Volunteer now to mentor a Tennessee Promise student

Future Tennessee Promise students graduating from high school in 2016 need mentors, and now is the time to sign up to help those students meet their full potential.

More than 300 mentors are needed to fill gaps in Knox and Blount counties. Mentors will communicate with students every two weeks via email, phone or text to help them transition from high school to college. Mentors also will attend two meetings to interact with students face to face.

“This is a wonderful opportunity to make a difference in the life of a student,” said Anthony Wise, Pellissippi State’s president. “Mentors will serve as encouragers and resources to primarily first-generation college students.”

Remember that even if you mentored in the past with Tennessee Promise, you won’t automatically be registered as a mentor this round, so be sure to sign up again. New mentors can complete an application at www.tnachieves.org/mentor-application.

All mentors — new and returning — need to be registered by Nov. 20, 2015. Mentors can choose their preferred high school on the registration form. New mentors must complete a one-hour training session and two additional one-hour meetings.

Support students with campus & community resources

Anne Pharr
Assistant Professor, English

In recent months, you’ve probably noticed a growing emphasis on connecting Pellissippi State students with campus and community resources to equip them in making progress toward personal and academic goals.

Pellissippi State’s academic support program is one of the primary channels through which we help students access resources. When a faculty member identifies a struggling student, s/he can notify the appropriate Student Success coordinator, who in turn will reach out to the individual, discuss any barriers s/he is facing, and guide him or her to the appropriate place for support. The program has served the College for many years and continues to help students find and utilize the many resources available to them.

This week, Pellissippi State is providing a great new way for students to make connections, by hosting the very first Sharing Our Area Resources event — initially at the Hardin Valley Campus, and eventually at site campuses also. You can read more about SOAR here.  I hope that you’ll not only encourage students to attend but that you’ll also come to learn about some pretty amazing campus and community resources.

Through initiatives like these, Pellissippi State actively provides opportunities for students to strengthen what’s known as “bridging social capital.” According to experts, such “bridging relationships” are vital to our students’ success, by serving as a “primary source of information and support.”

Did you know, though, that relationships between Pellissippi State employees and our students also qualify as “bridging relationships”? When “professors, advisors, mentors, [and] on-campus employers” are intentional about connecting with students, we’re doing our part to strengthen the bridging social capital that can “affect changes in their lives.”

This is one reason Pellissippi State has provided ongoing education for faculty and staff as well as events for students. In the past 17 months, the College has offered a dozen opportunities for employees to deepen our awareness about the students with whom we work. Whether attending an hour-long workshop, a daylong session, or a semester-long reading group, many faculty and staff have attended one of the “Bridges Out of Poverty” events offered at our College. The feedback has been positive, with participants describing the material as “very relevant to the work we do” by providing “a greater understanding of the challenges” that many of our students face.

If you’ve attended any of these events — or if you’d like to — please consider yourself an “official” member of Pellissippi State’s Partners for Student Potential, and make plans to join us at one of the following workshops open to all faculty and staff:

Under-Resourced Students: Their Needs, Our Services

This one-hour workshop will equip faculty and staff to connect Pellissippi State’s under-resourced students with campus resources. Participants will examine common scenarios faced by struggling students, discuss existing campus resources that help students navigate barriers and brainstorm services that might be added to more fully address the needs of under-resourced students. ​It’s facilitated by Sara Malley (Sociology), Ines Gibson (English) and Katie Morris (Sociology).

This workshop will be offered on all site campuses:

  • Magnolia Avenue — Thursday, 10/22, at 10:30 a.m., Room 109
  • Strawberry Plains —  Thursday, 10/22, at 2:30 p.m., Room 2610
  • Blount County — Monday, 10/26, at 3 p.m., Room 261
  • Division Street — Tuesday, 10/27, at 2:30 p.m., Room 118
  • Hardin Valley — Wednesday, 10/28, at 3 p.m., Goins 151

Do You Speak Student? Reinforcing the Value of Code-Switching by Practicing What We Preach

We all know how vital it is for students to demonstrate mastery of academic English in their speaking and writing. In the workplace, in higher education and throughout the middle class, standard American English is the language of choice. More important, anyone working with students can adopt practices that can allow them to hone their language resources. This one-hour workshop will begin with a brief overview of language theory before providing faculty and staff with practical ways to model code-switching with students both in and out of class, as well as with usable tools for allowing students to rehearse this skill in a variety of ways. It’s facilitated by Keri Withington (English) and Anne Pharr (English).

This workshop also will be offered on all site campuses:

  • Magnolia Avenue — Monday, 10/19, at 11:40 a.m. in Room 123
  • Division Street — Monday, 10/19, at 3:05 p.m. in Room 118
  • Hardin Valley — Thursday, 10/22, at 3:40 in Room TBA
  • Blount County — Wednesday, 10/28, at 11:50 in Room 164
  • Strawberry Plains — Thursday, 10/29, at 12:25 in Room TBA

In a recent issue of “Inside Pellissippi,” President Anthony Wise reminded us that our college — and each individual in the College — has the opportunity to impact the lives of our students in meaningful ways. I hope you will make the most of that opportunity by partnering with Pellissippi State and with our students as they strive to discover and fulfill their amazing potential.

Source of data: “Understanding and Engaging Under-Resourced College Students” by Karen Becker, Karla M. Krodel, and Bethanie H. Tucker.

Invite students to Share Our Area Resources fair

Invite your students to a resource fair on Wednesday, Oct. 21, at the Hardin Valley Campus.

The SOAR — or Share Our Area Resources — event is open to all students and takes place 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. in the College Center. The fair allows students to connect with on-campus resources like tutoring, advising, and counseling, as well as off-campus resources related to housing, transportation, and other essentials.

SOAR is sponsored through a partnership with Country Music Television’s Empowering Education Community College Initiative.

Students can learn more about the College’s TRiO Student Support Services, Access and Diversity, and UPEP (Universal Pathways to Employment Project) offerings. Information will be available about support specifically designed for veterans, nontraditional students, adult learners, single parents and students with disabilities.

As part of the Empowering Education Community College Initiative, CMT has partnered with a cohort of 15 community colleges in Appalachia to promote student success stories, support recruitment and promotional events, and foster local economic development.

Service-Learning hosts Civic Engagement Week

Thursday kicks off a week of celebrations across all five campuses for Civic Engagement Week. Civic Engagement Week 2015, which is celebrated on campuses around the country, launches a year of community service opportunities. The Pellissippi State activities are hosted by the Service-Learning program, and the theme is “Wellness and Sustainable Living in Appalachia.”

The College’s Civic Engagement Week connects with the book chosen for this academic year’s Common Academic Experience, Jeff Biggers’ “The United States of Appalachia.” The week focuses on encouraging East Tennesseans to take good care of themselves and of the environment.

Event locations, dates and times:

Hardin Valley Campus

  • Call2Service — 10:45 a.m.-1 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 10, in the Goins Building College Center and Courtyard. Community partners come to campus to share how students can volunteer throughout the year.
  • 9/11 Day of Remembrance — 9-10 a.m. Friday, Sept. 11, in the Courtyard. The event features a short talk by John Ruppe, a veteran and Pellissippi State security supervisor. The rain location is the College Center.
  • “Boatlift” — 10:15 a.m. and 10:30 a.m., Friday, Sept. 11, in the College Center. A screening of this 9/11 short film, narrated by Tom Hanks, will be shown.
  • “One Year Down the Drain: Turkey Creek” — 11:50 a.m.-12:50 p.m. Monday, Sept. 14, in the Goins Building Auditorium. This event features Jason Scott, AmeriCorps project director, of the Knoxville Community Action Committee discussing an exclusive volunteer opportunity to clean waterways in Farragut and create found-objects artwork. Refreshments will be provided.
  • “The Gentle Barn: Teaching People Kindness and Compassion to Animals, Each Other, and the Planet” — 12:25-1:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 15, Goins Building Cafeteria Annex. Refreshments will be provided.
  • Lecture — 2-3 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 16, College Center
  • Constitution Day, “Freedom Isn’t Free: How Congress Really Works” — 2-3 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 17, in the Auditorium. Professor Jake Hamric delivers this faculty lecture. Refreshments and pocket copies of the Constitution will be provided.

Division Street Campus

  • Sustainability Kiosk — 11 a.m.-1 p.m.Thursday, Sept. 10 and 2-4 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 15, front lobby
  • KAT “Smart Trips” — 8:30-10:30 a.m. Monday, Sept. 14, in the front lobby. KAT representatives will discuss “green” transportation options.
  • Call2Service — 8:30-11 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 16 in the Educational Resources Center
  • Constitution Day — free pocket Constitutions available all day Thursday, Sept. 17, front lobby

Magnolia Avenue Campus

  • Call2Service — 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 15, in rooms 100 and 109
  • “Community Health Care in Appalachian East Tennessee” — 9:40-10:35 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 16. Featuring Rich Connelly and Larry A. Stanifer of Rural Medical Services, Inc., this event is a co-curricular activity of Civic Engagement Week and the Common Academic Experience. 

Strawberry Plains Campus

  • Voter Registration Drive — 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 15; 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 16, and noon-2 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 17, in the Lobby

Contact the site directly to learn about Civic Engagement Week events being offered at the Blount County Campus.

Roller presents ‘Cosmic Possums’

It might sound a little trippy, but “Cosmic Possums” is actually a term that denotes Appalachians who have transcended change and retained their mountain roots.

And that’s precisely what Patricia Roller, associate professor of English, will discuss when she presents “Cosmic Possums: Appalachian Literature” at 12:25 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 10, in the Goins Building Auditorium on the Hardin Valley Campus.

All faculty, staff and students are invited to attend.

“Cosmic Possums” is a Common Academic Experience event tied to the 2015-2016 Common Book, “The United States of Appalachia: How Southern Mountaineers Brought Independence, Culture, and Enlightenment to America,” by Jeff Biggers.

“Cosmic possum is a term coined by Jane Hicks that refers to the cultural phenomenon of the people in Appalachia who are devoted to carrying on traditions even in the face of immense change, whether it’s culture, technology, politics or economics. They represent this mindset of the ‘cosmic possum,” Roller said.

The event will feature readings by English faculty members Eddie Francisco and Carol Luther and will spotlight the works of Appalachian writers Sharyn McCrumb, Ray Hicks and Marilou Awiakta.

New Alumni Association kicked off with luncheon


The College launched a brand-new Alumni Association with a kickoff luncheon April 30 at the Hardin Valley Campus.

The luncheon was attended by 80 alumni, including two from the first graduating class in 1976. A highlight of the event was recognition of Trevis Gardner, vice president of operations for the Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority, with Pellissippi State’s 2015 Distinguished Alumni award.

“Pellissippi State is the place it is today because of our students, graduates and alumni,” Anthony Wise, Pellissippi State president, told the group. “We hope the College was instrumental to your success, as each and every one of our students and alumni have been instrumental to our success. Our alumni do amazing things in this community, and we’re very proud of them.”

“We were pleased to welcome so many alumni for this luncheon,” said Angela Pugh, development coordinator and an alumni contact, “as we roll out new benefits to alumni, in addition to alumni access to services like career placement or to our Student Recreation Center or library.”

To learn more about alumni benefits and ways alumni can get involved, visit www.pstcc.edu/alumni or call Angela Pugh at 539.7275.

Counseling Services hosts Monday Fun Day for students, faculty, staff


May the Fourth be with you.

Counseling Services is hosting Monday Fun Day today, May 4, 10:30 a.m.-1 p.m. in the Courtyard on the Hardin Valley Campus. The event is meant to help students, faculty and staff de-stress during finals week.

The event features visits from HABIT [Human Animal Bond in Tennessee] dogs, as well as sidewalk chalk, bubbles, hula hoops and other ways to relax. Some activities will be themed around the Star Wars franchise, commonly celebrated on May 4.

For more information, visit www.pstcc.edu/counseling.

College hosts Career Fair for students

Please encourage students to attend the upcoming Career Fair, hosted by the Placement Office in the Goins Building College Center, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Wednesday, March 18. The event is open to students from all campuses.

On hand will be representatives of many area employers, among them, 21st Mortgage Corporation, ADT Security Services, AdvantaClean, Ajilon Professional Staffing, Accounting Principals Inc., Blackberry Farm, Boys and Girls Clubs, Cellular Sales, city of Knoxville, CVS Health Corporation, DENSO Manufacturing, Edfinancial Services, Exedy America Corporation, Fastenal, First Tennessee Bank, Girl Scouts of America, Harrison Construction, Helping Hands Home Assistance, H&R Block, Modern Woodmen of America, Primerica Financial, Right at Home, Robert Half, SmartWay TN, StaffSource, UPS, University of Tennessee Medical Center, Weigel’s Inc., and WVLT-TV.

Students should be sure to bring polished, up-to-date resumes and dress their best. The Placement Office, located in Goins 111 and 113, will offer students an informational brochure, “Turn a Job Fair Into a Job Offer,” in the days leading up to the event.

For more information, visit www.pstcc.edu/placement or call 694-6554.

Faculty: Share your teaching passion at March 19 Major Fair

Faculty members are invited to share their passion about what they teach at the March 19 Major Fair, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. in the Goins Building College Center.

The Major Fair is designed for students to learn more about possible majors and career options within those majors. The event is open to students from all Pellissippi State campuses.

Faculty can showcase the areas in which they teach by bringing relevant photographs, books and other visuals. Each participating faculty member is allowed space at an informational table. Participants do not have to be present for the entire event.

To find out more or volunteer to participate, contact Elizabeth Firestone at eefirestone@pstcc.edu or 694-6547. Interested faculty should sign up to participate by March 17.

Make a ‘Pellissippi Promise’ and support student scholarships

portrait of a maleKeep working toward your “Pellissippi Promise” at a special presentation from Buzz Thomas of Great Schools Partnership today, Monday, March 2, from noon-1. Thomas will speak in the Goins Building Auditorium on the Hardin Valley Campus. The event also streams live at www.pstcc.edu/ets/livevideo.html.

During the College’s “Pellissippi Promise” internal fundraising campaign, February 23-March 6, Pellissippi State employees are invited to make their own promise and donate to student scholarships, awards, department funds or other campus resources.

“My Pellissippi Promise is to carry on with the College mission and give where needed,” says Mike North, Strawberry Plains Campus dean. “When someone remembers you as part of Pellissippi State and how they were helped by what we do, that reminds me of why I donate to fund student scholarships. That’s very rewarding and has a lot to do with why I give.”

Last year, Pellissippi State employees donated almost $60,000 to the internal campaign. So far this year, employees have donated $36,381. Give online at https://giving.pstcc.edu.

Pellissippi State employees who complete a pledge form for Pellissippi Promise are eligible to win one of 40 prizes from such donors as Home Depot, Knoxville Ice Bears, AAA of East Tennessee, New Balance of Knoxville, The Titanic Museum and many more.

This year’s campaign chairs are Karen Ghezawi, Pat Riddle and Rosalyn Tillman. For more information, visit www.pstcc.edu/foundation/internalcampaign.