cohorts that are new in fall 2014 and the campuses where they are offered. All of these cohorts follow the accelerated pathway:

Magnolia Avenue Campus:

  • Associate of Applied Science in Early Childhood Education degree. This degree program is offered two evenings per week for four semesters. The Early Childhood program leads to career opportunities in teaching, assistant teaching, and administration in Head Start and the field of child care.

Blount County Campus:

  • Industrial Automation certificate. This certificate program is offered two days per week for two semesters. It prepares students with the skills needed to troubleshoot and maintain programmable logic controller, instrumentation, and data acquisition systems.

Hardin Valley Campus: 

  • Associate of Science in Teaching degree. This two-year, five-semester, two-evening-a-week program includes a common core of courses for prospective elementary school teachers. Students who graduate with an A.S.T. degree can transfer to any Tennessee Board of Regents university, as well as Carson-Newman University, King University and Tusculum College. Students also have the option of completing their final two years of K-6 licensure at the Hardin Valley Campus through a partnership between Pellissippi State and Tennessee Technological University.

  • A.A.S. degree in Engineering Technology with a concentration in Industrial Maintenance. This two-year, six-semester degree curriculum prepares students for careers in large manufacturing companies working as multicraft, industrial machinery maintenance and repair technicians.

  • A.A.S. degree in Engineering Technology with a concentration in Civil Engineering Technology and a Construction Engineering Technology option. This two-year degree program is offered two evenings per week over six semesters. It prepares students for careers in the commercial, industrial or residential construction industry.

  • Medical Insurance Coding and Reimbursement certificate. This certificate program meets two evenings per week for two semesters, preparing students for employment in medical insurance and health-care claim processing.

  • Electronic Health Records Specialist certificate. This certificate program meets two evenings per week for two semesters. It prepares students for entry-level employment in a medical office. The certificate is offered jointly with the Medical Insurance Coding and Reimbursement certificate.

  • A.S. General Education Core certificate. This three-semester certificate program gives Associate of Science degree students the opportunity to complete the foundation courses (math, English, science, etc.) for a bachelor’s degree before transferring to a four-year school. This certificate program is available not only as a cohort but also in a traditional format.

For more information about cohort-structured degree and certificate programs at Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu/cohorts or call (865) 694-6400.

Pellissippi State, Alcoa Foundation partner for student scholarships

A growing need for machinery operators with mechanical and electrical engineering training is being met through a partnership between Pellissippi State Community College and Alcoa Foundation.

Alcoa Foundation is supporting Pellissippi State students pursuing an industrial maintenance certificate or associate’s degree with a two-year, $50,000 scholarship grant.

Pellissippi State offers an Associate of Applied Science degree in Engineering Technology with a concentration in Industrial Maintenance, as well as a certificate in Industrial Maintenance Technology. The Industrial Maintenance concentration prepares students for careers in large manufacturing companies, working as multicraft, industrial machinery maintenance and repair technicians.

“There is an existing shortage of qualified men and women who are able to maintain and repair equipment in local industry,” said Peggy Mahan Wilson, vice president of College Advancement for Pellissippi State and executive director of the Pellissippi State Foundation.

“A great opportunity exists to provide students with the skills needed to obtain high-paying jobs in our community. The manufacturing industry is on the rebound in our region, and this scholarship grant will help provide students the necessary training to become experienced-and much needed-maintenance personnel.”

The Engineering Technology/Industrial Maintenance program at Pellissippi State is an Accelerated Higher Education Associate’s Degree program. AHEAD is designed to meet the needs of busy adults by offering shorter-term courses and credit for prior learning. Engineering Technology/Industrial Maintenance is also a cohort program. Cohorts allow students to move through their courses as a unified group, encouraging collaboration and fostering long-lasting relationships.

The Alcoa Foundation grant is expected to affect 80 Industrial Maintenance students directly through August 2015.

“This grant,” said Wilson, “will empower Industrial Maintenance students to secure the critical skills necessary to obtain self-sufficiency through the completion of their degree. We are pleased to receive this grant from Alcoa Foundation and honored to have a long history of partnership with them.”

The grant is a continuation of support from Alcoa Foundation, which last year completed a separate $37,000 donation for scholarships for students pursuing an associate’s degree in Engineering Technology/Industrial Maintenance.

For more about Industrial Maintenance, call (865) 694-6400 or visit www.pstcc.edu/cohorts/industrial. To learn more about the college’s many giving opportunities, call the Pellissippi State Foundation at (865) 694-6528 or email foundation@pstcc.edu.

Pellissippi State, APSU partner to help working adults earn four-year Engineering Tech degree

Fifteen students at Pellissippi State Community College are enrolled in a bachelor’s degree program in Engineering Technology this fall. The new program, a partnership between Pellissippi State and Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, is designed to support working adults in earning a four-year degree.

Under what’s called a 2+2 agreement, a student may earn an associate’s degree in Engineering Technology, then a bachelor’s degree in either Manufacturing Engineering Technology or Mechanical Engineering Technology—without ever leaving the Pellissippi State campus.

“I think this is an example of a partnership that helps close the skills gap,” Pellissippi State President L. Anthony Wise Jr. said, “especially in terms of manufacturing skills in the Knoxville area. It creates a pathway for our students to move from the community college into a four-year university and earn an applied bachelor’s degree, and it offers working adults the convenience of staying at one location for all four years.”

When students complete the first two years of study, they will earn an Associate of Applied Science degree from Pellissippi State, historically a two-year school. The A.A.S. will be in Engineering Technology, with a concentration in Manufacturing Engineering or Mechanical Engineering. The final two years of the coursework will culminate in a Bachelor of Science degree from APSU.

To further meet the needs of working adults, classes also take place in the evening and the program is arranged as a cohort. In a cohort, students move together through their courses, beginning to end, as a group. Pellissippi State has offered cohorts through its Accelerated Higher Education Associate’s Degree program since 2007.

Wise and Timothy L. Hall, APSU president, signed the articulation agreement earlier this year for the new partnership. The program kicked off when the fall semester began in August.

APSU and Pellissippi State both have well-established Engineering Technology programs. The 2+2 will cover curricula in advanced manufacturing technologies, such as additive manufacturing. APSU offers a specialization in that discipline.

Pellissippi State’s Engineering Technology degree program also allows students to concentrate in Civil Engineering, Electrical Construction Management, Electrical Engineering or Industrial Maintenance.

For more information, visit www.pstcc.edu or contact Celeste Evans, who oversees Pellissippi State’s Cohort Programs, at clevans@pstcc.edu or (865) 539-7381.

Pellissippi State: Bridge to Registered Nurse offers LPNs fast track to higher degree

Pellissippi State Community College offers a fast track for licensed practical nurses to receive their registered nurse degree.

Through the Bridge to Registered Nurse program, Pellissippi State allows LPNs to enter nursing school following the successful completion of one summer transitional course. The Bridge program offers an advanced placement opportunity: a shortened 12-month, three-semester program—two semesters remain once the student finishes the transitional course—for an LPN to “bridge” to the RN level of nursing.

Upon earning the Associate of Applied Science degree in Nursing from Pellissippi State, the student is prepared to take the national licensure exam to become an RN.

“In this transitional course, Nursing 1170, LPNs validate the same knowledge they would have acquired had they been freshmen in the traditional, two-year Nursing program that we offer,” said Beverly Rogers, Pellissippi State’s interim dean of Nursing.

“They have to do clinical and laboratory simulations, and we cover all the content they normally would have had, but the transitional class allows LPNs to bypass the first year of the Nursing program.

“As long as they have their pre-nursing courses complete, after finishing the Bridge transitional course, the LPNs can then earn their degree in only two semesters. Normally, students are in school for two to three years to get the A.A.S.N. and then are eligible to take the licensure exam to become a registered nurse.” One year of training is typically required to become an LPN.

The first Bridge to Registered Nurse class began in May with 24 students. The program is a cohort, which means that students begin and complete the coursework together. Admission is highly competitive, with GPA, exam scores, and higher education degree requirements, in addition to current health-care licensures and certifications.

“Some fields in the health-care industry are moving away from the LPN certification,” Rogers said. “Some of our students have been given only a year to earn that Associate of Applied Science in Nursing degree and take the exam to qualify for the RN in order to keep their jobs. This degree program is helping students who otherwise might be displaced.”

Pellissippi State’s Bridge to Registered Nurse program is among the shortest and most streamlined in the state.

“It’s a much more rapid program than most other community colleges in Tennessee can offer,” Rogers said.

The Bridge to Registered Nurse program is funded in part by an Rx Tennessee grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Labor. The Rx Tennessee grants, totaling $12.6 million distributed among all Tennessee community colleges and technical centers, were awarded in September 2012. Pellissippi State’s roughly $600,000 portion of the funding is effective until 2016.

Rx Tennessee is designed to improve opportunities for Trade Adjustment Assistance eligible workers—those who have lost jobs or suffered reduced hours or wages as a result of work going outside the U.S.—and others in health-care training, Likewise, it also is meeting the need of the health-care industry and employers.

For more information about the Bridge to Registered Nurse program, contact Michael Burtch, Rx Tennessee program coordinator, at (865) 225-2334 or Brian Gilpin, Rx Tennessee completion coach, at (865) 225-2337. Both contacts are located at Pellissippi State’s Strawberry Plains Campus.

For more information about Pellissippi State’s Nursing program, visit www.pstcc.edu/department/nursing or call (865) 694-6400.

Pellissippi State: Industrial Maintenance cohort helps returning students succeed

Portrait of bald male outside wearing a white shirt with the Alcoa building behind himIf Jay Easter had been required to go through registration each semester, thereby facing the possibility of not getting into a required class, he says he would never have graduated from college. He likely would not have even enrolled.

Fortunately, Easter enrolled in the Industrial Maintenance cohort at Pellissippi State Community College. He earned his degree in 2011 and was promoted by his long-time employer last year.

Enrolling in an area that uses the cohort approach—in which students who enter college start and finish together as one dynamic group—gives students the opportunity to take the worry out of planning their college career. Cohort students have a set of classes already mapped out for them. They do not have to be concerned that a required class will be full and, therefore, unavailable.

Once enrolled, students find a lot more to like about being in a cohort. It’s the group component that Easter found particularly beneficial. He says he and fellow students in Industrial Maintenance, one of the concentrations in the Engineering Technology degree program, became a team. They assisted each other with subject matter, study skills and, most important, motivation.

“If I hadn’t gone back to college with a group of like-minded people, I wouldn’t have been able to do it,” he said. “We were so similar—full-time jobs, family concerns, time struggles.

“The few times I thought I couldn’t finish, I kept on going. We didn’t want to let each other down. Being with the same people made getting my degree actually enjoyable. I think I laughed as much in those two years as I did in the past 10.”

Employed by Alcoa, Inc. since 1999, Easter knew that in order to advance further within the management structure, he would have to obtain a degree. He found out about Pellissippi State’s Industrial Maintenance cohort from a coworker.

Easter told his wife that he was going to Pellissippi State to get more information before making any decision, but, to his own surprise, he ended up enrolling on the spot.

“I called my wife and told her, ‘Honey, I think I just enrolled in college,’” he said, laughing. “Pat Riddle [an associate professor and the Industrial Maintenance program coordinator] made it so much easier.

“I had been afraid of going back to school, but the cohort model was appealing. I don’t know if I would have made it through the stresses of a traditional program.” Easter was also the recipient of a scholarship for his studies at Pellissippi State.

Students in the Industrial Maintenance concentration learn about multicraft, industrial machinery maintenance and repair technology. Courses emphasize safety, teamwork, efficient work practices and communication skills, all of which are sought by employers in the industry.

Designed for working professionals, the accelerated Industrial Maintenance cohort classes meet two evenings each week over the course of six semesters. Class size is limited to allow for more in-depth individual and group instruction.

Another of the concentration’s cohorts begins this August, with graduation slated for spring 2015. Upon successful completion, students earn an Associate of Applied Science degree. They are then eligible, if they choose, to transfer to any state university as a junior.

Additional cohorts are also available at Pellissippi State: Associate of Science General Education Certificate, Associate of Science in Teaching, Communication Studies and Culinary Arts. All of these cohorts are now enrolling students for fall 2013. Cohorts available for spring 2014 are Computer Accounting, Culinary Arts and Management.

Pellissippi State’s fall 2013 application deadline is Aug. 14. Classes begin on Aug. 24.

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

View a video of Jay Easter’s speech recorded by a friend during the 2011 Cohort Family Night event at Pellissippi State: http://youtu.be/65NbAeIzOcA