Anyone who has considered taking classes at Pellissippi State Community College has an opportunity next week to check out the school — from the academic programs offered to the financial aid available.
Pellissippi State’s open house, now called Pellissippi Preview, will be held 9:15 a.m.-noon Saturday, Sept. 28, at the college’s Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road.
Pellissippi Preview is open to prospective students of all ages and is free to attend.
Pellissippi State will kick off the event in the Clayton Performing Arts Center at 9:15 a.m. before letting prospective students explore the departments that interest them until 10:45 a.m. Faculty and staff will be available to answer questions about the college’s academic programs as well as the student services available at Pellissippi State.
Pellissippi Preview also will feature two short presentations: one on transferring from Pellissippi State to four-year colleges and universities at 10:45 a.m. and one on financial aid at 11:25 a.m. Participants will get hands-on information about one of the questions Pellissippi State advisers and recruiters hear the most: ”Will my Pellissippi State classes transfer?” They’ll also learn more about scholarship opportunities, including Tennessee Promise for high school seniors.
All those who attend Pellissippi Preview will be entered in a drawing for one of two $250 scholarships from the Pellissippi State Foundation to attend Pellissippi State. The drawing will be held at 11:50 a.m. to close the event.
Pellissippi State Community College lauded retired state. Rep. Harry Brooks of Knoxville on Tuesday by naming a wing of its Strawberry Plains Campus in his honor.
The Harry Brooks Career Education Center contains Pellissippi State’s MegaLab as well as its newly expanded cyber operations and welding centers. The campus is located at 7201 Strawberry Plains Pike.
“Rep. Harry Brooks championed career and technical education during his many years in the legislature,” said Pellissippi State President L. Anthony Wise Jr. “His advocacy for workforce training, dual credit and dual enrollment promoted career opportunities for students not just at Pellissippi State, but across Tennessee.”
Brooks, who was on hand Tuesday to witness the dedication with many friends and family members, represented District 19, part of Knox County, in the state legislature for eight terms, from 2003 until his retirement in 2018. During that time he served myriad committees, including chairing the House Education Committee during the 108th General Assembly and the House Education Administration and Planning Committee during the 109th and 110th General Assemblies. He also served on the Knox County School Board from 1992 until 1996.
“I’ll remember this day forever,” Brooks said Tuesday. “It’s an honor to see your name added to an educational institution, whether it’s K-12 or a college, and I don’t deserve it. I’m just happy to have been part of a team that made great strides in education in our state, and the future is bright.”
Pellissippi State also held a grand opening for its new cyber defense and welding centers on Tuesday.
Pellissippi State has 80 students enrolled in its Cyber Defense concentration under the Computer Information Technology program. The concentration has added $69,000 worth of equipment and supplies in response to explosive growth from an initial 19 students in fall 2016.
Funding was made possible through a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor via the Knoxville area Information Technology and Engineering (KITE) Program, which focuses on removing barriers facing unemployed or underemployed 17- to 29-year-olds in order to obtain middle- and high-skill jobs in the information technology and advanced manufacturing sectors.
“When we were teaching in a general purpose classroom with no dedicated equipment, we were not able to provide the quality or capacity we wanted,” said Cyber Defense instructor Charles Nelson. “This facility provides a digitally safe and secure environment to simulate cyber security scenarios that allow students to explore a wide variety of tools and techniques without interfering with normal campus operations, leaking threats or exposing vulnerabilities outside of the lab space.”
Pellissippi State has 52 students enrolled in its Welding Technology program and has expanded its welding area at the Strawberry Plains Campus by adding 15 booths to the 14 the college already had there. In addition to offering Welding Technology cohorts for Pellissippi State students during the day and in the evenings, the college also is offering three welding classes this semester to high school students in Knox County Schools’ Career Magnet Academy located on the Strawberry Plains Campus.
“These facilities are now available and utilized from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday and on Saturday mornings for student utilization, open labs and courses,” said Welding Technology Program Coordinator Adam Streich, noting the American Welding Society is predicting a shortage of 450,000 skilled welders by 2022. “Local employers have asked for more student proficiency in alloys, stainless steel and aluminum (so) this expanded space and new equipment allows students to get more time on the skills local employers require.”
For more information about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call 865.694.6400.
An annual literature and arts conference at Pellissippi State Community College now includes editing and publishing presentations, in response to interest from local writers.
The fourth annual James Agee Conference for Literature and Arts will be held noon-7:15 p.m. Friday, Sept. 13, in the Goins Building Auditorium on the college’s Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road.
The event is free and open to the public. There is no pre-registration. Check-in will be held 11-11:50 a.m. on site the day of the conference.
“We try to shift around and add something new each year in response to our participants,” explained conference founder Charles Dodd White, an associate professor of English at Pellissippi State. “This is the first time we’ve offered these editing and publishing presentations.”
Thomas Alas Holmes of East Tennessee State University will lead the editing discussion 12-12:30 p.m., while Beto and Bob Cumming of Iris Press will lead the publishing discussion 12:30-1 p.m.
The rest of the afternoon will feature master classes in Nature Writing with Kim Trevathan, an associate professor of writing/communications at Maryville College who is writing his latest book about canoeing the Tennessee River from Paducah, Kentucky, to Knoxville last year; Songwriting with Tiffany Williams, an Eastern Kentucky native who released her debut EP, “When You Go,” earlier this year; and Fiction Writing with Caleb Johnson, author of the novel “Treeborne,” an honorable mention for the 2019 Southern Book Prize.
Leigh Anne Henion, author of “Phenomenal: A Hesitant Adventurer’s Search for Wonder in the Natural World,” will take the stage at 6 p.m. for the conference’s keynote presentation. Henion, who has had stories noted in three editions of “The Best American Travel Writing,” penned her memoir after becoming a mother and questioning whether “experiencing earth’s most dazzling natural phenomena” could reawaken a sense of wonder in herself similar to the one she witnessed daily in her child, who would marvel over simple things in nature.
The conference will wrap up with a signing with all the authors, and Union Avenue Books will be on site with books available for purchase.
White, whose novel “In the House of Wilderness” was named the 2018 Appalachian Book of the Year by the Appalachian Writers Association in June, created the James Agee Conference four years ago largely to give Pellissippi State students an opportunity to attend a scholarly conference while also celebrating the literature, culture and arts of Appalachia.
“Agee is such a particular touchstone for this area,” said White, who was inducted into the East Tennessee Writers Hall of Fame for fiction in October. “The conference gives us an opportunity to honor his influence while also exploring the hometown portrayal of Appalachia through writing and art.”
Pellissippi State Community College has answered the call from industry partners to start offering associate degrees in Water Quality Technology.
The new program, approved by the Tennessee Board of Regents at the end of June, will start this fall and prepare students for careers in water and wastewater treatment plants. It is the first program of its kind in the state, said Program Coordinator Arthur Stewart, who was brought on board last year to design the curriculum with industry partners.
“This is real important to the industry,” said Drexel Heidel, general manager of West Knox Utility District. “Some 30 to 50 percent of our certified operators are slated to retire in the next 10 years. So we’re struggling to find people to run our plants.”
An advisory committee comprised of 11 utility representatives as well as staff from the Tennessee Association of Utility Districts and the state’s Fleming Training Center have been working with Pellissippi State to create a program that will meet the needs of water and wastewater treatment plants. Instructional materials align with those used for state-level certifications so that graduates will be prepared for what Heidel calls “pretty rigorous tests.”
Right now the pass rate for Class 3 and Class 4 operators in Tennessee is about 30 percent, he noted.
“There are just not enough people to go around,” Stewart added. “There is a real need here for classes that will help existing utility workers pass their state-level certifications, which will address the industry’s short-term need, and also to recruit new and younger students to the field, which will serve the long-term need.”
Pellissippi State’s Water Quality Technology program provides both operational theory and a strong practical background in mathematics, chemistry and aquatic sciences through coursework, site visits and a capstone project conducted at a local water or wastewater treatment facility.
“We came to Pellissippi State and told them our dilemma and our need for the program because Pellissippi State is the best around,” Heidel said. “We are very excited to be able to prepare students to be our future operators.”
Joshua Johnson with Knoxville Utilities Board’s Plant Operations agreed.
“Water and wastewater treatment is a career path that is vital to all healthy communities, and the Water Quality Technology Program will allow for faster onboarding of new employees in this critical field,” he said. “KUB is excited to be a part of developing the next generations of treatment professionals.”
College and industry representatives are recruiting students now for the program’s first two classes, which start this fall: Orientation to Water Operations and Regulations & Compliance. Pellissippi State’s fall semester begins Aug. 26.
“The program will follow a cohort structure, in that students will move through their classes as a group,” Stewart explained. “Regardless of their age or their experience, students will take the same classes at the same time.”
Sixty or 61 credit hours are needed to graduate with an Associate of Applied Science in Water Quality Technology. The program goals, typical job opportunities, courses and course sequence can be found in Pellissippi State’s online 2019-2020 College Catalog or on the program’s website at www.pstcc.edu/water-quality.
“There will be multiple off-site visits, where students will be able to engage with plant operators and have face time with prospective employers,” Stewart noted. “And because this program is the only one like it in the state, we expect incredible growth.”
For more information about the new Water Quality Technology program, contact Program Coordinator Arthur Stewart at firstname.lastname@example.org 865-694-6427 or Natural and Behavioral Sciences Dean Kane Barker at email@example.com 865-694-6695.
This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1800789. Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.
College educators who want to explore active learning strategies and come away with lesson-planning ideas are invited to a one-day workshop at Pellissippi State Community College this fall.
“Teaching with your Mouth Shut: Keeping Students Active, Attentive and Engaged!” will be held 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Friday, Sept. 13, on the college’s Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road, Knoxville.
Capped at 75 participants, those who register by Aug. 16 will receive a $50 discount. Lunch is included in the price of the workshop.
Co-hosted by the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD) and Pellissippi State, this regional workshop is based on the popular book, “Teaching with Your Mouth Shut,” by Donald Finkel and will be led by Ericka Landry, director of Faculty Development at Lone Star College in Houston. Landry has worked and taught in K-12 and higher education for more than 20 years.
“This is the first time we’ve been asked to co-host a regional workshop with NISOD,” said Kellie Toon, director of the Pellissippi Academic Center for Excellence. “The topic – engagement and active learning strategies – was selected by Pellissippi State faculty, and I particularly like that participants will walk away with lesson-planning ideas they can incorporate into the classroom.”
Participants also will consider several classroom assessment techniques and explore at least three instructional technologies. All will receive a certificate of attendance upon completing the workshop.
Prices for the workshop vary by where educators are employed:
Pellissippi State: $129 for early registration, $179 after Aug. 16;
NISOD member college: $159 for early registration; $209 after Aug. 16; and
NISOD nonmember college: $209 for early registration; $259 after Aug. 16.
To learn more about the workshop or to register, visit www.nisod.org/pstcc. For those driving in from out of town, contact information for nearby hotels is listed on the website as well.
Audrey Williams, vice president of Information Services and chief information officer for Pellissippi State Community College, has been selected to participate in the 2019 Leading Change Institute in Washington, D.C.
Williams, who has worked for Pellissippi State for 20 years, is one of only 38 individuals chosen for the conference, which is jointly sponsored by the Council on Library and Information Resources and EDUCAUSE, a nonprofit association that helps higher education elevate the impact of information technology.
“Throughout my career in educational and information technology, I have had the mindset of being a problem-solver, serving as a support function within the work of others,” Williams said. “To increase our capacity to serve our students, we have a growing number of new and existing technologies and data platforms. This brings change, not only to the technical staff, but to faculty, students and staff. I am now asked to provide leadership before, during and after these projects to ensure their purposes are understood, all voices (both positive and negative) are heard, risks are evaluated and impacts are anticipated.”
The Leading Change Institute, which takes place this week, brings together leaders in higher education who want to work collaboratively to promote and initiate change on critical issues, including new sources of competition, use of technology to support effective teaching and learning, distance learning, changing modes of scholarly communications and the qualities necessary for leadership.
“Participation in LCI will provide me with tools, networks and information to help me lead my division, my college and the statewide college system at a critical time as we approach several upcoming large changes in operations, as well as whatever the future may bring our way,” Williams said. “By attending LCI, I hope to create strong, professional relationships with peers around the world and to take advantage of what I can learn from the presenters and institute faculty to build my understanding of how to lead positive change on campus and beyond.”
For more information about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call 865-694-6400.
Pellissippi State Community College wants to help Hiwassee College students who will be displaced by that institution’s closing at the end of spring semester.
The college’s board of trustees voted to close Thursday, ending a 170-year history in Madisonville, Tennessee. The school is closing for “financial reasons,” according to the Rev. Tim Jones, director of communications for the Holston Conference of the United Methodist Church.
“We understand this can feel like an insurmountable setback to Hiwassee College students, and we invite them to contact us to see if one of our career programs or transfer programs are right for them,” said Leigh Anne Touzeau, assistant vice president for Enrollment Services.
Pellissippi State offers transfer programs that allow students to get started in their field of choice, earn an associate degree and then transfer seamlessly to a four-year institution. Meanwhile, Pellissippi State’s career programs result in associate degrees that prepare students to enter the workforce after two years.
“Our goal here at Pellissippi State is to help students start strong, stay strong and finish strong,” Touzeau said. “We know this is an uncertain time for Hiwassee College students, and we would love to help them continue their educational journey.”
The Admissions office is open Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Pellissippi State Community College has announced today its largest expansion in 44 years.
Pellissippi State, the largest community college in Tennessee with 10,894 students, announced plans to build a science and math building on its Hardin Valley Campus in Knoxville and a workforce development center on its Blount County Campus in Friendsville.
“Today is a historic day at Pellissippi State,” said Pellissippi State President L. Anthony Wise Jr. “Never before have we had two capital projects occurring simultaneously. Never before have we set a $10 million fundraising goal. And never before have we engaged so many volunteers in the process.”
The new 82,000-square-foot science and math building will help Pellissippi State meet demands for classrooms and lab spaces that have increased due to Tennessee Promise and Tennessee Reconnect, last-dollar scholarships offered to high school seniors and adults without college degrees, respectively.
“Pellissippi State’s general biology lab is in use for 12 hours a day, five days a week, with most labs at full capacity,” said Kane Barker, dean of Natural & Behavioral Sciences. “Many students need this course and other math and science classes in order to graduate on time. This new building will double the capacity for many of our core courses.”
Meanwhile, Blount County has experienced $2.8 billion in new capital investment and announced 5,500 new jobs since 2011, according to the Blount Partnership. Pellissippi State’s new 62,000-square-foot workforce development center will help fill the area’s need for highly skilled, college-educated employees.
“This new building will allow us to expand our Engineering Technology, Computer Information Technology and Culinary Arts associate degree programs and certificates,” said Teri Brahams, executive director for Economic and Workforce Development for Pellissippi State. “We would not be here today without DENSO Manufacturing Tennessee’s commitment to expansion and employment in Blount County and their advocacy on behalf of manufacturing in our state.”
Pellissippi State plans to break ground on the new science and math building this spring and open it in fall 2021. The college plans to break ground on the workforce development center in December 2019, and classes will start there in fall 2021.
The total project cost for the construction of the new science and math building is $27 million while the total project cost for the construction of the workforce development center is $16.5 million.
Pellissippi State is responsible for $2.7 million for the new science and math building, which is primarily funded by the state, and $5.5 million for the workforce development center, which also is being funded by the state and the Tennessee College of Applied Technology Knoxville, which will occupy part of the building.
Other funding priorities announced Friday include $800,000 to expand Pellissippi State’s Media Technology program, specifically the Audio Production Engineering concentration, as well as $1 million to help support students through scholarships and emergency assistance and to help faculty through funding individual departments and programs, professional development opportunities and new equipment and technology updates.
Part of Friday’s announcement was that the Pellissippi State Foundation already has raised $8 million of its $10 million goal, thanks to significant contributions from donors such as the Haslam Family Foundation; Ruth and Steve West; Blount County, the City of Maryville and the City of Alcoa in partnership with the Industrial Development Board; Pilot Flying J; Arconic Foundation; Clayton Family Foundation; Clayton Homes Inc.; UT-Battelle; DENSO North America Foundation; Oak Ridge Associated Universities; UCOR, an AECOM-led partnership with Jacobs; William Ed Harmon; and the Thompson Charitable Foundation.
Pellissippi State Community College students brought holiday cheer – and 45 bikes – to Tennessee School for the Deaf this month, as Gay Baker’s American Sign Language classes led two days of “Toy Story”-themed activities for TSD elementary and middle schoolers.
“This is a perfect partnership,” said Sue Ivey, dean of students for TSD’s middle and high schools. “Gay’s students get real live experience with deaf students, and they always bring activities that are educational, age appropriate and fun. The students don’t even know that they’re learning!”
“This is their final project, which is why it falls during finals week,” explained Baker, who has been teaching ASL at Pellissippi State since January 1998. “It stresses team building and collaboration effort, and it exposes them to authentic experiences with deaf students.”
On Dec. 10, Pellissippi State students presented a “Toy Story”-inspired play for the TSD students; introduced them to deaf role models such as cowboy Clint Thomas, who graduated from Georgia School for the Deaf; and guided them through rodeo/carnival games inspired by the “Toy Story” character Woody, tossing toy snakes into boots and “shooting out” tin cans with Nerf guns.
Activities on Dec. 11 centered around the “Toy Story” character Buzz Lightyear and Pellissippi State’s Common Academic Experience theme of “Inner Space | Outer Space.” TSD students learned about deaf #StudentAstronaut winner Julia Velasquez, deaf NASA engineer Johanna Lucht and the deaf college students, known as the Gallaudet Eleven, who helped NASA understand the effects of gravitational changes on the human body.
Afterwards TSD students moved through eight learning stations with games such as planet Twister and Comet Ball, a riff on Dodge Ball, and activities like playing the board game Operation while wearing space gloves or taking a turn on an inversion table to mimic the motion sickness some experience in space.
“This has been really good, really fun,” signed TSD eighth grader Lizzie Parker. “There have been lots of things to do, like tasting different kinds of space food that an astronaut would eat. I really liked it.”
Seventh grader Teya Stafford signed that she liked learning about constellations and then getting to create her own while sixth grader Shequita Morris signed that she liked learning about Mars.
“We learned how to make rockets, too,” Morris signed, indicating the propulsion station where students mixed vinegar and baking soda in plastic bottles. “I learned all about space and the different planets and black holes.”
At the end of the night, TSD students gathered outside to watch Pellissippi State students launch a small rocket, but that wasn’t the biggest surprise the college students had in store for them. Pellissippi State’s ASL, Please! club presented each residential elementary and middle school student with a bicycle to keep on the TSD campus.
“Every year they ask us what we need,” Ivey explained, noting Pellissippi State’s ASL students have provided everything from lotion, toothbrushes and toothpaste for the students to larger items such as winter coats and beanbag chairs for the student union. “This year we requested bikes because we’re starting a bike club, and when we did an inventory last spring, our bikes here are in terrible shape.”
The ASL, Please! club gathered 45 bikes: 20 donated by Kickstand Community Bike Shop, six donated by DreamBikes and 19 donated by community members who responded to a post by a student’s mother in a neighborhood Facebook group. The Epilepsy Foundation of East Tennessee chipped in 45 helmets.
“Our club has been working really hard for you guys for this special surprise,” Baker signed to the anxiously awaiting children before the Pellissippi State students rode in on the bikes to shocked expressions and excited cheers. One TSD student jumped right up and hugged ASL, Please! President Stephen Roberts, who has been leading mission trips to a deaf village in Jamaica for four years.
“This has been amazing,” said Pellissippi State student Brandon Owens, who is majoring in interpretation. “I always think it can’t get any more fun, but it does. Interpreting was not my original major, but I just fell in love with the ASL classes and with this community.”
This was Pellissippi State student Lucille Wright’s first experience with TSD.
“This has been fascinating because I’ve never been around deaf kids before,” she said. “They are all so happy to have us and willing to help. We’re in ASL I so they actually are helping us learn.”
Indeed, Baker stressed that the interaction with the deaf community is one of the most important things Pellissippi State students take away from their ASL classes.
“One of the most vital things about the final project at TSD is that it gives our ASL students exposure to one of our country’s indigenous languages as well as another culture,” she says. “ASL helps our students be aware of accessibility, equality and diversity.”
And that pays off for their futures, Ivey noted.
“A lot of Pellissippi State students have become teachers here, and some are now in administration, having worked their way up,” she said. “Pellissippi State ASL students become some of our most well-rounded employees because they understand deaf culture and the importance of the language.”
For more information about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call 865-694-6400. For more photos of the Dec. 11 event at TSD, see the photo gallery below. Clicking on any of the photos in this story or in the gallery will lead you to high-resolution versions that can be downloaded for your use.
Pellissippi State Community College wants to help Virginia College students displaced by that institution’s closing.
Education Corporation of America campuses including Brightwood College, Brightwood Career Institute, Ecotech Institute, Golf Academy of America and Virginia College will discontinue operations in December 2018, according to the ECA website.
“We understand this can feel like an insurmountable setback to Virginia College students, and we invite them to contact us to see if one of our career programs or transfer programs are right for them,” said Leigh Anne Touzeau, assistant vice president for Enrollment Services.
Pellissippi State’s 14 career programs result in associate degrees that prepare students to enter the workforce in high-demand, competitive fields including computer information technology, electrical engineering technology, engineering technology, mechanical engineering technology and media technologies.
Pellissippi State also offers transfer programs that allow students to get started in their field of choice, earn an associate degree and then transfer seamlessly to a four-year institution.
Virginia College students may be eligible for Tennessee Reconnect, Touzeau added. This last-dollar scholarship for adults covers college tuition and mandatory fees that aren’t paid for through other state and federal financial aid.
Adult learners qualify for Tennessee Reconnect if they:
Do not have an associate or bachelor degree;
Have been a Tennessee resident since Aug. 1, 2017;
Complete the 2018-19 FAFSA;
Are designated as an “independent” on the FAFSA;
Attend and complete courses at least as a part-time student, taking a minimum of six credit hours per semester; and
“Our goal here at Pellissippi State is to help students start strong, stay strong and finish strong,” Touzeau said. “We know this is a scary time for Virginia College students, and we would love to help them continue their educational journey.”
The Admissions office is open Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.