Pellissippi State now largest among Tennessee community colleges

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Pellissippi State Community College is now the largest community college in Tennessee.

According to the Tennessee Board of Regents, Pellissippi State’s governing body, the college’s fall 2015 enrollment is 10,325. The number of full-time students is 6,630. Not only is Pellissippi State’s enrollment higher than any other community college’s in the TBR system, but the college’s student enrollment is up 2.2 percent from last year.

Of the students contributing to Pellissippi State’s growth, 1,752 are Tennessee Promise students. Tennessee Promise is a last-dollar scholarship and mentoring program that covers tuition and fees for community college students across the state.

“We’re pleased that Pellissippi State is the largest community college in the state,” said L. Anthony Wise Jr., the college’s president. “What’s most important, though, is that we strive to provide the best education to our students.

“At each of our five campuses, our faculty and staff are dedicated to these students — all 10,325 of them — and those faculty and staff work to make sure that our students succeed. That’s the fact that matters.”

In the past few years, Pellissippi State has set records for the number of students sent to study abroad and the number of high school students taking dual enrollment classes for high school and college credit. In 2013 and 2014, Pellissippi State set statewide records for the number of associate’s degrees awarded, with 1,286 in 2014 alone.

“We’re incredibly proud of the achievements of our students,” Wise said. “But the importance of these numbers isn’t in the actual statistics — it’s in the lives that are changed when our students earn their degrees, gain new opportunities and reach their goals.”

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

Download this press release: PSCC Enrollment 2015

Pellissippi State awarded $50,000 by DENSO for automated manufacturing

Pellissippi State officials accept a donation of $50,000 from DENSO Wednesday, August 5. The donation will fund state-of-the-art equipment for the Engineering Technology degree program’s Automated Industrial Systems concentration. Pictured, from left, are Holly Burkett, dean of Pellissippi State’s Blount County Campus; Emilie Denson, section leader of Human Resources for DENSO Manufacturing Tennessee; Melissa Smith, program manager of Community Affairs for DENSO North America Foundation; Ted Lewis, Pellissippi State's vice president of Academic Affairs; and Teri Brahams, executive director of Pellissippi State’s Business and Community Services.
Pellissippi State officials accept a donation of $50,000 from DENSO Wednesday, August 5. The donation will fund state-of-the-art equipment for the Engineering Technology degree program’s Automated Industrial Systems concentration. Pictured, from left, are Holly Burkett, dean of Pellissippi State’s Blount County Campus; Emilie Denson, section leader of Human Resources for DENSO Manufacturing Tennessee; Melissa Smith, program manager of Community Affairs for DENSO North America Foundation; Ted Lewis, Pellissippi State’s vice president of Academic Affairs; and Teri Brahams, executive director of Pellissippi State’s Business and Community Services.

Automation is at the technological cutting edge of manufacturing — and Pellissippi State Community College is working with partners like DENSO Manufacturing to ensure that the college’s Automated Industrial Systems graduates are well prepared to enter the workforce.

“No question, partnerships like these are what we’re looking for in Drive to 55,” said Mike Krause, executive director of the state’s Tennessee Promise and Drive to 55 initiatives. “This initiative isn’t just about getting students in school but encouraging them to graduate and then join the workforce. That’s what it’s all about.”

The DENSO North America Foundation has awarded Pellissippi State a $50,000 grant to purchase state-of-the-art equipment for the Engineering Technology degree program’s Automated Industrial Systems concentration. The concentration prepares students to operate automated manufacturing equipment, including the programmable controller training systems, robotics and motor training equipment that are now the industry standard in manufacturing settings.

DENSO and Pellissippi State representatives gathered for a ceremonial check presentation Wednesday morning, Aug. 5, at the college’s Blount County Campus.

 “In order for students to be ready to go to work at the most advanced levels of manufacturing, we must continue to integrate newer technology into our programs,” said L. Anthony Wise Jr., Pellissippi State president. “We appreciate DENSO’s support in helping us achieve those goals.”

“Manufacturing is now high-tech. I don’t know of any manufacturing job that doesn’t include automation,” said Margaret Ann Jeffries, dean of Engineering and Media Technologies.

DENSO is a longtime supporter of Pellissippi State. Awards from the international automotive supplier during the past decade have included two grants that have helped the college build its Automated Industrial Systems concentration. The concentration was launched in 2013.

“In a global economy, DENSO is continually investing in ways to improve our competitiveness through highly skilled employees and advanced equipment,” said Mike Brackett, DENSO North America Foundation board member and senior vice president of Corporate Services at DENSO Manufacturing Tennessee. “This donation represents an investment in the future of our region, as well as in the advanced technology needed by our customers in the automotive industry.”

For more information about Automated Industrial Systems or other academic offerings at Pellissippi State, call (865) 694-6400 or visit www.pstcc.edu.

Trevis Gardner named Pellissippi State’s 2015 Distinguished Alumni

Trevis Gardner

For Trevis Gardner, Pellissippi State Community College’s 2015 Distinguished Alumni Award winner, success is all about building relationships.

The Distinguished Alumni Award is given to an individual in recognition of significant professional achievement, service to the community, and support of the college and the Pellissippi State Foundation. The 1991 graduate was presented the award at a recent Alumni Association luncheon at the college.

Gardner is vice president of operations for the Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority. He oversees nearly every tangible aspect of the airport experience — from parking to buying a ticket to getting on a plane and leaving and coming back to Knoxville — not only at McGhee Tyson Airport but also at Downtown Island Airport.

The MKAA is responsible for creating the business environment that allows the hundreds of airport vendors to engage with customers. Every layer of service between the MKAA and the passengers falls under Gardner’s purview.

But the technical responsibilities aren’t what Gardner talks about — it’s the relationships.

“I manage people from entry-level positions to folks who are much smarter than I am,” he said. “I get to have a lot of different relationships with people. I feel like I’m in the Tower of London making sure the crown jewels are safe. The organization trusts me to make sure I take care of these people.”

Gardner earned an Associate of Applied Science degree in Civil Engineering Technology from what was then Pellissippi State Technical Community College and later earned a surveying certificate. He served in the U.S. Air Force and Tennessee Air National Guard from 1987 to 2011, and he has worked for the Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority since 1991.

According to Gardner, his grades weren’t exactly those of a model student when he initially enrolled at Pellissippi State.

“I should not have gone to community college, should not have gone to university, should not have graduated, by all statistical measures,” Gardner said.

But after he came to Pellissippi State on the GI Bill, his mindset changed.

“I loved learning at Pellissippi State,” he said. “I felt like I was home. My time at Pellissippi State was some of the most fun I ever had.”

Besides working for the airport authority, Gardner is also very active in the community, particularly in his native Blount County. He has served on the Blount County Board of Education and the board of the Adult Education Foundation of Blount County. He has worked as a tutor for the GED Preparation Program at the Blount County Justice Center, as well as with many other organizations and causes.

“This year, there were three candidates for this award,” said Peggy Wilson, vice president of College Advancement and executive director of the Pellissippi State Foundation. “A committee of Foundation board members reviewed the nominations and felt Trevis was the best candidate. We congratulate him!”

To learn about the benefits of being part of the Pellissippi State Alumni Association, visit www.pstcc.edu/alumni or call (865) 539-7275.

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.

Jerry-Sherrod

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.

David-Brown-and-Edward-Francisco

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.

Morvarid-Bejnood

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 www.pstcc.edu or call (865) 694-6400.

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