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 or contact Celeste Evans, who oversees Pellissippi State’s Cohort Programs, at or (865) 539-7381.

Faculty exhibit photographic works this Thursday at Pellissippi State

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Be inspired by the photographic talents of Pellissippi State Community College faculty during the Faculty Photo Gallery exhibit at the Bagwell Center for Media and Art, 4-7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 21.

“The Faculty Photography Gallery is an annual show of all the photography work of the faculty members who teach photography at Pellissippi State,” said Kurt Eslick, an assistant professor in Engineering and Media Technologies.

Faculty photographs will be on display in the Bagwell Gallery, located on Pellissippi State’s Hardin Valley Campus, Nov. 16-Dec. 13. Gallery hours are 10 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. The event is free and the community is invited.

Participating faculty include Eslick, Fred Draper, Gene Forest, Ron Goodrich, John Edwin May, G.W. Meredith Jr., Julie Poole and Teresa Mabry Reed, showing a variety of photography subjects.

For more information, contact Pellissippi State at (865) 694-6400 or visit To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources at (865) 694-6607 or

Pellissippi State tops state in associate’s degrees in 2012-2013

posted in: Awards, Degree Programs | 0

Pellissippi State Community College led Tennessee in the number of associate’s degrees awarded by two-year colleges this past school year, and now the college has established its first winter Commencement ceremony next month to accommodate graduates and their families.

Pellissippi State awarded 1,265 associate’s degrees in the 2012-2013 school year, more than any other two-year college in the state, according to the Tennessee Board of Regents, the school’s governing body. The college also awarded 935 certificates, the second highest number in Tennessee.

“Since L. Anthony Wise Jr. became president [in 2011], he has said he wanted us to become the No. 1 producer of associate’s degrees in the state. We did it!” said Rebecca Ashford, vice president of Student Affairs.

“We’ve been focusing on increasing graduation rates: from making the process for applying to graduate simpler for students, to implementing academic support programs, to increasing the number of cohort programs we offer, and even to changing our focus and message to students in advising.”

“It is generally advantageous to students to earn a degree, rather than to just take some courses and transfer,” said Lois Reynolds, assistant vice president of Academic Affairs, “because universities are more likely to accept all of the students’ credits with a complete degree.”

As the number of degrees awarded to Pellissippi State students has increased, the college’s annual Commencement ceremony in the spring has grown correspondingly larger. In May, 514 students walked across the stage at graduation.

“We’ve never had more than one graduation ceremony in an academic year,” said Ashford, “but at this past spring graduation ceremony, we had so many students and guests that we found we’d grown too big for our venue, and realized the ceremony has become less intimate.”

Pellissippi State’s administration responded by adding a second graduation ceremony: Friday, Dec. 13, the college will host its inaugural winter Commencement.

Any student graduating in summer or fall 2013 is eligible to walk across the stage at the ceremony. The event takes place at 7 p.m. at Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville.

Ashford and Reynolds hope the ceremony will attract Pellissippi State graduates who earn their degrees in the summer or fall but otherwise would have declined to return for spring graduation.

Pellissippi State is among several of the state’s community colleges seeing gains in the number of degrees and certifications they award. This past school year, community colleges awarded 14,299 degrees and certificates—8,543 associate’s degrees and 5,756 certificates, according to TBR.

That number compares to 18,531 degrees and certificates awarded by universities, and the proportion of community college-to-university students who are graduating or earning certificates is increasing: in 2009, community colleges awarded only half as many degrees and certificates as universities.

For more information, call Pellissippi State at (865) 694-6400 or visit

Small Business Development Center names ‘Rising Star’ business excellence winner

posted in: Awards, BCS | 0
Group of 3 males and 1 female.
(From left) Scott Schimmel and Lisa Sorensen, the winners of Tennessee Small Business Development Center’s Rising Star honor, accept the award honoring their businesses, Bliss and Bliss Home, from Pellissippi State Community College President L. Anthony Wise Jr. and Knoxville TSBDC Director Larry Rossini during an award ceremony Tuesday, Nov. 12.

In an award ceremony Tuesday, Nov. 12, the Knoxville office of the Tennessee Small Business Development Center, which is administered by Pellissippi State Community College, presented Bliss and Bliss Home as its 2013 Rising Star winner.

The Rising Star award is the highest honor TSBDC has to recognize growing small businesses in the Knoxville area.

“From start-up to success, Bliss owners Lisa Sorensen and Scott Schimmel took advantage of the services of the Knoxville Tennessee Small Business Development Center by participating in one-on-one consulting for budgeting, inventory control and financial projections,” said Laura Overstreet, TSBDC spokesperson.

Sorensen and Schimmel also completed the Strategic Management Learning System series of 12 business training modules, provided by TSBDC and sponsored by the Knoxville Chamber.

Bliss recently celebrated its 10-year anniversary. Today, the business operates at three locations with the support of approximately 40 employees.

“Our TSBDC counselor has been a phenomenal asset and a great sounding board for our business,” Schimmel said. “He always figures out a way to ask us the right questions so we can do our homework and make the right decisions for our business.

“There are business principles that go hand in hand with any business, and TSBDC counselors have a great understanding of those business principles. They’re able to shed light on the questions we have, able to apply those principles to our specific business ideas and issues. Their one-on-one counselors help us feel relaxed about our decisions.”

Sorensen and Schimmel first opened Bliss, a gift and accessory shop, on Market Square in 2003. In 2005, they followed that start-up success with the opening of Bliss Home, a furniture and interior design store, also on Market Square. In 2008, the partners opened another Bliss Home location in West Knoxville.

TSBDC offers a network of professional business consultants at 13 centers throughout Tennessee. For more information, visit For more information about Pellissippi State, call (865) 694-6400 or visit

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