Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Supporting Student Veterans

It’s a military culture shock of sorts: one moment you have an organization that tells you everything you need to do and in the next moment you are in college and facing a bewildering array of choices. That’s the challenge facing many veterans as they re-enter civilian life and engage with higher education. Ken Hanson’s job is to help them make that transition and navigate the red tape.

“They need people to help them out,” Hanson said. “I try to inform them about how the GI Bill works and who they need to talk to at Vol State.”

Hanson is the new Veterans Affairs Coordinator at the college. He has a pretty good idea of what veterans are going through at the college. He spent 22 years in the Air Force.

“I started out enlisted for 12 years and I became an officer for the last 10 years.”

When asked where he was posted Hanson has to stop and think, eventually resorting to counting on his fingers to keep track.

“Five years in Japan. One year in Iraq,” he said. “And in the states: Arkansas, Florida, New Mexico, Delaware, New Jersey and Alabama.”

Veterans face challenges just returning home.

“You’re gone away from family and then all of a sudden you have to reestablish that and that takes time. It could take four to six months to reacclimatize to your family.”

Hanson will help student veterans navigate the Veterans Administration process.

“I want to make it more efficient to help student get their VA money quicker, but stay in the VA guidelines for the federal government and the college.”

He also plans to bring veterans together on campus.

“A lot of times veterans want that network. It’s rebuilding that camaraderie that they’re used to. That’s what most people miss when they leave the military.”

A student veteran organization is in the works, as well as an open house event. Hanson plans on engaging organizations such as the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars to work with students on campus. Faculty or staff interested in participating should e-mail him.

“Student veterans just need someone to help them and hopefully if they feel that camaraderie it will help them stay in school and be successful.”

Reach Ken Hanson By e-mail: ken.hanson@volstate.edu

And visit the new Vol State VA page at www.volstate.edu/veterans

Volunteer State Community College Veterans

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

69 Year-Old Vol State Student Ready for Graduation

Every student dreams of the day when the educational journey comes to an end.  Well, in reality, it doesn’t actually happen like that because you never quit learning.  Ask Helen McBride.  She will graduate from Vol State this spring, and she is 69 years old.  She is an inspiration for me every time I want to quit.  When McBride’s husband of 47 years passed away in 2007, her friends thought she would fall apart, but McBride was not ready to throw in the towel.  After a pep talk from her sister-in-law she decided to look at returning to school to get her GED.
“Everyone in my family had graduated high school but me,” said McBride.  “I was the only one of my mother’s children that didn’t have a diploma, and, when I passed my GED, I gave it to her on Mother’s Day.  Now, four years later and by the grace of God, when I graduate, I will give her my college diploma on her 91st birthday.  Everybody at this school has been wonderful to me from day one, but it’s the students that have made the difference.  In the past I have been late to work and things like that, but once I started school I have never been late to class.  In fact, I have never missed a class, except once or twice for illness.”
Associate Professor of Communications and Journalism Clay Scott enjoys the diversity of a community college.
“Helen has overcome the obstacles she faced a young person,” said Scott.  “She took advantage of an opportunity to come back to school and has made the best of it.  Though there is an age difference, there is not a communication or education difference, because she wants to learn just like they do.  They probably learn more from her than she does from them.  Because of her lifelong experience, students can learn from her successes and mistakes.  There have been times in the newsroom when she was able to offer advice to students on non-academic things, and it is really neat to see that interaction.  I have had several non-traditional students, and she has seen a transition from radio, to TV, and now to digital communication.  This brings perspective and something fresh and new to the class.”
McBride works for the school paper as a photographer.  “I reached a stage last year where I just didn’t think I could do it,” said McBride.  “But I made it through.   My favorite class has been journalism with Mr. Clay Scott.  At first I had a little bit of a challenge, but now I love it.  The stories he tells and the things he teaches are wonderful.  I have learned a lot from him.”
McBride wants to use her education to help inspire kids to go to school.  She is working on a children’s book about a magic fly that inspires them to achieve their dreams by not quitting. 
Volunteer State Community College

Friday, January 20, 2012

Vol State Radiologic Does it Again with a 100% Pass Rate!

There are less than 700 Radiologic programs in the country, and Vol State has one of the leading programs.  In fact, on nine different occasions we have had students receive a 100% pass rate on the first attempt when taking the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) exam.  (This is way above the national average)  The most recent class in 2011 is no exception, the results are in and we did it again!

What makes the program so successful?  According to Program Director, Monica Korpady there are a number of factors at play.  “We have fantastic instructors, they do a wonderful job,” said Korpady.  “I am proud of them and they are an important part of our success, but also our students really want to do this.  We have been here since 1988 and we have hit 100% pass rate on the first attempt nine times.”

Korpady was here when that first group graduated.

“We had our 500th graduate this past May and I have known every single one of them personally,” said Korpady.  “This job is very rewarding.  The program has changed so many lives, everyone has been able to get a job and support their families.  They are happy with the work they do and it is never boring, because it is different every day.  There are so many fields you can go into once you are a registered radiological technologist.  You can cross train into Computed Tomography (CT), or Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and a lot of our students go into special procedures, or arteriogram and angiography.”

Each year Vol State has between 400-600 applicants, and they interview around 90 to 100 of them for the thirty available slots.  The college has nine clinical sites branching out from the Gallatin hub.  Candidates must have a minimum 3.0 GPA based on 24 credit hours of general education before they are even eligible to apply for the interview process.  Once accepted, it is a two-year program. For more information visit: http://www.volstate.edu/RadTech/?ref=az
Volunteer State Community College

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Great Job on Donating Coats for Cold Weather!

Judy Merritt and Renee' Eades collecting coats.
Imagine walking around in this kind of weather without a coat.  Unfortunately, there are people that face this problem every year.  However, many of them will not have to do that this year as a direct result of kindness on the part of the staff, students, and community surround Vol State College. 

Associate Professor of English, Renee Eades has been involved with this program for several years.  “As of the end of last semester, we had collected a total of 261 coats, which exceeds the goal of 250 that we set for this year,” said Eades.  “In addition to the coats, we also received a number of hats, scarves, gloves, jumpsuits, and other winter-weather gear.  There will truly be many people well-protected from the weather this winter as a result of the donations of the people in our community!”

As a secretary for Off Campus programs, Judy Merritt gets to interact with many people from the area.  “This is my first time being on the employee relations committee,” said Merritt.  “I have signed up to help on several projects in the past and nobody ever picked me, but this year they did, and I was so excited.  I collected coats from my neighbors and brought in two or three big bags worth of items.  At least one orange coat still had the price tags on it, so I know somebody just wanted to go out and do something nice for someone.”

“I am so proud to have been a part of the effort to collect these winter necessities,” said Eades.  “I would like to first thank all of you who contributed these coats and outerwear.  You have gone above and beyond the definition of "giving" during this holiday season, and your efforts will be appreciated even more by those who will be receiving these coats, hats, scarves, and gloves.”

The coat drive is sponsored by the Burlington Coat Factory and ABC's Good Morning America and the not-for profit One Warm Coat

Volunteer State Community College

Thursday, January 12, 2012

How to Get Weather Closing and Delay Information

Let's have a chat about the weather and how it impacts you as a Vol State student, faculty or staff member. Right now, we don't expect to have any closings or delays due to the weather. But if that changes you can find out in one of four ways.

The easiest and quickest way is to sign up for Vol State text alerts: http://www.volstate.edu/PublicRelations/TextAlert.php

With the text service you can also check boxes to get specific alerts for Highland Crest and Livingston if you want.

Monitor our primary facebook page: www.volstate.edu/facebook

Follow us on Twitter: www.volstate.edu/twitter

Keep an eye on the front page of http://www.volstate.edu/ we put all cancellations and delays up there as well.

WVCP-FM 88.5 also gives out weather closings. For major morning delays and cancellations we send notices to the Nashville TV stations. But honestly, the TV stations should be a last resort. It sometimes takes an hour for the Vol State listings to come up...with all of the other closings. You are much better off with one of the four options listed above.

You'll find that the College doesn't close or have class delays nearly as often as the high schools. There is a big reason for this. High schools make their decisions based on school bus travel. We don't have any buses, so we make our decision based on car travel and that's quite different. However, we have students living all over the area and in a variety of terrain. If the roads are dangerous in your area you have the right to decide if you want to attend class or not. If you can't attend just let your instructor know so that you can make up your work. We want everyone to be safe and that means you need to use your own best judgement.

Volunteer State Community College

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Orientation Tip for New Students

New students need to do Vol State Orientation before they can register for classes. For the last few weeks that had to be done in person. However, if you missed those sessions you can now do it online. Starting today students who are required to complete orientation online can do so by visiting www.volstate.edu/Directions.  The students will be required to complete the “Required Modules” and enter their student V# at the end of the session. Classes start on Thursday, but there is still time to get the orientation done and get registered. If you need help visit the Vol State Advising Center in Ramer 174.

Friday, January 6, 2012

A Student Offers Tips for College Success

I was nervous the first time I visited the Vol State campus.  I didn’t know where anything was, I didn't know where to park, and I had no friends to show me the ropes.  It is not easy, but it does not have to be as difficult as I made it.  Here are a few tips to make your semester run smoother.
  •  See the Be Advised newsletter for special hours, locations, and events the first few weeks of the spring 2012 semester.  Keep up with these important dates.  Even if you think you know exactly what you want to do, you still need to speak to someone about your academic goals.  Although I had a general idea, I needed some guidance and direction. Your advisor is your best resource and someone you should stay in contact with throughout your college career. Ask others for advice as well, sometimes you will pick up a critical piece of information from someone else on campus that has had a similar experience.
  • Write down important names, dates, numbers, and locations in a notebook, calendar, cellphone, or laptop.  You WILL use your Student Registration information EVERYDAY.  Even though I no longer need a Campus Map now, I still reference a lot of this info daily.  (V-number, your email information, your advisers extension and email, room numbers and class times.  I even had to write down how to login, my passwords, and the number for the IT Help Desk.)
  • Sign-up for text messages from the college. It will send you an automatic text message for any weather closings or delays and also update you on important college news and tips. Just make sure you click the college tips section when you sign-up.
  • Check out our links for Facebook and the Vol State Blog. The college offers a lot of info on Facebook several times a day. You can also communicate with other students there.
  • Plan ahead.  Nothing is more frustrating than waiting in a long line, only to find out that you are in the wrong building.  Expect traffic delays, be ready to hold on the phone lines, ask for help, be polite and assist others if you know the answer.  Things do go wrong, so be prepared and you will be successful.
 "By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”  -- Ben Franklin 
Paul Farmer is the student blogger at Vol State.

Volunteer State Community College

Some important dates for the coming semester

We hope everyone is looking forward to spring classes. We know, it's tough getting back into the groove of classes after a nice break, but hopefully you'll have a smooth transition coming back to campus. These are some important dates for you to keep in mind this coming semester. We also have some important phone numbers if you have questions specific to a division. Good luck this semester!
  • Dual Enrollment Fees Due – Wednesday, January 11
  • First day of classes – Thursday, January 12
  • Late registration fee begins – Thursday, January 12
  • First Financial Aid processing – Friday, January 13
  • College closed for MLK Day - Monday, January 16
  • First Financial Aid paper checks mailed – Tuesday, January 17
  • Last day to register through PRIDE Online for full term – Tuesday, January 17
  • Refund processing will begin – Monday, February 6
  • Spring Break - March 5-10
  • Early Registration for Summer and Fall - Starts April 2 and 3
  • Graduation - May 5

Allied Health Division located in the Wallace building - Room 102  (615) 230-3333
Business Division located in the Mattox building - Room 101B  (615) 230-3301
Humanities Division located in the Ramer building - Room 101    (615) 230-3202
Math and Science located in the Warf building - Room 100       (615) 230-3261
Social Science and Education located in the Caudill building - Room 222    (615) 230-3231
Advising Center located in the Ramer building - Room 174, (615) 230-3702

Volunteer State Community College

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Considering Spring Classes?

The spring semester at Vol State starts on January 12. That means there is still time to apply and then register for spring classes, but you do need to act quickly. You can fill out an application online at www.volstate.edu/admissions or you can visit us at the main campus in Gallatin, Vol State at Highland Crest in Springfield or Vol State at Livingston. Admissions counselors can help you get started. Once your application has been processed you will be able to register for spring classes. You will need to be able to pay the entire class fee at once.

A reminder that we are open for business this week and next, except for Thursday, January 5, when we will be closed for professional development day.

For the spring schedule of classes visit: www.volstate.edu/schedule

If you need help, you are best off visiting in person, as the phone lines get quite busy during this lead-up to the start of the semester. If you have questions about college you can also visit the Advising Center in the Ramer building room 174.

If you plan on taking Vol State classes also take a moment to friend us on Facebook and join the Vol State family. We keep students up to date with important information there.

Good luck and we hope to see you on campus soon!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Remembering the Strattons

We lost two dear members of the Vol State family over the holidays. Vicki and Tom Stratton were long-time employees, just recently retired. Many people in the community remember them as Santa and Mrs. Claus during the yearly Christmas for the Kids event on campus. They were kind people who will be missed greatly. Our thoughts go out to their family.