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.