Completion Advisors to start in July

 Starting in the Fall, Volunteer State Community College will be introducing new advising help for the student body.

Dr. George Pimentel, Vice President of Academic Affairs, said the Funding is currently pending but the school plans to hire four completion advisors.

“Each division will have one, so there will be one assigned to Humanities, one assigned to Social Science, one for Business and Technology and one for Math and Science. We already have one in Allied Health,” said Pimentel. 

Pimentel also said the completion advisors will give students guidance.

“They will have an advising load just like the other faculty do but they are going to be there for a resource, they are going to help by doing more active advising . . . they will be trained as counselors as well,” said Pimentel.

If a student’s advisor is absent or unable to see the student right away, Pimentel said the completion advisors are who the students should go to next. 

“Say, your advisors not there, instead of you having to come back another day, that persons there in the division. You can go see them and they can take notes and send them to your advisor and help out the students.

“We are really looking forward to having them on board in July. We are relatively sure we are going to move July 1, so that’s our goal. I can’t guarantee it, but I feel good about it,” said Pimentel. 

Summer’s Campus Connect welcomes new students to campus and college

This summer, Volunteer State Community College is hosting a number of orientations for upcoming first-time Vol State students.

Among those students, are the ones who qualified for the Tennessee Promise program. 

Dr. George Pimentel, Vice President of Academic Affairs, said as a result of the increase in students, more orientations have been added. 

“All the students that are coming to Vol State who are on the TN Promise will be embedded just like the other students but because this is the first big push out for TN Promise, and a lot of students have applied, the Governor [Bill Haslam] has asked that we actually have some specific days [for them],” said Pimentel. 

According to Student Services, all first-time students will receive a letter in the mail with their orientation date and any additional information they need. 

Pimentel said orientation is a must in order for a student to be comfortable and successful in their first year. 

“One of the most consistent messages we’ve been telling everyone, as well as all the other schools, is that when we go to the mentor meeting to talk to the students that are going to be TN Promise students, [we tell them to] come to orientation, fill out your schedule, speak to your advisor because that’s all things that will help make them successful. There are just a variety of things like that, that will be going on all summer as a part of our normal orientation,” said Pimentel.  

Vol State considering two commencements to aid students

May 9, Volunteer State Community College hosted its 43rd annual graduation ceremony. According to the Vol State website, the event had the largest amount of participants in the college’s history, with more than 470 students walking.

With the increase in numbers, the Commencement Committee is deciding whether or not to add another graduation into the school year.

Dr. George Pimentel, Vice President of Academic Affairs and a member of the committee, said that it all depends on how many people walk.

“If we continue to grow like we have been over the next few years, we feel like it’s going to be necessary to have a Fall and probably a Christmas graduation.

“Right now, nothing’s official, but we’re going to be talking about it next year after this graduation to see if we need to go ahead and just expand to two of them. We’ll try to keep the same one for as long as we can,” said Pimentel.

Pimentel said besides the additional cost, there are a couple things they are working on.

“Number one, we have about 470 students who traditionally walk, but if that number grows to 550, then obviously you add all of them, plus everyone who brings five guests, and its really full. So we are right there at about the maximum number we can accommodate.

“We’ll have to meet this summer to talk about [if] we just want to split it and have the students that graduate in December, just have a ceremony for them at Christmas time and the ones who graduate [in the] Spring and Summer, we’ll do like we normally do in may. That decision will be made by the [Vol State] president sometime this year,” said Pimentel.

Women’s Tea recognizes and celebrates women of Vol State

Volunteer State Community College hosted its annual Women’s Tea last Wednesday, to celebrate Women’s History Month.

The keynote speaker was Dr. Sybril Bennett, an Emmy Award winning journalist.

After a welcome by Davis Carr, Psychology club president, Dr. Carole Bucy, professor of History, introduced Bennett.

“She has a book out about the underground railroad that is really about networking. Its about how people can take the example about this folks who worked the Underground Railroad to get you from point A, to point B, to point C, safely and freely and how you can apply those principles today. . . . She has worked for CBS news, she has worked for Channel 5 News here in town, and she is a journalism professor at Belmont,” said Bucy.

Bennett spoke about networking in the world today and how it relates to the Underground Railroad.

“If you think about innovation and the Underground Railroad, my premise is, the Underground Railroad is among the most innovative, effective and disruptive networks in U.S. History. The Internet will be too,” said Bennett.

“I use seven ideas as a framework, the seven elements of innovation; problem, principle, purpose, pioneering, perspective, passion and play. Problems, if you think about then and you think about now, the problems are the same. Freedom, boundaries, ownership, privacy, access, “ said Bennett.

Bennett talked about enslaved Africans of the past and what they fought for.

“The enslaved Africans, and I use that term deliberately because they were enslaved, they were forced into slavery. Some now choose to be slaves in denial, doubt, [and] disbelief. There’s choices that are made, but in this case, these were enslaved Africans. These were people who were forced into slavery. These were people who fought for their privacy. They wanted the right to eat alone, bathe alone, have intimate relationships alone. . . . Enslaved Africans valued their personhood, they valued their freedom. So much so, they partnered with an amazing network to get to that freedom,” said Bennett.

“I heard [Bennett] speak two years ago and met her for the first time, at the Nashville Davidson County African-American history conference, which is sponsored every year by the Metro Historical commission and she was such a dynamic speaker that I knew she would do well here at Vol State because her motivational message of ‘you can be anything you want to be’ I think really needs to be heard by our community college students,” said Bucy.

After Bennett spoke, lunch was served and awards were presented to four women who were nominated as outstanding women on campus. These four women were Kathy Sowell, director of the office of disability services and ADA coordinator; Melva Black, instructor of communication; Shellie Michael, associate professor of
Communication and English; and Brenda Buffington, director of adult learners and evening services.

Connie Martin, instructor in psychology and education, attended the event and said she enjoyed it.

“It was very active and very interesting. I liked how [Bennett] took the Underground Railroad and made it applicable to everyone in the audience . . . everyone from the youngest person in the audience to the oldest person in the audience. I got ways out of it that I could look and change maybe some of the ways that I’m doing, for example she said ‘stop looking at the problem to find the solutions,’ I’m going to share that with my students,” said Martin.

By Brittney Mace// Assistant Editor

 

Nunsense mega musical performed by Theater Department

by Brian Ferrell// Staff Writer

The Theater Program at Volunteer State Community College had a play this past weekend called “Nunsense.”

The theme of the play was a group of nuns trying to raise money to bury their sisters who all died from food poisoning.

The play had an all female cast and starred Janice Winfrey-Thomas as Sister Mary Regina, a model mother superior who knew how to get a laugh,

Sonya Mckinley Sharp as Sister Mary Hubert, who taught the novices the ground rules, Aubrey Iwan as Sister Robert Anne, a tough streetwise nun who had a heart of gold.
Stephanie Goodrum played Sister Mary Amnesia, who could not remember her past and Kat Lambert played Sister Mary Leo, who was a professional dancer before entering the convent.
Sister Mary Brendan, played by Hannah Meece, joined the convent after a failed career as a ventriloquist and Sister Julia Child of God, played by Ren Creasy, is the nun who poisons and kills 52 of her sisters.

This play also featured a live band. Jane Kelley as the conductor and piano player,
Rex Howell on the percussions, Katie Blomarz on the bass, and Sheldon A. Thomas on the saxophone.

This play set in present time was being held at Mt. Saint Helen’s School Auditorium. The nuns decided to throw on a variety of shows so that they can raise money to bury their sisters.

“It was fun playing a Nun, the only challenging part about it was learning the dance steps and singing,” said Creasy.

This performance featured a number of songs, such as “The biggest ain’t the best,” “So you want to be a Nun,” “I just want to be a star,” and their finale song, “Holier than thou”.
“It’s a play that everyone can come and enjoy,” said Edmon Thomas.

There was tap dancing, choreography and even a ballet performance by Lambert. During intermission, the nuns interacted with the audience, asking for donation for the church and Sister Julia Child of God wandering around asking the audience if anyone would like to try her soup, the same soup that killed 52 of her nun sisters.

“I think everyone is going to laugh and enjoy this play,” said Iwan.