Archive for the ‘Breaking news’ Category

Transfer Students and UT

by Logan Quinton

Pellissippi students can expect more involvement from the University of Tennessee very soon.

Judy Gosch, the director of new program and development, stated that plans are to have an advisor from the university assigned to a Pellissippi campus by next fall. Along with this development she also says that new scholarship opportunities will be available for transfer students planning to attend the university.

Pellissippi has an established relationship with UT. Gosch says that the affiliation goes back to the 80s when Pellissippi became an institution. She also states that there is a “new interest” in focusing on transfer students. Gosch says the number of transfer students that Pellissippi has produced in recent years is a factor in this decision. She says that “Pellissippi State sends more students to UTK as transfer students than any other school does.”

This development is not the only change students can expect. Gosch states that new scholarship opportunities are also being discussed. While the specifics are not finalized, Gosch emphasizes that a GPA-based scholarship will be offered to Pellissippi students who are in good academic standing.

Gosch also credits the efforts of Complete College America and the effect of the Complete College Tennessee Act. The CCA is a nonprofit coalition designed to promote and support the importance of a college degree or certification. This foundation works with states to determine what action might be necessary to elevate the number of people who participate in higher learning. The Complete College Tennessee Act was passed in 2010 with the purpose of making a college education more attainable for those living in the state.

The 2017-2018 college catalog has been revised on the Pellissipi website. Students can access the college catalog by clicking on the Academics tab on the homepage. Those who are interested in transferring to UT can explore the Transfer/University Parallel Programs link. The General Education link will provide options for courses offered at Pellissippi. The courses that UT will accept for credit are highlighted with a star.

Sunday, April 9th, 2017

College President on the Focus Act

College President Dr. Anthony Wise talks about new possibilities under Tennessee’s new Focus Act.

On June 8, Bill Haslam signed the Focus Act, which split Tennessee’s six major universities from TBR (Tennessee Board of Regents), enabling them to form independent governing boards of directors. TBR now presides over the state’s 13 community colleges and 26 technical colleges.

Tennessee state legislature has passed the Focus Act in order to better achieve its “Drive to 55” goal, which aims to help 55 percent of adults in Tennessee to achieve a post-secondary degree by 2025. “If we are going to hit the ‘Drive to 55,’ it is going to be to be because community and technical colleges carry a significant portion of the load,” said College President Dr. Anthony Wise.

“For the most part, the way those system was organized those institutions [state universities, community colleges and technical colleges] were all in one pot,” said Wise. “One of the things that the Board of Regents has to decide is how it is going to govern the two types of colleges it will now have,” said Wise.

Wise recounts having attended only one meeting in his 5 years as college president where presidents from all of the state’s community colleges and technical colleges were in attendance.

Wise says it is not certain whether the community colleges and technical colleges will be granted certain autonomy, or whether the institutions will “begin to align” in terms of curricula as well as shared facilities and resources.

Wise says he was approached by the Focus Act’s transition task force for feedback about moving forward, to which he shared ideals he felt were crucial to the success of the college.

Chief among his concerns was that students at Pellissippi would continue to have a clear and smooth transition to state universities. “We need to make sure that universities do not start creating barriers by changing curricula and requiring new courses of community college students, said Wise. Nearly 60 percent of Pellissippi students are in transfer programs to state universities.

Another of his concerns was the compartmentalized budgets and building projects of universities. THEC (Tennessee Higher Education Commission) will now be submitting the TBR budget alongside, new budgets from each of the state’s universities.

Wise also felt that the decision may allow for greater improvement elsewhere. “It gives the chance for the Board itself and the board members to become more engaged in what happens at community and technical colleges,” said Wise.

“I look at what happened in other states like Kentucky that went through a similar process, and it actually elevated the profile of community and technical colleges,” said Wise.

“I think there is an opportunity for the Board to become more engaged with individual institutions about what kind of help and support they need. We are fortunate in terms of our size and our budget, said Wise. “I would like to see a Tennessee Board of Regents that provides state-wide for community and technical colleges,” Wise went on to say.

New state boards consist of:

  • institution alumni
  • local business leaders
  • community leaders
  • local politicians
  • One faculty member
  • One current student of the instituion

Focus Act looking forward to (2016-2017)

  • July 1, 2016, Focus Act took effect
  • Sept., 2016, university board members appointed by Governor Haslam
  • Dec., 2016,  boards will meet to consider TBR universities’ proposals for substantive change of governance
  • March, 2017, TN General Assembly takes up confirmation of board members
  • April,  2017, THEC provides orientation for university board members
  • June, 2017, New university boards convene, adopt policies and assume governance of universities

Tuesday, November 29th, 2016

Give the Gift of a Smile

Pellissippi students are encouraged to give this holiday season.

by Hailey Rudd

Toys for Tots is collecting donations at Pellissippi State to provide Christmas gifts for children in need.

The Association of Information Technology Professionals is sponsoring Toys for Tots this year, says organizer Karen Ghezawi. They are collecting toys for local children “who probably wouldn’t otherwise get a present,” she stated.

“The deadline for donations is Dec. 4 and donation boxes can be found on every campus,” said Ghezawi. New, unwrapped gifts for children of all ages are requested. Ghezawi also explained that gifts for teenaged children are most often overlooked and things such as hairdryers and nail polish are requested for them.

“Toys for Tots is organized by the Marine Corps. They sort the donated toys and allow less-fortunate parents to come choose toys for their children for Christmas,” Ghezawi said.


Friday, December 5th, 2014

Technology to the Rescue: Register for Classes via Smartphone

By Mark Palmer

Pellissippi students will have the option to register for classes with an application on their smartphone.

The free Pellissippi State app will allow students to access a variety of school-related functions. Many of the features of the app were designed by Audrey Williams, director of educational technology services at Pellissippi. An outside vendor, DubLabs, is responsible for the software which powers the app.

According to Williams, the Pellissippi app was introduced just over two years ago. Originally the app only allowed students to access their class schedule, campus maps, the Pellissippi library, and the campus directory.

While there have been periodic operating system updates over time, this is the first major upgrade to the app which includes new features and improved functionality. Currently there is only one version of the app which services smartphones using Apple, Droid, and Windows 8 operating systems. However, Williams hopes that with this upgrade, there will be separate versions specifically tailored for iPhone and iPad users.

Registration for the spring semester begins Oct. 27. To access the app, search for Pellissippi State at either the Apple, Droid or Windows stores online.

Monday, October 20th, 2014

New Magnet High School to Open at Strawberry Plains

by  Roxann Buckles

Pellissippi State Community College and Knox County Schools have partnered together to open a new high school at Strawberry Plains within the next year .

Pellissippi President Anthony Wise confirmed the plans for the high school.  The new school will be a magnet school, offering the notion of choice.  Students from all over Knox County can choose to attend upon granted admission.  There will be no school zoning.

The magnet school will also offer specialized programs.  The programs are career-based, focusing on manufacturing, sustainability, homeland security and education.  Students who earn a high school diploma will be able to enter the workforce.  An associate’s degree can be earned with one year of college education at Pellissippi.

The school will admit a ninth grade class each year.  Once students have reached 11th or 12th grade, they will have the opportunity to take dual enrollment classes that will earn them college credit.

Pellissippi State and Knox County Schools hope to open the school in the fall of 2014 with 125 freshmen.

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

Impacts of the Government Shutdown on PSCC

by Roxann Buckles

Federal financial aid for military veterans and federal educational grant programs have been adversely affected by the government shutdown. President of Pellissippi State Community College, Dr. Anthony Wise, gave details on the process and consequences of the government shutdown on Pellissippi.

“Financial aid to military veterans will be postponed, not eliminated,” said Wise.

Federal grants such as the Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant or SEOG and other similar grants have been suspended.  This is due in part to slower processing, communication and response among governmental officials.  Military veterans living, housing and educational finances are directly affected.

The state of Tennessee and Pellissippi have been proactive in helping military veterans during this uncertain time.  Wise confirmed that Pellissippi is creating a veteran success center.  It will offer programs directed towards continuing education.

Larger federal financial aid opportunities, such as the Pell Grant, have not been impacted.  However, federal educational grant programs may.

Wise said the Department of Labor recently funded the creation of Southeastern Economic and Education Leadership Consortium, a grant program, at Pellissippi. The program will offer classes in welding, machining and manufacturing. The SEELC grant will fund the faculty and staff for the program.  The equipment and classroom training will also by supported by SEELC.  The students and staff participating in SEELC at Pellissippi have not been affected by the government shutdown yet.

Wise stated that the suspension of financial aid and educational programs would be “disheartening to our students.”

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

Security guards at Pellissippi will carry weapons

Pellissippi State’s security guards are working on certifications to carry firearms.  Along with arming the guards, the school’s security will be audited to ensure the most effective communication and notifications.

by Nicole Hedger

Pellissippi State will be arming its security guards.

“We want to make sure that the campus environment is as safe and secure as possible,” said Pellissippi president, Dr. Anthony Wise.  The guards are going through “a series of psychological tests that they have to take, and certifications they have to get” in order to carry the firearms.

Pellissippi has been considering this decision in the past, but Wise said, “We just feel like this is the appropriate time to do it.  We had one of our guards retire, and we’re starting a new search, so it seemed like this was a good time to make that transition.”

The college will also be conducting a security audit over the course of the summer.  An outside group is being brought in to evaluate all of the school’s practices and procedure “to make sure we have the right kind of notifications in place, and the right kind of communication tools,” said Wise.  “(This is) so that we have all the tools we need in place in order to make the campus as safe and secure as possible.”


Sunday, April 21st, 2013

New gun law affects college campuses statewide

by Justin Baranski

Pellissippi State students with carry permits will be able to bring guns onto campus in locked vehicles starting this summer.

gunPellissippi will follow all state laws in accordance with the state Board of Regents, said Fred Breiner, director of safety and security at Pellissippi. “If the weapons are to be locked in a vehicle, then they shouldn’t been seen on campus.”

Senate Bill 142, also known as the “guns-in-trunks” measure, was signed into law on March 15.  Gov. Bill Haslam signed the bill just weeks after the Tennessee Senate approved the measure by a vote of 28-5.  The bill will take effect on July 1.

The bill will allow gun-permit holders to possess a firearm in their motor vehicle, whether at places of work or college campuses.  The bill removes criminal penalties for bringing a firearm on private property without the owner’s knowledge.

There are more than 370,000 registered gun-permit holders in Tennessee.

Breiner said, “People that don’t have permits would be a bigger risk.”

He said that Pellissippi held its first “Safe Campus Conversations” in February, and future meetings will be held.  These are available at all campuses

Keep Guns Off Campus is an organization that was established in 2008 to fight gun laws that involve school grounds from elementary to college levels. But neither the University of Tennessee or Pellissippi  has joined the campaign.

Andy Pelosi, speaking for, said,”360 schools have signed up, and includes 129 community and junior colleges.

Fewer than 10 schools have declined, he said, and mostly because they felt their state law was tough enough.

Pellissippi State Security is present 24 hours a day ot  assist Pellissippi students.  “If you see something that isn’t right, let someone know,” Breiner said.

He also said that Pellissippi is currently studying the benefits of arming campus security guards.  However, Pellissippi State hasn’t had any major incidents in the past.

The bill was sponsored by Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, and was handled by Sen. Jack Johnson, R-Franklin.

Photo Credit: Mitch Barrie cc

Sunday, March 24th, 2013

State Gun Ban Supported by Faculty Senate

by Daniel Westerling

The Pellissippi State faculty senate passed a resolution to support a current Tennessee state law banning guns on college campuses.

 The resolution was passed in response to bills being worked on in the state legislature, House Bill 2016 and Senate Bill 339, which would allow properly licensed faculty to carry handguns on college campuses.

According to Mark Fuentes, faculty senate president, there is another bill being worked on in the state legislature that would allow students who have been honorably discharged from the military or have police training to carry firearms on campus.

 Fuentes said “I think personally this is the worst idea in the history of history.”

Trent Eades, a member of the senate and an English professor, felt that the issue was a constitutional one. He felt that there should not be guns on campus, however he felt the 2nd Amendment gave citizens the right to do so, and that the current laws on the books were unconstitutional. Eades said, “If you want gun control, and I do, you need to change the Constitution. It’s the only way with intellectual integrity.”

 The senate voted 21-3 in favor of a resolution to support the current law. The resolution will be presented to the Tennessee Board of Regents.

 The faculty senate meets once a month during the school year and all meetings are open to the public.

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

Student Accuses PSCC of Infringing His 1st Amendment Rights

by Daniel Westerling

A Pellissippi State student has accused the college of infringing on his First Amendment right of free speech. The student, Mark Dew, worked with the Law Offices of Gilbert and Fox to send a letter to Dr. Rebecca Ashford alleging that his rights were being infringed by the Pellissippi State policy on solicitation.

Mark Dew, right, talks with fellow student Joseph Davis about religion at the Hardin Valley PSCC campus on Wednesday April 13, 2011. ©Bekki Dunlap 2011

The letter, which is available here, states “that the school’s solicitation policy prohibited him [Dew] from distributing literature or sharing his religious beliefs publicly with other students on campus.”

At issue is PSCC’s lack of a clear policy on “solicitation” on campus.  As of now, any person, student or not, who wishes to hand out literature on campus must either pay a fee and await administration approval, or be part of a student organization.  The letter alleges that these requirements are “an unconstitutional prior restraint on all student or student group speech.”

Furthermore, the letter also takes issue with the school’s definition of solicitation in the first place.  It argues that by Tennessee State law solicitation is defined as “any oral or written request, however communicated, whether directly or indirectly for a contribution.”

Dr. Rebecca Ashford, vice president for student success at Pellissippi, explained that PSCC does not have an official policy for the distribution of literature.  The rules used up to this point were the facilities use policies, which Ashford said is the process that any student at Pellissippi can use.  She also conceded Dew’s right to hand out his literature, provided he follows the PSCC policies.

The policy is currently under review by Kae Carpenter, associate general counsel for the Tennessee Board of Regents, who handles legal issues for Pellissippi State.

Gilbert and Fox are associated with the Alliance Defense Fund, a conservative legal group which claims to be “a legal alliance defending the right to hear and speak the Truth.”


Tuesday, April 19th, 2011