Over 20 years, Pellissippi State generates $3.6 billion economic impact

Hardin Valley Campus

Pellissippi State’s Hardin Valley Campus

 

For many years, Pellissippi State Community College has measured its economic impact in East Tennessee. Since 1997, the college has contributed an estimated $3.6 billion in economic impact to Knox and Blount counties. Additionally, there have been approximately 122,245 jobs generated over the past 20 years as a result of the college’s presence.

In its most recent economic impact study, Pellissippi State reports a combined economic impact of $1.3 billion for the years from 2012 to 2017, as measured by the value of business volume, jobs and individual income in Knox and Blount counties that is tied to Pellissippi State.

“Since 1974, this college has had an integral place in East Tennessee that is measured not just by economic impact, but by social impact. We at Pellissippi State are devoted to changing the lives of everyone who steps through our doors,” said Pellissippi State President L. Anthony Wise Jr. “Our greatest impact will always be that made by our students and graduates as they pursue their dreams and give back to our community.”

According to the American Association of Community Colleges, associate degree graduates can expect to earn about $470,800 more over their work lifetime than if they only had a high school diploma. For Pellissippi State’s 1,455 graduates in academic year 2016-2017, this means an additional $685 million in lifetime earnings and $2.8 million in additional annual tax payments that benefit the economy.

The 2012-2017 economic impact report also studied the business volume and individual income impact of Pellissippi State on the local economy:

  • $617 million in business volume impact from 2012-2017, $481 million of which came from non-local revenues such as state appropriations, grants, contracts and federal student financial aid revenues
  • $649 million in personal income impact over the past five years, including $518 million from new or external funds

Pellissippi State expenditures created and sustained an estimated 42,479 jobs, 32,000 of which were created by external or new funds, from 2012-2017. The college itself employed 2,801 full-time employees during the five-year period.

Of the college’s $1.3 billion in total impact over the past five years, the majority — $999 million — can be attributed to the infusion of new, non-local revenues. Every single dollar of local revenue that comes into Pellissippi State generates an estimated annual return on investment of at least $6.20, comprising $3.02 in local business volume plus at least $3.18 in individual income.

“This total economic and social impact would likely not have occurred without the presence of Pellissippi State in the area,” said educational consultant Fred H. Martin, who conducted the study.

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

 

The full 2012-2017 Economic Impact Report as a PDF

‘Teaching Award’ winner Sichler to speak at Pellissippi State Commencement

Judith Sichler
Judith Sichler

Pellissippi State Community College’s Excellence in Teaching Award winner, Judith Sichler, will speak at the college’s fall commencement ceremony Dec. 15 at Thompson-Boling Arena.

Commencement begins at 7 p.m. Approximately 490 students will graduate this fall.

Sichler is the 2017 recipient of the college’s Excellence in Teaching Award, which recognizes innovative teaching techniques and the positive impact a faculty member has had on students. Sichler has integrated unique and interactive learning opportunities into her anthropology classes that aim to increase engagement and inspire students.

Sichler worked as an archaeologist before coming to teach at Pellissippi State in 2010. Today, she teaches cultural anthropology courses and has embedded Service-Learning components into them. She also teaches a cultural anthropology study-abroad course in South Africa.

“The best decision I ever made was to teach full-time,” Sichler said. “My favorite class to teach is cultural anthropology because I ask students to ponder human diversity. I really want them to talk to each other. I want them to debate perceptions and talk about how and why cultures are different, and what the basis for those differences are.”

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.

Reconnect Now at Pellissippi State allows spouses a path to better selves

Melody and Thomas Smith
Melody and Thomas Smith

In Blount County, Thomas and Melody Smith raised two children and emphasized the importance of a college education to them — although they did not have a college degree themselves.

After their children graduated, the opportunity for Thomas or Melody to enroll in college seemed like a pipe dream. They both had jobs, children and then grandchildren, and they had already worked hard to afford college for their children. It seemed that financial and time constraints would always keep them from a college degree.

Then, earlier this year, they began to see billboards for Reconnect Now at Pellissippi State Community College. Thomas and Melody jumped at the chance.

“When we heard about Reconnect Now, I researched it and told my husband that we would be crazy to pass this up,” Melody said. “It’s our chance to better ourselves as people and at our jobs.”

“We could not have afforded college for ourselves without Reconnect Now,” Thomas said.

Reconnect Now is Pellissippi State’s last-dollar scholarship that covers the cost of tuition and mandatory fees for qualified adults for the 2017-18 academic year. Participating, qualified students will roll into Tennessee Reconnect when it launches in fall 2018.

Melody, who is a receptionist at Helen Ross McNabb Center Outpatient Services, is studying Administrative Professional Technology with a Medical Office concentration. Thomas, who works for DENSO Manufacturing Tennessee, is studying Engineering Technology with a concentration in Automated Industrial Systems.

“I work at DENSO in manufacturing, and a lot of the stuff they’re doing now I am still training on. There are people on my line who do engineering work, and that’s what I’d like to do. I can learn at Pellissippi the technology skills needed to use these new machines,” Thomas said. “I’ve gone as far as I can without a degree, and I’d like to do something different.

“I wish I had come back to college sooner, though I have had a learning curve when it comes to computers and all of that. The last time I was in school, we had spiral notebooks and pencils. The teachers have been wonderful to answer questions and offer tutoring. It’s been really good,” he added.

“It has been tough sometimes to be back in school after 35 years, but it feels good; it feels like an accomplishment,” Melody said. “I think the first few weeks we were both wondering what we had gotten ourselves into! Now we’re into a routine. We know we can do it.”

Both have learned new computer skills as they progressed through their classes, and have found help through resources like tutoring and mentoring in the Educational Resources Center at Pellissippi State. They have also found support from their son and daughter — and even their grandchildren. The couple, married for 31 years, returned to school at the same time their granddaughters, both six years old, entered kindergarten and first grade.

“They were so nervous to start school, so we were able to tell them that we were starting school, too. The only difference is that we don’t take a big yellow school bus to school,” Melody said. “When they have quizzes the same week I do, they will call to ask me how I did on my test. They ask me how many answers I missed and tell me what they missed. I tell them that we can both study and work harder and do better next time.

“Our children, family and friends are so encouraging. They call to check on us, support us and ask if we need help with homework. They are very proud of us and recognize what a huge step this is for us.”

For Melody and Thomas, Reconnect Now has opened the door to a life they did not think was possible for them, though they spent years ensuring it was available for their children. They do not take the opportunity lightly.

“It feels good to take a chance. We can do this. We’re not going to give up,” Melody said.

For more information about Reconnect Now at Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu/reconnect or call 865-694-6400.

Pellissippi State No. 4 in nation for study abroad

Coby Wester
Pellissippi State student Coby Wester in Street Art Alley, also called “Graffiti Alley” in Hackescher Markt in Berlin during a study abroad trip.

Pellissippi State Community College is ranked number four in the nation among community colleges for study abroad, according to the 2017 Open Doors Report.

This is the sixth year in a row that the college has appeared in the top five for the number of students who studied abroad. It is the only community college in the southeast to be recognized in the Open Doors Report.

Pellissippi State student Coby Wester studied photography and videography in Germany through a study abroad trip with the college and the Tennessee Consortium for International Studies. He created a portfolio of photos as well as a video of the trip, in which he interviewed residents of Munich and Bavaria about their lives.

“What I took away most from the trip were the connections I made with the people I traveled with — people who went to Pellissippi but I never knew. We’re all still connected,” Wester said. “It’s this unifying moment of being part of this new, shared unexplored territory in our lives.”

Wester related a story of visiting the Dachau Concentration Camp with a friend who is Jewish. “There’s a noticeable atmospheric change there. Being part of that with her, and being there for her, was a humbling experience.

“I think going on study abroad programs pushes people’s limits to explore who they can fully be. It’s amazing to be part of that with the people around you,” Wester said. “I love studying abroad; I’d love to go back.”

Pellissippi State sent 166 students to study abroad in summer 2016 to sites across Europe and Asia as well as South Africa, Cuba, Peru and Brazil.

According to the Open Doors Report, the college led the state in international student enrollment among community colleges, with 101 students in 2015-16. Only two other community colleges were recognized for international enrollment in Tennessee.

Study abroad programs at Pellissippi State are organized through the Tennessee Consortium for International Studies, which is housed at the college. TnCIS serves all community colleges in the Tennessee Board of Regents system, organizing study abroad opportunities as part of its mission of boosting international experience and culture in higher education across the state.

For more information about TnCIS, visit www.tncis.org or call 865-539-7279. For more information about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call 865-694-6400.

Castle Neuschwanstein
Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria, photographed by Coby Wester while studying abroad.

 

 

Pellissippi State students win regional debate competition

Pellissippi State Community College Debate Team with faculty adviser Shaquille Marsh, center.

Pellissippi State Community College’s student Debate Team won Berea College’s John G. Fee Memorial Forensics Tournament, a novice National Parliamentary Debate Association (NPDA) Competition, earlier this month.

The competition is hosted by Berea College and included teams not only from Berea, but from Berry College, Butler University, Carson-Newman University, Cedarville University, Cleveland State Community College, Morehouse College, Spelman College, Walters State Community College and the University of Kentucky.

Dustin Paul
Dustin Paul

Debater Dustin Paul won the debate even though he competed alone in a team competition. His debate record throughout the competition was 7-0, with a 4-0 in the preliminary rounds. He beat a team from Berea College in the quarterfinals, semi-finals and finals. In the final round, the judges voted for him 3-0.

Pellissippi State also took home the Top Community College Award for NPDA Debate. The team of Robert Taylor and Preston Waggoner took turns debating in favor of, or against, a given topic related to current events. The students were given only 15 minutes to prepare for the debate, which lasted 40 minutes. Each student delivered a series of speeches based upon persuasive fact, persuasive value or persuasive policy topics.

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

Pellissippi State launches Weekend College

Pellissippi State Community College — extending its outreach to adult and nontraditional college students — will launch a Weekend College starting with the spring 2018 semester.

Weekend College will include credit courses and free non-credit classes. Registration for spring credit classes opens Oct. 30.

“This semester, Pellissippi State paved the way for adult students to come to college free of tuition, but we understand that finances are not the only hindrance to adults enrolling in college,” said Pellissippi State President L. Anthony Wise Jr. “For adults and working students, traditional class times simply do not fit the bill.”

Weekend College is part of Pellissippi State’s ongoing outreach to adult students, which includes the launch of Reconnect Now this fall. Reconnect Now is a last-dollar scholarship that covers the cost of tuition and mandatory fees for qualified adults. Students who participate in the program at Pellissippi State this year may roll into the Tennessee Reconnect program when it launches in fall 2018.

“Weekend College opens the doors to more adult and nontraditional students. Saturday classes will make earning a college degree from Pellissippi State easier than ever,” Wise said.

All Weekend College classes will be offered at the college’s Magnolia Avenue Campus, 1610 E. Magnolia Ave.

Weekend College will launch with general education and other courses, from English Composition and Survey of Math Principles to General Psychology, Introduction to Electronic Health Records and Social Welfare. Through weekend-only classes, students can earn a general transfer degree or an associate degree in Early Childhood Education, Accounting, Business Administration or Social Work.

This semester, Pellissippi State piloted free lifelong learning (non-credit) classes at its Magnolia Avenue Campus, including options from Women’s Self Defense to Smart Cycling Traffic Skills, presented with the Jeff Roth Cycling Foundation. This spring, the college will offer more free non-credit classes each Saturday.

For more information about Weekend College at Pellissippi State, call 865-694-6400. To request accommodations for a disability for one of these classes, call 865-539-7401 or email accommodations@pstcc.edu.

Pellissippi State students receive ‘Leaders of Promise’ scholarship

Pellissippi State Community College students Kathryn Kali and Virginia M. Clark have been named two of 207 recipients of the 2017 Coca-Cola Leaders of Promise Scholars across the United States.

The Coca-Cola Leaders of Promise Scholars are selected from among Phi Theta Kappa members. PTK is the international honor society of two-year colleges. Each student receives a $1,000 scholarship to help defray educational expenses while enrolled in associate degree programs. Scholars are selected based on scholastic achievement, community service and leadership potential from a pool of nearly 1,000 students.

“We are extremely pleased that our honor society students are successful in competing for scholarships at the national level through Phi Theta Kappa,” said Judith Sichler, Phi Theta Kappa faculty co-advisor at Pellissippi State.

“The Leaders of Promise Scholarships recognize students for what they have achieved already and assure that financial need isn’t an obstacle to achieving their academic goals,” said Monica Marlowe, executive director of the Phi Theta Kappa Foundation.

The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation provides $200,000 in funding for the scholarships, with $25,000 set aside for members who are veterans or active members of the U.S. military. The remaining amount is supported by donations to the Phi Theta Kappa Foundation and provides Leaders of Promise Global Scholarships, earmarked for international students.

“The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation has a long history of providing financial assistance to outstanding students at community colleges,” said J. Mark Davis, president of the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation. “We are proud to partner with Phi Theta Kappa, make it possible for more deserving students to achieve their educational goals and support tomorrow’s leaders of the global community.”

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

Pellissippi State reaches veterans through Veteran Reconnect grant

Female Veteran in UniformPellissippi State Community College stands ready to offer veterans an improved process for translating military experience into college credit beginning next fall.

Pellissippi State has about 500 students who are military veterans.

The $70,190 Veteran Reconnect grant will boost the college’s Prior Learning Assessment program. Prior Learning Assessment, or PLA, allows students to earn college credit for work experience, professional certifications, military experience and more. The grant will specifically focus on new and improved ways to seamlessly translate military experience into academic credit.

“There are about 83,000 veterans in Tennessee with some college credit but no degree,” said Eric Bollmann, director of Veterans Services at Pellissippi State. “For these veterans attempting to transition from military service into higher education, the ability to obtain credit for military experience is crucial.”

Many colleges only evaluate students’ military service for credit after enrollment, leaving veterans to enroll without clarity of how their training will translate to academic credit in their chosen program of study.

With this grant, Pellissippi State will create new evaluation processes and better align academic credit with military training, and ensure this information is available to veterans before they enroll.

The college is one of 13 colleges and universities in Tennessee to receive funding through the state’s Veteran Reconnect grant.

For more information about Veterans Services at Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu/veterans or call 865-539-7368.

Pellissippi State student earns CyberCorps Scholarship for Service Award

Alexander Marti Photo

Alexander Marti, a Pellissippi State Community College student, has earned a CyberCorps Scholarship for Service award to attend Tennessee Technological University when he graduates.

“When Associate Professor Sharon Burlingame called me about this scholarship over the summer, I thought it sounded too good to be true,” said Marti, who is in his second year at Pellissippi State.

He first came to the college as a Dual Enrollment student during his homeschooled high school years, then took online courses, and finally came to campus in 2016 as a Tennessee Promise student. He will graduate in May with a general associate degree and then transfer to Tennessee Tech.

“I took a programming class in high school and thought I wouldn’t like computer science,” Marti said. “But here at Pellissippi State, I took the classes and they clicked. I have enjoyed getting past the basics to the understanding of what happens behind the scenes of information technology.”

The CyberCorps Scholarship for Service program is administered through the federal Office of Personnel Management with the intent to increase and strengthen the cadre of federal information assurance professionals that protect the government’s critical information infrastructure. CyberCorps provides scholarships and stipends that typically cover the cost of tuition and fees. Those scholarships are funded through grants awarded by the National Science Foundation.

The scholarship not only will pay for Marti’s final year at Pellissippi State and his bachelor’s degree in cyber security at Tennessee Tech, but also will pay him a stipend to allow him to focus solely on school. For three years after graduation, he will work for the federal government in a cyber security post.

“Cyber security has always interested me. It’s like being a computer police officer — someone who works to protect information and people from hackers and other cyber criminals,” Marti said.

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

Pellissippi State increases adult enrollment, sets new records

L. Anthony Wise Jr.

“Finding out about the free tuition program at Pellissippi State — a year before everyone else had it — was the reason I came back to college,” said Lara Mechling, a newly enrolled adult student at Pellissippi State Community College. “I started college after high school, but the timing wasn’t right. Because of Reconnect Now, I can begin again.”

Mechling, a 29-year-old recent mother, and around 2,500 fellow adult students qualified for Pellissippi State’s Reconnect Now scholarship initiative this semester. Reconnect Now is a last-dollar scholarship, funded by the college, for qualified adults. It allows adult students to attend the college tuition-free.

Of the approximately 2,567 students who qualified for Reconnect Now funding, 1,598 students have received funding so far. Of those, 1,100 students are new to the college and 498 are students who were previously enrolled. In short, nearly 23 percent of Pellissippi State’s current student population are new adults who qualified for Reconnect Now, and students who received Reconnect Now funding make up nearly one-seventh of the college’s total enrollment.

Total enrollment of adult students is 3,464 this year, reflecting the highest adult enrollment at the college since 2013 and a reversal of a seven-year downward trend in adult enrollment.

This increase in adult students contributed greatly to Pellissippi State’s overall jump in enrollment. The official headcount enrollment for fall is 11,168 students — an increase of nine percent over last year and the highest headcount since 2011. The college remains the largest community college in the state.

Pellissippi State did realize a number of enrollment firsts this semester. The college saw its highest-ever population of first-time freshmen — those who have never before attended college. Online student enrollment was up nearly 45 percent, making Pellissippi State’s online “campus” second in popularity only to the college’s Hardin Valley Campus.

“We’re excited to welcome the largest freshman class in the history of the college,” said President L. Anthony Wise Jr. “We are committed to providing the support necessary to give each and every one of our students the best possible chance of success at Pellissippi State and beyond.”

Other record highs were seen among Dual Enrollment students, who can earn college credits while still in high school, and for enrollment at the college’s Strawberry Plains Campus.

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