International photographer to speak at Pellissippi State

His clients range from the National Basketball Association and Cigar Aficionado Magazine to Continental Airlines and the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry.

Photographer Patrice Argant, a native of France whose work has included extensive travel throughout Asia and Africa, maintains studios in Manhattan and in Knoxville. On Nov. 5, he offers a presentation on his photography at Pellissippi State Community College. The event is free and the public is invited to attend.

Argant’s images have appeared on multiple national and international magazine covers, and his fine art pieces have served as the focus of exhibits in the United States and France. The photographer has produced work for the news industry, as well as for the fashion and advertising fields.

The presentation by Argant is one of the events that make up Pellissippi State’s new 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.

The event takes place 6:30-8 p.m. in the Goins Building Auditorium on the Hardin Valley Campus. Plenty of free parking is available.

For additional information about Argant’s presentation or The Arts at Pellissippi State,” call (865) 694-6400 or visit To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources at (865) 694-6607 or

Two-for-one special on handgun carry-permit class at Pellissippi State

Always a popular course, the Tennessee Handgun Carry-Permit Class at Pellissippi State Community College is sure to fill up quickly, thanks to special two-for-one pricing on the Saturday, Nov. 17, session at the Hardin Valley Campus.

The non-credit course is being offered through Pellissippi State’s Business and Community Services Division at the rate of $75 for any two students who register at the same time. Space is limited, and one person must register both students simultaneously in order for the two-for-one rate to apply.

Those who satisfactorily complete the eight-hour course earn a certificate to apply for a state carry permit. Completion of this or another training course is required before applying for a Tennessee handgun carry permit.

The Pellissippi State course covers handgun parts, function, and operation; safety, cleaning, and storage; legal responsibilities of carrying a handgun; course review and testing; and firing range exercises.

Included are four to five hours of classroom instruction and approximately three hours of range training. The person leading the class is certified both as a firearms instructor with the National Rifle Association and as a handgun instructor with the state of Tennessee.

The course meets at the Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road, for classroom instruction. Range training takes place at the John Sevier Hunter Education Center, 2327 Rifle Range Road. Class hours are 8 a.m.-4 p.m.

Students must supply their own gun and ammunition. A $5 range fee for each student is payable to the instructor during class.

Two additional sessions of the course will be offered before the end of 2012 for those unable to attend the two-for-one class on Nov. 17. The regular rate of $65 per person applies to classes offered on Dec. 1 at Pellissippi State’s Blount County Campus and on Dec. 15 at the Hardin Valley Campus.

For information or registration, visit or call (865) 694-6400. The BCS website also lists updated class scheduling and information on new course offerings.

Pellissippi State professor gives input to improve math understanding in Tennessee

Dave Vinson has taught college students at Pellissippi State Community College math for the past 21 years. Now the associate professor is taking on an educational challenge aimed at a younger population.

Vinson has agreed to serve as Tennessee’s lead math curriculum writer for a project that could potentially change the way high school math is taught and learned. The Tennessee Board of Regents, the college’s governing body, contacted Vinson when the Tennessee Higher Education Commission sought TBR’s input on someone to work on the project.

The project is being done for the Southern Regional Education Board. SREB is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that works with member states to improve public pre-kindergarten through grade 12 and higher education.

SREB is targeting high school seniors, after tests revealed that many haven’t comprehended previously taught math skills. Vinson is leading the team on restructuring the curriculum.

“The format is a modified version of what are called ‘active learning strategies,’” Vinson said. “In a pure active learning format, there are no lectures. The teacher moderates, but the goal is to get the students in a small group using the math skills they’re supposed to already know. The lessons, as designed, cannot be completed without an understanding of these forgotten skills. This is especially good for students who don’t learn well by sitting and listening.”

The hope is that having actively participated in the learning and recall process in high school, students will better understand the math they were taught early on. If so, they will be better prepared for college math, and some will be able to avoid developmental prerequisites.

Once the SREB curriculum is complete, it will become public domain. If state legislators ultimately decide to embrace the material, Vinson believes it will have a direct impact on future college freshmen.

The project is part of a larger push by SREB to develop math and English curricula that will help students who graduate from high school be better prepared to succeed in first-year college courses. The undertaking is grounded in Common Core State Standards that have been adopted by 45 states. Those standards dictate the skills that students should have mastered at each grade level.

The Common Core State Standards Initiative is a state-led effort coordinated by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and the Council of Chief State School Officers. The standards were developed in collaboration with teachers, school administrators and experts to provide a clear and consistent framework to prepare students for college and the workforce.

For more information on Vinson’s role in the project, call (865) 694-6400. To learn more about Pellissippi State in general, call 694-6400 or visit

Pellissippi State sponsors successful Habitat building project

Hammers were swinging throughout the day of Saturday, Oct. 13, at the Hardin Valley Campus of Pellissippi State Community College, as the school hosted an alternative fall break event called “Shed Happens.”

One hundred volunteers joined forces at the college with the Lowe’s Home Improvement Heroes Project, Loudon County Habitat for Humanity, Smithbilt Homes and TnAchieves to construct 18 sheds to be donated to the Loudon County Habitat.

Habitat will present each of its families with a storage shed upon the completion of the family’s home. The building project will provide the Loudon County Habitat with an 18-month supply of sheds.

The event was part of the Pellissippi State’s Service-Learning program, launched last year. Service-learning integrates community service and academics to make education relevant and exciting for students, according to Tara Lynn, an English faculty member who facilitates the program with Annie Gray, also an English faculty member.

“We hope this consortium of businesses, nonprofit organizations and our college will become a model for community and civic engagement endeavors throughout the state,” Lynn said.

Six of the college’s classes currently have a service-learning component. More than 1,000 Pellissippi State students are engaged in service in the community in some way, whether through service-learning courses, the Gnosis student service club, or TnAchieves, Lynn says.

For more information about Pellissippi State’s Service-Learning program, visit or call (865) 694-6400.

Pellissippi State presents dramatic reading of Sophocles’ ‘Ajax’

When Sophocles wrote the play “Ajax” about 440 B.C., he could never have guessed that his tragedy about war in ancient Greece would be applicable in 21st century America.

Rob Lloyd, an English faculty member at Pellissippi State Community College, is bringing a dramatic reading of Sophocles’ oldest surviving play to campus. In the college’s presentation, “Shattered Ancients,” the parts of “Ajax” will be read by faculty and students.

The event is Friday, Nov. 9, noon-1, in the Goins Building Auditorium on the Hardin Valley Campus. The community is invited to attend the free reading.

Lloyd says he has been amazed at how the classic mirrors the problems of some of his students who are veterans: adjusting to civilian life after military service and coping with post-traumatic stress disorder, for instance.

The play centers around the mighty warrior Ajax and addresses such timeless issues as pride, disgrace, and respect for the dead.

“I thought when I read the play, The human heart didn’t change much in 25 centuries,” Lloyd said. “War was hell. War is still hell. We believe Johnny comes marching home again and that he goes back to an upright family. Many times that’s not true—he often comes home deeply damaged.”

The performance is sponsored by the college’s Faculty Lecture Series and the student literary publication “Imaginary Gardens.”

For more information about the production, 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 hosts Mediterranean Cultural Fest

The Mediterranean Sea touches countries on three continents, bridging the cultures of a vast and exotic expanse. Pellissippi State Community College celebrates that region with the Mediterranean Cultural Festival on Nov. 2.

The free event is 5-8:30 p.m. in the Goins Building College Center on the Hardin Valley Campus. The public is encouraged to attend.

The festival is part of the Arts at Pellissippi State series, which brings to the community cultural activities ranging from music and theatre to international celebrations, lectures, and the fine arts.

The Mediterranean Cultural Festival showcases the entertainment of the region with the following performances:

  • 6-7 p.m.—Debka and the Oasis Dancers, a Knoxville-based belly dancing group.
  • 7:10-8:30 p.m.—Italian violinist Al Colombo and ensemble. The group also features Mike Benjamin on keyboard and vocals and David Correll on bass guitar. The ensemble plays classic and contemporary Italian music, including pieces written by Italy’s foremost composers.

Take in the performances and experience the region’s food at an epicurean marketplace with fruits and vegetables and an Italian café with European teas, coffees, and desserts.

Participants also can sample Spanish paella, pastitsio with bechamel topping, Mediterranean pasta salad with California avocado, tzatziki sauce with falafel, keftedes (Greek meatballs), and hummus and pita bread.

The festival is sponsored by Pellissippi State’s Access and Diversity Office. For more information, call (865) 694-6400 or email Gayle Wood, director of Access and Diversity, at

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

‘Arabian Nights’ play opens at Pellissippi State Community College

Staging a classic takes courage, invention, and a committed cast and crew, and all of those essentials are in place for the opening performance of “Arabian Nights” at Pellissippi State Community College on Nov. 2.

The presentation is part of the Arts at Pellissippi State, an ongoing opportunity for the community to enjoy cultural activities ranging from music and theatre to international celebrations, lectures, and the visual arts.

Performances of “Arabian Nights” are Friday and Saturday, Nov. 2-3, 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, Nov. 4, 2 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, Nov. 9-10, 7:30 p.m.; and Sunday, Nov. 11, 2 p.m. All showings are in the Clayton Performing Arts Center on the Hardin Valley Campus.

Charles R. Miller, who directs the college’s theatrical presentations, has assembled one of the largest casts in a decade for “Arabian Nights.” The show features the technical expertise of Claude Hardy, a new assistant professor of Theatre.

Audiences will find “Arabian Nights” as dramatic as it is timeless, says Miller. It’s wedding night in the palace of King Shahrayar. By morning, the new queen, Shahrazad, is to be put to death like a thousand young brides before her. But she has a gift that can save her, the power of storytelling. Every night, she must tell a story to save her own life.

For the 18-member group of Pellissippi State students, alumni and community residents who make up the cast, the stakes are also pretty high. Shahrazad tells seven stories, and each one must be more compelling than the last. Cast and crew must follow suit.

“That’s really the key to this show,” said Professor Miller. “It has to get bigger and bolder from story to story.”

Miller chose to present a contemporary adaptation of “Arabian Nights” by Dominic Cooke, a former associate director of the Royal Shakespeare Company. Cooke directed the show three years ago and drew rave reviews from London critics.

“It’s a very simplistic script when you read it, and it’s all about how you do the staging around it,” said Miller. “This is going to have dance, music, mime, puppetry.” Claude Hardy has created a set design with five platforms that can be moved and reconfigured for each story that Shahrazad tells.

The show also requires nimble actors who can take on more than one role.

“The actors are getting to do a lot of different things,” Miller said. “They’re getting to do dance, puppetry and acting. With this show, in particular, their level of focus and discipline has to be absolute. There are very few things at the college level that teach you focus and discipline the way theatre does.”

“Arabian Nights” is the first of two family-friendly shows scheduled for this semester. The second is “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” with The WordPlayers in December.

Cost of admission to “Arabian Nights” is $8 for Pellissippi State faculty, staff, and students; $10 for other students; and $12 for adults.

Tickets may be purchased through the Arts at Pellissippi State website,, or by calling (865) 694-6400. They also may be reserved by phone at (865) 694-6684 or by email at

Proceeds go to the Pellissippi State Foundation to benefit the Theatre program.

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

Pellissippi State lecture: Why Americans are intrigued by the supernatural

Wizards, vampires, werewolves, zombies. They’re on the rise.

Or rather, Americans’ interest in them is on the rise. That’s according to Heather Schroeder, an English faculty member at Pellissippi State Community College. And Schroeder thinks she knows why.

“The rise of interest in the supernatural in the last decade is not surprising,” she said. “It’s a direct outgrowth of the post-9/11 world.”

Schroeder, an author and former news reporter and editor, presents her thoughts in the lecture “Seduction of the Supernatural.” The event takes place 4:30-5:30 p.m., Oct. 29, in the Goins Building Auditorium on the Hardin Valley Campus of Pellissippi State.

The lecture is sponsored by the student club Gnosis. The community is invited to the free event.

“I will aim to show how our interest in all things supernatural is an attempt to explain larger social and cultural issues,” she said.

Schroeder will reference the Harry Potter and Twilight series. She also will discuss “A Discovery of Witches,” the first novel in the All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness.

“Especially in the South, you hear that books about the supernatural are anti-Christian and ungodly,” she said, “but what’s interesting about this kind of literature is that a lot of it isn’t in the ‘Horror’ section at the bookstores anymore.”

For more information about the lecture, contact Trent Eades, a Gnosis faculty sponsor, 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

‘Internationalization in a World on the Edge’ Oct. 24 at Pellissippi State

Pellissippi State Community College and the Tennessee Consortium for International Studies host a presentation on Oct. 24 by global studies expert Richard Slimbach.

In “Internationalization in a World on the Edge,” Slimbach explores the current best practices in international education. The presentation begins at 11:50 a.m. in the Goins Building Auditorium on Pellissippi State’s Hardin Valley Campus. The event is free and open to the public.

Slimbach is a professor of global studies and the coordinator of the Global Studies program at California’s Azusa Pacific University. He has a Ph.D. in comparative and international education from the University of California, Los Angeles, and he is the author of the 2010 book “Becoming World Wise.”

Slimbach founded Azusa’s Master of Arts in Transformational Urban Leadership program, which focuses on the planet’s one billion slum dwellers. Azusa Pacific has eight campus locations in Southern California.

During the one-hour presentation, Slimbach discusses the increased need for colleges and universities to internationalize and some of the ways to approach it: foreign language study, discipline and area studies, campus diversity activities, study abroad, service learning, international research. He also addresses ways in which internationalization can better balance its academic and economic mandates with desired student learning outcomes.

TnCIS, whose headquarters are at Pellissippi State, coordinates study abroad opportunities as part of its mission of boosting international experience and culture in higher education across the state. More than 400 students and 50 faculty from across Tennessee participated in the summer 2012 study abroad programs coordinated by TnCIS. There are 18 study abroad programs planned for summer 2013.

For additional information about TnCIS, visit or call (865) 539-7280. For information about Pellissippi State, visit or call (865) 694-6400.

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

Pellissippi State, Painting with a Twist host art party for scholarships

Pellissippi State Community College’s Alumni Association and the West Knoxville business Painting with a Twist are again joining forces to host “Painting with a Purpose,” an art party to raise funds for the college’s Alumni Scholarship.

Scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 23, 6:30-8:30 p.m., the event offers participants the chance to create a work of art while at the same time supporting scholarship recipients. Created in fall 2010 by the Pellissippi State Foundation, the Alumni Scholarship is awarded annually to a child or spouse of a Pellissippi State graduate.

The cost to participate in the art party is $35. Canvas, brushes and paint are supplied, and an instructor offers guidance in creating a custom painting. No knowledge of painting is required. Snacks and soft drinks also are provided, but guests are welcome to bring their own beverage. The business is located at 10932 Murdock Dr., Suite 103-A.

Thanks to the generosity of Patty Walden, owner of the Knoxville Painting with a Twist franchise, $25 of the event fee goes directly to the Alumni Scholarship fund. Walden hosts Painting with a Purpose with various nonprofit organizations every month. The college and Walden’s business hosted a successful art party last October.

Seating for the art party is limited, so participants are asked to sign on by Friday, Oct. 19, at or (865) 539-7275. For more information about Painting with a Twist, visit To learn more about the Pellissippi State Alumni Association, go to

Pellissippi State Community College, Knoxville, TN