Joy Bishop receives Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Philanthropy

Pellissippi State Foundation Board Member Receiving TBR's Chancellor's Award
(L-R) Ginger Hausser, TBR associate vice president for Institutional Advancement, Joy Bishop, Regent Danni Varlan, PSCC President L. Anthony Wise


The Tennessee Board of Regents has presented the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Philanthropy to Maryville’s Joy Bishop in recognition of her support of Pellissippi State Community College.

The award is part of TBR’s Excellence in Philanthropy Awards recognition program that began in 2003 to recognize individuals, companies and organizations who donate their resources, finances and personal time to TBR institutions. TBR is the governing body for Tennessee’s 13 community colleges and 27 Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology.

“I am honored to receive this award. I believe in the community college concept, and I particularly support Pellissippi State and its Blount County Campus. Dr. Wise, the faculty and the staff at Pellissippi State have added a great deal to all five of their campuses. I’m just so proud to be a member of the Pellissippi State Foundation Board of Trustees,” Bishop said.

Bishop has been a long-time supporter of Pellissippi State. She provided leadership in two of Pellissippi State’s major gift campaigns, which have resulted in the establishment and the expansion of the college’s Blount County Campus.

“Joy’s financial commitment to the college is just the tip of the iceberg in measuring her impact. She is a natural-born fundraiser who is not shy about asking others to support our institution,” said L. Anthony Wise, president of Pellissippi State.”

Most notably, she also was instrumental in the development and implementation of the Leg-Up Child Care Assistance Program, a program that provides free child care to a number of qualified Pellissippi State students who are single parents. The program is a partnership between the Tennessee Department of Human Services, Pellissippi State and state-licensed child care centers in East Tennessee.

Program participants must be enrolled in a minimum of six credit-hours, have a 2.0 or better grade-point-average and be working toward a certificate or associate degree program. Leg-Up pays the full cost of weekly child care, after-school costs, registration fees and various activity charges for children between six-weeks-old and age 13.

The financial burden on single parent-students to provide child care while they work, attend school, and take care of their children, is a major factor in determining whether a student will successfully complete college. The annual cost of providing one child with year-round care can exceed $10,000 a year, and many of Pellissippi State’s student-parents have more than one child. Students participating in Leg-Up have shown improved class attendance, better grades and a lower dropout rate.

Bishop says the inspiration for the Leg-Up Program began on a 12-hour plane flight to Southeast Asia with friend Carolyn Forster. The women were on a trip to Vietnam and had a lot of time to think and talk about ways to help the students at Pellissippi State.

“We realized that the cost of child care was a real problem, especially for single parents,” said Bishop. “So we said, ‘We can do something about that,’ and we came up with a plan. We would get the business community to support us, and we would select only highly-motivated students and provide them with mentors in addition to the child care.”

Bishop formed a committee, which included Holly Burkett, the dean of Pellissippi State’s Blount County Campus, did some research on the cost of day care, and wrote out a plan to take to the state.

“Dr. Wise and I went to see the DHS commissioner. [Former] State Senator Doug Overbey [Maryville] met us at the commissioner’s office. Commissioner Hatter was aware of how much child care was a barrier to some students. She was impressed someone was working to do something to keep single parents in school and approved the plan,” Bishop said.

Bishop is quick to share the credit for the success of Leg-Up with her fellow committee members: Marty Black, Jim Proffitt, Carolyn Forster, Ellie Morrow, Gaynelle Lawson, Steve West, Mark Johnson, Greg McLean, Tammi Ford, Tom Bogart, Pam Wolf and Holly Burkett.

In September 2016, Pellissippi State hired Le’John Ellis to manage the program, which has grown steadily and, now, provides quality child care free of charge for 39 student-parents with 60 children in Knox and Blount counties.

“I think Le’John fell from heaven,” Bishop said. “Everyone needs someone to give them a leg up once in their lives. I’m so proud of Leg-Up. It’s perfect, just perfect.”

Bishop, a native of Texas, graduated from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and the Federal Executive Institute. She spent 30 years in the U.S. Air Force as a civilian and was the first woman to receive an appointment to the Senior Executive Service. Bishop retired in 1990 as one of the highest ranking civilians in the Air Force and put her roots down in Blount County. She then started her own consulting firm, the Emerald Group, which helped underdeveloped countries. Joy serves her community as a member of Maryville Church of Christ, Blount Partnership, Maryville Kiwanis Club, Blount County Library, Maryville College Advisory Board, Clayton-Bradley Academy and Clayton Center for the Arts.

“Joy’s work in the community and with Pellissippi State is transformative. When it comes to volunteering, Joy brings plenty of passion and positivity to the table. Her creativity, motivation and vision inspires all that engage with her. It is an honor to nominate Joy Bishop for the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Philanthropy,” Wise said.

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

Pellissippi State, TCAT sign agreement to allow credit transfer

posted in: Academics, Partnerships, Students, TBR | 0
Pellissippi State Community College President L. Anthony Wise Jr., right, signed an articulation agreement with Tennessee College of Applied Technology Knoxville President Dwight Murphy, left, and Tennessee Board of Regents Chancellor Flora Tydings in December.


In December, Pellissippi State Community College and Tennessee College of Applied Technology Knoxville signed an agreement that will allow TCAT students in qualified courses to also earn credit from Pellissippi State.

Seven TCAT Knoxville programs have courses which allow transfer credit toward a degree at Pellissippi State. TCAT Knoxville students can now transfer between six and 24 hours toward an associate degree in Welding Technology; Electrical Engineering Technology; Mechanical Engineering Technology; Computer Information Technology with a concentration in Networking; or Engineering Technology with a concentration in Civil Engineering or Industrial Maintenance.

“Agreements like this one streamline higher education for students,” said Pellissippi State President L. Anthony Wise Jr. “Partnerships like ours with TCAT Knoxville are demanded by regional industrial partners, who need qualified workers in high-skill jobs.”

“Working with the staff at Pellissippi State and TCAT Knoxville, we have created an educational path for regional students to articulate a TCAT technical diploma toward an associate degree at Pellissippi State,” said TCAT Knoxville President Dwight Murphy. “This model program will allow the two institutions to train the kind of skilled employees that regional industries need.”

Pellissippi State and TCAT Knoxville have a model program already active at the college’s Strawberry Plains Campus. TCAT hosts its Welding program early in the day, followed by welding classes taken by dual-enrolled high school students from the Career Magnet Academy, followed by Pellissippi State’s Welding Technology students later in the day. All of the students use the same lab, classroom and equipment.

Pellissippi State and TCAT Knoxville will continue to expand their partnership to meet more local workforce needs, and plan to repeat the successful arrangement in Blount County.

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

Over 20 years, Pellissippi State generates $3.6 billion economic impact

posted in: Community, TBR | 0

Hardin Valley Campus

Pellissippi State’s Hardin Valley Campus


For many years, Pellissippi State Community College has measured its economic impact in East Tennessee. Since 1997, the college has contributed an estimated $3.6 billion in economic impact to Knox and Blount counties. Additionally, there have been approximately 122,245 jobs generated over the past 20 years as a result of the college’s presence.

In its most recent economic impact study, Pellissippi State reports a combined economic impact of $1.3 billion for the years from 2012 to 2017, as measured by the value of business volume, jobs and individual income in Knox and Blount counties that is tied to Pellissippi State.

“Since 1974, this college has had an integral place in East Tennessee that is measured not just by economic impact, but by social impact. We at Pellissippi State are devoted to changing the lives of everyone who steps through our doors,” said Pellissippi State President L. Anthony Wise Jr. “Our greatest impact will always be that made by our students and graduates as they pursue their dreams and give back to our community.”

According to the American Association of Community Colleges, associate degree graduates can expect to earn about $470,800 more over their work lifetime than if they only had a high school diploma. For Pellissippi State’s 1,455 graduates in academic year 2016-2017, this means an additional $685 million in lifetime earnings and $2.8 million in additional annual tax payments that benefit the economy.

The 2012-2017 economic impact report also studied the business volume and individual income impact of Pellissippi State on the local economy:

  • $617 million in business volume impact from 2012-2017, $481 million of which came from non-local revenues such as state appropriations, grants, contracts and federal student financial aid revenues
  • $649 million in personal income impact over the past five years, including $518 million from new or external funds

Pellissippi State expenditures created and sustained an estimated 42,479 jobs, 32,000 of which were created by external or new funds, from 2012-2017. The college itself employed 2,801 full-time employees during the five-year period.

Of the college’s $1.3 billion in total impact over the past five years, the majority — $999 million — can be attributed to the infusion of new, non-local revenues. Every single dollar of local revenue that comes into Pellissippi State generates an estimated annual return on investment of at least $6.20, comprising $3.02 in local business volume plus at least $3.18 in individual income.

“This total economic and social impact would likely not have occurred without the presence of Pellissippi State in the area,” said educational consultant Fred H. Martin, who conducted the study.

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


The full 2012-2017 Economic Impact Report as a PDF

‘Teaching Award’ winner Sichler to speak at Pellissippi State Commencement

posted in: Awards, Commencement, Events, TBR | 0
Judith Sichler
Judith Sichler

Pellissippi State Community College’s Excellence in Teaching Award winner, Judith Sichler, will speak at the college’s fall commencement ceremony Dec. 15 at Thompson-Boling Arena.

Commencement begins at 7 p.m. Approximately 490 students will graduate this fall.

Sichler is the 2017 recipient of the college’s Excellence in Teaching Award, which recognizes innovative teaching techniques and the positive impact a faculty member has had on students. Sichler has integrated unique and interactive learning opportunities into her anthropology classes that aim to increase engagement and inspire students.

Sichler worked as an archaeologist before coming to teach at Pellissippi State in 2010. Today, she teaches cultural anthropology courses and has embedded Service-Learning components into them. She also teaches a cultural anthropology study-abroad course in South Africa.

“The best decision I ever made was to teach full-time,” Sichler said. “My favorite class to teach is cultural anthropology because I ask students to ponder human diversity. I really want them to talk to each other. I want them to debate perceptions and talk about how and why cultures are different, and what the basis for those differences are.”

For more information about Pellissippi State, visit or call 865-694-6400. To request accommodations for a disability at this event, call 865-539-7401 or email

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