Pellissippi State tops in Tennessee for associate’s degree graduates

posted in: Academics, Awards, Students, TBR | 0

For students like Daniel Mace and Chisa Huffman, May 2014 was a milestone month in their lives. Both graduated from Pellissippi State Community College, with Huffman planning to enter a post-grad nursing program and Mace to continue working toward a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering.

The success of Mace and Huffman is definitely worthy of celebration, but the two students are also part of another cause for celebrating: they helped contribute to a new college record.

For the second year in a row, Pellissippi State leads the state in the number of associate’s degrees awarded by a two-year college.

In the 2013-2014 school year, Pellissippi State awarded 1,286 associate’s degrees—more than last year’s record-setting 1,265 degrees. According to the Tennessee Board of Regents, Pellissippi State’s governing body, the college also awarded 693 certificates.

“We’re incredibly proud to again be first in the state in the number of associate’s degrees we award,” said L. Anthony Wise Jr., Pellissippi State president. “But the importance of these numbers isn’t in the statistics—it’s in the lives that are changed when our students earn their degrees and reach their goals.”

Huffman entered the doors of Pellissippi State’s Blount County Campus in 2013, when she decided to return to school at age 30 to pursue an Associate of Applied Science in Nursing degree. She’s now enrolled in Pellissippi State’s partnership RN to BSN program with King College, taking her coursework at the Blount County Campus.

Mace, who as an employee of Thompson-Boling Arena actually helped build the Commencement stage he walked across, plans to enroll at Austin Peay State University and pursue a degree in mechanical engineering. Those classes are offered at Pellissippi State’s Hardin Valley Campus.

For more information about Pellissippi State and the many ways it offers to help students succeed, visit www.pstcc.edu or call (865) 694-6400.

Pellissippi State celebrates American Indian Heritage Month

Male leaning against a doorway with violin and dressed in Native American attire.Pellissippi State Community College recognizes American Indian Heritage Month with a celebration that takes place 11 a.m.-2 p.m., Monday, Nov. 3.

The event, which is free and open to the community, is in the Goins Building College Center on the Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road.

“At Pellissippi State, we celebrate the diversity of our students, faculty and staff year-round,” said Gayle Wood, director of Access and Diversity, which sponsors the event. “At the Nov. 3 program, we will honor the struggles and celebrate the accomplishments of Native Americans.”
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The event includes a performance by musician Arvel Bird. Bird, who describes himself and his music as “Celtic Indian,” plays violin, fiddle, Native American flutes, and Irish whistles. His original compositions are a fusion of his Scottish and Southern Paiute heritage. Bird has performed with Glen Campbell, Loretta Lynn, Ray Price and Louise Mandrell, among others.

Attendees at Pellissippi State’s event also can taste traditional Native American foods.

“National American Indian Heritage Month” was established in 1990 by President George H. W. Bush, and the special recognition is now celebrated each November.

American Indian Heritage Month is one of the many events that make up Pellissippi State’s arts series, The Arts at Pellissippi State. The series brings to the community cultural activities ranging from music and theatre to international celebrations, lectures, and the fine arts. This year, the arts series commemorates Pellissippi State’s 40th anniversary.

For more information about The Arts at Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu/arts 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 associate professor of Spanish wins teaching award

posted in: Academics, Awards, Faculty/Staff, TBR | 0

portrait of femaleMarilyn Palatinus, foreign languages program coordinator and an associate professor of Spanish at Pellissippi State Community College, has been named this year’s Jacqueline Elliott Award recipient by the Tennessee Foreign Language Teaching Association.

The award honors exemplary work and recognizes outstanding service by foreign language educators at the postsecondary level. According to the TFLTA, Palatinus was recognized “in glowing terms” by her coworkers and colleagues for her support to foreign language at the college and to the TFLTA.

“I was very surprised and humbled to learn that my colleagues felt I deserved the award,” said Palatinus. “I’m so very proud of our program at Pellissippi State. We’ve been very successful because of all of our great faculty members.”

Jane Stribling nominated Palatinus for the teaching award.

“I was personally acquainted with the late Jacqueline Elliott,” said Stribling, an associate professor of French at Pellissippi State. “Marilyn demonstrates the debrouillard spirit which shone with Jacqueline—the ability to tackle any project and handle it with grace.”

Palatinus has taught Spanish at Pellissippi State for 25 years. She also formerly served as department head of Humanities.

“I’ve always been interested in different languages, and I studied Spanish in college and high school,” Palatinus said. After she completed graduate school, she and her husband spent two years in Panama, where she spoke Spanish every day.

She enjoys teaching the language to students and, she says, uses learning by experience—like her own immersive language opportunity in Panama—when possible.
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Palatinus put her passions for teaching and language into practice this summer when she accompanied Pellissippi State students to Spain for study abroad through the Tennessee Consortium for International Studies. It was the sixth summer she had taught Spanish on a TnCIS trip to Spain. TnCIS, which is based at Pellissippi State, organizes study abroad opportunities as part of its mission of boosting international experience and culture in higher education across the state.

Palatinus is the third foreign language faculty member from Pellissippi State to earn the Jacqueline Elliott Award. Beverly Burdette, who taught Spanish, and Joan Easterly, who teaches French, were recipients of the honor in 2011 and 2001, respectively. Elliott was a French professor at the University of Tennessee.

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

Pellissippi State’s 40th anniversary: Former president remembers tenure

Male standing at a podium speaking with blue press background behind
J.L. Goins speaks during the kickoff ceremony for Pellissippi State Community College’s 40th anniversary celebrations in September.

“Overrun with success.” That’s how J.L. Goins remembers what’s now Pellissippi State Community College during his time as president of the institution.

This year, Pellissippi State celebrates four decades of service to the community, with the theme “Forty Years of Achieving Success, One Story at a Time.”

Goins was president from 1981 to 1993. Under his leadership, the school changed from State Technical Institute at Knoxville to Pellissippi State Technical Community College. During that time, the institution operated campuses on Division Street and Hardin Valley Road, and it offered classes in two different empty Blount County elementary schools and even a vacated building on the grounds of Lakeshore Mental Health Institute.

Goins recalls in particular the changes after the state legislature, in 1988, made State Tech a comprehensive community college. Enrollment promptly tripled, he says.
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“The Hardin Valley campus was finished in 18 months, which was a state record,” he said, “but still, we had to delay class a few weeks that fall so we could finish the buildings.
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“That first day, we watched for students nervously. By 8:15, students had filled every parking space we had—and still they came.”

Goins acknowledges the selfless contributions of faculty and staff in those years, when enrollment exceeded state funding and faculty members agreed to teach extra courses without pay to ensure no students were turned away.

He also recalls how the name “Pellissippi” was chosen. The name is said to come from a Cherokee word, “Pelisipi,” which means “winding waters” and refers to the nearby Clinch River.

“It wasn’t a typical name for a community college,” Goins said. “But it was a term that had a history in the community. We understood that we would be an anchor in the community, that we would be a leader in the growth of this area, and ‘Pellissippi’ fit that idea.”

It was during Goins’ term as president that the stage was set for Pellissippi State’s long history of workforce development.

“I spent a lot of time working to recruit businesses to the area,” he said, “because I understood that those businesses would be hiring our graduates.”
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Goins foresees that the next 40 years will bring continued growth to Pellissippi State. The college will “continue to change to meet the educational needs of our community, with programs like our culinary, music and art and with the much-needed advanced manufacturing training.”

Throughout the year, the college will host community events as well as other special occasions for students, faculty and staff. Students, alumni and community members are encouraged to share their positive stories and memories of Pellissippi State at www.pstcc.edu/anniversary. On social media, use #PSCC40.

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

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