Thursday, January 28, 2016

Why You Should Do Supplemental Instruction

Some classes at Vol State have the free option of Supplemental Instruction or SI. If you have a class that offers SI, you should take the opportunity. SI can help you do better in the class and SI sessions are usually held for the harder classes.
Supplemental Instruction provides students study support with a peer who has completed and earned a B+ or higher in the course. SI Leaders attend class sessions with the students and hold two 50 minute study sessions outside of class. SI is currently offered in courses such as anatomy and physiology, chemistry, history, Spanish and many others. Students who attend SI are more likely to complete the course successfully and earn up to a full letter grade improvement. Visit the SI web page to learn more about the courses served by SI, and the SI Leader contact information by course.
Do yourself a favor...if you have the option of taking SI sessions- do it!
Here is more info about the program:

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

As the Smoke Clears, Students React

I had just finished early registration for Spring classes last November, and finally feeling like I might actually belong at Vol State. That’s when the college announced a new policy that felt like a hostile act against me, and I almost changed my mind. The new No Smoking ANYWHERE on campus policy (okay, fine, I’ll smoke in my car. No? Not even in my own car??) inspired several smokers and vapers to post their annoyance on the Vol State blog, but it also brought out a different kind of reaction as a few fellow students posted things like “About time!” and “I hope you find a new school!”

My three-hour History class was buzzing with the news and, during the break that first day, several gathered to discuss. One guy sat on the rails of the steps and vaped defiantly, though he usually walked away to do so. “It’s not even smoke!” he fumed. Most students said that they would smoke anyway. Many of them considered switching colleges.

So as the new semester began I set out to find out if anyone was still smoking on campus, and to hear what they thought of the policy.

One thing of note –every single person I talked to who was against the new policy insisted on remaining anonymous. Those who supported the ban happily provided their names. To me, that’s more significant than anything they said.

“I think it’s good,” said student Lexus Williams of the ban. “Smoking is bad for you.”

“I don’t smoke, but my friends do,” said one student. “I have to look out for my guys,” he explained.

Would his friends still smoke on campus?

“Definitely,” he answered with a laugh. “We have a saying. ‘No cop, no stop.’”

Another student who was smoking in his car hadn’t heard about the smoking ban. “Oh well, that’s fine. I don’t mind coming out to my car.”

I informed him that was also against the new policy.

“That’s ridiculous,” he said, more than once.

“It’s discrimination,” said another student. “They’re punishing us.”

While some students I talked to expressed strong support over the policy, many non-smokers were more ambivalent.

“I’m good with it [the new policy]” said Chad Allen. “The whole 'no smoking in your car' is a little extreme. That’s your private property.”

While Vol State says it welcomes the debate and encourages free speech on its campus, the school also says that they’re not going to change the policy. “While your car may be private property, it is located directly on campus property while in the parking lot.” said Tami Wallace, Director of  Public Relations. “On the website, resources are listed to help students and staff stop using tobacco.”

Gaynell Buffinet Payne

Two Things You Can Do to Have a Great Semester

Welcome back! Here are two things you can do to make sure you have a great semester.
-Go to class. Yes, this sounds obvious, but it is the number one reason why students don’t do well in a course. You skip one class, and then another, and then you find yourself behind. You get frustrated. You don’t do well on a test. It all snowballs. Go to all of your class meetings and stay ahead on assignments. If you have to miss a class, contact the instructor to make up the work.
-Use the free academic help we have for you. You can get help with research for a paper at the Library. Then take that research to the Language Center for help in organizing and writing the paper, and then making sure it’s polished for the final product. You can get help with math homework in the Learning Commons. Take advantage of Supplemental Instruction study sessions if they are available in your class. We also have a new online tutor system available in many subjects coming soon…stay tuned to social media for details. For a list of what we currently have available visit the College Success Zone:
We want to see you smiling when it’s time for finals…so take action now. You can do this!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

University Transfer Visits

University reps visit campus a few times a year to talk to Vol State students about transfer. Here are the dates thus far for spring semester. Visits are held in the Wood Campus Center hallway.

Feb. 3
10:00am – 2:00pm
Lindsey Wilson University
Feb. 11
10:00am – 3:00pm
Lipscomb University
Feb. 16
10:00am – 2:00pm
Union University
Feb. 17
10:00am – 2:00pm
TN Tech. University
Feb. 18
10:00am – 2:00pm
MTSU – Middle TN State University
Feb. 25
10:00am – 1:00pm
TSU – TN State University
Mar. 14
10:00am – 2:00pm
TTU – TN Tech. University
Mar. 15
10:00am – 4:00pm
King University
Mar. 16
09:00am – 2:00pm
WKU – Western KY University
Mar. 17
10:00am – 2:00pm
MTSU – Middle TN State University
Mar. 21
10:00am – 1:00pm
TSU – TN State University
Mar. 28
10:00am – 2:00pm
UTK – University TN Knoxville

Financial Aid and Class Withdraw Updates Due to Weather

Financial aid update: We’re processing financial aid refunds every day this week, so it just depends on when student attendance is confirmed. You can check your attendance on My Vol State under the Student Menu, then click Attendance Reporting and choosing the term.
Withdraw update: The date students can drop a course in the 15-week part of this semester, without a grade of W, has been extended through February 3rd.

Effective today (January 26, 2016), students who wish to drop a class (while still remaining enrolled in at least one other class) must obtain a signature from their professor and complete a DROP/ADD/WITHDRAWAL FORM.  After completion, this form should be taken to the Records Office.  Students who wish to drop all of their classes, however, must speak with an Advisor/Counselor in the Advising Center or a Completion Advisor located within the Academic Division.

It is extremely important for students who are receiving financial aid (grants, loans, lottery funds, scholarships, etc.) to notify the Financial Aid Office prior to dropping a class or withdrawing from the College.   

Monday, January 25, 2016

This Week at Vol State

This week at Vol State:
Jan. 26 Welcome Back Bash, student clubs recruit, Wood Campus Center, 10am-2pm
Jan. 28 Lecture: Reassessing a Local Villain, Joe Douglas, Rochelle Center, 1pm
Jan. 29 Health Occupations Students of America, state competition, campus wide
Jan. 30 2016 TN Promise FAFSA Help Event in Gallatin. Several sessions. Register online:

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Tobacco and Vape Use Prohibited on All Vol State Campuses

Volunteer State Community College prohibits the use of tobacco on any campus property for all students, faculty, staff, contractors and visitors. The updated policy went into effect January 1, 2016. The use of tobacco and vaping (e-cigarette) products is prohibited in college buildings and on college grounds, including parking areas, walkways and buildings.  This does include any vehicles located on campus property on campus locations in Gallatin, Springfield and Livingston. 
Prohibited products include:
·         Cigarettes
·         Cigars
·         Tobacco Chew or Snuff
·         Clove Cigarettes
·         Electronic Cigarettes (Vaping)
·         And all other products that are smokable substances and/or use tobacco
The tobacco-vape-free policy is a part of Vol State’s commitment to creating a healthy and sustainable environment for all members of our campus community and is designed to be positive and health directed.  Individuals noticing violations of the policy should strive to be non-confrontational and respectful to tobacco or vape users when communicating our policy.  Additionally, tobacco or e-cigarette users are expected to adhere to the policy and likewise be respectful to the remainder of campus.  Enforcement of the policy will be achieved primarily through education, awareness and a spirit of cooperation.
Vol State is not requiring faculty, staff and students to quit using tobacco products; however, we do expect the policy to be followed while on Vol State property, and we are offering support to our students and employees who wish to stop using prohibited products. 

For more information and tips on how to stop using tobacco, please visit

Our Bad Weather Plan

Let's have a chat about the weather and how it impacts you as a Vol State student, faculty or staff member. There may be some winter weather this week, so it's a good time to review our procedures.

Weather notices from the college can call for a delay of classes or a closing of a campus. It is always specific to the campus, so what happens in Gallatin may be different from Livingston or Springfield. Cookeville students will be notified by CHEC of closings.

A delay means that classes start at that hour. If we say delayed until 10am, that means only classes that would be meeting at 10am or later will be meeting. Classes before that are canceled. We say that because classes can start at different times and have different lengths. If you have a three hour class starting at 8am and there is a delay until 10am- your class will meet starting at 10am.

You'll find that the College doesn't close or have class delays nearly as often as the high schools. There is a big reason for this. High schools make their decisions based on school bus travel. We don't have any buses, so we make our decision based on car travel and that's quite different. However, we have students living all over the area and in a variety of terrain. 

If the roads are dangerous in your area you have the right to decide if you want to attend class or not. If you can't attend just let your instructor know so that you can make up your work. We want everyone to be safe and that means you need to use your own best judgment.

If there is a delay or cancelation students should check their eLearn account for each canceled class to receive updated assignment info from instructors.

The good news is that students will automatically receive text alerts with closing or delay info, unless they opted out of text alerts. New spring students are not in the text system yet and won't be for a few days, so for now new students should visit the Vol State website for closing info.

Faculty and staff who signed up for text messages will be notified via text. Others can check the website or Facebook.

Monitor our primary Facebook page:

Follow us on Twitter:

Keep an eye on the front page of 

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

Friday, January 15, 2016

Tips for New Students...and Even for Those Returning

We're getting ready for Spring Semester at Vol State. Classes start January 19. Here are some tips for new students:

-Double check your schedule to make sure you are taking the classes you think you are taking. If you see TBD listed as a location or time, and you have double checked recently in My Vol State and it still says that- you could be signed up for an online class. Nothing wrong with that if it is what you intended.

-Print up a copy of the Gallatin campus map to spot your classes ahead of time. Print it to take with you for your first week of classes.

-Give yourself an extra half-hour or so the first week of classes to find your favorite parking place and your best route to class.

-Use the back entrance to the Gallatin campus off Greenlea, it's much less congested. Parking in those back lots is also easier.

-Sign-up for Vol State social media to get tips and info you need. You can Like Us on Facebook or Follow Us on Twitter. Also, stay tuned to this blog for news and stories for students.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Spring class fees are due today, January 8

If you have already registered, spring class fees are due today January 8...plenty of ways to pay:

If you haven't registered yet, you'll need to pay when you register.

Spring classes start on January 19. We're looking forward to having everyone back on campus!

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Thanks from Seth Walker

Faculty members will tell you that Seth Walker is a top-notch student at Vol State. Many of you have been in a class with Seth or seen him around campus. He has high tech tools to work on his computer and has a personal assistant, Ken, to help him get around on campus and communicate. We asked Seth to write a blog post about his experiences at Vol State thus far. If you see him around campus be sure to say hello. Here's the post:

Going to college seemed daunting to me. Being at a new school in a totally different atmosphere scared me. However, those fears were put to rest shortly after coming to Volunteer State Community College. From the moment I came on campus, I could sense I was welcomed with open arms.

The faculty at Vol State have gone above and beyond to make sure of my success. Whether it was shortening a test or giving me extra time on an assignment, they have been more than accommodating. The faculty have  also taken an interest in me as a person. They want to get to know me and my personality. In addition, the offices and administration at Vol State have been more than helpful to me. Whenever my assistant, Mr. Ken Brassell, and I walk into an office for help, the staff is always eager to assist me with any needs that I may have. I would like to give a special thanks to Ms. Kathy Sowell and the staff in the Office of Disability Services for their help throughout my time at Vol State. I would not be as successful as I am today without them.
The student body at Vol State have embraced me. They treat me as if I did not have Cerebral Palsy. I love hanging out with my peers on campus. They brighten my day and make college interesting. I am thankful that I can always count on my peers for help. Whether taking notes in class, giving me a ride home, or just hanging out with me on the weekend, my peers are always there for me. Even something as simple as holding a door open for me means a lot.
Vol State is a very disability friendly college. Everyone at the college truly values inclusion. I could not ask for a better first two years.
-Seth Walker

Monday, January 4, 2016

Vol State Financial Aid Help for 2016 TN Promise Students

The financial aid application called FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is an important part of the process for the TN Promise scholarship program. Volunteer State Community College has a series of events in January where 2016 TN Promise students will be able to receive help in completing their FAFSA, learn about community service opportunities, and apply for admission to Vol State. Refreshments will be provided, and those that apply for admission to Vol State while at the event will have their application fee waived. The sessions will be held on Saturday, January 16, and Saturday, February 6, at the Cookeville Higher Education Center on Neal Street; on Saturday, January 23, at the Livingston campus; and on Saturday, January 30 at the Gallatin campus. A reservation is required and can be completed online at Exact information about times and locations can also be found on that page.

Students should be sure to bring the student and parent social security numbers; student driver's license or ID card; and student and parent 2015 tax returns (and spouse if married) and W-2 forms.  If the student is not a citizen they should bring an alien registration number or permanent resident card (Green Card). Additional items that will be needed are any 2015 untaxed income information, such as child support; the current balance of cash, savings, and checking accounts (amount only); and the current net worth of student (and spouse's) business and investments.

Students and parents will need to obtain a FSA ID before they attend the event. That can be accomplished at For more information contact the Office of Financial Aid at 615-230-3456.