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.

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

Celebrate Earth Week with speakers, contests and giveaways

Pellissippi State has a jam-packed schedule of events for Earth Week, beginning Monday, April 20.

“We’ve had such a great response to Earth Day events in past years,” said Karen Lively, sustainable campus coordinator, “that we’re very excited to offer a whole week’s worth of events, with some on each of our five campuses. This gives all of our students, faculty and staff the ability to participate.”

Events, dates and times are listed below. All events are at the Hardin Valley Campus unless otherwise specified. A full Earth Week schedule of events at all campuses is available at

Monday, April 20:

  • Sustainable Campus Initiative—11:45 a.m.-12:45 p.m. in the Goins Building Auditorium. Speaker Melissa Lapsa presents an overview of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s sustainable campus initiative.
  • Meatless Monday Information Table—11 a.m.-1 p.m. in the Goins Building Rotunda

Tuesday, April 21:

  • “Inhabit” Film Screening—10:30-11:30 a.m. in the Goins Building Auditorium. Popcorn is served; prizes and giveaways are available in the Rotunda. Knoxville Permaculture Guild members answer questions immediately following the film.
  • Snack Pack—1:30-3 p.m. on the first floor of the McWherter Building. Free organic snacks and juices are available to students.
  • “Making Tap Water Sexy and Available”—12:30-1:30 p.m. in the Community Room of the Magnolia Avenue Campus. Joshua Cunningham of the Tennessee Clean Water Network is speaking.

Wednesday, April 22:

  • Earth Day Exhibit—10 a.m.-1 p.m., featuring remarks by President Anthony Wise and a performance by Hardin Valley Thunder. Exhibitors include student clubs, local businesses and nonprofits, craft stations, and e-cycling collection. Attendees can expect giveaways, including Earth Week T-shirts, and prizes for students, plus cake and popsicles.
  • “Bug Me. Really. Please Bug Me!”—11-noon at the Division Street Campus. Speaker Janice Gangwer, a University of Tennessee Extension master gardener, speaks about beneficial insects.
  • Todd Montgomery, Elephant Sanctuary—2-3 p.m. in the Cafeteria Annex. Montgomery speaks about the Elephant Sanctuary in Hohenwald.
  • Climate Change Presentation—1-2:30 p.m. in the West Auditorium of the Blount County Campus. Speaker Tom Werkema of Arkema Inc. discusses the current understanding of the science of climate change. Werkema is an internationally known expert on climate change and ozone depletion and was recognized for his contribution to the Nobel Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Thursday, April 23:

  • “Plant Your Seed in the Growing Field of ‘Green’ Careers”—Noon-1 in the Goins Building Auditorium. Speaker Scott Hacker of Trane Commercial Systems presents on the careers available in sustainability industries. Popcorn and giveaways are offered.
  • Student, Faculty and Staff Recycle Sorting Contest—11 a.m.-1 p.m. in the Courtyard

Friday, April 24:

  • National Arbor Day—10-11 a.m. in the Goins Building Auditorium. Certified arborist David Vandergriff speaks. Students can make pine cone birdfeeders in the Rotunda before and during the presentation. Prizes and popcorn are available.
  • Historic Seedling Giveaway—10-noon in the first-floor middle lobby of the Alexander Building

For more information, visit

Employees recognized for accomplishments, longevity

Faculty and staff are invited to celebrate the College’s 40th anniversary at the annual Employee Awards presentation at noon Thursday, April 16. A boxed lunch will be served after the event.

The event recognizes outstanding adjunct and full-time faculty members, administrators, contract workers, and support professional and technical/service/maintenance employees. Employees will be recognized with certificates for their years of service, in five-year increments. Employees retiring in 2014-2015 will receive special acknowledgment.

New this year, the event will name the winners of the Nina Walker McPherson Outstanding Service Award and the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Patriot Award.

Additionally, faculty and staff will be recognized for achievement with the Excellence in Teaching, Innovations, and Gene Joyce Visionary awards.

The event is organized by the Employee Recognition Committee and funded by the Pellissippi State Foundation.

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 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 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

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

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

See ‘Walk, Don’t Ride’ at Magnolia Avenue Campus

walkThe Magnolia Avenue Campus hosts a presentation of the play “Walk, Don’t Ride,” featuring The WordPlayers, 9:40-11:40 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 17.

The performance is part of the College’s celebration of February’s Black History Month. The event is free and open to the public.

“Walk, Don’t Ride,” by Peter Manos, is a dramatic and song-filled play depicting events during the Civil Rights Movement, including the Montgomery bus boycott in Alabama, the Nashville lunch counter sit-ins and the Greyhound/Trailways bus freedom rides.

Healthy Pelli open to all at Magnolia Avenue Campus

Pellissippi State’s Magnolia Avenue Campus hosts its annual Healthy Pelli Campus Health Fair 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 11.

Healthy Pelli is open to all students, faculty and staff.

The event includes free blood pressure screenings, HIV and STD testing, A1C blood tests for diabetes, and body mass index assessments. Flu shots will be available.

Also on hand at the fair: information about health issues, health-care providers, insurers and other health-related topics. Event attendees can even get free reflexology massages.

For more info, contact the Magnolia Avenue Campus at 329-3100.

Join in the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Parade

Group of people holding a Pellissippi State Community College sign with trees in the background

All Pellissippi State faculty, staff and students are invited to participate in Knoxville’s Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Parade Monday, Jan. 19.

The parade takes place annually in conjunction with Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a federal holiday marking the civil rights leader’s birthday on Jan. 15. Martin Luther King Jr. Day is always on the third Monday in January. King was assassinated in Memphis on April 4, 1968, at the age of 39.

Parade participants should be lined up by 9 a.m. at Tabernacle Baptist Church, 2137 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave. The parade kicks off at 10 a.m. A memorial service follows at Greater Warner Tabernacle AME Zion Church, 3800 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave.

Free T-shirts will be given to Pellissippi State participants while supplies last.

For more information, contact Gwendolyn Miller, chair of the Martin Luther King Committee at Pellissippi State, at or 539-7279.