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.

April 9th, 2017, posted by Josh Witt

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.

April 9th, 2017, posted by Josh Witt

Legal handgun carry on campus could be extended to part-time employees

by Shelby Verran

A new piece of legislation will allow those with hand a gun carry permit to carry a concealed hand gun in places like government buildings, college campuses, and ‘gun-free zones.’

House Bill 0363 will be an extension to last year’s passed law that allows full-time employees to carry concealed hand guns. State Representative Jason Zachary, the spear head of this bill, said that the statics on where mass shootings occur, in places such as college campuses and ‘gun-free zones’, caused the birth if this bill.

One of the exceptions to the law is, guns may not be carried in buildings with metal detectors or armed security guards at the entrances.

If passed, there will be a lot of changes that college campuses, like Pellissippi, must adapt to if they don’t want concealed carrying to be legal on their property such as, hiring and training more armed officers or installing metal detectors at all entrances.

Fred Bruiner, chief of police at Pellissippi State, stated that as an official police department they will follow Tennessee State law, whatever it may be.

If passed, some of the requirements for carrying will be:

  • Must be 21 years of age
  • Must have a valid carrying permit
  • Must be a concealed handgun

View the full details of this bill and follow its progression through the links below.

April 9th, 2017, posted by Shelby Verran

Animal Science will roam Pellissippi

by Logan Quinton

New animal science courses will be offered to Pellissippi students for 2017-18 school year.

There will be new general education choices for students planning to attend Pellissippi next fall. These two classes will involve the field of animal science.

Judy Gosch, director of new program and development, says these courses are electives that will count for credit towards an Animal Science degree at the University of Tennessee. She states, “general education courses (electives) are not supposed to be specific to any particular major or career field.”

The prefatory course will be called Intro to Animal Science. This class will survey the field of Animal Science and offer students the basic aspects of the genre. The other course will be more specific. Animal Anatomy and Physiology will teach the bodily function and structure of different types of animals.

Gosch is part of the Curriculum Development committee that approved these measures. Notes taken by the committee on Nov. 17 2016 state that UT prefers students to take Intro to Animal Science as soon as possible so that they “start on a level playing field with upper-level courses.” Pellissippi students interested in this curriculum will be able to take this introductory course before going to UT. This gives a transfer student the opportunity to survey the field while obtaining upper-level credit for their pathway.

Unlike the introductory course, Animal Anatomy and Physiology will be four credit hours and consist of a lab. Documentation from the committee emphasizes the importance of taking this class before junior year. The records state “UTK has so many students that it is hard to get students through the course in time.” By taking this course at Pellissippi, the student can be assured that they are on track to complete the Animal Science degree.

Gosch and other committee members expect a high level of interest for both courses. More information will be provided in the 2017-18 college catalog at .

  • These classes will not be a required science at Pellissippi.
  • Required sciences include the Natural Sciences listed in the catalog.
  • Minutes from the committee indicate these courses have been suggested in the past.
  • Animal Anatomy and Physiology must be taken before junior year at UT.
  • There is a direct correlation between these developments and the increasing number of transfer students going to UT via Pellissippi.

April 9th, 2017, posted by Logan Quinton

Wi-Fi improvements across the board at Pellissippi

by Austin Berry

Wi-Fi is currently being improved in every campus across Pellissippi according to Vice President Audrey Williams. 

“Wi-Fi is essential to every campus.” stated Audrey Williams, “for a longtime we (Hardin Valley) had the better Wi-Fi.” Tech staff is constantly updating software and technology at other campuses. Williams also said, “Network wise, I feel Pellissippi is reaching where it needs to be for internet speeds and reliability.”

  • Hardin Valley has the quickest Wi-Fi currently.
  • Internet outages are a common occurrence currently across all campuses.
  • Other issues include Ethernet links, such as a classroom computer, having login problems.

According to Pellissippi State News, a week long outage occurred the week of Sept. 5.

April 9th, 2017, posted by Austin Berry

Home Away from Home

Home Away From Home
by: Paul Bristol

“Moving to the states was painful.”

Moving to an unknown world can be anything but comforting, but it can also open new doors.

Meryan Idrissi explains her journey moving from country to country at such a young age.  This was very difficult to make such a commitment.

“Morocco was fun.” Idrissi describes.  “My friends and I would play ball, play hide and go seek, and hang out with all of my family that lived there.”

At the age of five, all the games they played came to an end.  She first ended up moving to the ‘Big Apple’, New York City.  When she arrived in the U.S., it was two weeks after 9/11 just occurred.

Idrissi was five years old at the time.  She was very ready to be with her father and uncle who have been living there for a few months.

Her excitement quickly ran out.  “I was very excited to see my family in New York, but it was very painful to leave my friends back home.”  Idrissi painfully explains.

After exactly one week in New York, her mother had had enough. “She did not like the crammed feeling she got in New York.”

Her mother took Idrissi and her two brothers back to Morocco, but not for long.

“When I returned, I was back at home,” Idrissi explains.  “Because we were Americans at one moment, and every foreigner is always interested in Americans.  Our nicknames when we came back were America.”

After being in her comfortable surroundings once again, she moved back to the U.S.  This time, she stayed in the states for good.

“My Uncle moved to Knoxville and convinced my dad to move there as well.”  Her father moved to Knoxville to make his wife happy.

“He moved to Tennessee because it was not as crowded, and he knew it would make her happy.”

  • Idrissi moved to New York for 1 week
  • She then moved back to Morocco for one year
  • Idrissi moved back to Knoxville for good.
  • She is currently at Pellissippi (Harden Valley)

Idrissi has lived in Knoxville ever since she was six years old.  Fifteen years later, she is studying at Pellissippi Community College with the major of Natural Behavior Science.

She still keeps in touch with her friends back home by visiting them every fourth summer.  She stays in Morocco for three months at a time.

“It is a roller coaster every summer I visit.  At first it is exciting and then it gets boring.  By the end we get too attached and don’t want to leave each other,” Idrissi says.

Meryan Idrissi may be from Morocco, but she finds comfort in her new home.  “America is home now.  Morocco is just a vacation spot.”

This is Idrissi’s second year at Pellissippi, and she is hoping to get into pharmacy school soon.

We wish her the best of luck.

April 9th, 2017, posted by Paul Bristol

Webinar to be Presented on Business Collaboration

by Hunter Russell


Pellissippi’s HR department will be putting on a webinar for faculty and staff as well as the student body on April 24 at 2 p.m.

The lecture will be titled Breaking Down Silos to Effective Collaboration. The webinar will be in Goins 136 and there will be a discussion afterwards.

According to Pellissippi’s director of HR, Carole Gary, Pellissippi has a contract with for access to their training database. The panel’s focus will be on improving communication skills with coworkers and increasing productivity in the workplace.

Collaboration skills and questions that are to be discussed include:

  • What Are the Silos That Get in the Way of Collaboration With Others?
  • Why Collaborate Anyway?
  • When Not to Collaborate?
  • What Are Some Examples of Ineffective or Unproductive Collaboration?
  • How Do We Know When Collaboration Is Working?
  • What Makes Collaboration Possible and Productive in Your Workplace?
  • What Can Be Done to Break Down the Silos That Needlessly Restrict Our Collaboration With Others?
  • Collaborative Leadership and Culture Change — the Removal of Structural Disincentives
  • Dealing With Undiscussables (Organizational Defensive Loops)

The discussion will focus on two topics: collaborating when you don’t trust the other party and collaborating with competitors. This event is intended to develop professional skills in the workforce.

April 9th, 2017, posted by Hunter Russell

Spring Fling coming to Division Street Campus

By Sandra Kapaya

Spring Fling and More at Division Street!

Spring Fling to the students is like a piece of cake to a fat kid.

There will be a Spring Fling event at Pellissippi State Community College on the Division Street campus.

This annual event will take place on April 12, starting from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Due to the exams that take place at the end of the semester this is like a break for the students to look forward to let loose and have fun.

According to, Dean of the Division Street Campus, Dr. Esther Dyer states, “This event is just like a carnival, it will be filled with food and games for our students and faculty to enjoy”.

  • Unlike other campuses, Division Street Campus is having an Easter egg hunt inside and outside of the school.
  • There will be a mini college fair for students whom are interested in becoming transfer students.
  • The Blount County Sheriff Department will be there recruiting new deputies, who are part of the student body.
  • There will be fun enjoyable games created and constructed by the faculty along with delicious carnival like foods for the campus to indulge.

April 9th, 2017, posted by sjkapaya2

Plays Hosted by the Access Diversity Group

by Jaeland Lawson

The Access Diversity Group will be hosting a collection of short plays this month in the Clayton Performance Arts building.

Director Sypress Wade will be inviting everyone in the community to come and attend a collection of short plays that will be presented April 14th, 15th, 21st, and 22nd at 7:30 p.m. Many different issues that society is faced with will be highlighted in this production. Pellissippi student and member of Black Men of Merit, Desean Blevins, writer of one of the plays that will be performed, Serve and Protect, spotlights the racial injustice and police brutality the African American community currently faces with law enforcement in the United States.

Blevins says, “In this play inspiration was drawn from the Mike Brown shooting in Missouri, as well as Traven Martin and other killings that have occurred over the past couple of years within our community”. Although Blevins doesn’t want his audience to feel uncomfortable or to stir emotion in the wrong direction he wants, “People to see the positivity in the issue, and wants to work to build a different perception and understanding between the police and our community.”

Blevins is just one of many writers who contributed to this event which provides various plays covering many topics from relationship troubles, to friendship and heartbreak, to racial injustice and police brutality. Also a viewing for students will be held April 23rd at 2:00 p.m. for anyone who wishes to attend.

April 9th, 2017, posted by Jaeland Lawson

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.

April 9th, 2017, posted by Logan Quinton