Archive for October, 2006

Pellissippi State’s Hardin Valley campus is expecting

by Echo Lamb

Excavation began last month for the Bagwell Center for Media and Art building. It took 13 years of planning — from conception, to funding, to breaking ground — before the start of the $6 million, 27,000-square-foot project.

According to David Walton, director of facilities, the two-story-gray-panel-and-brick Bagwell Center will house the fine arts and media technology programs. The plans include art studios, computer labs and an art gallery.

Business leader Dee Bagwell Haslam donated $1 million toward the Bagwell Center project in honor of her father, Ross Bagwell, Sr., founder of Bagwell Communications.

Although the state will fund the bulk of the project, the initial estimated cost might not be enough.

According to Walton, the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina still impacts “us right here in East Tennessee.”

Large quantities of building materials continue to be sent to hurricane-devastated areas. As a result, the materials are more scarce and expensive here. Transportation costs are more expensive, too, due to high gas prices, according to Walton.

Walton stated, “If weather permits, the Bagwell Center for Media and Art could be finished by May 2007, and classes could begin in the building fall semester 2007.”

Tuesday, October 31st, 2006

Pellissippi students have “common experience”

by Jonathan Reagan

Many students at Pellissippi State should get ready for a “common experience.”

Pulitzer prize winning author Tracy Kidder’s book “Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, a Man Who Would Cure the World” is now a required read in English 1010 and some sociology and biology classes.

According to English professor, Ed Francisco, the “common experience” is “an effort to provide a variety of perspectives on a single book in a community setting.”

“Mountains Beyond Mountains” is about Paul Farmer, a doctor who finds his life’s calling as curing infectious diseases and bringing modern medicine to those who need it the most. His travels take him to Haiti, Rwanda, Peru and many other poor nations. It is Kidder who characterizes Farmer as “a man who would cure the world.”

The “common experience” has been tried with different books at several four-year colleges in Tennessee including East Tennessee State University, University of Tennessee Knoxville, University of Tennessee Chattanooga, Vanderbilt University and the University of Memphis. Pellissippi stands out as the only community college in the program.

Pellissippi president, Dr. Allen Edwards, is very involved with the “common experience” program. According to Francisco, Edwards wanted to make students “aware that we aren’t isolated. Our decisions affect others,” he said.

“The president is interested in students having the shared educational experience that generates dialogue, careful thought and consideration of the global community. The book was chosen primarily because it fulfilled all those criteria,” Francisco said.

Plans are in the works to have Kidder speak on campus in the spring, according to Francisco.

Monday, October 30th, 2006

Pellissippi student has moving history

by Alex Franklin

At first glance Emir Hambo seems like any other Pellissippi State student. But looks can be deceiving.

Originally from Bosnia, Hambo, 20, and his family settled in Knoxville seven years ago after a series of moves that began when he was only 5-years old.

At the age of 5, Hambo and his family moved to Croatia for just six months. After that Hambo and his mother left Croatia to settle in Czechoslovakia when his father, Bajro — a retired Bosnian army soldier, returned to service once the Bosnian War broke out in March 1992.

Bajro was captured and held as a prisoner of war while fighting for Bosnia’s independence from Serbia. When Hambo’s father was released from prison, the family moved again –this time to Hamburg, Germany.

Hambo went to school in Hamburg until he was halfway through the 5th grade. The family’s next destination was Knoxville, Tenn.

Once he began school here, Hambo noted the educational differences between Germany and the U.S. He said, “They move a lot faster in Germany. When I moved here, I took a math and science placement test and they placed me in seventh grade.”

As a result of living in so many places, Hambo is fluent in English, German and Serbo-Croatian. He is working toward an associate degree in science and plans to go to pharmacy school after he graduates from Pellissippi. Hambo is a member of Phi Theta Kappa, an international honors society for two-year colleges.

Even though he has a very busy college schedule, Hambo still finds the time to tutor other students in math or German in the TriO office.

Monday, October 30th, 2006

TRiO and personal motivation help single mother succeed

By Sarah Duncan

For 22-year-old Dannisha Davis, making the decision to go back to school was not an easy one.

Finding herself at a dead-end job, Davis said she “put aside her financial worries” and began to prepare a better life for herself and her two young children by joining Pellissippi State’s Student Support Service Program known as TRiO.

According to Davis, TRiO provided aid through textbook rentals, work-study, and continual tutoring. She said that TRiO encouraged her, along with her family, to “stick with her studies.”

Davis said with a smile, “I will be one of the first to graduate from college in my close family.”

Brian Todd, director of TRiO, said that Davis has done “exceptionally well even with the added stress of raising young children and the rigors of a nursing major.”

“It’s tough,” Davis said. “My day starts at 6 a.m., sometimes 5:30.”

First, she gets her children ready to catch the school bus. She then gets herself ready for class at the Hardin Valley campus.

Besides attending class, managing a home, and raising children, Davis is in a work-study program and tutors other students at TriO. On the weekends she works at Comfort Keepers, an in-home service that provides care for the elderly.

Davis said that her success is due to her own personal motivation and the help of TRiO. She plans on graduating spring 2007 from Pellissippi and then transferring to East Tennessee State University to complete her degree.

Monday, October 30th, 2006

Choral group debuts at annual Holiday Spectacular

By Tyler Carr

An all-faculty-and-staff choral group will have its debut as part of Pellissippi State’s annual Holiday Spectacular. The event will be held Dec. 8 in the Performing Arts Center.

Associate professor of music and lead voice teacher, Bill Brewer, is the director of the 28-member ensemble composed of faculty and staff from all Pellissippi campuses.

Brewer said, “The faculty requested this group be formed. It’s a chance for the faculty and staff to be together in a non-work situation.”

He was “pleasantly surprised” at what he heard just after one rehearsal. “It’s going great,” Brewer said.

The faculty and staff choral group, a pilot program, continues to draw interest. For more information, contact Brewer at (865) 694-6701 or

The Holiday Spectacular begins at 8 p.m. and admission is free although donations will be accepted to help fund musical scholarships for Pellissippi students.

Thursday, October 26th, 2006

Pellissippi State faculty and staff get pay raise

by Liz Overton

Beginning in January, Pellissippi State faculty and staff will receive a 4 percent pay raise.

Legislation was passed in September issuing a 2 percent pay raise for all educational staff employed by the state, according to Allen Edwards, president of Pellissippi.

The state will provide 1 percent of the raise and each school is responsible to match the other 1 percent.

According to Edwards, the college is able to offer an additional 2 percent bringing the total pay raise for Pellisssippi faculty and staff to 4 percent.  The extra funds will come out of the school’s operating dollars.

The legislation also includes a $350 bonus for educational faculty and staff with three or more years’ service.  Pellissippi is able to increase the bonus to $500.

Susan Thomas, an associate professor of English at Pellissippi, said that she is “very grateful” for the raise. “It’s a morale booster for instructors,” she said.




Thursday, October 26th, 2006

Popular author speaks at Pellissippi State

By Angel Moran

Popular author and correspondent for “Black Entertainment,” Touré, will speak about his books at two Pellissippi State campuses on Thursday Oct. 26.

Touré’s latest book, “Never Drank the Kool-Aid,” is a collection of his writings published in magazines such as Rolling Stone and The New Yorker.  

The book highlights his experiences in the world of hip-hop culture and music.  It includes discussions and interviews with popular artists like Beyoncé, Lauren Hill, and Kanye West.

His novel, “Soul City”, tells of a fictional African-American town – hip and filled with magic – where the mayor’s main job is to be a DJ for the people.  The book is used in African-American Literature classes at Pellissippi.

Touré studied creative writing at Columbia University. He got his start as an intern with Rolling Stone magazine where he has been a contributing editor for ten years.

Touré  was the first pop culture correspondent for CNN. He hosted the celebrity interview program “Spoke-N-Heard” on MTV2 where he interviewed celebrities like Alicia Keyes, Puff Daddy and Lenny Kravitz.  He became a correspondent for BET in 2005

Touré  will be discussing his books and taking questions from the audience at Pellissippi’s Harden Valley campus at noon and on the Magnolia Avenue campus in the Community Room at 6 p.m.  

The event is free and open to the public.

For more information about the event contact:  Robert Boyd at (865)329-3123 or

Find out more about Touré at his website:


Wednesday, October 25th, 2006

Pellissippi State takes a bite out of crime

by Ashley Rose Hannay     

Pellissippi State’s four campuses rank high in safety. No report of forcible sex offenses, kidnapping or homicide have ever been made according to Bill Galyon, security supervisor at Pellissippi.

In its effort to provide a continued safe environment and prevent serious crimes from occurring, Pellissippi has made security escorting to vehicles available on all campuses.

Campus crime reports from area colleges and universities showed in 2005 the University of Tennessee, Knoxville had 10 forcible sex offenses, Tusculum College reported one forcible sex offense while Roane State Technical Community College had one report of aggravated assault.

Security On Campus, Inc., a national non-profit organization that believes students and parents have the right to know about criminal activity on college and university campuses, describes a landmark bill signed into law by Gov. Phil Bredesen in 2004.

The Robert “Robbie” Nottingham Campus Crime Scene Investigation Act of 2004 requires Tennessee colleges and universities call in local police on death and rape investigations occurring on their campuses to ensure that all necessary and available resources are utilized.

“Robbie’s Law” came about after an East Tennessee State University student, Robert Nottingham, died under mysterious circumstances from head trauma after apparently falling from the second-story balcony of his on-campus apartment in March 2003.

ETSU Department of Public Safety was unable to conclusively determine whether the death was the result of an accident, suicide or homicide.

“All the students deserve the right to have a complete investigation,” said Mary Nottingham, mother of the deceased ETSU student, when she spoke before the Senate Judiciary Committee of Tennessee.

Sunday, October 22nd, 2006

University of Tennessee College of Pharmacy visits Pellissippi

by Nan Krichinsky

University of Tennessee College of Pharmacy representatives will be visiting Pellissippi State on Monday, Oct. 23 at the Goins Administration building in the student lounge from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. at the Pellissippi campus. 

Students with an interest in pharmacy as a career, “even if they are not currently science majors,” are invited to attend.  No registration is required. 

James Eoff, executive associate dean of the U.T. College of Pharmacy and Stephanie Weathers, Knoxville coordinator of student services and recruitment at the college, will be available for questions.  

The College of Pharmacy is part of the U.T. Health Science Center located in Memphis.  The College of Pharmacy is in the process of expanding, with plans of opening a second campus at the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville by fall 2007. 

According to Melissa Scandlyn Smith, coordinator of student services and recruitment in Knoxville, the College of Pharmacy is now accepting 200 students per year due to the expansion. 

Students entering the College of Pharmacy will spend the first year of the four-year program in Memphis.  After that, based on order of acceptance, strength of application and student location preference, 75 students will complete the program at the Knoxville campus, according to Smith.

Applications can be found on the admissions section of the U.T. College of Pharmacy web site at and must be received between June 1 and Feb. 1 for the next fall’s entering class.  Information about financial aid is available on the website, too.

“Pharmacists are integral members of the healthcare team who work closely with the patients they serve as with other healthcare professionals.   We are looking for students who are not only academically qualified, but who are also committed to the profession of pharmacy and to patient care,” said Smith.

Brochures with information about the U.T. College of Pharmacy four-year program, including prerequisites and when and how to apply, will be available. 

In addition to the College of Pharmacy, representatives from the U.T. Health Science Center Colleges of Medicine, Dentistry, Graduate Health Sciences, Allied Health, and Nursing, all of which are located in Memphis will be present offering information and answering questions regarding their colleges.

For more information contact Pellissippi Professor James Kelley, department head
Natural and Behavioral Sciences at, 694-6695; or Stephanie Weathers at, 974-2283.

Tuesday, October 17th, 2006

“Widdershins” to Have World Premiere at Pellissippi State’s Performing Arts Center

by Brittany Hodge 

The world premiere production of “Widdershins” by nationally known playwright Don Nigro will debut at Pellissippi State on Oct. 13.

“When the play is published our names will be in the script. We will forever be known as the first company who performed this play,” said director Charles Miller.

Robby Griffith, who plays the character Inspector Ruffing, calls the show a “mystery thriller.”

“Widdershins” is set in England’s Edwardian period.  It tells the story of Inspector Ruffing and his partner McGonigle’s search for a missing family.

Ruffing, with his own personal issues to battle throughout the play, interacts with the missing family, especially Mr. English.

Mr. English, played by Pellissippi student Kevin Velasco, is an art professor particularly interested in the impressionists. “English epitomizes the fine line between genius and insanity. He flirts with it and even crosses it on occasion,” said Velasco.

“Widdershins” will be performed on Oct. 13, 14, 20 and 21 at 8 p.m., and 2 p.m. on Oct. 22 in the Performing Arts Center at Pellissippi State’s main campus.  

Tuesday, October 10th, 2006