Paramedic program awarded continued accreditation

The paramedic program at Jackson State Community College was recently awarded continued accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP), the accrediting body for the program. The JSCC program received no citations and will be reviewed again in 2025.

According to Kenneth Oxford, JSCC’s EMT/Paramedic Program Director, the 5-year review process in conjunction with the Committee on Accreditation for the EMS Professions (CoAEMSP) and CAAHEP has been a regular occurrence since 1989 when the program received its first accreditation award.

“This is an ongoing process of analyzing information and data to provide a high-quality program for the students, community, and employers,” said Oxford. “The process that just ended began in March 2018 with a 3-month self-study. That was followed up with a review and site visit by CoAEMSP and a subsequent review and affirmation by CAAHEP.”

“The fact that we came through this process with no citations is remarkable and speaks volumes about the college’s commitment to quality education,” said Oxford.

The EMT/Paramedic program at JSCC is a multi-level certificate and degree program. There are three preliminary certifications that allow an individual to quickly enter the field as an Emergency Medical Technician. Those certifications include EMT, Advanced EMT, and Paramedic.

JSCC also awards an applied associate of science (AAS) degree in Paramedic. The AAS degree is typically the entry-level degree for paramedics. According to Oxford, the demand for paramedics in West Tennessee and across the nation is high. “Most employers in this area say they have a shortage of both Paramedics and Advanced EMTs.”

“Since most students in the Paramedic program are already employed as an Advanced EMT, the placement rate is 100% for students that complete the Paramedic degree and pass the national certification exam.

To learn more about the EMT-Paramedic program at JSCC, visit or contact Kenneth Oxford at or 731-424-3520 ext. 50348.

Criminal justice degree offers career advancement

Law enforcement officers and criminal justice professionals have an opportunity to advance their careers with Jackson State Community College’s associate of applied science degree in criminal justice. The two-year degree program, which launched in August 2018, is available for students who also want to enter those fields quickly.

“If you want to help others in the community, this is the career field for you,” said Assistant Professor Karen Perrin, who joined Jackson State in 2018 as the lead criminal justice faculty, advisor, and club sponsor. Vivian Minton, Dean of Social and Behavioral Sciences, oversees the program.

Perrin has a broad background in the criminal justice field. She has served the community as a juvenile and adult probation officer, crisis victims advocate, and a correctional officer. She also served as a military police officer in the U.S. Navy.

The AAS degree supports careers spanning the field of criminal justice in the areas of law enforcement and corrections. The associate of applied science degree class which includes, mental health aspects, report writing, and internship opportunities.

“A criminal justice degree provides individuals the ability to play to their strengths and use them for the greater good of the community,” Perrin said. “Whether you want to become a law enforcement officer, assist victims of crimes, oversee the progress of a probationer, or guide delinquent youth, a criminal justice degree can open up those career paths.”

The associate of applied science degree can be completed in as little as two years. It is a non-transferable program, but after completion, students can enter the workforce or be able to advance in their careers.

Jackson State also offers a criminal justice associate of science degree and a criminal justice associate of arts degree. Both lay the groundwork for a bachelor’s degree at a four-year college, and most of the classes overlap. The associate of arts degree, however, includes a foreign language requirement in Spanish.

“The criminal justice pathway is designed for students who plan to transfer to a four-year institution and pursue a career in one of the many areas within criminal justice,” Perrin said. “Students can prepare for careers in local, state, or federal law enforcement, corrections to include parole or probation, and the juvenile justice system. Students who major in criminal justice have a broad range of opportunities”

Jackson State Community College provides accessible learning opportunities that enhance the lives of individuals, strengthen the workforce and empower the diverse communities of West Tennessee. The institution offers traditional and contemporary associate degrees, certificates, continuing education and enrichment, and college-readiness programs.

Fall 2019 Semester Honor Roll Announced

The Office of Admissions and Records at Jackson State Community College released the honor roll for the Fall 2019 semester. On the honor roll, there were 294 full-time students who achieved a quality point average over 3.00. There were 443 students who made the dean’s list by achieving a quality point average of 3.50 or better.

Honor Roll is reserved for students who are enrolled for twelve (12) or more hours of college-level work (Learning Support excluded) and who complete a semester’s work with a quality point average between 3.00 and 3.49.



Dean’s List is reserved for students who are enrolled for twelve (12) or more hours of college-level work and who complete a semester’s work with a quality point average between 3.50 and 4.00.


Guest lecturer to discuss “compassionate communication”

Dr. Chris Patti, Associate Professor of Communication Studies at Appalachian State University, will present a lecture on “Compassionate Communication in Divided Times” at Jackson State Community College. The lecture will be in the Ayers Auditorium on the college’s main campus at 6 p.m. on Thursday, February 20 and is free and open to the public.

Patti will also facilitate discussions with students throughout the day on Thursday and conduct a mindful meditation session on Friday morning at 9 a.m. This session will be held in room 203 of the Jim Moss Center for Nursing and is also free and open to the public.

Dr. Patti is also Affiliate Faculty: Center for Judaic, Holocaust, and Peace Studies at Appalachian State University. His research examines compassionate communication and navigating suffering through ethnographic work with Holocaust survivors and trauma survivors.

“Dr. Patti is clearly a thoughtful and inspired teacher whose ideas are relevant and salient,” said Dr. Bob Raines, Professor of Psychology at JSCC. “Maybe his thoughts about being present, listening with compassion, and keeping an open mind can serve as something of an antidote for the political and cultural polarization in which we find ourselves.”

There are three themes to be discussed by Dr. Patti:

  1. really listening;
  2. really being present; and,
  3. really being open-minded, especially across differences and through trauma.

According to Patti, these three themes are “simple but not easy” practices central to happiness and success in life and work. “These are central themes in all the classes I teach–especially Interpersonal Communication,” he said.

The JSCC Honors program hosts a number of special learning and cultural enrichment opportunities for students and the community during the year.

Learn more about the Honors Program

Campus Safety increased with emergency contact stations

Jackson State Community College recently installed 3 emergency contact stations around the Jackson campus. The stations are strategically located in parking lots and allow for ready access to campus police who will respond to assist students and guests with any possible issues.

“The contact stations are part of an overall plan to increase the safety and security for our students,” said Shane Young, JSCC police chief. “The initial installation was for 3 stations, but there are plans for additional stations in the coming months.”

According to Young, there have been multiple efforts in play to update security at JSCC. In 2013, the college established a jurisdictional police department. There are always at least two officers on duty during the times when classes are scheduled. Surveillance of the campus is continually being expanded. More recently, the locks on all of the classroom doors have also been updated to allow for students to be secured and prevent a possible intrusion.

“We are making every effort to be proactive and plan for the best possible outcome should an event ever happen,” said Young. “We have been blessed that there have been no issues to have caused us to make these changes.”

The emergency contact stations are a visible indication of the college’s efforts to increase security. “We want students to know that we are here to help and that they can always count on us to be there for them,” said Young. “Additionally, we hope students will let us know about things that are suspicious or don’t look right. With their help, we can keep the JSCC campus the safe place that generations of students have come to know and love.”

FAFSA workshops resume at JSCC

The time to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for the 2020-2021 academic year is here. Jackson State Community College is hosting a series of workshops to assist students and their parents in completing the application. Four free workshops will be held at the college from January 24 through January 30.

Completion of the FAFSA is an essential requirement to access financial aid for attending college. This requirement extends to all of those who have applied for or receive the last-dollar scholarships known as Tennessee Promise and Tennessee Reconnect.

John Brandt, Director of Financial Aid, encourages everyone to attend the free workshops at JSCC. “This is a great opportunity to take care of this detail that is essential for receiving financial assistance of any kind,” said Brandt. “With a small amount of preparation, this task can be completed in approximately 30 minutes, and we are more than happy to help.”

The documentation needed at the workshop includes tax returns, W2 forms, amounts for child support paid or received, and any other relevant financial documents for the 2018 tax year. Students who are claimed as dependents are asked to bring a parent with them.

For a complete listing of dates and times, visit Call 731-425-2605 for any other questions.

JSCC roots provide foundation for international success

In 1984, Phil Graves had no idea that his college experience at Jackson State Community College would eventually lead him to teach international law at Tallinn University in Estonia. Graves has been at the university in Estonia for more than 10 years now.

While he finished his associate degree at JSCC in 1986, he consistently recalls his beginning at the college and knows that it set the foundation upon which the rest of his life and career would be built. “Jackson State provided me with an opportunity that I would never have pursued at a 4-year institution,” Graves said.

Graves, like so many students that come through the doors of JSCC, was a first-generation college student and never imagined that a college degree was in his future. “I came from a working-class family who believed that you got a job after high school and worked hard to make a life for yourself,” Graves said.

Phil graduated from North Side High School in 1984. Not anticipating college in his future, he took the vocational track of auto-body repair and proceeded to the Tennessee Technology Center (now TCAT) to get an advanced credential in auto-body repair.

Graves also found himself working in a manufacturing position during this time and came to realize that this is not what he wanted to do for the rest of his life. “I simply had to find a better way to make a living,” he said.

With the persuasion of his mother and a close friend, he applied to Jackson State. “I had never considered that college would be an option for me,” said Graves. “I had gone down the vocational education pathway and no one in my family had never gone to college; it just wasn’t on my radar.”

It didn’t take long before Phil developed a passion for education. “The professors at the college were so encouraging and opened my eyes to a whole new world I had never dreamed possible,” said Graves. “I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do, but I knew that I would be going a lot further.”

Phil went on to complete a Bachelor’s degree at Middle Tennessee State University. Eventually, he found himself working doing graduate work in international law in Estonia at Tallinn University of Technology. After completing a master’s degree in international and European law, Graves joined Pannon Business and Legal Consulting where he served as a member of the management board for several years. In 2012, Graves joined the law faculty at the School of Governance, Law, and Society at Tallinn University, where he teaches international law and legal theory.

For the past four years, Graves has been in the doctoral program at the University of Valencia in Spain. “All those years ago at Jackson State, this is something that I never would have dreamed I would be doing,” he said. “The nurturing environment that was created with professors and others at the college helped me realize my potential and to see beyond my current circumstances; they truly changed the trajectory of my life.”

Graves is currently working on the completion of his dissertation. He came back to Jackson on sabbatical leave to work on this monumental project.

“While working on a dissertation is not necessarily enjoyable, I have greatly enjoyed being back home in Jackson to work on this project,” Graves said. “I have spent several hours in the Jackson State Library working on my dissertation. It is somewhat nostalgic, but it has helped to put things into perspective and given me a true appreciation for the journey that began at Jackson State.”

Tennessee Small Business Development Center in Jackson has new director

Monique Merriweather, former dean of West Tennessee Business College and director of Neighborhood Services for the City of Jackson, was named director of the Tennessee Small Business Development Center. She replaces Ron Acree, who served as director from 2007 until his retirement in December.

“Small businesses are the economic backbone of Tennessee,” Merriweather said. “The mission of the TSBDC is to help businesses be successful, create jobs, prevent entrepreneurs’ dreams from becoming ‘nightmares’ and enable them to become good corporate citizens.”

Funded by Jackson State Community College and the Small Business Administration, the center provides start-ups and existing small business owners with advice and suggestions to develop an effective and profitable business plan. The center’s service area covers nine counties and offers free and confidential counseling to area chambers of commerce, their members and the public.

Merriweather’s office is at the Jackson Chamber, 197 Auditorium St., in downtown Jackson.

Merriweather also worked as a court case manager before her roles with the city and West Tennessee Business College.

She has a master’s degree in business administration and a bachelor’s degree in human resources management from Bethel University. She is a certified Professional in Human Resources, and she is certified in Cognitive Behavior Therapy and Diversity in the Workplace. She is also a licensed foster parent.

Merriweather looks forward to her new role with the Tennessee Small Business Development Center. “Helping others succeed is what makes my day,” she said.