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 . 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


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

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 To request accommodations for a disability at these events, call 865.539.7401 or email


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 or call 865-694-6400. To request accommodations for a disability at this event, call 865.539.7401 or email


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 or call 865-694-6400.

To request accommodations for a disability at this event, call 865-539-7401 or email


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


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:

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


Pellissippi State invites prospective students to check out campus April 6

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 spring open house, now called Pellissippi Preview, will be held 9-11 a.m. Saturday, April 6, on the college’s Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road.

Pellissippi Preview is open to prospective students of all ages, noted Enrollment Services Coordinator Debra Benedict.

“This is a fun way to get on campus and see everything we have to offer – not just our academic programs, but our services as well, from advising to financial aid,” she said.

Pellissippi Preview will kick off with a program showcase in the Goins Building College Center. Participants will be able to find out more about the academic programs that interest them and the student services that are available at Pellissippi State.

Pellissippi Preview also will feature two presentations: one on transferring from Pellissippi State to four-year colleges and universities and one on financial aid. Participants will get hands-on information about one of the questions Pellissippi State staff hear the most – “Will my Pellissippi State classes transfer?”  They also will learn more about scholarship opportunities, including Tennessee Promise for high school seniors and Tennessee Reconnect for adult learners.

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; winners will be contacted at a later date.

To RSVP for Pellissippi Preview, visit To request accommodations for this event, call 865-694-6411 or email

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

Pellissippi State welcomes astronaut who served on the International Space Station

Astronaut Mark T. Vande Hei
Astronaut Mark T. Vande Hei will speak at Pellissippi State on April 4. The event is free and open to the public.

Space is closer than you think – and an astronaut who spent almost six months on board the International Space Station will share how in a presentation at Pellissippi State Community College next month.

Astronaut Mark T. Vande Hei, who most recently served as flight engineer on the International Space Station, will detail how “Space is Closer Than You Think” in this free event at 12:25 p.m. Thursday, April 4, in the Clayton Performing Arts Center on the college’s Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road.

Vande Hei’s presentation, which is open to the public, serves as a fitting bookend to the 2018-19 academic year at Pellissippi State, which kicked off with Convocation speaker Johnny F. Stephenson Jr., director of the Office of Strategic Analysis & Communications at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

Vande Hei’s visit also caps Pellissippi State’s two-year Common Academic Experience theme of “Inner Space | Outer Space,” which was inspired by the total solar eclipse in August 2017. The Common Academic Experience has championed campus discussions of issues, both in and out of class, around this theme.

“Our students have really enjoyed experiencing the personal stories of down-to-earth people who have made stellar achievements,” said Pellissippi State librarian Will Buck, who co-chairs the Common Academic Experience with librarian Allison Scripa. “By relating these experiences to their own personal stories, Pellissippi State students have made connections – not just to their lives right now, but to their future place in this world and perhaps beyond.”

Vande Hei is a former combat engineer in the U.S. Army who served in Iraq and later worked as an assistant professor in the Department of Physics at the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York.

Vande Hei was selected by NASA in 2009 as one of nine members of the 20th NASA astronaut class. He most recently served as flight engineer on the International Space Station for Expeditions 53/54, Sept. 13, 2017-Feb. 28, 2018. Vande Hei logged 168 days in space on this mission, venturing outside the space station for four spacewalks to perform work that included replacing and lubricating the Latching End Effectors on both ends of the Canadarm2. The total duration of his spacewalks was 26 hours 42 minutes.

For more information about Pellissippi State, visit or call 865-694-6400. To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Equity and Compliance at 865-539-7401 or


Pellissippi State welcomes five female officeholders for Women’s History Month Event

Knoxville’s four city councilwomen and one of Knox County’s two female commissioners will speak at Pellissippi State Community College next week, and the public is invited to attend the free event.

The Women’s History Month Event, spearheaded by a Pellissippi State student, will be held 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Monday, March 25, in the Community Room on the college’s Magnolia Avenue Campus, 1610 E. Magnolia Ave.

Knox County Commissioner Evelyn Gill, who represents the 1st District, will join Knoxville City Councilwomen Stephanie Welch (1st District), Seema Singh-Perez (3rd District), Lauren Rider (4th District) and Gwen McKenzie (6th District) to talk about their individual journeys to success and answer questions from the audience.

“I believe this event will put women in a positive light,” said Detriedah Welsh, a Pellissippi State student who will graduate in May and continue her education at Tennessee State University. “It’s not every day we can meet our council members and commissioners. This is a great opportunity for Pellissippi State students and the community as well.”

To request accommodations for a disability for this event, call 865-539-7401 or email  For more information about Pellissippi State, visit or call 865-694-6400.


Rising country music star to perform free concert after manufacturing showcase at Pellissippi State

Courtney Cole in front of the ocean
Rising country music star Courtney Cole will perform a free concert April 10 on Pellissippi State’s Blount County Campus, as part of Country Music Television’s Empowering Education tour.

Those interested in careers in manufacturing have a chance to learn more about local job opportunities and catch a free concert at Pellissippi State Community College next month.

Pellissippi State is one of four Tennessee community colleges on Country Music Television’s Empowering Education tour featuring rising star Courtney Cole, a Belmont University graduate who has been named one of CMT’s Next Women of Country.

A manufacturing showcase will start at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 10, in the lobby of Pellissippi State’s Blount County Campus, followed by the free concert at 6 p.m. in the campus’ West Chevrolet Auditorium.

Pellissippi State’s Blount County Campus is located at 2731 W. Lamar Alexander Parkway, Friendsville. While the concert is free, tickets are required, as seating is limited.

“We want folks to come out, maybe who have never set foot on our campus, to learn more about the manufacturing careers available right here in our community as well as the manufacturing programs we offer at Pellissippi State,” said Blount County Campus Dean Holly Burkett.

The manufacturing showcase will highlight resources available to students to pursue the initial education and training required to break into a manufacturing career as well as resources available for those who wish to advance their careers with their existing employers, she noted.

Representatives of local companies – including DENSO, Newell Rubbermaid, Cherokee Millwright, Massey Electric, ICC International and Arconic – will be on hand to answer questions, as will representatives from Pellissippi State and Tennessee College of Applied Technology Knoxville, which will inhabit a portion of the new Blount County Workforce Development Center planned for Pellissippi State’s Blount County Campus.

The 62,000-square-foot Workforce Development Center, which the college plans to break ground on in December, will include a Smart Factory MegaLab; a Corporate Training Center for training the employees of the college’s more than 30 employer partners; and Pellissippi State programming for computer information technology, culinary arts, industrial maintenance, mechanical engineering technology, and robotics and industrial automation. Meanwhile, TCAT Knoxville will offer machine tool technology, pipe fitting, industrial electrical maintenance and welding and a variety of healthcare programming.

“My excitement is that not only will Pellissippi State’s Blount County Campus be able to offer associate degrees, but also these technical trades that the Blount County community needs,” Burkett said, referencing the 5,500 new jobs Blount Partnership has announced since 2011. “Many times our Tennessee Promise scholarship students come to college because they know it’s a great opportunity, but they don’t know what they want to do. Now they can choose to pursue a program that will transfer to a four-year institution or go with one of our many career programs that prepares them to enter the workforce as soon as possible. It’s a total win-win.”

CMT joined forces with TBR – The College System of Tennessee – for the Empowering Education tour in an effort to increase the number of work-ready residents in the state. Those who attend the concert after the manufacturing showcase will hear success stories from two Pellissippi State students and two TCAT Knoxville students as well as from the artist, who is a vocal advocate for education.

“As someone who graduated from college in Tennessee, I am thrilled to be working with CMT and TBR to spread the message of the potential education has to change your life,” said Cole, who has opened for Miranda Lambert, Kenny Chesney and Thomas Rhett. “I can’t wait to tour the state, put on a really fun show and encourage people to follow their dreams.”

CMT Empowering Education’s goal is to connect Tennesseans with ways to further their education and develop their skills in order to achieve their dreams. It also supports the state’s “Drive to 55” mission to increase the number of Tennesseans with a post-high-school degree or certificate to 55 percent of the state’s population by 2025. Achieving that goal will require 800,000 more Tennesseans getting the training and skills needed for the jobs of today and tomorrow.

To request accommodations for a disability for this event, call 865-539-7401 or email accommodations@pstcc.eduFor more information about Pellissippi State, visit or call 865-694-6400.