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.
Mike Krause, executive director of the Tennessee Higher Education Commission and Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation, will be the keynote speaker at Pellissippi State Community College’s Commencement ceremony Friday, May 5.
Commencement will begin at 7 p.m. at Thompson-Boling Arena. About 800 students will earn their associate degree that night. Many of those students will be among the first class of Tennessee Promise students to graduate.
Krause will speak about the future of higher education in Tennessee and will share stories of student success at Pellissippi State.
Krause was appointed as the executive director of THEC and TSAC by Governor Bill Haslam in August 2016. Prior to assuming this role, he served as the founding executive director of Tennessee Promise and Drive to 55.
Previously, Krause served as the assistant executive director at the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, leading a variety of initiatives within the Academic Affairs Division. He also served for eight years in the United States Army, where he completed three combat tours with the 101st Airborne Division. An eighth-generation Tennessean, Krause earned his bachelor’s degree from Austin Peay State University and master’s degree in Public Policy from Vanderbilt University.
For more information, visit www.pstcc.edu or call 865-694-6400. To request accommodations for a disability at Commencement, contact the executive director of Equity and Compliance at 865-539-7401 or email@example.com.
Pellissippi State Community College honored innovation and dedication among its faculty and staff at a ceremony in April.
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, 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.
For the second year in a row, Pellissippi State Community College was one of four finalists — out of 1,100 community colleges across the nation — for an American Association of Community Colleges Award of Excellence.
Pellissippi State was nominated for its corequisite remediation model, which places academically underprepared students in college-level courses while at the same time providing extra academic help during the course.
“Over the last two years, Pellissippi State has redesigned the delivery of remedial courses. We’ve implemented a new model that allows students to enroll in college-level courses but still receive the additional support they need to succeed,” said Pellissippi State President L. Anthony Wise Jr.
Nationally, about 70 percent of college freshmen need remediation in at least one subject, and more than half need remediation in two subjects. In addition, almost 40 percent of the students who enroll in that remedial course never complete it, and only 25 percent go on to complete a college-level course in English or math.
Pellissippi State’s corequisite model, which was piloted in 2015 and has since been fully implemented, places students directly in college-level courses. Students needing remediation attend class one extra day a week for focused attention and support. Pellissippi State students who have completed the corequisite model have demonstrated extraordinary success.
“Corequisite remediation has dramatically improved students’ success. The success rates for remedial students enrolled in college-level courses of English was 47 percent. Mathematics was 53 percent, and college success was 61 percent,” said Ted Lewis, vice president of Academic Affairs.
Additionally, the corequisite remediation model allows students to receive financial aid for their course work (many remedial courses weren’t covered by financial aid) and helps students stay on track to graduate quickly.
The Student Success Award of Excellence recognizes a community college that has demonstrated a sustained commitment to and proactive advancement of the cause of student success. Nominees are evaluated on increases in degree completion and transfer rates, as well as innovative programs that encourage retention, graduation and student success.
The winner of the Student Success Award, Wallace Community College-Dothan in Alabama, was announced at the AACC annual convention in New Orleans April 24.
For more information about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call 865-694-6400.