December 2021 Volume 5 Issue 5

Update from the President

by Dr. Shanna L. Jackson


Season’s greetings to each of you as we prepare to close out the year 2021.  It often felt like a rollercoaster ride with twists, turns, ups, and downs.  Yet, through the recent tornadoes, Waverly flooding, and continued pandemic – we remain Nashville State Strong!  Moving Forward into 2022 our Vision 2030: A Student Ready College plan will be our guide. We will also focus on embedding our Core Values LEADS into our daily work.     

My heart goes out to the cities and towns impacted by the December 11th tornadoes.  Our Dickson Campus was impacted by the storms but is operational.  For me, it is a reminder to be grateful for each and every day.  Below are updates from the Office of the President:

ACUE Faculty – As a LEARNING Community, I want to recognize and celebrate the faculty who have completed the first half of the ACUE Effective Practice Framework.  They have been involved in rigorous coursework with the application during the fall semester.  I believe their commitment of time and effort will have a direct impact on student success and Vision 2030.  Special thanks to Tammy Ruff, Amy Bryant, and the Teaching Center for leading this effort.

Poverty Training – Special thanks to Mia Sneed and the Access and Diversity Committee for continuing to lead EQUITY DRIVEN opportunities for the college to better understand our students. Faculty and staff participated in a Poverty Immersion Institute December 14-15.  Additional opportunities to participate in poverty training will be available in 2022.  Nashville State has traditionally served a high percentage of low-income students.  Gaining a deeper understanding of how poverty can impact students’ educational journey is critical to becoming a Student Ready College.

Support – I will continue to affirm to each of you that it is ok “not” to be ok.  We as a college and as individuals have had a challenging year. I believe to achieve individual excellence, we must take

ACCOUNTABILITY for our personal physical and mental wellness.  Our constituency leaders provided several innovative opportunities during the semester and we will continue to focus on wellness and mental health in 2022.  Please remember EAP services are also offered at no cost to all benefit-eligible employees and eligible family members. Visit for more information.

Enrollment – Spring registration is ongoing.  I appreciate all the efforts of faculty and staff working with students.   I encourage you to explore the enrollment dashboard to stay DATA-INFORMED about enrollment. As of December 16th, we are up 8.8% in headcount but 2.2% in FTE. However, because of the dashboard, we know that Dual Enrollment is up 540 students compared to last year.  Thanks to the good work of our High School partnerships team, we are registering high school students much earlier than the year before.  We are still down in continuing and new students but trending in the right direction.  Current enrollment information can be found at Enrollment Tracking Report: Spring 2022.

Sharing the Good –   We are the recipients of a Kresge Foundation grant as a partner with the College of Access and Success Network (TCASN) for Nashville Flex.  Flex is a Nashville GRAD-like program for part-time students. Fifty-seven percent of Nashville State’s enrollment is part-time, and this is a STUDENT-CENTERED response to help our students succeed! There are many wonderful things happening at Nashville State! Please use this Good News Submission Form to recognize an individual (faculty, staff, or student), department, program, or group that has had a significant accomplishment or made a difference. 

Always remember, the work you do each day matters. You matter! We will reach our 2030 targets because of your hard work, dedication, and talents. My hope is that you get some needed peace and renewal this holiday break. I look forward to seeing the strides we will make in 2022.

Photo of Tom Hayden, VP Marketing

Nashville State, TCAT Dickson & Clarksville, and TCAT Nashville Hold Joint Legislative Forums

by Tom Hayden, Associate Vice President, Office of Communications and Marketing

On December 16, Nashville State, TCAT Dickson & Clarksville, and TCAT Nashville held joint legislative forums where students shared their personal stories, and successful outcomes from the past 12 months, and status updates regarding ongoing projects were provided.

Nashville State and TCAT Clarksville campus held an in-person event on the College’s Clarksville campus, focusing mainly on Montgomery County.

Nashville State, TCAT Dickson & Clarksville, and TCAT Nashville held a virtual event, covering all counties among the three schools.

Dr. Jackson addresses Dickson and Clarksville TCAT Meeting

In addition to students–Lindsey Hrobak, Angela Blasvyk, Carlos Felix, and Kashma Rasheed, Tennessee Board of Regents executive staff, Tennessee Higher Education Commission executive leadership, Clarksville Chamber of Commerce, and Regents Joey Hatch (a Nashville State alum), and Emily Reynolds participated.

The following officials were able to join: 

  • Senator Heidi Campbell 
  • Senator Brenda Gilmore 
  • Senator Bill Powers 
  • Rep. John Ray Clemmons 
  • Rep. Jason Hodges 
  • Rep. Darren Jernigan 
  • Rep. Mary Littleton 
  • Rep. Harold Love, Jr.  
  • Mayor Joe Pitts 
  • Commissioner Rashidah Leverett 
  • Staff of Congressman John Rose 
  • Kyle Johnson, Chief of Staff to Mayor Jim Durrett 
  • James Halford, Chief of Staff to Mayor Joe Pitts 
Dr. Jessica Rabb, Headshot

Advising Tickets

by Jessica Rabb, Ph.D., Professor of Biology

For the last couple years, we have entered students into a drawing for a $50 gift card provided by the NSCC Foundation, if they meet with an Advisor about registration. Just after Thanksgiving, I sent out a reminder and at that time we had about 300 “Advising Tickets.” On December 8, we had almost 700. Thanks to all who participated. 

The five students randomly selected to receive a $50 gift card were….

  • Student: Andrea Coccimiglio, TTP-AST, Special Education, Clarksville Campus
    • Advised by Dr. T. Holmes (English faculty, EHCT Division, Clarksville Campus)
  • Student: Hannah Crouch, UPA-AS, Health Sciences, White Bridge Road Campus
    • Advised by Anna Richards (Nursing faculty, HCP Division, White Bridge Road Campus)
  • Student: Rowan Lafontaine, TTP-AS, Pre-Health Professions, Southeast Campus
    • Advised by Desiree Genter (Biology faculty, STEM Division, Southeast Campus)
  • Student: Michelle McDonald, AAS, Accounting, Dickson Campus
    • Advised by Phillip Lee (Accounting faculty, BMAH Division, Southeast Campus)
  • Student: Vanessa Mutoni, UPA-AS, Health Sciences, White Bridge Road Campus
    • Advised by De’Andrea Patterson (Student Success Advisor, Dickson Campus)
Yasmine Fakhar, Student Success Advisor

Awesome Advisor chosen at random from among ten advisors that submitted the most tickets.

Yasmine Fakhar, Student Success Advisor, Southeast Campus

The Campus with the most Advising Tickets per enrolled Students.

Dickson Campus

Dickson Campus Director Matt McLean proudly holds the Advising Trophy.
Photo of Tom Hayden, VP Marketing

Nursing Students Receive Their Pins, Set to Enter Industry Facing Critical Staffing Shortage

by Tom Hayden, Associate Vice President, Office of Communications and Marketing

Family, friends, faculty, and staff turned out to celebrate the recent class of Nashville State Nursing students as they received their pins, which is a time-honored tradition among nursing programs.

In the Fall of 2019, Nashville State applied with the Tennessee Board of Nursing and the Tennessee Department of Health to add a second nursing cohort so the College can help address a nursing shortage, which has become more acute during the pandemic. The request was granted and the second cohort started the Spring 2020 semester. The first cohort of graduates will be entering the workforce with an Associate Degree in Nursing.

“To serve others in a healthcare profession is one of the most rewarding things you can do in life,” said Cindy Waller, Ph.D, MSN, RN, dean of Nashville State’s Healthcare Professions Division and a nurse with more than 40 years in the field. “We are incredibly proud of our graduates who have gone on to be distinguished leaders in their fields.”

Congrats to these graduates and thanks to all of our healthcare heroes who diligently work to care for us at our most vulnerable time.

Dr. Jessica Rabb, Headshot

Greenway Scavenger Hunt

by Jessica Rabb, Ph.D., Professor of Biology

At the White Bridge Road Campus Fall Fest in October, I was staffing the Green Sleeves table and saw Lori Green, Early College High School (ECHS) biology teacher and Nashville State biology adjunct. This was the first time I had seen Lori in person, we’d only met virtually. We both talked about getting our students together and outside.

A month later we had a chance to do so. The ECHS ninth and tenth graders took a practice ACT the morning of November 30, and I took them on a 2-hour scavenger hunt along the Richland Creek Greenway after lunch. Working with ECHS Assistant Principal Nikki Healy and the ninth and tenth-grade teachers, I instructed the students to look for particular plants, animals, and litter (which students picked up). View ECHS Scavenger Hunt instructions here

Students then posted photos of their finds on a virtual bulletin board. Needless to say, they found all kinds of things not on my list. Some of these great ECHS student posts are below. I hope the idea that they were on a “hunt” helped them be observant. What I love about the result, is that it is not what I predicted, but better.

Photo of Tom Hayden, VP Marketing

Dr. Waller Interview on Mornings on Main Street Show

by Tom Hayden, Associate Vice President, Office of Communications and Marketing

On December 10 Dr. Cyndi Waller was a guest on the “Mornings on Main Street” show with Joe Dubin. Click the link below to view her interview. If you want to skip to her interview, it begins at minute 15:46 and ends at minute 22:00.

Joe Dubin was a long-time sports journalist on WKRN and WSMV. He now has a column on the 15 Main Street publications and his show runs daily on YouTube and the Main Street Facebook pages.

Ask the Jolly Librarian (and Learn about College Resources)

by Faye Jones, Ph.D. Dean, Learning Resource Center

Dear Jolly Librarian:

As you know, this has been one hard year. I am looking forward to our winter break with more than my usual enthusiasm. More than anything, what I dream of doing is locking the door, taking a cup of tea and a few Christmas cookies, and read every afternoon while the college is closed. This is probably just a pipe dream, but if I happen to steal a few moments away, do you have any books that you recommend? (Nothing too heavy or dark. I have the real world for that.)


Needing to Recharge

Dear Needing,

The Jolly Librarian sympathizes. This has indeed been a tough year for everyone, and she is a firm believer in books as a force for good and healing. Therefore, she is more than happy to provide a small list that might make your holidays brighter. Here, in no particular order, are a few books that she enjoyed in 2021:

  1. The Thursday Murder Club and The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman. These two books about senior citizens who live in a retirement community will provide you with entertaining hours and give you goals for your own golden years. Written with lovely British dry wit, Osman doesn’t pretend that being old doesn’t have challenges, but he also points out that being old doesn’t mean that you can’t still have purpose (even solving the occasional murder).
  2. The Wife Upstairs by Ruth Hawkins. Think Jane Eyre set in modern-day Birmingham, Alabama, with a very modern narrator. It’s just plain fun.
  3. The Stranger Diaries by Elly Griffiths. Griffiths is the author of several mystery series, the most famous being the Ruth Galloway series. But the Jolly Librarian’s favorite is her newest, featuring Detective Harbinder Kaur, “the Best Gay, Sikh Detective in West Sussex, first out a field of one.”
  4. Agatha of Little Neon by Claire Luchette. This novel is about four nuns whose convent is closed down when the parish goes bankrupt. Their new assignment is in a new parish at a half-way house and Agatha is sent to teach at a high school. In turn, both funny and tragic, it includes my favorite lines of any book this year: “Agatha,” Mother Roberta said gently, “You can’t change most of the questions. But you can always come up with another answer.”
  5. The Lady Sherlock Series by Sherry Thomas. The sixth book in the Lady Sherlock series, Miss Moriarty, I Presume, came out this year, but you should start with the first one: A Study in Scarlet Women. Thomas imagines that the true detective is an outcast society woman, Charlotte Holmes, who invents a brother, Sherlock, so she can take up detecting. Charlotte is a wonderful version of the detective. She has a sharp mind, a fondness of cake, and never meets a bright color or frill she doesn’t like.

All can be found at your local public library.

Photo of Tom Hayden, VP Marketing

Sharing the Good!

by Tom Hayden, Associate Vice President, Office of Communications and Marketing

Nashville State Featured in Invest: Nashville

Dr. Jackson recently talked with Invest: Nashville about the College’s vision, what sets us apart from other local institutions of higher education, and how we’ve adjusted during the pandemic among other topics.

Alumni Spotlight: 

Shortly after graduating in May 2021 with an Architectural Design Technology A.A.S. degree, William Rucker began his career journey at Enfinity Engineering in Brentwood, where he designs plumbing systems for the firm’s hospital clients.

William Rucker

His passion for design stems from his interest to understand the inner-workings of a home, saying “It teaches you about your home. I can see the structure of a building in my head.”

In his desire for a full and interesting life, William wants “to learn as much as I can. …I want to put myself in a better position to experience more in life.”

When asked if his classes prepared him for a professional setting, he remarked, “The programs I used while I was at Nashville State are the same that I use in my career.”

While at Nashville State, William used the Tennessee Reconnect grant to pay his tuition. As he neared graduation, William worked with Nashville State’s Career Services, who kept him posted about job opportunities in his career field and scheduled meetings with potential employers, while helping to polish his résumé.

William plans to continue sinking his teeth into and growing in his new job. Your alma mater is rooting hard for you, William! Remember, you are #NashvilleStateStrong.

Culinary Arts Faculty and Students Prepared Thanksgiving Meals for Community Organizations

Nashville State Culinary Arts students and faculty prepared Thanksgiving turkeys donated by Performance Food Group and meals that were served during annual Thanksgiving events at Room In The Inn, Loaves & Fishes, and Matthew 25. 

“This annual preparation is something we hold close to our hearts and is a wonderful way for our culinary arts students to use the skills they’ve gained to give back to the community during this season of giving,” said Dr. Paul Brennen, Culinary Arts program director.  

Students were assisted by Assistant Professor of Culinary Arts Marylou Tate and Instructor Robert Siegel in preparing the meals.  

Melanie Barnett, Community Development Director at Room In The Inn stated, “We are thrilled to be partnering with the culinary arts program at Nashville State again this year for our Thanksgiving meal. These students are loving their neighbors while learning and perfecting their skills in the kitchen. We are so thankful!” 

NSCC Culinary
NSCC Culinary

Student Life Events!

by Kelsey Johansen, Director, Student Life

The Office of Student Life is excited to look back on our first semester of programming as a dedicated student engagement office. Student participation and feedback has been overwhelmingly positive and we’re excited to see what the spring semester has to offer. Special thanks to our many college partners across all campuses who help to make events a reality and promote them to students. Please reach out with suggestions, feedback, as well as anything you’d like to collaborate on. Enjoy this by the numbers and photo recap!

  • Our new Instagram @NashStateStudentLife (Give us a follow if you haven’t yet) has acquired 159 followers, with 489 accounts reached
  • Our biggest turnout for an event was the 376 attendees to the Bojangles Food Truck, ah the power of free food.
  • Student Life hosted or support 28 events this semester, with a total of 1,841 attendees total!
Photo of Tom Hayden, VP Marketing

Nashville State Invited to Discuss International Education Best Practices

by Tom Hayden, Associate Vice President, Office of Communications and Marketing

Nashville State was invited to participate in the 2021 Global Studies Symposium for Best Practices in International Education at Minority Serving Institutions and Community Colleges. It was held on the campus of Vanderbilt University.  

2021 Global Studies Symposium

Dean of the English, Humanities, and Creative Technologies Division Dr. Patricia Armstrong led a conversation about Nashville State’s partnership with the Salahadeen Center of Nashville, one of the largest Muslim community centers in Davidson County. Nawzad Hawrami and Mahabad Salih from the Salahadeen Center joined Armstrong.  
Due to the collaboration, Nashville State has been offering Kurdish language classes at the Southeast campus in Antioch. Nashville is home to the second largest population of Kurds in the world. The College has been able to offer the class due to its participation in a Title VI grant through Indiana University’s Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies.  
Indiana University’s Dr. Öner Özçelik, associate professor of Central Eurasian Studies, department chair, and executive director of Center for the Languages of the Central Asian Region, along with Assistant Director of the Center Dave Baer discussed the importance of the program and grant.   

Chris Sauders Headshot

Maintenance and Operations Department Report

by Christopher Saunders, CFM, Executive Director of Operations & Facilities

Major Projects:   

  • Clarksville
    • LED – Camera Project:  To rebid in January
  • New North Davidson
    • Punch list in progress, furniture installation underway 
  • Southeast 
    • Permanent Chiller: Specifications and Bid Package being reviewed by TBR
    • Design Project: 1st Client Project Meeting held; reviewing the project scope
  • Waverly
    • FEMA information submitted, flooring installation starting, casework and cabinetry pending approval  
  • White Bridge Road
    • Welcome Center: Signage ordering underway 
    • LED Lighting Project: Project to bid in January
    • H Building Medical Conversion: TBR Project Meeting being scheduled, equipment ordering to start 

See pictures below of the new North Davidson Campus which is very close to being finished. FYI; It does have Bike Racks! 

Thank you all for the support over this past year to make these NSCC Major Projects so successful… Best of the Holidays to you and your Families!!

Photo of Tom Hayden, VP Marketing

Dickson County Benefits from GIVE 2.0 Grant

by Tom Hayden, Associate Vice President, Office of Communications and Marketing

With an investment of $710,023 from the Governor’s Investment in Vocational Education (GIVE) grant, current and future Dickson County and Creek Wood High Schools students will be able to earn healthcare industry credentials including Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA), Emergency Medical Responder (EMR), Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), and Certified Patient Care Technician beginning the high schools Fall 2022 term.

Additional education and training will be available for students pursuing pre-nursing, surgical technology, and central sterile processing careers. The allied health programs will include work-based learning components and partnerships with local employers. Upon graduation, anyone, whether in these programs or not, can continue their schooling at TCAT-Dickson or Nashville State Community College. 

Nashville State and the Dickson County Economic Development Alliance submitted the detailed grant application in partnership with Dickson County Schools, Dickson County EMS, Dickson Medical Associates, NHC Healthcare, TriStar Horizon Medical Center, TCAT-Dickson, and the Greater Nashville Regional Council.

“This grant provides critical resources to expand access to existing and emerging high-demand healthcare careers,” said Nashville State President Dr. Shanna L. Jackson. “The success in getting this initiative funded shows that we can do great things when we partner together and invest in each other.”

Dickson County Mayor Bob Rial said the focus on healthcare is part of a larger workforce development strategy. “In recent years Dickson County has placed a great emphasis on growing our advanced manufacturing training opportunities. With our abundance of health care entities across Dickson County, we made the decision to pursue new training opportunities in the health care services sector,” said Rial. “We are sincerely grateful to be awarded this grant and look forward to growing our health care workforce in the Dickson area for years to come.”

With Nashville State being the top college selected by graduates in Dickson County, the college and school system collaborative will build on an existing relationship and give students interested in pursuing health services careers more efficient training and career paths. Nashville State has an excellent record of preparing students for careers in healthcare.  Creating a direct pathway and pipeline between the school system, local postsecondary institutions, and industry employers is key.

“We are honored to have access to this funding and what it will provide. It will certainly make a difference in the quality of programming that we will be able to provide to our students and the multitude of pathways it creates,” said Dickson County Director of Schools Dr. Danny L. Weeks.   

Allied health professions are a high-demand career field in Northern Middle Tennessee, and the median income for many of the occupations—including those supported by the Collaborative—exceeds the median income for individuals in Dickson County.

Grant funding will provide for hiring additional instructors, which allows for greater enrollment, necessary equipment purchases such as EMS simulators to hospital beds, dual enrollment opportunity for Anatomy & Physiology, and a greater variety of credentials available for students.

Dickson County Schools Career and Technical Education Coordinator Ray D. Lecomte addressed the importance of this collaboration.  “This will reinvent our Health Science programs of study in the county,” said Lecomte. “This funding will allow our students to work with hospital-level equipment and high-tech instructors to better prepare them for post-secondary training and the workforce. Our partnership with Nashville State Community College is key to the success of our programs and we look forward to a long relationship with them. We are very excited about the future of these programs and the opportunities they will provide for our students.”

Increasing post-secondary enrollment and completion in the county was also a motivating factor in seeking this grant and forming this collaboration.

The goals are in alignment with the Governor’s Drive to 55 initiative, where an ambitious goal was set of having 55 percent of Tennesseans equipped with a college degree or certificate by the year 2025. At present, 24.2 percent of Dickson County residents have an associate degree or higher. This type of partnership is essential to increasing local post-secondary attainment.

Dear Nashville State

by Cliff Rockstead, Managing Editor

Dear Nashville State,

On behalf of the Voice staff: Robin Jones, Dale Rogers, and David Gerth and all our article contributors we wish you our wonderful Nashville State family the very best of a holiday season!

As many of us have said many times, this has been an incredible year of challenges and opportunities. I think most of us will be happy to see 2021 leave and 2022 begin. Personally, this has been a most interesting time of Zoom, online, and this fall semester in the classroom teaching. Covid impacted us the entire year and some of us started the fall semester in the classroom and then had to take a Zoom-break for a week or two because we had too many students quarantined and unable to attend classes in person.  However, we once again used creativity, patience, and commitment to get most of our students through the semester successfully.  Not easy, but the really good stuff is never easy!

Please be safe, spend some quality time with the ones you love, and enjoy the downtime provided by our break between semesters. Spring semester will be here soon enough when we once again will be able to enjoy the opportunity provided to us to improve the education, skills, knowledge, and lives of our students.


Cliff Rockstead

Managing Editor

 Human Resources News

by Janet Dennis, Personnel Assistant, Human Resources

New Hires
12/20/2022Raul ColonMorenoStudent Success AdvisorStudent Success Center/NashGRAD
12/20/2021AutumnTrieuAccess Services CoordinatorStudent Success Center/NashGRAD
12/20/2021JosephJohnsonExecutive Director of Workforce DevelopmentWorkforce Development
12/01/2021LaurenRobinsonWork Based Learning CoordinatorWelcome Center and Career Services
12/01/2021PaigeWilliamsStudent Services Specialist IIIWelcome Center and Career Services
12/01/2021SeannaPetrStudent Services Specialist IIIWelcome Center and Career Services
12/01/2021KeriLaprairieFinancial Aid CounselorFinancial Aid
Change in Status: New Position
Date of
11/29/2021HelenKunkelAcademic AffairsAdministrative AssistantWBR
12/30/2021CliffRocksteadAssistant Professor Business ManagementBusiness, Management and Hospitality
50 Anniversary Logo