Monday, June 29, 2009

Characters in Line

One student plays video games. An older man waits patiently. A baseball player tosses a ball. A woman grooves to music. They all have one thing in common: they’ll soon be standing in line at the Vol State Business Office.

It’s part of a mural project for the cashier’s walls that started in Sue Mulcahy’s Drawing 2 class this spring. Student artists have been working on the project this summer, which has become a bit of a labor of love.
"We were inspired by humor," said Cory Amons. "The idea is people standing in line paying tuition."
"We decided we were going to represent the student body, but at the same time create interesting characters," said Jordan Bickimer.
You may recognize one of the characters. Elkin Brown, a long-time faculty member who died suddenly last year, will be up on the wall, talking to a student in line.
"Elkin did so much for the Art Department," said Amons. "There isn’t one of us who was not effected by Elkin."
"We were amazed by the type of person he was," said Bickimer. "He needed to be immortalized."
Bickimer and Amons are working on the mural with Ray Solorio, Jesslyn Carver, Tim Carver, Carissa Breton and Chris Fowler. They plan to add color to the characters soon, and put them up like wall paper. The background will then be painted to create a uniform look. It should be completed by the end of the summer.
"This thing is in constant flux," said Bickimer. "We’re having to adapt. That’s the way art is.
Tags: Volunteer State Community College. Art.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Glasses to Guatemala

Vol State Ophthalmic students helped to fit glasses for 738 people during a recent mission trip to Guatemala. Chelsea Allen, Todd Parker, Trillion Ray and Megan Williams helped Dr. Eric Stamper test vision and then find the right donated eyeglasses for the Guatemalans. The Rotary Club of Hendersonville, lead by Dr. Bill Tayor, organizes the annual medical mission trip which also provides dental care and medical exams. Vol State students have been serving in this capacity for several years now. It's a chance to put classroom learning to work and help a community in serious need. Vol State is always looking for opportunities to connect students with the community and take action to help people. Here are some pictures from the trip. Thanks to Rip Lebkuecher who helped to organize the mission and took these photos.

Volunteer State Community College.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Student travel opportunites

Hey you want to learn about different cultures and countries with overseas travel? We have a travel study program that not only organizes the trip and the class work, but also helps to pay for some of the expense. Here's a note from Dean Espey about how you can get involved:

Volunteer State Community College students will have an expanded opportunity for travel/study in the Tennessee Consortium for International Studies (TnCIS) program in 2010. The TnCIS Program will expand to include new programs for 2010 in India, China, Italy and the Czech Republic.

These programs will be in addition to existing programs planned to continue in a number of countries including England, The Netherlands, Scotland, France, South Africa, Greece, Spain, Brazil, Mexico, Jamaica, and Ireland.

Fifteen Vol State students took part in the 2009 program studying and traveling in seven of the TnCIS program countries and 215 total students from across the state TBR system took part in 2009, slightly more than double the number from 2008.

VSCC faculty will be involved in 2010 with Mr. Keith Bell scheduled to teach in the South Africa program, Ms. Tonya Daniels scheduled to teach in the Mexico program and Dr. John Espey schedule to teach and Direct the Ireland program.

TnCIS programs involve an immersion in the culture of another country and an opportunity to study at foreign site. Each program involves visiting historical and cultural sites and cities in the host country. Students from VSCC will be eligible to apply for scholarship assistance through the VSCC International Education Committee. All programs involve travel/study that begins soon after the completion of the Spring 2010 Semester and usually last about three weeks.

Information about each program’s cost, dates of travel study, and applications for scholarship assistance will be available during the forthcoming fall and Spring Semester. Students can fill out a brief form in the Academic Business Division that will allow them to be kept up to date on forthcoming meetings and deadlines

John H. Espey
Academic Dean, Business Division
Chairman, International Education Committee
So, what is the travel study experience like? Here's a You Tube video of Vol State Paralegal students on a travel study trip to London:

Monday, June 15, 2009

Looking for a Student Writer

The Vol State blog needs a student writer for the fall and spring semesters. If you enjoy writing, social media (facebook, twitter, blogs, you tube) and you love to learn new things this may be just the job for you. The candidate must be a Vol State student for the fall and spring semester. It pays for about 10-15 hours a week. We're doing interview in the next couple of weeks. Interested? E-mail us at

Volunteer State Community College.

Vol State Baseball Players Go Major League

This is from our friends at the Gallatin News Examiner:

Vol State's Garton, Cooney selected in MLB draft

By Craig Harris
The News Examiner

Josh Garton expected to be selected in this year’s Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.Chase Cooney did not.However, both Volunteer State Community College baseball players will soon be making their way into the professional baseball ranks as they were selected on Wednesday.

“I’m thrilled,” said Garton. “I was really speechless. “It didn’t matter to me who (selected me).”Cooney added, “It was the biggest surprise ever. I was watching it, and they called my name. The only thing I did was put my head down and say, ‘thank you God.’”

The duo helped the Pioneers to the Tennessee Junior and Community College Athletic Association/Region VII Tournament championship after a sixth-place finish during the regular season. Vol State fell to Middle Georgia in the East Central District Playoff, falling short of the Junior College World Series.Garton – a rightfielder – concluded his sophomore campaign with a .398 batting average, 10 doubles and 21 home runs. He was a first team all-conference selection who first began receiving attention prior to the 2008 MLB draft.

“Last year, I didn’t even watch the draft,” noted Garton. “I had attention but it was late. It would have been a real big surprise. “This year, I had all that attention. I figured one team would nab me in those 50 rounds.”Garton was a 12th-round selection by the Cincinnati Reds.“I thought I was going to go a little bit later,” explained Garton, who is a Guelth, Ont. native. “My advisor (from True Gravity Sports and Entertainment Consulting, Inc., which is a Canadian-based company specializing in Athlete Representation, Event Management and Strategic Consulting) called me in the 10th round. He said expect a call from Cincinnati in the 12th round, so he blew the surprise for me.”Garton went through pre-draft workouts for eight different professional organizations – the Reds, Kansas City Royals, Philadelphia Phillies, Chicago White Sox, San Francisco Giants, Atlanta Braves, Toronto Blue Jays and Florida Marlins – but one team that he didn’t work out for, the Cleveland Indians, showed the most interest.“All that attention started in the fall showcases,” noted Garton. “That’s when I started getting the packages and phone calls. Cleveland, their scout was all over me and wouldn’t leave me alone. I thought Cleveland was going to take me, but any team was fine with me. “I’ve heard my personality and my work ethic on and off the field (is what stood out). I’m just going by what they said. I wouldn’t say I was always in the gym or in the cage, but that’s the most important thing to me, your work ethic off the field.”

Garton has signed with Florida International University but plans forego his opportunity to continue his college career and sign with the Reds. Cooney and Garton become the fourth and fifth Pioneers to get drafted during Crossland’s coaching tenure at VSCC – in addition to Stevie Delabar (a right-handed pitcher who was a 43rd-round pick by the Los Angeles Angels in 2002), Chad Etheridge (an outfielder who was a 45th-round selection by the San Diego Padres in 2002) and Bubba Pfister (a shortstop who was picked by the Detroit Tigers in 2000).

“Going to Vol State was a lot better idea than going to a four-year school for sure,” emphasized the 21-year-old Garton. “Coach (Mike) Crossland has been through it all. He helped me out a lot. The guy knows his stuff.”

Vol State. Volunteer State Community College

Thursday, June 11, 2009

5 Tips for Credit and Collections

This is part of a series of blog entries for businesses from Charles Alexander, the Director of the Tennessee Small Business Development Center at Vol State.

In this economy, customer budgets have been stretched to the max. As many of you may have discovered, the last person to get paid may be you, the business owner. Although it may be understandable from the customer’s point of view, you are in this recession as well, and the people you owe money to (insurance, rent, loan, payroll) will not care that you have not received all of your money. According to the Commercial Collection Agency Association, the probability of collecting on a bill drops to 70% after 90 days. And it plummets to 23% after a year.

So what is the best way to handle slowing payments? Do you kick and scream for your money? Should you just bury your head in the sand and hope that it all works out in the end? How about a happy medium? Let’s take a look at some proven collection methods. I’ll warn you there are no silver bullets or magic pills, just good old fashioned proven processes.

1. Create payment guidelines and get it in writing – This will create clear expectations of prompt payment. Make sure that the payment guidelines are on your order form, brochure and/or Web site. Also make sure they clearly spell out your terms of sale and payment options. Do not use generic terms, such as “due on receipt” and then not follow through. This will set the wrong example. If you say due on receipt, and the customer doesn’t pay immediately, then penalize them for late payment.

2. Review Accounts Receivable reports frequently – Assuming that you have an accounting system in place, you should have an Accounts Receivable report that you can review at least on a weekly basis. This report will tell you what customers are 30, 60, and 90 days late. If you make this analysis a recurring task, just like processing payroll or any other weekly task, you will make it a habit of being informed about collection issues.

3. Send a series of reminders – As soon as the payment date is missed, you need to have a system in place that reminds the customer. Using letters, emails, or phone calls will work. You can use software, such as QuickBooks®, to assist you in setting up reminders and even for processing collection letters. Also if you have a late payment charge policy, you need to enforce it each time.

4. Be consistent with your collections process – One of the toughest things about staying on top of the collections process is getting too comfortable with the status quo of a tight cash flow. Sometimes you may think it is easier to put the pressure on yourself, your business, and even your family then it is to listen to hard luck stories or to chase deadbeats. But the simple truth is that your business and your stress level will be in much better shape if you are willing to make the tough decisions.

5. What to do if all else fails – Many of you know that you will not always win in the collections process and there has to be some type of resolution. You may have to sacrifice at least 50% of the debt to collect anything at all. This may mean that, at some point, you may have to be willing to sue or send the debt to collections. Either option may be costly, but if the debt is significant enough it may well be worth it. Sometimes you may just need to know when enough is enough, and give up on the debt and chalk it up as a lesson learned. I would suggest that should always be your last option.

If you have any questions on what is legal and what is not legal you can always review this link to make sure that you are following federal guidelines:

You can reach Charles at

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Had a Blast Today!

Great turnout for Vol State Registration Rocks today...more than 600 people. Dusty and the guys with Lincoln County Process rocked! Thanks to Game Stop for a wild "Streetfighter 4" competition.

Remember, this just kicks off the Fall Class Registration can register online at any time and come in to see an advisor or get help from 8am to 4:30pm each weekday. If you haven't applied yet make sure you see admissions first, or apply online. Admissions and Advising are both located in the Rame Building. For Livingston just visit the main building for the way we will be holding a Registration Rocks event on July 29 at the Livingston campus. Here are some pics from today.

Volunteer State Community College.

Monday, June 8, 2009

We're on for Registration Rocks Outside

We've been watching the weather forecasts in regards to Registration Rocks from 11am to 2pm on Wednesday, and it looks like we are set to hold it outdoors as planned. Everything will be held on the Plaza in the center of campus and on the library lawn near-by. Registration Rocks is basically just a fun day to come to campus, see an advisor, register for fall classes, talk to campus clubs and organizations, and ask some questions. We'll have a rock band playing, free Subway subs for the first 500 visitors and a video game contest sponsored by Game Stop.

June 10 marks the first day that everyone can register for fall classes, which is why we hold Registration Rocks that day. Up until now only current students could register, and starting June 10 it opens up for everyone. But you don't have to register on that day. You can apply to the college, visit with advisors, and register at any time over the next couple of months. Just remember that class slots fill up quickly, so you will want to get registered early to get the classes and class times that you really want.
We hope to see you there...and yes, parents and friends are invited as well!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Vol State-Belmont Nursing graduates

Holly Andrews walked across the stage at Belmont University, not just as a happy graduate but also the first of her kind. She is in the first group of students to complete the nursing program in a partnership between Volunteer State Community College and Belmont University. The mother of four made the career choice because of the important role nurses played while she was delivering her children in the hospital.

“I thought: I could do that for the rest of my life. It was just getting up the nerve to do it,” Andrews said.

Andrews is joined by Jordan Banks and Jessica Brazil as the first Vol State group to graduate from the program. They took a set of classes at Vol State that matched up to Belmont nursing requirements. After graduation from Vol State and acceptance into the Belmont program, all of their courses transferred to the bachelor’s of science in nursing degree. Vol State administrators say the program is continuing to grow in popularity.

“Belmont, of course, is a premier institution,” said Dean Nancy Morris. “The students in all of their medical programs get high scores. They have state of the art facilities and a low student to professor ratio.”

Banks and Brazil both served as officers in the Belmont Student Nurses Association.

College was a family affair for Andrews. Her husband Danny has been working two jobs while she was in school.

“This is just what we have to do to make a better life for our kids,” she said. “You just have to juggle things. You take it one day at a time.”

Andrews returns to Vol State to offer encouragement to the students considering the nursing program. She is looking for a job in the very area that first inspired her.

“I really want to work in labor and delivery,” she said.

For more information about the Vol State-Belmont nursing program partnership visit and click on “vscc partnership” or call 615-230-3261.