Pellissippi State honors employees, retirees

Pellissippi State Community College hosted its annual Employee Awards ceremony recently, honoring faculty and staff for outstanding service and longevity and recognizing 2014-2015 retirees.


At this year’s ceremony, the Excellence in Teaching Award went to Jerry Sherrod, an associate professor in Business and Computer Technology. The award recognizes innovative teaching techniques and the positive impact they have had on students. Sherrod uses industry-based case study models in his Computer Science and Information Technology courses. The case studies apply collaborative learning, improve students’ oral and written communication skills, and help prepare students for issues in a global economy.


The Innovations Award—given in recognition of a project that demonstrates success of creative and original instructional and learning support activities—was presented to Edward Francisco and David Brown. This faculty team uses mathematical and computer science concepts including game theory, game trees and behavior trees, in discussing Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” in the classroom. Game theory is the study of mathematical models of conflict and cooperation, the classic application of which is exploring the various win-lose combinations in the game of chicken.

In the classroom, Francisco and Brown help students map the ever-expanding repercussions of each character’s actions within the world of “Hamlet.” Using game theory, game trees and behavior trees, students are meant to better understand characters and the play’s narrative, as well as to understand the alternate realities that might have occurred had any character’s actions been different. In addition, the team is developing software that will allow students to interactively and collaboratively examine any literary universe, including stories, plot lines and characters, and then use the collected structured information to create new characters and alternative narrative universes.


The Gene Joyce Visionary Award was given to Morvarid Bejnood, in recognition of her work on an external outreach project that had a positive impact on the community. Bejnood oversaw a Science Olympiad regional competition at Pellissippi State’s Hardin Valley Campus in March. More than 270 middle and high school students competed in the competition.

The Excellence in Teaching, Innovations and Gene Joyce Visionary awards carry monetary recognition ranging from $1,000 to $1,500. Recipients of the awards also received a plaque and medallion.

Additional award recipients, each of whom received $100, a plaque and a medallion: Outstanding Adjunct Faculty, John Jackson; Outstanding Administrator, Carolyn Carson; Outstanding Contract Worker, Mark Palmer; Outstanding Full-Time Faculty, Kellie Toon; Outstanding Support Professional, Barbara Bailes; and Outstanding Technical/Service/Maintenance Worker, Alvin Brummett.

Pellissippi State also recognized employees at five-year increments of service, as well as acknowledging council presidents and retiring employees. The 2014-2015 faculty and staff retirees include Dennis Adams, Debi Bolton, Rick Bower, Jerry Bryan, Carolyn Carson, Karen Cornell, Joan Easterly, Pat Ferguson, Brenda Harmon, Lynn Hyman, Joy Ingram, Jean Jackson, Maggie Jenkins, Ellen Keene, Darell McBee, Linda Peterson, Ann Preston, Karen Queener and Mike Rose.

Funding for all awards is provided by the Pellissippi State Foundation. The Foundation works to provide student scholarships and emergency loans, as well as to improve facilities and secure new equipment.

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

Pellissippi State welcomes equity and compliance director

posted in: Faculty/Staff | 0

Patrick-ShipwashPatrick Shipwash has joined the staff of Pellissippi State Community College as the new executive director of equity and compliance.

“My role here is to support the mission of the college to provide a higher education to anyone,” Shipwash said, “by helping to make sure that people are free to work and study without having to worry about illegal discrimination or harassment, including sexual harassment.”

In his role, Shipwash will serve as affirmative action officer, equity and compliance officer, Title IX and Title VI coordinator, and ADA (Americans With Disabilities Act) officer.

“My goal is to maintain an environment where people feel safe in raising concerns,” he said. “I’m really happy to be doing this.”

Previously, Shipwash worked for TVA’s law enforcement branch, the Tennessee Department of Human Services’ Office of Inspector General, and Southern California Edison’s equal opportunity and ethics and compliance offices. He retired from Southern California Edison in 2013.

“But I got tired of being retired,” Shipwash said. “I was ecstatic when I was offered this job. I knew this was what I wanted to do.”

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

Pellissippi State implements new process for campus alerts for fall

posted in: Faculty/Staff, Students | 0

mdt-webBeginning fall semester, Pellissippi State will incorporate a new process for delivering text alerts to students and employees for campus emergencies and notifications.

Students, faculty, and staff will be enrolled into the text alert system if they have provided a cell phone number and opted to receive emergency notifications in their myPellissippi account. If your cell number is already entered in myPellissippi, you will be enrolled automatically in the new text alerts. However, if you have previously signed up for text alerts on the College’s website, you will not be enrolled automatically in the new system. All email addresses with the “” domain will automatically receive these alerts.

Members of the community and media will not be able to opt into this system, but are encouraged to view the College’s homepage, Facebook page, and Twitter account for these emergency notifications.

If you are a student or employee, when you log in to myPellissippi, you will be prompted to register your cell number for emergency purposes. Choose to “Add/Change Cell Phone Numbers,” and enter your cell phone number. Text alerts will be sent only to your cell phone for campus emergencies, notifications and weather alerts.  If you choose to opt out of these notifications, please de-select the box for emergency purposes when updating your cell phone information. 

For more information or for help, contact the Helpdesk, or 694-6537.

Faculty to read original poetry at Pellissippi State

In honor of National Poetry Month, Pellissippi State Community College is celebrating its own faculty poets.

The college presents a Faculty Poetry Reading at 1 p.m. Friday, April 17, in the Goins Building Auditorium at the Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road.

The free event is open to the community.

The presentation features the poetry of several faculty members, and each poet-professor will read one or two original works. Featured faculty members are Edward Francisco, Patricia Ireland, Nicholas Morgan, Keith Norris, Barbara Anne Pharr, Heather Schroeder and Charles White.

“We want to enable our students in particular to see what talented faculty we have,” said Francisco, professor of English and writer-in-residence at Pellissippi State. “When they’re in the classroom, they might not know the talent of the person who is teaching them.

“Plus, April is Shakespeare’s birthday month. We couldn’t let that month go by without a celebration of language and literature at Pellissippi State.”

For more information about the event, call (865) 694-6638. To learn more about Pellissippi State, visit or call (865) 694-6400.

To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources at (865) 694-6607 or

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