Friday, December 19, 2008

What are your hopes for the new year?

"I hope Obama doesn't freak out when he sees it all... He's got a lot on his plate."
- Debra Lindsay, Humanities Secretary II

"Peace, security, and love for everybody."
- Bonny Copenhaver, Dean of Humanities

"I hope Obama makes it through his first term."
- Dawn Anderson, Records Clerk

" I want to keep my job for the new year. With all the budget cuts, I want all my co-workers and I to keep our jobs."
- Pam Carey, Assistant Director of Records

"More financial aid, and gas prices to stay low."
- Beverly, Business Office Cashier

A quick reminder, the campus will be closed next week (December 22-27) for the Holiday Weekend. It will reopen on December 29th. I won't be back in the office until January 5th. If you think of a story idea for next year, send me an e-mail here. From everyone here at Vol State, we wish you a Merry Chrismahanakwanzaka (pronounced Chris-ma-haana-kquanzzika) and a happy new year!

Volunteer State Community College. Vol State.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Holiday Wishes

What are your holiday plans?

"I'm going to visit my grandkids for a couple of weeks, it's always exciting."
- Maxine Bowlen, Secretary Academic Affai

"I'm getting plenty of rest, I'm going to church on New Years and afterw
ards I plan on staying up and hanging out with the girls."
- Sharon Hebb, Information Specialist

"Just survive it!"
- Betty Gibson, Assistant to the President

"I'm going to North Carolina with my baby [puppy] boy!"
- Gina Garera, Coordinator of Student Activities

"I plan on cooking Christmas Breakfast for my family and watching Christmas shows."
- Nannette King, Custodian

"I'm traveling to Kentucky to visit my crazy family."
- Erin Montgomery, Secretary in Retention
Support Services

Vol State. Volunteer State Community College.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Studio Clean Up

This semester, a few Art majors and myself cleaned two of the studios and the computer lab in the Art Building. Here's a fun recap of what we did:

Vol State. Volunteer State Community College.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Thinking about giving college a try?

There's still time to register for Spring 2009.

With the downturn of the economy, there's never been a better time to go back to school and get a degree.

Why go back to school?

There are plenty of reasons why to start or go back to college. Check out this website for forty fun reasons why to attend college.

One of the biggest reasons why you should get a degree is the opportunity to get a better job. Statistically, people who have an associates degree will make more money over their lifetime than someone with just a high school diploma.

So, what keeps people from coming back to college?

For the excuse that college is too expensive need only look here. The cost of tuition for an in-state student for one semester is only $
1,365.50. Compare that to the closest public university, Tennessee State University in downtown Nashville, in-state tuition of $2,566, and the closet private college, Cumberland University in Lebanon, in-state tuition of $7,910; Vol State is the cheapest way to get a college education.

Struggle with math, writing, or reading? Vol State has classes and labs across the campus to help you out.

Feel like you won't fit in? Vol State has students ranging in age from 65 to 17.

If you'd like more information, e-mail the admissions office at

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Interested in student international travel-study?

Are you interested in traveling overseas to study? The Vol State International Education Committee has money available for student travel-study. The TnCIS Summer Abroad is part of the program. The goal is to have a minimum of 25 students from Vol State participate in the Summer Programs TnCIS has established for the summer of 2009.

Brazil, England, France, Greece, Ireland, Mexico, Scotland. South Africa, Spain and the Netherlands offer travel study programs for our students.

Financial Aid will be available in the form of scholarship assistance from the international education committee. Interested students must make time to attend one of the sessions to learn about the programs and the opportunities.

Informational sessions for interested students - summer 2009 TnCIS

Wednesday, December 17th, 2008Main Campus, Mattox Building Room 10410:00 A.M.
Thursday, December 18th, 2008Main Campus, Mattox Building Room 104 6:30 P.M.
Tuesday, January 6th, 2009Livingston Campus2:00 P.M. & 6:00 P.M.
Friday, January 9th, 2009Main Campus, Mattox Building Room 10410:00 A.M.
Thursday, January 15th, 2009Main Campus Mattox Building, Rooms TBA12:30 P.M. & 5:30 P.M.

Additional Schedule of Committee Activity and TnCIS Deadlines

  • Tuesday, January 20th, 2009: Deadline for Scholarship Applications due to Academic Business Division Office 4:30 P.M.

  • January 26th – January 30th: Committee meetings to award scholarships

  • February 19th: TnCIS Application Fee deadline, $100 Nonrefundable Application Fee

  • March 19th, 2009: Full Payment Fee to TnCIS (Program Fee and Airfare)

Interested students must make application to a TnCIS Program and pay the $100 nonrefundable fee. Payment of this fee is not applied to the program cost and does not guarantee either acceptance by TnCIS or Financial Aid (scholarship) assistance from VSCC. It is recommended you attend a session above before applying to TnCIS through their website

Monday, December 8, 2008

Meet Megan Hightower

Megan is a 18 year old Business major from Lafeyette.

It's your last week of the semester! How happy are you?
"Pretty excited, no more tests and getting closer to graduation."

What do you plan on doing differently next semester?
"Making plans and sticking to them."

How are you handling the stress so far?
"Pretty well."

Are you planning on doing anything after you final exam?
"I'm going shopping."

What exam are you studying right now?
"Business, I'm studying about carrying out the monetary policy for the Federal Reserve System."

Vol State. Volunteer State Community College.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Ways to cut down on the cost of gift giving.

Isn't it crazy that Christmas is 21 days away, Hanukkah begins in 17 days, and Kwanzaa begins in 22 days? And it seems like the holiday season couldn't have come at a worst time. Everyone is strapped for cash these days, and spending hundreds of dollars on gifts for our family and friend may not be realistic this season.

So, I developed a list of ways to curb the bite of holiday shopping to your wallet:

- Try homemade goods. I'm actually knitting scarves myself for gifts instead of buying them. Can you bake? Why not make fudge or Christmas cookies? Get creative! Check out this guide to making cookie dough in a jar.

- Give your time versus your money. Sometimes the best present you can give to a person is your time. "Give “coupons” for babysitting, house cleaning, errand running, etc. As the mother of two very young children, babysitting coupons are among my favorite gifts to receive!" according to this guide to frugal gift giving.

- Skip department stores and head to second-hand stores. According to Erin Huffstetler of, "There's no rule that says gifts have to be bought new. Scour thrift stores, yard sales, flea markets and other second-hand sources for gift-worthy items at prices well below retail."

- Buy a gift for an entire family instead of individually. From the same guide the second bulletin, "If there is a family of two, three, four, or more on your list, you can save a lot of money by purchasing one gift for all of them. Consider the gift of a movie night with a $5 Blockbuster gift card packaged in a basket with a bag of microwave popcorn, a couple of sodas, and some movie-size candy. This is a great family gift for $10 or less."

Vol State. Volunteer State Community College.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Book scholarship winners

Congrats to the winners of the early registration book scholarships! These students received between $125 and $500 for books.

Pamela Dobbs
Bianca Bogdan
Nicholas Pieterse
Christopher Hobdy
Donald Toohey
Kim Rhodes
Matthew Laughlin
Jessica Bybee

Meet Samuel Eto'o.

Samuel is a 18 year old University Studies major from Hendersonville.

What percent would you say you're done with Christmas Shopping?
"Like 30 percent."

Are you cutting back on how much you're spending on gifts this year?
"No, I'm actually spending more money than last year."

What do you want for Christmas?
"All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth!"

Is this your favorite time of year? Why or why not?
"Yeah, I like the music."

What has been your favorite Christmas gift of all time?
"A soccer ball."

Vol State. Volunteer State Community College

Monday, December 1, 2008

Tips on handling end of the semester stress

By this time next week, most of us will be in over our heads in final exams. For me, I have one final exam, a presentation, and two projects due.

Tips on how to deal with the end of the semester stress and final exams:

1. Make sure to keep time for yourself. "You can focus better if you take time off for yourself," said Terry Bubb, Director of Advising. This could mean anything from hitting the gym in the Pickel Building, walking a lap or two around the Library lawn, reading a newspaper, or playing a game for 30 minutes a day. This gives your mind a chance to rest and focus on something other than your Spanish Vocabulary for a little while.

2. Start studying now, versus waiting until the night before. Attempting to cram an entire semester's worth of Biology terminology in one night won't happen. "Try memorizing a few things before you go to bed. You're more likely to retain information if you sleep," said Bubb.

3. Make sure to get a good night's rest and eat a balanced diet. Avoid over caffeinated drinks and junk food. Who can honestly say they function well hyped up on 4 cups of coffee and candy bars out of the vending machines? It goes with staying balanced in number one, keeping your routine will help relieve some of the stress.

4. Forget your GPA (for now). Calculating the grade you need to past your class with an A will only add more stress. For the time being, ignorance is bliss. Check out this blog for more information.

5. Reward yourself at the end of the semester. Save the partying until after you're finished with your exams. This gives you a goal to work towards.

Also check out a blog I posted a while back entitled "Study Tips."

Vol State. Volunteer State Community College.

Meet Torey Oster and David Richardson.

Torey, 19, is from Mt. Juliet and is majoring in Elementary Education. David is also 19, and majoring in Physical Education and Wellness. He is from White House.

How many classes do you have exams in this semester?
Torey - "4."
David - "4."

Are there any that you're worried about?
Torey - "Writing. I'm not that good at writing."
David - "English. I'm not good at writing papers."

On a scale from 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest, how stressed out would you say you are?
Torey - "About a 7."
David - "9."

Are you happy with your performance this semester?
Torey - "Yeah."
David - "No, I'm really stressed out. This is my first semester in college."

Are you looking forward to next semester?
Torey - "Yes, I'll know what to expect this time."
David - "Yes, so I can turn everything around."

Vol State. Volunteer State Community College.

Happening this week...

December 3rd – One Nation, One Flag, One People basketball game
Service personnel are honored at basketball game as part of a nationwide event
$5 and kids under 12 free
Games start at 6 & 8 PM – in the Gym

December 5th & 6th – A Joyful Christmas Celebration concert
Students perform pop, jazz and holiday songs as part of a CD release concert. Funds support music scholarships at Vol State.
$5 suggested donation for admission and $10 for admission and a CD.
7:30 PM in the Auditorium

Vol State. Volunteer State Community College.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Top 5 Common Mistakes in a MLA Paper

Modern Language Association, or MLA, is a style of writing that classes like English, Literature, and History use. The rules for MLA are meticulous, and it can be frustrating to get a rough draft back from a professor covered in red ink. Especially if most of the red ink is the same symbol over and over again. English Professor Cindy Wyatt sent me a list of the top 5 MLA formatting mistakes that students make. After each problem, I'll given you solutions and links to avoid making those mistakes.

Problem #1: "The first big problem students have difficulty with is the notion of having a thesis statement in the opening paragraph. Not only that, they have problems with the idea of the three supports for the thesis statement which predict the topics of the body paragraphs to follow," Wyatt said.

Solution: Check out the University of North Carolina's handout on how to write thesis statements.

Problem #2: Paragraphs Drifting Off topic

Solution: Stick to your outline.

Problem #3: A third problem is the opening paragraph, which often fails to even mention the actual subject of the essay. When a student writes “Many people have some problems at different times in their lives,” I know that the whole first paragraph is a warm-up for Getting to the Point which in fact may not happen until the second paragraph – not the way to write an effective essay.

Solution: Check out this post at It's an easy step-by-step guide on how to write a successful opening paragraph.

Problem #4: Finding ways for ending the essay with a solid conclusion

Solution: Check out this next post at

Problem #5: "The fifth problem really might be the first, but it speaks to the appearance of the essay, not the content. Students fail to format their essays MLA Style, which includes a correct heading on the left side of the first page, correct tabs, spacing, font size and margins," concluded Wyatt.

Solution: Click on this website by Purdue University's Online Writing Lab. It tells you what the basic MLA format is, and it also shows you an example of what the first page should look like. If this website doesn't help you, then ask your professors! That's what they're here for.

If you have more questions about MLA style or formatting, check out the Language Lab in
Ramer 157.

Happening This Week...

November 25th – Staff Council bake sale
10:00 AM – 1:00 PM in the Wood Campus Center

November 27th thru 29th – Thanksgiving Holiday
Campus Closed

Friday, November 21, 2008

Meet Kyle Tate

Kyle is 19, and a Springfield native. He majoring in Business Management.

What are you holiday plans?
"Work, and probably visiting family on Thursday."

What do you plan on giving thanks for?
"My family, job, and I still have a roof over my head... there's a lot of things."

Do you know when and where the first Thanksgiving took place?
"The Indians gave the Pilgrims food or something like that. I don't know when."

What's your favorite Thanksgiving meal staple?
"Dumplings and dressing."

Will you be one of the millions that wakes up 3am the day after Thanksgiving and shop on Black Friday?
"No, there's no sense in it. The sales will still be there after it."

Vol State. Volunteer State Community College.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Would you be able to afford a tuition increase?

According to the November 20th edition of The Tennessean, due to deep state budget cuts, the Tennessee Board of Regents will be increasing tuition for all of the universities and community colleges in Fall 2009. Schools like Middle Tennessee State University could see an increase of up to 24 percent at the high end.

What does that mean for Volunteer State Community College? According to the article, community colleges, like ours, could increase tuition by anywhere from 10 to 29 percent.

For example, the cost of tuition for one semester at Vol State is currently $1,365.50. Hypothetically speaking, if the tuition was raised 20 percent, tuition per semester would be $1,637. That's an extra $217.50 a semester.

I asked a few students on campus whether or not they would be able to afford an increase:

So, what about you? Would you be able to afford a 20 percent tuition increase?

Vol State. Volunteer State Community College.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Vol State Basketball is off to a great start

The Volunteer State Community College Lady Pioneers have come back after a seven year slump to be ranked 18th in the nation. They're also ranked 4th in team offense, and 15th in team field goal percentage, according to poll released today by National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA). On top of that, the Lady Pioneers are undefeated at 7-0.

Check out the women's basketball stats.

The Pioneers are also having a great year. They are 6-1. Check out the men's basketball stats.

"They put on a very good game [to watch], they can beat their opponent at a high tempo, which other teams can't match up to," said Phillip Price, a student at Vol State.
In addition, cheerleaders have returned after a four year break. The squad of 13 women will cheer on the teams each home game for the Ladies and Pioneers.

Here are the next few home games the teams will be playing:

December 3rd
Mid-Continent College
6pm for women, 8pm for men

December 6th
Roane State Community College
2pm for women, 4pm for men

December 8th
Saint Catherine College
6pm for women, 8pm for men

Vol State. Volunteer State Community College.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Meet Tammy Pritchett

Tammy is a Hendersonville native, and is a 39-year-old Radiology Tech major.

Have you ever gotten a ticket?

What do you think is more dangerous, texting while driving or drinking while driving? Are the alike? How so?
"Both are dangerous. But I'd say that drinking and driving is worse than texting and driving. You're still able to to function when you put the cellphone down. But when you've been drinking, you can't just drop it and react coherently."

Are you a calm or angry driver?
"I'm calm."

What's in your back seat of your car right now?
"Nothing, I keep my car clean."

What's in your CD player right now?
"Christian music."

Friday, November 14, 2008

Redesign Beta is Go!

If you want to just dive right in, the beta launch of the redesign is available at I'll gladly accept any feedback you have, but please read the rest of this entry before emailing me.

In the past, I've used architectural metaphors when discussing my job as webmaster here at Volunteer State Community College. There's even a discipline within the industry called “information architecture”. To continue with that metaphor, here's a visualization of what we hope to build:

Biltmore in the Morning

Yes, that's the Biltmore. Why not aim high? :)

Here's a visualization of where I think we are today:

House under construction

We should be far enough along to give people a pretty good idea of where we are heading. But I may be too close to the process to be an impartial judge. That's where you come in. I need your feedback to make sure we're on the right track. I don't want to end up with something like this:

Dom postawiony na głowie

(The Creative Commons search on Flickr is cool.)

So I'd like to invite you to take a look around at the progress on the web site redesign at There's still plenty of work to be done. You'll see some placeholder text here and there, maybe even the occasional broken link, and I'm sure we've got more than a few bugs. But that's why this is a beta launch. We'll spend the next 6 months or so collecting your feedback and acting upon it so that the finished product can be even better.

Feel free to comment to this post or send any thoughts you have directly to me at If you're reporting a problem, I'll need to know which page you're talking about and what browser you are using. The best way to tell me the page is to copy and paste everything out of the address bar. That should look something like “”. You can find your browser information usually under the “Help” menu. Look for “About Internet Explorer” or “About Firefox” or something like that. Select that option and you'll see a version number (along with a lot of other stuff that's not terribly important for our purposes). The sort of information I'm looking for should be something like “Internet Explorer 7.0” or “Safari 3.2”. If you know your operating system you can let me know that too, but I'll assume Windows Vista or Windows XP if it isn't specified. You can even check it out on your cell phone if you're the type of gadget geek who is into that sort of thing. Just be sure to let me know what you are using to look at the site so I can replicate the error and fix it.

Meet Marie Farrell

Marie is 19, and a Nursing Major from Portland.

Did you register early?
"Yes, I registered today."

Did you get any of the free food and drinks?
"Yeah, it was good."

Is your next semester going to be hard or easy for you? How come?
"I think it's going to be harder next semester. I'm taking PSY 102, Chemistry, ENG 1o1o... and right now I'm just taking high school level courses."

Would you do anything to be exempt from what you think to be your hardest exam this semester?
"Yeah, I'd do anything. I'd write a paper, I'd do more homework, I'd be the teachers pet. I just don't want to take the Writing II final."

Are you ready for winter yet?
"No. I wish it would skip over to spring and stay here."

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Meet Derek Qadir.

Derek is an 18-year-old Physical Therapy major from Fairfax, Virginia.

What's been your most stressful class assignment so far?
"The labs in my computer class. They take a lot of time."

How much work do you have to do in these last four weeks of classes?
"I don't have much, I'm caught up on everything."

There's 43 days left until Christmas. Have you started thinking about shopping for gifts?
"Not really, no."

Has the economic down turn changed your holiday plans at all?

If you could choose between either having more money or more sleep, which would you choose and why?
"I would say more sleep. You can be rich but not happy. Maybe if you sleep, you can be more productive overall and make more money."

Vol State. Volunteer State Community College.

Monday, November 10, 2008

"Concert for a Cause"

Approximately 200-300 people gathered on the Thigpen Library Lawn on a chilly Saturday night to enjoy local bands such as Pineapple Explode, 16th State, His Name His Love, Singletree, and Lady Landslide.

"Concert For a Cause" was produced by Professor of Sociology Bonita Harold's Fall 2008's class. This year, Harold's students raised a total of $1,191 for the Sumner County Humane Society. Concert goers donated toiletry items for Pennington Place Retirement Center residents for a dollar off the admission price.

Here are a few shots of the different bands and acts preforming that night:

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Meet Destiny Crider

Destiny is a 19 year old Nursing major from Red Boiling Springs.

Did you vote?

Did you watch any election coverage?
" A little bit. I watched CNN."

Are you happy or sad that the elections are over?
"I'm happy that it's over with."

What do you think the news channels will cover now that the elections are over with?
"I don't know."

Do you feel like this is history in the making?
"Yeah, we've never had a Black President."

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Vlog

Vol State. Volunteer State Community College.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Happening this week...

November 5th – Comedian Steve Hofstetter
Sponsored by ACE.
12:15pm, Cafeteria.

November 7th thru 16th – Lend Me a Tenor
Theater production in the Caudill Auditorium
$5 donation
7:30pm on the 7th, 8th, 14th, & 15th (Fridays and Saturdays)
2:30pm on the 9th and 16th (Sundays)

November 8th – Concert for a Cause
Benefit for Sumner Humane and Pennington Place Retirement Center
$5 admission, several bands perform
6pm-11pm on the Library Lawn

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Tennis Club Anyone?

The USTA Team Tennis on College Campus program offers students and faculty the chance to represent their college in a friendly, yet competitive playing environment.

The playing format is designed to be flexible, so that it will work on any campus.The goal is for players to form a club team (which means no 5 mile runs like varsity teams), have frequent practices, and compete against other nearby schools. Some of the schools that already have a club team in the area are: MTSU, UT, UT-C, Vanderbilt, Western Kentucky, and East TSU.
The USTA Team Tennis on College Campus program emphasizes on social interaction, having a layed back tennis experience and also:-a healthy physical workout-eligibility for the USA Team Tennis National Campus Championships-an increase in the use of campus tennis facilities -USTA Southern Section and State staff supportIf interested feel free to contact Rebekah Harris at will be 2 meetings in the Ramer Building room 182 on November 17th and 18th 3pm - 4pm to explain the program more and a chance to SIGN UP!

Posted by Rebekah

Journalism Convention, Day 2

12:10pm, Thursday

I have four classes today. I had Feature Photography, Weeding Them Out, Using Social Networking Websites for Student Video News, and Using Twitter and Live Blogging For Breaking News.

My Feature Photography class was basically a refresher course for me. But the "Weeding Them Out" class has been my absolute favorite class so far. The adviser who taught the class was very charismatic. She was talking about how to "weed out" the people who shouldn't be working on a publication staff.

After those two classes, I ate lunch a few blocks away with Kayla and Sarah. Kayla posed for a picture on the way back up the escalator. We made plans for tonight and set a time to meet up with Clay to eat dinner.

I'm in Using Social Networking Websites for Student Video News. This class is more for broadcasting and TV, but it's still relevant for the vlogs I do.

My last class of the day is a two hour long class, the breaking news with Twitter and live blogging.

11:30pm, Thursday

Well, the last class was one you have to pay for, so I didn't go. I went to Photojournalism Ethics and How to Keep Feature Stories. They were okay, but not as interesting as the breaking news would've been.

After my two classes, walked around the Power and Light district of Kansas City and took some pictures. Here's a picture of one of the many fountains in Kansas City.

Clay, Sarah, Kayla, and I ate at Arthur Bryant's BBQ. It turns out that a lot of famous people have eaten there, including Presidental hopefuls John McCain and Sarah Palin. The food was awesome, and the portions were outrageous.

I'm turning in for the night. I have six classes all day tomorrow, and I'm going to an event at midnight.

Vol State. Volunteer State Community college.

Student Journalism Trip

Our student blogger Kristen Salter and other journalism students are on a trip to Kansas City this week for a conference on student journalism. Here is her first entry:

2:14pm, Wednesday
We’re airborne! This is my first flight ever. I’m much calmer now than I was when we checked in. Security wasn’t as bad as I expected it to be. “Check in was probably like 10 minutes for all four of us. It didn’t take long at all,” Kayla said. There are extra seats on the plane for us to spread out… but it’s still pretty tight. Clay’s sitting all by himself across the aisle from us. Kayla is sitting with me. We’re trading turns at the window. Check out these pictures from the plane of Nashville. It looks so tiny! Sarah is sitting in front of us. I was expected the plane ride be much more bumper. The only real complaint I have is that it’s so hot.

We’re going through a little turbulence right now. Scary stuff.

I’ll write some more when we arrive at Kansas City.

10:03pm, Wednesday
So, I’m relaxing in the lobby right now with Sarah. The hotel we’re staying at offers wifi in the rooms, for a price. It’s free in the lobby. I’m not really that tired, I’m more excited than anything. All of my classes start tomorrow. There’s over 400 classes being offered over the 5 day span that Associate Professor Clay Scott, Kayla Turnbow (the editor for The Settler), and Sarah Sommer(the editor for The Pioneer). We ate at Chipotle a few blocks away from the hotel. The food was good, and spicy. We’re going out to get BBQ tomorrow night.

After I finish checking and uploading pictures to my Facebook, I’m going to check out for the night. I’ll have more posted tomorrow.

Kristen Salter

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Hey Students!

How do you think about the Vol State website? Not what do you think, but how do you think?

It's been a while since I posted around here, so I'll remind everyone that I'm the webmaster here at Volunteer State Community College. I'm working on redesigning the website, both visually and structurally. Some of you may remember we did a survey back in February. One of the biggest issues the survey revealed is problems finding stuff. I've developed a theory around this problem and I'd like some student feedback and even suggestions.

I think the current website is structured around the way the employees understand and think about Vol State. If you're familiar with the org chart, it's a lot easier to find your way around the site. But I think that interrupts the flow of thoughts that go through site visitors' heads, especially students. It's great that we have an org chart and that we as employees understand it, but do any of you students know it's something we publish to the public? Do you even care? I don't say that to sound mean, I'm simply pointing out that our org chart probably doesn't figure in to the stuff you spend your days doing (and probably shouldn't).

I'm trying to restructure the navigation around what type of user you are, and then around the sorts of goals a specific type of user would be most likely to have in mind. Since we have over 7,000 students and less than 500 employees, you guys make up our biggest user group and get my top priority.

For example, I think students come to the site thinking about things like "Money". And then you think about things like "Where to get it" and "Where to pay my fees." So in your mind, Financial Aid (who can help you get money) and the College Foundation (who offer scholarships) are probably linked to the Business Office (where you pay your fees).

So what are the sorts of goals you have in mind when you come to the website? Obviously stuff like "Check my email" and "Log into eLearn" are big ones (and I've got the traffic logs to prove it). What specific questions do you come searching for answers to? What big ideas can these questions be grouped into in order to help you find what you are looking for?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Meet Katie

Katie Williams of Westmoreland is 25, and a Office Management major.

How often would you say you spend online?
"About an hour or so."

What is your favorite internet meme [fad]?
"The LOLcats."

What would the motivational poster of your life say and why?
"Never give up; you don't get anywhere from giving up."

What is your favorite viral internet video?
"The one of the kid laughing nonstop."

Are you a social networking addict?
"Yes, there's nothing else to do online, and all of my friends are on there."

Monday, October 27, 2008

Happening This Week...

October 27th – ACE Pumpkin Carving
Sponsored by ACE.
4:30pm, Wood Campus Center Patio.

October 27th – College Republicans Host Senator Diane Black
All students welcome.
11:30am, Carpeted Dining Room.

October 28-29th – Free Chair Massages
Free to students, faculty, and staff
10am-3pm:, Wood Campus Center Hallway.

October 31st - Annual Community Halloween Party
Sponsored by AASU. All students welcome.
6pm-8pm, Rochelle Center in Thigpen Library.

Vol State. Volunteer State Community College.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Tech Tip: Blogging Scholarship

Not really a tech tip, but I learned about this scholarship from one of my tech sites. There is a $10,000 scholarship available to a college student who blogs. The deadline for applying is approaching quickly - October 30, 2008.

More details here: The Blogging Scholarship.

I originally learned about this scholarship from The Open Education Blog (you might be interested in following it).

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Meet Elise

Elise Delpapa is a 20 year old from Hermitage. She's a Allied Science major.

How often do you watch TV?
"At least once a day, a half hour to an hour if I'm working or at work. If I'm off, then I watch about 2 to 3 hours."

What are some of your favorite shows?
"I watch a lot of HGTV, The First 48 and crime solving shows, and a couple of reality shows. I tend to watch several shows at a time, I just flip to the next channel when commercials come on."

If you could be on any Reality TV show, what show would you be on and why?
"I Love Money, or something so I can win easy money."

Who's better, Chuck Norris or William Shatner?
"William Shatner."

If you had the power to remove one TV show from the air, what would it be and why?
"Star Trek. It's pretty dumb."

Meet Kayla and Lauren

Meet Kayla Turnbow and Lauren Dickens. Kayla is 19, and from Castilian Springs. She is the editor of the student-run newspaper on campus named The Settler. Lauren is from Lebanon, also 19, and is the assistant editor.

What is your favorite musician or band?
Kayla - "Ryan Adams. He's a song writer."
Lauren - "Anberlin."

Have you seen them live before?
Kayla - "Yes. I saw him at the Ryman and the War Memorial."
Lauren - "I went to the concert, but I wasn't able to see them because I broke my foot. Never wear flip flops to a concert!"

What's your favorite venue in Nashville?
Kayla -"The Ryman. It has a lot of history, and it's really pretty."
Lauren - "The Anchor. It's small and you can meet the bands after the show."

What is the last concert you've been to?
Kayla - "The Allman Brothers Band in Atlanta."
Lauren - "August Burns Red and Greeley Estates."

What's your favorite part of concerts?
Kayla - "I love dancing until my feet hurt!"
Lauren - "My ears ringing for days after."

Vol State. Volunteer State Community College.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Special Program on The Economy

Associate Professor of Social Sciences Rick Rouch will be doing a program on the current financial crisis. Half of the program will be about how we got into the present state and half will be about the threat it poses to the economy as a whole. It will be held in the Rochelle Center in the Thigpen Library on Wed 22, 2008, 12:15-1:15pm.

The Economy

It's hard nowadays to look at a magazine, newspaper, or turn on the TV without hearing something about the economy. The businesses around Vol State are feeling the effects of the slowing economy.

The Marble Slab Creamery shut its doors two weeks ago. If you drive by the store, you can see signs on it door saying, "Due to the Economy, we are closed. We thank you for your past patronage."

Videogames Etc. manager Brendan Kelly said that his store has had a drastic dip in sales. "Nobody has any money. Everyone's putting what little money they have into food and gas, and they're not much else left for video games."

"I feel like it's been coming for a long time," adamantly said Katie Junker, owner of the BatteriesPlus. "It was a bubble and it burst. I don't think we should bail anyone out. The government isn't going to bail us out if we made bad decisions or over extend ourselves."

How about you? How has the economic slowdown affecting you?

Happening this week...

October 21nd – Totally T-Shirts
Come and make your own T-Shirt.
Free for all students. Sponsored by ACE.
10:00am - 1:30pm, Cafeteria.

October 22nd – VISA Student International Club

Organizational meeting on Main Campus.
All students welcome.
12:30, Ramer 170.

October 23rd – VISA Student International Club
Organizational meeting on Madison Campus.
All students welcome.
12:30, Location posted on Madison campus.

October 23rd – PTK Induction
7:00 PM in the Carpeted Dining Room

Monday, October 20, 2008

Final entries from the Argentina trip

October 17th, 2008

I already have mentioned some of the wonderful contacts we have made this week with top college administrators and educational leaders across Buenos Aires and Salta. Today, however, we learned something truly remarkable. It turns out that Carlos Rios (The Director of the Asociacion Argentina de Colegios Universitarios who has traveled with us for most of the week), was the Minister of Education for the entire province of Buenos Aires in the early 1970's!! After he told us this startling news, he related that he still has direct contact with most of the educational leaders across the country. Furthermore, he informed us that he had spoken again with all of the colleges with whom we have made contact (and a few more) and he said that they all are very interested in establishing exchanges with community colleges in the US. It would be difficult to imagine a contact with more influence than Carlos Rios. He should help us greatly as we further strengthen our relationships.

It has been fascinating to compare Buenos Aires with Salta. Buenos Aires has a population of more than 14 million and has been called the "Paris of South America" due to its many art galleries, museums, theater/film festivals, designer boutiques, etc. It offers everything one could want with big-city life. The city of Salta, however, has a population of about 600,000 which is big enough to offer top-flight cultural events (we toured a remarkable archeological museum) but also has a small-town flavor. It is located at the foothills of the Andes mountains, so one can drive just a bit north and actually be in the midst of the majestic Andes chain with truly breathtaking views.

October 18th, 2008

This morning we will begin our journey back to the United States. We will fly from Salta to Buenos Aires later this morning (about a two-hour flight) and then from Buenos Aires to Dallas overnight (an eleven-hour flight.) We should be back in the Nashville area around noon on Sunday. We have been very impressed with LAN, our airline for the Buenos Aires-Salta route. (This airline actually still serves a boxed snack at no charge along with drinks!)

We drank yerba mate yesterday for the first time. (See photo.) It is like a hot tea drink that is made from yerba (an herb). You drink it in a mate and sip it through a bombilla. I thought that it was quite tasty. It allegedly helps with digestion and is a very "sociable" drink. In fact, we were told that it is rude not to offer a taste of it to others if you make a cup of it.
We were able to make phone calls using Skype on our laptop computer throughout the week. (See photo of President Nichols making a Skype call.) It works very well and only costs a bit over two cents per minute to call a US landline or cell phone and is free if you make a call to someone else who is also set up to use Skype on their computer. We were delighted to learn that it is used commonly by the faculty, staff, and students at the colleges we visited. So, as we further enhance our relationships with several Argentine colleges, we can communicate with them for free! Clarence Dobbins deserves a hearty congratulations for all of his efforts to set up our laptop computer before we left. His efforts have allowed us to maintain quality contact with the States. He also was the first person to suggest that we try Skype.

We will be following up regularly with all of the contacts we made in Argentina. It was inspiring to learn that there was so much excitement and interest from the Argentine educational community about setting up possible faculty and/or student exchanges in the near future. Stay tuned for more information on what plan of action Vol State will be taking in the near future concerning our new-formed relationships with the Argentine educational community!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Meeting with Argentine Educators

October 14, 2008

As I mentioned in Monday's blog, our presentation went so well that we received applause. After the presentation, the director of the Nueva Escuela de Diseno y Comunicacion walked up to me and said that he was very interested in discussing possible faculty or student exchanges with us. We talked for about twenty minutes or so and we made an appointment to tour the College today at 18:00 (6:00 p.m.) and discuss possible exchanges. The meeting went very well and we even agreed that some faculty visits would be the best way to initiate our exchanges. We left a "memorandum of understanding" with them to be used as a starting point for our future discussions. We met with the founder of the college, the director, and two other administrators who make the key decisions there. We were quite thrilled to make such a close connection with a College so quickly.

Today we also participated in meetings and conferences at the following places: The Ministry of Education, The National Technological Education Institute, and the National Academy of Education. We made many good contacts and learned a great deal about the Argentine educational system.

A truly remarkable coincidence occurred this morning. In the Intercontinental Hotel lobby, Dr. Nichols ran into Millard Oakley, a member of the Board of Regents. Neither one knew that the other one was going to be in South America, much less Buenos Aires, Argentina! (I might add that Dr. Nichols and Dr. Espey ran into Chancellor Charles Manning in the Nashville airport last Friday shortly before we departed.) It truly is becoming a "small world!"

Oct. 15, 2008

This morning we flew to Salta, Argentina. After lunch, we checked into the Sheraton Salta Hotel and had a meeting in the Salta Governor House (Centro Civico Gran Bourg). Once again we were able to learn more about the Argentine educational system and make some meaningful contacts. Among other top-ranking officials of Salta, we met with the Minister of Education. He spoke very little English, so it was delightful to see his eyes light up when he saw that we had our materials translated into Spanish. We were the only College that prepared so many materials in Spanish, so it has been like a breath of fresh air for both the high-ranking officials and the College administrators to read about our College in their native language with the brochure that we created as well as be able to view a Spanish-language DVD. Later in the day we visited the Provincial Institute of Technology Education (UFIDET) and toured the premises and came to yet a deeper understanding of how the educational system in Argentina is set up. We continue to be optimistic about being able to set up some truly wonderful exchanges with some Argentine educational institutions.

Dr. Nichols is joined in this picture by the three presidents of the other colleges represented here, and the Director of the Instituto Nacional de Educacion Tecnologica.

October 16, 2008

Today we had the opportunity to visit the Universidad Catolica de Salta (Catholic University of Salta.) We were very impressed with this University and can see many potential opportunities for exchanges. We had meaningful dialogues with both the rector and vice-rector of the University along with most of the head faculty members. Again, our ability to communicate in Spanish has made a big difference. While the rector could speak some English, he still was much more comfortable speaking Spanish with us. In addition, the vice-rector essentially didn't speak English at all so it was invaluable to still be able to get his insights on educational matters along with promoting our college to him. Our Spanish DVD again came in handy as we were able to show it to the faculty and staff in the room.

As you will see from the photos that I am sending, the culture of Argentina is truly fascinating. As you walk around, you inevitably will experience amazing music and dance ranging from traditional to more contemporary styles. The architecture is spectacular on many of the historic buildings, the cathedrals are breathtaking, and the plazas are semingly always filled with activity. The food is outstanding and everyone we have met has been very friendly. It would be difficult for me to imagine anyone not enjoying a visit here.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Argentina Presentation Goes Well

October 13th, 2008

We sincerely made an outstanding impression this evening with the Argentine Business Directors Association. Every college (both US and Argentinian institutions) prepared a multimedia presentation and we were the only group to receive applause at the completion of the presentation! We were able to introduce our presentation to the entire group in Spanish and then were able to show a DVD (recorded in Spanish) that described Volunteer State Community College very well. We were the only group to have the multimedia presentation overdubbed in Spanish. In addition, we were the only College that distributed Spanish-language brochures to everyone. We made many wonderful contacts as a result! Special thanks go to the following for their outstanding work in what truly has made a huge difference way down here in South America:

1. Terry Heinen and his crew (particularly Todd Griffin) in Media Services, who did an outstanding job in such a short amount of time.

2. Cristina Frasier, who worked tirelessly with the Spanish translations and did a great job with the recording of the script on the DVD. (The Argentine Busines Directors Association could not have been more impressed. The other community colleges were impressed as well...)

3. Kenyatta Lovett and Eric Melcher in Public Relations for their efforts with many of the details of the trip that are going SO well. For example, the gifts that we are giving to the Argentine professionals have been very well-received. Obviously, too, your efforts with the Spanish language brochure were truly outstanding.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Argentina Trip Day 2

October 12th, 2008

Today we met the other participants of the program who also very much desire to make connections and form partnerships with the Argentine colleges. Our group is made up of four Community College presidents and eight other community college professionals. We toured the city of Tigre (just outside of Buenos Aires) this morning and enjoyed walking along the water. We saw many canoeists and boaters. In addition, we visited an art museum called Museo de Arte Tigre that was very impressive. We continued to eat very well as you will see in the photo. What you see us all enjoying is "brochete de caprese."

Trip to Argentina

The President, Dean of Business and the Director of Advising are visiting Argentina this week to help set up relationships with colleges there. It's part of our International focus. Terry Bubb will be blogging along the is his first post:
Blog of 2008 Trip to Argentina
The purpose of the trip is for Volunteer State Community College to develop partnerships with Argentinian Colleges. We hope that our visit will lead to student travel study abroad, internships, faculty and staff exchanges, etc. The trip is the direct result of Volunteer State Community College now being a member of CCID, Community Colleges For International Development, Inc. (Dr. Warren Nichols, Dr. John Espey, and Terry Bubb are the representatives from Volunteer State Community College in this program.)
October 11th, 2008
¡Hola a todos de la ¡¡Argentina! All of our flights went very smoothly. We arrived in Buenos Aires around 8:30 a.m., went through Customs fairly quickly, and checked in successfully in the hotel by 10:30 a.m. We are staying at the Intercontinental Buenos Aires Hotel. It is very nice and the staff is quite friendly. This is the only day of our trip that is not completely planned, so we immediately took advantage of that fact. After we checked into our rooms, showered, and changed clothes, we set out to explore Buenos Aires!

We could not have asked for more beautiful weather, so we thoroughly enjoyed our walk. We strolled the streets for a few hours, stopping to soak in the sights and scenes of Buenos Aires. We saw many families walking around and children playing in the streets. (See photo of little girls playing with the pigeons.) One remarkable place is the Plaza de Mayo. There, among other things, we saw the Casa Rosada, (“the Pink House”) where the President conducts official business. It also is the location of the famous moment/scene in history when Evita Perón (or was it Madonna?!J) spoke to the people below from the balcony. There also is a gorgeous Cathedral that is part of the plaza. We were struck by the beauty of the architecture as well as the history that is commemorated throughout this part of Buenos Aires. In addition, we walked down a pedestrian street named Florida where we saw every imaginable type of shop. We also heard some good live music. One of the photos that you will see today is of a music group that blew us away with their music. (We saw a poster that said that Maroon 5 was coming to Buenos Aires soon. Argentinians definitely enjoy a wide variety of music.)

On the way back to the hotel we ate lunch at the Café Tortoni, the oldest café in Buenos Aires. We all enjoyed lunch while soaking in the fascinating character of a famous café. There was an old-style theater inside that still has regular Tango shows. You will see a photo of it. In addition, literally right behind our booth was a life-size display of three famous Argentinians: Jorge Luis Borges, Carlos Gardel, and Gabriella Mistral. We are going to turn in early tonight because it is the only “early” night that we will have. We will typically be eating dinner until around 11:00 or 11:30 p.m. each night once the planned agenda begins. ¡Hasta mañana!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Highlights from the Fall Fiesta

Vol State. Volunteer State Community College.

Happening This Week...

October 15th – Kevin Sharp
Motivational speaker and musician
12:15 PM in the Carpeted Dining Room

October 17th – Harvest Moon Sorée
5:30 PM - Cocktails & Silent Auction, 6:30 PM - Dinner
Tickets: $75 per person.
At the Bluegrass Country Club in Hendersonville

Vol State. Volunteer State Community College.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

"Service Learning is the Pitts"

Over the next following weeks, students from Communication professor Jennifer Pitts COM 100 classes will be start a service learning project they've dubbed, "Service Learning is the Pitts."
The project the classes have chosen is Bledsoe Creek State Park's storm water drainage problem. The classes are planning on building culverts to help the storm water drain into the Cumberland River. One class leaders, Jessica Bazenet, sent me a blurb about their first in class meeting.

"My class has recently started working on their service learning project. Wednesday, October 8th, we had class meetings where they came up with group leaders, group names, and group goals. That's us in the picture.

The Support Team Leader, or Team Shake N' Bake, is Amanda Hash. The Service Team Leader, or the Dirt Dobbers, is Caroline Bassler. They come up with the plan to solve the community organization’s problem or need and successfully complete the service learning task.
And the Publicity Team Leader, which is named... The Publicity Team, is me, Jessica Bazenet. We run all the Public Relations stuff for the project.

Our first work day is October 13th, 9:00 AM at Bledsoe Creek State Park.

If anyone would like to take a look at the project website, feel free to visit
and look around!"

Written by Jessica Bazenet. Vol State. Volunteer State Community College.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Debate Night At Vol State

Here are shots of the representatives from each party that spoke before the debate:

Jim Hawkins, Democratic Candidate for Tennesse State Senate.

Anthony Holt, Republican County Commissioner for Sumner County and running for County Executive.

Dr. Steven S. Nelson, Republican co-chairman for Sumner County.

Mary Kennedy, Hendersonville representative for the Sumner County Democrats.

A group of about 25-30 students, faculty, staff, and members of the general public came to watch the debates and meet with the representatives of both parties.

After the debates ended, only a group of 15-20 or so stayed around for the Question and Answer with Democrat Mary Kennedy and Republican Dr. Steven S. Nelson. Richard Green opened the floor, and I asked the first question. "So, who do you think won the debate?" I knew it was going to be a biased answer, but my goodness, I didn't expect the explosion of emotion afterwards...

When the war between the left side of the room and the right side of the room subsided, the two sides came together for a much less heated discussion to wrap the night up.