Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Student Assistance Through AJC at CHEC in January

CHEC students- There may be help available to you that you might not even realize, including financial resources, transportation, child-care, and assistance with job searching. The Cookeville American Job Center (AJC) will be on the CHEC campus from January 2 to 10 from 9:30am to 2:30pm each weekday. Check to see what they may have for you. These dates are before classes start, primarily because you need to get enrolled in these programs now. Look for the AJC in the main lobby!

The AJC works with Tennessee and U.S. Department of Labor via the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA).  WIOA improves access to job training and education opportunities for people who have traditionally faced barriers to employment, including individuals with disabilities, out-of-school and at-risk youth, youth in foster care or young adults who have aged out of foster care, formerly incarcerated individuals, and others.  WIOA emphasizes pursuing and obtaining post-secondary education, training and other credentials as a foundation for improving career prospects for the long-term. WIOA and the AJC also provides resources to Veterans and their families.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Vol State Closed for Holiday Break December 22 through January 1

Vol State campuses will be closed for a holiday break, starting December 22 and going through January 1. Offices will reopen on January 2. However, current students can still register for classes on My Vol State and new and readmit students can apply online at
Spring classes start January 14
Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

Register Now for Spring Classes - Start January 14

Current students- be sure to register for Spring Semester classes before the holidays. Classes start January 14. If you need help visit Advising on your campus. New and readmit students need to apply first:

You will be able to register for classes up until the first week of classes. However, the earlier you apply and register, the better choice of classes and class times you will have. Beat the rush - get it done now!

Monday, December 17, 2018

Upper Cumberland Christmas Parades

The Cookeville Higher Education Campus (CHEC) and Vol State at Livingston have been participating in Christmas parades. CHEC entered a float in the Cookeville parade that students worked to decorate.They had great participation. Vol State at Livingston had the Vol State Campus Police car in the Overton, Clay, Pickett and Jackson Parades.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Friday, December 14, 2018

Graduate Profile: Bobby Wilson

Student veteran and fall graduate Bobby Wilson has experienced lots of change in his life. Now, he’s embracing change by embarking on a new career path. Bobby spent five years in the Air Force as a structural mechanic; he then continued in the aviation industry for a total of 21 years. After multiple layoffs in his field, he felt that job security was non-existent. Bobby pondered going back to school for a while and decided to go for it. With some past experience in aviation law, a second career in law seemed like a natural fit. He also discovered a grant which would pay for his first two years called the Trade Readjustment Act. He chose to take his first steps towards his law career at Vol State.

“People who qualify for this are those whose jobs have been relocated out of the country. I found out by accident about it, just by digging around,” he said. Discovering this sealed the deal to attend college.

“I thought, ‘I’ve done been in this business so long, I figured, ya know, maybe I just need to get out of it while I’ve still got time.’ Even if I became physically disabled I could continue to work. So, if what little bit of brain I have continues to work, I can still make a living.”

Bobby will attend Tennessee State University’s Criminal Justice program conducted on Vol State’s campus; his end goal is to attend law school.

“It was the quickest most expeditious route to get to law school,” he said. “I thrive in the (law) environment and reading the nuances of the law.” Bobby aims to eventually pursue administrative law.

Bobby has expressed his positive experience at Vol State: “I have really liked Vol State. I was apprehensive as you could imagine, coming back into this environment … I thought, ‘How will these young people look at me?’ But it’s been a pleasant experience. I’ve made some really good acquaintances. I would highly recommend Vol State.”

Bobby is excited about his transition to TSU and plans to return to work in January while attending school full-time next semester. Bobby is a husband and father to four; he is one of 24 veterans graduating this Saturday.

-By Rachel Keyes

Gallatin Offices Closed 11am-12:30pm Monday, December 17

Vol State Gallatin offices will be closed from 11am-12:30pm on Monday, December 17 with the exception of the Business Office cashier and Thigpen Library.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Graduate Profile: Joy Johns

Fall graduate Joy Johns has always known she wanted to pursue a career in the medical field, but she wasn’t sure exactly what. She began at Vol State as a Pre-Health Professions major before realizing her calling to become a nurse. Her career path became solidified while caring for her grandfather with dementia.

“He had dementia for about eight years and then he had a stroke, he could barely function. He couldn’t really walk by himself and he started declining so much after that,” she said.

“The more I was looking into it, the more I felt like I should be a nurse … I just really felt a calling for it. One thing I look forward to is to be able to encourage others more than I am right now, and also to help them physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. I definitely need to focus on living up to fullest potential so I can help others live up to their fullest potential. It gives me so much energy to be able to pour love and care into a person.”

Joy said that she will miss many things about Vol State including the students, professors, and her classes, but she feels well prepared for her next step to Tennessee Tech University. Vol State is also sentimental to her because her mother and grandmother are alumni, and some of her siblings have gone or currently go here.

“I’ve been so blessed. Every year before I sign up for classes, I’ll pray for good professors and good classes, and even on the classes that I don’t necessarily like, I’ll ask for it to be enjoyable, and they really have been … I wish I could just start naming teachers, but all of them are so good … Just taking this next step, I’ve realized how much Vol State has helped me to prepare for taking new steps.”

Joy gives credit to God, her family, and her fiancé Nate, whom she will be marrying in January, for being her biggest supporters.

-By Rachel Keyes

Friday, December 7, 2018

Help for Brightwood and Virginia College Students

The closure of Brightwood College and Virginia College locations in the Nashville area has left many students wondering what to do next. Volunteer State Community College has an information session planned for Thursday, December 13. The goal is to let the students know what options they have in continuing their education at Vol State. The college offered similar help to students after the ITT closure in 2016. It is difficult when assisting students from for profit institutions, because the classes and programs often don’t have the same accreditation as state and private colleges and universities. Students will be able to meet with admissions advisors from Vol State about transferring credit and financial aid. The meeting will take place at 6pm at the Hampton Inn at Providence at 5001 Crossings Circle in Mt. Juliet.  For a complete list of the credit programs offered at Vol State visit Vol State has set up a web page for Brightwood and Virginia College students:

Thursday, December 6, 2018

In Case of Weather Issues Monday

There may be weather issues on Monday. Vol State notifies students of delays and closings via text message and the front page of the website at Because next week is finals week, if we do have weather changes it will require more communication, so you will also need to check your student email for details on when finals will be rescheduled. Also check eLearn for direct messages from your instructor for each class. Be aware that Vol State does not close in conjunction with county schools.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Events Coming up at Vol State

Events at Vol State:
Dec. 8 Voice Juries, SRB 151, 10am-3pm
Dec. 8-13 Final Exams
Dec. 14 College to Career seminar, Nichols Dining Room, 7:30am
Dec. 15 Fall Graduation, Pickel Field House, 10am

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Taking an Online Class Next Semester? Learn more about eLearn

Are you taking an online class next semester? Do you want to have a better idea of how to work on the eLearn platform? We have workshops that can help. They are free. You can sign-up here:

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Geology Student Field Trip to the Smoky Mountains

A group of Vol State Geology students had the opportunity to take their education out into the field recently, as part of the Tennessee GEOPATHS program. Tennessee GEOPATHS is an NSF funded program designed to help students from community colleges who are considering transferring to four-year geology and physical geography programs at UT-Knoxville. The students traveled to the Smoky Mountains for the overnight field trip. They will have another trip this coming spring as part of the program. Faculty member Clark Cropper organized the trip. From left to right are: Chynna Graves, Jabresha Chatman, Hunter Crowson, Katie Ingram, Christian Garrison, and Ethan Denson.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Christmas Dreams Concerts this Weekend

Come enjoy seasonal music and original songs featuring The Showstoppers, The Vol State Singers, the Vol State Jazz Ensemble, The Commercial Music Ensemble and Bluegrass Ablaze. Other students and faculty from the music and theater departments will also perform. Admission is free and the event is open to the public. There is a suggested donation of $5 to benefit the Vol State Steinway Piano Fund. The concert also celebrates the release of a CD of student music. The CD will be available for $5.

Here is a taste of the performance from a Vol State Showstoppers rehearsal and recording for the CD.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Some Classes Will Have Digital Engagement Textbooks Next Semester

Vol State is introducing a convenient and affordable new program that delivers your digital textbook (e-text) by the first day of class at a significantly reduced cost compared to hard-copy textbooks. And, the cost of the textbook is included as part of your tuition or fees.  
Registering for your classes and then buying your textbooks used to be two separate events. Through the Digital Engagement program, you can experience additional convenience with automatic delivery and immediate accessibility to your course textbooks.
You can eliminate the time spent searching for deals on books AND you no longer have to worry about getting the wrong book or edition.  The program guarantees you’ll have the textbook you need from day one, making it easier for you to prepare for class and be successful in your course. 
The following courses will be part of this new program for classes in the spring 2019 term:

E-Text Cost
COMM 2025
Fundamentals of Communication
4 (17196)
MW 12:45-14:10
Karen Johnson
ENGL 1020
English Composition II
17 (15583)
MW 14:20-15:45
Sarah Crotzer
ENGL 1020
English Composition II
38 (11724)
TR 14:20-15:45
Sarah Crotzer
ENGL 1020
English Composition II
C03 (12228)
Sarah Crotzer
INFS 1010
Computer Applications
6 (11332)
TR 12:45-14:10
Phillip Hearn
INFS 1010
Computer Applications
C01 (11343)
Abbas Imam
MUS 1030
Introduction to Music
3 (11762)
MW 8:00-9:25
Lynn Peterson
MUS 1030
Introduction to Music
4 (11763)
MW 12:45-14:10
Ben Graves

When you register for any of these courses, you are automatically signed up to receive your
e-textbook. A few weeks before classes start, you will receive an email with a link to access your textbook. If you change your mind and would rather purchase a print copy from a retailer of your choice, the email will include easy instructions to ‘opt-out’ of the program and will remove the e-text charge from your student account.

Top 10 Reasons to Digitally Engage

1.      Speed of Delivery – A digital textbook can be downloaded immediately.
2.      Easily Portable - Digital textbooks can be carried on a small laptop or e-reader, enabling students to carry virtually hundreds of e-textbooks.
3.      Easy Search - The search functions make finding any information on the digital textbook quickly. Most e-readers allow notes to be tagged to specific words or paragraphs of a book. This helps students to take clear notes in their digital textbooks.
4.      Highlighting - The highlighting function allows students to mark important parts of the digital textbook for easy study later.
5.      Copy and Paste - The copy and paste functions allows students to quote sections of textbooks in their references, without having to re-type them.
6.      Audio - As digital textbooks can be easily converted to audio files, it helps students to listen to their lessons when driving or walking to campus.
7.      Cheaper - Digital textbooks are cheaper compared to traditional textbooks, sometimes as much as 50 to 70 percent less than first edition print texts.
8.      Environmentally Friendly - Environmentally conscious students prefer leaving a smaller carbon footprint.
9.      Quick Updates - Traditional textbooks become obsolete quickly while e-textbooks can be updated with current information.
10.  Font Adjustments and Night Time Reading - E-readers make it convenient to adjust the size of the text and come with back lighting or built-in reading lights, making nighttime reading easy.
If you have any questions about the program, please contact your advisor or your campus bookstore representative Please note that the cost of the eBook is not covered by TN Promise or TN Reconnect and so must be paid out of pocket or with other Financial Aid.

Schedule for Thanksgiving Week

A schedule reminder for Thanksgiving next week: no classes on Wednesday, November 21, however offices will be open. The college will be closed at all locations on November 22 and 23.
Hours for the Thigpen Library in Gallatin: Wednesday, Nov. 21: open from 8am to 4:30pm
Thursday through Sunday, Nov. 22 – Nov. 25: Closed
We hope everyone has a good holiday.
Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Boles Exhibit at Vol State Art Gallery

The work of Nashville artist Chip Boles is on display at the Volunteer State Community College Art Gallery. Boles creates drawings in graphite and charcoal on wood panels. He is a muralist in productions for the Nashville Children’s Theatre, and has been featured in publications such as The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. He illustrates what he calls “realistic drawings of unreal characters.”
“Rendering detail is a form of meditation and focus for me,” Boles said. “These characters’ personal stories become important to me as I consider their emotional reactions to a world where monsters show a capacity for humanity while humans show an aptitude for monstrosity.”
The show runs until December 13. There will be a reception with the artist on Saturday, November 17 from 1 3 p.m. The exhibit is free and open to the public. The Vol State Art Gallery is located on the first floor of the Steinhauer-Rogan-Black (SRB) Humanities Building on the Gallatin campus at 1480 Nashville Pike. Gallery hours are Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. For more information call 615-230-3202.
Pictured: Cyclopsia Victoria by Chip Boles

Events this Week at Vol State

Nov. 13                 Around the World in a Day, international displays, Nichols Dining Room, 11am-1pm
Nov. 14                 Irish Music: Paul Brock Band, Caudill Hall auditorium, 7pm
Nov. 15                 Irish Music: Paul Brock Band, CHEC Campus Cookeville, Cody Hall, 3pm
Nov. 17                 Boles Art Gallery Exhibit Reception, SRB First Floor, 1pm-3pm
Nov. 18                 Vol State Singers Concert, Caudill Hall, 3pm

English Professor’s Battle With Lung Cancer

“If you have lungs, you can get lung cancer,” said Leslie LaChance, professor of English at Vol State who was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer in November of 2017. She added that lung cancer is one of the most underfunded, under researched, and highly stigmatized cancers that exist. It’s considered a smoker’s cancer, yet anyone can get it.

“I developed a really bad cough, it wasn’t going away. My doctor and I thought that it was my asthma flaring up and that I needed to get on a different inhaler. A few days later I got a little lump in my neck. It was a lymph node that had swollen up, which could be a sign of something infectious or of something metastatic,” she explained. In her case, it was metastatic. After seeing multiple doctors and receiving CT scans, she got a call two days later stating that it was lung cancer and had spread to her lymphatic system. At stage four, the cancer was technically incurable, yet it was treatable.

Leslie discovered that it was an extremely rare form, caused by a genetic mutation of the ROS1 gene. Her doctor informed her of a drug specifically designed to treat her type of cancer through targeted therapy. On the day she was supposed to begin the treatment, she woke up unable to breathe. She called her doctor, who told her to get to the ER right away. Upon arrival, Leslie had emergency heart surgery.

“I’m lucky I woke up, because what happened was a bunch of cancer cells had attacked the fluid around my heart and the pericardium, there was all kind of fluid buildup around the heart.” Following the heart surgery, she began the treatment.

“Sadly, in May, I had some follow up scans and it showed that the drug had stopped working.” The cancer had developed a resistance to the drug. “Cancer is really clever and it will do whatever it can to survive.” It had metastasized to her brain. “I had about 20 small tumors in my brain.” At that point there were no drugs available, that she knew of, to treat her type of cancer that had spread to the brain. “The only solution was to go into a chemotherapy kind of thing, and I would have had to have whole brain radiation,” she said.

Leslie began doing research. A lot of it. “I tried to Google myself to PhD in lung cancer.” In the meantime, she joined a Facebook support group for those with ROS1 cancer. “It’s a group that calls themselves the ROS1DERS (pronounced ROS wonders) because we keep finding ways to stay alive apparently.”

From the support group, she located a clinical trial in Boston for another targeted therapy that would treat her type of cancer both in the brain and body, by penetrating the blood-brain barrier. She qualified for the trial. “I got myself a plane ticket and I was there the next week.”

By July, she had no evidence of disease in her body. “All of the tumors in my brain were gone, I just had a tiny little bit, and by September that tiny little bit was gone. It does not mean I’m cured. It means I have no visible cancer in my body. I have it at the molecular level, but as long as this drug keeps it suppressed, I won’t have tumor growth. So, I can kind of walk around like a normal person.” The current side effects that she’s dealing with are fatigue, forgetfulness, and neuropathy in her hands. 
“Different things work for different people. So many factors determine it. This just happened to work for me. So, I come up lucky on this one … We don’t know how long it will work for, or how long I’ll be able to tolerate it,” she explained.

“The most important thing I’ve discovered is that it’s really important to be your own best advocate. Play an active role in your treatment and treatment decisions. Think of your doctor more as a partner, not necessarily as the person in charge … I’m going to be that person that tells people to do their own research. By doing research, I learned it’s good to do research.”

November is lung cancer awareness month. Leslie’s first year “cancerversary” was on Nov. 9, 2018, which was the day she was diagnosed in 2017. LUNGevity Foundation is one of the major fundraisers for lung cancer research, also providing patient education and support. They’ll host a walk on November 17th at 8:00 A.M. in Nashville, and you can get involved. Colleagues of Leslie have formulated a support group called the “Lit Wits” who will participate in the event together.

Please visit to register to volunteer or to find out more information. To donate to or join Leslie’s group, please search “Lit Wits” in the search bar on the website.

Leslie is retiring from Vol State at the end of the current fall semester. She plans to return to next fall as an adjunct faculty member. Leslie has been channeling her writing energy into her blog, which she started in response to her journey with cancer. You can follow her blog at:

-By Rachel Keyes

Friday, November 9, 2018

Choral Music Nov. 18 with Vol State Singers

Choral music will take center stage on Sunday, November 18 as the Vol State Singers perform sacred and secular seasonal music, accompanied and a cappella, including works by the composers Hassler, Scarlatti, Berger, Handel, Whitacre, and Koppin. The Vol State Singers are led by Nancy Slaughter and will be accompanied by faculty member Nicholas Reynolds on the piano. The concert is free and open to everyone. It will be held at 3 p.m. in the Wemyss Auditorium in Caudill Hall on the Vol State campus in Gallatin. 

Here is a sample of what you will hear, from a recent rehearsal:

Thursday, November 8, 2018

New Paramedic Program Group Starts this Spring in Gallatin

Emergency Medical Technicians who want to take the next step to Paramedic can now do so with a spring cohort that starts in January. Usually Vol State enrolls new groups only in the fall. However, due to the popularity of the program a new Paramedic spring cohort has been added. Students must have already completed an Advanced EMT program to be eligible. For details visit

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Vol State President Explores Africa and Brings it Back to You

You may know Dr. Jerry Faulkner as the president of Vol State, but you may not know that his first love is teaching. Before he was in administration, Dr. Faulkner was an environmental science and biology professor for many years. After voyaging to the plains of Tanzania to explore the Serengeti National Park with his wife Wanda this past summer, they returned to the U.S. with many stories. Dr. Faulkner gave a presentation which highlighted their experience, and offered a crash course on ecology, elaborating on that of the Serengeti. 

“You can’t keep a good field biologist out of the field,” he said. “The way that I have described it to people is that it was like being in a National Geographic special for nine days,” he explained. “It’s kind of a bucket list thing for me … it’s such a unique ecosystem and not something you can see in North America.”

Wanda said they were able come into fairly close contact with quite a few different species of animals. “The number of animals was just breathtaking,” she said. Dr. Faulkner presented many photographs of the animals and explained the symbiotic relationship between the animals and the environment. 

“Getting to see a mother cheetah run down and capture a Thomson’s gazelle, then not killing it, but calling her cubs to come and finish it off, to teach them how to kill, that was pretty cool,” said Dr. Faulkner. “To see and understand the balance of nature that takes place in a totally wild community is not something we really experience here in the states. In an environment where you see predators killing prey you see that balance of nature,” he added. 

There are over 120 tribes in Tanzania, and the Faulkners interacted with two of them, the Maasai and the Chaga tribes. Wanda said that she admired the way the tribal people live. “They make do with everything,” she said.

By experiencing this environment first hand and being able to convey those experiences to students, Faulkner was able to revisit his love and passion for teaching science. “Hopefully I’ll create among some of the students an interest and an appetite to know more about ecology and biology,” Faulkner said.

-By Rachel Keyes