Thursday, January 31, 2013

Saving Ourselves from Extinction, One Lecture at a Time

Want to learn how to save the human race from extinction?Join in on the discussion about sustainability with a series of lectures organized by the Honors Program here at Vol State.

Dr. George Pimentel, Director of the Honors Program, said sustainability is a hot topic. . He asked the question: “Can we continue to do business as usual?”

So, what is sustainability? It's being a method of harvesting or using a resource so that the resource is not depleted or permanently.
Paris Powers, Associate Professor of Chemistry, will give the first lecture of the honors lectures series this semester. He says he will speak from a scientific and historic perspective, comparing and contrasting things that threaten to cause human extinction.

“The bottom line is how do we continue to exist as people in a global society and keep our living level the way it is and exist on this planet as a species with all the other living millions of animals and plants on this planet without using up all the nonrenewable resources on the planet?” asked Parris Powers.

“Americans are a very consuming people,” said Powers. “If everyone in the world consumed like we did, it would be like having 50 billion people on the planet.”

Many people are concerned about what they call greed and consumerism across the world and especially here in America. They believe that individuals should work on finding a way to coexist without the over consumption of natural resources.
“There has to be a balance,” said Pimentel.
The lecture series is open to the public and the first lecture will be 12:30 p.m. Monday, February 4, 2013 in Caudill 102.
More lectures in the series include:

March 25 - Michael Lenz - "Challenging the politics of progress" And toward a philosophical vision of sustainability"

April 8 - Justin McKinney - "Desperate Housewives or Hippie Treehuggers - Who were the first enviromentalist"  

April 22 - Keith Bell -  "Mother Water"

For more information regarding the Honors Program click here.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Free Help with Your Course Work

The luster of the new semester is starting to fade and we're faced with the reality of papers, assignments and speeches. With so much on the student plate, being successful in college can seem like a dream. Vol State wants that dream to become a reality with the help of the Language Center, Supplemental Instruction and other tutoring labs on campus. You may have even noticed some colorful new posters on campus advertising the free programs.
Suzanne Previte, director of the Language Center said, “The Language Center can get a bad rap because individuals are thinking… They’re just there for the kids that can’t write but it’s for anyone who wants to communicate. Writing is the most difficult form of communication. When we write, we have to be the writer, speaker, and listener simultaneously."
Shala Curtis, an elementary education major, said she received tutoring assistance during her second semester in college.
“I went to them (The Language Center) because I couldn’t do a thesis. They also taught me the trick of reading the paragraph backwards to check for misspelled words,” said Curtis. “It makes a difference when you have a real person working with you."
Curtis has also had extra study help through Supplemental Instruction.
“I wish they had and S.I. in every class. She (the Supplemental Instruction leader) was open for questions and helped us prepare for test,” said Curtis
Shaun York, who walks with a cane, said that the tutoring on campus is a lot like his cane.
“Sometimes I don’t need it, but it's there in case I need to lean on it,” York said.
“We are not here because you can’t do it, we are here because you want to do it,” said Previte. 
I personally would like to thank the Language Center for all their hard work. If someone would have told me two years ago that I would be writing a blog for the entire college to read, I would have laughed in their face. With the help of the Language Center, I have been able to complete all three of my English courses with an A. This is quite the accomplishment for someone who was taking a fundamental English class during the 2011 spring semester.

For details on all of these programs and more, visit the College Success Zone website at

Monday, January 28, 2013

February Calendar


Discussion: The Politics of Gun Control: Uncle Sam’s War on the Second Amendment,
Carpeted Dining Room, 12:20pm


Honors Lecture: Sustainability or the Sixth Extinction by Parris Powers, Caudill 102,12:30pm


Reflections of Black History Brown Bag Lunch Ramer Great Hall, 12:30pm


Hispanic Family Night- college information in Spanish and English, Cafeteria, 5:30-8pm


Concert: Chinua Hawk, Cafeteria, 12:30pm


Honors Event: Meet Mr. Lincoln, Dennis Boggs,
Carpeted Dining Room, 12:30pm


College Transfer Day: college and university information, Ramer Great Hall, 10am-Noon


Soul Food Luncheon to celebrate Black History Month, Carpeted Dining Room, 12:30pm


Reflections of Black History, Brown Bag Lunch, Ramer Great Hall, 12:30pm


Chili/Soup for Books Cook-Off, Carpeted Dining Room, 11:30am-1:30pm


Commercial Music Ensemble and Vol State Musicians, Whippoorwill in Gallatin, 6:30pm


Black History Recognition Luncheon,
Carpeted Dining Room, 12:30pm

Thursday, January 24, 2013

NBA Star Talks about Students Focusing on their Goals

John Salley at Vol State
“Everything that I wanted to do, I have done it,” said retired NBA player John Salley, who visited Nashville for the first time yesterday and spoke at the Unity Day program here at Vol State.
“I graduated from Georgia Tech,” said Salley. “I say that because most athletes go to school, but don’t graduate."
"Stereotypes are based on truth, and the truth is if you are on scholarship, you are there to play basketball or football or whatever. You’re sacrificing your hours to dedicate to that team; you need to take as many classes as possible.”
Salley went to school, first majoring in pre-med. He changed to architecture and then finally graduated with a degree in business management. He's been hosting TV shows for the last several years.  
With him working in the entertainment business, I thought that a degree in business was odd for someone who had dreams of being a late-night talk-show host since he was 11. But he told me that you want to know the business side of any profession. 

Students who graduate with a degree in a certain profession may later in life find themselves not working in that field.
“Then that is not really what they want. I don’t let people have excuses.”
John Salley with Nancy Sparkman

“I have a saying on my wall… I refuse to take a no from someone who is not in a position to say yes. If you are in power to say yes, I will accept it, but if you don’t have what I want, why am I even asking? If you are just in the way of where I want to go, you are not an obstacle, you are just another person saying no who doesn’t have the ability to do something. What I mean is… I don’t talk to the back of the horse."

Salley has traveled world and says despite having done so many different things in his life, he's still excited by new things.
“Everywhere I go, I learn something… I learned today.”
Salley says that you should be aware of your goals. If it is something that you really want, then you have to put time and effort into building that skill. And in the end perseverance is important as well.
"Just when you think it is not going to happen, it's going to happen."

Friday, January 18, 2013

Advice for Future Nurses

Nursing has been a popular career choice for several years now. Getting into the workplace requires a solid education and a roadmap for how to get there.

Students seeking a degree in nursing should talk to and then stay in contact with their advisor.
“I didn’t know that I had to have a nursing advisor. I just so happened to be talking to my instructor who helped me get a nursing advisor,” said pre-nursing major, Kiera Campbell.
Vol State offers general classes for pre-nursing students through the Math and Science division; however, there are no nursing classes. The classes offered here are the general education courses, such as Anatomy and Physiology, that prepare you for work on a bachelor's degree at a four-year school. If students are seeking a degree in nursing, they will need an advisor and prepare for a program that works best for them. The Math and Science Division at Vol State can help them get started.
“If no one tells you what to do, then you’re lost,” said Campbell.
Vol State has formal partnerships (known as 2+2 programs) with Belmont University, Cumberland University and Union University, which allows graduates from Vol State to go directly into a program to receive a four-year BSN degree.
There is also a two-year program with Tennessee State University for students, once they have completed the general education courses with Vol State.
“There is not a universal nursing program,” said Nancy Morris, Dean of Math and Science Division. “All of these nursing programs have slightly different requirements.” 
According to Nancy Morris, Vol State is working to offer another 2+2 program with Austin Peay State University at the Highland Crest campus in Springfield.
“Our graduates are hot comodities… everyone wants Vol State graduates,” said Morris.
Pre-nursing students can pick up information about nursing programs in Warf 100, the Math and Science Division office.
Thursday, January 24 from 12:45p.m. - 2:10p.m. in Warf 110, an advisor from Cumberland University will be on campus to discuss their nursing program to interested nursing students.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Major Library Changes this Semester

First floor of the Thigpen
Renovations are well underway at the Thigpen Library here on campus. The first floor is completely shut off to students and staff in order to make room for the new Learning Commons, leaving only the second floor to house books, offices, study areas, and computer labs.

Current main entrance

Finding the entrance can be a bit confusing. The main entrance to the library is through the emergency exit door located on the rear side of the building by the parking lot. This entrance will lead you directly up a flight of stairs. If you need an elevator, you will need to use the entrance located at the front of the building.
The staircase to second floor

Once you have made your way to the second floor the library staff is available to assist you with any questions or concerns that you may have.
“We’re trying to do the best that we can do,” said Librarian, Julie Brown.
“We moved as many computers as we could up here,” said Louise Kelly, library director.  
There are two computer labs available. One is open to students throughout the day, while the other is the library instruction computer room. The instruction room will only be available for student use when there are no scheduled classes meetings. The computer lab in Mattox 111 is also available for students during normal library hours.
Computer lab
If the computer labs fills up, there are also six desktop computers set-up throughout the library second floor. If you find the computer labs too crowded, you can also check out one of the 20 laptops available and find a quiet place to work.
Quiet Study Room
“One thing that we do have is a quiet place to go," said Kelly.
The Quiet Study Room sits in the corner of the library filled with comfortable chairs and a view of the new Allied Health Building construction.
With so much going on, on one floor, it is bound to get a little hectic once the semester kicks into start.
“It could be better, but in the mean time, it will do,” said student Jana Moore.

What You Need to Know about Weather Delays and Cancelations

A reminder about our delay and closing procedure: 

Vol State does not follow the closings for the Sumner County schools. When we make a decision to delay or cancel classes we send out a text alert, post it here on Facebook, send a tweet, post to the Vol State blog, and to the website. We also post the info on area news stations and put it on the main phone answering message at 452-8600. We do make closing determinations by campus, so there is a chance that Livingston could be closed and the Main Campus open. Watch notices carefully. The quickest way to get info is by signing up for text alerts. The President determines delays and closings, taking into account students traveling to campus. However, this is not high school. You make the decision to attend class. If it is not safe for travel you can make the choice to not attend class. You must contact your instructor to find out what you missed. You can email all Vol State folks by using the People Finder app on the front page of our web. Here is a link for text alert sign up:

Monday, January 14, 2013

Need a Ride or a Roommate?

The Vol State Facebook page is a great place to reach other students. You may neey need a ride to class or even a roommate. You can sell a textbook and find out about college events. Join us on our Facebook Friend page (we have two Facebook pages and the Friend page is the one for current students). We used to have a share a ride page on the blog, but now we're asking students to use the Facebook page for that purpose.

See you there!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Vol State Supports Veterans Who Want to Attend College

Military educational benefits can help veterans transform their lives with a college degree. Accessing those benefits can be a confusing process. Volunteer State Community College is working to support student veterans and make that process easier with an expanded Office of Veterans Affairs. Recently, the college was awarded the title of “Military Friendly School” by Victory Media. The school has also received word that Learning Support classes will now be eligible for military benefits.

“The Veterans Administration (VA) is going to pay for these skill development classes, and that’s important for students as they start college,” said Ken Hanson, the Veterans Affairs Coordinator at Vol State. The Learning Support classes join the hundreds of other Vol State courses already supported by military benefits. The type of classes students can take and how they register are an important part of taking advantage of those benefits. Hanson assists student veterans with their college career from start to finish. He knows from experience how complex veteran benefits can be. Hanson served in the Air Force for 22 years before retiring as a Major. He graduated from both Southern Illinois University and Webster University, utilizing his military benefits.

“We want to give veterans the opportunity to transition from a military career to a civilian career,” Hanson said. “A lot of veterans come out of the military without the skills they need for a job. We can help them start an educational process that will benefit them for their entire lives.”

Vol State student veterans can share experiences and network with other veterans through the Vol State Student Veterans of America.  The group organizes campus events throughout the year.

The college joins the 2013 Military Friendly Schools list after being evaluated for student veteran support and quality educational programs, among other criteria. The list can be found at The website also provides research tools for veterans considering college.

“We know there are a lot more veterans out there that have VA educational benefits coming to them,” said Hanson. “We’re here to help them get started.”

Veterans considering Vol State should visit the college Veterans Affairs web page at or email Ken Hanson at


Pictured: Vol State has an active chapter of the Student Veterans of America (SVA). Left to right: Colby Shelton, student veteran; Brad Champlin student veteran, Ken Hanson, Vol State Veterans Affairs Coordinator, Bill Maki, SVA President.

Monday, January 7, 2013

January Calendar of Vol State Events


Campus closed - Professional Development Day
cashier open for student payments

January 8-
February 9

Alexander Paulus Art Exhibit, Ramer Great Hall 7am-9pm Monday through Saturday, closed Sunday


Spring classes start

17, 18

Welcome Back Days, Wood Campus Ctr.


Campus closed - MLK Holiday


Diversity Dialogue, Ramer, 12:30pm




Speaker: John Salley, former NBA champ speaks for Unity Day, Wemyss Auditorium in Caudill Hall, 12:30pm and 7pm


Hands Across Campus, Ramer flagpole, 12:30pm


Diversity Soup, Wood Campus Ctr. Hallway 5:30pm


Diversity Day Party, Cafeteria, 12:30pm