Archive for the ‘Student government’ Category

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

COSA hosts “Take Back the Night”

by Kendall Calkins


The Council of Student Advocates will be holding “Take Back the Night” at the Hardin Valley campus Thursday, Oct. 22 from 6 p.m.-8 p.m.


“We want to raise awareness about rape on college campuses,” said Student Activity Board member Alayna Strickland about the event that will include speakers and a walk for awareness.


“We are hoping to have student victims speak and share their survival stories,” and COSA liaison Joshua Anderson.


The event was held last year at the Division Street campus. Anderson and Strickland both “hope to build upon last year’s successful event.”

Wednesday, October 21st, 2015

Access And Diversity

by Stephen Marbury


Access and Diversity is a valuable academic support and degree completion program located in the Goins Building Room 162.  The Diversity Plan was developed by Pellissippi State Community College on the premise of increasing diversity among students, faculty, and staff. The primary focus of the plan is driven by the Complete College Tennessee Act of 2010 to increase the number of Tennesseans with post-secondary degrees.


The department is run by Gayle Woods now in her 26th year at Pellissippi State. Woods describes her work as a mentor and advisor.  As Director of Access and Diversity, Woods and her staff are focused on enhancing the educational, cultural and interpersonal experiences of low-income students, adult learners age 25 and older and underrepresented minorities.


Programs such as Pellissippi Adult Learners, or PAL, are intended for first-time freshmen who may have obstacles and challenges to overcome in order to meet their college needs. Students are assigned a faculty or staff mentor who will assist them through their first year of college.


Another program designed to increase graduation rates is Project Making Graduation Attainable. The program is aimed to help students who have earned 45-plus college-level credit hours toward their degree. So far, more than 192 students have successfully participated in PMGA since 2012.


As the program’s vision statement articulates, Access and Diversity celebrate individuals by affirming strengths, gifts and differences each faculty, staff and student brings to Pellissippi State Community College.  The staff maintains contact with students on a bi-weekly basis with its weekly mixers intended to allow students to network with others about classes, career prospects or a chance to relax after classes with fellow classmates.


Access and Diversity has continued to promote a diverse student body by celebrating various cultures from around the world.  Gayle Woods and her staff have supported numerous international themed events around campus, including a celebration of persons from Spain, Mexico and South America during Hispanic Heritage Month and a Caribbean Carnival where students experience food, music and dance. During Black History Month in February students and faculty are encouraged to taste African coffee and teas while discussing the contributions of African-Americans.

Wednesday, October 21st, 2015

COSA holds voter registration drive

By Kendall Calkins


The Council of Student Advocates registered 534 students as new voters at the Hardin Valley Camus las month to promote National Voter Registration Week.

Volunteers, Student Activity Board members and work-study students staffed a tent in the courtyard everyday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. the week of Sept. 21 to “give students the opportunity to have a voice in public elections and a chance to become actively involved in their government.” said Student Government president and COSA liaison Joshua Anderson.

“We are very proud of this year’s success and hope registration week continues to grow each year”, said Anderson of this year’s registration compared to last year’s turn out of 499.

Another registration drive is set for sometime in January to give students a chance to register before the March Presidential primary.

COSA hopes to expand on voter awareness with candidate forums for the upcoming local and national elections.

“Students say they don’t even know who is running”, said Anderson, “We want students to be able to elect leaders that reflect their values and opinions.”

Expansion on voter awareness has not yet been finalized and will be on the student calendar in the coming months.

Friday, October 9th, 2015

Student leadership awards will be presented

by Jovi McMichael

Outstanding student  achievement will be recognized Friday at 3 p.m. in the Goins Cafeteria.

The Student Leadership and Service Recognition Awards will recognize organizations such as new-student orientation leaders, ambassadors and the Student Activities Board.

“Since we have so many new organizations this year, it will be interesting to see who will get the awards,” said student success mentor Christine Venak.

The ceremony will also include a new service component not seen in previous years. Seven additional awards to students, campus and community groups, faculty and staff will be handed out courtesy of Dr. Annie Gray.

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013