KCHE participates in Art in the Heart of Kingsport

The Kingsport Center for Higher Education participates in the Art in the Heart of Kingsport event, May 30 and 31, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Art in the Heart is presented by the city of Kingsport Office of Cultural Arts, Downtown Kingsport Association, and a variety of local art galleries. The two-day event celebrates regional art including a Sculpture Walk reception, Arts Crawl, music and art demonstrations as well as exhibitions by the Symphony of the Mountains, the Kingsport Art Guild, KingsportARTS Youth Programs, Suzuki Talent Education Association, and Kingsport Ballet.

KCHE showcases the works of artist and Northeast State faculty member Russell Blankenship. In addition, KCHE features the sculpture “Interlude” by Wayne Vaughn as one of many sculpture exhibits in downtown area. Blankenship hails from Elizabethton and is a graduate of East Tennessee State University.

“I hope there is a degree of honesty in my work – an honest reflection of my thoughts about the world and my experiences in it,” says Blankenship. “I want the work to tell a story – a story that people can relate to on some level.”

The popular Art Crawl happens tonight. Tickets are $35 and give patrons the opportunity to visit six art galleries located along Broad and Market streets from 5 – 8 p.m. Participating galleries are: Cindy Saadeh Fine Art Gallery; Dirt Werks; Star Trails Downtown Kingsport; Style; Suzanne Barrett Justis Gallery and Studio; and Up Against the Wall Gallery. Tickets are available in person at the city of Kingsport Office of Cultural Arts in Room 224 of the Renaissance Arts Center, 1200 E. Center Street and at the Downtown Kingsport Association, 229 Broad Street.


Editorial: Broken promises for funding make colleges compete

The freeze in Tennessee’s higher education expenditures for next year is disappointing for the public colleges and universities that embraced the state’s new funding formula

Instead of looking for ways to collaborate on efforts to reach Gov. Bill Haslam’s ambitious Drive to 55 campaign, higher education institutions in Tennessee will be tempted to fight each other for dollars and rely even more heavily on student tuition and fees to meet expenses.

The Complete College Tennessee Act was passed in 2010 and has received national attention for its innovative funding formula. The law did away with the longstanding practice of funding campuses based on enrollment and replaced it with a formula based on outcomes such as completed credit hours and graduation rates

During the current fiscal year, the first under the performance-based formula, Haslam fully funded the Tennessee Higher Education Commission’s budget recommendation by devoting an extra $35.5 million to campuses across the state.

The Higher Education Commission recommended a $29.6 million increase for next year, but Haslam proposed only a $9.3 million increase. When revenues came in $260 million under projections, he withdrew all new funding for higher education.

As a result, all the formula accomplishes is a redistribution of dollars among the Board of Regents institutions and the University of Tennessee campuses.
Some campuses will be rewarded for improvements, just as the Complete College Tennessee Act intended.

Austin Peay State University, for example, will see a 3.16 percent increase in state appropriations. The UT campuses will receive increases ranging from 2.19 percent at Knoxville to 3.25 percent at Martin.

Other institutions, however, will see their appropriations cut, even though they showed improvements in the formula’s measurements. The University of Memphis will lose $343,500 instead of gains it would have made under the formula.

Roane State Community College will enjoy the highest jump of all Tennessee institutions at 4.21 percent. The deepest cut in appropriations will be at Southwest Community College — 4.59 percent.

The Tennessee Board of Regents system, which includes universities, community colleges and technical training centers — will lose nearly $5.7 million to the UT system.

“If this budget isn’t an anomaly and becomes practice, it creates an environment where one school’s success may come at another school’s expense,” said Tennessee Board of Regents Chancellor John Morgan.

Haslam’s Drive to 55 initiative, which aims to raise the number of Tennessee adults with post-secondary degrees or certificates to 55 percent by 2025, relies on institutions working together, not squabbling over scraps.

An underfunded appropriations formula, no matter how innovative, is meaningless. If funding does not improve next year, Tennesseans should apply this formula to state leaders: Promises without dollars equal platitudes.


Northeast State graduates 1,127 students

Northeast State Community College celebrated the Class of 2014 on May 12, awarding 1,127 degrees and certificates at commencement exercises.

The event was held at the Mountain States Health Alliance Athletics Center on the East Tennessee State University campus.
Northeast State awarded 12 academic certificates, 199 technical certificates, 387 associate of applied science degrees, 21 associate of arts degrees, 17 associate of science in teaching degrees, and 491 associate of science degrees. A total of 119 students graduated cum laude (3.6 - 3.74 GPA), 80 received magna cum laude distinction (3.75 - 3.89 GPA), and 83 students were summa cum laude (3.9 - 4.0 GPA) graduates.

The Honorable Ron Ramsey, lieutenant governor of Tennessee, delivered the commencement address. Raff was the founding chair of Northeast State’s Foundation.

Ramsey is the first GOP Senate Speaker in Tennessee in 140 years and the first from Sullivan County in more than 100 years. He was elected to his four term as Speaker of the Senate in 2013.

A small business owner, Ramsey started his own surveying company just three years after graduating from East Tennessee State University with a degree in industrial technology. His business has since grown to a real estate and auction company – Ron Ramsey and Associates – a well-respected land company in northeast Tennessee.

During commencement ceremonies, Gilliam recognized the College’s Outstanding Student Award recipient and Distinguished Staff Award recipients.
Nikki Sumner earned the Outstanding Student Award. Sumner is a nursing major, planning to transfer to ETSU in fall 2014. In addition to her position as secretary/treasurer for the Alpha Iota Chi Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, she is the administrative liaison for the Council for Leadership, Advocacy, and Student Success; secretary of the Green's Club; a member of the Northeast State President's Student Advisory Council; and a member of the Scholars Foundation. She graduated summa cum laude with an associate of science degree.

Sumner recently earned the prestigious national Coca-Cola Silver Scholar award, which is based on grades, leadership, activities and most importantly, how students extend their intellectual talents beyond the classroom. A total of 51 students received the honor out of 1,700 nominations.

In addition, Sumner was recently named to the All-Tennessee Academic Team.

Gilliam noted Olivia Orten and Megan Coram who also received national awards. Orten was named a Coca-Cola New Century Scholar and Coram received the Terry O'Banion Student Technology Award.

Mike Collins earned the Distinguished Support Staff Member Award. Collins provides information technology support around campus. He is well-known as a consummate professional and one of the most upbeat people on campus.

Pat Chandler received the Distinguished Administrative/Professional Staff Member Award. Chandler’s dedicated service to Northeast State has long made her one of the most beloved people on campus. She presently works in the Veterans Affairs office advising veterans who have returned to college.

Dr. Brent Lockhart was honored with the Distinguished Faculty Member Award. He is a professor of biology at Northeast State. Lockhart’s numerous nomination letters from students praised his dedication and skill as a professor for helping them succeed in the rigorous science disciplines.


Northeast State pins 2014 Nursing graduates

Northeast State recognized its sixth class of Nursing program graduates at the 2014 Pinning Ceremony held Thursday evening at the Wellmont Regional Center for the Performing Arts on the main campus in Blountville.

The graduating class of 33 students received their nursing pins from the dean of Nursing, Dr. Melessia Webb. Northeast State Nursing graduates for 2014 are: Lori Armstrong; Susan Austin; Jennifer L. Boggs; Stephanie D. Brown; Erin K. Byrd; Amanda G. Canter; Megan C. Carty; Tara J. Casey; Kayla B. Chapman; McKinley K. Clark; Rhonda A. Freeman-Smith; Krista Gray; Janet R. Haun; LaTonya L. Huddleston; Miranda Johnson; Ryan B. Kerrins; Christy C. Krug; Misty M. Lawson; Sherry L. Lell; Lorrie A. Linkous; Isaac J. McMurray; Jessica B. Meredith; Brittany R. Miller; Kylie E. Mims; Mattea D. Moore; Kimberly A. Peret; Eva A. Pickard-Vanzant; Ruth E. Pickstock; Malika C. Richardson; Elizabeth Jo Sensabaugh; Ashley E. Sisk; Tiffany C. Weber; and David J. Woodby.

The pinning ceremony provides a symbolic welcoming of new nurses into the profession. Each graduating student received the Northeast State Nursing pin on his or her white lab coat signifying completion of the associate of applied science degree program.

Malika Richardson received the program’s Outstanding Student Award. Richardson held the top grade point average in the nursing class. Jo Sensabaugh won the Adult Learner of the Year Award. The Community Support Award went to Miranda Johnson. Erin Byrd received the Student Support Award. Student Representative Award winners were Erin Byrd and Kylie Mims.
Northeast State nursing students celebrate their nursing pins.

The nursing students graduating this spring will receive their diplomas on Monday May 12 at the College’s spring commencement ceremony scheduled for 7 p.m. at East Tennessee State University/Mountains State Health Alliance Athletic Center on the campus of ETSU in Johnson City.


June 1 deadline for Access and Diversity Scholarship application

Apply online now through June 1 for the Northeast State Educational Access and Diversity Scholarship that provides financial assistance to Tennessee residents.

Applicants must meet one of the following criteria for underrepresented populations to qualify for Educational Access and Diversity Scholarship consideration:

• Hispanic/Latino/Spanish origin, Black or African-American, Asian, American Indian, Alaskan Native, Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander origin as documented by the Northeast State office of Admissions and Records
• Classified as a United States Military Veteran. Proof of veteran status must be submitted to the Office of Scholarship Programs in order to qualify under military veteran criterion.
• Be registered with the Center for Students with Disabilities at Northeast State.
Apply for the Access and Diversity Scholarship by June 1.

The Educational Access and Diversity Scholarship program assists recipients with funds to pay toward maintenance fees/tuition, required books and/or supplies. Awards are competitive. Students meeting criteria will be evaluated based upon academic performance, enrollment status, and unmet need as determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Applicants must complete the 2014-2015 FAFSA and their financial aid file by June 1. Eligible applicants must not have earned associate degrees or higher by the beginning of the 2014 Fall Semester. Contact the Financial Aid Office at 423.323.0252 with questions about FAFSA.

The program receives funding on an annual basis. Awards are renewed on a semester-by-semester basis pending Financial Aid approval. Limited funding is available and no awards are guaranteed. Educational Access and Diversity Scholarship recipients must enroll in and complete at least twelve (12) credit hours each semester and maintain a minimum overall combined 2.75 grade point average inclusive of Learning Support coursework in order to maintain eligibility.

Please contact the office of Scholarship Programs at jajohnson@NortheastState.edu or 423.354.5235 if you have any questions about applying for the Educational Access and Diversity Scholarship.


Willie Riddle earns national Phi Theta Kappa award

A Northeast State student earned national recognition as a distinguished member of the Alpha Iota Chi chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society.

A Northeast State student earned national recognition as a distinguished member of the Alpha Iota Chi chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society.

Willie Riddle was among 30 Phi Theta Kappa members honored with a National Distinguished Chapter Member Award presented by Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society during the annual convention in April.  Award recipients received commemorative medallions during the Hallmark Awards Gala.

Riddle earned Distinguished Chapter member awards from his peers in Alpha Iota Chi, the PTK Regional Competition held for Tennessee chapters, and at the national competition. Distinguished Chapter Members must be nominated by their chapters through the Hallmark Awards application process, and are chosen based on a student’s embodiment of the Hallmarks of the Society (Scholarship, Leadership, Service and Fellowship) through Honors in Action and other chapter activities. They were selected by a panel of judges from more than 150 nominees internationally.

Riddle was inducted into the Alpha Iota Chi chapter during the 2013-14 academic year. He won the program award as Outstanding Student in Information Technology at Northeast State at the College’s Honors Convocation in April.

Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, headquartered in Jackson, Mississippi, is the largest honor society in higher education with 1,285 chapters on college campuses in all 50 of the United States. Nearly 3 million students have been inducted since its founding in 1918, with approximately 131,000 students inducted annually.


The commuting collegian - Matt Reap gets there by airplane

Northeast State student Matt Reap commutes to college. That doesn’t make him different from thousands of other students. But how he arrives isn’t quite the standard trip.

Reap flies his single-engine, fixed-wing Cessna 172 aircraft from Abingdon, Va., to the Tri-Cities Regional Airport for spring classes two days each week. His commute is shorter than many students who drive to the main campus in Blountville.

“This is my first semester actually flying to school so given good weather conditions the commute time is usually 15 to 20 minutes,” said Reap. “Flying is something I have always loved doing because it is about feeling that freedom.”

Reap opted to attend Northeast State after graduating from Abingdon High School. He co-owns the Cessna with two other individuals. His flights have taken him to South Carolina and Richmond, Va.

Reap started flying at age 17. He amassed more than 115 flight hours and earned his pilot’s license. He mastered the regulations of visual flight rules (VFR) to pilot his Cessna.

“The minimum time to get your license is 40 hours of flight time. Once you have done your solo flight you continue your training,” he said. “I’d like to continue forward and become an airline pilot or corporate business pilot.”

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, licensed pilots must follow VFR regulations to operate an aircraft. VFR regulations require an aircraft be operated in weather conditions clear enough for the pilot to see where the aircraft is going. A pilot must be able to operate the aircraft with visual reference to the ground, and visually avoid obstructions and other aircraft.

Reap plans to master instrument flight rules (IFR) used in larger aircraft to navigate with altitude and directional instruments. That involves stringent flight training about instrument technique, air traffic control communications and procedures, and avionics.

“When you master the IFR it doesn’t matter about clouds and certain weather conditions because you fly using your instruments,” said Reap. “You also pay special attention to the weight and balance in the aircraft because that is critical in maintaining control.”

When traveling to Northeast State Reap departs from Virginia Highlands Airport in Abingdon. Before take-off he reviews weather data and conducts a check of the aircraft’s external working features. He does a pre-flight check and gauges the weight on board the aircraft.

Because Virginia Highlands Airport has no tower, Reap radios his intention to take-off and enter airspace on a radio frequency transmitting to any nearby aircraft. Once acknowledged Reap taxis down the runway to take-off and heads toward the Tri-Cities.

The Tri Cities Regional Airport is identified by the acronym KTRI in flight communications. Once the airport comes into view he contacts the control tower at KTRI to inform them of his approach. The tower acknowledges his transmission and grants him permission to land. Tower controllers advise him of an open runway. Once on the ground, Reap takes the Cessna to a designated hold area on the field and “ties down” the aircraft.

“Landing is probably the most difficult thing you have to do,” he said. “You have to account for cross winds and what direction they are coming from and adjust for it.”

Flight comes naturally in Reap’s family. His father is a licensed pilot. His uncle was a U.S. Marine Corps pilot who flew fighter jets in the Korean conflict and helicopters during the Vietnam War.

Reap will graduate from Northeast State with his associate degree this fall. With the demand for regional airline pilots expected to increase in the coming years, his own career flight plan seems headed toward becoming a commercial pilot.


Northeast State earns $150,000 Walmart Foundation grant

The American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) announced a three-year grant from Walmart Foundation to support the Job Ready, Willing and Able (JRWA) initiative, including $150,000 directly supporting Northeast State Community College.

The Northeast State grant is part of a $4.19 million grant distributed to 17 community colleges across the country. The JRWA initiative will provide middle-skill training, industry recognized credentials, and access to employment across varying industry sectors in each of the 17 communities. Students who have access to high-quality education and training programs, relevant and quality job opportunities, and public benefits and supports are more apt to persist and succeed.

“Northeast State is excited to be one of the 17 colleges selected for this great opportunity through the JRWA project,” said Dr. Janice H. Gilliam, Northeast State president. “This fits well with our other local and state initiatives to support business and industry, and help students complete their credentials.”

The Northeast State grant is payable at $50,000 annually for three years and will focus on training and education in the areas of manufacturing, machining, welding, and chemical process operations. The college will also receive technical assistance from a mentor college.

The 17 participating colleges were selected through a highly competitive process. Four colleges will be mentor colleges, with support from AACC, the National Association of Workforce Boards, AACC Affiliate Councils and industry associations.

Mentors were selected from AACC’s 2008–2010 Workforce Economic Opportunity Initiative funded by Walmart Foundation and will provide additional guidance to 13 mentee colleges. All 17 colleges address current and potential growth of jobs in their communities. Examples range from unemployed mineworkers in rural Kentucky learning electrical linemen skills to sector-strategies including industrial mechanics and manufacturing certificates in Utah, viticulture skills in Oregon, office assistant training in Pennsylvania and Certified Nurse Aide (CNA) programs in Colorado.

All colleges will work closely with local businesses, economic development leaders, and the area workforce systems to collaboratively address the needs of the unemployed. The initiative aims to provide more than 5,000 unemployed adults with new skills, credentials and jobs.

“We are proud to continue our work with Walmart Foundation at a time when the nation is focused on middle-skill careers and opportunities. This initiative is a model for how community colleges can connect students with specific, sustainable jobs in their communities and contribute to long-term economic growth,” said Walter Bumphus, AACC president and CEO.

The four selected mentor colleges are Arkansas Northeastern College (Ark.); Northeast Community College (Neb.); Umpqua Community College (Ore.); and Northern Virginia Community College (Va.).

In addition to Northeast State, the mentee colleges selected for the JRWA initiative are Grossmont College (Calif.); Community College of Aurora (Colo.); St. Johns River State College (Fla.); Kirkwood Community College (Iowa); Ivy Tech Community College (Ind.); Hazard Community and Technical College (Ky.); Jamestown Community College (N.Y.); Cuyahoga Community College (Ohio); Montgomery County Community College (Penn.); Tarrant County College District (Texas); Snow College (Utah); and West Virginia University at Parkersburg (W.Va.).

About the American Association of Community Colleges
As the voice of the nation’s community colleges, the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), delivers educational and economic opportunity for 13 million diverse students in search of the American Dream. Uniquely dedicated to access and success for all students, AACC’s nearly 1,200 member colleges provide an on-ramp to degree attainment, skilled careers and family-supporting wages. Located in Washington, D.C., AACC advocates for these not-for-profit, public-serving institutions to ensure they have the resources and support they need to deliver on the mission of increasing economic mobility for all.

About the Center for Workforce and Economic Development
AACC’s Center for Workforce and Economic Development (AACC CWED) is the division within AACC that specifically focuses on student engagement, persistence and completion of students in industry-recognized credentialed programs. AACC CWED connects national and local employers to the colleges, ensures alignment with industry affiliates and networks that can support sector-specific initiatives and supports the success of every student to employment, further education and training and/or the necessary credential to improve their current job status. AACC CWED has an extensive history of working with industry partners, foundations, workforce and economic development partners and colleges across the country with the goal of identifying best practices and making them common practices across the system of member colleges.