Dr. Faulkner goes undercover

By: Nick Kieser 

Dr. Faulkner casual outside

Vol State President Dr. Jerry Faulkner

The Volunteer State Community College President, Dr. Jerry Faulkner, has made an appearance acting as a student for a day and attended classes.

Faulkner credits his idea from the San Diego State President Adela de la Torre.

He was incognito on Aug. 30, during the regular school hours and posed as a student.

“I got rid of my coat and tie. I tried to look more casual so I would not stand out. I don’t know that I did anything outstandingly different, but I did go online and complete the application form.

I wanted to see if there were any impediments,” said Faulkner.

Undergoing a full day as an undercover student is something not common for a college university president to do.

“I sent out an email only to faculty that asked for volunteers to let me sit in on their classes. The response was overwhelming, and I got dozens of invitations to be in people’s classes,” said Faulkner.

The build-up of the secret event broke when the faculty got the notification that he was looking for willing teachers.

“I announced two Fridays ago at convocation that I was going to do that. I went to four classes. I was originally signed up for five. I did all four classes continuously,” said Faulkner.


He also added that while he was walking through the Woods Campus Center that he stopped to get the free food offered since it was the same day as the campus kickoff.

“He was just hanging out and seeing what it was like. He wanted the full student experience,” said English Department Chair, Deborah Moore.

Moore had the experience of having Faulkner in her Modern World Literature class.

“I think it’s great that he put that much interest into finding out more about the students and how it feels to be a student at Vol State,” said student Hollee Mattei.

The president was viewed seriously after he had revealed himself to Moore’s class.

“None of the students had much to say at the end, and I just made announcements about SGA and Coffee with the President. I did not park differently. I confess I did use my reserved parking place,” said Faulkner.

With the attire and no parking change, Faulkner still considered himself a student that day

One of the announcements that Faulkner made was in regard to how the students of Vol State could interact with him.

That event is known as Coffee With the President.

“We started that I would say about three years ago. Kenny Yarbrough was Director of Student Life and Diversity, and it was his idea to do Coffee with the President,” said Faulkner.

The Steinhauer Rogan-Black-Building was where Coffee with the President took place, and Faulkner said that he planned on doing that again.

“I certainly hope that this will result in more students feeling like they can approach me and talk with me about the things they have on their mind,” said Faulkner.

 

Vol State Garden

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Professor Jeff Kent in Vol States garden

By: Gloria Cortes 

Beside the Wallace Health Sciences Complex building’s parking lot lies the Volunteer State College Community Garden.

Master Gardeners maintain the garden with the help of professors Jeff Kent and Kelly Ormsby.

This community garden is open to all Vol State students and faculty, whether they would like to pick fresh produce or to take a break between classes.

“There’s something about seeing a plant grow that’s really nice, that’s really unique… . It’s just something about seeing something grow, and seeing fruit on raspberry vines or blackberry vines, and being able to pick it and eat it.” said biology professor Dr. Kent.

After the destructive tornado that struck Vol State in 2006, it was created to help the campus have a more peaceful place to go to.

“To promote something positive on campus, we started that community garden,” said Kent.

While the garden is a place for rest and relaxation, it is also a product of Master Gardeners and other Vol State gardeners’ work.

Students are also encouraged to plant in the garden, but they must contact Master Gardener Joanne Brown first.

“Students are welcome to participate but need to do so through the Master Gardeners who manage the project (a Hold Harmless waiver is required). Joanne Brown is the project leader. She is on campus every Monday morning (usually beginning at 7 a.m.). Volunteer Days are the third Saturday of each month from 7:30-11:30 a.m.,” wrote Kelly Ormsby in an email.

Ormsby is also involved with the campus garden.

Volunteer gardening can help fulfill students’ Tennessee Promise volunteer requirements since students would be providing a service to the campus community.

Through Ormsby’s Adopt-A-Bed program, groups can adopt a raised garden bed, and some produce from the garden will go to The Feed.

“Groups/clubs, classes, offices/departments can complete an application outlining their project idea through Sept. 28. Applications will be available at the garden gate, where they will also be collected. Applicants will: select a bed from the garden map provided (both empty and pre-planted beds are available), create a design (this may include a theme, information for visitors, additional plants, etc.), and complete the project submission form (outlining the idea, who will assist with maintenance, including weeding in and around the bed, helping to harvest as applicable for the Feed, our VSCC student food bank).” wrote Ormsby.

The garden was created as a communal place of peace and productivity.  Students are always welcome.

“I think the garden will help kids who don’t have the sufficient funds or the availability of food at home.  I think it’s very compassionate that Vol State has provided children that can’t eat at home with food. I think it’s also because student hunger and poverty levels being at such a high rate in America today and because of lack of resources and lower-income families that the garden offers kids that live in those situations food away from home.” said student Chelsei Copeland

“I know I would use the garden… . I am living in my own apartments, so there are times where I have to choose between gas or food. So, it’s definitely something I think I’d use as a young adult trying to live on their own, having to budget money in different ways,” said Copeland

The Vol State Community Garden provides positivity and fresh produce to those in need of it, and it encourages students to participate in the campus community.

 

SGA Voter Registration

By: Jim Hayes 

The Volunteer State Community College Student Government Association will host a variety of events to encourage students to register to vote during Sept.

Voter registration tables will be available in the tiled dining room of the Woods Campus Center on Sept. 11-13, and 19 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m..

Other events also taking place in the Woods Campus Center is SGA Meet-n-Greet With A Treat and CAB Cafe: The Arcade on Sept. 25 from 12:45 p.m. until 1:45 p.m.

This event will consist of games, prizes, floats and the opportunity to register to vote.

Vol State is also in a social media contest with other schools in the state, according to SGA Student President Haly Brazel.

“We have partnered with the board of regents and the other colleges to do a social media contest where we have to use hashtags whenever you register,” said Brazel.

“There is a statewide hashtag, #GovoteTn, and the Vol State hashtag is #pioneerpoll,” she said.

The SGA Meet -n-Greet With A Treat came about because, “we have all these people who play card games and we want to do something for them,” said Brazel.

 

Disability Services Office Moved to Ramer 176

By: Nick Kieser

 The Volunteer State Community College has moved the Disability Services office to the Ramer Administrative Building.

Previously the disability office was located on the bottom floor of the Woods Campus Center. In its place now is the math and science offices.

“It was Dr. Faulkner’s vision. It was my idea that he wanted a one-stop shop,” said Manager of Disability Services, Leslie Smith.

Spending one year already in the basement of the Woods building Smith and her staff have changed the scenery to be neighbors with the other on-campus student services.

“If we walk a student over to the advising center it is one door over. It is more convenient now than it was,” said Smith.

The other homebodies in the Ramer building are the admissions office, advising office, financial aid, public relations, human resources, and the president’s office.

Although leaving the Woods building there are pros and cons for this move as a whole. Smith does give one disadvantage of leaving the Woods building altogether.

“It was quiet and confidential. In that respect, people did appreciate it.”

An advantage besides being convenient and around other services there’s another pleasant side too.

“They wanted to have a place where students could get a lot of the services they needed in one building,” said Smith.

Considering the other renovations going on at Vol-State putting most of the services in the same building will be of help to the students who are new and even for returning students as well.  

“It is better because it is right where everything else is and will probably be easier to find. Ramer is not my favorite because I am mainly there for financial aid, but I do think it is just fine for me,” said student Alex Winkler.

From a student point of view, it is a decent place to go for having the convenience, but that does not mean every college student will like to go into a building to take care of business.

“I think it will amp up a little bit. Students will come in more now and ask about it,” said receptionist Erin Tickle.

Along with the expectation Tickle had she did have a regard to how she feels about it now telling students in how to get to the disability service center.

“I do not think students will be upset with everything being in one building. I wish that when I was a student here it would’ve been easier to navigate.”

The other take away from having the offices now in one building except the student life center is that the employees who occupy these offices are affected as well.

“It is much easier to direct students and they feel more connected that way,” said advising receptionist, Pamela Lockhart.

“They used to be one building off and now they are so close. You go down the hallway and they are on the left. It is way easier to say and for the disabled much easier,” said admissions receptionist, Beverly Bragg.

The campus services are all now prepared to be close and according to Bragg she can now put the names to faces and know whom they are rather than just hearing about them.

“We are all about access. Everything about disability services is about making sure that everything on campus is accessible for everyone. Hopefully, students come back because we are in a convenient location and remember we are here,” said Smith.

 

Cafeteria Project

By: Nick Kieser

Renovations are being made at the Volunteer State Community College. One of the prominent changes is starting to take place in the cafeteria. The booths that were previously attached the wall in the cafeteria have been removed and scraped.

“The booths tend to fall apart and we did not want to try and put something up to only come back and have the same issue taking them out,” said Senior Director of Plant Operations, Will Newman.

The removal of the booths will be part of a constant updating process that Newman will be responsible for and plans to do one project at a time.

“We just gotta maintain cleanliness and let us just say folks were not as clean as they should be. We can only clean so much and so we decided to pull those away from the wall and do wall repairs as well. They fell apart as we pulled them away,” said Newman.

Part of what Newman said was a 30-year-year-old building all you can do is paint it, but along with other projects that is not the plan.

“Right now it looks like a middle school or high school cafeteria. We need to get away from that. This is the entry part of the project to get that project moving it is almost a million dollars.

Along with what is taking place outside of The Feed there are other projects going on simultaneously. The Warf building is under renovation and the building is expected to have an added part to it facing Nashville Pike when it is complete. Crosswalks are also in the works as well to cross main street.

“We have to think how the rest of campus will be impacted. Not too many projects going on at the same time,” said Newman.

Students have also been impacted by the removal of the booths as well. In previous years the booths have been a congregation ground for the Vol-State students.

“I think that the renovation of the cafeteria has potential to make the space better, but I know that many people who regularly used them are probably missing them,” said Student, Ryan Beals.

“They were very spacious and it was a space to nap and get things done. I do not think they only rely on the booths,” said student, Avery Etherington.

Aside from just the activity Etherington did using the booths herself she did have a request to have one new thing in the cafeteria as part of the project.

“I do wish there was better lighting. That room seems very dim to me and I wish it was brighter.”

“We will need a designer to come aboard. We want to utilize every part of that space and update it,” said Newman.

With this help of a designer Newmans plans of having a nearly million-dollar cafeteria can come full circle to make it what students will come to love and congregate in again. There is currently no timetable for when the cafeteria project will be completely finished.

 

Faculty Art Show on Display

By: Riley Holcraft

The new school year at Volunteer State Community College is in full swing, and the first art exhibition is open to the public.

The professional gallery is located on the first floor of the Humanities Building. Everyone is encouraged to view the artwork and share personal thoughts in the Guest Book.

The Art Faculty Exhibition will run from Aug. 27 to Sept. 20, featuring artwork by Vol State faculty members: Sue Mulcahy, Abigail Felber, Patrick Green, Nate Smyth, Claire Hampton, Siri Nadler, Carlton Wilkinson, Jake Wells, and Rob Matthews.

The gallery contains a diverse variety of art, ranging from ceramics to photography to printmaking and more.

Sue Mulcahy, adjunct art faculty, is the gallery manager for the exhibition. “We are artists, as well as teachers, and this is an opportunity for our students to see what we do. It is also a chance to share our talents with the community,” said Mulcahy.

Students in current or future art classes can form a deeper perspective of their professors by examining their art.

Graphic Design Professor, Siri Nadler, stated, “It is important to show the students and the public what sort of work we do when we are not in the classroom.”

The faculty has a broad scope of talent, so viewers are exposed to multiple art forms.

Art is a tool that can be inserted into almost all subject matters. It can express psychology, literature, history, and anything the artist desires.

“Art is a great excuse to learn about things that you didn’t know about before,” said Rob Matthews, adjunct art faculty.

Matthews is featured in the gallery using graphite on paper. His pieces express the “massive global issue of refugees fleeing dangerous parts in the world.”

His work provides an educational resource for a controversial topic that can be discussed in multiple different departments.

“The drawings are part of a larger series of work of African refugees that have left their countries and attempted to travel by boat across the Mediterranean to Europe,” explained Matthews.

The Art Faculty Exhibition reminds people of the importance of art in education and introduces the public to the minds that are shaping future artists at Vol State.

Many works in the gallery are for sale; visit for more information. The hours are Monday-Thursday 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. Friday 8 a.m. – 4:30 pm. and Saturday 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

 

Student Discounts

By: Gloria Cortes

Students at Volunteer State Community College are able to get discounts from business in the area.  Listed below are some retailers with their Vol State student discount offers:

  • AT&T, 923 Nashville Pike, Gallatin, TN 37066: 17% off data plan.
  • Brixx Pizza, 300 Indian Lake Blvd, Hendersonville, TN 37075: 10% off.
  • Cornerstone Financial Credit Union, 200 Indian Lake Blvd, Hendersonville, TN 37075: We offer special discounts to all VSCC employees and students. Please phone or come by for the most current offering. A valid Vol State I.D. is required.
  • Frist Museum, 919 Broadway Nashville, TN 37203: Free admission Thursdays and Fridays from 5pm-9pm. A valid Vol State ID is required.
  • Game Trader, 1767 Gallatin Pike N Madison, TN 37115: 8% off used games with a valid Vol State I.D..
  • Gateway Tire & Service Center, 380 Hancock Street, Gallatin, TN 37066: All employees and students with proof of ID will receive 10% off on tires, 5% off on any service work, and 3.00 off an oil change.
  • Marina Pointe Apartments and Townhomes, 1 Carrington Road, Hendersonville, TN  37075: 50% off application and administrative fees. A valid Vol State ID is required.
  • Ron Hibbard Toyota, 1435 Nashville Pike, Gallatin, TN 37066: 15% off service parts and labor Toyota Vehicles and other makes and models. Appointment necessary. A valid Vol State ID is required.
  • Sam’s Club, 301 Indian Lake Blvd, Hendersonville, TN 37075: College membership – $40 – 2 cards (1 for you & 1 for roommate). $15 gift card every year you are a student, able to get some gas, and additional student benefits. A valid Vol State ID is required.
  • Third Coast Comedy Club, 1310 Clinton Street, Ste. 121, Nashville, TN 37203: 50% off all house show tickets; drink discounts included.  Discount applicable for VSCC students and employees with valid college ID.
  • Workout Anytime, 565 Village Green Dr., Ste. C Gallatin, TN 37066: $1 enrollment and no card fee.  Discount applicable for VSCC students and employees with valid college ID.

Check the Vol State website for more information about student discounts.

 

New crosswalk for Nashville Pike and Gap Road

By: Gloria Cortes

Construction for a pedestrian sidewalk around Volunteer State Community College is scheduled to begin this fall.  

This project cost estimate is $200,000 of taxpayer money, and this seems expensive to some students.

“I can cross the street without a crosswalk… A crosswalk would be nice, but it’s not necessary for that amount of money,” said Ryan Lyle, a Vol-State freshman.

The first phase of this project is for the Gallatin Public Works crews to construct a  sidewalk on Gap Boulevard from Nashville Pike to Vol-State’s parking entrance.

The second phase of this project will be to install a crosswalk at the intersection of Nashville Pike and the main entrance of Vol-State, and another at the intersection of Nashville Pike and Gap Boulevard.  

Unlike the sidewalks, the construction schedule is flexible and subject to change. In an email According to Dewayne “Buck” Rogers, PE Gallatin assistant engineer, “It could possibly be Spring before the intersection project is complete…Pending schedules and weather, the completion could happen sooner. Once the pedestrian design is complete, we will have a better feel for the construction timeline.”

Push buttons will also be installed for crossing pedestrians.  

Students should expect minor delays in their commutes because of the project construction.  

“I don’t anticipate any lane closures on Gap Blvd, but traffic will be slower due to the workers being present,” wrote Rogers.  

With Vol-State’s current record-breaking enrollment, these improvements will hopefully benefit students by making on-foot transportation easier.  

“Vol-State is in the process of trying to make the campus a more walkable community,” said Rogers.  

Students and faculty seem to welcome the idea of these pedestrian improvements, as they believe it will make walking off-campus safer for everyone and provide people with more access to the businesses across Nashville Pike.  

“[The crosswalks] will give us more options to cross the street, for different types of options for food as well as other services,” said Senior Director of Plant Operations Will Newman.

Rogers wrote, “We believe that the Pedestrian Improvements will greatly benefit the students at Vol-State.  The completion of the improvements will provide an alternative means for commuters to safely walk to nearby businesses instead of driving.”  

Despite any minimal opposition, the majority of the Vol-State population looks forward to the completion of this pedestrian project.

 

Vol State at record enrollment

By: Jim Hayes

A 14 percent growth in enrollment across the three Volunteer State Community College campuses and online students appears to have had little, if any, effect on parking at the main Vol State campus in Gallatin one week into the 2018 fall semester.

The enrollment number 9,372 as of Thursday afternoon may change slightly in the next couple of weeks as students drop classes and leave school.

“Enrollment is up compared to last year,” said Tim Amyx, Director of Admissions  & College Registrar.

“We won’t know what the official enrollment is until 14 days into classes,” said

Eric Melcher, Coordinator of Public Relations and Marketing.

A part of the increased enrollment to Tennessee Reconnect students are because of those taking online classes.

“We had 1,119 Tennessee Reconnect students apply for admission to the college,” said Melcher.

There are no records of how many of those applications were accepted.

Melcher also addressed the parking situation.  

“At the beginning of the fall we can have people parking in overflow,” said Melcher.

He also suggested that students use the Green Lee Boulevard entrance for easier access to the school.

An email from Lisa Morris, the Senior Administrative Assistant to Chief of Police Angela Lawson, said the Campus Police dealt with the parking issue by having “officers directing students into parking lots,” the first days of classes.  

Morris’ email also said that the larger enrollment did not have as much of an effect on parking as was anticipated.

As of Wednesday, the situation “has taken care of itself,” Morris’ email said.

While the enrollment has grown, it appears to have had little effect on parking on the Gallatin campus.

“I haven’t had any problem parking here. If you come in at 9 o’clock, there is a little problem finding a place to park, but the rest of the time, it is easy” said Vol State student Saul Lara.  

One faculty member, Adjunct Member Carlton Wilkinson, who teaches in the Humanities Department, has an issue with the parking situation.  

”It takes me about 8 minutes to park. I try to go off campus for lunch and it cuts into my time. The later you come in the day, the more difficult it is to park,” said Wilkinson.  

However, Wilkinson also thought the situation would improve.  

“I think at the beginning of the semester, it always seems to be more crunched,” said Wilkinson.

The Vol State students interviewed for this article don’t seem to feel there are any parking problems. Vol State student Jevon Nash summed up the student body’s general take on the situation, commenting “It’s been pretty easy for me to find a parking spot.”

 

Language Center Moves To Thigpen

By: Yvonne Nachtigal

The Language Center has moved to join the Learning Commons in Thigpen Library.

This makes it the one stop shop for Volunteer State Community College students’ tutoring needs.

Eventually, the entire space will simply be called “Learning Commons”, but the two departments are keeping their names for the time being to avoid confusion.

Learning Commons Director Kay Dayton and Language Center Director Suzanne Previte are excited about the move.

“There used to be tutoring for different subjects in different buildings. What bringing us together did was put us under one roof and made it more convenient for students,” said Dayton.

“The primary purpose is that we establish a tutoring space that works with students and is centrally located for the comfort level of students,” said Previte.

Learning Commons will be a busy environment this year since it contains the Language Center as well as math classrooms while the Warf building is under construction, but according to both directors, the environments have always been busy.

While combining the Learning Departments is seen as a positive for students, the need for classroom space admittedly sparked the decision.

“We have record enrollment this year,” said Previte.

Volunteer State Community College enrollment is up 14% this year with an active enrollment of 9,372 students.

Students can expect the Language Center to accommodate all the needs it has in the past.

“The only thing that has changed about the Language center from last semester to this semester is address. Everything else is identical.” Said Previte.

Students can now take advantage of the Language Center during Learning Commons’ hours.

“Bringing the language center staff gave us more coverage, more hours,” said Dayton.

The Learning Commons is open, Monday through Thursday: 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday: 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday: 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

When asked if he was excited about the move, Learning Commons Reading/Writing Specialist Ken Westmoreland was more reserved in his enthusiasm.

“Well, it’s not been going on long enough yet. Don’t know yet,” said Westmoreland.