ARC funds $100,000 for iNortheast initiative

The Appalachian Regional Commission has awarded Northeast State $100,000 to continue the College’s iNortheast initiative, which provides iPad mini 2 devices to qualified students.

For the fall semester 2015, Northeast State issued 1,200 iPad mini 2 devices to Tennessee Promise and other new full-time, degree-seeking freshmen and leased another 600 devices to other students.

Through the iNortheast initiative, the College seeks to increase student retention by providing ready access to technology, course textbooks, related reading assignments, and other materials.

iPad distribution at Basler Library.
iPad distribution at Basler Library.

The ARC grant will provide 500 devices to first-time, full-time degree seeking freshmen with first priority going to those students residing in Johnson, Carter, and Unicoi counties. Other beneficiaries of this project will include qualified students residing in Washington and Sullivan counties.

The iNortheast Initiative addresses the need to increase technology skills and reduce the rising cost of printed texts by supporting the adoption and integration of tablets, providing access to e-textbooks and other instructional materials.

Research from the National Association of College Stores has shown students are interested in ways to offset the rising costs of textbooks, with many turning to digital textbooks. Purchasing the required number of textbooks for a 15-credit hour semester is costly in comparison to digitally supplied e-textbooks. Colleges that have started similar programs have reported wide acceptance and student success.

Khaliyah Phillips gets her the first iPad at Blountville campus.
Khaliyah Phillips gets her the first iPad at Blountville campus.

In a review of etexts for courses typically scheduled each semester, the iNortheast project team documented that students can potentially save at least 50 percent by purchasing etexts rather than print versions that range from $58.75 (Women Studies) to $325.75 (mathematics).

For a full-time student, switching to etexts could result in a total savings of $400-$500 a semester. The difference would more than cover the $100 lease fee for an iPad mini each semester through the proposed lease to own program.

While Northeast State will continue to research and pursue additional grants from all sources to support this initiative, students will be responsible for paying the $100 per semester lease fee.

Expansion of the iPad initiative will continue over the next two to three years until fully integrated campus wide. All Northeast State students will be required to have an iPad beginning fall 2016 through the College-provided lease to own option.

The College plans to engage a national study to collect data on student performance, retention, enhanced technology skills, cost savings utilizing online book and resources, and paper usage reduction. Northeast State will also study the impact of iPads on student services and the challenges mobile devices present for a connected campus and the science of teaching.

ARC ( is a federal-state partnership that works with the people of Appalachia to create opportunities for self-sustaining economic development and improved quality of life. Through ARC, Tennessee is able to award grants each year for economic and community development projects in the 52 counties in middle and east Tennessee.

NE State debaters capture second and third place team awards

Northeast State debaters recently scored second and third place team finishes at the Smoky Mountain Debate Tournament at Walters State Community College. The College competed against 17 teams, including those from Berea College (KY), Walters State, and Tennessee Tech University.

Victoria Hewlett, Joseph Hicks, Paul Taylor, and Jess Webb represented Northeast State. Hewlett paired with Taylor, while Hicks teamed with Webb. In addition, Dr. Ruth Livingston, a Northeast State associate professor of Speech, helped the teams prepare their cases and judged at the tournament.

The format for the event was two-person parliamentary debate using National Parliamentary Debate Association rules. Basically, teams study each round’s topic for 20 minutes and then develop a case with one team in support and the other in opposition.

Northeast State debaters (from left) Paul Taylor, Victoria Hewlett, Jess Webb, and Joseph Hicks.
Northeast State debaters (from left) Paul Taylor, Victoria Hewlett, Jess Webb, and Joseph Hicks.

Hicks and Webb earned a berth in the final round, but lost a two-to-one decision, earning second place. Hewlett and Taylor landed the third place team award.

Debaters also had an opportunity to earn individual awards along with team awards. For the first time, all Northeast State speakers attending a tournament earned an individual award. Webb was competing in her first tournament and earned the third place in the first-time speaker category. Hicks received the sixth place novice speaker category. Hewlett and Taylor took home fifth and seventh place speaker awards, respectively. In all, 35 speakers participated in the event.

BOYC wraps up successful 2015 campaign

The Because of You Campaign enjoyed another successful campaign to raise scholarship money for students during the annual fundraising event held at Northeast State during the week of Sept. 28 – Oct. 3.

Northeast State President Dr. Janice Gilliam recognized top fund-raising department winners in the campaign this afternoon during a celebration event in the Auditorium. All proceeds raised fund scholarships for students through the Northeast State Foundation.

The Student Needs Project ranked #1 among individual departments collecting $10,215 during the week. The TRiO Club finished in second place with $4,959 raised and the Honors Program took third place with $4,494 collected.  The Foundation contributed a percentage of the funds raised to each participating department. Prof. David Haga was also honored for his longtime work with the Student Needs Project.

For Best Door Decor, instructor Kelly Hatch won Most Creative Award door award for her 3-D JP Bear work. The Best Message Award went to the Center for Students with Disabilities for their leaf tree and scarecrow. The Best School Spirit Award was given to Career Services for their fall with Minions door.

The 3-D JP Bear Door.
The 3-D JP Bear Door.
The CSD door.


The Career Services Minion door.
The Career Services Minion door.



The Transfer Office.
The Transfer Office.

The Brock McGuire Band plays Northeast State Oct. 8

The Brock McGuire Band returns to Northeast State for an evening of unmatched instrumental music that has made them one of the most beloved and respected bands in Ireland and across the pond.

This Irish traditionalist quartet will play a one-night only show on Thursday, Oct. 8 at 7:00 p.m. in the Northeast State Auditorium (A202) at the Blountville campus next to Tri-Cities Regional Airport. The concert is free and open to the public.

In May 1989, Paul Brock co-founded the group Moving Cloud with Manus McGuire. This County Clare-based band produced two albums for Green Linnet Records, including their 1994 self-titled release that was selected by U.S. music critic Earle Hitchner as the best Irish traditional album of that year. Paul’s CD collaboration Humdinger with Enda Scahill was voted “Irish Music Album of the Year” by the Irish Times and “Instrumental Album of the Year” by the Irish American News.

(from left) Garry O'Meara, Manus McGuire, and Paul Brock performing at Northeast State in 2014.
(from left) Garry O’Meara, Manus McGuire, and Paul Brock performing at Northeast State in 2014.

Residing in County Clare, button accordionist and melodeonist Brock and fiddler McGuire are two of Ireland’s most celebrated traditional musicians and have been at the forefront of Irish music for many years through their joint work with Moving Cloud. McGuire is also a founding member of Buttons & Bows, and both bands, ranking among Ireland’s finest, have helped to introduce international audiences to the virtuosity of their playing.

Named the “Instrumental Band of the Decade” by the Irish American News, the band’s repertoire runs wide and deep. Passion and precision, authenticity and diversity: these are the hallmarks of the Brock McGuire Band in concert. Their tight, tenacious blend of instruments emphasizing mostly Irish music but also sprinkling in impressive arrangements of American Old Timey, Bluegrass, French-Canadian, and other Celtic traditions.

The Brock McGuire Band
The Brock McGuire Band

A multiple All-Ireland champion born in Athlone, County Westmeath, Brock pursued a solo career through the 60’s and 70’s by mastering the single-row, two-row, three-row, and five-row button accordions. His illustrated lecture “Irish Traditional Music in America – The Golden Era” has been widely acclaimed.

Born in Tullamore, County Offaly and residing in Scarriff, East Clare, McGuire is an Irish fiddler who blends dazzling technique with faultlessly far-ranging taste. He has recorded ten albums, including three with Buttons and Bows, two with Moving Cloud, and two solo albums: Saffron and Blue (Green Linnet) and Fiddlewings (Shelly River Music).

Performing with the band are Garry O’Meara, a brilliant banjo, mandolin player & vocalist; and Denis Carey, an acclaimed pianist, composer and arranger.

Sponsored by Northeast State’s Cultural Activities Committee, the show is free and open to the public. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. For more information, visit

NBC “Early Today” anchor Tracie Potts visits Northeast State Oct. 6

Northeast State is privileged to welcome NBC national correspondent and news anchor Tracie Potts to campus on Oct. 6 for an insightful presentation about news and issues.

Potts will give two presentation in the Wellmont Regional Center for the Performing Arts (WRCPA) the first beginning at 1:30 p.m. and the second beginning at 7:00 p.m. The presentation is free and open to the public.

Tracie Potts
Tracie Potts

Potts is the face of Washington D.C. news every morning for more than 150 local NBC stations and the “Early Today” show. As a national correspondent based on Capitol Hill, she reports on the federal government, the Obama administration, Congress and important consumer and health topics. Her live and taped updates are seen daily on “Early Today,” MSNBC and local affiliates in New York, Chicago, Washington, Atlanta, Miami, San Francisco and many other cities.

Potts impressive career includes covering the 2008 and 2012 Presidential campaigns and Inaugurations. She reported from the 2012 Olympics and the Royal Wedding in London, and followed the Royal couple during their first visit to the United States. She reported from Rome on the selection of Pope Benedict and from South Africa on the death of Nelson Mandela.

Before working in Washington, she was based in Los Angeles, covering earthquakes and wildfires, celebrity trials, school shootings, Super Bowls, the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics and other news across the west coast and Hawaii. Prior to NBC, Tracie was an anchor and reporter at local NBC and ABC stations in Alabama and Tennessee.

She earned bachelor and master’s of Science degrees from Northwestern University’s prestigious Medill School of Journalism. Potts has been named a fellow of the National Press Foundation, the Poynter Institute and the Journalism Center of Children and Families. She won the Michelle Clark Fellowship from the Radio Television News Directors Foundation and has twice received NBC’s “Ovation” Award for outstanding employee contributions.

Potts has taught journalism classes at Knoxville College and Biola University, and edited the debut issue of Influence magazine. Currently, she volunteers with The News Literacy Project, sharing her experience with middle and high school students learning about journalism.

Tracie Potts is the face of Washington D.C. news for more than 150 local NBC stations and the “Early Today” show.
Tracie Potts is the face of Washington D.C. news for more than 150 local NBC stations and the “Early Today” show.

Potts enjoys engaging with the public whenever her schedule allows, she focuses most of her efforts outside work on her immediate community. Potts and her family are active in church activities where she coordinates Vacation Bible School and writes for a national church magazine, the Bethlehem Star.

For additional information about this event, visit or contact