Student success in the spotlight as Pellissippi State presents first Purchase Award Showcase

A graphite drawing
“Tempest,” a graphite drawing by former Pellissippi State art student Tavish E. White, is among 14 works that will be on display Aug. 26-Sept. 13 in the college’s first Purchase Award Showcase. “Tempest” won Best in Show in spring 2014.

Former and current art students whose work has been chosen as Best in Show at Pellissippi State Community College since spring 2011 will have their winning works displayed Aug. 26-Sept. 13 in the college’s Purchase Award Showcase.

This free exhibition in the college’s Bagwell Center for Media and Art Gallery kicks off The Arts at Pellissippi State for fall 2019 by offering the public an opportunity to view all the art works on display around the college as part of Pellissippi State’s permanent art collection.

For three weeks, all the works that have been purchased by Pellissippi State from the student artists between spring 2011 and spring 2019 will be moved into the Gallery for viewing.

“In 2007, the Bagwell Gallery was completed and, with that, came the opportunity to have an additional learning and exhibiting space for our students and the community,” explained Pellissippi State Art Program Coordinator Jeffrey Lockett. “Out of this, we established an annual student juried show, which offers students a chance to participate in the whole process of entering, being accepted to and showing in a public space. It has grown into an excellent showcase of student talent.”

In 2011, under the guidance of former Pellissippi State Vice President Rebecca Ashford, the college’s administration began offering a $500 purchase award to the student whose work was selected as Best in Show. Now those works – drawings, paintings and sculpture – are displayed on Pellissippi State’s Hardin Valley and Blount County campuses.

Fourteen works will be on display in the Purchase Award Showcase, as more than one winner was chosen during some shows.

“We certainly look forward to having them on all five campuses as more works are selected at subsequent student shows,” Lockett said.

The Bagwell Center for Media and Art Gallery is located on the college’s Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road, and is open 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The Arts at Pellissippi State is an annual arts series that includes music and theatre performances 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 offers Tennessee’s first Water Quality Technology program for water, wastewater

Pellissippi State Community College has answered the call from industry partners to start offering associate degrees in Water Quality Technology.

Man at water tank.
Water Quality Technology is one of Pellissippi State’s newest programs.

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.”

Men working with tanker truck
Water Quality Technology was created to help fill the demand for workers at Tennessee facilities.

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.

man working at computer
Classes will consist of many off-campus visits to local water treatment facilities.

“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 ajstewart1@pstcc.edu or 865-694-6427 or Natural and Behavioral Sciences Dean Kane Barker at kmbarker1@pstcc.edu or 865-694-6695.

To apply for Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu/admissions.

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.

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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 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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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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Pellissippi State presents play about determined women versus corporate greed, based on a true story

Four women students, one looking at the camera.
Kat Wilcox-Chelimsky, Rachael Allion, Peyton Southworth and Grace Elyn Berry star in “These Shining Lives,” the next production in The Arts at Pellissippi State series.

The strength and determination of women workers considered expendable in their day are at the center of “These Shining Lives,” the next production in The Arts at Pellissippi State series.

There are six chances to see “These Shining Lives” at Pellissippi State Community College: 7:30 p.m. April 5-6 and April 12-13, as well as 2 p.m. April 7 and 14. All performances will be held in the Clayton Performing Arts Center on the college’s Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road.

Based on a true story, “These Shining Lives” chronicles Catherine Donahue and her friends who are dying of radium poisoning after spending the 1920s and 1930s painting glow-in-the-dark markings on watch dials. Despite their dire situation, the women refuse to allow the company that stole their health to kill their spirits – or to endanger the lives of those who come after them.

The real Donohue died in 1938, shortly after testifying before the Illinois Industrial Commission. The women won damages against the real Radium Dial Company in 1938, although Radium Dial appealed over and over, taking the case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. In 1939 the Supreme Court decided not to hear the appeal, and the lower ruling was upheld.

“This is an important story because it shows how historically, and even today, those possessed of wealth and power – in this case, corporate America – often care first about maintaining that wealth and power even over the lives of those they deem less worthy than their own,” said Theatre Program Coordinator Charles R. Miller, who is directing the play at Pellissippi State. “This play is about the callousness of corporate America and how they often put profit above people’s lives, to a criminal extent, and how they will do anything to protect themselves from the truth of their actions.”

With the exception of a guest lighting designer from the University of Tennessee’s award-winning lighting design program and Associate Professor Claude Hardy, who is handling set design and technical direction for the play, everyone backstage and on stage during “These Shining Lives” is a Pellissippi State student, Miller noted. There are six actors in the cast and about a dozen other students involved in the production.

“One might say this is a capstone project for our first graduating class of Associate of Fine Arts students,” Miller said. “The AFA students graduating this spring with their AFAs in Theatre will be the first ever in the state’s history.”

Tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for seniors and $8 for Pellissippi State faculty, staff and students. Tickets are available online at www.pstcc.edu/tickets.

For more information on upcoming visual arts and music events, as well as the Faculty Lecture Series, at Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu/arts. To request accommodations for a disability for this event, call 865-539-7401 or email accommodations@pstcc.edu.