By: Nick Kieser
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.