Faculty Focus: Sherman Patrick

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.

History professor Sherman L. Patrick has been a full-time faculty member at Northeast State since 2004. Patrick attended Elon College – now Elon University in North Carolina – on a football and track scholarship. He received his bachelor’s degree there and went on to earn his master’s degree in History at East Tennessee State University.

Sherman Patrick
Prof. Sherman Patrick

How did you come to teach at Northeast State?
I had met (former President) Dr. (William) Locke while I was getting my master’s degree in History. He suggested I apply to Northeast State which I did and was later hired as an adjunct faculty member in 2003. One year later I was hired full-time and have been here ever since.

Why is Northeast State an asset to our region?
I believe we provide an invaluable service here. Because we teach a smaller class enrollment, the students get a better sense of understanding in the subject matter. We also are the first stop for many first-generation college students who are the first in their family to attend college.

Do smaller classes translate into a better learning environment for students?
Yes, you get to know the students personally. In first-year classes at large universities you find yourself in a class of 200 people. You look around and say, “I’ll never get to know all these people.” Here, you can get to know people as individuals. The close nature of the faculty and our ability to interact with students helps keep them on track. I’ve had several students come back to see me and say, “I wish I could’ve gotten a four-year degree here at Northeast State.”

Why is Northeast State special to you as a faculty member?
It is that whole family atmosphere. We cover for each other’s classes when needed. We know each other’s children and even have them in classes. Faculty members also serve as advisors for many students. That gives us a chance to get to know our advisees, follow their progress, and keep them on track as well. The guest speakers we host through our cultural activities on campus bring a great perspective to students who may not otherwise get to hear those voices or experiences. The Pop Culture in History is a history class, but it is a fun history class. I enjoy doing those fun history things with students. My classes have always done service learning. That puts them into the community to read to children or work in a nursing home to interact with others. They can also tell future employers that they have done volunteer work and are comfortable in that setting. It gives them practical life experience while they are getting that two-year degree under their belt.

Why should an individual enroll at Northeast State?
With Tennessee Promise, it is an investment they are making. The state and the school are providing, in some cases, a free education for them. That provides an opportunity to attend college for many people who may not be able to do so otherwise. Plus, they get the confidence in themselves that they can learn on a college level. Once you have been successful you want to continue to be successful.

Sherman Patrick classroom.jpg

Faculty Focus: Jeremy Maskew

To celebrate the College’s 50th anniversary, Northeast State is welcoming retired and former faculty members back to campus during the month of February. The College also spotlights current faculty members making a difference in the lives of students.

Jeremy Maskew 1
Jeremy Maskew

Jeremy Maskew has been a full-time faculty member in the College’s Welding/Metal Fabrication program since 2011. A U.S. Navy veteran, Maskew is also a Northeast State alumnus who graduated with honors.

What was your experience when you enrolled at Northeast State?
I will a little nervous because I was older than most of the students. I served four years in the Navy where I began welding. When I got here I found out I didn’t know quite as much about welding as I thought I did. I liked the instructors, the college, and the program. I applied myself and wound up graduating with a high grade point average.

How did you begin teaching at Northeast State?
I passed my welding test for the first job I applied to and was hired. Former Welding instructor Charlie Bloomer gave me the chance to teach welding classes at the Regional Center Advanced Manufacturing in Kingsport as an adjunct faculty member. I took him up on it and spent about two and a half years as an adjunct before becoming full-time in August 2011.

What must students know after earning a welding degree or certificate?
What I try to get them to understand is they must pass a welding test to show their skills. No matter if you earn a degree or certification, you must be able to pass a welding test as part of the application to get a job. We try to get them the most experience by applying the skills we teach. I have the students going for the degree to weld and fabricate a tool box. It requires a long-term effort of putting what you have learned to practical use demanded in the workforce.

What do most people not know about welding and metal fabrication?
The time, frustration, and practice to develop the skills to become a good welder. The skill and art to it requires focus, muscle memory, and good hand-to-eye coordination.

Why should students interested in welding or metal fabrication enroll at Northeast State?
We are the only two-year institution in the state that offers a two-year degree in welding and metal fabrication. The degree program is broad to teach communication skills, simple shop mathematics, and increase overall knowledge. If they plan to go forward to be pipe fitters or fabricators, they need to learn some more complex math skills to do the job.

Jeremy Maskew teaches the tools of the welding and metal fabrication trade.
Jeremy Maskew teaches the tools of the welding and metal fabrication trade.

Author/entrepreneur Odell Bizzell visits NE Feb. 18

Northeast State is delighted to welcome noted author, blogger, entrepreneur, and speaker Odell Bizzell to campus on Feb. 18 to share his story of success and passion.

Odell Bizzell
Odell Bizzell

Through his interactive training entitled “Refuse to Lose – 4 ways to Overcome Obstacles & Win the Game of Life,” Bizzell explains how individuals can learn how to “win” in every aspect of life. The event begins at 10:30 a.m. in the Auditorium (A202) at the Blountville campus next to Tri-Cities Regional Airport.

Bizzell’s brand of presentations are often referred to as ‘inspirational comedy’ since he both entertains and enlightens his audience with compelling and comical stories and inspirational anecdotes. His main premise is that life truly is a competition and the reason why most people do not achieve what they want is because they don’t recognize they are even in a battle. Bizzell not only helps his audience see the battle, but his unique presentations help them win.

While in high school Odell started a small candy retail distribution center that earned him over $75,000 while earning an academic scholarship to college. Bizzell has been featured in the USA Today, “Yahoo Finance,” “CNBC.com,” and over 200 media outlets. He’s also the author of four books and is a nationally recognized voice in perseverance training, self-mastery, and leadership. He has presented on the same stages as Super Bowl winning coach Jim Caldwell, Senior Political Advisor for the Obama administration Dave Axelrod, Dave Letterman, & Oprah Winfrey.

His message of purpose, self-mastery, and motivation coupled with his happy-go-lucky attitude makes him just as popular with audiences today as he was in high school. Since taking his story on the road in 2008, he’s reached students at more than 150 college campuses throughout the eastern United States.

Bizzell’s presentation begins at 10:30 a.m. with doors to the Auditorium opening at 10:00 a.m. The event is part of the College’s celebration of Black History Month. For more information contact the College’s Office of Leadership Programs at 423.354.2474.

Northeast State recognized as VETS Campus

Northeast State has been designated a VETS Campus by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC) in recognition of the College’s support of student veterans.

Northeast State is one of only 13 institutions in Tennessee to have the distinction of being named a VETS Campus. Currently, Northeast State provides services to over 250 students who have previously served or are currently serving in the armed forces.

The VETS Campus designation is part of the Tennessee Veterans Education Transition Support (VETS) Act of 2014. Campuses that meet the requirements must prioritize outreach to veterans and create an environment in which veteran students have the resources to thrive.

VETS day 1
(From left) State Sen. Mark Norris and THEC Interim Executive Director Russ Deaton present Dr. Janice H. Gilliam with the VETS Campus designation.

Specific requirements include annual surveys of veteran students, targeted orientation programs, and mentoring and support services developed specifically for students who are veterans.

THEC administers the VETS Campus program and provides the designation to campuses that meet the requirements specified by the VETS Act.

“We are very appreciative of this distinction,” said Northeast State President Dr. Janice Gilliam. “This honor is a testament to the hard work of our staff and faculty to create a welcoming and supportive atmosphere for our student veterans.”

During a Feb. 5 event, Northeast State received a certificate from THEC recognizing the institution’s designation as a VETS Campus. Speakers at the event included Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris, sponsor of the VETS Act; Dr. Russ Deaton, interim executive director of THEC; and Dr. Janice H. Gilliam, president of Northeast State.

“In Tennessee, we are working hard to ensure that veterans have the services and support they need to be successful in pursuing higher education,” said Dr. Deaton. “Northeast State has proven to be an example of all that a campus can do to welcome and serve the veterans who have so bravely served our country.”

New Learning Resource Center opens at Elizabethton campus

Officials at the Northeast State at Elizabethton campus opened the new Learning Resource Center space on Thursday that more than doubled computer access sites for students.

LRC at Eliz 2
The new Learning Resource Center is up and running at Elizabethton.

Campus director Chris Hitechew and staff welcomed students to the new space with popcorn and refreshments. Classes were already taking advantage of the new resource center on Thursday.

Students wasted no time using the LRC.
Students wasted no time using the LRC.

“We needed more room for students and this opens up the center space considerably,” said Chris Hitechew, director of the Northeast State at Elizabethton campus. “The response to the additional space arrangements we’ve sought to create has been very positive.”

The Learning Resource Center at Elizabethton.
The Learning Resource Center at Elizabethton.

The new Learning Resource Center also features soft seating and tables as well as a future space for group study. Hitechew said the former resource center space in Room E116 will be allocated to the TRiO office at Elizabethton to add additional tutoring services for students.

Northeast State at Elizabethton celebrates 20 years of service this spring as a higher education campus in Carter County. The campus hosts conventional classes as well as evening and distance education courses through online, video, and ITV formats.

Northeast State at Elizabethon celebrates 20 years of operation this spring.
Northeast State at Elizabethton celebrates 20 years of service to Carter County this spring.

The campus is staffed with representatives from the College’s offices of Financial Aid, Business, TRiO Student Support Services, and Tutoring. Other departments such as the Center for Students for Disabilities, Counseling and Testing, and Career Services visit the campus frequently to serve students as needed.