6th Annual Northeast State’s Got Talent Contest happens Sept. 27

Northeast State’s Music and Choral Program will host the 6th Annual Northeast State’s Got Talent Contest as part of the College’s annual Because of You Campaign to raise scholarship funds.

The contest will be held Sept. 27 at 7:30 p.m. in the Regional Center for the Performing Arts 2425 Highway 75, adjacent to the Tri-Cities Airport.

The Northeast State’s Got Talent show goes on Sept. 27.

Admission to the show is $10 adults, $2 students.  Tickets may be purchased through Northeast State’s Box Office, www.northeaststate.edu/boxoffice.  All proceeds benefit the program’s Performing Arts Scholarship.

Don’t miss hearing Northeast State’s talented students! For more information, contact 423.354.5164 or tcteague@northeaststate.edu.

Four FIT apprentices join the program at RCAM

Northeast State Community College and the Regional Center for Advanced Manufacturing (RCAM) continue growing regional partnerships with employers as new students are signing on to the College’s innovative apprenticeship program.

Working together…

RCAM has worked with the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Apprenticeship to establish the Northeast State / RCAM Group Registered Apprenticeship Program. RCAM signed four newly sponsored apprentices from Fiber Innovation Technology (FIT) firm based in Johnson City in August. The newest participants in the apprenticeship program – Tony Shelton, Matt Worrell, Gary Nelson, and David Hess – visited RCAM for orientation last week.

FIT apprentices (from left) Tony Shelton, Matt Worrell, Gary Nelson, and David Hess.

RCAM director Heath McMillian and training director Anita Campbell led the apprentices through orientation this month. The apprenticeship agreements were signed in August. Northeast State is the only Labor Department Registered Apprenticeship Program in the state.

Worrell and Shelton sign their registered apprenticeship agreements.

FIT produces synthetic fibers for demanding applications in the textile and non-woven materials. The company’s cutting-edge manufacturing processes rank among the best in the industry today.

The registered apprenticeship initiative enables RCAM to provide Advanced Manufacturing-registered apprenticeships in partnership with regional employers to build the 21st-century workforce. As the apprenticeship sponsor, RCAM provides the structure and processes for employers to take advantage of this proven workforce development model.

Signing the apprenticeship program agreement.

The registered apprenticeship training menu currently offers the mechatronics technician program. Future programs will include skills sets of injection molding technician; electromechanical technician; precision machinist; tool & die maker; CNC operator; and HVAC technician among others.

Mobile Food Pantry distribution dates set for fall

The Office of Scholarship Programs and Student Needs announces the Mobile Food Pantry distribution dates for the fall semester. This is a service for currently enrolled Northeast State students with a genuine need for food assistance.

Students should submit the Mobile Food Pantry application at least two (2) days prior to the appropriate distribution date. Applications can be submitted at the Office of Scholarship Programs (C2107) at the Blountville campus or Office KC 101 of the Kingsport Center for Higher Education. You can download the application form here: Mobile Food Pantry application form.

Fall distribution dates and times are:

Blountville campus
September 13 – 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
October 11 – 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
November 8 – 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Kingsport campus
September 13 – 1:30 to 2:30 p.m.
October 11 – 1:30 to 2:30 p.m.
November 8 – 1:30 to 2:30 p.m.

Students are required to follow these steps:

  • Submit one application per semester to a designated office/representative
  • Bring your Northeast State Photo ID on the day of distribution.
  • Bring a box or laundry basket in which to carry food.

Only one application should be submitted per semester. In the event classes are canceled or the institution is closed due to severe weather or road conditions,  distributions will be rescheduled for a later date.

Auditions for 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea set Sept. 4 & 5

The Northeast State Community College Department of Theater announces open auditions next week for its fall production of the classic Jules Verne adventure story 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

Performers are invited to two open auditions scheduled Sept. 4th & 5th from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. at the Regional Center for the Performing Arts (RCPA) Theatre on the Blountville campus next to Tri-Cities Airport. Performers are asked to prepare a one-minute comedic or dramatic monologue. This production of 20,000 Leagues is a drama/comedy/satire. The production is seeking to cast 12-30 actors. The play is being presented by special arrangement with The Dramatic Publishing Company of Woodstock, Ill.

Narwhals and Nemo at Northeast State Theatre this fall!

The story brings together prolific naturalist Professor Arronax, his devoted assistant Conseil, and the gritty harpooner Ned Land. They join the mysterious Captain Nemo aboard the Nautilus, the world’s first submarine vessel for an unforgettable adventure. While this work is primarily an adaptation of the classic story, it also weaves in satire with references from well-known ’80s and ’90s action-comedy films to give the script a contemporary flavor.

Performers are asked to assemble in the lobby of the RCPA Theater. Callbacks will be made on Sept. 6 between 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.  Production dates are Nov. 8-12.

For more information, contact Northeast State Theater at 423.354.2479 or e-mail emsloan@NortheastState.edu.

How to nurture thinking in adult learners

(This is the third in a series of columns from Northeast State’s Dr. J. Michael Ramey, Evening Coordinator at the Kingsport Center for Higher Education).

“… In contemporary societies, we must learn to make our own interpretations rather than act on the purposes, beliefs, judgments, and feelings of others. Facilitating such understanding is the cardinal goal of adult education.” ~ Jack Mezirow (1923-2014), American sociologist

Previously in this series, we noted that adult learners might resist course content that seems to contradict their beliefs about how the world works. According to transformative learning theory, developed by Mezirow and others, adults have acquired a frame of reference based on a lifetime of experiences. Furthermore, frames of reference arise from two distinct elements: habits of mind and point of view. By helping students to change these elements, instructors can facilitate transformative learning and promote autonomous thinking, a key competency for workforce readiness.

Whereas habits of mind include our default ways of thinking, feeling, and acting that proceed from deeply held assumptions, points of view are how we apply these habits of mind to specific contexts we encounter in our lives. For example, ethnocentrism is a habit of mind in which people regard anyone outside their group as inferior. A resulting point of view, then, would apply the lens of ethnocentrism to specific individuals and groups.

By helping adult learners to think critically, then, instructors are not only guiding them to be thoughtful, responsible citizens (a noble objective by itself) but also preparing them to succeed in a more sophisticated workforce.

Transformative learning can occur by changing one’s frame of reference through two chief means: gradually, by making incremental changes to points of view, or rapidly, by challenging the assumptions on which habits of mind are based. Because habits of mind are more durable, however, rapid change is less common.

To draw upon the previous example, an ethnocentric point of view can shift as a learner builds relationships with individuals and groups. The learner observes that the assumption about inferiority does not hold true for these new friends and necessarily modifies the criteria for evaluation. Ethnocentrism remains as a habit of mind, but as the individual builds more relationships and modifies criteria, the stubborn habit steadily transforms.

In order to address habits of mind more directly, however, a learner can engage in critical discourse with others. By joining the dialogue, participants find their underlying assumptions exposed and examined. In turn, this sets the stage for transformative learning, when we change our frames of reference in response to critical reflection.

In addition to participating in critical discourse, learners can also engage in self-reflective activities like journaling in order to uncover and modify deep-lying assumptions. Through these methods, learners change their frames of reference when they realize that new insights do not fit the old frames.

While critical discourse and self-reflection can (and do) occur outside of formal learning, for many students the structure and accountability of a college course can provide the scaffolding to support these activities. By intentionally weaving them into the fabric of a course, instructors promote transformative learning, and beyond that, help their students to become autonomous thinkers.

As early as 1991 the US Department of Labor recognized critical thinking skills as an essential competency. Accordingly, learning that prepared workers to think as autonomous agents in a collaborative context became prized over educational experiences in which students simply received the ideas and judgments of others without question. This trend has only accelerated over the almost thirty years since then as new jobs increasingly depend on understanding and manipulating information instead of just acquiring it.

By helping adult learners to think critically, then, instructors are not only guiding them to be thoughtful, responsible citizens (a noble objective by itself) but also preparing them to succeed in a more sophisticated workforce. As autonomous agents, these learners will have the advantage over peers who merely receive information without considering the greater implications and connections involved.