Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Vol State Holiday Closing December 24 - January 2

College offices will be closed starting December 24 and through January 2. Vol State offices will reopen for business on Monday, January 5. We wish everyone happy and safe holidays. We look forward to seeing you for Spring classes. They start January 20. You can apply online at any time:

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Student Forum Set to Discuss Growing Social Issues

Gabrielle Staton and Zachary Ford
Just because classes have ended and the focus has turned to finals doesn't mean students have to turn a blind eye to what's going on elsewhere in the country.

Students Zachary Ford and Gabrielle Staton have formed a group made up of community members and other students that plan to hold a forum next semester to discuss the issues that have been in the popular consciousness following the decisions made by grand juries in the cases of both Michael Brown and Eric Garner, who died following altercations police in Missouri and New York.

With emotions high in communities everywhere and protests taking place across the country, both Staton and Ford are hoping students at Vol State take the break to think about the news from the past few weeks and think of how we can move away from violent and racially-motivated protests that have dominated newscasts recently.

"We want to make this impactful, and we want to make sure we do have a group of listeners. We need to impact new minds. We need to get to those minds who haven't formulated their opinion as to what it is they stand for," Staton said.

Both students hope to have the forum set for early February. By that point, Ford said he believes people will have clearer minds to have a positive discussion instead of just focusing on all of the negative aspects of the unrest that has taken over so many other communities.

"As they go through Christmas break, people will be on their own time. There'll be a new year. They'll see this and think about what they can really do to see change," Ford said.

Staton said there is a larger issue at hand that needs to focus on how to love one another as human beings instead of labeling each other by the color of a person's skin or job. By coming together to promote a message of love and peace, both Staton and Ford hope there will be more work done to move toward a more progressive future.

"Everyone wakes up with the same 24 hours in each day. People need to understand it's what you do with that time that matters, and that's going to dictate how we move forward," Staton said.

For more information about next semester's forum, email You can also check out Twitter and Instagram for future updates.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Service Set to Remember Lives Lost in South Sudanese Conflict

Chudia Tutlam
South Sudan might be a long way from Volunteer State Community College, but that won't stop members of the college community from remembering those who lost their lives during a violent conflict last year.

In mid-December of 2013, a large number of Nuer were killed in an attack led by the presidential guard during a period of political turmoil following the ousting of the country's vice president. While many people from various South Sudanese tribes have been killed, Tutlam said the violence has specifically targeted the Nuer people.

On Saturday, Dec. 20, a memorial service will be held in Caudill Hall's Wemyss Auditorium. It will be an evening of prayer, reflection, and first-hand accounts of what happened last year in South Sudan. The service is sponsored by Collegiate Ministry and the Vol State International Student Association.

The purpose of the memorial service is twofold, according to Chudia Tutlam, a former Vol State student and native of South Sudan. First, the service will honor those who were killed during the violence. Second, Tutlam hopes the community will begin to become more aware of the conflict that is going on in his home country.

"We want to remember all the victims and all of the loved ones who were killed basically because they were Nuer. We want to send awareness out that those predators that are responsible for this cruel act have to be held accountable to killing innocent civilians," he said.

During the attacks, Tutlam lost a relative, as well as a couple of friends. He said the loss of human life is a terrible thing, especially when they are being targeted for who they are. That's one of the reasons he wanted to have a service to remember those who lost their lives in the violence.

"Losing someone that close to you is very, very difficult, and for you to know they were targeted because of who they are is terrible. It could happen to all the other tribes. If we speak about it and let those people in power know that this is wrong and that you can't kill people, the more people will know about it and the better it will be," he said.

There are a number of South Sudanese students at Vol State, as well as in the greater Nashville area, and Tutlam said he hopes local people will begin to learn about what is going on in his home country.

"All we want is peace. We want all 64 tribes to live peacefully. There's lots of tribes, and they're targeting the one now. Next time, it could happen to anyone," he said.

The service will be held from 3-6 p.m. For more information, call Tutlam at 615-668-9541.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Respiratory Care at Vol State

Did you know that Vol State has a Respiratory Care Technology program? Respiratory Therapists work under the direction of physicians to assess, treat, and manage patients with cardiopulmonary related medical problems. Upon completion of the program, students obtain an A.A.S. degree and are eligible to take National Board exams. The application deadline for potential candidates is March 1, 2015. The program begins in Maymaster. Detailed information can be found at Contact Mallory Higginbotham at 615-230-3349 or Kim Christmon at 615-230-3329 if you have additional questions.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Tips for Spring Classes

Spring classes start January 20. Registration is open now for all students. New and readmit students will need to apply first.

Spring class fees are due on January 9. You can pay online, over the phone, or in person at all three campuses. Here is more info on all methods. If you don't pay your fees by the due date they will be purged from the computer system and you will have to re-register. So, please, pay your fees when they're due.

The Spring 2015 bookstore charge dates for financial aid students are shorter this year. The dates are Jan. 13 &14, 2015. Students with qualified financial aid will be able to begin charging once they’ve received the email saying that they qualify in their student email. Start checking on January 12. Students can charge at the Vol State Bookstore in Gallatin in person or by visiting the Bookstore online.

Current students can use College Scheduler and Degree Works to help plan their classes. Stay focused and take the classes you need for your degree. 

We hope everyone has a great Christmas break. Consider registering or taking care of business for Spring soon. It only gets busier as we get closer to the start of classes.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Final Exam Info and Tips

Get geared up for finals! Here is the final exam schedule

Don't forget that you can get help with papers in the Language Center, Ramer room 157 in Gallatin, and the Learning Commons in Livingston.

The Thigpen Library in Gallatin has extended hours for study:
Mon.-Thurs., Dec. 1-4, 7:30am until 10:50pm
Fri., Dec. 5, 7:30am until 6:00pm
Sat., Dec. 6, 8:00am until 4:00pm
Mon.-Tues., Dec. 8-9, 7:30am until 10:50pm
Weds.-Thurs., Dec. 10-11, 7:30am until 8:50pm
Fri., Dec. 12, 7:30am until 4:30pm

Good luck everyone!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

End the Semester with Sounds of the Season

Tradition has long been a part of the holiday season and there’s no better way to celebrate those traditions than at Volunteer State Community College.

The Sounds of the Season concert — which will take place Friday and Saturday night — has been ringing in the holidays for well over a decade and people like Steven Brown, a dual enrollment student at Vol State, have grown up experiencing the show each time December rolls around.

“I remember going to the shows, watching the choir, and seeing my cousin play bass in the pit band. I’m now going to be a part of it. I think it’s going to hit me on show night. I’ll look out and see my family watching,” the piano player said.

The show is a joint production of the music department, which means classic holiday tunes will be performed by the Showstoppers, the Commercial Music Ensemble, the Commercial Jazz Ensemble, and the Bluegrass Ensemble. It’s the first time in the 2014-2015 school year the entire department plays together, which makes it exciting for all of those involved.

“It’s a cool experience because there’s so many people working on one show and all trying to achieve a common goal. It’s just cool to see how everyone is working together to make this great,” Brown said.

The holiday show comes together at the last minute as a culmination for the department’s hard work during the semester, according to assistant professor of music Lynn Peterson.

“We work all semester at getting the parts together, but we don’t work together and get it staged until the week of the show. It’s always wonderfully exciting, because we hear it during practice but it all comes together during that week,” he said.

A special CD is recorded every year, which includes about half of the numbers performed during the show. The album can be purchased at the show.

Veteran holiday show performer Kyle Cothron said the entire process is always an exciting part of the semester, especially when everyone finally comes together.

“It makes it sound awesome. Whenever we’re back here practicing for the Christmas stuff, it’s always missing something, but once we all come together, it sings, pardon the pun,” he said.

The shows will begin each night at 7:30 p.m. in the Wemyss Auditorium in Caudill Hall. Students with a Vol State ID get in for free. A suggested donation of $5 benefits the Music Department Scholarship Fund. Admission and a copy of the CD are $10.

For more information on Sounds of the Season, click here or call 615-230-3202.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Prepping for Finals: How to Not Fall Behind

Students study in the Thigpen Library.

Congratulations, you're almost there. The end of the semester is in sight, and you can smell Christmas break just around the corner.
But you're not out of the woods yet. Finals will be here before you know it, and the best thing you can do to ensure smooth sailing for the end of the semester is getting a head start on all of your studying by not procrastinating.
"I'm really bad about that, and I'll have to definitely plan it out. I'm a planner, so I have to have it scheduled out," said freshman business major Hope Houston.
Houston said she's a little stressed out by the thought of finals, but she's excited to get through them in order to enjoy her break.
Sophomore Seth McCoy said his hardest final will be his Human Anatomy & Physiology exam.
"Those are the hardest classes I have, so I'm just going to study with groups and with myself, mostly," he said.
McCoy said the key to studying with a group is by making sure you're actually studying and not just hanging out with one another.
That's a tip Supplemental Instruction leader Connie Simpson said is very important to remember if students are planning on getting together for a group session before finals week.
"Don't use it as a social get-together time. It's the holidays. Everybody is ready for school to be over. Don't let the holidays get you. Make sure you're taking the time you need to go back over the entire semester's worth of tests," she said.
If you are planning on having a study group, Simpson recommended getting together with people from your class to make sure you are looking over the material supplied by the instructor.
The biggest study tip is making sure you're not waiting until the last minute to hit the books.
"You'll find when you get to the last week, you won't remember things you learned 15 weeks ago. Start early. Attend any Supplemental Instruction sessions there might be. If you have a class that has Si, attend those sessions," Simpson said.
Fellow SI leader Heather Jankowski said SI leaders can try to help students who might not have an SI component to their class.
"Even if you don't have SI for your class, you can come in and we can help you with any study tips or anything you might want," Jankowski said.
A finals schedule can be found by clicking here. For more information about Supplemental Instruction sessions, click here.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Vol State Number 21 in Nation on Student Ranking Site has announced that Vol State placed number 21 in the nation, in terms of student satisfaction, for community and junior colleges for its 2013-2014 report. The measurement combines faculty ratings with campus ratings. More than 8,000 colleges and universities are listed on the site. This is the second year in a row that Vol State has placed in the top 25 nationally.
MTV runs the popular website that has more than 15 million ratings. It asks students to rate professors in terms of how helpful they are and how clear they are. Those categories are used to determine an overall quality score. The overall campus score is judged in several categories, including reputation, internet access, food, library, clubs, social life and overall happiness. Vol State scored four out of five for the campus and 3.83 out of five for the average faculty score.
The complete rankings can be found at

Important Nashville Pike Entrance Info for Students

In preparation for our new Humanities Building construction, roadwork and construction fencing placement will begin on December 1st.  Work will be done in phases and this first phase will greatly impact the Nashville Pike campus entrance.  Please be mindful of lane closures and cautious of two-way traffic changes. Safe driving and patience will be greatly appreciated as we implement progressive changes to our Vol State campus. A reminder that you can use the back entrance to the College off of Greenlea or the Gap Blvd. entrance as alternatives.

More details will follow soon. Here's a reminder of what will come of this construction project.

Monday, November 17, 2014

This Week at Vol State

Nov. 17                       International Week- Beverage Day, Cafeteria, 12:30-1:30pm
Nov. 18                       International Week- Union (wedding) Ceremonies display, and Henna tattoos, Nichols Dining Room, 11am to 2pm
Nov. 19                       Honors Lecture: “Cornucopians AND Cassandras”, by Phillip Clifford, Thigpen Library, 12:20pm
Nov. 19                       “Around the World in a Day!”  Students and faculty who have studied abroad with Vol State’s International Education program display items from their journeys, Cafeteria, Noon to 1:30pm
Nov. 19                        Music Department Recitals, Pickel 130, 12:30pm

Nov. 20                        Vanderbilt Humphrey Fellows showcase clothing from their home countries,           Cafeteria, 1:30pm

Nov. 20                         Coffee with the Prez, Cafeteria, 10am-11am

Friday, November 14, 2014

Info about Vol State Weather Closings and Delays

Don't get excited folks, this is an old photo. Let's discuss Vol State weather closings and delays. We are separate from the county school systems in most locations. So, Sumner County Schools could be closed and we could be open. We don't have school buses to worry about, so this is often the case. The best method to find out is through free text alerts. There is a link below to sign-up. If you have already signed up, you don't need to sign up again. You will get the info quickest and straight to your phone via text alerts.

Second best is the Vol State website home page. We also put out the info on Twitter and on the main Vol State Facebook page. It may or may not appear in your news feed, due to Facebook throttling, so if you use Facebook be sure to come directly to this page. You can post on Facebook all day long, asking if we are closed. That is up to you. But don't expect a response. We won't post anything until we actually make the decision to be closed or delayed. Once the decision is made, the posting will go out quickly. In most circumstances we won't post that we will be open. If you don't hear from us, that means classes are on as usual.

Finally, you are in college. It is up to you to decide whether you can attend classes or not. If driving conditions are not safe where you are, and you need to miss a class, you can contact your instructor to make up the work. We want everyone to be safe.

We have separate closings for Highland Crest, Livingston, the Main Campus and the other learning sites.

Here is the text alert link.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Swing the Stress Away: Vol State Offers Table Tennis Course

When building your schedule for the semester, it's important to remember to take at least one class for fun. You'll gain class credit and you won't go crazy from keeping your nose stuck in a book.

What kind of fun class should I take, you ask? Two words: table tennis.

Yes, Vol State offers a table tennis class that meets twice a week every semester for seven weeks. The class, which is listed in the course catalog as PHED 1110, is designed to take students through the fundamentals of the game, offering a study of rules, techniques, and skills of the popular pastime.

"We go over the basic rules and etiquette of the game, as well as the different spins and techniques of playing table tennis. We like to get in some tournament play as well," said adjunct instructor Andy Yarbrough. "We always have a wide range of folks in here. Some people have been playing for years. Others have been playing for just a couple of months, and some have never played before."

First-year student Dustin Cowan signed up for the class after he discovered it was offered. With a full plate of classes that have him putting in a lot of study hours, having something like table tennis is the perfect way for Cowan to relax a little bit during a hectic week of classes.

"There's no homework, no projects, nothing like that, so when I come into this class, I get to do what I want to, plus if a student wants to sharpen their skills or just blow off some steam, this is the class for them. It's a serious class, but it's fun at the same time," he said.

Yarbrough said the class has normally received a lot of positive feedback as a one-hour elective.

While the class might be fun, Yarbrough also said it's a way to teach students about an activity they can keep up for the remainder of their lives.

"This is a course that teaches you a sport you do lifelong. Many sports are tough to play lifelong, but this is something you can stay active with," he said.

The classes tables, Robo-Pong machine, and barriers were all donated to the school by Newgy Industries, Inc., a Gallatin-based table tennis company.

For a look at the class, click on the video below.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Vol State Veterans Recognition Lunch

You don't have to go far at Vol State to find someone who has served their nation in the military. Vol State student, faculty and staff veterans were honored, along with veterans from the community, during a lunch today. The group represented all military branches and service spanning many decades and several wars. 

Kody Sharman, the president of the Vol State Student Veterans of America chapter, explained the symbolism behind the POW-MIA table, traditionally set during any veterans meal. The chair is reserved for all of the service people held behind enemy lines or missing in action. The salt on one of the plates symbolizes the tears family members have shed.
Dr. Faulkner told the group that support of student veterans can come from everyone at Vol State, but especially from faculty and staff veterans. He asked Veterans Affairs Coordinator Ken Hanson to come up with ideas for how to visually show student veterans which faculty and staff members have served, in hopes that they could become mentors, and even just a friendly person to listen to problems, for the students.

We thanks all veterans on this day for their service. 

For more information on Veterans Affairs at Vol State visit the web page.

Artisans' Alliance to Host Poetry Reading

Have a little poet in you? Might want to brush off that notebook and get to speaking, because a poetry reading will be coming to Vol State this week.

Artisans' Alliance will be hosting a poetry reading, "Voice in the Spotlight," on Thursday, Nov. 13, at 11 a.m. in the carpeted dining room of the Wood Campus Center.

The event will offer plenty of free coffee for those who attend, plus artists will be reading their own selections while silhouetted against a screen.

"I feel like it adds an aesthetic that we're trying to go for with something a little more sophisticated, and I don't want people to focus on the speaker. I want them to hear the words they are saying and really take them in," club vice president Michael Clark said.

The unique atmosphere of the poetry reading will hopefully be a comfortable space for students to share their soul, according to Clark.

This is the first poetry reading event Artisans' Alliance has been responsible for, and Clark hopes it's a way to bring Vol State's writing community together.

"I feel like we have a lot of creative writers here, but I feel like they don't have a lot of outlets to share their work," he said.

Since Artisans' Alliance is a club made up of various people that want to further their artistic skills, so  the poetry reading seemed like the perfect fit to try and bring Vol State's art students together.

"We want it to be a club where art students who are actively involved in the community want to change the way things are now and push the art forward. I feel like Vol State's art community really isn't a community. Artisans' Alliance is there to bring those groups together," Clark said.

There are already several students lined up to speak, but it's not to late to submit your work for the reading. The selections that are submitted will be included in a free zine that will be available at the event.

For more information about the event, email Clark at

Monday, November 10, 2014

Free College Scheduler Tool for You on My Vol State

Current Vol State students: Did you know that you have a free tool to help you not only find Vol State classes at times that you want, but also plan your entire school day? It’s called College Scheduler. It can help you pick the class schedule that works best for you. It’s easy to use and it’s available now on your My Vol State page under the “Pride Online” tab.
We have a short video that can help you get started using College Scheduler.

Vol State Events Calendar for this Week

The Vol State events calendar for this week:
Monday, November 10th
A Lipscomb University representative will be in the Wood Campus Center 9:00am—1:00pm.
Nov. 10 Lecture: “Created Equal”, by Carole Bucy, Thigpen Library, 12:20pm
Nov. 11 Veterans Recognition, Nichols Dining Room, 12:30pm
Nov. 12 Music Club Open Mic, sign up at the event, Cafeteria, Noon
Nov. 12 Lecture: “Manuel M. Ponce: Classical Music from Mexico”, by Jaime Sanchez, Mattox 104, 12:20pm
Friday, November 14th
A Tennessee State University representative will be in the Wood Campus Center 9:00am—1:00pm.
Nov. 14 Movie Night: “Frozen”, Pickel Field House, 7pm
Nov. 14 and 15 "The Lottery", a play based on the short story by Shirley Jackson and sponsored by Vol State's Delta Psi Omega, 7:30 p.m in Caudill Hall. Tickets can be purchased at the door and are free to Vol State students with an ID.

Nov. 15 Community Garden work day, in fair weather only, 9am-noon

Draw What You See: Student Takes Class for Art Therapy

Patsy Johnson holds her service dog, Tiara, in front of some her artwork. 
Art can be more than just a creative outlet. It can also be a therapeutic way of dealing with the stress of everyday life. That's just one of the reasons why Patsy Johnson, of Castalian Springs, is taking a drawing class at Volunteer State Community College.

Johnson has multiple system atrophy, or MSA, which is a neurological disorder that affects the body's involuntary functions. She was first diagnosed in 1980, but suspected she had it much earlier in life.

"Something was off all my life, because I couldn't pass P.E., and there was no reason for it. I couldn't climb the rope. I couldn't jump. I couldn't run. I fell down a lot," she said.

Because of her condition, Johnson uses a walker or scooter to get around. She also has a service dog named Tiara. A Bichon Frisé, Tiara has been a part of Johnson's life for nearly six years — five of which have been as a service dog.

"Most people think of service dogs as labs and for seeing eyes only, but that's not true. This one can predict seizures, plus she goes to get help if I fall. She's also learning to smell the enzymes in a heart attack, so she'll eventually be able to tell a stroke or heart attack," she said.

Following a conversation with her doctor, Johnson learned that drawing could potentially help her regain some of the muscle aptitude she has lost over the years, so she is auditing Drawing I, which is taught by professor of art Susan Mulcahy.

"I was losing all my motor skills. I couldn't even feed myself. The doctor said I needed to start using the muscles in my shoulders and arms, because I was going to deteriorate really quick," she said.

Johnson also has severe dyslexia, so she often sees subjects upside down. That could make taking an art class difficult, but Johnson's artistic ability has been growing because she has been pushed to draw the world as she sees it.

"I'm learning from this teacher that art is interpreted as how you see things. If that's how you see things, then that's what you put down. Draw what you see, not what you think you see. I like that," she said.

Not only has the class helped her perception of things, but Johnson believes the practice of drawing is also helping her motor skills.

"I'm now eating with a big spoon instead of a small spoon, and I'm actually getting some in my mouth," she said with a laugh.

Johnson said the people at Vol State have very accommodating to her since she started taking the drawing class at the beginning of the semester. It has allowed her to socialize more than she has in the past.

"Everybody's been so nice to me in this school. I can't believe it. The world is a mean place, but I haven't had any of that here," she said. "I really like it here. This school is fantastic. I would recommend it to anybody, especially people that have disabilities that are struggling and think they can't be accepted. That's not going to happen here."

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

On Air: WCVP Continues Long Tradition of College Radio

Amy Mitchell sits at the radio station console.
In the age of Pandora, Spotify, and various podcasts, getting your news and music fix from the radio might seem old-fashioned, but radio is alive and well at Vol State.

Since 1979, WVCP-FM 88.5 has been the voice of the campus, and students such as Amy Mitchell are carrying on the tradition of bringing solid content to the station's audience.

"It's like the information station of the college. We usually try to keep things updated with news stories about what is going on both on and off campus," Mitchell said.

The station broadcasts with 1,000 watts and has a weekly audience of about 12,000-13,000 listeners. WVCP's signal covers much of the greater Nashville area, including Goodletsville, Portland, Antioch, Mt. Juliet, and Lebanon.

More than 20 DJs make up the station's crew, making sure they are bringing a variety of entertainment to the ears of whoever might be listening. On weekdays, the shows tend to center around rock and news programs, while the weekend shows focus on a more niche crowd.

Whether the DJs are working around the clock to ensure the station never goes silent, working in the radio environment is always a good time, according to first-year student Darren Kurtz.

"We do take what we do seriously, and we do want to make good content for people to listen to, but at the same time it's fun," he said.

The station has always been led by volunteers, and there's always plenty of room for more to join, according to associate professor and station manager Howard Espravnik.

"We use volunteers that are students, and we also use volunteers from the community outside of Vol State," Espravnik said.

A student can either enroll in a practicum class for credit or volunteer their time for a show. Espravnik said the station is looking for volunteers to do play-by-play reports from sporting events, as well as campus reporters to report on the goings-on of the campus.

If you're interested in becoming a volunteer or signing up for credit, visit Espravnik in room 165 of the Ramer Administration Buidling, or email wvcp@volstate.eduClick here to listen to the station's live stream.

For more on the radio station, check out the video below:

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Pioneers Taking Season One Game at a Time

Practice makes perfect, and the Pioneers basketball team is taking that adage to heart as they prepare for their first home game.

Team Captain Trey McPherson said he believes the team is in a pretty good place for a strong season — as long as they keep their minds focused on the fundamentals of the game.

"We're looking forward to winning. We need to focus more on the little things, mainly being focused in practice and then we'll be ready when the game comes," he said.

This year's roster only sees two returning players, McPherson included. Sophomore guard Jason Stone is the only other returning player. McPherson is looking forward to leading the team after already having completed one year with the Pioneers.

"The second year is a lot different from your first year. You already know what coach wants. You know what he expects. You know most of the plays. You just get used to everything. We have a pretty good team going right now. We play together really well," he said.

The men's team kicked off their season over the weekend in Florida at the Quality Inn Classic at Northwest Florida State College. Head coach Rusty Melvin said the team's performance during their time in Florida will help them get ready for the remainder of the season.

"We're just going to try and win a game. We play one game at a time. That's what my philosophy has always been. If we win one, we'll try to win the next one," he said.

McPherson and his teammates are taking that kind of advice to heart with their sights set on making it to the tournament this year.

"You can't look forward to the end of the year tournament until you've played all of your games. We're just going to take it one game at a time, one win at a time," he said.

The Pioneers' first home game will be on Friday, Nov. 7, at 7:30 p.m., following the women's first home game against Columbia State Community College. Students, faculty, and staff get in free. Admission is $5.

For more on the Pioneers' upcoming season, including a game schedule and a team roster, click here.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Lady Pioneers Primed and Ready for New Season

With a new coach and an eye on coming out on top, the Lady Pioneers basketball team is ready for a new season filled with fresh starts.

The Lady Pioneers roster sees the return of sophomores Jenise Davis, Victoria Dye, Ta'Keyha Flowers, and Shenequa Foster — all of whom are ready to see their team grow and come out on top this season.
"I just want to come out and be a contending team. We've always been number two, but this year, we're going for number one," Dye said.

Former Harlem Globetrotter Otis Key has taken the helm of the women's basketball team this year, and he has big plans for the season. Since joining Vol State, Key has worked with the team developing their skills as they prepped for the upcoming season.

Key's experience on and off the court has served the team well so far, and Dye said she and her fellow teammates are happy to have his guidance this year.

"It's been really good. It's been challenging, too. We've been pushed and challenged to be the best, so hopefully we'll end up being the best," she said.

Although the team still has a lot of work to do before the first game of the season, all of the players are hoping to end this year with a championship win under their belt.

"We want to be able to go to the tournament this year, because last year we didn't get to go. Right now, we're trying to finalize everything to eventually be where want to be," Foster said.

The team will open their season Friday, Nov. 7, with a home game against Columbia State at 5:30 p.m. Click here for a full schedule of this year's games. Games are free for students, faculty, and staff. Admission is $5.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Remembering Debbie: Students, Instructors Pay Tribute to Student

Debbie Miller
Upbeat. Bubbly. Unwaveringly supportive.

Those are just a few of the descriptors Debbie Miller's classmates and instructors used to describe her personality.

Miller, a paramedic student at Vol State, was killed early Tuesday morning following a motorcycle crash in Lebanon. She is survived by her three children, Tasha Nichole Miller, Morgan Lea Miller, and John Thomas Miller; significant other Lisa Gibson; sister Brenda Evans; niece Savanna Evans; and nephew Joseph Evans.

A registered nurse since the mid-90s, Miller became a part of the Vol State family in 2013 after becoming interested in the school's Emergency Medical Technician program. She graduated from the EMT certificate program in the fall of 2013, and was working her way through the 2014-2015 paramedic cohort.

"The way Debbie lived her life, there was no halfway. When she came in here, she wasn't going to stop at EMT, so that's why she brought a wealth of knowledge and a wealth of experience to the program," director of EMS education Robert Davis said.

Miller spent a large part of her nursing career at the Alvin C. York Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Murfreesboro. Her experience in the emergency room brought a different level of learning to the classes she was taking at Vol State, and her thirst for knowledge helped keep her peers on their feet.

"I remember on the first day of class when we all introduced ourselves, that was her big thing. She kept saying she was back to learn. She was rather adventurous and a grab-life-by-the-horns type of person," paramedic student Rachel Cotter said.

Fellow students, such as Emily Weeks, said Miller's impossibly upbeat personality kept everyone laughing even when things became stressful, plus Weeks always appreciated the things she could learn from someone with Miller's experience in the emergency room.

"It was awesome, because she had a lot of different insight because the EMS world is a little different than the emergency room, and a lot of us don't get to see that side of it. She was able to share a lot of experiences, so it was really neat to learn that aspect of the emergency medical services," Weeks said.

In memory of Miller, Weeks and her fellow students are getting a patch made for their uniforms, which they will wear throughout the remainder of their time in the program. The patch features Miller's name wrapped in a black ribbon around the Star of Life.
The Debbie Miller memorial patch.
The patch will be a reminder of Miller's legacy as she and the rest of her class work towards their goal of graduating from the program.

"We know that as much as she wanted to finish, she would want all of us to finish and get through, so we're going to try and carry her through that way," Cotter said.

As with any tragic loss, Miller's death hasn't truly sunk in with the school yet, and EMS instructor Art Bratcher said she is going to be missed dearly.

"Everybody is still in such a state of disbelief that we really haven't processed that she's not here anymore. It's a hit to all of us. She was already a professional, so people looked up to her. There was a lot to learn from her experience," he said.

Funeral services for Miller will be provided by Woodfin Chapel in Murfreesboro. Services will be conducted Sunday, with visitation beginning at 1 p.m., followed by a memorial service at 3 p.m. Online condolences can be sent to the family at

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Honors Program Gearing Up for Next Semester

Want to take your learning to the next level? Look no further than than the Volunteer State Community College Honors Program.

The program is designed to go above and beyond what is offered in the normal classroom, according to instructor of history and program director Dr. Merritt McKinney. In the program, students are given two ways to enhance their academics by taking on additional assignments.

"We have two different ways in which we can challenge honors students. We have some classes that are just for honors students, and the other is taking an honors course by contract," McKinney said.

The specific honors courses are designed to be similar to a normal course, but the level of discussion, critical thinking, and assignments are higher. By taking a course under an honors contract, a student enrolls in a normal class, but they sign an agreement with their professor to do extra assignments, which can range from doing research papers to class presentations.

One of the main areas in which the program helps students is offering a significant level of challenge they might not be finding in their normal class. McKinney said this extra push often gives students more motivation to strive for better performance.

"I actually had a student who joined this semester who didn't feel challenged in his classes, so he wasn't doing well. The fact that he's actually doing extra work now has motivated him to do well. It's really for students who have a real love of learning," he said.

In order to apply for the Honors Program, students must have a composite score of 26 on the ACT, a 3.5 or higher GPA, or two letters of recommendation from instructors. The program has about 50 active honors students who are either under an honors contract or taking an honors class.

McKinney said there are two main benefits a student will see after going through the program. The first is the fact that having honors courses listed on a transcript will look more attractive than just the bare minimum of required classes if a student is looking to transfer to a four-year college or university. The other benefit is the level of challenge and academic discipline a student can receive if they undertake an honors course.

Classes that will be offered in the spring include a combined U.S. History 2010/Literature 2110 course, Honors Psychology, Honors Science Society and Sustainability, Honors Macroeconomics, and Honors Speech Communication. With priority registration for the spring semester scheduled to begin Nov. 10, McKinney said students who are interested in enrolling for honors classes should contact him as soon as possible.

Additionally, the Honors Program also sponsors a lecture series that meets four times a semester. The last lecture of the fall semester will take place Wednesday, Oct. 29, with assistant professor of economics David Fuqua leading a talk on the impact of technology on the workforce. The lecture will begin at 12:20 p.m. in the Rochelle Center of the Thigpen Library.

Click here to find out more about the Honors Program, or contact McKinney at 615-230-3236 or

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Vol State Events for November and December

All events are free, unless specified

Ongoing to Nov. 26 Nick Satinover art exhibit, Thigpen Gallery, 8am to 4:30pm, Mon.-Sat. 

Nov. 1 Brock McGuire Band, Irish music, master class at 1:30pm and public concert at 7pm, Caudill Hall, open to everyone

Nov. 2 Pet Picture Palooza, fundraiser for Vet Tech Program, $10 per picture, discount for Vol State, Tractor Supply, 670 Nashville Pike, 1pm-4pm

Nov. 3 Free cell phone wrap for students, Nichols Dining Room, 1:30-7:30pm

Nov. 3 Gathering dinner for students, Wood Campus Center, 5:30pm

Nov. 4 Homecoming Bingo, Cafeteria, 12:30pm

Nov. 5 Jay Mattioli, magician, Cafeteria, 12:30pm

Nov. 6 Nick Satinover Gallery Talk, Fine Arts Building room 109, 1pm

Nov. 8 Homecoming Basketball Games, Pickel Field House, 2pm and 4pm, all basketball games are free with Vol State ID

Nov. 10 Lecture: “Created Equal”, by Carole Bucy, Thigpen Library, 12:20pm

Nov. 11 Veterans Recognition, Nichols Dining Room, 12:30pm

Nov. 12 Music Club Open Mic, sign up at the event, Cafeteria, Noon

Nov. 12 Lecture: “Manuel M. Ponce: Classical Music from Mexico”, by Jaime Sanchez, Mattox 104, 12:20pm

Nov. 13 Lecture: “Hear the Color and See the Rhythm”, by Sue Mulcahy and Nancy Slaughter, Mattox 104, 12:20pm

Nov. 14 Movie Night: “Frozen”, Pickel Field House, 7pm

Nov. 15 Community Garden work day, in fair weather only, 9am-noon

Nov. 17 International Week- Beverage Day, Cafeteria, 12:30-1:30pm

Nov. 18 International Week- Union (wedding) Ceremonies display, and Henna tattoos, Nichols Dining Room, 11am to 2pm

Nov. 19 Honors Lecture: “Cornucopians and Cassandras”, by Phillip Clifford, Thigpen Library, 12:20pm

Nov. 19 Music Department Recitals, Pickel 130, 12:30pm

Nov. 20 Coffee with the Prez, Cafeteria, 10am-11am

Nov. 26,27,28,29  Thanksgiving Break, No Classes, Offices Closed 27-29

Dec. 3 Festival of Lights, Cafeteria, 12:30pm

Dec. 5, 6 Christmas Concert, Caudill Hall, 7:30pm each night, $5 donation and free with Vol State ID, also holiday CD release

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

SGA Vice President Hopes for More Student Involvement

It's important to get involved in college, and SGA vice president Adam Parks wants to make sure students at Vol State are getting the most out of their college experience.

"I went to a couple of events last year and saw that hardly any students showed up. It just seems like a lot of times students don't care about the campus here, so I wanted to join SGA to help get other students involved and make events better," he said.

Parks was elected last spring, and he said it's his goal to help other students see the benefits of doing more than just commuting to and from the campus. Together with the other members of the cabinet, Parks said they hope to provide more opportunities to tie the college and the greater community together, giving students a better way of connecting to local businesses and organizations.

Parks said he hopes a greater connection to the community will make Vol State more attractive to future students.

"I just think it works better for everyone if the campus is more appealing, because a lot of times people look down on community college students. I saw Vol State as a great place to come and get an education. That's one of the reasons why I wanted to get involved with SGA. I wanted to help make this campus more appealing to people coming in so they see it as a good college choice," he said.

While being a part of SGA might be hard work, Parks said he enjoys getting a chance to meet other students and help plan the types of events that will draw more students into the Vol State family.

"I definitely love getting to see all of the students we have here and seeing how diverse of a campus we have. This is a melting pot of a Tennessee college. We have people from everywhere, and I like seeing the smiling faces on faculty every day, showing that they're excited about their job," he said.

The SGA is hosting the fall festival today from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. There will be free food, games, and prizes. A presidential forum with Dr. Jerry Faulkner also will be hosted on Monday, Oct. 27, in the cafeteria.

For more information on SGA and how to get involved with one of Vol State's clubs, email or visit their office in room 213A in the Wood Campus Center.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

A Family Affair: Mother and Son Learning to be EMTs

Going through college can be stressful, but when you have family by your side, navigating the ups and downs of college life is a bit more manageable.

Tishia and Asa Tucker are a mother and son who are working their way through Vol State's Emergency Medical Technician program. They attend classes at the Springfield campus.

The Tuckers decided to go into the EMT program at Vol State after a family emergency involving Tishia's husband. Knowing what people in that field go through on a daily basis will help the family in the future.

"A couple of years ago, I had decided to go into the EMT program and something happened and I couldn't do it. My husband is disabled, and I decided to go ahead and take that opportunity and start the program, so here we are," she said.

Asa joined his mom after graduating from high school last December after seeing how EMTs worked with his family. Initially, Asa and his mom never thought they'd be going to college together.

"It never crossed my mind before. It wasn't something that was on my bucket list," Tishia said.

Asa agreed.

"It's one thing for your mom to drop you off at school, but it's another when she goes into class with you," he said.

Despite the inherit awkwardness of going to class with his mom, Asa said it does have its benefits. For one, they are able to help one another with studying since they are both going through the same program. Not every student is able to have that kind of support system, but Tishia said it's a good thing to have as they continue to work through the program.

"We actually have each other to depend on and kind of lean on a little bit," she said.

Of course, going through the same program together also fuels their competitiveness, which makes the Tuckers work harder.

"In a way, it makes it more fun, but it also makes it more stressful sometimes," Asa said.

When the Tuckers graduate together in May, they'll be able to share a story not many in college can — the fact that they completed the program as mother and son.

"It's going to be good memories to have. Not many moms can say they graduated with their son from college," Tishia said.

For more on the Tuckers, and life as an EMT student, check out the video below.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Vol State Events this Week

Oct. 21            Lecture: Emerson and Transcendentalism, Shannon Lynch and Deb Moore, Mattox 104, 11:10am
Oct. 21            Highland  Commit to Completion, signing event, Phi Theta Kappa, 11am-1pm
Oct. 22            Student Life Fall Festival, Duffer Plaza, 10am to 2pm
Oct. 22            Tennessee State University representative, Wood Campus Center, 9:00am—11:00am.

Oct. 25            Household Hazardous Waste Collection, outside of Wood Campus Center, 9am to 2pm

Overcoming Serious Challenges: Gabrielle's Road to Vol State

No matter what kind of obstacles are placed in front of you, it's never too late to get started on receiving an education. That's a lesson first-year student Gabrielle Staton knows all too well. She's overcome life threatening situations on her path to Vol State.

Staton, who is originally from Charlotte, N.C., dropped out of high school during the last semester of her junior year. She was initially supposed to graduate from high school in 2008, but family circumstances forced her to make a tough decision.

"It was a matter of survival for me. You either work and live, or you go to school and know you're going to have it pretty rough. I didn't have a whole lot of support from my family other than my grandmother, but she was supporting me and 10 of my other cousins," she said.

Instead of finishing school right away, Staton focused on work and becoming a mother — she had her first son in 2009. Juggling both a full-time job and her family made going back to school even more difficult. But she never let anything get in the way of wanting to complete high school.

"I really felt like I had to finish school, because I knew eventually my options would be limited, and I didn't want to end up years from now not being able to take advantage of the opportunities put in front of me because of the limitations of my education," she said.

Staton took advantage of an adult education program in North Carolina and on her third attempt through the program, she finally graduated in 2011. Working in retail management, Staton was able to have a steady job, which helped her along the way.

All that changed in 2012 when she was robbed at gunpoint. While the experience was traumatic, it was an event that fueled her desire to go to college.

"Sometimes it takes trauma to push us into the path to prosper," Staton said.

Staton, who was about to have her second son, started a catering business and after it became fairly prosperous, she decided it was time to sign up for classes with the intent to study international business in order to create a non-profit business that would teach ethics to nurses before they go out into the field.

Before classes were to begin in August, Staton was the victim of domestic violence and came close to death. Not one to let things stop her, Staton once again overcame the adversity that stood in her way. In a very short timespan, she left North Carolina for Nashville with her children and enrolled at Vol State.

"No matter what is placed in front of you, there's no reason why you can't do anything you want to. There's nothing that should ever stop you," she said.

Arriving at Vol State was a blessing, because Staton felt like she was welcomed into the community and she became heavily involved with some of the school's clubs and organizations. If anyone takes away anything from her story, Staton said she wants make sure people realize that setting a goal and sticking to it is important to success.

"I never thought I would have the opportunity to go to school this late. Now, I feel like I actually have a chance. I can make it here, and I can make it anywhere," she said. "It doesn't matter how long it takes you to get to that goal as long as you're constantly working at it. That's the important part."

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Former Globetrotter Ready for Season with Lady Pioneers

Otis Key sees plenty of opportunity for the Lady Pioneers basketball team, and he's planning on using his experience as a former Globetrotter to take the players to the next level.
"The lessons that you learn as a player is something that you carry through your whole life. In my time with the Globetrotters, I was able to be around a number of great coaches and great basketball minds, and now I'm able to give that input to players," he said.
Key took the helm of the women's basketball team this semester, and he's settling nicely into his new role as a member of the Vol State family. He spent 10 years with the Globetrotters, in addition to coaching for the American Basketball Association Kentucky Bison and the Continental Basketball Association Bowling Green Hornets.
Key said his experience as a Globetrotter gave him many life lessons he plans on sharing with his players, as well as sound advice on training, diet, and prioritization of life as a student athlete.
"Player development is one the huge keys to me personally and being able to go through some of the things I went through on the court, it just makes them better players," he said.
With the start of the season just a few weeks away, Key said the team is doing a lot to improve their skills as they prepare to hit the court next month.
"I'm pleasantly surprised at how far along we are, and I realize that we still have a lot of work to do, but the team seems like they're willing to do that," he said.
The Lady Pioneers roster sees four returning players — Jenise Davis, Shenequa Foster, Ta'Keyha Flowers, and Victoria Dye. Key said he's excited for what they will bring to the team.
"I'm extremely excited about who is coming and the leadership they offer for the freshman," he said.
As a Globetrotter, Key participated in numerous community outreach programs. He is already looking for ways to connect the team to the greater community through volunteer work with organizations like Habitat for Humanity and United Way. Through team-building opportunities with those organizations, Key said they will become stronger players and people.
"I want the ladies to realize they have a great opportunity here, because there are less fortunate people out there. Yes, it's great they have an opportunity to play collegiate basketball, but they also have a great opportunity to become pillars of the community," he said.
The new season will kick off Nov. 7 with a home game against Columbia State Community College. For more on the Lady Pioneers, including a full season schedule, click here.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Vol State Events this Week

Oct. 13, 14      Fall Break: A reminder that Fall Break is only two days this year
Oct. 15            Tennessee Tech University rep on Gallatin campus in the Wood Campus Center, 10am-1pm
Oct. 15            Livingston Commit to Completion, signing event, Phi Theta Kappa, 11am-1pm
Oct. 16            Bethel University rep on Gallatin campus in the Wood Campus Center, 10am-1pm
Oct. 16            Union University Nursing info session, Warf 110, 12:45-2:15pm
Oct. 16            Travel-Study Meeting for interested students, Mattox 104, 12:30pm
Oct. 17            Marian University at St. Thomas Health rep on Gallatin campus in the Wood Campus Center, 10am-1pm

Oct. 18            Fall Fiesta at Vol State, a celebration of Hispanic culture, free and everyone invited, bring the kids, Duffer Plaza, 10am-4pm

Friday, October 10, 2014

Fall Fiesta at Vol State on Saturday, October 18

Volunteer State Community College will celebrate Hispanic culture on Saturday, October 18 with the Fall Fiesta at Vol State. The annual event is in its eighth year. Everyone is invited. A talent contest is new this year, bringing together musicians, singers, and artists to perform and compete for prizes. Food is always a big part of the Fiesta. The food contest provides a venue for people to showcase their favorite dishes from the many different countries that make up what we call Hispanic culture.
“After the judging in the food contest, the public can sample the food. That’s always a favorite of mine. We’ve had dishes from Cuba, Mexico, Guatemala, and Argentina, just to name a few countries represented over the years,” said Eric Melcher, Vol State coordinator of communications. “This is a family event, held outside on the campus grounds. It includes a soccer tournament, live music, a dance group, art activities for the kids and plenty of fun games for the little ones.”
In addition to the food cook-off contest at 11 a.m., there will be a free Mexican lunch and drinks starting at noon. The Fall Fiesta at Vol State will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The event will happen, rain or shine, on the Volunteer State Community College campus at 1480 Nashville Pike in Gallatin. The rain location is the Pickel Field House.  The Fall Fiesta is free and open to everyone. Families are encouraged to bring a blanket and chairs and spend the day. Anyone can enter the food contest or the talent contest. For more information in English call 615-230-3570 or Spanish at 615-230-4846.

Información en Español

Información en Español

Información en Español

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Meditation Gathering Offers Stress-Free Atmosphere

Betty Mandeville leads the meditation group.
Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and let the stress roll away.

Those are simple instructions for reducing the hectic nature of being in college. Thanks to a weekly meditation group led by associate professor of English Dr. Betty Mandeville, students, faculty, and staff at Vol State have a way to make their semester a little easier.

A similar group was led last year by Mandeville and Dr. Michael Lenz. With Lenz's departure from Vol State, Mandeville wanted to sure a similar time of meditation was offered this year. Mandeville wanted to open the practice up to more participants, including faculty and staff.

While attendance has only drawn a few faculty members in its first two weeks, Mandeville is hoping students start attending as well. After all, the stress from studying and being in the classroom go both ways.

"This can be helpful and it puts students and faculty on equal footing. We're all in this together. We're all stressed out. We all want time to be quiet. I like the idea of sharing the space together in an equal way," she said.

Each session starts off with a short reading before heading into about 30 minutes of silent meditation. It's just enough time to help refocus one's energy before heading back out to face the day.

"You have to go right back out and face it, because the chemistry test is still coming. The bills are still due. It can help you get through the bad things so you can enjoy the good things if you learn how to be a little more present to them," Mandeville said.

Even if you're unfamiliar with meditation or a little nervous about what to do, Mandeville said she would invite anyone who is interested to stop by and check it out.

The group meets every Friday at 12:30 p.m. in the Jim Moore Conference Room upstairs in the Thigpen Library.

For more information about the group, email Mandeville at or visit office 131 in the Ramer Administration Building.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Fall Carnival at Highland Crest October 11

Celebrate Fall with carnival games, rides, and magic at the Highland Crest college campus Fall Carnival in Springfield. The event is organized by the Volunteer State Community College Student Government Association and it’s open to the public. Magician Eric Tyree will entertain the crowd with tricks. The magic shows happen at 10 a.m. and noon. There will be popcorn, snow cones and even Halloween bags for the first 100 kids. It’s all free. On the benefit side of things, there will be a barbecue cook-off and a silent auction held to raise money for the Robertson County Meals on Wheels program. Local vendors will be on hand so that people can get a jump on holiday shopping.  It’s also a good way for the public to come out and see the Vol State Highland Crest campus. The Fall Carnival will be held on Saturday, October 11 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The campus is located just off of Highway 431 on Billy Batson Parkway. For a map visit the web page at or call 615-483-7040 for more information.

Fall Break is October 13 and 14

Fall Break at Vol State will be held on Monday and Tuesday, October 13 and 14 for all campus and learning locations. It is only two days this year. You will get an extra day off on the day before Thanksgiving. Vol State offices will be open during Fall Break.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Workshops to Help Students Ease Stressful Studying

A little extra help never hurt anybody, especially with midterms on the horizon.

Vol State's Supplemental Instruction program is here to help with its upcoming workshops designed for students that might be having a difficult time transitioning into their college studies.

Beginning Thursday, Oct. 21, SI leaders will be hosting four different workshops over the course of four weeks covering technology, time management, power studying, and stress reduction.

"The real plus to these workshops is being taught by people who have actually been there and understand what they need as students," SI coordinator Toni Murad said.

For example, the technology workshop will cover how to use a dropbox, how to navigate the eLearn website, how to check homework for plagiarism, formatting, and a variety of other useful classroom skills.

"We find that a lot of people who are just starting out in college don't know basic computer skills they need, and it's really a barrier to succeeding in their classes," Murad said.

Each workshop will be held twice a week — Tuesdays and Thursdays — from noon to 2 p.m. The first hour will cover instructions and tips from leaders, and the second hour will cover questions from those in attendance. Students are encouraged to bring a lunch if they plan on staying for the entire workshop.

The workshops are completely free and there is no sign-up necessary. They're designed to be informal, so you can attend one or all four of the workshops.

The schedule is as follows:
Oct. 21, 23: Technology
Oct. 28, 30: Time Management
Nov. 4, 6: Power Studying Techniques
Nov. 11, 13: Stress Reduction

Contact Murad at 615-230-4757 or for more information. Visit this link for more information on Supplemental Instruction.