Basler Library to open on Saturdays beginning Jan. 19

Students and book lovers rejoice! Northeast State’s Wayne G. Basler Library will open its doors on Saturdays from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. beginning Jan. 19.

“This is a good thing for all our students particularly students who are working and returning to college,” said Chris Demas, dean of Basler Library. “We want students to know they have this opportunity to use the library to help with their schedules.”

The Basler Library crew is happy to offer more study opportunities to students.

Demas said he and library staff were thrilled to restore open Saturday hours to patrons for the first time since the Spring semester of 2017. The Tennessee Reconnect scholarship program has increased the number of adult students returning to college.  The Library’s Saturday hours provide better access to these adult students with demanding work and personal schedules.

Demas said the Library’s Saturday operating hours would continue through the spring semester while classes are in session. The library will not be open on Saturdays during the 2019 Summer terms. Saturday hours will resume when Fall semester classes begin later this year. The College’s off-campus library locations will NOT be open on Saturdays at this time.

Basler Library will open on Saturdays beginning Jan. 19.

In addition to building access, Basler Library reference services will be available during operating hours to patrons via telephone or online chat with a librarian. The new hours also should benefit students attending Weekend College classes at the Blountville campus.

Basler Library features a collection of over 70,000 volumes. Students and the general public can request library materials through the interlibrary loan service by filling out the online form on the Library web page. The collection includes DVDs and graphic novels, anatomy and physiology models, and scores of reference materials.

The Library also maintains borrowing agreements with East Tennessee State University and the James H. Quillen College of Medicine. Patrons may request materials through the Library catalog or go to the other libraries in person. Requested materials can be sent to the College’s Elizabethton, Gray, Johnson City, and Kingsport campuses.

“Basler Library is available for use by all Northeast State students, faculty and staff,” said Demas. “The Library also welcomes our community members not affiliated with the college but who want to visit and use our services.”

CTE dual enrollment admissions increase 57 percent

More high school students looking to fast track their education are choosing dual enrollment options at Northeast State Community College. Northeast State recorded a 57 percent increase in CTE Dual Enrollment program admissions from the Fall 2017 semester to the Fall 2018 semester.

“CTE dual enrollment has been on the rise for a few years now,” said Chelsea Rose, director of Career and Technical Education (CTE) at Northeast State. “Students can enroll in dual enrollment courses in a wide variety of career pathways.”

Students admitted into the Dual Enrollment program are approved through their high school CTE directors. Classes are offered at the high schools, at Northeast State campuses, or online.

Dual Enrollment creates great new opportunities for high school students.

The CTE Dual Enrollment program initiated in its current form opened in the Fall 2013 semester with 11 high school students. The Fall 2018 semester welcomed 179 students enrolled in 26 different college-level courses. The dual enrollment registration deadline for the Spring 2019 semester is December 15.

“Dual enrollment exposes high school students to the opportunities that are out there for them and it gives them confidence in their ability to succeed in College,” said Rose.

To enter the program, a student applicant must be currently enrolled in high school, submit a Northeast State application for admission and provide a high school transcript. Students who complete all Northeast State admission requirements and program entrance requirements are classified as dual enrolled. Home-school students can also take advantage of dual enrollment options.

“Some CTE dual enrollment students complete an entire Technical Certificate while in high school,” said Rose.

Rose noted that the state of Tennessee’s Department of Education is very supportive of Early Postsecondary Opportunities (EPSOs), giving students and schools more incentive than ever to incorporate dual enrollment into secondary education.

“It’s about making dual enrollment a positive experience,” said Karrianne McPheron, coordinator for the Dual Enrollment program at Northeast State. “Once students get on campus, they get to interact with such a diverse group of people that they really like the community college atmosphere.”

Northeast State at Kingsport offers dual enrollment opportunities in the career academies of Machine Tool Operations and Computer-Aided Drafting (CAD). Selected courses from the college’s Automotive Service programs will be taught this year. The Career and Technical Education department also hosts a Career Day event in the fall welcoming the region’s high school students to campus where they learn about a variety of academic programs that they can explore further through dual enrollment.

McPheron noted that the career academies on the Kingsport campus for the 2019-20 academic year will include: Machine Tool Operations, Computer-Aided Drafting, and Automotive programs (Service or Auto Body).

“We hope to utilize the RCAP (Regional Center for Automotive Performance) and include additional automotive course opportunities for students next year,” said McPheron.

More than 30 dual-enrolled high school students graduated with their technical certificates at Northeast State last spring. The Tennessee Dual Enrollment Grant and other scholarships are available for students looking to participate in CTE dual enrollment courses. After high school graduation, the Tennessee Promise scholarship is open to all dual-enrolled students to fund tuition and allow them to continue their education. They are also eligible, and strongly encouraged, to apply for scholarships administered through the Northeast State Foundation.

“I would like to see every student take at least one or two dual enrollment classes while in high school,” said Rose. “If students don’t, it is a lost opportunity.”

Two students invited to ATE Principal Investigators conference

Two Northeast State students have been invited to attend the national Advanced Technical Education (ATE) Principal Investigators Conference this month.

Megan Buckles and Abigail Rasnick received two of a limited number of invitations sent to community college students nationwide to attend the conference held in Washington, D.C., Oct. 26-28. The annual conference is being held by the American Association of Community Colleges with the support of the National Science Foundation (NSF).

The two students are majors in the College’s computer science program. Rasnick had not decided on a major when she enrolled in Northeast State. After taking a few computer science courses she found her niche in cyber defense. She plans to graduate with an associate of applied science degree next spring.

Abigail Rasnick

“I’ve always liked technology,” said Rasnick, a second-year student at Northeast State. “I had taken a few courses in computer science when I learned about the cyber defense program, and I decided that sounded pretty cool.”

The NSF created the ATE program to improve educational opportunities for technicians in the technologically-driven STEM fields of the U.S. economy. The conference brings together more than 800 people from higher education, business and industry, as well as research and development centers to focus on the critical issues related to advanced technological education.

“This field has one of the greatest growing needs for professionals,” said Buckles, also a second-year student at Northeast State. “It is a field that not a lot of women go into so I saw a great opportunity to do it.”

A Tennessee Reconnect student, Buckles is pursuing associate of applied science degrees in both the cyber defense and networking programs. Buckles majored in graphic design at a four-year institution before enrolling at Northeast State. She said her creative background gave her an edge in picking up the cyber defense skill set.

Megan Buckles

“Cyber defense offers a great challenge to creative thinkers capable of filling the gaps that open in cyber networks,” said Buckles. “You need to come into this discipline with an open mind.”

The Computer Science department offers a cyber defense program focused on topics in cybersecurity and digital forensics. Students learn how to fortify computer networks to halt security breaches and how to recover digital data and evidence. A cyber defense professional can earn numerous certifications to expand his or her expertise in cybersecurity.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects employment opportunities for cyber defense analysts to grow 18 percent through 2024, faster than the average for all occupations. For professionals working in computer systems design and related services, employment is predicted to grow by 36 percent.

“It is a great career for women and minorities,” said Buckles. “Companies are looking to become more diverse and need a great diversity of thought in how they secure their networks.”

The changing landscape of technology and communication makes cyber defense a necessity for businesses and individuals. Cyber defense students understand the demands and expectations of their future profession. But as Rasnick said, the profession’s edginess also was quite appealing.

“You feel cool,” said Rasnick. “You feel like you are hacking into the system in some ways.”

Northeast State awarded Veteran Reconnect Grant through THEC

Northeast State Community College is one of 14 colleges and universities in Tennessee to be awarded funding from the Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC) through the Veteran Reconnect Grant for 2018-19. The College will receive $80,000 from the grant totaling $889,277 divided among the institutions.

The Veteran Reconnect grant focuses on improving the assessment of prior learning for student veterans by awarding academic credit, when applicable, based on their military training. The Northeast State Office of Veterans Affairs plans to use the grant to hire a Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) Credentials Coordinator. This person will work with academic deans and student affairs to identify academic credit markers for a student veteran’s military experience.

“With the addition of the Military PLA Credentials Coordinator we plan to improve our process for awarding and managing prior learning assessment credit for our service members and veterans,” said Jessica Kelso, director of Veterans Affairs for Northeast State. “By doing this we can potentially shorten students’ track to graduation.”

The full Veteran Reconnect Grant supports programs and services for student veterans at campuses across the state. THEC also provide technical assistance to Veteran Reconnect campuses around prior learning assessment for veterans. Veteran Reconnect is part of Governor Bill Haslam’s Drive to 55 initiative to increase educational attainment in the state to 55 percent by the year 2025.

“Many veterans in Tennessee put their education on hold to serve our nation in the armed forces, and as a state, we have an obligation to support them in completing their education,” Governor Haslam said. “Through the Drive to 55, we can connect veterans with the postsecondary credentials that will help them further stand out in the workforce. Veteran Reconnect is one more way that Tennessee is investing in veterans and their future.”

Prior learning assessment at colleges and universities examines a veteran’s earned military qualifications. Veterans are granted equivalent college credit for those skills attained during service.

Northeast State currently awards some specific academic credit with the remainder being applied as a military elective credit. Office of Veterans Affairs specialist John Adcox, himself a United States Army veteran, said the grant puts a student veteran on a fast track to complete a technical certificate or degree. He also noted the PLA eased the challenge veterans faced when all their military training did not translate into academic credit.

“Our goal is to have a uniform system in place to streamline the process of transferring training into college credit,” said Adcox. “The training that veterans have should count for something.”

The Northeast State Office of Veterans Affairs operates veterans centers on the Blountville, Johnson City, and Kingsport campuses, provides a dedicated student advisor, and hosts veterans-specific orientations. The office also sponsors professional development opportunities for faculty and staff. A chapter of the Student Veterans of America (SVA) organization was established in 2013.

“This grant is an important step forward in making Northeast State one of the nation’s leading community colleges for supporting our veterans,” said Northeast State President James King.

Northeast State served 179 student veterans who completed the fall 2017 semester. Kelso expects the office to serve an equal if not greater number of veterans for the upcoming fall semester. Northeast State was named a Top Ten Award Winner in the small community college category of the Military Friendly Schools ® list for 2018. The College is certified as a Veterans Education Transition Support campus by THEC.

“Earning college credit for military training can be the difference between a student applying to a school, or moving on to the next opportunity,” said THEC Executive Director Mike Krause. “When a veteran is able to use credit for their military training towards their college degree, they are more likely to persist and finish their program of study.”

Northeast State pins newest Nursing program graduates

Northeast State recognized the summer graduating class of its Nursing program students at a Pinning Ceremony held on Friday at the Regional Center for Advanced Manufacturing in Kingsport.

The College’s Director of Nursing, Johanna Neubrander, presented attending program graduates with a nursing pin. The Nursing graduates recognized are Jessica Coffman; Lacosta Ellis; Kayla Hawkins; Stacy Hunnicutt; Jennifer Judy; Mercedes Lampley; Krista Miller; Brooke Oliver; Sarah Phillips; and Jennifer Woods.

A new group of nurses has graduated from the NE Nursing program.

The nurse pinning ceremony celebrates the transition from the role of student to the role of nurse – a rite of passage into the nursing profession. It is also a symbol of care and devotion.

The Nursing students honored on Friday fulfilled their degree requirements this summer. The graduates received the associate of applied science degree in Nursing from the College.

The Northeast State Nursing program marks its 10-year anniversary in 2018. Check out a few photos from today’s event at our Smug Mug webpage:

Congratulations, new nurses!