College plans International Education Week activities

Northeast State’s Multicultural Awareness Club and the Cultural Activities Committee will host several events during this year’s International Education Week set for March 12-17.

A joint initiative of the U.S. Departments of State and Education, International Education Week (IEW) was first held in 2000 and today, is celebrated in more than 100 countries worldwide.

IEW is an opportunity to celebrate the benefits of international education and exchange worldwide. This annual initiative aims to promote international understanding and build support for international educational exchange by encouraging the development of programs that prepare Americans to live and work in a global environment - and attract future leaders from abroad to study in the United States.

A featured attraction during the week will be The Race Experience, an interactive kiosk with the goal of challenging and reducing misconceptions as well as promoting awareness about issues revolving around race and ethnicity. Participants will have an opportunity to see themselves as another race. There will also be an informational table next to the exhibit.

The Race Experience exhibit will be on campus March 12-19 and located on the bottom floor of the Locke Humanities Building. For more information, visit The Race Experience or The Race Experience on YouTube.

On March 14 at 10:30 a.m., a diversity panel consisting of faculty, staff, and students will discuss the importance of understanding racial diversity from a variety of perspectives including, but not limited to, history, mental health, criminal justice, health-care, and social issues.

In addition, daily facts about race and ethnicity will be e-mailed to faculty, staff, and students. Faculty will also receive sample discussion points and activities about race and ethnicity.

For more information, contact Kristin Lazarova, associate professor of psychology, at kmlazarova@northeaststate.edu or 423.354.2554.


Northeast State offers American Sign Language course

Workforce Solutions at Northeast State is offering the American Sign Language (ASL) for Beginners course this spring at the main campus in Blountville.

The class will meet Wednesday evenings from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. from March 14 to April 25. Participants will build their sign vocabulary as well as learn the grammatical structure. The course also provides insight into Deaf culture. Expressive and receptive skills in the language will also be developed. At the completion of the course, participants should be able to communicate with the deaf on a basic level.

The course fee is $140 and includes the textbook. The course is open to anyone interested in learning ASL.

Priority registration is March 7. For more information, contact 423.354.2570 or e-mail cmtauscher@NortheastState.edu.


College's financial aid department employs Six Sigma training

Northeast State staffers recently spent three days soaking up quality measures in an effort to help students navigate through the complicated, and sometimes confusing, world of financial aid.

Led by Kevin Schutt of Business Process Improvement, eight employees used philosophies derived from Six Sigma and Lean Manufacturing techniques to break down the financial aid application and award process and determine how to make the process more efficient and effective.

The College’s financial aid office processes more than 10,000 Free Applications for Federal Student Aid each year. The FAFSA is the primary document for determining financial aid eligibility for college students.

Schutt had employees evaluate issues within the process and suggest improvements. The group also appraised the office’s current “value stream,” which scrutinizes processes, decisions, and communications to determine which components add value and which are wasteful.

Schutt then asked the group to create an “ideal state” for the office that streamlines the application process while reducing bottlenecks and improving efficiency.

“The ideal state is always a lot shorter and simpler,” Schutt said. “It’s what we strive for. Are we going to get there? Probably not, but we have to look at what can we do to move the process in that direction. This is an elephant and you have to eat it one bite at time.”

To make strides, the group developed a six-item action plan designed to improve communications between the financial aid office and students. Items included better notification of application successes and issues by e-mail and mail, reduction of jargon on Web pages, more encouragement of early filing, and improvements to reduce file errors and omissions.

“It’s about giving the customers what they need to get it right the first time – they’ll be happier and you’ll be happier,” Schutt said.

Schutt analyzed the proposed improvements and predicted that errors and omissions could be reduced by 50 percent, application processing time cut by 30 percent, and waste reduced by 45 percent. He estimated the changes could save 15,000 person-hours annually and cut postage costs by more than $2,600.

“We were really pleased about how the team members got involved in the process and how they felt a part of it,” said Jennifer Starling, dean of Enrollment Management. “I learned a considerable amount about how the entire process works and I found it very, very valuable.”

Schutt said the team aspect is what makes Six Sigma and Lean Manufacturing powerful. The ideas and enthusiasm comes from within rather than from outside the institution.

“Anything that comes out of process comes from the team,” Schutt said. “The improvements are their ideas and what they want to see done. They’re figuring out how to do it better themselves.”

Northeast State President Dr. Janice Gilliam said she was pleased by the results and hopes to use the Six Sigma and Lean Manufacturing processes to evaluate other service areas of the College.

“The financial aid staff works very hard and we expect these results will reduce the office’s workload and boost efficiency to make the application process a better and more streamlined experience for students,” Gilliam said.


Workforce Solutions offers three Excel classes this spring

The Workforce Solutions department at Northeast State Community College will present this spring three workshops teaching the Microsoft Excel 2010 program.  All three workshops will be taught at the Northeast State at Elizabethton teaching site.

Basic Excel introduces students to the basics of Microsoft’s Excel 2010 program. Students learn how to create and work spreadsheets. Topics taught including how to enter data, modifying spreadsheets, managing large workbooks, using graphic and formatting books. The workshop meets March 9, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.  The workshop will be held in Room E118 of the Northeast State at Elizabethton.  Course fee is $110 per participant.  The priority registration date is Feb. 29. 

Intermediate Excel continues instruction from the basic program. Participants learn how to use worksheets and workbooks, advanced formatting, tables, cell and range names, advanced charting, documenting and auditing tools and PivotTable and PivotCharts. The workshop meets March 30, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.  The class will be held in Room E118.  Course fee is $110 per participant.  The priority registration date is March 16. 

Advanced Excel teaches the advanced features of the Excel 2010 program.  This workshop explains use of financial data functions, data tables, list management, exporting and importing data, analytical options, and macros and other custom functions. This workshop meets April 13, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.  The class will be held in Room E118.  Course fee is $110 per participant.  The priority registration date is March 30. 

Northeast State at Elizabethton is located at 386 Highway 91, across from the Elizabethton Municipal Airport.  Make reservations now by contacting Cindy Tauscher at 423.354.2570 or e-mailcmtauscher@NortheastState.edu.


Pal Barger Regional Center for Automotive Programs holds grand opening

Shining like a new penny, the Pal Barger Regional Center for Automotive Programs was unveiled Feb. 23 during a grand opening hosted by Northeast State and the Kingsport Area Chamber of Commerce.

“It’s truly an honor to be here today – these are the fun days when we get to celebrate,” said Dr. Janice H. Gilliam, Northeast State president. “We’re excited about this building and program and the support we’ve received from the City of Kingsport, Mayor Dennis Phillips, and Pal Barger – look what we’ve done together.”

The downtown Kingsport building is located at 337 W. Center St. and formerly housed the Free Service Tire Company. Northeast State Foundation purchased the building with a $400,000 donation from Kingsport executive Pal Barger. The foundation received another $25,000 worth of shop equipment from Dennis Powell for the facility.

The facility has two classrooms, two offices, 14 workstations, four virtual paint stations, and a large shop area. A state-of-the-art paint booth is scheduled for installation in the near future.

Gilliam said the cost for renovation is nearing $1.2 million, with nearly $750,000 targeted for state-of-the art auto body-related equipment, paint booth and setup, furniture, computer labs, multimedia classroom equipment, and information technology.  

“I couldn’t imagine the facility being any better than this,” said Pal Barger, founder of the Pal’s Sudden Service restaurant chain. “It’s going to be a real asset to downtown and the community as whole.”

Barger said the auto body program mirrored his own philosophy of education and training where human capital is valued above buildings and equipment.

“A lot of companies will invest in real estate and buildings and not invest in people,” Barger said. “I’m a real believer in training people.”

The center houses the auto body service technology certificate program, which trains students how to repair and rebuild auto bodies involved in accidents and collisions. Students receive state-of-the-art training in areas such as welding, metal fabrication, refinishing, auto painting, and repair estimation. Eventually, the College will offer a two-year degree in auto body service technology.

A crowd of more than 150 was treated to virtual painter demonstrations where individuals could try their skills at painting a car door. The virtual paint station – an example of the facility’s cutting-edge technology - produces a realistic setting that allow students to practice techniques and muscle and joint movements that produce ideal paint coverage and thickness on a finished vehicle surface.

“It’s always nice when you can take an old building, refurbish it, and recycle it for another use, and this is perfect,” said Dwight Ferguson, chair of the Northeast State Foundation. “This building is going to be a real attribute for the community…and it’s going to be of benefit to all the students that go through here. The Foundation is just happy in being able to assist in getting this done.”

The building is the fifth facility housing programs and services for Northeast State a Kingsport. A number of other programs and services are offered through the Kingsport Center for Higher Education, the Regional Center for Advanced Manufacturing, the Regional Center for Health Professions, and the Regional Center for Applied Technology.

“This is one of the most beautiful buildings I’ve been in – it’s amazing what has been done. If anyone hasn’t had the opportunity to visit the facility please do,” said Kingsport Mayor Dennis Phillips. “I can’t say enough about Pal, Northeast State, Dr. Gilliam, and all the people that made this happen. It was done correctly and that’s really important. If you’re going to do it – do it right - and this has been done right."

Students interested in admission to the Auto Body Service Technology program may contact the Office of Admissions and Records at 800.836.7822 or e-mail admissions@NortheastState.edu.


Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver play Northeast State March 10

Bluegrass legend Doyle Lawson and his band Quicksilver perform at the Wellmont Regional Center for the Performing Arts of Northeast State Community College at 7 p.m. on March 10.

Lawson and Quicksilver embarked on the second leg of their benchmark Children’s Hospital and Arena Tour earlier this year. The tour combines National Anthem performances at major sporting arenas with Children’s Hospital visits in the same cities or regions

Over his 40-year career in music, Doyle Lawson – singer, multi-instrumentalist, and bandleader – has become one of the most respected names in bluegrass. Lawson’s name has been synonymous with high-octane acoustic bluegrass music. DLQ burst onto the national spotlight in 1996 when their album, There’s a Light Guiding Me earned a Grammy Award for Best Bluegrass Album. They went on to receive three more Grammy nominations in the Best Bluegrass Album category.

Lawson, winner of the National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellowship, has garnered no less than 14 International Bluegrass Music Awards and four Grammy nominations. The band also earned four previous Dove Award nominations for the Best Bluegrass Gospel Album and Best Bluegrass Gospel Song awards for their 2008 release, Help Is on the Way.

DLQ won several awards from the International Bluegrass Music Association, winning Vocal Group of the Year six consecutive years from 2001-2007. The Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music in America has honored the group with numerous awards for albums and recorded gospel songs. The Gospel Music Association honored DLQ again in 2011 with a Dove Award nomination for Bluegrass Album of the Year.

Lawson began playing the mandolin at age 12 and picked up the guitar and banjo soon thereafter.  His prowess got him noticed quickly. He went on to play with bluegrass innovators Jimmy Martin and J.D. Crowe before joining his first band, The Country Gentlemen.

He founded Quicksilver in 1979 and began a decade-long rise as one of the genre’s most popular and critically praised artists. Although the lineup has changed many times over the years, the DLQ sound remains true to its founder’s intentions.

Advance tickets are $20 each and can be purchased online now at www.NortheastState.edu. For more information call the Northeast State Box Office at 423.354.5173.


Northeast State named top blood drive sponsor among area colleges

Northeast State Community College was named top blood drive sponsor among area colleges recently at the Marsh Regional Blood Center’s annual awards luncheon.

In 2011, the College collected 363 units in five drives on the Blountville campus, two drives at Northeast State at Kingsport, and one drive at Northeast State at Elizabethton. Other top schools included the University of Virginia’s College at Wise with 292 units and Mountain Empire Community College with 273 units.

“We are very honored to named as a top sponsor,” said Sue Robertson, nurse at the College’s Student Health Clinic. “The faculty, staff, and students are always supportive of blood drives and we thank them for their caring and commitment.”

Robertson said spring blood drives are slated March 28 on the Blountville campus and at Northeast State at Kingsport.

Marsh Regional Blood Center has been the largest hometown supplier of blood and blood products in Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia for more than 60 years. Since establishing the region’s first independent blood bank in Kingsport, Tenn., in 1947, the mission of Marsh Regional has been to collect and maintain blood supplies to meet local needs. Through generous support from thousands of our family members, friends and neighbors, Marsh Regional has grown steadily and today supplies 22 medical facilities.


Educate and Grow applications now being accepted

High school seniors graduating this spring can submit an Educate and Grow Scholarship application now to Northeast State.

High school seniors – including home-schooled students – residing in Carter, Johnson, Sullivan, Unicoi, and Washington counties are eligible to apply for Educate and Grow. A student can download an application at www.educateandgrow.com. The deadline to submit an application is March 31.

An eligible applicant must be a high school senior graduating this spring and have a custodial parent or court-appointed legal guardian who has resided within their county of residence for 12 months prior to the applicant's high school graduation date. An applicant must enroll at Northeast State as a degree-seeking student for the 2012 fall semester.

Educate and Grow Scholarship Program criteria require completion of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) annually as part of the application process. Students may access FAFSA (www.fafsa.gov) on the "Financial Aid" link at www.NortheastState.edu. Contact the College's office of Financial Aid at 423.323.0252 with questions about FAFSA.

Applications can also be picked up at Northeast State sites in Blountville, Kingsport, and Elizabethton.

Scholarship award amounts depend on the number of students in the program and the availability of funds. Completed applications must be submitted in person at the office of Scholarship Programs, F100 of the Faculty Building at the main campus, 2425 Highway 75, adjacent to Tri-Cities Regional Airport.

For more information, contact the office for Scholarship Programs at 423.354.2507 or e-mail ecblevins@NortheastState.edu.


Northeast State students named to All-Tennessee Academic Team

Northeast State students Brittany Thomas and Kelly Stapleton have been named to the All-Tennessee Community College Academic Team of the Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society.

Thomas is a Pre-Nursing major at Northeast State where she is the president of the College’s Alpha Iota Chi chapter of Phi Theta Kappa.  She plans on transferring to David Lipscomb University in hopes of obtaining a bachelor’s of Nursing degree and joining the United States Air Force as a neonatal nurse.  Her ultimate goal is to become a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner, so that she can help care for premature newborns like herself.

Stapleton is a Pre-Teacher Education Major.  She is the president of the Northeast State Scholars Foundation and Student Tennessee Education Association.  Ultimately, she wants to earn a master’s in Elementary Counseling and become an elementary school teacher or counselor and give back the love and support that has been given to her as a student.

The All-Tennessee Community College Academic Team is sponsored by Phi Theta Kappa, “USA Today”, and the American Association of Community Colleges as part of the All-USA Community College Academic Team selection process.   State team members are nominees for the All-USA team which will be announced at PTK’s national convention held in April.  All-Tennessee team members are eligible to receive scholarships from each of the six universities in the Tennessee Board of Regents system if they choose to enroll.

Phi Theta Kappa has recognized academic excellence in the two-year college with more than two million students inducted since the society’s founding in 1918.


Grand Opening set for Pal Barger Regional Center for Automotive Programs

Northeast State will host a grand opening for its Pal Barger Regional Center for Automotive Programs Feb. 23 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

The downtown Kingsport building is located at 337 W. Center St. and formerly housed the Free Service Tire Company. Northeast State Foundation purchased the building with a $400,000 donation from Kingsport executive Pal Barger. The foundation received another $25,000 worth of shop equipment from Dennis Powell for the facility.

The center houses the auto body service technology certificate program, which trains students how to repair and rebuild auto bodies involved in accidents and collisions. Students receive state-of-the-art training in areas such as welding, metal fabrication, refinishing, auto painting, and repair estimation. Eventually, the College will offer a two-year degree in auto body service technology.

The facility has two classrooms, two offices, 14 workstations, four virtual paint stations, and a large shop area. A state-of-the-art paint booth is tentatively scheduled for installation in the next two weeks.

The building is the fifth facility housing programs and services for Northeast State a Kingsport. A number of other programs and services are offered through the Kingsport Center for Higher Education, the Regional Center for Advanced Manufacturing, the Regional Center for Health Professions, and the Regional Center for Applied Technology.

Students interested in admission to the Auto Body Service Technology program may contact the Office of Admissions and Records at 800.836.7822 or e-mail admissions@NortheastState.edu.

For more information about the grand opening, contact Heather Cook, executive director of the Northeast State Foundation at hjcook@NortheastState.edu or 423.354.2439.


Echoes and Images winners announced

Winners of the Echoes and Images 22 literature and arts contest have been announced by the Northeast State Humanities Division.  The judges made their decisions, and the winners are listed below.

In the Fiction category, Michelle Goodwin won first place for Sydney Strange, Jon Warden took second place for Cries in the Night, and Shonna Bernard earned third place for Going Home. Honorable Mention went to Rune’s Destiny by Kelly Tolley and Keys by Haley Manis.

In the Non-fiction category, Michael Burkey’s work Cleaning House took first place.  Sherry Keeler’s The Letters won second, and Insanity of Love by Joseph Safis received third place. The Luckiest Man by Chris Bennett received an honorable mention nod.

Ethan McCasland’s poem Nerd Love won first place in the Poetry category. The Pentecostal Get-down by Justin Roberts received second place, and My Mother’s Quilt by Matthew L.A. Gilbert won third.  Poetry honorable mention notices were awarded to:  Fixing It by Shonna Bernard; Goodbye by Cassandra Walls; Christmas ’95 by Michelle Goodwin; Between the Veils of Heaven and Hell by Matthew L.A. Gilbert; and Pink Bikini by Kimberly James.

In the Visual Art category, Leslie Arnold won first place for The Wonder, a collage done in ink and acrylic.  T.J. Laws earned second place for his Plague Mask created with tempera. Third place went to Daniel Neubrander for his Eyes of Guatemala, a graphite creation on vellum. Receiving honorable mention notices were A Still Life for Cézanne, a watercolor also done by Leslie Arnold and The Carpenter, a black and white photograph by Justin R. Price.

Other Visual Art finalists were: American Kestrel, done in tempera; and Portrait of a Girl, colored pencil, by Phyllis Salling; Mellifluous Origins, tempera and collage; by Erica Green;  Pink Iris, watercolor and ink, by Rose Potter;  Over the Lake and Through the Woods, digital photography, by Skylar Manis;  Still Life with Hanging Cow Skull and Bookcase, pencil, by Leslie “Maria Pilar” Arnold;and The Future Isn’t What It Used To Be, collage, Cayston K. Shulters.

First, second, and third place winners in all categories will be published in the magazine this spring. Other winning entries will be published as space permits. Visual art winners may pick up their entries at the end of the semester. Other artwork can be picked up this week in Dr. Christal Hensley’s office, room H120 of the Locke Humanities Building.


Northeast State debuts STEM vehicle at Crockett High School

Northeast State unveiled its new Regional Center for Advanced Manufacturing STEM vehicle Feb. 9 at David Crockett High School wowing students and teachers with an array of educational tools designed to improve how students learn science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

The RCAM STEM Mobile Outreach vehicle is an initiative of the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership (AMP).

“The RACM STEM Mobile Outreach vehicle is a way for us to educate students on exciting careers in technology and showcase STEM related education and how it applies in real life,” said Jeff Frazier, director of Training and Development at RCAM.

AMP is a public/private partnership made up of representatives from industry, education, and government addressing the skilled labor pipeline in the northeast Tennessee region. Major partners include: City of Kingsport, Domtar Paper Company, Eastman Chemical Company, Kingsport Chamber of Commerce, and Northeast State.

One of the key initiatives of the AMP is to reach out to students and educate them on career options in technology and careers involving science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Funding for the project was provided by the State of Tennessee through the Office of Economic and Community Development.

“The purpose of the vehicle is to expose students and the public to the possibilities at Northeast State and the need for STEM field workforce opportunities,” said Matt DeLozier, dean of Early Colleges and STEM at the College. “The model is in its piloting stage as Northeast State considers developing an even bigger and better mobile unit to serve as a regional resource for STEM recruitment as well as a resource to assist K-12 schools in the delivery of STEM content at their locations.”

Northeast State exhibited four separate technologies: a virtual auto painter, a virtual welder, a thermal camera, and a laser measurement device. College faculty and staff members treated David Crockett students from collision repair, welding, machine shop, and auto repair classes to brief explanations of the technology and then invited the students to test out the devices for themselves.

“That machine is very interesting,” said a Crockett junior after a go at the virtual painter. “It’s very in tune and high tech. It was realistic and I’d rate it about a 10 - it made me feel like I was actually in a paint booth with my respirator on and the sprayer in my hand.”

Wearing what looks like a welding helmet and wielding a hand-held device, a student makes sweeping motions in front of a sensor while an image changes color on a nearby computer screen. After painting a hood, fender, or other part, students and instructors may view the work from 360 degrees, inspect defects, and evaluate paint coverage, thickness, and amount used.

The virtual welder uses similar technology and students are able to hone their skills by welding two virtual joints. A computer provides instant feedback on arc length, work angle, travel angle, and travel speed.

With a glance, students can tell how well they did and then get back to work on refining their techniques. Both devices mean more hands-on practice time for students, making them better painters and welders in a shorter period of time – plus the devices do not consume resources such as welding rods or paint.

Northeast State personnel also demonstrated a thermal camera that detects problems within mechanical and electrical components. For example, the camera can “see” electrical wiring in machinery and alert workers to possible overloads or shorts to reduce troubleshooting time and effect quicker repairs.

Students also observed a state-of-the-art portable laser scanner that allows for the easy imaging of objects for production, quality control, and reverse engineering processes. For example, the device allows a user to scan a part prototype and feed the CAD drawing data into a software program, which tells milling machines exactly how to recreate the part. Utilizing Perkins IV grant dollars to purchase the $64,325 Faro Arm, the device reduces measurement procedures from 24 to 48 hours down to about 20 minutes.

Crockett collision repair teacher Rick Freeman set the visit up with Gary Lee, director of the College’s High School Transition program. Lee said Freeman recently attended a demonstration of the virtual painter and expressed interest in making his students aware of new technologies and career opportunities in collision repair.

“I’m impressed. The students are really watching and interested,” Freeman said. “Kids like to go to school and stay close to home – and it’s great that Northeast State can offer those opportunities. Plus, I’m always telling students they need a plan after they graduate. If you have a trade, it can’t be taken away from you. It’s a good way to make a living and become responsible.”

Lee also provided information on admissions, academic programs, financial aid, and other areas to help students understand how to move seamlessly from high school to college.

Other Northeast State faculty and staff that visited Crockett High School included James Peavey, instructor of Advanced Technologies; Ernie Morelock, instructor of automotive service technology; Ron Broadwater, curriculum developer; and Jeff Frazier, director of training and development at Northeast State’s Regional Center for Advanced Manufacturing. Cora Thompson, an industrial drafting design major at Northeast State, also attended.

Morelock demonstrated the virtual painter, Peavey exhibited the laser scanner, Broadwater demonstrated the virtual welder, and Frazier transported all STEM equipment to Crockett from the RCAM and demonstrated the thermal camera.

Northeast State Regional Center for Advanced Manufacturing is part of Northeast State at Kingsport and it located at 305 W. Main St. in downtown Kingsport. For more information about the facility, visit www.manufacturingfuture.net. 

For more information about scheduling a STEM mobile unit visit, contact Matt DeLozier at 423.354.5166 or e-mail jmdelozier@northeaststate.edu.


Northeast State enjoys strong response at Johnson City Mall Career Fair

Representatives from Northeast State Community College engaged scores of people seeking to learn about higher education and trending careers during a Career Fair held at the Johnson City Mall on Thursday.

The Career Fair hosted several regional employers that met with high school students and non-traditional students seeking to expand their opportunities in the regional workforce. Wellmont Health Systems, Holston Medical Group, Eastman Chemical Company, A.O. Smith, Nuclear Fuel Services, the armed forces, and Sullivan County Sheriff’s Department were among the institutions represented.

The fair staged a mock interview process demonstrating the best, and worst, ways to win over prospective employers at a job interview. The fair also included a dress for success fashion show, a workshop on how to write a strong resume, and a session on how social media can expand professional opportunities.

Representatives from the College’s offices of Career Services and Enrollment Services were on hand to provide information about Northeast State to attendees. The College’s virtual reality paint simulator also proved to be a big hit with fair attendees. The simulator functions as a cutting-edge teaching tool for the College’s new Auto Body Service Technology Certificate program.

Participants were also treated to a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) demonstration by Northeast State Professor Dr. Mark Pollock. Northeast State and Dobyns-Bennett High School partnered to pilot a STEM program this fall. The program encourages students to pursue degrees in the sciences, technologies, engineering or math.

For more information, contact Marquita Tittle, coordinator of Career Services, at 423.354.5160 or mbtittle@NortheastState.edu. 


NE State at Elizabethton hosts RAD self-defense course

A free course designed to give women the basic tools of self-defense and confidence to use them begins this month at the Northeast State at Elizabethton site.

Women can learn the art of self-defense and survival through the Rape Aggression Defense (R.A.D) course offered at the Elizabethton site, Room E-100 on Feb. 15, 22, and 29 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

The R.A.D. System is a comprehensive, women-only course that teaches awareness, prevention, risk reduction and risk avoidance, while progressing on to the basics of hands-on defense training. The course includes lecture, discussion and self-defense techniques, suitable for women of all ages and abilities.

The R.A.D. program was developed through the contributions of instructors across the United States and Canada. More than 250,000 women have attended a R.A.D. Basic Physical Defense course. Northeast State at Elizabethton is located at 386 Highway 91 across from the Elizabethton Municipal Airport.

The course is free to women ages 13 years and older. Registration is required. To register or learn more, contact 423.279.3694 or ffcanedo@NortheastState.edu 


Emma Morris brings message of change to Northeast State

Click here to view the presentation.

Emma Morris, head of the Atlanta-based Morris Group, spoke Feb. 4 on managing change highlighting the three phases of change needed to produce positive results in an organization. She spoke to two groups, one as part of Northeast State’s Targeted Leadership Development Program, and a second to the College and Community participants as one of many future professional development seminars.

Morris noted that successful change in an organization flows on an S curve and includes four milestones: forming, storming, norming, and performing (or transforming).

Forming is the stage when a group of individuals comes together, storming is when individuals in a group learn to work with one another, and norming is where the group agrees on a common goal and starts to work as a team. Finally, once a group proceeds through those, then they can perform at a much higher level of productivity achieving the fourth stage – termed performing/transforming. Morris calls these groups “change-hardy” because they are able to manage and accept change no matter what happens.

Morris said any organization involved in a major change with respect to leadership will see a dip in morale, productivity, commitment. Without managed transition, she said these things will continue to decline until the organization is dysfunctional or out of business.

“Your job as a leader is to make this dip as narrow and shallow as possible,” Morris said. “It will happen, but the sooner you get through it the better. In six to nine months, you will be successful and may even raise performance. If you don’t do it, that usually means…you’ll settle at some lower level of minimum expectation or performance.”

Morris said all individuals experience three phases during change: ending, exploration, and beginning. Ending might involve denial, anger, and anxiety. Exploration involves transition, which may include confusion, stress, and conflict. Beginning is a reconciliation that brings enthusiasm, trust, and acceptance.

It’s important to take the frustrated, negative energy and make it into something that you can make work – that’s when you can start on the journey of new beginnings,” Morris said. “You have to reconcile that the past is past, reorient yourself, and recommit to the new beginning.”

She said about 80 percent of people generally make it through a major transition; however, organizations often spend an inordinate amount of time and resources on late adapters or those that seek the status quo instead of moving ahead with early adapters. Precious human resources may be lost because of this strategy, Morris said.

“In a time of major change, the first people you need to reengage are the people that are ready to go – the ones that are already in the new beginnings,” Morris said. “They will bring the next layer along, the middle adapters, and the late adapters; and that will be your critical mass and you can move the organization forward.”

To speed change along, Morris said people need empathy, validation, and information to move through upheaval toward, communication, structure, participation, and alignment.

“It’s just a matter of meeting them where they are and engaging them with type and amount of data they need,” Morris said. “Help them to develop the plan that will support your business and move it forward. Be sure to build relationships as well.

“Then you can build a team around the vision and the relationships you’ve created. At that point, people will begin to own the mission of the new situation – and once it’s theirs, they’ll run with it.”

Morris has held executive level positions with IBM, Ernst & Whinney, Dun & Bradstreet Software, and served as founding CEO for three technology companies subsequently acquired by global firms.

An expert on rapid growth, merger integration, and corporate change, Morris graduated cum laude from Emory University and earned an M.B.A. in international marketing from the University of South Carolina. She serves on numerous for-profit and not-for-profit boards.

Emma's passion is advising and coaching executives to become phenomenal leaders and growers of leaders throughout their organizations. She believes people are the life and future of the organization and that every generation has much to learn from those ahead and behind of them.


Workforce Solutions presents 12 business seminars

Workforce Solutions at Northeast State announces a series of 12 upcoming business management seminars ideal for any business owners or managers. Workforce Solutions is providing a special offer that invites participants to sign-up for all 12 seminars by Feb. 24 and pay only $950 – a savings of over $600.

These seminars are paced throughout the next year. Each seminar focuses on elements critical to 21st-century business development and success.

Six Steps to a Successful Business: Business owners and managers will benefit from this workshop’s overview of a great business model to help the owner/manager gain control of the business. Feb. 17, from 8 a.m. to noon in Room L106 of Basler Library at the main campus in Blountville.  Course fee is $129.  Priority registration is Feb. 13.

How to Create a Powerful Business Plan: The workshop takes business pros through a process of evaluating the successes and failures you have had in the past, establishing long-range goals for your company, and preparing a 90-day plan to for your company. March 16, 8 a.m. to 12 noon, Basler L106. Course fee, $129.  Priority registration is March 12.

The Power of Personal Brand: Personal Branding is a process and knowing your brand is critical to your sustainable success. You cannot focus on everything and be effective. Your compass is constructed with many components – your values, your strengths – and your Brand is the needle on the face.  The class meets April 20, 8 a.m. to 12 noon, L106 of Basler Library. Course fee, $129.  Priority registration is April 16.

Business Finance: Profit and Loss Statements, Balance Sheet and How to Use Them: This workshop presents the basics of the financial tools used to run and operate a business. May 18, 8 a.m. to 12 noon, Basler L106. Course fee, $129.  Priority registration is March 14.

Time Management: Learn how to get more time to pursue the most meaningful and important areas of life such as spending time with the family. June 15, 8 a.m. to 12 noon, Basler L106. Course fee, $129.  Priority registration is June 11.

Values Consciousness – The Power of Who You Are: Instructor Jeff Brunson has perfected the Values Cycle™ for use in helping leaders leverage their strengths in growth, development, and performance.  July 20, 8 a.m. to 12 noon, Basler L106. Course fee, $129.  Priority registration is July 16.

Marketing and How to Grow Your Business:  This workshop delves into marketing your business through a procedural approach.  Aug. 17, 8 a.m. to 12 noon, Basler L106. Course fee, $129.  Priority registration is Aug. 13.

Website Development: The World Wide Web continues to provide a wealth of resources to consumers and business owners. Sept. 21, 8 a.m. to 12 noon, Basler L106. Course fee, $129.  Priority registration is Sept. 17.

Social Media Marketing: The power of social media: the good, the bad, and the ugly. Oct. 19, 8 a.m. to 12 noon, Basler L106. Course fee, $129.  Priority registration is Oct. 15.

Selling and Customer Service: Did you know that 68 percent of customers stop buying from their vendor because of “perceived indifference”? Not price or delivery. Nov. 16, 8 a.m. to 12 noon, Basler L106. Course fee, $129.  Priority registration is Nov. 12.

Business Systems: This workshop explains how to systematize routine functions for business owners to concentrate on operations. Dec. 14, 8 a.m. to 12 noon, Basler L106. Course fee, $129.  Priority registration is Dec. 10.

Team Management: How to hire the best people and how to keep them.  The class meets Jan. 18, 2013, 8 a.m. to 12 noon, Basler L106. Course fee, $129.  Priority registration is Jan. 14.

Register by contacting Cindy Tauscher at 423.354.2570 or cmtauscher@NortheastState.edu.


Noted leadership expert lectures at Northeast State

Click here to view the presentation.

Northeast State’s Targeted Leadership Development Program hosted noted leadership scholar Dr. George Baker III Feb. 3, receiving an overview of leadership theory and application for community colleges. Baker, Joseph D. Moore Distinguished University Professor Emeritus for Community College Leadership at North Carolina State University, also lectured to the College’s staff and faculty later in the day.

Baker, an advocate of experiential learning, said leaders must not only possess knowledge and understanding of performance goals, but also understand how to apply theory to solve problems and achieve those goals. Baker also noted that leaders must possess the ability to motivate employees so they will accept and commit to the values of an organization and become team players.

"Leadership is the key element in any modern organization. It is organizations that drive the way we live and provide the future for our children," Dr. Baker said. "And experiential learning is the key concept in producing effective leaders of organizations."

Baker listed these attributes of experiential learning:  diagnostic skills, hands-on experience, communication skills, application of theory in diagnostic and decision-making processes, and persuasion skills.

Baker praised the community college model, which is based on experiential learning. He related his own experiences in the late 1940s at Warren Wilson Vocational Junior College and Associated Schools where students studied half a day and worked half a day.

"I never saw any other experience like that at Warren Wilson in my life – that's the community college model," Dr. Baker said. "The link between education and work is why I'm in love with community colleges. They meet you where you are and take you as far as you can go."

Dr. Baker has received several awards for his research, teaching, service, and national leadership in the community college movement, including awards from governors of Kentucky, Mississippi, and Texas for contributions to education, as well as many more.

Dr. Baker served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1955 to 1976, rising to the rank of lieutenant colonel. While in the Marine Corps, he commanded several units both in peacetime and during combat in Vietnam. Dr. Baker was awarded the Purple Heart and received 11 personal decorations, including two awards for valor. In 1966, President Lyndon B. Johnson selected Dr. Baker was selected to serve on his military staff.

Since 1970, Dr. Baker has made keynote speeches or presentations for many universities, colleges, public school districts, chambers of commerce, private corporations, hospital organizations, and national, state, and local organizations. Dr. Baker has also authored or co-authored more than 250 books, monographs, chapters, journal articles, and technical reports.


Northeast State hosts open house Feb. 16

Curious about what awaits you at college? Get the basics and some inside information at an open house event hosted by Northeast State Community College on Tuesday, Feb. 16 from 6 – 8 p.m. at the Blountville campus, adjacent to Tri-Cities Regional Airport.

Sponsored by Northeast State’s office of Enrollment Services and Campus Information, the open house highlights the College’s academic programs, student activities and support programs, financial aid, scholarships and applying for admission.

Attendees will check in at 6 p.m. in the William W. Locke Humanities Building and enjoy a variety of learning sessions. Staff and faculty will conduct three sessions at 6:15, 6:45, and 7:15 p.m. describing the academic opportunities in the Advanced Technologies, Business Technologies, University Parallel (transfer majors) and dual enrollment programs. Staff will also present sessions detailing financial aid and scholarship opportunities available at Northeast State.

The open house also features a Student Services Fair where attendees can speak with representatives of various student service offices.

To attend the open house, please make a reservation by calling the office of Enrollment Services at 423.323.0243, e-mail CollegeAnswers@NortheastState.edu or visit www.NortheastState.edu. Reservations are recommended, but walk-in visits are most welcome.

If e-mailing a reservation, please include the student’s name, mailing address, high school/college, year in high school/college, and number of people in his or her group. For more information, contact Admissions at 423.323.0243 or CollegeAnswers@NortheastState.edu.


Southwest Virginia author to lecture at Basler Library

Southwest Virginia author Rebecca Elswick will lecture at Northeast State’s Basler Library Feb. 28 at 1:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. in Room L106.

Elswick recently published her first novel, Mama’s Shoes, a tale of love, despair, and forgiveness that weaves a spell of mountain lore and secrets, defines family as more than blood kin, and proves that second chances can bring happiness.

Writing to inspire women, Elswick hopes readers will “see than the small things in life, like getting your hair done at the beauty shop, can make the difficulties of day-to-day life bearable.” With Mama’s Shoes, Elswick shares an uplifting story, showing women that, with a little hard work, dreams can come true.

Amy Greene, author of Bloodroot said, “In Mama’s Shoes…Elswick weaves an intriguing tale of buried secrets, at times both haunting and humorous, with a cast of strong Southern women so real that I could almost hear them speaking to me."

Elswick is a child of Appalachia, born and raised in the coalfields of Southwest Virginia where she lives today with her husband and three children and, at last count, four dogs. She teaches creative writing, and photojournalism, and is a teacher consultant for the Appalachian Writing Project at the University of Virginia’s College at Wise.

Her work has appeared in numerous periodicals and anthologies. In 2010, she won first and third place in the Appalachian Author Guild’s short story contest. In 2011, she was the first place recipient of the Sherwood Anderson Short Story Contest.

The Basler Library is located at 2425 Highway 75, Blountville, adjacent to the Tri-Cities Regional Airport. For more information, contact Chrissie Anderson Peters at 423.354.2463 or by e-mail atcapeters@NortheastState.edu.


Northeast State hosts MATHCOUNTS Feb. 4

Tomorrow’s generation of engineers and scientists will put their math skills to the test when Northeast State Community College hosts the regional MATHCOUNTS competition on Saturday, Feb. 4, from 7 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the College’s main campus in Blountville.

MATHCOUNTS is a national math competition for middle school students. Those students who win at the local level proceed to state competitions held in Nashville next month. Tennessee’s top four Mathletes® and top coach earn the right to represent their state at the national level.

The competition features four rounds of competition in both individual and team categories. Teams will work together to complete math problems.  In individual competition events, students will be quizzed on their math knowledge. The final round will be followed by an awards ceremony where the top team and individuals are recognized.

Competition sites will be staged in the College’s auditorium, the faculty/staff/guest dining room (A110), the courtyard & overflow area, and auditorium classrooms (A101, A103, A103). 

More than 500,000 students take part in the MATHCOUNTS competition each year. The ESPN2 sports network has broadcast past MATHCOUNTS competitions. Founding sponsors of MATHCOUNTS in addition to the NSPE are the CNA Foundation, and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.

For more information, contact Dr. Mark Pollock at 423.354.2506 or e-mail him at mapollock@NortheastState.edu.


Northeast State theatre students earn Kennedy Center nominations

When the curtain went up last fall on the Northeast State Community College Theater Department’s production of Oedipus Rex, the cast and crew wowed audiences with a display of light and sound that gave ancient Greek drama a postmodern panache.

But did the students’ efforts translate the director’s vision to the stage?

“It didn’t meet my expectations, it exceeded them,” said Oedipus director Brad McKenzie. “Everyone was really surprised that a theater department at the community college level pulled this production off.”

As the play’s director and technical director, McKenzie’s vision came to life with the students’ creative talents and technical capabilities.  Their work impressed theater patrons and professionals alike.

The production earned several students nominations for their work in the Region IV Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival competition that opens this week at Daytona State College in Daytona Beach, Fla.  Those students will be competing against theater programs – most representing four-year institutions – from across the Southeast.

Student Adam Honeycutt’s creations of chorus whispers and foreboding sounds earned him a nomination for Sound Design.  Honeycutt used a digital recorder to capture sounds used in Oedipus. The audio clips came from both cast members and random effects which were converted into sound effects.  The dark and sometimes nightmarish tracks added considerable depth to the production.

“I put a lot work into it, and it is gratifying to know someone else sees that,” said Honeycutt, a double major in Theater and Secondary Education.  “The competition lets us be immersed in theater for seven days.  It is going to be awesome.”

Fellow student Richard Curtis earned a Barbizon Scenic Design nomination for his design of the character masks used in Oedipus.  The detailed masks framed each character from Oedipus and Jocasta to the plague-ravaged supplicants of Thebes. A few gasps were heard from the audience on opening night when the characters revealed themselves on stage.

“Honestly, I felt relief,” said Curtis upon seeing his creations on opening night.  “I put so much work into it I was relieved because the production’s parts worked together so well.”

Make-up artist Derek Smithpeters earned two nominations: an Alcone Makeup Design nod and an Irene Ryan acting nomination for his role as Choragos. 

A proctor from Region IV took in a performance of Oedipus during its fall run. The production’s quality was graded and then considered for nominations to the regional competition. The festival gives each nominee display space to exhibit his or her work. Judges review the nominee’s work as it fits in the overall production.

McKenzie and theater program director Elizabeth Sloan spent several days preparing student nominees for the competition.  Each nominee can go through up to three rounds of judging.  The number of judges grows exponentially for each round of the competition. 

“I’ve been touched by the support from our campus,” said Sloan. “I feel very blessed that we work at a school where everyone recognizes what a big deal this is for the students and our department.”

A Northeast State alumnus and adjunct faculty member, McKenzie knows the festival well. He won the Region IV Barbizon Lighting Design award in 2010 and went on to compete in the national Kennedy Center Theater festival. 

“Brad’s a master designer, and he expects you to bring a sense of creativity in what you bring to your job in technical work,” said Honeycutt.

The Northeast State Foundation provided funds for the students to travel to the festival.  McKenzie said he’s more anxious and excited for his students than when his work was being judged.

“I can’t sing their praises enough, and I think Northeast State is going to have a really strong first showing at the regional competition,” said McKenzie.  “It has helped set a very high standard for the future.” 


Step Afrika! performs at Northeast State Feb. 17

Northeast State Community College welcomes the extraordinary dance company Step Afrika! to campus Feb. 17 for a night of traditional African step dancing.

The free performance begins at 7 p.m. in the Wellmont Regional Center for the Performing Arts at the main campus, 2425 Highway 75, adjacent to Tri-Cities Regional Airport. Step Afrika! is the only professional dance company in the world dedicated to the tradition of stepping. The company is critically acclaimed for its efforts to promote an understanding of and appreciation for stepping and the tradition's use as an educational tool worldwide.

Founded in 1994 by current Executive Director C. Brian Williams, Step Afrika! began as a cross-cultural exchange program with the Soweto Dance Theatre of Johannesburg, South Africa.

As a young graduate of Howard University in 1991, Brian traveled to southern Africa through the late Rev. Leon Sullivan's International Foundation for Education and SelfHelp (IFESH). While in Africa, Williams came across the South African gumboot dance — an art form created by mineworkers which greatly resembled the stepping he had learned at Howard University. He later met three members of the Soweto Dance Theatre. Together, they created the Step Afrika! International Cultural Festival the first known attempt to link the people who practice stepping in America with Gumboot dance performers in Africa.

The first festival was held in 1994, just six months after the election of Nelson Mandela as president of a free and Democratic Republic of South Africa. Two years later they launched Step Afrika!'s first program in the USA. Stepping is a unique dance tradition created by African-American college students. In stepping, the body is used as an instrument to create intricate rhythms and sounds through a combination of footsteps, claps and spoken word.

The tradition grew out of the song and dance rituals practiced by historically African-American fraternities and sororities in the early 1900s. Stepping comes from a long and rich tradition in African-based communities using movement, words and sounds to communicate allegiance to a group.

Step Afrika! reaches tens of thousands of Americans each year and has performed on prestigious stages in North and South America, Europe, Africa, Asia and the Caribbean. January of 2000 saw the first production of Step Afrika! at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, as a part of the Imagination Celebration Series. Step Afrika! conducts an annual 50-city tour of American colleges and universities from Maine to Mississippi.

The production is part of Northeast State's commemoration of Black History Month throughout February. The performance is free and open to the public. For more information, contact 423.279.7669 or jpkelly@NortheastState.edu.