Pellissippi State invites educators to free distance learning conference

Educators interested in making their online classes more engaging are invited to a free one-day distance learning conference at Pellissippi State Community College on June 26.

Tanya Joosten, director of Digital Learning Research and Development at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, will give the keynote presentation to kick off the conference, which will be held in the Goins Administration Building on the Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road.

Joosten is nationally recognized for her work in blended and online learning. She leads a national research initiative, supported by the U.S. Department of Education, working to provide access to research models and methods, facilitate innovative processes of data collection, and encourage the replication of research across institutions through the DETA Research Toolkit, which identifies key factors that influence student success with particular attention to underrepresented students.

Paul Ramp, director of Distance Education for Pellissippi State, will follow the keynote with an update on “Pellissippi Online: Where We Are. Where Are We Going?” which would be useful for high school educators to know as high school students across the region continue to supplement their classes with online courses offered by Pellissippi State.

Conference participants also will have the opportunity to attend three breakout sessions. Among the planned topics are accessibility, best practices and online pedagogy.

The conference, which is co-sponsored by Distance Learning and the Pellissippi Academic Center for Excellence (PACE), will begin at 8:30 a.m. June 26 and wrap up by 4 p.m. Registration is open now at http://pstcc.libsurveys.com/dec . Registration is free, but space is limited.

For more information, contact PACE at 865-539-7335. To request accommodations for a disability for this event, call 865-539-7401 or email accommodations@pstcc.edu.

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Pellissippi State offers free financial aid assistance, advice in four upcoming events

Students who are feeling overwhelmed with paperwork for grants, loans and scholarships have four upcoming opportunities to get hands-on help from financial aid experts at Pellissippi State Community College.

Pellissippi State will host four Financial Aid Days:

  • 12:30-4:30 p.m. Friday, May 24, at the Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road, Knoxville;
  • 2-7 p.m. Monday, June 3, at the Blount County Campus, 2731 W. Lamar Alexander Parkway, Friendsville;
  • 12:30-4:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 5, at the Magnolia Avenue Campus, 1610 E. Magnolia Ave., Knoxville; and
  • 2-7 p.m. Thursday, June 6, at the Strawberry Plains Campus, 7201 Strawberry Plains Pike, Knoxville.

A link to RSVP to the events, which are capped at 100 students each, is available on the Pellissippi State website at www.pstcc.edu.

Financial aid experts will be available to assist students with Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and Financial Student Aid (FSA) IDs, verification of the FAFSA, Tennessee Reconnect applications, and checking the Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation (TSAC) student portal to ensure state funding is routed to the appropriate college.

Students should be sure to bring their 2017 tax returns and W-2s, Social Security numbers and FSA ID, if already created, to ensure they can accomplish as much as possible with financial aid experts during the event.

For more information about Financial Aid Days at Pellissippi State, contact Financial Aid at 865-694-6400 or financialaid@pstcc.edu. To request accommodations for a disability at these events, call 865.539.7401 or email accommodations@pstcc.edu.

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Pellissippi State breaks ground for Bill Haslam Center for Math and Science on Hardin Valley Campus

17 people wearing hard hats shovel dirt in a ceremonial groundbreaking
Former Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, eighth from left, joins Pellissippi State to break ground on the new Bill Haslam Center for Math and Science on the college’s Hardin Valley Campus May 15. The Tennessee Board of Regents approved the name of the building May 14, and the name was announced, to Haslam’s surprise, at the groundbreaking ceremony.

Pellissippi State Community College broke ground today on a new academic building on its Hardin Valley Campus and announced that the building has been named the Bill Haslam Center for Math and Science.

As governor of Tennessee from 2011 to 2019, Haslam was key to establishing Tennessee Promise and Tennessee Reconnect, last-dollar scholarships that provide two years of tuition-free attendance at a community or technical college in Tennessee.

“We would not be here today without the leadership of Bill Haslam, who made it a priority to increase the number of college graduates in our state and responded with programs like Tennessee Promise and Tennessee Reconnect, which have opened doors for more students to continue their education at community colleges,” said Pellissippi State President L. Anthony Wise Jr. “A recent study by the Postsecondary Education Research Center at the University of Tennessee showed that Tennessee Promise already has increased retention and graduation rates for full-time, first-time freshmen at Pellissippi State, and we know anecdotally that Tennessee Reconnect is helping adults without degrees achieve their dreams of obtaining a college education as well. We are honored to have Bill Haslam’s name on this building.”

The new 82,000-square-foot Bill Haslam Center for Math and Science will help Pellissippi State, the largest community college in Tennessee with 10,894 students, meet demands for classrooms and lab spaces that have increased due to Tennessee Promise and Tennessee Reconnect.

The Bill Haslam Center for Math and Science, which will be located on Pellissippi State’s Hardin Valley Campus in Knoxville, will include 18 classrooms, six computer labs and nine science labs, as well as a teacher education center for the college’s Early Childhood Development and Teacher Education programs.

Pellissippi State expects to open the new building for classes in fall 2021.

The total project cost for the construction of the Bill Haslam Center for Math and Science is $27 million, and Tennessee’s community colleges are required to provide a minimum of 10 percent match for all state building projects. Significant progress has been made toward the $2.7 million fundraising goal due to generous contributions from donors such as the Haslam Family Foundation; Pilot Flying J; UT-Battelle; Oak Ridge Associated Universities; UCOR, an AECOM-led partnership with Jacobs; and Stowers Machinery Corporation.

For more information about the Campaign for Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu/campaignforpellissippistate. For more information on Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call 865-694-6400.

UT-Battelle donates $150,000 to Pellissippi State to support new center for math and science

ORNL Director Thomas Zacharia and Pellissippi State President L. Anthony Wise Jr. with a ceremonial check for $150,000
ORNL Director Thomas Zacharia, left, presents Pellissippi State President L. Anthony Wise Jr. with a UT-Battelle donation to the college’s new center for math and science in December 2018.

UT-Battelle LLC, which manages and operates Oak Ridge National Laboratory for the U.S. Department of Energy, has pledged $150,000 to support Pellissippi State Community College’s new center for math and science on its Hardin Valley Campus.

“I would say – if I were to look at my own life experience, career experience – that education in STEM opens you up for an adventure of a lifetime,” ORNL Director Thomas Zacharia told Pellissippi State President L. Anthony Wise Jr. when Wise visited ORNL to receive the donation. “I think the opportunity for community colleges generally, but particularly for Pellissippi State, is to prepare your students not just for the jobs that are available today but, in partnership with Oak Ridge National Laboratory, to prepare students for the rapidly changing job opportunities and the job market of tomorrow.”

As the largest DOE multiprogram open science laboratory, ORNL’s mission is to deliver scientific discoveries and technical breakthroughs that accelerate the development and deployment of solutions in clean energy and global security while creating economic opportunities for the nation. Signature strengths in neutron scattering, high-performance computing, advanced materials, and nuclear science and engineering are the foundation for the lab’s broad research and development portfolio.

“Pellissippi State is fortunate to have a world-class national laboratory in our backyard,” Wise said. “Our student interns and alumni can be found in all corners of the organization. ORNL serves as an advocate for the technical skills and value of community college graduates, and Pellissippi State looks forward to continuing to build on our relationship with ORNL that has existed since the early days of State Technical Institute.”

ORNL partners with Pellissippi State by providing internships to students in a variety of fields. Meanwhile, ORNL operates DOE’s Manufacturing Demonstration Facility not far from Pellissippi State’s Hardin Valley Campus, allowing Pellissippi State students a unique opportunity to see advanced manufacturing and materials science at work – as well as the practical application of the research that is happening at ORNL.

“Sometimes it seems like it’s a long way from the community college to ORNL, but in a lot of ways, it’s really not, because we hope we can provide foundational learning experiences that may eventually support the work you do as well,” Wise told Zacharia.

Zacharia agreed, noting that a large number of ORNL employees got their starts at Pellissippi State.

“I joined the laboratory in the welding group and ended up leading the world’s premier computing facility – and only because when opportunities were presented to me, rather than asking myself, ‘Should I do it?’ I just said, ‘Why not?’” Zacharia said in response to Wise’s request for his advice for STEM students. “Someday I’d like to see a student who started out at Pellissippi State Community College be the director of this laboratory.”

Pellissippi State will break ground on the new center for math and science at 10 a.m. Wednesday, May 15, on its Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road. The 82,000-square-foot building will include 18 classrooms, six computer labs and nine science labs, as well as a teacher education center.

Pellissippi State expects to open the $27 million building for classes in fall 2021.

For more information about Pellissippi State’s two new buildings and the campaign to build them, visit www.pstcc.edu/campaignforpellissippistate. For more information on Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call 865-694-6400.

For more information about ORNL, visit  www.ornl.gov. To read the conversation between Zacharia and Wise in its entirety, visit https://sites.pstcc.edu/connections/2019/04/29/conversation.

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ORAU donates $100,000 to Pellissippi State to support new center for math and science

use Dr. Eric Abelquist, Executive Vice President, and Andy Page, President of ORAU, with Dr. Wise
Dr. Eric Abelquist, Executive Vice President of ORAU, and Andy Page, President of ORAU, from left, present a $100,000 donation to Pellissippi State President L. Anthony Wise. Jr. on March 14 to support the building of a new math and science center on the college’s Hardin Valley Campus.

Oak Ridge Associated Universities, a longtime partner of Pellissippi State Community College, has pledged $100,000 to support Pellissippi State’s new center for math and science on its Hardin Valley Campus.

ORAU President and Chief Executive Officer Andy Page and ORAU Executive Vice President and Chief Research Officer Eric Abelquist presented Pellissippi State President L. Anthony Wise Jr. with the donation March 14.

“We are excited to be able to help Pellissippi State realize its vision for a new science and math building on the Hardin Valley Campus,” Page said.  “It’s exciting to think how many young scientists, engineers and mathematicians this new building will serve in the coming years.”

ORAU, which manages the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education for the U.S. Department of Energy, demonstrates their commitment to science, technology, engineering and math education and the STEM workforce through its support of Pellissippi State – both financially and through countless hours of volunteer time and expertise assistance.

Through the support of ORAU, Pellissippi State offered an annual middle school mathematics contest for 18 years. More than 10,000 students from 32 East Tennessee schools participated in the annual event, which was free for them to enter.

ORAU also partnered with Pellissippi State to offer an Advanced Manufacturing Internship, a six-week program designed to prepare students to enter this high-tech workforce, and provided scholarship support to Pellissippi State students, who worked as math tutors during their time at the college.

“ORAU serves as a key partner, as they lend their research capabilities and specialized experts to make a positive impact in our community,” Wise said. “Together, we are shaping the next generation of this region’s scientific and technical workforce.”

Pellissippi State will break ground on the new math and science center at 10 a.m. Wednesday, May 15, on its Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road. The 82,000-square-foot building will include 18 classrooms, six computer labs and nine science labs, as well as a teacher education center.

Pellissippi State expects to open the $27 million building for classes in fall 2021.

For more information about Pellissippi State’s two new buildings and the campaign to build them, visit www.pstcc.edu/campaignforpellissippistate. For more information on Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call 865-694-6400.

For more information about ORAU, visit www.orau.org.

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Pellissippi State commencement May 3 will honor longtime student who died last year

Barry King
The late Barry King, photographed here as he was training to be a New Student Orientation leader at Pellissippi State, passed away in January 2018 at the age of 32.

Exactly 800 Pellissippi State Community College students will graduate this spring, but there will be one poignantly empty chair at the school’s Commencement ceremony Friday, May 3, at Thompson-Boling Arena.

The empty chair will be left for the late Barry King, a longtime Pellissippi State student who likely would have finished his associate degree and graduated this semester. Barry, who had brittle diabetes and kidney disease, passed away in January 2018 after being hospitalized for flu. He only lacked three classes to earn his Associate of Applied Science degree in Computer Information Technology with a concentration in Programming, but he would have had to take those three classes consecutively.

Barry’s father, Associate Professor Donn King, will address Pellissippi State graduates with “Lessons from a Not-So-Empty Chair.” Doors open at 5:30 p.m., and commencement begins at 7 p.m.

“Barry was a student at Pellissippi State for 12 years; he was determined to get that degree, and he kept at it,” said King, who has taught communication at Pellissippi State for 28 years. “It took him so long because he would get part way through a semester, wind up in the hospital for a couple of weeks, get too far behind to catch up and withdraw for the semester to try again later.”

While Barry’s long-sought degree will be awarded posthumously at commencement, King stressed he will focus his address not on his son, but on the lessons he learned from Barry – lessons that Pellissippi State students may realize they also have learned along the way.

“I want to recognize our graduates’ own strength and what it took for them to get to this spot and what it will take moving forward,” King said. “Graduation is not the end of their education. Like a graduated cylinder they may have used in their science classes, ‘graduated’ means ‘marked.’ Graduation marks a major transition and achievement in these students’ ongoing journey.”

For more information about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call 865-694-6400. To request accommodations for a disability at this event, call 865.539.7401 or email accommodations@pstcc.edu.

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Event showcases work of Pellissippi State’s final Communications Graphics Technology students

The last graduating class of students in Pellissippi State Community College’s Communication Graphics Technology concentration will present their final portfolios 4-8 p.m. Thursday, April 25, in the Bagwell Center for Media and Art on the college’s Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road.

The CGT Student Design Showcase is free and open to the public.

Students will exhibit examples of their best work, along with self-promotional items produced specifically for the showcase. This is the final project before these students graduate in May with an Associate of Applied Science degree.

This is also Pellissippi State’s final CGT Student Design Showcase, as the college no longer offers a degree in CGT. Pellissippi State now offers an Associate of Applied Science in Media Technologies with a Design for Web and Print concentration.

In addition to the CGT Student Design Showcase, work from Pellissippi State’s Video Production Technology students who are studying animation will be on display April 23-27 in the Bagwell Center for Media and Art Gallery. The exhibit will include a reel of students’ work and stills from their productions. Gallery hours are 9 a.m.-9 p.m. weekdays.

The showcase and the exhibit are part of The Arts at Pellissippi State, an annual arts series that includes music and theatre performances, lectures and fine arts exhibits. 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 at this event, call 865-539-7401 or email accommodations@pstcc.edu.

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Pellissippi State’s Spring Choral Concert caps a year of music education, tour of Italy

Choral director directs student choir
Choral Director Meagan L. Humphreys directs Concert Chorale during a Fall Choral Concert at Pellissippi State.

A year’s worth of music classes, rehearsals and even a study-abroad opportunity will be on display next week at Pellissippi State Community College’s Spring Choral Concert.

The annual concert will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 25, in the Clayton Performing Arts Center on the college’s Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road.

The event is free.

“This concert is the culmination of our year and features a video presentation of our spring break tour to Italy,” said Associate Professor Peggy Hinkle, music program coordinator for Pellissippi State.

Fifty students in Pellissippi State Concert Chorale and Pellissippi State Variations will perform a wide variety of selections, from the traditional Appalachian spiritual “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” to “Superstition” by Stevie Wonder, from Mozart to Paul Simon.

Both choirs are led by Pellissippi State Choral Director Meagan L. Humphreys and accompanied by Hinkle on piano.

This is the final concert offered in The Arts at Pellissippi State this semester. To request accommodations for a disability for this event, call 865-539-7401 or email accommodations@pstcc.edu.

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Entrepreneurs can pitch to celebrity investor May 2 at Pellissippi State

Marc Portney
Celebrity investor Marc Portney will be sharing his expertise on entrepreneurship and hearing local pitches at Pellissippi State on May 2. Photo credit: http://marcportney.com/

Celebrity investor Marc Portney will be at Pellissippi State Community College on May 2, sharing his insights on entrepreneurship and ready to hear pitches from those who would like a chance to make a deal with him.

“Pitch Marc Portney” will be held 5:30-9:30 p.m. Thursday, May 2, in the Goins Building Auditorium on Pellissippi State’s Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road.

The event is sponsored by Globalsource Infrastructure Partners, Tennessee Inventors Association and the Tennessee Small Business Development Center, which is hosted in Knoxville by Pellissippi State.

Those planning to attend, whether or not they are planning to pitch, should complete a brief registration form here.

Portney is an American entrepreneur, investor and business adviser who has appeared on the television series “All-American Makers” on the Science Channel and “American Dreams” on the Home Shopping Network.

“Last year Pellissippi State President L. Anthony Wise Jr. joined over 300 community college presidents from across the country in taking the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship pledge,” said Bruce Hayes, director of the Tennessee Small Business Development Center. “The Tennessee Small Business Development Center, a division of Pellissippi State Community College, is committed to the advancement of entrepreneurship in our community. We are very fortunate to have developed a relationship with Marc Portney from the Science Channel.”

Portney will begin by taking audience questions, after which select entrepreneurs will have up to 5 minutes to pitch their ideas to Portney. Event organizers stress that this is not a shark-tank situation; there is no need to discuss capital, as Portney can offer more than capital due to his expertise in manufacturing, sales and marketing.

The event will end with a relaxed night of networking with Portney and other attendees, which helps entrepreneurs make connections that can lead to partnerships and increased business.

For more information about “Pitch Marc Portney,” including the evening’s itinerary and questions about what to expect if you are pitching an idea, visit https://www.globalsourceip.com/events/pitch-marc-portney-knoxville-tn-may-2-2019.

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Study shows Tennessee Promise increases retention, graduation rates

Tennessee Promise, a last-dollar scholarship for high school seniors, has increased retention and graduation rates for full-time, first-time freshmen at Pellissippi State, according to a new study produced by the Postsecondary Education Research Center at the University of Tennessee in conjunction with the Office of Institutional Effectiveness, Assessment and Planning at Pellissippi State.

“A Snapshot of Tennessee Promise: Pellissippi State Community College, 2015-2018,” the first in a series addressing Tennessee Promise at specific institutions of higher education, was published in February and unveiled in a press conference Tuesday at UT.

The study, which is available as a PDF at https://perc.utk.edu/reports, has several key takeaways for Pellissippi State, says Data Analytics Technician Marisol Benitez Ramirez, who co-authored the study with Lisa G. Driscoll, associate professor of educational leadership and policy studies at UT.

  • Pellissippi State’s total enrollment steadily increased during the past four years in part due to participants in Tennessee Promise, which was signed into law by former Gov. Bill Haslam in 2014.
  • Underrepresented minority student enrollment has increased among Tennessee Promise students, narrowing the gap of previous years’ enrollment to reflect the ethnicity and race of the region’s high school population.
  • In general, the implementation of Tennessee Promise has increased access to education in population subgroups.
  • Students receiving the Tennessee Promise scholarship increased attainment compared with non-Tennessee Promise students.

“That means that Tennessee Promise students attempted more credit hours, had a higher retention rate and had a higher graduation rate when compared with non-Tennessee Promise students,” Benitez explained.

Full-time, first-time freshmen who started Pellissippi State in fall 2014, before Tennessee Promise was enacted, had a three-year graduation rate of 23.5 percent, while those who started in fall 2015 had a three-year graduation rate of 30.1 percent.

“The study shows that Tennessee Promise both increases accessibility to college and provides incentive for more students to stay the course. At Pellissippi State we are happy to play a role in helping a larger group of Tennesseans earn a post-secondary credential,” said Interim Vice President of Academic Affairs Kathryn Byrd.

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