Pellissippi State students win regional debate competition

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Pellissippi State Community College Debate Team with faculty adviser Shaquille Marsh, center.

Pellissippi State Community College’s student Debate Team won Berea College’s John G. Fee Memorial Forensics Tournament, a novice National Parliamentary Debate Association (NPDA) Competition, earlier this month.

The competition is hosted by Berea College and included teams not only from Berea, but from Berry College, Butler University, Carson-Newman University, Cedarville University, Cleveland State Community College, Morehouse College, Spelman College, Walters State Community College and the University of Kentucky.

Dustin Paul
Dustin Paul

Debater Dustin Paul won the debate even though he competed alone in a team competition. His debate record throughout the competition was 7-0, with a 4-0 in the preliminary rounds. He beat a team from Berea College in the quarterfinals, semi-finals and finals. In the final round, the judges voted for him 3-0.

Pellissippi State also took home the Top Community College Award for NPDA Debate. The team of Robert Taylor and Preston Waggoner took turns debating in favor of, or against, a given topic related to current events. The students were given only 15 minutes to prepare for the debate, which lasted 40 minutes. Each student delivered a series of speeches based upon persuasive fact, persuasive value or persuasive policy topics.

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

Pellissippi State, MTSU promote smoother transfer paths for students

Pellissippi State Community College President L. Anthony Wise Jr., right, with Middle Tennessee State University President Sidney A. McPhee.

Pellissippi State Community College and Middle Tennessee State University are promoting new dual admission transfer pathways for students.

Pellissippi State President L. Anthony Wise Jr. and MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee signed an agreement Thursday, July 20, that would make transferring credits from Pellissippi State to MTSU seamless for students. This agreement allows students to earn an associate degree from Pellissippi State and then seamlessly complete a bachelor’s degree from MTSU in a related field, without losing credits in the transition.

The dual admission pathway applies to students who earn Associate of Arts, Associate of Science or Associate of Science in Teaching degrees at Pellissippi State. Students can enter these degree programs with the intent to transfer to MTSU, and then are admitted to both institutions simultaneously. When they complete their degree from Pellissippi State, eligible students are guaranteed acceptance to MTSU in Murfreesboro.

“Strong relationships with great universities like MTSU are critically important to our students,” Wise said. “Partnerships like this create clear pathways for students to earn degrees at Pellissippi State and then at MTSU so those students can enter the workforce in meaningful ways.”

“We are excited to initiate a partnership between Pellissippi State and MTSU that builds on what we have in common, particularly in how we prepare students for the workforce in Tennessee,” McPhee said. “MTSU and Pellissippi State have unique technical programs that will produce the skilled workforce the state needs as part of the Drive to 55.”

Drive to 55 is a state initiative that calls for 55 percent of adult Tennesseans to receive a post-secondary credential by 2025.

For more information about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call 865-694-6400. For more information about MTSU, visit www.mtsu.edu or call 615-898-2300.

Pellissippi State honors outstanding students

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Pellissippi State Community College honored dozens of outstanding students at its annual Academic Awards ceremony April 25. The awards recognized not only excellent academic achievement, but excellence in altruism, community service and leadership.

The college named Leah Hazel Davis and Haley Victoria Ferguson to the All-USA Community College Academic Team.

Gulsah Onar and Dustie Phillips were recipients of the Service Leadership Excellence Award, in recognition of their devotion to civic and community engagement. Susan Spoon was named winner of the Shelley Grace Clayton Award, which honors an altruistic and caring attitude; and several students won Campus Leadership Awards: Heather Butler, Sandra Davis, Sarah Kear, Robert McGinley and Amanda Wollard.

Nathan Armistead was recognized as an outstanding student in the fine arts, and his painting “Presley” was purchased for Pellissippi State’s permanent student art collection.

Additionally, several students were named as Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges: Demi Camia, Sandra de Jesus, Caleb Edmonds, Haley Ferguson, Elicia Ferrer, Kathleen Ford, Jonathan Harter, Apryl Herrell, Yulia Kanevskaya, Jeremy Law, Nikolas Likourentzos, Gulsah Onar, Laura Overton, Walter Rutherford, Valentyna Samonik, Jennifer Sandberg, Mary Templeman, Joy Walker and Darryl Woodridge.

Pellissippi State also named its Faculty Member of the Year — as voted on by students — as Jonathan Lamb, associate professor of mathematics.

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

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.

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