Beyond the lecture: one-day workshop on ‘Teaching with your Mouth Shut’ focuses on active learning

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.

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Pellissippi State gives high school students hands-on experiences at summer camps

High school students from the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Tennessee Valley work on the SimMan at Nursing Camp
YouthForce students from the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Tennessee Valley listen to the lungs of SimMan during Nursing camp on Pellissippi State’s Strawberry Plains Campus.

Something is happening.

The nurses check the patient’s pupils. “They’re asymmetrical,” one reports. Stethoscopes out, they listen to his chest, where they hear an asthmatic wheeze. A few minutes later, they’re administering CPR, taking turns counting and doing chest compressions.

It’s not a real patient, and it’s not an emergency. It’s just a typical day at Nursing camp at Pellissippi State Community College.

YouthForce, the workforce development program of the Boys & Girls Club of the Tennessee Valley, will bring 60 high school students to Pellissippi State’s Strawberry Plains Campus this summer to experience week-long Technical Training Camps.

Nursing and Welding camps were held June 4-7 while Cybersecurity and Manufacturing camps will take place June 18-21.

“We like to make everything hands-on applications of the theory,” explained Andy Polnicki, director of the MegaLab on the Strawberry Plains Campus. “I went to a traditional (four-year) school, and when I graduated and got out into the real world, I realized I only knew a lot of theory. Here at Pellissippi State we spend a lot of time actually applying that theory.”

The goal of YouthForce, which is open to any high school student in Knox and Blount counties, is to expose high school students to skilled trades and to gain first-job skills, explained YouthForce Director Rebecca McDonough. This is the third year YouthForce has held the camps at Pellissippi State.

Decked out in matching scrubs with fully equipped nurse’s kits, the 16 students in Nursing camp rattled off all the things they learned during the week, from the medical (how to stop a bleed, how to perform the Heimlich maneuver, how to administer CPR to a baby) to the practical (how to change hospital beds, how to wash their hands, how to put a pillowcase on a pillow without getting it contaminated).

“We got to experience real nurses, and they shared their stories with us,” explained Callie Anderson, a rising senior at Fulton High School. “Them giving us that extra background of what it’s like to be in the nursing field and then all the hands-on skills labs was just beyond my expectations. I’m so appreciative of this program.”

As nursing instructor Jennifer Priano started to walk a group of students through how to deliver a baby on the SimMom, an advanced full-body birthing simulator, Auna Campbell could not contain her excitement.

“I watch labor videos all the time! People think I’m weird, but it’s really interesting,” said Campbell, a rising junior at West High School. “I want to be a nurse, and I know what I need to do, but I need guidance to know what classes to take and to keep me on the right path because labor and delivery takes a whole lot of schooling. This camp this week helps a lot.”

A high school student from the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Tennessee Valley works on a project during Welding camp
A YouthForce student from the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Tennessee Valley works on a project during Welding camp on Pellissippi State’s Strawberry Plains Campus.

Downstairs, the 14 students in Welding camp showed off what they’d learned how to make this week.

“This was my first experience with welding, but it’s really cool,” said Tashaun Patrick, a rising junior at South Doyle High School. “I love the plasma cutter. It’s just the most amazing thing. I made my football number and put it on a post. Today I took these random parts and made an eagle. We’re making a lot of cool stuff that you wouldn’t make in a typical high school class.”

Patrick noted he enjoyed Welding camp so much that he plans to make welding his back-up plan if a sports career doesn’t work out.

“This has been all you want in a summer camp,” Patrick added. “We’ve been learning and having a lot of fun doing it.”

For more information about YouthForce, visit www.bgctnv.org/youthforce. For more information on Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call 865-694-6400.

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YouthForce students at Nursing camp, lined up to practice the Heimlich maneuver
YouthForce students line up to practice the Heimlich maneuver during Nursing camp on Pellissippi State’s Strawberry Plains Campus.
YouthForce student learns to take a manual blood pressure at Nursing camp
A YouthForce student learns to take blood pressure manually at Nursing camp on Pellissippi State’s Strawberry Plains Campus.
YouthForce students perform CPR on SimMan
YouthForce students perform CPR on SimMan, a patient simulator, during Nursing camp on Pellissippi State’s Strawberry Plains Campus.
YouthForce students check SimMan's pupils
YouthForce students check SimMan’s pupils during Nursing camp on Pellissippi State’s Strawberry Plains Campus.
Female YouthForce welding student with work she made at camp
A YouthForce student from the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Tennessee Valley shows off the artwork she made during Welding camp on Pellissippi State’s Strawberry Plains Campus.
YouthForce student welding
YouthForce student Tashaun Patrick practices welding during Welding camp on Pellissippi State’s Strawberry Plains Campus.
YouthForce male student with project he made at welding camp
Teshaun Patrick, a rising junior at South Doyle High School, shows off how his football number he made with a plasma cutter during Welding camp on Pellissippi State’s Strawberry Plains Campus.
YouthForce students in full welding gear
YouthForce students from the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Tennessee Valley watch as Pellissippi State Welding Technology Program Coordinator Adam Streich (not pictured) shows them what they’ll be learning next at Welding camp on Pellissippi State’s Strawberry Plains Campus.

Pellissippi State’s H.A.B.I.T. cat makes literary debut in new “Chicken Soup for the Soul” book

Betsy Boyd holding her gray Maine Coon cat
Longtime Pellissippi State counselor Betsy Boyd talks about her H.A.B.I.T. cat, Jimmy Carter McGill, during a celebration on the college’s Blount County Campus on Thursday. Jimmy Carter McGill is featured in the new book “Chicken Soup for the Soul: Life Lessons from the Cat.”

When Jimmy Carter McGill walks onto Pellissippi State Community College’s Blount County Campus, students just “melt” onto the floor.

The local celebrity walks around like he owns the place. Faculty and staff lure him into their offices with toys and treats. He makes himself at home on their bottom shelves.

Now Jimmy Carter McGill, a 14-pound Maine Coon cat, is featured in “Chicken Soup for the Soul: Life Lessons from the Cat,” published earlier this month. The story was written and submitted by his owner, Betsy Boyd, a longtime counselor on Pellissippi State’s Blount County Campus.

Included in the book’s chapter titled Who Rescued Who?, “Jimmy Carter McGill” recounts how Boyd came to adopt the stray cat at a grief-stricken time in her life and have him certified as a volunteer with Human Animal Bond in Tennessee (H.A.B.I.T.), an animal-assisted therapy program sponsored by the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine.

“It’s a very rare kitty to have the confidence and composure to go visit people in a variety of settings,” H.A.B.I.T. Program Coordinator Ruth Sapp said at a celebration of Jimmy Carter McGill held at Pellissippi State’s Blount County Campus on Thursday. “I am just so proud of you guys.”

Boyd started bringing Jimmy Carter McGill – named for both former President Jimmy Carter and fictional character Jimmy McGill in the television series “Better Call Saul” – to the Blount County Campus around three years ago, she said Thursday. It was Blount County Campus Dean Holly Burkett who recognized his potential as a H.A.B.I.T. animal, Boyd noted.

“I said, ‘I’ve never seen such a friendly cat! You may want to check into (animal-assisted) therapy,’” Burkett recalled Thursday.

Boyd did just that, driving to Chattanooga for a H.A.B.I.T. informational meeting. With the blessing of Pellissippi State President L. Anthony Wise Jr., all five of Pellissippi State’s campuses became official H.A.B.I.T. facilities that can host H.A.B.I.T. animals at any time, not just during final exams week, as had been the college’s practice.

“This is just the coolest and greatest program,” said Pellissippi State Assistant Vice President for Student Services Elizabeth Firestone, who was director of Counseling Services when Boyd adopted Jimmy Carter McGill and went through the H.A.B.I.T. certification process.

Holly Burkett petting H.A.B.I.T. cat
Pellissippi State Blount County Campus Dean Holly Burkett, right, pets H.A.B.I.T. cat Jimmy Carter McGill at a celebration Thursday. The cat’s owner, longtime Pellissippi State counselor Betsy Boyd, middle, has had a story about Jimmy Carter McGill and his volunteer work published in the new book “Chicken Soup for the Soul: Life Lessons from the Cat,” which she presented to Campus Librarian Instructor Will Buck, left, during Thursday’s celebration.

“Jimmy helps students de-stress and relax, but I have to tell you: the faculty and staff go gaga for him,” Boyd added.

Jimmy Carter McGill still visits the Blount County Campus for one hour once a week, even though Boyd retired from her full-time job with the college last year.

“Interacting with an animal helps to reduce stress and releases happy hormones,” Boyd explained, noting Jimmy Carter McGill visited a nursing home for 10 months in addition to his work on the Blount County Campus. “Wherever we go, Jimmy brightens people’s days and brings a smile to their faces.”

Burkett agreed.

“Jimmy Carter McGill coming on campus equals happiness, smiles and student engagement,” she said. “People are sitting on the lobby floor, petting Jimmy, de-stressing.”

Boyd compares Jimmy Carter McGill’s volunteer work to the humanitarian efforts of one of his namesakes – and told President Carter that in a letter.

“I got a little note back from him in his handwriting,” Boyd said. “He said he was honored to have such a special friend as a namesake. It was very sweet.”

Now, with the publication of Jimmy Carter McGill’s story in “Chicken Soup for the Soul: Life Lessons from the Cat,” Boyd has other ideas “percolating.”

“I can see a whole series of children’s books about Jimmy Carter McGill,” Boyd said, listing off some possible titles based on the cat’s adventures. “I just definitely need an artist!”

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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 https://pstcc.libwizard.com/f/PSCCDEconf. 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 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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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 www.pstcc.edu/prsvp. To request accommodations for this event, call 865-694-6411 or email accommodations@pstcc.edu.

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