Award-winning faculty member Christie Cunningham will join hundreds of Pellissippi State Community College graduates as the speaker at the college’s Commencement ceremony Dec. 9 at 8 p.m. at Thompson-Boling Arena.
Cunningham, an assistant professor in Natural and Behavioral Sciences, is this year’s Excellence in Teaching Award winner at Pellissippi State, as well as a 2016 winner of a national John and Suanne Roueche Excellence award.
“I’m planning to speak to students about what to do when life throws something unexpected your way,” Cunningham said. In spring, her husband was diagnosed with cancer and is currently undergoing treatment.
“When life knocks you down, when people tell you no, when doors close in your face, you have to continue. You have to put one foot in front of the other and keep working toward your goal. It’s during these times that your character is built,” Cunningham said. “It’s been a difficult road, but I try to take one day at a time, put aside my problems and provide the best learning experience possible for my students.”
Cunningham has been recognized this year for her innovative teaching techniques and the positive impact they’ve had on her students. She has integrated technology, hands-on activities, group projects and other learning methods to increase student engagement in her psychology courses.
“Learning should be engaging and active, and if you can make it fun, that’s even better,” Cunningham said.
One of the ways she encourages her students to proactively study throughout the semester is to play “Jeopardy” using questions and answers that the students compile over the course of the semester.
“Something like ‘Jeopardy’ is a way to comprehensively study for a final exam, but it’s competitive and fun and doesn’t feel as worrisome as studying for a cumulative test,” Cunningham said. “And I see through test scores that techniques like this help with long-term retention.”
Other techniques she uses are role-playing — for instance, role-playing what it might be like to have a mental or physical disability — and hands-on activities like using household items to discuss the physical functionality of the human eyeball or the brain’s neural pathways.
To request accommodations for a disability at Commencement, contact the executive director of Equity and Compliance at 865-539-7401 or email@example.com. For more information about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call 865-694-6400.
Pellissippi State Community College ranks third in the nation among two-year colleges for the number of students it sends to study abroad. In 2015, the college sent 204 students on study abroad programs.
“Study abroad was a great experience,” said Pellissippi State student Elicia Ferrer, who spent time over the summer studying in Italy and England. “I had been out of the country before, but for mission experiences. Study abroad is different because you’re there to learn and to experience the place. It’s pretty magical.”
In Tennessee, Pellissippi State ranks eighth among all higher education institutions in the state for the number of students who study abroad. In fact, the college is the only community college in the top 15.
Ferrer, who is studying Chinese language and plans to transfer to a four-year university in the spring, said, “Studying abroad is an eye-opening way to observe different cultures and faiths. It gives you a front row seat to history. In my World Civilizations class, we were studying the Medicis, who did terrible things but who also funded the Renaissance. When you’re in Italy and can physically see their legacy, it gives you an interesting perspective.”
Pellissippi State works with the Tennessee Consortium for International Studies to provide study abroad opportunities for students. TnCIS, headquartered at Pellissippi State, organizes study abroad opportunities as part of its mission of boosting international experience and culture in higher education across the state. In the 10 years since its founding, TnCIS has supported more than 3,000 students statewide in pursuing a global education.
Additionally, Pellissippi State offers unique opportunities for students from around the world to study here in East Tennessee. In the 2015-16 academic year, Pellissippi State had 156 international students enrolled — the ninth highest among all higher education institutions in the state and the only community college in the top 20.
“Community colleges are diverse, and the ability to offer study abroad opportunities and to have international students on campus only increases that diversity. In a global economy, students need to be able to understand and appreciate diverse points of view,” said Pellissippi State President L. Anthony Wise Jr.
All degree-seeking students who have been accepted to attend Pellissippi State Community College for the spring 2017 semester should make plans now to attend a New Student Orientation session. Classes begin Jan. 17.
The free sessions are required of all new degree-seeking students, both freshmen and transfer, and will be held in November and early January. Reserve a space as soon as possible at www.pstcc.edu/orientation.
Orientation gives new students the opportunity to meet with Pellissippi State students, faculty and staff; learn about what they can expect in college and what the college expects of them; learn strategies for college success; explore degree, major and transfer options; and discover campus services and resources such as financial aid, tutoring and computer resources.
Students are encouraged to attend orientation at the campus that they will be attending for class.
Dates, time and locations of New Student Orientations:
- Blount County Campus — 1-4 p.m., Jan. 11
- Division Street Campus — 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Jan. 12
- Hardin Valley Campus — 5-8:30 p.m., Nov. 29; 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Jan. 6; 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Jan. 13
- Magnolia Avenue Campus — 4:30-8 p.m., Jan. 10
- Strawberry Plains Campus — 1-4 p.m., Jan. 10
Additionally, a special session just for students transferring from another institution will be held 5:30-8:30 p.m., Jan. 9, on the Hardin Valley Campus. Some sessions are recommended for veterans or for international students; visit www.pstcc.edu/orientation for more details.
Pellissippi State encourages parents, spouses and others supportive of the student to attend New Student Orientation, too. They’ll receive special information in separate sessions.
To sign up for an orientation session, visit www.pstcc.edu/orientation or call 865-694-6400. To request accommodations for a disability, contact Disability Services at firstname.lastname@example.org or 865-539-7153.
Ten employees of Y-12 National Security Complex have completed three years of classroom training at Pellissippi State Community College as part of the second class of an apprenticeship program that grows talent from within Y-12.
The students — Russell “Rusty” Chambers, Charles Clinton, Ashley Dawson, Billy Farr, James Fielden, Randy Fields, Douglas Hamby and David Trexler — received classroom instruction and hands-on training at Pellissippi State on topics related to an advanced technological workplace.
As part of their classroom instruction, the apprentices built and donated an information kiosk to Norris Dam State Park and a trailer to Marble Springs State Historic Site.
“The apprenticeship program at Y-12 is paying CNS back in taking our employees and helping them grow their skills, as well as allowing them to work alongside our journey workers picking up on the tools of the trade,” said Beth Green, senior staff to the director of infrastructure at Y-12.
The apprenticeship program is a four-year investment: The apprentices still must complete a yearlong internship at Y-12 in order to finish the program.
Ashley Dawson, the only female machinist in this group of apprentices, said, “This is a big deal for me because it’s out of my realm of comfort. My bachelor’s degree is in business and finance, so this gives me the opportunity to change that and go more mechanical.”
The program allows students the opportunity to earn substantial credit hours toward an Associate of Applied Science degree, plus the opportunity to finish additional coursework, including 15 credit hours of general education courses required to complete a degree in Engineering Technology in a concentration of the student’s choice.
Pellissippi State’s Engineering Technology faculty and Business and Community Services division developed the curriculum for the program. BCS works with employers to create customized training and development solutions. For more information, visit www.pstcc.edu/bcs or call 865-539-7167.