Pellissippi State moves online for rest of semester, postpones commencement

Pellissippi State sign at entrance to Hardin Valley Campus
Pellissippi State is moving its classes and student services online for the remainder of the spring semester.

President L. Anthony Wise Jr. announced Thursday that it is in the best interest of Pellissippi State Community College faculty, staff and students to move classes and student services online for the remainder of the spring semester, with very few exceptions. 

This serious decision was made after the White House and the Centers for Disease Control revised their guidance that social gatherings should be limited to 10 or fewer people, a challenge for any institution. 

To that end, all college events through May 11 have been canceled, effective immediately. Spring commencement and the Nursing pinning ceremony, originally planned for May 10, will be postponed until a later date, but will be held in person when it is safe to do so. 

We know this is not the semester you imagined. It is not the semester we imagined. But we will get through this together,” Wise said in an email to faculty, staff and students. “We have a dedicated group of employees working every day to ensure we cover all our bases so we can finish the semester Pellissippi Strong. This includes everything from offering advising and tutoring online or by phone to making sure our work-study students and part-time employees get paid, even if their jobs change to duties they can do remotely. 

Although classes are moving to an online format for the rest of the semester, at least one computer lab on each campus will continue to operate its normal hours. However, there will be a reservation system put in place after the college’s extended spring break ends March 29 to ensure that there are no more than 10 people in a lab at one time. The same is true for classes that need to hold labs on campus to complete the semester. Instructors may meet with nine or fewer students in a lab while practicing social distancing measures of leaving at least 6 feet between individuals. 

As Pellissippi State transitions to an online learning environment, students can submit questions and concerns about technology, coursework, and support services to our new PantherHelp team at this link. Pellissippi State will continue to update its website – www.pstcc.edu/coronavirus – with frequently asked questions, as well as new pages of resources for faculty, staff and students.  The college also will communicate with faculty, staff and students via their Pellissippi State email and Pellissippi State’s social media accounts. 

Meanwhile, Pellissippi State’s Business and Community Services has suspended all non-credit classes until further notice as well and is working with those instructors to discuss rescheduling options. Those with questions about non-credit classes should call 865.539.7167 or email bcs@pstcc.edu. 

“Although these are challenging circumstances, I look forward to the day when we can gather in community on campus once again,” Wise said. 

View Wise’s video message to faculty, staff and students today at www.pstcc.edu 

### 

Pellissippi State aviation training aims to close gap for women and minority pilots

Brandon Hardin
Captain Brandon Hardin is a Knoxville native and commercial pilot who wants to see more African American representation in aviation.

Knoxville native Brandon Hardin fell in love with the idea of flying when he saw an airplane fly over his house as a child.

Hardin’s dream of becoming a pilot didn’t waiver throughout his years in high school, and he went on to pursue a degree in Aerospace at Middle Tennessee State University before flying with the U.S. National Guard.

These days Captain Hardin is a commercial pilot who loves being able to see the world and the adventure that comes with the job.

Now students like Hardin don’t have to wait until college to learn about the aviation industry. Pellissippi State Community College has partnered with Tuskegee NEXT to offer introductory aviation training to teens and young adults in an effort to close the gap for women and minority pilots.

The program, which started last fall at Pellissippi State, could not come at a better time for the aviation industry. The 2019 Boeing Pilot & Technician Outlook, a respected industry forecast of personnel demand, projects that 804,000 new civil aviation pilots, 769,000 new maintenance technicians and 914,000 new cabin crew will be needed to fly and maintain the world fleet over the next 20 years.

“Every single airline is hiring,” Hardin said. “There is a huge need for pilots right now, and they need the next generation of kids to be ready to take the seat in the cockpit.”

Of all the professional pilots and flight engineers in the United States, however, only 7.5% are women, 2.6% are black, 3.4% are Asian and 2.2% are Hispanic or Latino, according to 2019 numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“We need more African American representation in aviation,” Hardin said. “We represent less than 3% of the commercial pilot workforce, and that’s not enough.”

One possible cause of the lack of diverse representation among pilots is how much it costs to get started. Students could easily invest $60,000 to $70,000 in their training, from attending flight school or a college aviation program to paying for flying hours and Federal Aviation Administration certification exams.

Aviation students in flight simulator at Cirrus in fall 2019
Students in Pellissippi State’s first Introduction to Aviation class check out a flight simulator at Cirrus Aircraft in Alcoa during the fall 2019 semester.

Pellissippi State has partnered with the nonprofit Tuskegee NEXT to help remove some of those obstacles. Students ages 16-20 can apply to take a 15-week Introduction to Aviation class at Pellissippi State’s Magnolia Avenue Campus this fall.

Students who participate in the Introduction to Aviation class at Pellissippi State will learn what they need to know to sit for the Federal Aviation Administration basic knowledge written exam.

“The Tuskegee Airmen are such iconic figures in the field of aviation for individuals like myself,” Hardin said of the United States’ first black military airmen. “They led the way, and the obstacles they had to surmount are huge compared to what myself and my peers have had to go through. They paved the way for me, and I want to help pave the way for the next generation.”

While the Introduction to Aviation class at Pellissippi State does have a cost, full scholarships are available to those with financial need in keeping with Tuskegee NEXT’s mission of providing flight training and educational assistance for underrepresented minorities and at-risk youth.

“Tuskegee NEXT and Pellissippi State back me up in supporting that goal of inspiring and providing resources for the next generation of aviators,” Hardin said. “We want it to be normal to see an African American pilot in the cockpit.”

Those who successfully complete the Introduction to Aviation course at Pellissippi State and pass the FAA written exam will be eligible to apply to the Tuskegee NEXT Summer Flight Program in Chicago, which will run from mid-June to mid-August 2021.

The summer program completely immerses students in both flight training and life skill development. The skills learned during the program can help change lives and transform communities.

“I think aspiring pilots should take advantage of the unique opportunities Pellissippi State and Tuskegee NEXT are offering,” Hardin said. “There are going to be hurdles, but there are going to be people like me who are going to help and mentor students past those obstacles.

“The one thing students should know is that they want to get there,” he added. “When you get to the endpoint and become a pilot, you’re going to be able to take care of yourself and take care of your family. If you are willing to focus and commit yourself to a career in aviation, the rewards are amazing.”

Students can apply now for the Fall 2020 Introduction to Aviation class at Pellissippi State. Applications are due May 7.

Fall 2020 Introduction to Aviation Class

  • When: Tuesdays, August 25 – December 15, 2020, 6-8 p.m.
  • Where: Pellissippi State Community College Magnolia Avenue Campus
  • Who is eligible to apply: Students ages 16-20 and at least a sophomore in high school – must hold a minimum grade point average of 2.75 and have no criminal record

Students can learn more and apply at www.pstcc.edu/bcs/aviation or call Business and Community Services at 865.539.7167.

###

Improve your health and social life in the New Year with ballroom dancing

Couple ballroom dancing
Ballroom dancing can help you keep your New Year’s resolutions to be more active and get your exercise in 2020.

If living a more active lifestyle is one of your New Year’s resolutions, ballroom dancing classes offered by Pellissippi State Community College Business and Community Services can help you meet your goals.

Ballroom dance is a social dance that focuses on partnership and has gained popularity in recent years with the rise of competitive television shows like “Dancing with the Stars.” In the seven-week Ballroom Dancing, Level 1 class offered by Pellissippi State in partnership with Dance Tonight, dancers will learn six core dances: waltz, tango, foxtrot, rumba, cha-cha and swing.

“There are so many reasons to take ballroom dancing,” said Kris Hazard, professional dance instructor and choreographer at Dance Tonight. “It gets you out of the house, and it’s a great way to meet people. Social dancers are friendly. They want more people to dance with, so it’s an easy crowd to get to know people in.

“Exercise is another one,” he continued. “Ballroom dancing is great if you want to be active and retain your mobility. It’s a low impact activity. We’re always sliding our feet on the floor, so you’re using your legs, but not getting the hard impact.”

Ballroom dancing is designed to help you communicate with a partner to move as one with the music, but participants are encouraged to sign up with or without a partner, as there are opportunities to meet and dance with others during the class.

The hardest step for most people is signing up for the class and coming through the door, Hazard noted.

“It’s a big step they took coming because they’re nervous about it, and now I have the responsibility to make them comfortable,” he said. “I want to push them so that they learn something and learn it correctly, but that also makes them comfortable and more confident with their dancing.”

Getting ready to perform on a stage is not the goal of the beginner class, Hazard stressed.

“We’re learning so you can get out on the dance floor, look comfortable and have a good time,” he said.

Students in Ballroom Dancing, Level 1 will have an opportunity to practice their moves outside of the class, if they choose, at Dance Tonight’s dance parties on Friday nights. Dancers and instructors from all of Dance Tonight’s classes are invited to attend the weekly parties.

“Practicing and dancing around others makes such a difference for the dancer’s learning and enthusiasm,” Hazard noted. “They get to use what they’ve learned in class!”

Ballroom Dancing, Level 1 begins Jan. 27 and will be held 6:45-7:30 p.m. Mondays through March 9, at Dance Tonight, 9119 Executive Park Drive, Knoxville, off the Cedar Bluff exit. Cost is $85 for an individual or $100 per couple.

To register for Ballroom Dancing, Level 1, or any other Pellissippi State lifelong learning classes this spring, contact the Business and Community Services office at 865.539.7167 or visit www.pstcc.edu/bcs.

###

Pellissippi State wins international award for marketing lifelong learning classes

Two Business and Community Services staff holding award for marketing lifelong learning classes
Marketing Specialist Danielle Dreeszen, left, and Economic and Workforce Development Director Teri Brahams show the International Award for Excellence in Marketing that Pellissippi State Business and Community Services recently received for their e-newsletter about lifelong learning classes.

Pellissippi State Community College has won an International Award for Excellence in Marketing from the Learning Resources Network, the largest association in lifelong learning in the world.

“The workforce training and lifelong learning opportunities that we provide support both individuals and local employers,” said Teri Brahams, director of Economic and Workforce Development for Pellissippi State. “Being able to effectively communicate and market what we offer is integral to the success of our programs. We are honored to be the recipient of the Excellence in Marketing award at the international level.”

The award was one of only 20 given at LERN’s annual conference in San Diego attended by 800 professionals in lifelong learning from five countries. Marketing Specialist Danielle Dreeszen of Pellissippi State Business and Community Services accepted the award, the first Pellissippi State has received from LERN.

“This award is for innovation in the field of lifelong learning and serving communities,” said LERN President William A. Draves. “With more than 100 award nominations every year, gaining an International Award is an outstanding achievement.”

The staff of Pellissippi State Business and Community Services won the international award for their e-newsletter that launched fall class registration in August.

“Our e-newsletter featured each person on our team and focused on WHY we’re interested in classes vs. WHAT the classes are,” Dreeszen explained. “We also integrated each person’s feature on our social media accounts.”

For example, Solutions Management Director Todd Evans noted he was looking forward to taking Bucket Drumming: Introduction to Rhythm.

“I played the drums as a kid,” he said in the e-newsletter. “I would love to get into drumming, but in a different way.”

And Project Coordinator Angela Branson said she couldn’t wait to check out The Art of Glass Fusion.

“Years ago I took some classes in stained glass and mosaics, and I really enjoyed the classes at the time and getting to be creative,” she explained in the e-newsletter. “This sounds like a fun opportunity to get back into the art of working with glass.”

Other Business and Community Services staff shared the reasons they were looking forward to taking classes in Hobbyist Welding, Zentangle Noir, Working with Yarn: Knit and Crochet, Say Goodbye to Diets and Quick Pickin’ Mandolin.

The approach worked, as the e-mail newsletter achieved a 42% open rate and a 30% click-through rate, 10% higher than regular monthly email results.

The e-newsletter also generated 25 enrollments before the print class catalog even hit mailboxes.

“Email is the workhorse of marketing your program, second only to the print brochure in importance,” Draves said. “Pellissippi State introduced Staff Picks in their regular email newsletter. The technique introduced staff and made the program more approachable to potential participants. It was also effective in that people tend to pay more attention to what the professionals are interested in. LERN’s going to steal this idea, too.”

Registration for spring lifelong learning classes at Pellissippi State is open now. View a full list of spring classes or register for a class at www.pstcc.edu/bcs.

For more information about Pellissippi State’s lifelong learning classes, contact Business and Community Services at 865.539.7167.

###

Registration open for Pellissippi State’s spring lifelong learning classes

Group of hobby welders in class
Welding for the Hobbyist is just one of the Industrial Arts lifelong learning classes offered at Pellissippi State.

Are you looking to learn something new in 2020?

Pellissippi State Community College is offering more than 80 different lifelong learning classes in spring 2020. These noncredit classes are open to the public and cover a variety of topics including music, art, health and wellness, technology, leadership and more.

Some of the new classes offered this spring include:

  • Floral Design – Learn how to make beautiful floral arrangements in Introduction to Floral Design. Instructor and professional floral designer Lori Wilson will help you create an arrangement using seasonal fresh flowers.
  • Keeping Your New Year’s Resolutions – Get back to the basics and keep your goals on track this year. Whether your goal is improving your health, increasing your finances or changing careers, instructor Drema Bowers will give you the resources you need to make lasting changes and achieve success.
  • Book Writing – This one-day workshop will help you start writing your own story. Learn about the creative process and how to become a published author as instructor Tina Thompson discusses the inner workings of book publishing along with her experience in writing.
  • Business Analytics – Businesses face constant challenges, and using data effectively can help provide solutions. Bring your data to life with live dashboards and reports, analyze trends and make data-driven decisions using Power Bi and Tableau.
  • Industrial Arts – Combine creativity and technology in Welding for the Hobbyist and 3D Printing classes. Learn the basics and make your own custom creations while also gaining knowledge of how to set up your own work stations at home.

Registration for spring classes is open now. View a full list of spring classes or register for a class at www.pstcc.edu/bcs.

For more information about Pellissippi State’s lifelong learning classes, contact Business and Community Services at 865.539.7167.

###

Take advantage of health and wellness Lifelong Learning classes this fall

Pellissippi State Community College’s fall Lifelong Learning class schedule includes several health and wellness noncredit courses.

Wanda Malhotra
Wanda Malhotra

Students can begin achieving a healthy lifestyle with two classes taught by certified and award-winning health and wellness coach Wanda Malhotra. Say Goodbye to Diets begins Sept. 25 and introduces the bio-individuality concept and practices to create a sustainable, long-lasting diet and healthy lifestyle. Functional Foods and Clean Eating starts Nov. 5 and dives into the world of food. It will help students gain a better understanding of immediate strategies to use to add healthy foods in their diet and get the most out of food they already buy. With more than 24 years of experience, Malhotra is the founder of Root Journey and specializes in weight loss, stress and anxiety management, sleep improvement and nutrition.

For those looking for better fitness, Ballroom Dancing Level I and Level II classes are great for having fun while staying fit. These returning class favorites begin Sept. 23 and 24, and are open to both individual registrants and couples.

Joy Gaertner
Joy Gaertner

Focusing on mental and emotional wellness, new instructor Joy Gaertner is teaching a grief recovery workshop, Unstuck: Making Peace with Your Past, beginning Sept. 16. Using the Grief Recovery Method, students in the class will learn skills to help cope with and reduce grief, learn how to confront unhelpful patterns and attitudes and learn how to practice recovery behaviors. The class is designed for anyone struggling to cope with pain caused by a death, divorce or end of a relationship; a change in environment such as moving; financial situations; a loss of health; or any experience that has caused grief.

Gaertner is also teaching How to Not End Up with a Jerk/Jerkette in November, which focuses on developing and maintaining healthy relationships. Gaertner is a certified Grief Recovery Specialist with the Grief Recovery Institute and is the founder of Walking With Joy. She is actively involved in the Knoxville community and has used her own experiences through divorce and cancer to help others.

To view the complete fall schedule and register for a class visit www.pstcc.edu/bcs. For more information about Lifelong Learning classes, contact the Business and Community Services office at 865.539.7167 or bcs@pstcc.edu.

###

Pellissippi State offers aviation training for teens this fall

Group of Tuskeegee NEXT and Pellissippi State officials who announced partnership on Monday, July 22, at Magnolia Avenue Campus
On hand at Pellissippi State to announce a new aviation training program Monday were, from left, Tuskegee NEXT Executive Director Sanura Young, Pellissippi State Economic and Workforce Development Executive Director Teri Brahams, Pellissippi State President L. Anthony Wise Jr., Tuskegee NEXT founder and chairman Stephen Davis, Magnolia Avenue Campus Dean Rosalyn Tillman and Pellissippi State Executive Director of Equity and Compliance Annazette Houston.

Teenagers and young adults who want to get a jumpstart on a pilot’s license have the opportunity this fall through a new class at Pellissippi State Community College.

Pellissippi State has partnered with Tuskegee NEXT to offer a 13-week introductory aviation training for students ages 16-20, Pellissippi State announced in a kickoff breakfast Monday.

Classes will meet on Tuesday nights on Pellissippi State’s Magnolia Avenue Campus, with one mandatory Saturday field trip. Professionals from the aviation industry will mentor students in the program, who will use a flight simulator to “fly.”

“It’s no secret that the aviation industry is facing a shortage of airline pilots, but that isn’t the only aviation career grappling with a labor shortage,” said Teri Brahams, executive director for Economic and Workforce Development for Pellissippi State. “Aircraft mechanics and flight simulator technicians are also in high demand. This course will introduce students to the opportunities available and provide options for training to pursue these careers.”

There is a global need of 754,000 new aircraft maintenance technicians and 790,000 pilots over the next 20 years, according to Boeing’s 2018 Pilot and Technical Outlook projections.

The nonprofit Tuskegee NEXT saw that need and created programs to help fill that void by offering aviation outreach programs to at-risk youth through Flight Training, Life Skills and Educational Assistance. The program is named in honor of the Tuskegee Airmen, who were the United States’ first black military airmen.

“As a historian, I am excited about the connection this program has with the legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen,” said Pellissippi State President L. Anthony Wise Jr. “As a community college president, I am pleased with the opportunities this program creates for young people in our community.”

Students who participate in the Introduction to Aviation class at Pellissippi State will gain the basic knowledge needed to sit for the Federal Aviation Administration private pilot written exam. Those who successfully complete the course and pass the written exam will be eligible to apply to the Tuskegee NEXT Cadet program in Chicago, which will run from mid-June to mid-August 2020.

Black and white photos of Tuskegee airmen and a certificate of proficiency for one of them, dated 1945
The Tuskegee NEXT program, which provides aviation outreach program to at-risk youth, is named for the Tuskegee Airmen, the United States’ first black military airmen.

“Students are often unaware of the many career possibilities available to them,” said Dean Rosalyn Tillman of Pellissippi State’s Magnolia Avenue Campus. “Exposure to this industry as an option may create interest for some that was never before imagined.”

There are aviation careers available right here in East Tennessee, Brahams noted.

“Local employers like Cirrus Aircraft, the Air National Guard, Pilot Flying J, Jet Aviation, Endeavor Air, STS Technical Services, Standard Aero and many others currently have openings and expect future openings for the next 10 years or more,” she said.

Students must be at least 16 years old and a sophomore in high school, hold a minimum grade point average of 2.75 and have no criminal record. Preference will be given to minority and female students.

For more information or to request an application, contact Pellissippi State Business and Community Services at 865-539-7167 or bcs@pstcc.edu.

###

Pellissippi State offers Influential Leadership series

Learn to give effective presentations, lead teams, delegate job duties and run meetings that accomplish goals with Pellissippi State Community College’s non-credit Influential Leadership series.

The classes are $99 each and scheduled for five Thursdays from 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. All classes will be held at Pellissippi State’s Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road.

  • Learning Your Leadership Style on Sept. 6 – Explore your leadership style and understand how to adapt it for any situation.
  • Presentation 101: Keep the Room Awake on Sept. 13 – Ace your next presentation as you practice in front of a group and receive professional feedback.
  • Meetings 101: Herding Cats Effectively on Sept. 20 – Learn how to make your meetings shorter, more impactful and how to make everyone feel heard.
  • Delegation 101: Let It Go on Sept. 27 – Understand the four Ws of delegation and how to communicate exactly what you need.
  • Leading a Team on Oct. 4 – Learn the stages of team development, characteristics of high-performing teams and reward and recognition techniques.

To sign up for any classes in the Influential Leadership series or to learn more about lifelong learning and non-credit courses at Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu/bcs or call 865-539-7167.

To request accommodations for a disability for one of these classes, call 865-539-7401 or email accommodations@pstcc.edu.

Pellissippi State expands Weekend College offerings to continuing education classes

Pellissippi State Community College invites the community to second Saturdays at Weekend College in downtown Knoxville.

Every second Saturday throughout the fall, Pellissippi State Business and Community Services will offer a selection of popular lifelong learning classes at the Magnolia Avenue Campus, 1610 E. Magnolia Ave.

Several of the classes are free.

“These noncredit classes provide a mix of small business seminars, hobby classes and professional development courses,” said Teri Brahams, executive director of Business and Community Services. “We’re excited to offer these classes on weekends for those who can’t attend during the week.”

Second Saturday classes at the Magnolia Avenue Campus include:

  • Hand Lettering by Urban Farm Girl Design: 9-11 a.m. Sept. 8, $60
  • Handmade Baskets: 9 a.m.-noon Sept. 8, free
  • Excel Workshop: 9 a.m.-noon Sept. 8, $29
  • Bluegrass Jam for Strings: 10:30-11:30 a.m. Sept. 8, free
  • Beekeeping Basics: 9 a.m.-noon Oct. 13, free
  • YouTube – Your Visual Voice: 9 a.m.-noon Oct. 13, free
  • Managing Change in the Workforce: 9 a.m.-noon Oct. 13, free
  • Personal Cybersecurity: 9-11:30 a.m. Nov. 10, free
  • Restaurant Business Basics: 9 a.m.-noon Nov. 10, free
  • Employee Motivation: 9 a.m.-noon Nov. 10, free

Lifelong learning classes are non-credit continuing education courses. Course registration is required either online at www.pstcc.edu/bcs or by calling 865-539-7167.

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

Create Colorful Spring Eggs at Pellissippi State

pysansky eggs

Pellissippi State offers unique egg classes to decorate your home for spring. Learn the ancient batik dye process of creating pysanky, eggs dyed using a Ukrainian wax-resist method, in non-credit courses this spring.

Learn Pysanky: Ukrainian Egg Dyeing Workshop will be held from 5-9 p.m., Thursday, April 19. Cost is $49 plus a $15 materials fee. Design and wax an egg you’ll take home that evening.

Pysanky Jewelry: Designing Batik Eggshell Jewelry will be held from 6:15-8:15 p.m., Mondays, April 16-30. Cost is $65 plus a $65 materials fee. Using the same classic Ukrainian batik art, make earrings and matching pendant or brooch from goose eggshells.

For more information about lifelong learning and non-credit courses at Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu/bcs or call 865-539-7167. To request accommodations for a disability for one of these classes, call 865-539-7401 or email accommodations@pstcc.edu.