All posts by elsimpson

Pellissippi State pilot program to target adult learners

Adult learners at Pellissippi State Community College will have the opportunity to take part in a pilot mentoring  project designed to enhance student engagement and increase retention rates, thanks to a $40,000 grant from the Tennessee Board of Regents. TBR is the college’s governing body.

The Student Engagement, Retention and Success grant funds a mentoring program for 50 students. The participants will be able to work closely with Pellissippi State faculty and staff to complete an academic plan, attend workshops for personal and academic development, and participate in unique social gatherings. Each participating student also will be paired with a mentor at the college.

“This project will help close the achievement gaps among underrepresented minority, adult and low-income students at Pellissippi State,” said Gayle Wood, director of Access and Diversity.

“It also will help increase the number of adult students currently without a degree that will find there are resources and people available to help them attain a degree, starting with community colleges.”

The program kicks off for students registering for the fall 2014 semester. Registration is going on now.

Each student who takes part in the program and meets federal financial aid guidelines receives a $500 scholarship per academic year. If the pilot is successful, the adult student learner program, Programming for Adult Student Support, will be expanded.

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

Pellissippi State to dedicate Pond Gap Elementary community garden

Pond-Gap-Garden-Group

Pellissippi State Community College’s Service-Learning Program invites community members, students, families and volunteers to celebrate the conversion of lawn to garden plot at a ceremony at the Pond Gap Elementary School.

The community garden ceremony takes place 3-4 p.m. Monday, May 12, marking the official dedication of the Pellissippi State Edible Schoolyards Project launched last fall. The garden is an outreach project of the college’s Service-Learning program, in which students pair community service with classroom learning.

Through the community garden, students at Pond Gap have worked with Pellissippi State students and volunteers to learn about food insecurity, food access, and food production.

“The garden has been a great educational opportunity to the children here,” said Matt Callo, project manager of the garden and an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer. “Even at a young age, their interest in the garden is immediate. I think it distills an interest in the field of agriculture—it’s awesome to see the initiatives they take.”

The dedication ceremony will include remarks from Tim Burchett, Knox County mayor; Madeline Rogero, Knoxville mayor; Jim McIntyre, Knox County Schools superintendent; L. Anthony Wise Jr., Pellissippi State president; and others.

“We are very proud of all we have accomplished in this inaugural year of the Pond Gap community garden,” said Annie Gray, English professor and Service-Learning coordinator.

“By partnering with the University of Tennessee University-Assisted Community Schools Program at Pond Gap Elementary and local businesses in the creation and support of a sustainable community garden project, the Service-Learning program is promoting urban agriculture education in the Pond Gap area.

“We hope it will be part of an economic stimulus effort rooted in the individual and communal sharing of resources.”

Through “edible curricula”–based school programming, community workshops, and Service-Learning projects, the Pond Gap community garden has served as a community demonstration space for fostering the skills needed to grow easily accessible and affordable produce for healthy lifestyles. Community participants have had the opportunity to hone their gardening skills, make new friends and even explored ways of making a viable career out of growing food.

For more information about Service-Learning at Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu/service-learning or call (865) 694-6400.

Support students at Pellissippi State golf tournament

Enjoy a fine day of golf while supporting college students who are pursuing higher education opportunities at Pellissippi State Community College’s 10th Annual Swing Big for Students Golf Tournament.

This year’s Swing Big for Students event takes place Monday, May 12, at a new course location: Green Meadow Country Club in Alcoa.

The Swing Big Signature Sponsor for 2014 is Pilot Travel Centers. Thanks to Karen’s Jewelers, the Hole-in-One sponsor, a player who sinks that perfectly timed hole-in-one could walk away with a diamond ring.

The tournament, hosted by the Pellissippi State Foundation, raises money for programs that directly impact deserving students. Funds have been used not only to provide student scholarships and emergency loans but also to improve facilities and secure new equipment. A portion of the proceeds from the 2014 tournament will be awarded to a recipient of the Swing Big for Students Scholarship.

“Our students have amazing stories to tell,” said Pat Myers, tournament director, “and extraordinary skills and talents to share as they enter the workforce in East Tennessee. Thanks to the community support of the Swing Big for Students tournament, the Pellissippi State Foundation is able to provide outstanding educational opportunities to these students.”

According to Christian Hardin, a former recipient of the scholarship funds, “The Swing Big for Students scholarship allowed me to purchase books for the semester. I’m grateful for the scholarship and for the opportunity of attending college.”

The 18-hole “shotgun scramble” tournament offers morning and afternoon rounds. The cost is $100 per person or $400 for a team of four. The entry fee includes 18 holes of golf, cart, driving range, snacks, lunch and prizes.

Participants can register and pay online at www.pstcc.edu/foundation/golf. Registration must be completed by May 8.

In the case of inclement weather on May 12, contact Green Meadow at (865) 982-8783.

Sponsorship opportunities for Swing Big for Students begin at $150, and a limited number are still available. To learn more about sponsoring, contact Myers at (865) 539-7242 or pmyers@pstcc.edu.

Pellissippi State: New Student Orientation sessions available before summer term

Two New Student Orientation sessions are being offered for students planning to attend summer semester at Pellissippi State Community College.

Classes for summer begin May 27. New Student Orientation sessions are 5-8:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 20, and 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Friday, May 23, on the Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road. All first-time degree-seeking freshmen must attend a New Student Orientation session.

Reserve a spot now by visiting www.pstcc.edu/orientation or calling (865) 694-6400.

Orientation sessions are recommended for transfer students and those who have been out of school for a while. Parents, spouses and other supporters of new students also are encouraged to attend.

At the sessions, new students can meet Pellissippi State faculty and staff; explore degree, major, and transfer options; learn strategies for college success; and find out about campus services and resources, such as financial aid.

Prospective students should keep in mind that summer classes often fill early. Key deadline dates include May 19, the application deadline; May 20, the entrance testing deadline; and May 22, the schedule confirmation and fee deadline.

For more information about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call (865) 694-6400. To request accommodations for a disability, contact Disability Services at accommodations@pstcc.edu or (865) 539-7153.

Community invited to Pellissippi State’s annual Student Design Showcase

Pellissippi State Community College graphic design students display what they’ve created in their coursework during the annual Communication Graphics Technology Student Design Showcase. The exhibit is 4-8 p.m. Thursday, April 24.

The theme of this year’s showcase is “A Spark of Creativity.” The event is free and the community is invited.

The showcase gives 22 students the opportunity to present their portfolios for viewing and evaluation by invited area design professionals. Each student has his or her own table display, business cards and resumes available to industry professionals. The event is like a graduation, celebration and potential job interview all rolled into one.

The CGT Student Design Showcase is in the Bagwell Center for Media and Art on the Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road.

For more information about the showcase, visit www.pstcc.edu or call (865) 694-6400. To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources at (865) 694-6607 or humanresources@pstcc.edu.

Pellissippi State celebrates Earth Week with film, displays, native-plant speaker

Pellissippi State Community College has a jam-packed schedule of events for Earth Week at all five of its locations, beginning Monday, April 21.

“We’ve had such a great response to Earth Day events in past years,” said Karen Lively, sustainable campus coordinator, “that we’re very excited to expand our one day of activity at the Hardin Valley Campus to an entire week, with events on all five of our campuses. This gives all of our students, faculty and staff the ability to participate.”

“Fuel Up for Earth Day” kicks off the week at the Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road, and features an automobile exhibit of alternative fuel vehicles. Also that day, Pellissippi State faculty and staff are challenged to “green their offices,” and the sustainability staff at the Hardin Valley and Blount County campuses promote Meatless Monday food options.

The film “Water Blues Green Solutions” screens 11:45 a.m.-12:45 p.m. in the Goins Building Auditorium on the Hardin Valley Campus. The film will be shown at site campuses throughout the week.

Tuesday’s events include a tap-water tasting; a performance by Pellissippi State’s bluegrass band, the Hardin Valley Thunder; a T-shirt giveaway; and a green exhibit featuring local community and student clubs and organizations that focus on environmental issues.

Wednesday, the Hardin Valley Campus hosts a student recycling competition 11 a.m.-1 p.m. An exhibit in the Courtyard features a household hazardous waste display, solar panel demonstration, organic versus conventional food taste test, and other games and activities.

Pellissippi State members of the Student Affiliates of the American Chemical Society will have a booth for water quality testing Thursday on the Hardin Valley Campus.

Friday, April 25, wraps up the college’s Earth Week events with a celebration of National Arbor Day and a tree planting ceremony. Wyn Miller, an expert on the use of Southern Appalachian native plants, leads a presentation entitled “The Role of Native Trees in Supporting Southern Appalachia’s Unique Biodiversity” 11:45 a.m.-12:45 p.m. in the Goins Building Auditorium.

For more information and a full schedule of events, visit www.pstcc.edu/sustainability or call (865) 694-6400. To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources at (865) 694-6607 or humanresources@pstcc.edu.

Pellissippi State answers learning needs with help from TBR grant

Pellissippi State Community College faculty will seek to improve student success through a new course redesign, with the help from Tennessee Board of Regents Course Revitalization Initiative grants.

Two English courses and a math course will pilot the project at Pellissippi State.

In MATH 1530 Elementary Probability and Statistics, faculty will develop an “embedded remediation” component to enhance the class. In other words, students who formerly would have been placed in pre-college-level learning support at Pellissippi State will now take part in a standard, college-level course, but with extra support.

“There’s been a lot of data on success with embedded remediation, which is a type of just-in-time intervention,” said Brittany Mosby, project leader for the MATH 1530 course. Mosby’s team includes Math faculty Sue Ann Dobbyn and Claire Suddeth.

“Students who might have been placed into a learning support course will instead take a college-level class with their peers. As part of the embedded remediation component, these students will have additional classroom time to reinforce the material and be sure they understand the concepts.”

In the English Department, faculty will revitalize two gateway classes, ENGL 1010 Composition I—the only Pellissippi State course that all students are required to take—and its follow-up, ENGL 1020 Composition II. The revamped 1010 course will place more emphasis on regular, consistent writing and on sentence structure and grammar skills.

ENGL 1020, similarly, will be reworked to more appropriately continue skills learned in ENGL 1010, rather than spending the time reteaching or reviewing skills that should have been mastered in 1010. Revitalized 1020 will teach students more refined, advanced and specialized writing skills.

“Our faculty members have some exciting ideas about how to revise these courses to make them more effective,” said Kathryn Byrd, dean of the English Department. “Notably, their approach includes plenty of writing practice, clear communication of academic expectations and an emphasis on the student’s responsibility for his or her own learning.”

English faculty members participating in the pilot project are project leaders Alex Fitzner and Tara Lynn, with Casey Lambert, Teresa Lopez, Kelly Rivers, and Heather Schroeder.

The TBR Course Revitalization Initiative grants, awarded by the TBR Office of Academic Affairs, target high-enrollment gateway classes and encourage faculty to develop creative strategies to engage their students and teach critical thinking skills. TBR is the governing body for Pellissippi State.

“These grants will provide an opportunity for these faculty members to create an innovative class for students to review their prerequisite skills just in time for new college-level content,” said Nancy Pevey, dean of the Mathematics Department.

The pilot revitalized classes at Pellissippi State begin this fall. The effectiveness of those classes will be evaluated, and the pilots may be enlarged to include other classes.

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

‘Sanctuary’ author’s talk speaks to Pellissippi State’s Common Book

Pellissippi State Community College hosts Greg Johnson, an author and News Sentinel columnist, for a reading from his meditation on the Smoky Mountains, “Sanctuary,” at 11:45 a.m. Wednesday, April 16.

The free event takes place at the Strawberry Plains Campus, and the community is invited. The reading is sponsored by the Strawberry Plains Creative Writing Club. Students will read some of their own original, nature-themed works beginning at 11:30 a.m., before Johnson’s presentation.

Johnson, a native of East Tennessee, completed “Sanctuary” in anticipation of the 75th anniversary of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which occurred in 2009. The book is a collection of written and photographic meditations on the mountains.

“Greg Johnson’s moving, intimate essays celebrate the mountains and their Maker,” said Patricia Ireland, an instructor of English at Pellissippi State, “inviting readers to walk into the wild, in keeping with the spirit of this year’s Common Book.”

The presentation is part of the yearlong schedule of events tied to Pellissippi State’s 2013-2014 Common Book, “A Walk in the Woods,” by Bill Bryson. The book has inspired discussions on topics as wide-ranging as ecology, biological diversity, the effects of tourism, the importance of outdoor activity and the tradition of nature writing.

In his first-person narrative, Bryson recounts his tale of hiking the Appalachian Trail. He reflects on the many emotions, logistical problems and incidents to be expected for a hiker on the AT. The account also touches on the history of the Appalachian Trail and National Park Service, the depredations of disease and insects on trees and plants, the need for environmental awareness and stewardship, and the ever-present threat of bears.

The Strawberry Plains Campus is located at 7201 Strawberry Plains Pike.

For more information about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call (865) 694-6400. To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources at (865) 694-6607 or humanresources@pstcc.edu.

‘Pell-Aware’ Alcohol and Drug Awareness Day scheduled at Pellissippi State

Pellissippi State Community College hopes to help students succeed when it hosts a campuswide Alcohol and Drug Awareness Day Wednesday, April 16.

The free event, Pell-Aware, is 11 a.m.-2 p.m. in the Courtyard of the Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road. The community is invited.

Representatives of area mental health facilities, rehabilitation centers and health-care organizations will be on hand to distribute information and answer questions. Participating are representatives of Blount Memorial Hospital’s Emotional Health and Recovery Center, Cherokee Health, Cornerstone of Recovery, English Mountain Recovery, Knox County Health Department, and private medical practices, among others.

“We want to provide information but also link people with services that they may need or find useful,” said Kathleen Douthat, a counselor at Pellissippi State.

“Drug and alcohol abuse is a fairly big issue for college-age students, so an awareness of what drugs and alcohol can do is important, as is knowing who to go to for help if they’re having trouble, or if they know someone who is having trouble, with substance abuse.

As much as 30 percent of failure in school by college students may be tied to alcohol abuse, according to Douthat.

“If we can work with substance use and get that under control, maybe we can retain more students and help them be more successful.”

Pellissippi State’s Counseling staff, the planners of Pell-Aware, are available to help students manage obstacles that threaten their academic, career and life goals. The office provides career, personal and academic counseling.

For more information about Pell-Aware, visit www.pstcc.edu/counseling or call (865) 694-6400. To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources at (865) 694-6607 or humanresources@pstcc.edu.

Pellissippi State: Community invited to Blount County Campus Health and Wellness Fair

Pellissippi State Community College hosts a Health and Wellness Fair at the Blount County Campus Wednesday, April 16.

The fair features health-care exhibitors providing demonstrations, materials and health checks. The free event is 10 a.m.-1 p.m. in the main lobby of the campus, 2731 W. Lamar Alexander Pkwy. The community is invited.

The health fair is organized with the help of Alcoa Chiropractic, which will offer complimentary chair massages and spinal screenings. Marino Therapy Centers will conduct bone density assessments, and Pellissippi State’s nursing students will take blood pressure and glucose screenings. Other free health checks and demonstrations include allergy testing and acupuncture.

Exhibitors include Healthy Mind and Counseling, Acuquest Hearing, the University of Tennessee Medical Center, The Eye Group, the Pregnancy Resource Center, Complete Nutrition, Rx Relationships, the American Red Cross, Blue Ridge Family Dentistry and the Tennessee Vein Center, among others.

“Choosing to be healthy mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually is a choice we all make,” said Holly Burkett, dean of the Blount County Campus. “I want the students, faculty, and staff at Pellissippi State and the community to have the opportunity to begin or maintain a healthy lifestyle.”

To learn more about the fair, call (865) 981-5300. To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources at (865) 694-6607 or humanresources@pstcc.edu. For more about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu.