Friday, August 30, 2013

September Events at Vol State

Aug-Sept 26

Faculty Art Exhibit, Thigpen Library Gallery, 7am-9pm, Monday through Saturday, closed Sunday


Labor Day Holiday - Campus Closed

4, 5

Welcome Days, Library Lawn, 10am-2pm


Service Learning Club, first meeting, Wood Campus Center room 101, 12:45pm


Honors Lecture: The History of Comics, Tim Amyx, Nichols Dining Room, 12:20pm


"The Rise of the American Police State" Dr. Michael Lenz discussion, Nichols Dining Room,12:20pm


Kickball and soccer intramural orientation meetings, Wood Campus Center, first floor -next to Financial Aid, 3-4pm


Harvest Moon Soiree, scholarship fund raiser, $75, Epic Event Centre, 392 West Main Street, Gallatin, 6pm


Constitution Day event, Sponsored by Student Paralegal Association, Cafeteria, Noon


"I Have a Dream: The March on Washington, the Civil Rights Movement, and the Constitution" Grady Eades discussion, Rochelle Center, 12:45pm

17, 18

Health and Wellness Days, Nichols Dining Room, 10am to 2pm


Coffee with the Prez, student Q and A session with the President, Cafeteria, 10am-11am

19, 20

Books R Fun book sale, Wood Campus Center


Student showcase arts and crafts sale, Nichols Dining Room, Noon to 6pm


Vets Next Steps! career tips for military veterans, Rochelle Center of Thigpen Library,



Fall Job/Career, Pickel Field House, everyone invited,10am to 1pm


Sumner County College Night, Pickel Field House, free & open to the public, 6-8pm


Meet Shannon and Tanisha

I cannot believe that we have completed our first week of classes. Before you begin your three day weekend, I'd like for you to meet Shannon and Tanisha.

Tanisha East
Q: Who in your life has influenced you the most? How did they do it?

Tanisha-"My aunt, she went to college, received her degree and now has a great job."

Q: If you could try out any job for a day, what would it be?

Tanisha-"I'm going to school for Dental Assistant. I would like to do that to see how it is."

Q: What's the biggest turn off that you find in a man?

Tanisha-"Odor (laughing), I like for a guy to smell really good."

Shannon Young

Q:What are some of your favorite websites?

Shannon-"I like Facebook and YouTube. I enjoy watching the funny videos on there."

Q: If someone were to make a movie about your life, who would play you?

Shannon- Emma Stone. Her personality is a lot like mine, our humor is very similar."

Q: What are some major goals in your life?

Shannon-"Definitely want to be successful in life. I want to have a family and a career that I love going to everyday."

Thursday, August 29, 2013

You Can Join the Service Learning Club

September 10th, at 12:45pm  is the Service Learning Club's first meeting of the year. We offer community service at its finest, with countless hours available for our members to choose from. Colleges love community service. Our members will find that this will set them far above other students when they mention Service Learning on their transfer application when transferring from Volunteer State to another college. Service Learning is a nationwide organization with a club at each college. Volunteer State's Service Learning Club will ensure you enjoy the fun of community service while at the same time allowing you to gain experience on your job resume and deeply enhancing your transfer application to any school of your desire.  Come join us on September 10th as Service Learning President Shala Curtis and I (Americorps VISTA worker Stewart Parks) will be hosting free food for inquiring guests and returning members. 

The meeting will be held on the first floor of the Wood Campus Center room 101, which is next to Financial Aid. We look forward to seeing you there!

-Stewart Parks

Meet Stephanie and Brittany

(Left to Right) Stephanie Preston and Brittany Vaughn

Q: How does the college course work load compare to high school? What is different about what your teachers expect from you?

Brittany- "I do not feel as much pressure in the classroom and with homework. I know I have a responsibility to take care of."

Stephanie- "I agree, everything is more laid back here."

Stephanie- "The teachers here, compared to high school, are more laid back. They are not baby sitting you like they do in high school."

Brittany-"Some teachers in high school to me just seem more like a parent, they hover over their students."

Q:Why did you choose the major that you are pursuing?

Stephanie- "I chose Psychology because I love to learn about how the mind works and like to learn what makes people think the way they do"

Brittany-" I want to do nursing because I like to help others and hopefully make a difference in someone's life."

Q: What do you like to do when you are not here on campus?

Stephanie-"I love to go to the mall and do some stress free shopping."

Brittany-"I tend to catch up on sleep."

Meet Kayla and Michael

Kayla Thompson

Q: What would you change about Vol State?

Kayla- " I would definitely want a daycare center on site. I think it would help out a lot of mom's on campus"

Q: How many years will it take to earn your degree?

Kayla-" Four years for my Bachelor's degree in Nursing"

Q: How did you choose your major? How do you know that it is the right one for you?

Kayla-" My major is Nursing. Many of my family members are  in the Medical Field so it's always been present."
"It's a passion to me and is interesting, there is so much to learn."
Michael Peach

Q: Have you lost any of your old friends prior to Vol State? Have you made any new friends?

Michael- " Since going to Vol State I have not really hung out with any of my old friends, but I have made tons of new friends during the time I have been here"

Q: Are you involved in any extra curricular activities on campus?

Michael- " No, I am not sure if it counts ,but I come here everyday (Duffer Plaza) to play hacky sack."

Q:How many years will it take you to earn your degree?

Michael- "I would say around five years to finish my Biology degree"

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Meet Parajesh and Craig

Parajesh Patel

I ran into Parajesh Patel, a student that recently moved here from India and asked him a how his second day of classes are going.

Q: Which class do you look forward to?

Parajesh-" Grammar 1.It's my first time to the United States. I like that class because it helps me strengthen my English."

Q: Is it difficult transitioning from what school is like in India versus here in the United States?

Parajesh-" There are many similarities and differences. Everything is new,that is difficult"

Freshman, Craig Stella recently moved here from Port St. Lucie,Florida.

Q: What is your goal for the new school year?

Craig- “I guess I want to do what every college student wants to do -- to discover themselves and decide what they want to do in life.”

Q: Do you have a class that you can immediately sense is going to be your favorite?

Craig- "Sports Yoga. Because I want to be a Physical Therapist and also try to play college football when I transfer from here"

Q: How do you plan to make the semester run smoothly?

Craig-"I learned a few things about crafting a perfect schedule.I like to start my day around 9 a.m. So I can enjoy a slow morning and have some buffer time so that I never oversleep and accidentally miss an exam."

Craig Stella

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Meet Meghan and Michael

I cannot believe how fast the summer has flown by. I want to give everyone, whether you are a new student or a returning student, a huge WELCOME!

Today is the first day for some students and possibly the second day of Fall semester for others. I am excited to get started on my courses so I can graduate. One of the best things about this job is that I get to meet so many people. I have met students from a foreign country, students that are attending Vol State from another part of the country, and siblings that are attending school together.

I was able to speak catch up with siblings and new students, Meghan and Michael Castro. They had me smiling the entire conversation, simply because they reminded me of my brother and I. They did not hold back on the occasional sibling jab, but you could see the friendship between them.

Q: What are you looking forward to about the semester?
Meghan- " The excitement! I have been out of school since I was 16, so getting back to that is what I am excited about".

Michael- "Starting something new. I am a new student, so everything that I am doing is brand new to me."

Q: What do you think that your most challenging class will be?
Meghan- "Macroeconomics. It just looks scary to me. You can say I am intimidated."

Michael: "Speech class. I am not very social and great with speaking."

Q: How do you juggle "life" outside of Vol State? For example, work and family.
Meghan- "I just had a baby a month ago and I am returning to work today. I am planning on being more organized with everything." "Thankfully, my job works well with my schedule at school."

Michael- "I plan activities around my classes and work. I have classes that work with my job."

It is great to see that so many of us have so much in common. Work, families, jobs, and of course Vol State. I hope that Michael and Meghan have a great semester and continue to stay excited about classes.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Staying on Track with Advising

Amanda Foster assisting a student
When I first attended Vol State in 2003, I met with an advisor and learned my pathway to graduation. My first semester was great. I met with someone in the Advising Office often, was present in class, and stayed on top of tasks that were assigned to me. Somewhere in between then and now I lost track of what my purpose was here at Vol State and what I needed to succeed.

Now I am back on campus and ready to stay on track. I met with Advising on numerous occasions to discuss my academic path. I found out that I was taking classes that did not interest me at all. Which as a result lead to me failing my courses and not attending school. I wanted a degree simply for a paycheck. From my perspective, it is a bad idea to go into a career for the money. I tried and failed miserably, now I am taking classes toward a degree that will hopefully leave me happy in my career choice of Public Relations.

With the guidance of my advisor, I have chosen classes that interest me and still count toward my degree requirements. I have a long-term academic plan that is designed to meet my academic goals for not only Vol State but when I transfer to a university.
Raphael Howard helps a student with the registration process

 Advisors can help with:
  • Selecting courses that match your interests and skills
  • Choosing a degree program at Vol State or another university
  • Making a long-term academic plan in order to meet your goals
  • Interpretation of test scores and transcripts from other colleges
  • Short- and long-term academic planning
  • Transfer requirements, registration procedures,and class scheduling
  • Academic concerns and special needs
Terry Bubb
I stopped by the Advising Center and I had a chance to speak with director Terry Bubb.

"It's important to know that the classes you are taking correspond with your degree," he said.

The Advising Center is not only your hub to help you with registering for courses. The faculty are there to help you beyond the registration process.

"The Advising Center is also here for help in limited Personal Counseling," Bubb said. "Monitoring the student's academic progress, and career counseling. All of our Advising Counselors are Career Counselors as well, so along with academic guidance they can help you with resume writing,interview tips, as well as finding a job.

I did not know that those resources that were available to me here on campus. I had no idea that I was doing it all wrong. I think that if I had stayed on top of my goals and communicated with an advisor, I would have graduated years ago.  I encourage students to take advantage of the Advising Office.It makes sense that if you know where you’re going, you’re more likely to get there.

For more information on the Advising Center and what they have to offer please check out their link:

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Tips for Taking Online Classes

Online classes start on Saturday...that's when you will be able to see them on the My Vol State online page. Vol State online classes should open up early in the morning Saturday and RODP late that afternoon. You should log-on on Saturday to see what the instructor expects and when your first assignments are due. Those first assignments are often how they take attendance, which in the first week is critical for your financial aid. Here are some tips for taking online courses: 

What is MyVolState Online?

MyVolState Online is an online learning environment that

lets student access course materials and communicate

with their peers and professors, as well as submit

assignments, take tests, and receive grades.

How do I access MyVolState Online?

You can access MyVolState Online through any of the

websites listed below. For detailed assistance, see the back

of this sheet.

Get to your classes through the My Vol State portal:

Or directly with this address:

MyVolState Online Quick Reference

1. Class Title: “SPAN-1010” is the course

number, followed by the section number


2. Course Home: Return to the class


3. Content: Access course materials, such as

your syllabus, lecture notes, or other


4. Discussions: Participate in online class


5. Dropbox: Submit assignments for

assessment by your professor

6. Quizzes: Take online quizzes or tests

7. Grades: View your class grades

8. Classlist: A convenient way to view a list of

your classmates and contact them

9. My Home: View all classes you are enrolled

in, as well as view news and


10. Email: MyVolState Online has an email

service that is not able to send or receive

emails from personal or external accounts

11. Logout: Securely end your online session

Tips and Advice

• You must have reliable Internet access and a

functioning computer in order to use MyVolState

Online, or to complete an online class

• An online course is every bit as engaging and

challenging as a physical classroom; however,

students are not required to show up at a

specific time each day. This type of learning

requires discipline, motivation, and great time

management skills.

• Read syllabi very carefully to check for possible

proctored exams, due dates, quizzes, etc.

• It’s good practice to log out and close your web

browser when you’re finished using MyVolState

Online. This prevents other users from seeing

sensitive or personal information.

Visit the online learning You Tube channel for helpful videos:

Preventing Parking Hell

In the past, I would drive around for what seemed like hours trying to find a parking space on campus. At times I'd almost be moved to tears out of frustration and the fear of being late to class.

I'm not alone. I'm sure that you and your classmates can share a few horror stories about the first few weeks of the semester.
Starting Monday, classes will be in full swing. There will be thousands of new and returning students on campus. When you combine that many people, along with students experiencing Vol State for the first time, things can get chaotic fast.

Here are a few tips that could ease traffic, open parking spaces, and get you to class on time.

Arrive Early- If your class starts at 8:00 am please do not arrive at 7:55am. I recommend arriving to campus 20 to 30 minutes prior to class beginning. Those extra minutes will make a world of difference.
  • Use the other entrances. The entrance off of Green Lea Blvd. is still rarely used and is one of my favorite ways to get on to campus. In the mornings, the Gap Blvd. entrance is used less than Vol State's main entrance on Nashville Pike. 
  •  Commit to a parking spot. Don't waste time searching for that perfect spot close to your first class. This causes additional traffic congestion and it could possibly make you late to your class.....BUT make sure it is an authorized parking space.  Do not park in faculty, handicap, and even visitor parking. You will get a ticket 
  • Be prepared to park in the outer lots around campus due to closer lots being full at peak times between 9am-1:00pm. Again, allow yourself enough time to walk from these lots.         
I visited Vol State's Campus Police Department and spoke with Chief  William Rogan Jr. on what could make things go smoothly for you.

"I encourage everyone to get their decals. Every student and faculty member has to have a decal to park on campus. It causes problems and could lead to a ticket," Rogan explains.

William D. Rogan Jr.
Chief of VSCC Campus Police

Chief Rogan had a couple of other tips to assist in students in parking.

  1. Familiarize yourself with the new campus map. A few notable changes on it is the new Wallace Health Sciences Complex, as well as the Police Call Boxes are identified.
  2. Remember to abide by the speed limit. The speed limit on campus is 15 MPH,use caution for pedestrians.

So, just keep in mind of the different ways to enter campus as well as the additional lots to park. Plan your day early and obey all parking signs.

Just a quick tip. Your instructor is not obligated to give you a "pass" because you failed to plan to be on time, looking for a parking space or being stuck in traffic probably will not get you anywhere but late.

If you need assistance finding your way around check out our new campus map.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Tips for Success in the Classroom

Well, a new semester is right around the corner. For a lot of you these are busy days filled with stress, constant movement, and most of all, uncertainty. That uncertainty can be especially overwhelming for new students and incoming freshmen. So, while this blog entry can benefit all readers, it is a special shout-out to our new students. Here are some tips to ensure you have success in the upcoming semester.

There is no one particular strategy to do well in a college-level course. In fact, there are many ways to succeed in the classroom. Some of you may have your own strategies for learning that work perfectly for you.For the students that do not know where to begin, and are overwhelmed by the second day of classes. I have some advice.

I have developed my own ways to stay successful in my classes. I have learned to prepare for each class as if there was going to be a pop quiz. I think that by doing this you’ll be more able to participate in class; secondly, you’ll be prepared if there actually is a pop quiz.

On the first day of classes your instructor will provide you with a syllabus. READ IT. Understand how many exams and homework assignments there will be; know how much each assignment is worth; and know what the professor expects of you. You’ll be better prepared to take on the course if you know what’s ahead.
I decided to ask the people who know what it takes to be successful in the classroom for their tips.

Effective communication is perhaps the most important habit a student can develop to ensure success at Vol State and beyond. Associate Professor of Communication Jennifer Pitts knows a thing or two about communication.

Jennifer Pitts, Assistant Professor of Communication
 She urges students to communicate, not only with their advisor but with their professors as well, especially in class. “Make an effort to be an active participant in your class” said Pitts. “Learning is your responsibility, so own it and don’t make excuses.”

Communication and personal responsibility seem to be sentiments that are echoed by other instructors as well. So much so that a group of instructors came together and formed a guide of sorts to ensure student success. Associate Professor of English Laura A. Black was nice enough to share those tips with me.
Prof. Laura Black,Chair of English Department

·         R- Read and refer to your syllabus often.
·         E- Earn your grades, do beyond what is expected.
·         S- Stay informed. Check in with your advisor and your e-mail regularly.
·         P- Practice professionalism in language and behavior. This is training for your career.
·         E- Educate yourself. Read your textbooks, assignments and directions.
·         C- Communicate needs, questions and absences to your instructors.
·         T- Take responsibility. Turn in assignments on time, let your professors know if you miss class, see your advisor.

These tips are even in an easy to remember acronym! What more could you need, you ask? Well the answer is simple; Support.

“There is no reason for students to struggle in classes. We have so many support systems to help students meet success. Seek help when you need it from the Language center, the Math Lab, one-on-one tutoring, or Supplemental Instruction” said Black.

With all these tips on what to do, it seems as though we need some balance. Here are some tips on what to avoid.
·         Do not e-mail in text or short hand
·         Do not come to class unprepared
·         Do not assume your instructors do not like you
·         Do not be late to class

If new students implement these habits into their college careers I think success is virtually guaranteed. Unfortunately, you still have to study.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Advice for Students Taking Learning Support Classes

Many of you may have to take Learning Support classes this year. Do you remember when you had to meet with an adviser the first time before registering for classes? You already had your path of courses mapped out for transferring or graduating, but found out that you had to take a Learning Support class. It stings your ego just a bit, leaving you feeling disappointed.  I know that feeling.

I was disappointed that I could not take college level math. When I met with my adviser as a first time freshman, I stared at my schedule. In bold print, in black and white there it was staring me right in my face: Developmental Math, now called Learning Support Math.

Taking Learning Support classes does not mean that you are not intelligent or that it is the end of your college success. It can actually be the beginning of your success in college coursework. Learning Support, whether it be in math, reading, or English will help you get ready for college level courses.

The math and reading courses are offered through computerized programs, however students in Learning Support English are required to work through a structured writing process. Students enrolled in Learning Support math and reading courses can work ahead by completing exams and activities. In addition to the convenience of working ahead here on campus, Learning Support is great because you can work from home, as well.

Like many of you, I do have a life outside of Vol State which includes: family, work, and the occasional soccer practice to attend. I have discovered that taking Learning Support is flexible, because you can work at your own speed. There are a few sections in my math courses that I found simple, which allowed me to move quickly, and there are sections that I needed extra help with. The Learning Commons has faculty and staff on site to help you succeed in your course.If I did not understand the way the math problem was presented on the computer, a staff member would happily show me another way, so I could understand.

Craig Stella, a first time student at Vol State has had successful results using the Learning Support sections in math.

"I was upset that I had to start from the bottom but I am liking how I can work at my own pace," said Stella. "I want to get as much as I can done and Learning Support allows me to do that".

How long it will take you will be based on the time and effort you invest in moving through the course. So make sure you participate, so you will not fall behind. Learning Support classes prepare you for success in college-level courses, but will not count toward graduation. Just remember- they are your first step towards college success.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Consider Travel Study this Year

What can travel-study do for you? It can provide new ideas and give you a new perspective. Anne-Marie Ruttenbur, the coordinator of the program, has Carmen Arcila's story:

This past summer, Carmen Arcila, traveled to China to study for three weeks via Vol State’s International Education program. Carmen is an outstanding Vol State student (now graduate) who also received a U.S. government grant to travel and study internationally via a U.S. Gilman Scholarship. Upon Carmen’s return, she shared her China experiences with Gallatin’s Children Are People, Inc. program (CAPS). It was so exciting to see Carmen’s enthusiasm not only for Vol State’s travel/study program, but also for Vol State. She talked to the children about the importance of attending college and how Vol State could help them reach their goals, like she was reaching hers. Carmen has successfully transferred to MTSU and continues her studies in International Business. She thanked so many people at Vol State for helping her along her journey. She explained how only five years ago she learned to speak English and today she on her way to finishing a four-year degree, in her words “thanks to Vol State!”

It was inspirational to see Carmen reach out to the future Vol State students and I wanted all of you to know what we do here truly does make a difference in the lives of many people.

-Anne-Marie Ruttenbur

If you have questions regarding Vol State’s International Education program visit the web page

Or email Anne-Marie at

Monday, August 12, 2013

Your Fall Fees are Due Wednesday, August 14

Everyone is getting geared up for the fall semester. It all starts with the paperwork, unfortunately.The next couple of weeks will have many important dates to keep in mind: 

•Fall Fees Due – August 14 (beginning 8/14/13, fees due on date of registration)
•Daily automatic dropping of classes for nonpayment begins – August 15
•Campus bookstore charges – August 17-21, 2013 (only for eligible students notified by Financial Aid via email)
•Last day to register through PRIDE Online for full term – August 28, 2013
•Financial aid refund processing begins – August 26, 2013
•First day to mail financial aid refund checks – August 27, 2013

You should be checking your Vol State email on My Vol State daily now for important notices. You can find out how much you owe and any Financial Aid applied by viewing your account on My Vol State. If you still have questions about bill payment contact the Business Office at 230-3585.

We hope everyone has a great fall semester. It will be good to have you back on campus!

Let me introduce myself

I have been given the honor of writing for Vol State's student blog. I want to introduce myself to all of you and express my hope that you will enjoy my blog.

My name is Tiffany Rivera, and I am the new student blogger on campus. I have a few responsibilities here on campus but my most recognized is Vol State's Blog. I hope that you, as a student will use the blog as a tool to stay informed on campus information and happenings.

I know starting something that is new and foreign to you, can be exciting and crazy at the same time. I hope to make your transition onto campus as painless and smooth as possible. So, over the weeks leading up to classes starting, the blog will have informational content on what to expect the first couple of weeks of college.
 If you see me on campus, please don't be afraid to approach me.
I encourage anyone to submit information about interesting events that are going on in your lives. Perhaps you are organizing a new club on campus, are planning on studying abroad, or have a campus issue you want addressed. Please contact me by email at or you can contact me by phone, 230-3215.

I hope that everyone has a successful year and I look forward to seeing everyone on campus.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Your Home For Learning Support Classes Has Moved

I am a returning student to Vol State. I've noticed so many changes since returning to campus. There is one change that may impact you if you take Learning Support classes, like I did last year. The Learning Commons has moved to the first floor of the Thigpen Library.The decision to locate these these two useful resources alongside each other will hopefully lead to a supportive and encouraging learning environment. Previously, the Learning Commons was located inside the Warf Building. Learning Support classes in math, reading and English at Vol State are now all held in the Learning Commons in the Library.

The previous location had many computers and resources such as individual computerized programs. But I felt as if the space was too small for all of the people using the Learning Commons.

The newly designed location has a substantial space and is more comfortable. . There are work areas for small groups, as well for individuals who may need their own space. Each computer station has plenty of room for each user to have their own personal space.

Gianna Price, a first time student at Vol State likes the availability of computers and the placement of the workstations.

"I like to get as much done as I can," said Cruz. "My time is limited, so it is nice to have an open computer when I need it."

From my own experience, I would avoid going into the Learning Commons in the old location when it seemed crowded. There were times that I would have to wait for an available computer. I like the open floor plan and the feeling of  the new centralized location.

"The proximity to the library is what I am liking,"   said Learning Support student Eddy Rivera. "The Warf building seemed so distant from my other classes. I appreciate the amount of people available to help at any time."

Students should also be aware that the Learning Commons staff can help them with all sorts of academic assistance.They would be glad to answer questions about the many free Vol State academic support services available such as Smarthinking online tutoring, Supplemental Instruction and test preparation.There is a Learning Commons location on each of the campuses in Gallatin, Livingston and Springfield.

For more information about the academic help available you can also visit: