Archive for October, 2010

International Festival Returns

by Jamie Maples

Take a trip overseas without ever leaving!

Student Access and Diversity plans to host another week-long international festival which will feature a different country and culture each day of the week. President Gayle Wood believes that this is a good event for the college because it celebrates the many cultures of 265  international students here at Pellissippi.  This festival is a great opportunity to recognize these students and the contributions they have made.

Australian artist Seona Mcdowell pictured with a digerredoo.

The festival is set to happen from Nov. 15-19.  Australian folk music and storytelling will begin the festival Monday, as Pellissippiwelcomes Seona McDowell to the Goins Auditorium. Tuesday is European Day and special deserts from many countries will be offered to taste in the Goins Rotunda.

Wednesday will feature the “Tropical Island Players”, a musical group whose Caribbean sound will celebrate the heritage of  South American and African countries. Asian displays and traditional entertainment will be provided by Pellissippi students on Thursday and Friday will culminate in an North American Indian storytelling event.

The festival is free to all Pellissippi students and their families.

Thursday, October 28th, 2010

United Campus Workers Visit Pellissippi

By W.E. Butcher

On Wed., Oct. 27, Pellissippi faculty and organizers from the United Campus Workers – Communications Workers of America Union, Local 3865 (UCW) manned an informational table in the Rotunda of the Goins Administration Building of Pellissippi State’s Main Campus.

They were there for several hours providing union information, bumper stickers and buttons to passers-by as well as speaking with those interested in joining. According to Sydney Gingrow, a Pellissippi State English Professor, there are currently “at least 30 members [of the United Campus Workers Union] at Pellissippi since May [2010].”

When asked why she felt a union was needed at Pellissippi State, Gingrow replied that “it is really important to include all

Professor Robert Boyd, PhD. and Sidney Gingrow with a UCW worker.

[Tennessee] state workers in higher education. . . to support, protect, and encourage the 1,300 members across the state, particularly as they forge ahead with both opportunities and challenges with equal representation for all state workers, and particularly, all Pellissipians.”

Gingrow went on to say that this equal representation is extremely important amid the current political climate, budget concerns, and infringements on academic freedoms. At its September meeting, the Faculty Senate passed a resolution requesting “that PSCC recognize as an ‘affiliated group or organization’ the Pellissippi Chapter of the United Campus Workers, as per TBR Policy 3:02:02:00.”

Reasons given for this request, as included in the Resolution, were that there were over 20 employees of PSCC who were already members of UCW, there were over 1,100 state-employed members of UCW statewide, PSCC recognized groups are allowed to use Pellissippi State campus facilities, and that PSCC already recognizes a number of diverse groups devoted to a wide range of topics (including politics, honor societies, social justice, disc golf, and video gaming).

The Faculty Senate Resolution does not endorse the United Campus Workers Union, but instead “respects the rights of individuals to form and join campus groups as they wish.” Opinions are mixed among faculty and staff when it comes to the presence and representation of a labor union at Pellissippi State.  Many faculty members are asking why they need a union at all.

Cameron Brooks, Lead Organizer for United Campus Workers, was interviewed after the informational event.  When Brooks was asked what UCW can bring to the faculty and staff of Pellissippi State Community College, he explained, “We’re made up of over 1,200 higher education workers across the state of Tennessee and we’re run by people who have worked in higher education. We feel that if people don’t come together and organize and build a voice that is stronger than any one individual, that a lot of the challenges we [in higher education] face will be insurmountable then.”

He went on to explain that it has been over 4 years since many people have received a pay-raise and that recent changes to the state health-care plans have adversely affected the faculty and staff of Tennessee’s colleges.  Brooks claimed that at the University of Tennessee, where UCW has been active for some time, the union was responsible for garnering large pay raises for UT employees “that really affected – that brought up people on the lower end of the pay scale.”

Some “contract-employees” at Pellissippi State, such as Adjunct Faculty and student-employees (none of whom were willing to go on record) fear that if they openly support or join UCW, their contracts would simply not be renewed and they would lose their jobs.  When asked about these fears, Brooks replied, “I think that the fact that this kind of work environment exists, that people would have that fear based on what they choose to be associated with, is all the more reason why we need to be organizing.”

Asked about the Pellissippi State Administration’s response to the work of union organizers such as himself, Mr. Brooks stated, “there was a point where I think there was some misunderstandings about our putting flyers on campus and so beyond that, I think that the top administration here [at Pellissippi State] knows what’s right and what’s legal and I don’t feel like there’s any push-back at all from them.”

Another membership drive and information session is planned for Fri., Oct. 29 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. in the Goins Rotunda.

Thursday, October 28th, 2010

Halloween Party

by Brandi Cawood

What are you going to wear for Halloween?

Pellissippi State’s Student Life and Recreation is hosting a Halloween costume contest on Oct. 29 at 8:30 p.m. in the SRC of the Hardin Valley Campus.Kara Moore, student activities board member, said this is the first Halloween costume contest on campus at PSCC. Voting for best single and couple’s costume will begin at 9:30 p.m.

Moore said students cannot enter without a costume and a student ID. Guests must accompany a Pellissippi student and offensive costumes will not be permitted.

SLR will provide free candy, punch and finger foods during the contest. Gift cards will be awarded to the winners.

Tuesday, October 26th, 2010

Fall Choral Concert

By Michael Charnley

This Thursday, Oct. 28, the Pellissippi choir will be performing at 7 p.m. in the Clayton Performing Arts Center.

Bill Brewer, Pellissippi State Choir Director

The premier concert for the Pellissippi choir will feature a variation of musical performances this year. According to Bill Brewer, Pellissippi music director, the Fall Choral Concert will consist of music from classic choral to African spiritual and even some folk. Parking and attendance are free, but the choirs will be accepting donations.

There will be two choirs performing. The first, Concert Chorale, consists of about 70 voices and is open to all students. No audition is required, but all participators must register.

Variations, the second choir and select ensemble of the evening, consists of about 36 voices and is an audition-only group.

Brewer says that this concert and the others to come are leading up to spring break, which is when Variations hopes to meet their goal of travelling to France to perform.

Monday, October 25th, 2010

Goins Auditorium Filled to Capacity for Paradox Lecture

by W. E. Butcher

The Goins Building Auditorium was filled beyond capacity for Professor Dave Vinson’s Lecture, “Paradox, The Abyss Stares Back” on Wed. Oct. 13.

Lecture attendees crowding in to hear Vinson's lecture

The third lecture in this year’s Faculty Lecture Series, Vinson spoke for an hour to a standing-room-only crowd.  The Goins Building Auditorium only seats 150, but with a record student turn-out, estimates of attendance are as high as 250 or more.

With students, faculty, and staff standing shoulder-to-shoulder, taking up any available space in the auditorium, many students were turned away due to the lack of space.  Organizer and Professor Trent Eades and Faculty Senate President Mark Fuentes were heard discussing the possibility of moving future lectures to the Clayton Performing Arts Center, which seats 500.

“I would call this a success,” said Eades. He attributed the high attendance to “massive promotion.”  According to Eades, each successive Faculty Lecture Series event has seen larger student representation than the previous one.

Pellissippi State’s Gnosis Organization members assisted with this lecture and others.  Members served popcorn, assisted in “crowd-control,” and welcomed the record number of attendees.  Gnosis, along with the Faculty Lecture Series, sponsors their own faculty-led lectures throughout the academic year for the edification of the student       population.

Promotional materials for the lecture

The Faculty Lecture Series, as well as Gnosis, will be presenting at least six more lectures over this academic year. With the increasing student interest and participation in these lectures, space is becoming a prime concern.

The next Gnosis lecture is “Faith: the Education of Christian in the 21st Century,” by Professor Keith Norris on Oct. 29 at 3:30pm. The next Faculty Lecture Series event is “Evolution: From Darwin to Dayton, Tennessee,” by Professor Teresa Fulcher on Nov. 11 at 12:30pm.  Currently, both events are scheduled in the Goins Building Auditorium.

Friday, October 15th, 2010

Pellissippi President Announces Retirement

By W. E. Butcher

On Monday, Sept. 27, Dr. Allen G. Edwards, President of Pellissippi State Community College, announced his impending retirement. Edwards has served as Pellissippi State’s President since 1993. The announcement came via e-mail to the faculty and staff of the college and a formal press release. In his e-mail, President Edwards wrote that it was “. . . time to move on.”

Dr. Allen Edwards, Pellissippi President

Elaborating on this statement, Edwards commented on his future plans by saying that he “may not want to do anything! That would be great. . . [I] want to wind down and remove some of that responsibility from my shoulders.” After 40 years of service, he said, “[There is] always a new project. The hard part is deciding at what point you stop.”

In the same interview, Dr. Edwards explained that the email was sent only to faculty and staff because he had worked with many of those recipients for the past 18 years. A press release was issued to inform the students and the community at-large.

When told that 48 students were asked if they were aware of his retirement one week after the press release was issued and only four did, Dr. Edwards replied, “I’d be surprised that four [students] know who I am.”

While the timing of President Edwards’ announcement to retire coincides with both the installation of a controversial new Chancellor of the Tennessee Board of Regents, the governing body for most of Tennessee’s state-funded colleges, as well as implementation of a new funding formula for higher education, Edwards denies any direct correlation between his decision to retire and the current political climate in Nashville.

“There is still much work to be done over the next 9 months and I am committed to fulfilling my responsibilities for reaffirmation of accreditation and to preparing the college for the changes that will be necessary to successfully compete for funds under the new formula for funding for higher education in Tennessee. It will be a very busy time,” Edwards wrote in his email.

Edwards was hesitant to speculate as to what his legacy to Pellissippi might be, saying that was for someone else to determine. He did say, however, that he saw one of his primary roles as that of leading Pellissippi State from a strictly technical school to becoming a full-fledged community college.

According to Edwards, Chancellor Morgan, along with the Board of Regents, will develop a plan to select the next President of Pellissippi State Community College. Dr. Edwards’ retirement will take effect on June 30,2011.

Friday, October 8th, 2010