Faculty Focus: Carol Cole

Faculty Focus: To celebrate the College’s 50th anniversary, Northeast State welcomes retired faculty members back to campus during the month of February. We also spotlight current faculty members making a difference in the lives of students.

Professor Dr. Carol Cole teaches in the Business program at Northeast State. She earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. She received her M.B.A. and Ed.D., degrees from East Tennessee State University.

How did you begin teaching at Northeast State?
I graduated from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville and earned my M.B.A. at East Tennessee State University. After returning to Knoxville, my husband and I moved back to the Tri-Cities in the late 1980s. Shortly after Tri-Cities State Tech became Northeast State Technical Community College, there was an ad in the newspaper about how the college needed faculty members specifically to teach economics. I talked to Dr. Chris Lefler and Maurice Stirewalt who explained to me what the College needed, so I started as an adjunct faculty member in 1989. A full-time faculty position was offered to me a year later and I took it.

Carol Cole
Carol Cole

How has the College accommodated growth of its academic programs through the years?
When I began teaching, the Faculty Building had not been built. My first couple of years we were in the General Studies Building or “the zoo” as they called it. The Wade Powers Science Building was also built later during Dr. Powers’ tenure as president. We’ve seen a lot of changes over the years. The technology of learning has changed and well-enhanced our jobs in terms of teaching and connecting with the students. I’ve been here 25 years and can say I love to come to work and look forward to it every day.

What should college students understand if they are considering a business major or a business course?
It is a business world. You may not own a business but you live in a business world and you are a part of it. I’m a news junkie. Business is always in the news because everything is constantly changing in the world and the business world reflects those changes.

How have perceptions changed about two-year colleges since you began teaching?
People should know there are a lot of very good students here at Northeast State. That is something the community may not realize. We have a lot of high-achieving, academically skilled students that enroll at Northeast State because they want a more focused setting as they begin college.

How does the Business program help students transition from the classroom to the “real world”?
We formed a business advisory committee several years ago to meet with business professionals throughout the region. The committee convenes three times each year to get feedback of what companies need in terms of business knowledge. That gives us insight into the skills companies look for in their next generation of employees.

Why should students be interested in a Business major?
There are lots of job openings in business. Students have a lot of opportunities because “business” is an all-encompassing term that covers a wide spectrum of interests. If someone is good at math, accounting or finance may be a good option whereas if you are a people person, a marketing or management major may fit your strength. The field is so diverse there is something in business for everyone.

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