Monday, February 27, 2017

Vol State Events this Week

Feb. 28               Faculty Recital: Janelle Logan, SRB 151, 2:30-3:30pm
March 1             Transfer Day, college and university reps, Ramer Great Hall, 10am-2pm

And a reminder about next week:
March 6-11        Spring break, no classes, office are open, all campuses

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Chinese Culture Celebrated with a Full House

Jie Zhou
There was standing room only in Volunteer State Community College’s Performing Arts Center on Sunday. Children sat on the floor and adults lined the walls as performers from VSCC and MTSU joined together to share their heritage for the Chinese Music and Culture Celebration.

"In English you might say the music gives us goosebumps, but... [In Chinese] it’s translated as ‘I love listening to it so much that my ears got pregnant!’” Vol State Professor Ellen Gao said as artists from MTSU prepared to perform.
“First a legal issue,” Dr. Mei Han replied to the amused audience. “If you get pregnant, I’m not responsible.”

Left to Right: Ji Jie, Mi Xuanye, Li Zengguang, Mei Han

Dr. Han is the director of MTSU’s Center for Chinese Music and Culture. “These beautiful instruments and art are more than the expression of one nation,” she said in a video on the Center’s website. “They belong to all peoples, all of us.”

It was in the spirit of this philosophy that the hosts graciously shared their music, culture, and art to the crowd who gathered in the SRB Humanities Building. MTSU student Jie Shou served tea for people to sample. Calligraphers from the MTSU Confucius Institute translated names in Chinese lettering onto paper as souvenirs. Groups of children were patiently guided through the steps to make their own origami animals. Performances were given by students and faculty of Chinese Culture from both Vol State and MTSU, and a traditional Chinese meal was served to all.

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.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Apply Now for Foundation Scholarships for Next Year

Need MONEY for College?
Now is the time to complete the Foundation Scholarship Application for the 2017-2018 Academic year.
Scholarships available based upon:
• Need
• Academic Achievement
It is easy to apply:
• Go to and complete the application
• Complete your 2017-2018 FAFSA at
Scholarship will begin to be awarded in April.
Contact for more information.
Act now! Don’t miss out!

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Successful Student Tips: Getting Organized

Why do some students succeed where others falter? Success isn’t a mysterious secret item that some people own and others don’t, but a series of habits and behaviors. So what does it take to be a successful student? In the Successful Student Tips series we explore some of the keys to success. 

Mid-semester and stacks of books and notebooks are piled in various corners of the room. It seems like every day is another due date for some important project, homework, or research paper. When the professor asks for everyone to hand their homework up to the front, half the class groans. “Homework? I forgot.”
Keeping up with a full schedule can be difficult, and after a while things start to fall in the cracks. Now is the perfect time to reassess, reorganize, and get back on track.

Read. The. Syllabus.
Print it out if you can. Every class has a syllabus, and many professors post it on elearn even if your class is not online. Get familiar with what’s due and what’s expected of you. You don’t have to be surprised by homework, quizzes, or research papers.

Develop your own routine
Scrambling to read a whole chapter or finish your homework the night before it’s due is not the best way to make good grades. Once you’ve figured out what’s coming up, you can make your own schedule. Some students do better by blocking study time one day per subject. Others find it’s best to stagger by spending an hour on one then the next hour on another. Use a planner or an extra notebook and write down a reasonable weekly schedule. Be realistic: plan a schedule that works for you and still enables you to stay ahead of all of your classes.

Everything needs a home

An important part of getting organized is having things physically organized. I have a small bookcase dedicated for my textbooks and binders (you can usually find one for under $20.) For those with less room, another option might be to get bins that fit under your bed. However you manage it, knowing exactly where your books and notes are when you need them is kind of important.

Write it down
You know that time that the professor announced at the end of class that she wanted the questions at the end of chapter 4 turned in on Wednesday? You thought “I’ll remember to do that,” but you forgot as soon as you walked out of the classroom.  We all have a lot of stuff going on, and you can't expect to remember everything. Take a moment to write it down, and use full, clear sentences. I’ve taken notes of those end-of-class instructions just to look back later and wonder what I was trying to tell myself. Note to self: take better notes for myself.

Whether you use bookcases, day planners, or phone apps, having your school schedule and materials organized will save you time and confusion in the long run!

More Successful Student Tips:
Saying "No"
The Importance of Showing Up
Getting to Know Your Professors
Why It's Better to Write Your Notes By Hand

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, February 22, 2017

Chinese Cultural Celebration this Sunday, February 26

Chinese is an important part of the International Education programs here at Vol State. But it's not just about learning the language; the goal is to also explore Chinese culture. Vol State will be hosting a Chinese Music and Culture Celebration, marking Chinese New Year, on Sunday, Feb. 26. It is free and open to everyone. The event will feature calligraphy demonstrations, a traditional tea ceremony, poetry, Chinese musical instruments, and authentic Chinese cuisine. It will be held in partnership with Middle Tennessee State University's Center for Chinese Music and Culture and the MTSU Confucius Institute. The celebration will be from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. on the first floor of the Steinhauer-Rogan-Black (SRB) Humanities Building on the Gallatin campus, 1480 Nashville Pike. For more information call (615) 230-3764.

Transfer Fair March 1: University Reps on Gallatin Campus

Planning to transfer to a four-year university or college? We'll have many university and college reps on the Gallatin campus next week for a Transfer Fair. Visit them on Wednesday, March 1 from 10am-2pm in the Ramer Great Hall.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Students Have a Student Survey for You About Vol State Communication

Vol State students, we in the Honors Leadership Development class want to hear your opinions about the technology our school has implemented over the past few years. Specifically the MyVolstate app, the kiosks (“wall-screens” on the Gallatin campus), and social media.
Did you know that Vol State has an app? In this app, you can see discussion posts, assignments, grades, class announcements, upcoming events, and campus maps - all from your phone or tablet. There are also links to Vol State’s social media. The app has many useful  functions that make exploring both your online classes and your on-campus classes easier.
Perhaps you have seen the kiosks on the walls of many of Vol State’s buildings on the main campus in Gallatin. Have you ever taken the time to interact with them? The kiosks are a new addition to Vol State that have the potential to be of great benefit to students and visitors. Because we are not sure how many students are currently interacting with these kiosks, we want to hear what you would like to see changed or improved with them to increase their usefulness. At this point, the kiosks will show you the map of the floor that the kiosk is located on, as well as room numbers and offices of faculty on that floor. You can also see an exterior map of the entire campus along with upcoming events.  There are other functions too, but not many. We want to know what you think about these features, as well as what else you would like to see added or changed with these kiosks.
Finally, Vol State has accounts on many social media sites, including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, and this blog. Were you previously aware of this? Do you and your friends follow on any of these sites? What would you like to see that would make these outlets more appealing? Be sure to connect with the school through this social media in order to get important updates about events both on and off campus.
Again, we want to know what you think of these three aspects of Vol State’s technology and how you use them. We also want to know your ideas on how to improve the school’s technology, especially the kiosks. The attached survey is short and will take just a few minutes to complete. We can’t wait to hear what you have to say!

Monday, February 20, 2017

Events this Week

Check out these events this week:
Feb. 21 Speaker: Ryan Penneau, “The Bigger You”, Rochelle Center, 12:45pm
Feb. 21 Honors Concert, SRB 151, 2:30-3:30pm
Feb. 22 “Discussing the African American Experience”, Rochelle Center, 1pm-2pm
Feb. 25 Science Olympiad, across Gallatin Campus, All Day

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Vol State Student Social Media Writer Part-Time Job Opening

The Vol State PR Office has a paid part-time job opening for a Student Social Media Writer. Interested students must plan on being enrolled in fall of 2017 and spring of 2018 to qualify. Gaynell, our current social media writer, has done a fantastic job, but she is graduating in May. If you enjoy writing, are willing to check your facts, and like to meet people and find good stories, this position could be for you. We require three writing samples with the application, but those can be class papers or assignments. To apply visit the jobs page. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Free Math Help in Gallatin Learning Commons

Math can be tough...get some help. There is free tutoring available on the Gallatin campus in the Learning Commons. Check with the LC front desk for times. Offered for math classes and math-based science classes.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Vol State Events this Week

Vol State events this week: 
Feb. 14 Grab and Go Lunch for students, SRB first floor, Wallace North hallway, Mattox hallway, 11:30am
Feb. 14 Valentine Voice Recital, SRB 151, 2:30-3:30pm 
Feb 15. Black History Month, readers’ theater of poetry by African American poets, SRB 150, 11:15am-12:15pm
Feb. 16 Speaker: Ed Garnes, “Sweet Tea Ethics”, Caudill, 12:45pm

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Free Help with Papers in the Language Center

Get free help with papers and assignments at the Language Center. It's located in SRB Room 205 on the Gallatin campus. 

Tutors are available to help students with every aspect of writing, from homework assignments to class projects. The Center also offers speech outline and preparation assistance. Computers are available with word processing software. It's your opportunity to have a skilled editor look at your paper before you turn it in. That can mean a better grade.

Visit the website for hours and details on how they can help you:

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Governor Announces Free Tuition Plan for Adult Students

Governor Haslam recently announced the expansion of the TN Reconnect program to provide free community college and TCAT studies for many adult students. If passed by the legislature, the plan would start in fall of 2018.

Vol State is excited by the program. We already have many adult students on our campuses every semester. We know that it's not just money that holds back adult students. It's also the time commitment; fitting school in with family and work; and even concerns about math. Yes, math. Many adult students are scared to death about taking math again...after 5 or 10 or 25 years. All these concerns are understandable.

Vol State has staff who have been helping adult students with these hurdles for many years. We offer flexible class schedules and tutoring help. Most importantly- adult students feel at home on the Vol State campus. Not just because they see many other adult students here, but also because our students and faculty respect the experience adult students bring to the classroom.

Here are the details on the expanded TN Reconnect Program, including who is eligible. And remember- you don't have to wait until 2018 to start college. That's when the scholarship will start, but we have other ways you can pay tuition if you would like to start classes now. Visit our Admissions web page to get started.

What is the purpose of the legislation?
This legislation creates a comprehensive grant, Tennessee Reconnect, as a last dollar scholarship for adults to attend a community college tuition-free.
Why is Tennessee Reconnect necessary?
Tennessee needs 871,000 degrees to reach our Drive to 55 goal, but only 645,000 high school students are expected to graduate between 2014 and 2022. We must bolster our focus on the recruitment, retention and completion of adults in higher education. At every public higher education institution in Tennessee adults earn a higher share of credentials, often because they return to education more focused on the challenge. Today, the state has a tremendous opportunity to attract more adults to higher education, with more than 900,000 Tennesseans having earned some college credit but no degree. Tennessee Reconnect provides an immediate payoff for Tennessee’s workforce and an investment in the state’s economy that will provide dividends for decades to come. Employers will get the skills and credentials they are seeking from the workforce, and employees will have new opportunities for career growth.
How does Tennessee Reconnect impact the workforce need?
Economic forecasts show that much of our increased workforce demand will be in skills provided at our TCATs and community colleges, and these institutions are cost effective and allow the state to offer last-dollar funds to all students. 55 percent of Tennessee jobs will require postsecondary education and training in 2020, and Tennessee Reconnect will add skilled and credentialed workers to the state’s workforce.1
1 Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce (2012).
How is Tennessee Reconnect different than the TCAT Reconnect scholarship?
The TCAT Reconnect scholarship program is a last dollar grant available to adults attending a TCAT, but the scholarship does not extend to community college. This bill seeks to expand opportunities for adults.
How is Tennessee Reconnect different than Tennessee Promise?
Tennessee Promise is the last-dollar scholarship for graduating high school seniors meeting requirements set forth in § 49-4-708. Tennessee Reconnect is for Tennessee adults who can claim independent status and who do not already have a postsecondary degree.
What are the existing Drive to 55 programs targeted at adults returning to postsecondary?
The current programs of Tennessee Reconnect directly focus on creating opportunities for adults to finish a degree or credential that they have started.
There are several ongoing programs under the overall Tennessee Reconnect initiative, including:
Tennessee Reconnect TCAT Grant: Passed under the Tennessee Promise Act of 2014 by making changes to the existing Wilder-Naifeh Grant, provides a last dollar scholarship for adults to attend a TCAT tuition free; Provided information to 95,173 unique users to date;
Ready to Reconnect: Grants to institutions to support adult enrollment and retention;
Reconnect + Complete: Statewide marketing campaign for recruitment of adult learners;
Community College Reconnect: Limited grant pilot in 2016-17;
Tennessee Reconnect Ambassador Program: THEC is working with other state agencies to train staff to be Reconnect Ambassadors, encouraging and providing adult employees and clients with information to return to complete a degree.

Veteran Reconnect: Grants to institutions to increase services for student veterans and provide veteran-specific resources.
Tennessee Reconnect Communities: 66 counties supporting localized Reconnect efforts through outreach and supportive counseling; this program has the potential to expand to all counties to support the Tennessee Reconnect participants.

How will Tennessee Reconnect be funded?
Adults who meet all the requirements will receive a last-dollar scholarship, which is equal to the difference between tuition and fees and any gift aid (grants and scholarships) that a student receives, funded through the lottery for education account. Tennessee Reconnect will be funded through the lottery for education account and will cost approximately $10 million once fully implemented. There is no additional cost to taxpayers, and the statutory requirement of maintaining $100 million in lottery reserves remains the same.
Who is eligible for Tennessee Reconnect?
To be eligible for Tennessee Reconnect, the student must:
 Not already have an associate or bachelor degree;
 Have been a Tennessee resident for at least one year preceding the date of application for the grant;
 Complete the FAFSA and be deemed an independent student;
 Be admitted to an eligible institution and enroll in a degree or certificate program at least part time (6 semester hours) beginning with the 2018-19 year; and
 Participate in an advising program approved by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission.

At what schools can a student use Tennessee Reconnect?
Students can use Tennessee Reconnect at any of Tennessee’s 13 community colleges.
Who is an independent student?
An “independent” student is defined as one of the following: at least 24 years old, married, a graduate or professional student, a veteran, a member of the armed forces, an orphan, a ward of the court, or someone with legal dependents other than a spouse, an emancipated minor or someone who is homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.2
2 Please see for a complete list.
Are there continuing eligibility requirements once the student enrolls?
Yes, the student must maintain the following to keep the Tennessee Reconnect grant once enrolled in community college:
 Enroll in classes leading to an associate or certificate;
 Maintain a 2.0 GPA;
 Maintain continuous enrollment:
o Continuous enrollment means a student is enrolled in the fall and spring semesters of a single academic year. Enrollment in summer semester or inter-session terms is not required;
 Complete the renewal FAFSA;
 Enroll in at least 6 semester hours each semester during the fall and spring semesters.

How will the funds be administered?
After students meet all Tennessee Reconnect requirements and all other financial aid, with the exception of loans and work-study that has been exhausted, the Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation (TSAC) will send the funds directly to the institutions. The process for payment will be very similar to the distribution of TSAA grants and lottery scholarships.
How will the advising program work?
The Tennessee Reconnect Community Network, which began in 2016, is based both on national best practices for supporting adult learners as well as the idea that the success of the Drive to 55 will be decided at the local level. Currently, there are 66 counties supporting localized Reconnect efforts through outreach and supportive counseling; this program has the potential to expand to all counties to support Tennessee Reconnect. Those adults utilizing Tennessee
Reconnect will be provided a variety of services in a college success program, including advising and career counseling, from a trained advisor through the Tennessee Reconnect Community Network. All students must participate in the program in order to be eligible for the scholarship, and the Tennessee Higher Education Commission will administer and oversee participation.
How long can a student receive the scholarship?
A student may receive the Tennessee Reconnect grant until the first of the following occurs:
 The student has attained a degree or certificate in an eligible program of study;
 The student has attempted the total number of semester hours necessary for completion of an eligible program of study as determined under Title IV satisfactory academic progress standards, including transfer credits; or

Five (5) years have passed since the date of initial enrollment as a Tennessee Reconnect student, exclusive of any approved leaves of absence.