Archive for the ‘General news’ Category

Budget Cuts Threaten the Pell Grant

by Dakota Makres


Proposed budget could possibly affect the Pell Grant.


Pellissippi’s Pell Grant could be in danger following proposed budget cuts in Washington D.C.

President Donald Trump proposed a budget for 2018 which cuts $3.9 billion from the Pell Grant. The proposed budget, which would cut $1.3 billion from the grant this year, is awaiting congressional approval.

Richard Smelser, financial aid director, says “67 percent of Pellissippi State students receive the Pell Grant,” stated Smelser.

Pellissippi State and the Tennessee state government offer many scholarships for students:


  • Tennessee Promise
  • Tennessee HOPE Scholarship
  • “Reconnect Now” offered by Pellissippi State
  • The Homeless Students Scholarship


To view scholarships and grants visit:


Wednesday, April 26th, 2017

Students Could Be the Next to Carry Guns on Campus

by Shelby Verran

Students will be allowed to carry concealed handguns on campus grounds if newly introduced House Bill 0884 is passed.

Students will be the next carry concealed and permitted handguns on campus grounds if House Bill 0884 is passed. Last year, State Bill 11 enabled full-time employees to carry on college campuses in Tennessee.

Some of the details of House Bill 0884 are as follows:

  • Must possess a valid handgun carry permit
  • Cannot be under the influence of alcohol
  • Cannot be involved in a judicial proceeding

Fred Breiner, chief of police at Pellissippi State, says “Pellissippi State Police personnel would need to be properly trained on all details of House Bill 0884.” Breiner says that once trained, Pellissippi officers will impartially enforce the law, if passed.

Breiner brought up how other states, such as Texas, changed their laws in recent years to allow student-carry on college campuses. He says, “I have not heard of any problems related to students legally carrying weapons on college campuses in those states.” Breiner says that he expects Tennessee to have few issues with legal student carry.


Wednesday, April 26th, 2017

The drawbacks of D2L

By Austin Berry

D2L Digital Disaster?

D2L service, Pellissippi State’s web-based learning system, is one of the services most complained about by Pellissippi State Community College students.

College Vice President Audrey Williams stated, “I want to say we are not the only college with this problem.” “When first implemented it could take days to receive D2L messages from students to teachers and vice-versa.” said Williams.

The D2L, Desire to Learn, system often glitches when moving messages between students and teachers. Most Professors have started offering their own email as a use of communication between themselves and students.

However, D2L has some pro’s. Audrey Williams stated, “It is a great system for giving and receiving class assignments.” The system is tried-and-true when used for assignment exchange offering 24/7 access to course materials, drop-boxes for assignments, on-line quizzes and grades.

Many colleges and universities use the D2L system. These include Eastern Tennessee State University, Middle Tennessee State University, and Michigan State.

Wednesday, April 26th, 2017

Teacher Achievement Week at Blount County

Teacher Achievement Week at Blount County

By Sandra Kapaya

“Professors” ..have you ever wondered about the obstacles your professors have gone through to earn that title?

The Blount County Campus is having a Faculty Achievement week on April 24 -26.

This event will take place at the Blount County Campus lobby starting at noon. Faculty Achievement week is an event that gives professors a chance to share their achievements and scholarly work.

According to , Dean Holly Burkett says, “ This event was started by our librarian and it is our first-time Faculty Achievement Week. This event is a great way to knowing our faculty and all that they have achieved”.

  • The event will last to about 30-45 minutes in the lobby. Students may come and go to stop by and listen.
  • All Faculty members are welcome to participate and share their rewards and scholarly achievements.
  • This event not only talks about their past rewards, but also their future endeavors that they plan on achieving.

Faculty Achievement week is a great way for the students to get to know their professors outside of the classroom. It also shows the students all of the obstacles they had to conquer to earn their degrees which may inspire students to do greater.

Wednesday, April 26th, 2017

Panther Pause at Pellissippi

by Tessa Irwin

Panther Pause brings information on upcoming events at Pellissippi.

Have you ever wondered who was in charge of those crazy “Panther Pause” Papers hanging up throughout the school? Well, wonder no more because students here at Pellissippi State write and edit them monthly to bring attention to special events! These calendars aren’t just for looks, if you take the time to read them, they are extremely informative. Panther Pause reminds when deadlines for class registration end and inform about fun social events taking place on campus each week. If you aren’t interested in participating in the creation of Panther Pause but you have an event you would like to advertise you can email the Student Life center at and apply.
If you are interested in becoming apart of Panther Pause you can talk to editor, Alison Fox, or writer, Jonathan Powell.

Wednesday, April 26th, 2017

Regional Antiquity Coming to Pellissippi

 New courses are already approved for 2017-18 school year.

Students, grab your coonskin cap and tobacco pipe. Pellissippi will soon offer two classes that will teach history pertaining to East Tennessee.

Judy Gosch, director of curriculum and new program development, said the courses will be Tennessee History and Appalachian Literature. The two are unrelated in terms of specific material, but they both have local relevance. Gosch stated these classes “will be added to the 2018-19 catalog.”

Amanda Carr-Wilcoxson will teach Tennessee History. She says, “just one course is on the agenda for now, but more classes will be offered as interest for the subject grows.” The lone class is expected to be taught at the Hardin Valley campus.

Carr-Wilcoxson also stated that Tennessee History “will cover everything from the Pre-Columbian era to current times.” The course can be taken in place of one of the U.S. History offerings. However, students looking to transfer to the University of Tennessee will have to take it as an elective. Carr-Wilcoxson said Pellissippi has “separate agreements with UT.” Students transferring to UT will still have to take World History or Western Civilization as their history requirement. All other universities in conjunction with the Tennessee Board of Regents will accept Tennessee History as a history credit.

Dr. Charles D. White will teach Appalachian Literature. This class will study genres of poetry and other stories that are a part of Appalachian culture. White stated that his class will provide “cultural and historical context pertinent to northern and southern Appalachia.”

White is the director of the James Agee Conference for Literature and Art. He says the idea for this course developed from people attending the conference. The meeting is a forum for discussions, presentations and workshops. Scholars and authors unite periodically to explore various literature.

Students who want to get ahead on these classes can study Davy Crockett and James Agee to become acquainted with some local history. Engaging in this type of learning with a glass of apple cider might even be appropriate.

  • It is a long process for TBR to approve credit courses.
  • These courses have been approved, but deadline for the 2017-18 catalog has passed.
  • Deadline for next catalog will be sometime next spring.
  • Changes can be made to these courses before that target date.
  • Faculty members indicate these classes will draw much interest.
  • Location for Appalachian Literature is not yet known.

Wednesday, April 26th, 2017

Final Weekly Writing Club Meeting

By Jaeland Lawson

Creative Writing Club Meeting

The Weekly Creative Writing Club will be holding its last meeting of the spring semester this

week from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. in the McWherter building in room 320.

Students feel free to come out and display your unique writing styles and converse with many other writers April 27, from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the McWherter building, room 320, on the Hardin Valley Campus.

Pellissippi appreciates the diverse and creative student body that it holds, and acknowledges the undeniable creativity that comes along with it. Many of the student population here at Pellissippi possess a passion for writing and means of self-expression. The Weekly Creative Writing Club may just be that outlet that allows these particular students to come and find that release that they have been searching for. Holding weekly meetings, this club encourages all students to come participate in this gathering by bringing their personal perspectives and approach to the table by voicing their emotion through their work. Although this is the final meeting of them semester it is never too late to come and share your work by participating in the meeting.

Wednesday, April 26th, 2017

Pellissippi State Offer Free Tuition

by Dakota Makres


Free tuition offered to current and new students.


Pellissippi State announced that it will offer free tuition to adults. The new program “Reconnect Now” ( was modeled after Governor Bill Haslam’s “Reconnect” program.

Richard Smelser, Financial Aid Director, explained how Pellissippi’s “Reconnect Now” program works. “Students have to be independent on the FAFSA to receive free tuition. Which means the students are married, has a child, or homeless,” stated Smelser.

The “Reconnect Now” program is for new and current students. To qualify for “Reconnect Now” students must:

  • Be independent on the FAFSA
  • Complete the FAFSA by Aug. 1, 2017
  • Must enroll in at least six credit hours
  • Be a Tennessee resident since Aug. 1, 2016
  • Do not have an associates or bachelor’s degree.

Sunday, April 9th, 2017

Small campus improvements and upgrades

by: Josh Witt

Three of Pellissippi’s campuses are slated for small improvements and upgrades this summer.

Pellissippi Director of Facilities Regina McNew says that many of these projects will take place this summer.

Hardin Valley, Pellissippi’s largest campus, has ongoing HVAC work and will also be installing solar panel arrays this summer.

The new solar arrays will not only feed power into Pellissippi’s grid, but they will be available for sustainability classes offered at the campus. There also will be two solar canopies with tables under them for students to use for charging personal devices.

“It’s basically for demonstration and teaching purposes,” said McNew.

Meanwhile, the Strawberry Plains campus will be expanding their third floor this summer.

This is Pellissippi State’s biggest upcoming project. The campus will add three new science labs, two new prep rooms, and a lab tech office. They will be located behind the existing nursing area.

Because the Strawberry Plains campus is so new, the second floor remains empty.

“Strawberry Plains definitely will be an ongoing thing for a while,” said McNew. “After we get the third floor finished, we’ll have the second floor to look at.”

The Magnolia Avenue campus is getting an upgrade to its HVAC system, as well as a renovation of the front lobby.

The lobby will soon feature computer kiosks instead of display cases. McNew says that the dean of the campus, Rosalyn Tillman, had been pushing for this renovation.

Additionally, four classrooms in the Magnolia Campus’s front hallway will have carpet removed for asbestos remediation, and then new carpet will be installed.

“Magnolia has been a long process. We’ve probably been working on [it] the better part of 10 years. I think it’s finally getting to the point that basically now it’s just gonna be finishes,” said McNew.

The Division Street and Blount County campuses do not have any upcoming projects, according to McNew.

Sunday, April 9th, 2017

New Blount County campus building being planned

by: Josh Witt

Building will be home to dual enrollment and advanced manufacturing classes

Pellissippi State’s Blount County campus is raising money for a new building, according to Facilities Director Regina McNew.

The new “Workforce Development Center (WDC)” is inspired by Pellissppi’s Strawberry Plains campus. Strawberry Plains’s “Megalab” is an inspiration for a new advanced manufacturing space in the WDC.

Students from local school districts would use the Workforce Development Center to participate in dual enrollment classes. A flyer for the building says that the building’s goal is to “supply the best trained workforce to remain globally competitive.”

“[It] would have a program similar to what we have at Strawberry Plains with Knox County Schools,” said McNew.

Pellissippi began renting out part of their Strawberry Plains campus to Knox County Schools in 2014, where they established the Career Magnet Academy. Students at CMA focus heavily on taking dual enrollment classes (classes at the college level for college credit) as they progress through high school.

The Workforce Development Center will house equipment for mechanical and electrical engineering classes, as well as computer science, sustainable design, welding, and nursing classes, says The Daily Times. Local business leaders are rallying around the project, citing the region’s need for more skilled technicians and manufacturers.

Tennessee House Speaker Beth Harwell says in The Daily Times, “I really believe that technical training for our upcoming workforce is one of the most important ways to spend limited resources.”

  • The project is backed by three school systems in the region: Blount County Schools, Alcoa City Schools, and Maryville City Schools.
  • The building is projected to cost $16.5 million, according to The Daily Times. The Tennessee College of Applied Technology will help cover costs.
  • Expected completion of the building is July 2019.

Sunday, April 9th, 2017