Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Free New Program for Adult Students

We have a new program for adult learners at Vol State. What's an adult learner? It can be anyone who spent a couple of years out of school before attending college. That means 20-65 years old. Here's the invite- and it's for everyone, not just new students:
We would like to invite you to participate in a Launch & Learn informational program designed for adult learners.  This program is geared to familiarize adults with the services and resources available at Vol State in order to make your education experience a little bit easier.  The process of starting college may seem intimidating or even overwhelming.  Our goal is to provide guidance to help lessen the stress of going back to school and to help you navigate towards success. 
These programs are scheduled for:
-January 13th, 2016 from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM
-January 14th, 2016 from 3:30 PM to 5:30 PM

Both sessions will be held in the Rochelle Center of Thigpen Library.
You may register by emailing Briggette Moore, Secretary for the Office of Veterans Affairs and Adult Learners at Briggette.Moore@volstate.edu or calling 615-230-4861.

Along with gaining valuable resources to help you with school, you will be offered the opportunity to schedule a time to take a free career assessment to assist you in your college and career planning.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Time to Apply for Spring Semester - Classes Start January 19

Spring classes start soon at Volunteer State Community College. New and readmit students should apply now. The college has several new classes and programs coming up this spring. One timely course will be POLS 280T: 2016 Presidential Campaign. Political Science professor Scott McMillan will cover the action in the primaries and the workings of presidential campaign politics. The course will also explain the primary process and campaign finance. Music students can participate in the new Wind Ensemble at the college. Those looking for a new career can consider Environmental Technology. Each certificate takes one semester and the two certificates build on each other. The program is designed to provide students with the background they need to work in the growing utilities field, including water and wastewater management, gas and electric.

Vol State graduates transfer to four-year schools across the country. Tennessee Transfer Pathways can show a student, by major, exactly what classes they should take at Vol State in order to transfer to a particular university, with all of the credits applying to the university major. The agreements include majors at many state and private universities. Staying on track can help students take only the classes they need and that can help students save money. Vol State has a list of majors and universities that are part of the pathways on the website www.volstate.edu/pathways.

Vol State offers day, evening and Saturday classes in a variety of formats including online courses and hybrid courses, which combine traditional classroom meetings with online coursework.

The spring semester starts on January 19. Course registration is open now for all students. New and readmit students will need to apply first. The application process can be completed online at www.volstate.edu/admissions

Considering a New Career? Criminal Justice Puts Technology in the Hands of Students

A drone zips through the air at up to 35 miles an hour, sounding a bit like a lawn trimmer, far above the Volunteer State Community College campus. Criminal Justice director, Kevin Cook, is giving students a hands-on example of how the technology could be used by the good guys and the bad guys.

“You could fly this over a correctional facility and deliver a gun to an inmate. You could use it for drug trafficking,” Cook tells the students. His point is that unless law officers know what can be done with new technology, it could be used to commit crimes in new ways without them knowing.

Technology is changing the way we all work. That’s especially true in the criminal justice field. And it’s not just a matter of understanding and using new technology in law enforcement, but also comprehending the legal implications. Vol State has a new class in its popular Criminal Justice program that focuses on technology. It’s called Criminal Justice Technology and Information Systems. The college has purchased drones, officially known as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV). These new tools contain many high tech features that are changing the face of law enforcement. There are also controversial technology issues for students to consider that have been at the forefront of the news recently: police body and squad car cameras.

“Think about what officers carry these days: body cameras with GPS and microphones, nonlethal weapons, PDA’s (personal digital assistants) and iPads,” Cook said. “Instead of using notepads to record information only to bring it back to the station to be rewritten or typed, officers are actually doing the reports while interviewing the complainants or citizens on the job. They need to have an understanding of the case law to better understand the implications when they are using this technology.”

As students take turns operating the drone, they consider what new technology will mean for them. “It’s pretty fascinating,” said Lauren McDaniel of Hendersonville as she watches the drone buzz overhead. “It shows you how technology has taken off in the last few years. I’m not very tech savvy, so I need to keep up with the technology and how to use it.”

The drone has a video camera that shows live pictures and can travel up to one and a half miles from the operator. Cook says one scenario the new class will feature is search and rescue. “We’ll have a role player act as a missing child and we’ll use a clothing description to find them with the drone.”

“It’s a great tool when it comes to search and rescue,” Jesse Versage of Hendersonville said. “Using this technology is exposing us to what is being used now and what may be used in the future.”

“They already have licenses plate readers that automatically search for wanted plates when a car is cruising on the highway. The have a system called ShotSpotter that detects gunfire and collects data to help law enforcement and communities. They developed vehicle pursuit darts that could be fired from a police vehicle during a chase. It attaches a GPS unit to the car, that it can be safely tracked with endangering the public.”

The Vol State Criminal Justice program has several different degree options, including an associate of science degree that can transfer to a university program and an associate of applied science degree designed for entry into the workplace. Vol State graduates work across Middle Tennessee in positions such as police officer, corrections officer, dispatcher, and probation/parole officer. Vol State classes start on January 19 for the spring semester. New students can apply now. For more information visit www.volstate.edu/criminaljustice

Pictured: Criminal Justice Director, Kevin Cook, shows his Vol State students how law enforcement is using drones for actions such as search and rescue, evidence photography, and tracking prisoner escapes.

Monday, November 16, 2015

New Environmental Technology Program can get you Ready for a Job in Utilities

They’re on the frontlines of environmental protection. They use high tech equipment and biological processes to keep local rivers and streams clean. Most people haven’t considered working in water management, or other vital utilities, yet the industries need trained professionals. Volunteer State Community College has a pair of new certificate programs that can help anyone kick-start a career in the utilities, including many areas of environmental stewardship such as storm water runoff, wastewater management, and others. The program is called Environmental Technology.

“It gives your job purpose,” said Brandon Traughber, Chief Wastewater Operator for Gallatin Public Utilities. “You hear about the term environmentalist and you think of people hugging trees. But with this career you’re doing something directly to help the environment.”

Traughber, a Vol State graduate, is a good example of how utility professionals can build their education, grow their careers, and build their opportunities for advancement. “I took environmental science at Vol State and MTSU,” he said. “I got a part-time job in my senior year, working in the lab at the wastewater plant in Murfreesboro.” After several promotions, and new jobs, Traughber now supervises the treatment of an average of 6 million gallons of wastewater a day, although part of his skillset includes adjusting to much larger flows when conditions warrant. When you consider the health and environmental risks associated with that waste not being properly treated, an understanding of the importance of the position becomes clear.

Vol State has two Environmental Technology certificates. Each can be completed in a single semester. Students don’t need previous experience or college work. They do need a high school diploma or a high school equivalency diploma. The Environmental Technology certificates are also an attractive option for workers already in office positions at utilities, who would like to move up as they reinforce the fundamental skills of critical thinking and communication.

“You can’t just walk in off the street and know what it takes to work in the utilities. Our certificate program gives them the knowledge they will need when they are on the job,” said Phil Clifford, dean of Math and Science. “One certificate leads to the next. They build on each other. By the time students are done with both certificates, they’re half the way to an associate degree. Local utilities have agreed that our graduates will get one year of work experience credit for each certificate they complete. The best part is that students can study for the next step while already working in the field, in many cases.”

“There is often downtime at the plant, so you can do some studying and get ahead on your career,” Traughber said. “Someone who can use their head and think through problems will do well in utilities.”

Tennessee utility managers and supervisory leaders have been asking Vol State for this program to prepare candidates to fill job openings. It’s a field that is expanding as the population grows. There is expected to be a substantial increase in need in the next few years for people with environmental technology skills. Paid internships may be available for students who complete each certificate.

Students will need to begin their path with the Foundations of Environmental Technology certificate. Many of the classes have flexible formats, including evening and online options. Information about the program can be found at www.volstate.edu/environmentaltech Classes begin on January 19 and students can start the process of applying to the college now at www.volstate.edu/apply or call 615-230-3688.


Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Vol State Receives Veterans Grant to Expand Services

Volunteer State Community College is expanding its commitment to military veterans thanks to a state of Tennessee grant. Vol State already has a dedicated Office of Veterans Affairs with outreach and support for student veterans. The $89,000 Veteran Reconnect Grant, funded by the Tennessee legislature and administered by the Governor’s Office, will allow the Vol State Veterans Affairs Office to expand with an assistant to work with students on Veterans Administration paperwork. Vol State will also establish a Student Veterans Center on the Gallatin campus. It will provide veterans with a place to study, meet with other veterans, and use computers and resources.

“This will take us to the next level in assisting our student veterans,” said Ken Hanson, Vol State coordinator of Veterans Affairs. “We have more than 230 student veterans each fall and spring semester.”

The grant will also provide funding to set up a textbook and electronic equipment library. It will allow students to check-out textbooks at the start of the semester, in case they haven’t been able to buy them yet. Vol State has a Student Veterans of America chapter and several veteran events throughout the year. For more information on Veterans Affairs at Vol State visit www.volstate.edu/veterans or call 615-230-3444.
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