Category Archives: Degree Programs

Pellissippi State awarded federal grant for manufacturing training and education

A $15 million federal grant awarded to a consortium that includes Pellissippi State Community College is earmarked to fund manufacturing job training for East Tennesseans and help local companies in search of more skilled workers.

The funding also could transform manufacturing education and training—an area in which Pellissippi State has emerged as a leader.

The U.S. Department of Labor announced Sept. 19 that the grant had been awarded to the multi-state consortium. One goal of the 13-college partnership is to redesign teaching and delivery programs in manufacturing. Pellissippi State is the only community college in Tennessee to be a member.

“We’re honored to receive this grant and look forward to this collaboration,” said L. Anthony Wise Jr., Pellissippi State president.

“Working with our consortium partners, we’ll be able to come up with innovative ways to train and educate workers in manufacturing. Our being part of the consortium benefits our community and the region’s manufacturers, and it better positions the U.S. to compete in the global market.”

The DOL grant awards a minimum of $760,000 to each consortium member during a three-year period. The funding will boost instructional capacity at each school, pay for equipment and technical support, and improve online delivery of the college’s Engineering Technology classes.

Pellissippi State offers a two-year associate’s degree in Engineering Technology. Students can concentrate in Civil Engineering, Electrical Construction Management, Electrical Engineering, Industrial Maintenance, Manufacturing or Mechanical Engineering.

The grant-funded training is directed toward helping workers who are displaced, unemployed or underemployed. It also focuses on the needs of the manufacturing industry.

Manufacturing employers and manufacturing instructors alike recognize a “disconnect” between the needs of industry and the content of manufacturing curricula in most colleges, according to Pat Riddle. Riddle is the program coordinator and a faculty member in Mechanical Engineering at Pellissippi State. He is also the co-leader of curriculum development for the DOL grant.

Manufacturing has changed a lot in the last 30 years, and with those changes have come the introduction of robotics and other technological advances that have reduced the need for manual labor. As a result, manufacturing now requires employees with more education and skills, says Riddle.

“What we’re starting to see now is a blend in the industrial environment of machinery and electronic communications,” he said. “In other words, we’re starting to see high-speed production environments that require workers who not only work hard but can think through problems on their own, to help their company find solutions to better and more efficient production.”

One example of how the grant will benefit Pellissippi State—and subsequently employees and employers—is that it will fund a software development tool called a fault simulator. A fault simulator allows users to introduce computer-application glitches that might occur in a real workplace.

“With it, we will have the capability to introduce problems that require troubleshooting skills,” said Riddle. “That is a major component that employers consistently ask for from us.  The equipment will provide the ultimate in state-of-the-art problem-solving development and skills development.”

Pellissippi State has a history of working with East Tennessee employers to find workforce development solutions, while creating more flexible pathways to education for the region’s residents.

In 2004, for example, Pellissippi State joined forces with several other colleges and the nation’s automakers on a new curriculum to train autoworkers. The partnership was the Automotive Manufacturing Technical Education Collaborative.

This August, AMTEC announced the release of a new general maintenance mechatronics curriculum and program, which Pellissippi State’s Business and Community Services staff and Mechanical Engineering Technology degree program (now the Mechanical Engineering concentration) faculty helped create. The new program also is expected to benefit workers and employers in non-automotive manufacturing.

Pellissippi State can build on its work with the AMTEC partnership for the DOL grant project.

“This new multi-college collaboration is an offshoot to [AMTEC] and runs parallel to it,” said Riddle.

To find out more about the grant, manufacturing training and Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call (865) 694-6400.

Pellissippi State Nursing degree program receives full approval from state board

Pellissippi State Community College’s Nursing program has received full approval for its associate’s degree from the Tennessee Department of Health’s Board of Nursing.

The state board voted on the approval Aug. 22 in Nashville. The accomplishment sets the stage for Pellissippi State to pursue national accreditation for the Associate of Applied Science degree in Nursing.

“I’m very proud of our students and faculty,” said Larry Goins, Pellissippi State’s dean of Nursing. Receiving full approval, he says, is a testament to the hard work of the Nursing faculty, staff and students. It is also a reflection of the contributions of the administration and faculty beyond the program. All of them play a part in student success, says Goins.

Full approval by the board means that the program is providing a quality experience for the Nursing students, and that ultimately benefits the health of the entire community.

The state board’s action is the culmination of many successful steps that Pellissippi State has taken in implementing the program. In February, the board carried out a two-day campus visit and on-site survey. The board reviewer evaluated the program, curriculum, and degree and conducted interviews with faculty, staff, students, and nurse educators at hospitals where students engage in clinical training.

In May, Pellissippi State’s first class of Nursing students graduated. The students received a 97 percent first-time pass rate on the National Council Licensure Exam for Registered Nurses. Students who pass the NCLEX-RN are licensed to practice as registered nurses in the state of Tennessee.

Pellissippi State’s associate’s degree in Nursing requires 66 credit hours of coursework, taken over four semesters. Currently, there are 110 Pellissippi State students on track to become registered nurses. Those students attend classes at the Blount County Campus or Magnolia Avenue Campus.

In addition to state approval, the associate’s degree program has received Candidacy Status from the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission. The NLNAC has invited Pellissippi State’s Nursing program to complete and submit a written self-study in the multi-step process of achieving accreditation.

Once the self-study is completed, an NLNAC site visit will be conducted and a governing board review will take place to determine the program’s accreditation status.

To learn more about Pellissippi State’s Nursing program, visit www.pstcc.edu or call (865) 694-6400.

Pellissippi State receives prestigious American Council on Education grant to benefit working adults

Pellissippi State Community College is the recipient of a $23,000 grant awarded by the American Council on Education for its Adult Education Demonstration projects.

The grant is part of ACE’s initiative to help more working adults in the U.S. earn college degrees. Pellissippi State is one of only six higher education institutions nationwide to be chosen for the award.

“We’re honored to partner with the American Council on Education on this initiative,” said Anthony Wise, Pellissippi State president. “This grant helps us reach a growing population on our campuses and contributes toward a more skilled, educated workforce in our region. It will also support our goals under Complete College Tennessee.”

Pellissippi State plans to use the grant funds to expand the process of awarding course-specific credits to adult learners who are in Department of Labor apprenticeship programs or the military. The college is already working with several area employers and will target its efforts on the Associate of Applied Science degree in Engineering Technology.

The Engineering Technology program offers concentrations in Civil Engineering, Electrical Construction Management, Electrical Engineering, Industrial Maintenance, Manufacturing and Mechanical Engineering. Credits may also be used toward Pellissippi State’s General Technology program.

For Pellissippi State, this is not unfamiliar territory. The college has developed curricula for several local companies and is currently writing course content for a new general maintenance mechatronics program announced by the Automotive Manufacturers Technical Education Collaborative. The AMTEC curriculum takes into consideration skills employees have learned on the job, which can result in academic credit for those who make satisfactory scores on assessments and curriculum modules.

The institutions that won grants present their project results at the ACE Annual Meeting, March 2-5, 2013, in Washington, D.C. The other grant recipients are the School of Continuing and Professional Studies at the University of Virginia, Eastern Connecticut State University, Campbellsville (Ky.) University, University of Rio Grande and Rio Grande Community College in Ohio, and Southern Illinois University, Carbondale.

Learn more about Pellissippi State at www.pstcc.edu or call (865) 694-6400.

Accreditation of Pellissippi State Business and Computer Technology programs reaffirmed by national organization

Three academic degree programs offered through the Business and Computer Technology Department at Pellissippi State Community College recently received reaffirmation of accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs. The programs now accredited through 2022 are Administrative Professional Technology, Business Administration, and Computer Science and Information Technology.

The reaffirmation of accreditation from ACBSP certifies that the teaching and learning processes within the institution meet the rigorous educational standards set up by the organization. Established in 1988, ACBSP is the only business accrediting organization for both two-year and four-year institutions.

Pellissippi State is one of three Tennessee schools to have achieved ACBSP reaffirmation in 2012. The others are Nashville State Community College and Lipscomb University.

For additional information about Pellissippi State, call (865) 694-6400 or visit www.pstcc.edu.

Pellissippi State earns top spot in Community College Week’s Top 100 edition

Pellissippi State Community College produced the second largest number of graduates nationally in “Communication Technologies/Technicians and Support Services” in 2010-11, according to Community College Week. The magazine announced the new rankings in June in its annual “Top 100 Associate Degree Producers 2012” edition. The analysis was based on U.S. Department of Education data.

Pellissippi State saw an increase of 29 percent in the number of associate’s degrees awarded in the category between 2009-10 and 2010-11. The college’s communication technologies program is Media Technologies. The college bestowed 81 degrees in Media Technologies in 2010-11, up from 63 the previous academic year.

The Media Technologies degree program offers four cross-disciplinary concentrations: Communication Graphics Technology, Photography, Video Production Technology and Web Technology.

Pellissippi State has five campuses in Knox and Blount counties, including the newest at Strawberry Plains. Fall classes began Aug. 25.

For additional information about what the college has to offer, visit www.pstcc.edu or call (865) 694-6400.

Engineering Tech students install Pellissippi State’s first solar panel array

Pellissippi State Engineering Technology students Jeff Station (left) and Anthony Hudson install solar panels on the Hardin Valley Campus’ McWherter Building as a class project earlier this semester.

As Ken Swayne’s students tightened the screws on the new solar panels, they also strengthened Pellissippi State Community College’s investment in alternative energy education.

Swayne, a professor of Electrical Engineering in the Engineering Technology degree program, pooled the talents of two of his classes this semester in order to install the first-ever solar panel array at Pellissippi State.

His Applied Electricity class wired the six panels to an inverter located in a classroom in the McWherter Building on the Hardin Valley Campus. Then the Photovoltaics Alternative Energy class installed brackets and the solar panels on the roof of the building. The panels are expected to produce 324 watts of electrical energy under peak sun conditions.

Both classes then worked in a frigid wind on the rooftop to put the finishing touches on installing the solar panel array.

“The system will be a great learning tool for our technology students,” said Swayne. “I am very grateful to the college for supporting this project. I believe any contribution toward green energy production and training is a plus for Pellissippi State and the Knoxville community.”

Last year the college installed electric vehicle charging stations on its Hardin Valley and Blount County campuses. Pellissippi State earned the 2010 Governor’s Environmental Stewardship Award for its collegewide sustainability and environmental efforts.

William Draney, a 28-year-old Electrical Engineering student at Pellissippi State, says he was first drawn to the idea of solar energy during Swayne’s campuswide lecture on photovoltaics last year.

“I wanted to know how to put solar panels on my own house,” he said. “Plus, I had been an electrician for five years and wanted to see if solar panel installation would be a good thing to get into on the side.”

Pellissippi State offers many green courses, both in the classroom and online. Among them are Photovoltaic System Design and Installation, Green Building for Contractors, and classes for LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification.

For more information, contact the college’s Business and Community Services Division at (865) 539-7167. To learn more about Pellissippi State’s Engineering Technology programs, visit www.pstcc.edu or call (865) 694-6400.

Pellissippi State expands apprenticeships, green education initiatives

Engineering Technology students at Pellissippi State Community College blend classroom work with hands-on training. In the coming year, Pellissippi State is expanding apprenticeship programs, making plans to propose a Sustainable Technology degree program and developing transfer agreements with Tennessee Technology Centers.

Observers don’t have to look beyond East Tennessee to find a labor shortage in technical and scientific fields like engineering.

Pellissippi State Community College’s initiatives this year are helping to stem that shortage by giving prospective students more options for affordable, flexible education and training in engineering technology.

The initiatives include apprenticeship programs and a proposal under way for a new degree program in Sustainable Technology.

Working with local industry, Pellissippi State is creating apprenticeships that can deliver instruction online, on campus or at a company’s site. The length of the apprenticeship depends on the company’s needs.

“A lot of employers like the fact that they can set up a one-year or a four-year program,” said Pat Riddle, an associate professor in Engineering Technology.

The apprenticeships combine on-the-job training with classroom instruction. Companies are investing in their workers to bolster staff, as record numbers of baby boomers prepare to retire. Employers also view a broader field of competition than their county or state.

“The global economy—we’ve talked about it,” said Riddle. “It’s here today.” The apprenticeship opportunities are anticipated to expand throughout the region.

Collaboration among employers, Pellissippi State’s Engineering Technology faculty and staff, and its Business and Community Services Division is making the apprenticeships possible.

Pellissippi State faculty, meanwhile, are solidifying the curriculum for the Sustainable Technology degree program, according to Greg Armour, a Pellissippi State instructor and an architect. The college plans to submit the program proposal to the Tennessee Board of Regents, the school’s governing body, this year.

In addition to the apprenticeship and green degree program initiatives, new agreements with the Tennessee Technology centers will set a clear path for students who want to pursue an associate’s degree in Engineering Technology at Pellissippi State.

The college’s Engineering Technology degree program spans a range of disciplines. Students can pursue a concentration in Civil Engineering, Electrical Construction Management, Electrical Engineering, Industrial Maintenance, Manufacturing and Mechanical Engineering.

In the midst of all the changes, Engineering Technology students are getting ready for the annual Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers’ SouthEastCon Robotic Hardware competition on March 15-18 in Orlando, Fla. Carl Mallette, a Pellissippi State professor in Engineering Technology, is the group’s advisor. Ken Swayne, also an Engineering Tech professor, works with the students on their entries as well.

This is the club’s fourth year in the competition. Pellissippi State’s Engineering Technology students often place in a field of competition, even though most of the teams are from four-year universities.

Next year, the Engineering Technology program has an accreditation visit scheduled with the Association of Technology, Management and Applied Engineering.

To learn more about Engineering Technology and other Pellissippi State offerings, call (865) 694-6400 or visit www.pstcc.edu.