August 2018 Newsletter

Introducing the Pellissippi Academic Center for Excellence (PACE)Follow @PSCCPACE. Connect with us at Keep up with fellows' projects, blog posts, website updates, and more!

Your one stop shop for professional development!

Our mission is to facilitate quality and innovation in teaching and learning through collaboration, partnership, and professional development.

The PACE office is located in Alexander 202, and the PACE training center is located in Portable F101, both on the Hardin Valley Campus. However, we strive to include all in our opportunities and will host training and special events on all of Pellissippi State’s campuses. Read more about PACE and what we have to offer on the About PACE web page.

Every month PACE will host speakers, training, workshops, and GIFTs (Great Ideas for Teaching) on a different professional development topic. August’s topic of the month is Andragogy. Many of the in-service sessions will address andragogy and you can find articles, GIFTs, and conferences on andragogy on the Andragogy Resource page.

September’s topic of the month is First Year Experience. See the First Year Experience resources page for videos, GIFTS and conferences on First Year Experience and the First Year Experience events for September professional development events.

Check out our events page each month and don’t miss an opportunity!

PACE Events Calendar


August 15 through August 17th. Please check the In-service website for details.


Thursday, August 16th from 7:30am to 4pm at the Hardin Valley Campus


30am to 4pm, 2nd Day of In-service at the Hardin Valley Campus

  • Coffee and Tea in the College Center
  • Idea Showcase: All day in the College Center
  • Keynote speaker: Lolita Paff
  • Breakout Sessions
  • PACE Day picnic

Come learn what PACE can do for you!

Setting the PACE on the First Year Experience

The PACE monthly professional development topic kick-off!

Student panel discussions on their first year experiences led by Rick Patton, PACE’s Faculty Fellow.

Date Time Location
Tuesday, September 4 12:15pm – 1:15pm MA
Wednesday, September 5 9am-10am BL
Wednesday, September 5 1pm-2pm ST
Thursday, September 6 12:15pm-1:15pm DIV
Friday, September 7 10am-11am HV
Friday, September 7 1pm-2pm HV

Drop-in for GIFT-Rapping

Colleagues from multiple campuses will rap/talk about their GIFTs (Great Ideas for Teaching) on the professional development topic of the month.

When & Where: Every 2nd Wednesday, at a different campus each month.

September’s GIFT-rapping will be Wednesday, September 12th from 11:30am to 1:30pm in HV PRT F101. Drop in within the two hours as your schedule allows and take a GIFT with you when you go.

Read more about PACE Events .

Kellie ToonFaculty Profile: Kellie Toon, PACE Director

Department: Liberal Arts

What do you teach? Communication Studies

How long have you been teaching? Off and on for 22 years

How long at PSCC? I am beginning my 10th year at Pellissippi.

Finish this sentence: Successful students _________

Successful students are engaged and connected, and they make me smile.

What are one or two of your best classroom practices?
I spend a lot of time the first few days learning my students’ names and making sure they know my name. I always refer to them by name, both inside and outside of class, and I make sure they call one another by name when interacting in class. In a Communication Studies class especially, this helps establish a level of comfort in a high anxiety class, but it also builds relationships that sometimes can extend far beyond the reach of the classroom.

Do you have a favorite professional organization, newsletter, or blog that you follow?

I follow @psccpace, our PACE twitter feed. We aggregate a number of higher ed news on our feed. If you don’t have a Twitter account, no problem. We display our feed on our PACE website Resources page.

What do you like to do when you aren’t working?

I like to run, spend time outdoors with my boys, and laugh with friends.

If you had a theme song, what would it be?

“I Am Woman” by Helen Reddy

What book is on your bedside table? Shantaram, by Gregory David Roberts

Faculty Fellow Project Spotlight: A.R.M.O.R.Image of Faculty Fellow Rock Patton

This month we would like to introduce you to Rick Patton. Rick has been a PACE Faculty Fellow since 2017 focusing on the high impact practice (HIP) of First Year Experience.

The first-year experience HIP supports activities intended to enhance the academic and social integration of first-year students by introducing them to essential skills for college success through a supportive campus community comprised of faculty, staff, and peers.

Rick’s project aims to promote retention of the elements of college success and consistency in communicating about them through the introduction of an acronym as a mnemonic device he created called, Putting on the A.R.M.O.R. of College Success.  Read more about A.R.M.O.R. and how to use it in your class, by visiting the PACE website First Year Experience resource page.

Tech Talk: Am I ‘techy’ enough to join the “Be Tech Ready Challenge”??

By Rachel Glazener, PACE Mobile & Emerging Technology Faculty Fellow

Coming in Fall 2018 is the “Be Tech Ready Challenge” hosted by PACE!

What you need to keep an eye out for is:

  • this monthly PACE newsletter for blurbs on useful techy tools,
  • the Techy Toolbox Card at In-service, to fill out as challenges are completed,
  • and dates for online or face to face training sessions!

Let’s answer a few general questions:

Who is the challenge for? EVERYONE! There will be different phases of the challenge for all user types.

What topics will be covered? Time management, D2L/Brightspace skills, student engagement techniques in and out of class, presentation skills, testing techniques and so much more!

What is the time frame? It will be self-paced challenges through the fall and spring semester of 2018-2019.

Why would I want to participate? It can be fun, make your life more efficient, increase student engagement and communication in face-to-face and online courses, expand your general repertoire of skills for teaching, and give you bragging rights for completing all of the challenges!

For more information on the challenge or to get your Techy Toolbox Card contact Rachel Glazener,, keep an eye out on the PACE website, or come see us at In-service.

Dear Instructional Designer

Dear Instructional Designer,

The age of my students range from 18 to 54, not to mention some of them are from different nationalities and another student has a disability! How can I possibly reach everyone in my teaching approach?

Panicking @ Pellissippi

Dear Panicking,

If you’ve taught at a community college for long, you know that there is no typical student. The mix of students with different perspectives and needs is a constant, but I recommend you see that as an asset. With diversity comes creativity and lively discussion, no matter what your subject. I recommend you listen to the Hidden Brain podcast on The Edge Effect which covers how diversity increases creativity in the sciences, arts and humanities.

With Tennessee Reconnect, we have more adult students mixed in with our traditional college-age students. But instead of seeing this as a possible problem, consider how it could be an asset. Adult students bring a lot of experience with them. Andragogy, the PACE theme of the month, is all about teaching and reaching adult students.  I recommend you start by incorporating some of the GIFTs (Great Ideas For Teaching) provided by your Pellissippi colleagues on the Andragogy resources page.

Universal design for learning might also be helpful for you to review. It’s an approach that embraces learning differences. and recommends offering students choices on how they engage with a subject, providing multiple ways of representing the content and allowing students to interact in multiple ways with the content and demonstrate mastery of it.

You also have a lot of support here at Pellissippi to help you throughout the term. Check out the Resources page.

Have a great term!

Karen Sorensen

Karen Sorensen, PACE Instructional Designer

This will be an on-going column. If you have a question for the instructional designer, please email her at We may ask for your permission to publish that question in our monthly newsletter.