Ines Gibson, English Department

Inés Gibson is the dean of the English department. She has been a faculty member at Pellissippi State since 2007, when she taught her first class here as an adjunct.
A first-generation American citizen, Inés grew up with three siblings in her half-Ecuadoran, half-German household in Rockville, Maryland. Her Ecuadoran father worked at Howard University for over thirty years, with a career dedicated to sickle-cell anemia research and care. Her German mother worked at Howard U as well, on a research team that worked to eliminate the transmission of AIDS from a pregnant mother to her baby.
At home, as was the custom at the time, Inés’s parents spoke to her in English instead of in their native tongues. Inés fondly remembers her mother reading Grimm’s Fairy Tales (what else?) aloud to her in German-accented English–and conversing in strangely formal textbook English. In fact, her mother was one of the few people Inés knew who did not end her sentences with prepositions—and insisted on conveying that grammar knowledge to her children:
Inés (eyeing an attractive box of candy): “Who’s the chocolate for?”
Mother (correcting her): “For whom is the chocolate?”*
With this background in English grammar instruction and with a love of reading, Inés majored in English at the University of Maryland. From there, she went to graduate school at the Pennsylvania State University, where she taught her first section of English 1010. What fun it was to experience college writing anew with a group of freshmen! In that course, students were expected to support their ideas with examples drawn from their personal observations and experiences, and Inés will never forget the student who wrote five different essays about bowling, the student’s favorite hobby.
After graduate school, Inés married an Army officer and moved around the country, teaching at community colleges in Orange County, NY; Kansas City, KS; and Colorado Springs, CO.
At one Army post, Inés added a second master’s degree, in Educational Counseling, and worked as a high school guidance counselor for a few years. At another Army post, she edited memorial articles of deceased graduates for an alumni magazine.
After the family retired from the Army to Knoxville, TN, Inés finally had an opportunity to pursue her career, without the anticipation of uprooting within a few years. She applied to be an adjunct here at Pellissippi State in August 2007 and taught a single section of reading that semester. Once again, she was happy to be back in the classroom, giving students the tools to find the joy and satisfaction in reading.
She served as adjunct faculty until 2011, when she was hired full-time into the Transitional Studies Department as an instructor of Learning Support English. Soon thereafter, her position was absorbed into the English department, and she has been here ever since, becoming the assistant dean of the department in 2019 and the dean in 2021. In her current job, she uses every part of her life experiences—strangely formal grammar; an understanding of immigrant families and military families; editing skills; counseling skills; and years of experience at community colleges across the country–to support her students and faculty.
And Pellissippi State is certainly lucky to have her here!
*author’s note: the chocolate was not for Inés.