Category Archives: Events

Pellissippi State hosts panel on Jim Crow laws for Black History Month

Imagine riding the bus for hours to attend public school when a much better school is nearby or taking a long trip, not knowing if a motel or restaurant will serve you at the end of an exhausting day.

The participants of Pellissippi State Community College’s Feb. 23 panel discussion, “Living With Jim Crow: Growing Up in the Segregated South,” don’t have to imagine what it was like. They lived it.

Robert Boyd and Joy Ingram, both associate professors at Pellissippi State, and Freddie Owens, a decorated Vietnam veteran, serve on the panel and recount living with the Jim Crow laws.

The panel discussion is 12:30-1:30 p.m. in the Goins Building Auditorium on the Pellissippi Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road. The community is invited to attend the free event.

The Jim Crow laws emerged in Southern states after the Civil War. First enacted in the 1880s by legislators who were bitter about the loss to the North and the end of slavery, the laws separated the races in all walks of life.

The resulting legislative barrier to equal rights created a system that favored whites and repressed blacks. The institutionalized form of inequality grew in subsequent decades with help from the U.S. Supreme Court. Jim Crow laws were finally abolished in the 1960s through the efforts of the Civil Rights Movement.

The panel discussion is sponsored by the college’s Liberal Arts Department and presented in celebration of Black History Month.

Learn more about Pellissippi State at or call (865) 694-6400. To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources and Affirmative Action at (865) 694-6607 or

Associate professor speaks on using math, computer to resolve group decisions

Dave VinsonDecisions made by committee often can be frustrating and time-consuming. But there is a mathematical “solution” for making the process easier, says Dave Vinson, associate professor of Mathematics at Pellissippi State Community College.

Vinson shares his solution when he addresses “The Order of Everything” on Feb. 22. The free lecture is 4:30-5:30 p.m. in the Goins Building Auditorium on the Pellissippi Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road. The community is invited to attend.

“Group decisions can often be swayed by a charismatic individual, and unfortunately the end result isn’t always the best result,” said Vinson. “By removing the element of personality and giving everybody an equal voice, a plan of action can be easily reached.”

He suggests that groups faced with making a decision apply the “pairwise comparison” approach. With that approach, the group brainstorms, creating a list of all suggested ideas. Those ideas are then paired randomly and reevaluated by group members according to specific criteria. The underlying premise is that it is much easier to choose between a pair of ideas than a long list of them.

Ultimately, the data are entered into a simple computer program, which “decides” what suggestions are the best.

“By combining ranking by pairwise comparison with a simple algorithm,” Vinson said, “decision-making becomes a democratic process where everyone’s input is equally valuable.”

Vinson’s lecture is sponsored by the college’s service-learning club, Gnosis. Gnosis members do charitable work for the community, and the club hosts many educational events throughout the year. The college has recognized Gnosis as its top student club for the past two years. The event is supported by the Faculty Lecture Series.

For more information, contact Gnosis faculty sponsors Annie Gray,, or Trent Eades,, or call (865) 694-6400.

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

Pellissippi State’s Magnolia Avenue Campus hosts Feb. 17 electronics recycling event

Every year, tons of discarded TVs, computers, keyboards and cell phones wind up in U.S. landfills. Pellissippi State Community College aims to reduce this waste with an electronics recycling event on Feb. 17 at the Magnolia Avenue Campus.

The “e-cycle” activity is 9 a.m.-4 p.m. in the rear parking lot of the campus, which is located at 1610 E. Magnolia Ave. The community is encouraged to donate items.

Scott Recycling of Knoxville will be on hand to accept all types of equipment that contains electronic parts: copiers, fax machines, printers, computer and telephone equipment, power backups, servers, and small appliances. Disposal of donated items is done in accordance with local, state and federal regulations.

The amount of electronics recycled will count toward Pellissippi State’s total for Recyclemania, a national competition and benchmarking tool for college and university recycling programs to promote waste reduction activities to their campus communities. Recyclemania starts Feb. 15 and continues through March 31.

Electronic products contain natural resources and highly engineered materials like metals, plastics, and glass, all of which require energy to mine and manufacture. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, recycling and reusing consumer electronics conserves natural resources and reduces air and water pollution, as well as greenhouse gas emissions that are caused by manufacturing virgin materials.

A leader in environmental and sustainability initiatives among Tennessee colleges and universities, Pellissippi State received the Governor’s Environmental Stewardship Award in 2010.

For more information about this event, call (865) 694-6400 or contact the campus’ recycling coordinator, Roger Milam, at

Dancers, artists from China to perform at Pellissippi State

A presentation by performers from China’s Hubei University on Feb. 24 at Pellissippi State’s Clayton Performing Arts Center showcases Chinese art, dance, music and culture.

Imagine a calligrapher creating a written work of art onstage. Now weave in dancers clothed in colorful costumes, performing traditional Chinese Dragon and Lion dances. Add musicians playing centuries-old songs and martial artists demonstrating their fluid movements.

Audiences of the Chinese troupe performing at Pellissippi State Community College on Feb. 24 will experience this multimedia presentation—a mixture of Chinese art, dance, music and culture.

The free event, to which the community is invited, provides a rare opportunity for attendees to immerse themselves in the traditional Chinese arts. The troupe of approximately 30 performers from Hubei University is showcased, incorporating Chinese history and culture as expressed through the various media.

The Chinese Dragon Dance to be performed has been done for more than 5,000 years. Originally a symbol of imperial power, today’s Dragon Dance in China serves more as a symbol of courage, pride and wisdom.

The Lion Dance, which dates back more than 2,000 years, is a joint performance by two dancers. It is typically staged to express joy and happiness when the Chinese celebrate grand events. The art of calligraphy is a combination of physical agility, manual dexterity and artistic precision.

Professor Yiping Yang, associate director of the Confucius Institute at the University of Memphis, presents a special lecture prior to the performance. “The Chinese Perspectives of Dragon” will provide guests with Professor Yang’s historic and modern reflections on the cultural importance of the dragon.

The Hubei University performers are visiting in connection with Pellissippi State’s Confucius Classroom. As the 2010 recipient of a prestigious grant from the Confucius Institute at the University of Memphis, Pellissippi State has a full-time instructor from China who teaches language and culture classes.

The college now offers “Beginning Chinese I,” “Beginning Chinese II,” “Intermediate Chinese I” and “Peoples and Culture of China.” By fall 2012, “Intermediate Chinese II” will be added. Students pursuing an Associate of Arts degree at Pellissippi State now have the opportunity to satisfy their foreign language requirement with Mandarin Chinese.

Co-sponsor of the performance and lecture is the Tennessee Consortium for International Studies. TnCIS, whose headquarters are at Pellissippi State, is devoted to making international education and cultural understanding a central goal of higher education in Tennessee.

All activities take place on the Pellissippi Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road. The lecture begins at 2 p.m. in the Goins Building Auditorium. The performance begins at 3 p.m. in the Clayton Performing Arts Center.

For additional information, call (865) 694-6400. To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources and Affirmative Action at (865) 694-6607 or

Black History Month celebration continues at Pellissippi State

Black History Month celebrations are ongoing throughout February for all four Pellissippi State Community College campuses. All events are free and open to the public:

  • Through Feb. 29: Information about Black History Month is available in the lobby of the Division Street Campus, 3435 Division St., 7:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday, and 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Friday.
  • Feb. 17: Local historian and author Robert Booker speaks in the Community Room of the Magnolia Avenue Campus, 1610 E. Magnolia Ave., 10:45-11:40 a.m. His lecture is titled “History of the Civil Rights Movement.”
  • Feb. 20-29: The African-American inventors mini-museum is on display in the Community Room of the Magnolia Avenue Campus. The exhibit includes pictures, information and some modern-day versions of original inventions.
  • Feb. 26: The Knoxville Opera Gospel Choir performs at 4 p.m. in the Clayton Performing Arts Center at the Pellissippi Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road.
  • Feb. 28: The Caribbean Festival, featuring the Carib Sounds Steel Band, the Hotep Dancers and Caribbean food, is 4-7 p.m. in the Goins Building College Center on the Pellissippi Campus.
  • Feb. 29: The Magnolia Avenue Campus’ “I Am” a cappella gospel choir performs 1-1:45 p.m. in the Community Room of that campus.

For more information, call (865) 694-6400. To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources and Affirmative Action at (865) 694-6607 or

Pellissippi State’s free concert series continues with Winter Choral Concert

The 2011-2012 free concert series presented by Pellissippi State Community College resumes on Feb. 21 with the Winter Choral Concert. For the third consecutive year, two high school choirs, Karns and South Doyle, are guest performers.

During the hourlong concert, each of the young choirs will perform a 15-minute set of selections. Also presenting 15-minute sets are Pellissippi State’s two student choirs, the Concert Chorale and Variations Ensemble.

The Variations set includes music the students plan to perform during their upcoming spring break tour of central Germany. The evening’s finale brings the high school performers onstage to join Pellissippi State’s choirs.

Every Winter Choral Concert features two different schools, and new ones are invited each academic year. Bill Brewer, the college’s Music program coordinator, started the tradition.

Singers will be accompanied by pianists performing on Steinway pianos, in keeping with Pellissippi State’s status as an All Steinway School. The achievement of becoming an All Steinway School was reached last year as the result of a fundraising campaign begun in 2010 by the Pellissippi State Foundation in order to elevate the college’s Music program to world-class status. Pellissippi State now boasts 13 Steinway pianos in studios, practice rooms and performance venues.

Not only is Pellissippi State the premier All Steinway community college in Tennessee, but it is also the fourth All Steinway community college in the nation and one of only about 135 All Steinway schools in the world.

Like all events in the series, admission to the Winter Choral Concert is free. However, donations are accepted at the door for the Pellissippi State Foundation on behalf of the Music Scholarship Fund. For the 2010-11 academic year, the Foundation awarded more than 100 music-related scholarships to more than 80 Pellissippi State students.

The 7 p.m. performance is in the Clayton Performing Arts Center on the Pellissippi Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road. Parking is convenient and free.

For information on the Steinway Maintenance Society, call the Pellissippi State Foundation at (865) 694-6529 or visit

For additional concert information, call (865) 694-6400. To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources and Affirmative Action at (865) 694-6607 or

Pellissippi State’s Blount County Campus hosts Feb. 16 open house

Whether you’re a prospective student or would just like to see Blount County’s newest college facility, you are invited to an open house at the Blount County Campus of Pellissippi State Community College Feb. 16, 4-6 p.m. The campus is located at 2731 W. Lamar Alexander Pkwy.

Opened in August 2010, the two-story, 70,485-square-foot building is home to the Nursing program (along with the Magnolia Avenue Campus in Knoxville), the state-of-the-art Manufacturing Tech Lab, an amphitheatre, and science and computer labs and classrooms, including one for distance education.

“It’s really an opportunity for prospective students and the community—particularly anyone who didn’t get to attend the grand opening—to take the time to see what Pellissippi State’s Blount County Campus offers,” said Holly Burkett, assistant dean of the site.

Prospective students attending the event will get all the information necessary for a smooth entrance into college life, including how-tos on admission and financial aid and info on services for students with disabilities, dual enrollment and degrees offered. The community also can learn about educational and training opportunities offered through the college’s non-credit division, Business and Community Services.

To find out more, contact Holly Burkett at (865) 981-5300 or To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources and Affirmative Action at (865) 694-6607 or

Pellissippi State writer-in-residence to read poems from new book

Ed Francisco
Ed Francisco

In his ninth book of poetry, Ed Francisco’s search for the perfect words and expressions to illustrate his thoughts and experiences takes him through America, England, Finland and beyond.

Francisco, English professor and writer-in-residence at Pellissippi State Community College, reads from his newest poetry volume, “Only the Word Gives Us Being,” at two venues the week of Feb. 13.

The first reading is on the 13th at 11:50 a.m.-12:40 p.m. in the Goins Building Auditorium on the Pellissippi Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road. The second is on Feb. 18, 2-3 p.m., at Union Ave Books, 517 Union Ave. in downtown Knoxville.

The book was released in December by Birch Brook Press. It is available to purchase at, the Pellissippi State Bookstore and Union Ave Books.

Francisco’s essays, poems and short fiction have been published in more than 100 magazines and journals. He most highly acclaimed books of poetry are “The Alchemy of Words” and “Death, Child, and Love: Poems 1980-2000.” His novels include “Till Shadows Flee” and “The Dealmaker.”

He is also principal editor of “The South in Perspective,” an anthology of Southern literature that has been adopted by colleges and universities across the country. He is a member of the Oxford Roundtable at the University of Oxford, England.

The public is invited to attend both of the free readings. For additional information, contact (865) 694-6400.

To request accommodations for a disability at the Pellissippi State event, contact the executive director of Human Resources and Affirmative Action at (865) 694-6607 or

Nine Pellissippi State art faculty featured in downtown exhibit

“Forward,” an exhibit by nine of Pellissippi State’s art faculty, opens Feb. 3 at Emporium Center’s Balcony Gallery. Pictured: Jennifer Brickey’s “It’s a Stretch” (pen, ink, acrylic on watercolor paper).

Their chosen working materials vary, from fabric and metal to acrylics and mixed media. What the nine diverse artists have in common is that all are members of the studio art faculty at Pellissippi State Community College, and all are featured in a three-week exhibit at downtown’s Emporium Center.

“Forward” features the creations of Randy Arnold, Jennifer Brickey, Jim Darrow, Brian Jobe, Anne Kinggard, Jeff Lockett, Alison Oakes, Herb Rieth and Mike Rose. The “Forward” theme implies “toward or at a place, point or time in advance.”

Pictured: Jeff Lockett’s “Free Moral Agency” (ceramic).

The multi-artist exhibit debuts on Feb. 3 and is one of the events featured at the monthly Knoxville’s First Friday. A special opening reception takes place that evening, 5-9 p.m., in the Emporium Center’s Balcony Gallery.

The exhibit remains on display through Feb. 24. The Emporium Center is located at 100 S. Gay St. Gallery hours are weekdays 9 a.m.-5 p.m., with special First Friday hours on Saturday, Feb. 4, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.

Pellissippi State offers a full spectrum of art courses in ceramics, design, drawing, painting, printmaking and sculpture in a studio setting under the guidance of practicing professional artists. For more information, visit or call (865) 694-6400.

Public invited to Pellissippi State’s Feb. 8 ‘Healthy Pelli’ Health Fair

Members of the community interested in monitoring and improving their health will benefit from the “Healthy Pelli” Health Fair hosted on Feb. 8 by Pellissippi State Community College’ Magnolia Avenue Campus.

Designed to bring free health screenings, tips for good health, demonstrations and food tastings to Pellissippi State students, faculty and staff, the fair also shares its assembly of health resources with the public.

Attendees may choose to receive free health screenings such as blood glucose, blood pressure and carotid artery ultrasound screenings. In addition, the Knox County Health Department is offering STD (sexually transmitted disease) screenings and Helen Ross McNabb, along with Samaritan Ministries, is providing HIV testing (no needles or blood). Demonstrations include stress relief exercises, yoga and massage.

Participating in Healthy Pelli are the following:

  • Brown Chiropractic
  • Cherokee Health Systems
  • Covenant Health
  • Earth Fare
  • Glowing Body Yoga Studio and Apparel
  • Helen Ross McNabb Center
  • InterFaith Health Clinic
  • Knox County Health Department
  • Knoxville Comprehensive Breast Center
  • Knoxville Recycling Coalition
  • Knoxville Track Club
  • Metropolitan Drug Commission
  • Papa Murphy’s Take ’N’ Bake Pizza
  • Samaritan Ministries
  • Sexual Assault Center of East Tennessee
  • United Healthcare
  • UT Medical Center–Community Health
  • Volunteer State Health Plan (BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee)
  • Walgreens
  • Western Heights Dental

Healthy Pelli Health Fair hours are 10 a.m.-2 p.m. The Magnolia Avenue Campus is located at 1610 E. Magnolia Ave. The event is free.

For additional information, call (865) 694-6400 or 329-3100. To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources and Affirmative Action at (865) 694-6607 or