Jackson State Community College Welcomes UT Martin Jackson Center

The University of Tennessee at Martin’s Jackson Center is relocating to the Jackson State Community College main campus following almost a year of negotiations. The move to Jackson State’s Ned R. McWherter Center will begin Dec. 18 and completed in time for the start of spring semester classes Jan. 11.

The UT Martin Jackson Center is currently located at 3031 Highway 45 Bypass, its home since October 2011. The university has offered classes in Jackson since 1992, and the upcoming move is the center’s second relocation to Jackson State. The center first moved to the Jackson State campus in January 2008 before eventually relocating in 2011 to its present site. The current move returns the center to a campus setting and is another step in the growing partnership between the university and the Tennessee Board of Regents institution, which is observing its 50th anniversary.

“This partnership is a win-win for both institutions and a win for our students as well,” said Dr. Allana Hamilton, Jackson State president. “It provides JSCC graduates the flexibility they need to balance education, employment and family. Through this partnership, it is possible for a student to begin and graduate at Jackson State Community College and then enroll at UT Martin to complete a baccalaureate degree without leaving the Jackson State campus.”

The most recent data show that Jackson State transfer students enjoy a high rate of success when they transfer to complete a bachelor’s degree at UT Martin. Overall transfer four-year graduation rates are 6.1 percent below UT Martin’s institutional average, but Jackson State four-year graduation rates are 10.9 percent above UTM institutional rates. UT Martin Chancellor Keith Carver said this speaks to the benefit of a Jackson State degree to baccalaureate completion.

“The joint goal is to improve the long-term educational experience for students in West Tennessee,” Carver said. “Working together with Jackson State, we can improve transfer pathways and four-year graduation success of students entering Jackson State and completing their four-year degrees at UT Martin. This partnership will also impact the overall educational level of West Tennessee, leading to better employment and economic opportunities.”

The schools joined forces earlier this year to support transfer students financially when UT Martin and Jackson State established a partnership in August as a result of the university’s Elam Transfer Promise. Carver joined Dr. Flora Tydings, Tennessee Board of Regents chancellor, and Mike Krause, Tennessee Higher Education Commission executive director, in agreeing to the transfer promise. The agreement provides scholarships that benefit Tennessee Promise students who pursue a four-year degree at UT Martin. The university became the first four-year public institution in Tennessee to formalize an extension of the Tennessee Promise scholarship program.

Approximately half of Jackson State students plan to transfer to a four-year college or university. Because the UT Martin Jackson Center will offer at its new location only upper-division classes that do not duplicate any Jackson State class offerings, the agreement emphasizes the importance of JSCC students receiving their associate degree before transferring to UT Martin. The institutions will cooperate to provide a variety of non-degree, continuing education, and high school dual enrollment courses and programs.

For UT Martin, the move will initially prioritize bachelor’s degree programs in agriculture, business administration, criminal justice, education, social work, interdisciplinary studies, history, political science, psychology and the RN to BSN in nursing. The university’s Military Science and Leadership Program, of which ROTC is a part, already includes Jackson State, as well as Bethel University in McKenzie, Freed-Hardeman University in Henderson, and Lane College and Union University in Jackson.

The UT Martin Jackson Center is managed by the university’s Office of Educational Outreach. Dr. Brian Donavant is educational outreach executive director, and Kayce Beam is the Jackson Center director. More about the new UT Martin Jackson Center location and its academic and non-degree programs is available at utm.edu/departments/Jackson or by calling the center at 731-425-9277. Information about the Elam Transfer Promise scholarships is available at utm.edu or by calling the UT Martin Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships at 731-881-7040.

Gadberry represents JSCC as OTSY candidate

Jackson State student Kelsey Gadberry was selected to represent the college as a candidate for Outstanding Technical Student of the Year (OTSY). Kelsey is a second-year OTA student at JSCC and looks forward to advancing to the regional competition in January.

Kelsey is one of several students from West Tennessee that will compete for three spots to represent the West Tennessee region in Nashville at the statewide level in March. There will be 3 students from each grand division of the state (West, Middle, and East) in the final competition. These 9 contestants will be judged on their presentation and interview skills along with their ability to relate to other students, government officials, business and industry partners, and school staff.

The student selected as the winner of the statewide competition will be responsible for being an ambassador for technical education in the state. They will make a number of visits and presentations to students and industry during their term as the OTSY representative. And the reward for this honor will be a brand-new car.

This program was started in 2008 as the Tennessee Technical Center (TTC) Outstanding Student of the Year program. It was modeled after the 2007 Goal Program from Georgia for their Occupational Award of Leadership.

The program name was changed this year to the Outstanding Technical Student of the Year because of TBR systems changes. The program has been for technical education students in the TCATs since its inception. This year the program was expanded to add students from TBR’s 13 Community Colleges.

Dr. Tom Pigg is currently the local coordinator for the OTSY program. He has stated that he is excited to have this opportunity available for the college’s technical students and that JSCC’s participation in this program will be expanded in the coming years.

Jackson State Receives Proceeds of Bagels and Bluegrass Bicycle Century Tour

The proceeds from the 16th Annual Bagels and Bluegrass Bicycle Century Tour were presented in a special ceremony at Jackson State Community College on Monday, December 11.

A check for $2,500 was presented to Dr. Allana Hamilton, JSCC President, by Mary Beth Hopper, executive director for the Southwest Tennessee Tourism Association and an organizer for the event. This money will be used to fund scholarships for non-traditional students. Since its inception, the Tour has raised $36,950 for JSCC scholarships.

Hopper stated that the decision had been made to rename the Bagels and Bluegrass scholarship as the Dr. Kent Jones Scholarship in honor of the founder of the century tour. Dr. Jones, an avid cyclist, founded this event based on his enthusiasm for the sport and his love of nature. He saw this as a way to support the state park system and to also create scholarships for individuals who have a real need.

“Events like Bagels and Bluegrass are so important in ensuring that students will be able to get the help they need to attend Jackson State and we are so grateful for that,” said Dr. Allana Hamilton.

Checks in the amount of $500 each also went to Pinson Mounds State Park and Friends of Chickasaw State Park. Bagels and Bluegrass event organizers say the parks are an important part of the ride.

“We are so appreciative of all the support received from the sponsors of this event,” said Randy McKinnon, TLM president and an organizer for the event. “We couldn’t have done this without the support of our contributors, sponsors and partners.”

Bagels and Bluegrass is a one-day cycling event with routes in varying lengths from 14 to 104 miles. The ride features Pinson Mounds State Archaeological Area and Chickasaw State Park and miles of scenic roads. The 100-mile route has a total climb of greater than 7,000 feet.

Next year’s event is tentatively scheduled for October 13, 2018 at Jackson State Community College.

For more information on the Bagels and Bluegrass Bicycle Century Tour, go to the website at www.bagelsandbluegrass.tn.org.

TN Reconnect roundtable held at JSCC

A Roundtable discussion regarding the TN Reconnect program was held at Jackson State Community College on Thursday, December 7. Held in nine strategic community regions across the state, the roundtables provide an opportunity for campus enrollment managers, faculty, and TN Reconnect community advisors to discuss strategies, logistics, and methods for assisting adult learners as they navigate their way through the college application process. The roundtables are being sponsored by The Tennessee Higher Education Commission, the Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation, and the Tennessee Board of Regents.

“Many adults entering college for the first time or those returning to college after an extended time away find the application and enrollment process somewhat overwhelming and confusing. The collaborative nature of the roundtables help to give all of us a deeper understanding of the holistic and supportive environment we must provide for adults making the transition to college life,” said Dr. Heidi Leming, TBR vice chancellor for student success.

Roundtable participants shared campus plans, advising strategies, and best practices. They also learned about creative solutions and resources available for accommodating adult students who face barriers associated with lack of childcare or transportation, unreliable internet access, outdated computer equipment, and the added expense of textbooks and supplies.

In Tennessee, 900,000 adults have some college but no degree and are considered prospective adult learners. To support campus recruitment efforts for the fall 2018 semester, the Tennessee Higher Education Commission will launch a state-wide integrated marketing campaign in February to raise awareness and spark interest in the life-changing opportunities that TN Reconnect offers to adults who thought a college credential was no longer in reach.

Jackson State to offer Respiratory Care program next spring

Jackson State Community College’s new Respiratory Care program earned provisional accreditation status and has admitted a full class of students for its first semester this spring.

The Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care voted to confer the status on the program in November. Students who enroll in the program can now pursue a career in respiratory care upon graduation.

“The provisional accreditation allows us to admit a group of students, and when they complete the program, they are eligible to sit for their national credentialing exam,” said Respiratory Care Program Director Cathy Garner.

The program was created to fill a growing demand for respiratory therapists in West Tennessee and provide a new alternative for students pursuing a career in health care. Graduates will receive an Associate of Applied Science degree in Respiratory Care.

Jackson’s growing health care presence, along with the number of respiratory therapists approaching retirement, has created a need for more students to pursue the profession, Garner said. The growing elderly population with long-term respiratory care needs is also driving demand.

“Here in West Tennessee, we are seeing a great demand for respiratory therapists, and there is no program outside of Shelby County,” Garner said. “After graduation, our students will be able to work in their field as they prepare for the national credentialing exam.”

Graduates will need to have a temporary license to be employed, and they must pass the national exam within one year to receive a full license to practice respiratory care, she said.

Respiratory therapists focus on patients with breathing difficulties, from newborns with underdeveloped lungs to elderly patients with a chronic disease like emphysema. Respiratory therapists can pursue many specialties, such as critical care, home care, case management, pulmonary rehabilitation, pulmonary diagnostics, sleep medicine, and surface and air transport. The work environment is often fast and fluid, Garner said.

“We work under the direction of a physician, and we provide an assessment of a patient to determine the kind of therapy a patient needs,” Garner said. “We focus on the cardiopulmonary system – any patient having any difficulties related to the lungs.”

Respiratory therapists work with mechanical ventilators and artificial airways, respond to code-blue resuscitative efforts, and can be found treating patients from the front door of the hospital to the back, Garner said. Students who want to pursue a medical career but want an alternative to nursing should consider the program.

Twelve students enrolled in the first class. Jackson State plans to grow the number in subsequent cohorts to 16, which is the maximum allowed per calendar year under the terms of accreditation.

The provisional accreditation is temporary. Jackson State must submit reports for three years after the first cohort’s graduation date has been established before it can achieve full accreditation. The reports specify student outcomes, such as enrollment and the graduation rate.