Monday, July 25, 2016

When Is The New Humanities Building Opening?

“When is the new humanities building going to open?” That is the question that is being asked as both faculty and students excitedly anticipate Vol State’s newest addition. The official answer, by the way, is August 22nd: the first day of Fall Semester.

The Steinhauer-Rogan-Black Humanities building is designed to be a hub for students to connect and unwind before and after attending classes in the newly-designed classrooms. It will house various departments in the humanities program – including Music, English, Theater, and Art – as well as offices for adjunct faculty and advisors.

“The level of detail is mind-boggling,” said a source close to the project. “It’s a natural gathering spot, and they really thought about that when they designed it.”

The building stands in a central location between the cafeteria and bookstore in the Wood Campus Center, the Mattox Business Building, and Thigpen Library. The parking lot in front of the library is in the process of being turned into green space and pathways that will flow into the lawns of the Humanities Building.

Students are excited about the changes. “I was here about ten years ago,” said one who had just finished registering as a returning student. “It all looks so different now. It’s just amazing.”

Though students aren't allowed to enter the building until August 22nd, we’ve been given a sneak peak of the state-of-the-art facility.

Sweeping views of the campus are a highlight of the new Humanities Building.

Classrooms feature fun colors and ergonomically designed desks.
A bright spot for faculty to discuss important endeavors.
Cozy nooks give students a place to study.
Cheerful colors add joy to a conference room.
This and so much more will be waiting to be explored when classes begin. Yet another reason to look forward to the Fall Semester at Vol State!

Gaynell Buffinet Payne is a writer, single mother, and student at Volunteer State Community College. She also blogs for Vol State's Returning Adult Learners.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Important Notice for All TN Promise Students

Attention all TN Promise students…both current and incoming:

If you still want to use TN Promise to attend college in the fall you must go to the website and put in your community service work info. The community service deadline is August 1, 2016 (students have until 11:59 pm CST August 1st). Students must complete and SUBMIT their hours at Keep in mind, failure to miss the deadline even by one minute will result in loss of eligibility.

Students can find opportunities to complete community service or job shadowing at TN State Parks will also be hosting a community service day on July 23rd for students who need to meet this requirement.

If you have any questions or need help please contact us at 615-230-3688.

Adults Considering Vol State Can Get One-On-One Help

College can seem complex and even scary for adult students. People who are considering college or who may have college credits and want to finish their degree, are invited to Volunteer State Community College Reconnect Information Sessions. The Reconnect events will feature one-on-one advising. Participants will have the opportunity to ask questions and get answers in an informal and relaxed setting.

“We want to take the mystery out of attending college and walk people through what they need to do, step-by-step,” said Ken Hanson, director of Adult Learners and Veterans Affairs. “We invite the entire family to come along. We’ll have refreshments available.”

Vol State Reconnect is part of a statewide effort to get more adult students into college. There are two events for adults considering college on the Gallatin campus, July 28 and August 2 in the Wood campus Center. Both events will be held from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. People are encouraged to email for more details and to let the college know they are coming. Participants can also call 615-230-3447. Walk-ups the day of the event will be fine. Vol State has web pages specifically for adult students, including a blog with a unique perspective on what it’s like to be an adult student, at

Monday, July 18, 2016

Pokemon Mania at Vol State

Pokemon GO has swept the nation practically overnight. The new cell phone app is already being held responsible for two men falling off of a cliff in California, breaking up a relationship (though I’m sure there’s more to come), and a trespassing teen coming face to face with a dead body. Vol State student players insist that it’s a good thing, however – as long as you watch where you’re going.

“We’re out in the parking lot saying ‘hey man, whatcha got?’ ‘I gotta a Pikachu!’” laughs one man who asked to remain anonymous. “We’re not out here doing drugs. It’s bringing people together. It’s a good thing.”
Pokemon hunters have even been converging on Vol State campus. One laughingly tweeted about his run-in with campus police at one o’clock in the morning.

Two friends waging a friendly battle
on their smart phones
Pokemon hunters weren’t difficult to catch on campus. Several people were roaming the walkways, eyes glued to their phones, and I ran into a large group right outside of Ramer. More joined as we talked. There are “lures” placed in various parts of the Vol State Gallatin campus to attract the digital monsters, and two spots on campus that are known as “gyms”: basically a battle field for the captured Pokemon. Teens, adults, and even parents with children are wandering around the grounds in their quest to “catch them all”, a phenomena that some supporters contend is getting millions of people out of the house and into the sun.

As for the midnight hunts, Volunteer State Community College officials say that while the campus is open to the public during regular class hours, after hours it’s closed to both the general public and students. They ask that those searching for Pokemon be respectful and not trample flower beds or wander into off-limits construction zones.

Mr. Anonymous has one last piece of advice for his fellow Pokemon hunters. “Just be smart. Don’t mess this up for the rest of us. And watch where you’re going!”

Read Also: Pokemon on Campus - What You Need to Know

Gaynell Buffinet Payne is a writer, single mother, and student at Volunteer State Community College. She also blogs for Vol State's Returning Adult Learners.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Fall Class Fees Due by August 11

Fees for fall classes are now being calculated. You can log into your MyVolState page to review your balance. Fall fees are due by August 11th. If you register for classes after August 11, you will need to pay that day. There are a variety of ways you can pay. Click here for details. If you have questions contact the Business Office.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Pokemon on Campus - What You Need to Know

We found these Pokemon fans on campus and reminded them of the rules. They were very nice about complying. Please don't chase monsters through landscaping or in construction areas.
The new Pokémon Go cell phone app has become a global craze. We want folks to have fun if they're playing Pokémon on Vol State campuses, but there are a few things you need to keep in mind. First and foremost- be safe. We have seen people nearly fall down stairs playing the app. You also need to keep from going places you wouldn't normally go - even if your Pokémon monster is hiding in a hard to get area. This includes all construction areas, flower beds and other landscaping areas, offices and classrooms for which you don't have a class. Just because there is a Pokémon monster with big points waiting doesn't mean you can go where you are not normally allowed.

Campus police tell us that they found a couple of students playing Pokémon Go on the Gallatin campus late at night. Vol State is a public campus, but only during class hours. Generally that is 7am to 9pm on weekdays and 7am to noon on Saturdays. No one is allowed on campus outside class hours, unless there is a special public event. So, enjoy Pokémon Go on campus, but only during our normal hours. 

The easy rule of thumb (no pun intended) is to be respectful of other people while playing Pokémon Go, be careful and don't do anything you normally would not do while walking through campus. In the meantime, good luck and happy monster hunting!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

New Spaces this Fall on the Gallatin Campus

The new Steihnhauer-Rogan-Black Humanities Building opens this fall semester. It has art studios, music rooms, a second (and much larger) recording studio, an art gallery and state-of-the-art classrooms. Many of you will take classes there over the next couple of years. But there are plenty of benefits when it comes to studying and relaxing outside. Check out the new plaza space. It has a patio and an outdoor amphitheater for performance or just hanging out.

The area between the Thigpen Library and the Wallace Buildings is also being transformed. The road is gone, replaced with green space and brick mini-plazas. It too will be ready for fall semester.

We salute the construction crews working so hard to get this done in time and we thank our Plant Operations and IT people for getting the building ready. This is still much to be done.

We look forward to having sophomores back on campus this fall and we welcome new freshmen!

Friday, July 8, 2016

Planning to Transfer to University? Three Tips for You

Many Vol State students transfer to a four-year college or university. Here are a few things that sophomores and even freshmen should be aware of:

-Figure out which universities are on your short list for transfer and investigate those schools for the major you are considering. You should do this right away, primarily to make sure you take the correct classes at Vol State to apply to the major at your future university.

-See if a Tennessee Transfer Pathway (TTP) is available for your major and the schools you are interested in. TTPs provide a clear pathway by giving you the Vol State classes you need to take to ensure total credit transfer for your major. It's easy to do. Just visit this list and find your major. It will then show you which universities offer a TTP in that area.

-Once you have a plan, stick to it. You could waste time and money taking classes you won't need and that won't apply towards a new major. We certainly want everyone to be happy with their choice, but many students don't understand the downside of changing a major. It can impact Financial Aid as well.

You academic advisor can help with many of these questions. The Vol State Advising Center can also help with some contacts and ideas. Have a great semester!

Friday, July 1, 2016

Remembering Vol State Chemistry Professor Parris Powers

Vol State lost one of its most engaged and engaging professors this week. Parris Powers, associate professor of Chemistry, passed away after suffering a stroke. It is a devastating loss for his family, and especially his two children, Christian and Summer. It is heartbreaking for his colleagues, so many of whom called Parris friend. And his students, the thousands of students from classes, research projects and study abroad trips over the last 25 years; they have been posting remembrances from across the country.

“He was the best professor anyone could ask for. I learned so much from him. Not just chemistry and science. He guided all his students and mentored them,” said Virginia White. “He showed more passion about the subject than anyone I have ever met. He was the essence and example of a teacher and the kind of teacher I wish to be. I wish I had time for at least one more question.”

“Professor Powers had the unique ability to make such an individual investment into his students that he made each of them think they were his favorite,” Genna Batchelder said. “He cared not only about your grade in his class but your future and your interests and how those two things could intertwine.”

“Mr. Powers truly cared about me,” said recent graduate Seth Walker. “He would always do whatever to ensure my success. He was very down to Earth. We talked sports all the time! He was one of the best professors at Vol State. The college has lost a jewel.”

Parris’ death is a profound loss for the science and educational community. He began his journey at Vol State in 1991. His specialty was organic chemistry and organic synthesis. His passion was igniting passion for learning in his students. He did that in many ways, most recently helping to lead the undergraduate research initiative at Vol State. The pictures tell the story. He waded into streams with his students to take water samples, showing them proper scientific techniques for collection. That research eventually went on to include hundreds of Vol State students. For many of them it was their first time actually doing scientific research. That was the point. The Community College Undergraduate Research Initiative (CCURI) gets community college students excited about research, helping them gain new perspective in their science classes.

The water quality study results didn’t sit on a shelf. Parris partnered with storm water treatment professionals in Sumner County and state environmental groups. The research adds to the body of knowledge as decisions are made that impact all of us.

His mentoring of  research students led to a number of awards. Vol State Math and Science students took top honors in a student competition at the Southeastern Regional Meeting of the American Chemical Society (SERMACS) in Nashville. Vol State was the only community college to compete and the Vol State students beat out more than eighty other students from universities across the South. Emmy Davis of Hendersonville, Nicole Gammons of Mt. Juliet, and Phillip Martinez of Lebanon received the first place award in the Organic Chemistry Division for their research presentation titled “Investigations of Green and Microscale Methods in the Synthesis of Several Flavones.” Chemists from all over the region did the judging.
"Parris Powers has been a great friend and colleague over the years,” said Kenyatta Lovett, assistant vice chancellor for Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) Community College Initiatives. “Even in my role at TBR, we have engaged in great discussions on how to expand the opportunities for our community college students. His approach to teaching and student development can be witnessed in the outpour of gratitude and appreciation being expressed by current and previous students. His mission to advance the adoption of community college undergraduate research has impacted students and faculty across this nation.”
Dedication. Parris personified the word. But his work wasn’t reserved only for those bound for a science career. Parris organized the Vol State Science and Math Expo with science and math faculty members for 15 years. The annual event brought in hundreds of secondary school students to the Vol State campus for hands-on science and math activities. And it was Vol State students designing and carrying out those activities. For Parris it wasn’t just an event, but part of his deep desire to share the excitement of science with people of all ages.
“I was fortunate to occupy the office next to his and I am so grateful that he was there for me every day to talk and provide invaluable insight and goodwill,” said Vol State associate professor of Biology, Robert Carter. “He was brilliant, honest, thoughtful and a really fun guy. I cannot possibly describe how important he was to so many people and how many lives he changed in our classrooms.”
“Professor Powers was an outstanding educator who was dedicated to student success,” said Vol State president, Jerry Faulkner. “On a couple of occasions I was present when his students were presenting.  He absolutely glowed with pride in the students accomplishments. He set a high bar for academic rigor but did everything possible to help students achieve at their highest. His involvement with the Community College Undergraduate Research Initiative allowed him to make contacts on a national scale.  Condolences are pouring in from across America.”

Parris Powers
Visitation:  Saturday, July 2, 2016, 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.
Memorial Service: Saturday, July 2, 2016 at 3:00 p.m.
Calvary Chapel
1001 Willis Branch Road
Goodlettsville, TN 37072

(615) 851-3088