Pellissippi State increases adult enrollment, sets new records

posted in: Adult Education, President, TBR | 0
L. Anthony Wise Jr.

“Finding out about the free tuition program at Pellissippi State — a year before everyone else had it — was the reason I came back to college,” said Lara Mechling, a newly enrolled adult student at Pellissippi State Community College. “I started college after high school, but the timing wasn’t right. Because of Reconnect Now, I can begin again.”

Mechling, a 29-year-old recent mother, and around 2,500 fellow adult students qualified for Pellissippi State’s Reconnect Now scholarship initiative this semester. Reconnect Now is a last-dollar scholarship, funded by the college, for qualified adults. It allows adult students to attend the college tuition-free.

Of the approximately 2,567 students who qualified for Reconnect Now funding, 1,598 students have received funding so far. Of those, 1,100 students are new to the college and 498 are students who were previously enrolled. In short, nearly 23 percent of Pellissippi State’s current student population are new adults who qualified for Reconnect Now, and students who received Reconnect Now funding make up nearly one-seventh of the college’s total enrollment.

Total enrollment of adult students is 3,464 this year, reflecting the highest adult enrollment at the college since 2013 and a reversal of a seven-year downward trend in adult enrollment.

This increase in adult students contributed greatly to Pellissippi State’s overall jump in enrollment. The official headcount enrollment for fall is 11,168 students — an increase of nine percent over last year and the highest headcount since 2011. The college remains the largest community college in the state.

Pellissippi State did realize a number of enrollment firsts this semester. The college saw its highest-ever population of first-time freshmen — those who have never before attended college. Online student enrollment was up nearly 45 percent, making Pellissippi State’s online “campus” second in popularity only to the college’s Hardin Valley Campus.

“We’re excited to welcome the largest freshman class in the history of the college,” said President L. Anthony Wise Jr. “We are committed to providing the support necessary to give each and every one of our students the best possible chance of success at Pellissippi State and beyond.”

Other record highs were seen among Dual Enrollment students, who can earn college credits while still in high school, and for enrollment at the college’s Strawberry Plains Campus.

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

Pellissippi State invites writers, scholars to James Agee Conference

posted in: Community, Events | 0

Pellissippi State Community College invites aspiring writers, scholars and fans of Appalachian literature to attend the second-annual James Agee Conference for Literature and Arts Oct. 6-7.

The free conference will feature presentations and workshops led by Appalachian authors Taylor Brown, Erik Reece, Darnell Arnoult and Silas House. The event will be held on the college’s Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road. For more information, visit

Brown will lead a fiction master class. He is the author of “Fallen Land,” a 2017 Southern Book Prize finalist, and “The River of Kings.” Reece, the author of “Lost Mountain: A Year in the Vanishing Wilderness: Radical Strip Mining and the Devastation of Appalachia” and “An American Gospel: On Family, History, and The Kingdom of God,” will lead a master class on nonfiction. Arnoult will lead a master class on poetry. She is the author of “Galaxie Wagon: Poems” and “What Travels With Us: Poems,” and is a Weatherford Award winner and previous Tennessee Writer of the Year.

House, the keynote speaker, is a noted environmental activist, often speaking out about mountaintop removal. He is the author of “Clay’s Quilt,” a New York Times bestseller; “A Parchment of Leaves,” a Chaffin Award for Literature winner; and “The Coal Tattoo,” which won the Appalachian Writers’ Association Book of the Year and Kentucky Novel of the Year awards.

Following his keynote presentation on Friday, House will sign books.

“We are proud to continue this cultural and arts conference that engages with Appalachian identity and its expanding definition,” said Charles Dodd White, associate professor of English and planner of the event. “With the recent interest in this part of the country, we are excited to showcase creative and scholarly talent that reflects the best of the region, continuing to advance Pellissippi State’s dedication to the people and place it serves.”

Event attendees will have the opportunity to network with other writers and creators, meet and mingle with the featured authors and speak to local publishing houses.

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

Never too early: DIY holiday gifts at Pellissippi State

pysanky dyed eggs

It’s never too early to look for gift ideas for the holidays — and Pellissippi State Community College offers a do-it-yourself opportunity to make creative holiday gifts.

Learn the ancient batik dye process of creating pysanky, eggs dyed using a Ukrainian wax-resist method, in non-credit courses this fall. The elaborately decorated eggs make unique and beautiful tree ornaments or gifts.

Pysanky: The Art of Ukrainian Egg Dyeing will be held from 7-9 p.m., Tuesdays, Sept. 19-Oct. 10. Cost is $79 plus a $55 materials fee. Create two to three ornaments from eggshells, learning the process from blowing and prepping the shells to varnishing the dyed product.

Pysanky Jewelry: Designing Batik Eggshell Jewelry will be held from 7-9 p.m., Thursdays, Oct. 26-Nov. 9. Cost is $79 plus a $65 materials fee. Using the same classic Ukrainian batik art, make earrings and matching pendant or brooch from goose eggshells.

Pysanky Sampler: Batik Ornaments in a Day will be held from 5-9 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 5. Cost is $45 plus a $15 material fee. Create an ornament or hanging art display.

For more information about lifelong learning and non-credit courses at Pellissippi State, visit or call 865-539-7167. To request accommodations for a disability for one of these classes, call 865-539-7401 or email

Pellissippi State hosts art exhibit on Schindlers’ lives

Schindlers with workers
Oskar and Emilie Schindler, far left, with workers from their Fabryka Emalia enamel factory in Krakow.
Pellissippi State Community College will host an exhibit on the lives of Oskar and Emilie Schindler, who put their own lives at risk to save 1,200 people from concentration camps during World War II.
The exhibit tells the story of the Schindlers’ lives — as made famous in the film “Schindler’s List” — using texts and photographs, many never published before.
The exhibit, open from Sept. 25 to Oct. 6, is free to attend. Gallery hours are 10 a.m.-6:30 p.m., Monday-Friday in the Bagwell Center for Media and Art Gallery, 10915 Hardin Valley Road.
During a reception from 3-5 p.m., Sept. 25, history instructor Amanda Carr-Wilcoxson will be on hand to briefly discuss the historical impact of the Schindlers and their actions.
The Oskar and Emilie Schindler Exhibition is part of The Arts at Pellissippi State, an annual arts series that includes music and theatre performances, cultural celebrations, lectures and fine arts exhibits. The exhibit is co-sponsored by the Tennessee Consortium for International Studies.
For more information about The Arts at Pellissippi State, visit or call 865-694-6400. To request accommodations for a disability for this event, contact the executive director of Equity and Compliance at 865-539-7401 or
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