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

For 2nd year, Pellissippi State largest community college in state

posted in: Students, TBR | 0

For the second year in a row, Pellissippi State Community College is the largest community college in Tennessee by enrollment.

Pellissippi State has 10,244 students enrolled, which is the largest headcount enrollment among community colleges in the state.

“Even though we serve a large number of students each year, we work very hard to make certain that each student can find a pathway to their goals,” said President L. Anthony Wise Jr. “We do so with an outstanding faculty and staff, small class sizes and high-impact educational practices and programs geared toward student success.”

Enrollment among a number of educational pathways for students has grown in the past year as well. The growth rate at Pellissippi State’s Strawberry Plains Campus rose 34 percent from 2015 to 2016, while the growth rates for dual enrollment and online courses rose 6.5 percent and 10.2 percent, respectively, in the same time frame. From fall 2015 to 2016, the number of students who participate in the Volunteer Bridge program — which allows students who wish to attend the University of Tennessee to complete their first year at Pellissippi State — grew from 122 to 178.

This fall, Pellissippi State has approximately 2,705 first- and second-year Tennessee Promise students.

“No matter what pathway Pellissippi State students choose to follow, we work hard to ensure their college experience is meaningful and prepares them for the rest of their lives,” Wise said. “It’s all about our students.”

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

 

Download this press release: Largest College 2nd Year

Pellissippi State receives Tennessee Promise Forward grant

posted in: Grants, TBR, Tennessee Promise | 0

The Tennessee Higher Education Commission has granted Pellissippi State Community College $144,460 as part of its Tennessee Promise Forward program.

This is the second year Pellissippi State has received a Tennessee Promise Forward grant.

Tennessee Promise Forward began in 2015 with the goal of increasing retention rates among community college students, or the number of students who complete their college education once they’re enrolled. The grants are tied to retention-based services for Tennessee Promise students.

Pellissippi State will use its Tennessee Promise Forward funding to continue an “intrusive advising” model that was piloted last year at the college’s Blount County, Division Street and Hardin Valley campuses.

In an “intrusive advising” model, advisors are in continual communication with students and respond proactively when students are considered at-risk — for example, if their midterm grades are low, or if they miss a certain number of classes. As part of the constant contact model, the Advising Center uses a two-way text messaging platform to reach students in their preferred mode of communication.

“While this text advising portion of this program can be used to provide information and set up appointment times, its greatest advantage is giving students access to someone at their fingertips who can answer college-related questions whenever they arise,” said Rachael Cragle, Pellissippi State’s director of Advising.

“What’s most important is that we’re emphasizing ongoing communication with students throughout the semester, when they need it,” she added.

This year, the text advising program will be expanded to include all of Pellissippi State’s campuses.

During the pilot program last year, Pellissippi State saw more than 50 percent engagement among students through the text messaging program. More than 90 percent of the students who had three or more contacts from their advisor were retained from the fall to spring semester.

For more information about Tennessee Promise at Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu/promise or call 865-694-6400.

 

Download this press release: TN Promise Forward Grant

Pellissippi State to participate in total solar eclipse experiment in 2017

posted in: Academics, Grants, Students, TBR | 0

Pellissippi State Community College is one of 55 educational institutions across the United States that will participate in a high-altitude ballooning experiment — sponsored by NASA — during next year’s total solar eclipse.

The total solar eclipse will move from the West Coast to the East Coast throughout the day of Aug. 21. The moon’s shadow will come between earth and the sun at approximately 2 p.m. in East Tennessee. It’s the first coast-to-coast solar eclipse in the U.S. since 1918.

Pellissippi State will launch a high altitude balloon to gather data and conduct experiments during the two-minute window of the total eclipse. Video from the balloon of the eclipse will be streamed live to NASA’s website.

“This is an amazing learning opportunity,” said Lynn Klett, instructor in Engineering and Media Technologies, and a faculty advisor to Pellissippi State’s high altitude ballooning team. “The last total solar eclipse was years ago, so we have the opportunity to learn a lot about what happens during an eclipse. But high altitude ballooning has its own challenges that require critical thinking and problem-solving, whether you’re flying during a solar eclipse or not.”

As an example of those challenges, Pellissippi State’s balloon must be within the proper altitude range — 60,000 to 100,000 feet — precisely during the two-minute window of the total eclipse. The scientific equipment within the payload must be able to withstand temperatures of -60 degrees Celsius and survive a controlled fall from approximately 100,000 feet in space.

And that’s just the beginning.

Jerry Sherrod, associate professor in Business and Computer Technology, and this project’s other faculty advisor, is working with predictive software to determine where the payload is likely to land.

“East Tennessee has geographic challenges when it comes to predicting where a 12-pound payload on a small parachute will land,” Sherrod said. “We don’t want the equipment to land in a lake or in the national park where it may be impossible to retrieve, or where the scientific equipment will be lost or damaged.”

Klett and Sherrod will be working with the students on the high altitude ballooning team — as well as students in their classes — not only to discuss the project, but to design experiments, improve the payload structure and create predictive algorithms for the device’s retrieval.

“This is an accessible project to the STEM field,” student Sarah Graham said. “Everyone can understand a solar eclipse because it’s a real, visible phenomenon. It’s a great way to learn about physics and engineering in a less intimidating way.”

Pellissippi State’s high-altitude ballooning team will spend the next year improving the payload structure and conducting test launches, as well as working with predictive software to improve retrieval. The team also has the chance to create additional experiments, so long as they add less than two pounds to the payload, to include in the launch next year.

The high altitude ballooning effort is being funded through the NASA Science Mission Directorate and the Tennessee Space Grant Consortium. Pellissippi State is one of only three colleges in Tennessee that are participating in the NASA-sponsored effort.

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

 

Download this press release: Solar Eclipse Experiment

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