Archive | September, 2006

Bonner Foundation president commends service leader students

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Bonner Foundation president commends service leader students

Posted on 12 September 2006 by

Bonner Foundation president visits Tusculum CollegeWayne Meisel, president of the Bonner Foundation, on Thursday told Tusculum College students in the service leader program that bears the foundation’s name that their group is among the best in the country.

“I would put the people in this room up against any group from any college around the country and know you would get things done because of what you have already accomplished,” Meisel told members of Tusculum’s Bonner Leaders program as he met with them during a reception Thursday afternoon. Meisel visited Tusculum College as part of a trip to visit colleges and universities with Bonner programs in this region.

The Bonner Foundation, one of the nation’s largest privately funded service scholarship programs, works with about 70 universities and colleges to create a culture of service on college campuses. Housed in the Center for Civic Advancement at Tusculum, the Bonner Leader program, currently composed of 15 students, provides leadership training, a tuition grant and a channel for students to serve in their community.

Meisel asked the students about the effect the Bonner Leader program has had in their lives and received a variety of answers. Alejandra Chavez said her Bonner Leader service placement was in a local school, and she has been chosen for a position at the school because school administrators got to know her through her service.

Anup Kaphle, a native of Nepal, said when he came to America, he thought of America as a great country where people did not have to face the same challenges as in his homeland. But, he said, when he traveled to Caretta, W. Va., for a service trip, he saw people living in the same conditions as found in Nepal.

Megan Ownby said her service experiences have helped strengthen her desire to reach her educational goals and return to her home community to serve and help better conditions there.

The students also commented that their Bonner Leader experiences have helped them be more open to others needs and perspectives.

Meisel then asked the students about how the program could be strengthened and more students become involved. He encouraged and challenged them to continue in their service and to help expand the program by involving more students.

The students also told Meisel about the service projects that are part of their Bonner Leader responsibilities. Students are working as tutors through a program of the George Clem Multicultural Association, helping in the local Truancy Office, tutoring and working with children at the Backyard Learning Center after-school program for Tusculum View Elementary School students from low income families, assisting senior citizens at Plaza Towers learn to use e-mail to stay in touch with family and friends, and helping spread information on campus about service opportunities and the Bonner Leader program.

As part of the program, Bonner Leaders are required to fulfill 100 hours of volunteer time per semester, participate in group service projects, assume leadership roles, and serve in individual service placements. They may address such issues as improving educational opportunities, fighting hunger, illiteracy, drug and alcohol abuse or environmental concerns. Student members participate in regular training and reflection activities sponsored by the campus, their community partners and the Bonner Foundation. A $1,000 tuition grant per semester is available for students accepted into the Bonner Leader program.

Prior to meeting with the students, Meisel met with college officials about the program including Dr. Kim Estep, provost and vice president of academic affairs; Melinda Dukes, assistant vice president of academic affairs, and Robin Fife, Bonner Leaders program director.

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Leadership Conference

Tusculum College provides networking opportunity for students with local leading professional women

Posted on 09 September 2006 by

Leadership ConferenceMore than 100 people attended the “Women in Leadership: A Networking Luncheon for the Next Generation” on Friday, September 22, at Tusculum College.

The luncheon was sponsored by the Offices of Career Development and Multicultural Affairs to provide students the opportunity to meet and learn about their careers of interest from local leading professional women in those fields.

Jacquelyn Elliott, vice president for admission and financial aid at Tusculum, made a brief presentation about women in leadership and challenged those in the room to be both mentors and pupils to others whether they were students or professionals. Elliott is also a grant-sponsored research assistant for the Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine Program hosted at Drexel University, a program advancing women in academic leadership at medical colleges across the nation.

In research of women in leadership, Elliott said she has found that women typically accept the gender stereotypes about leadership such as that female leaders are nurturing of those around them whereas male leaders are focused on the bottom line.

However, she challenged those in the room to follow their heart and be true to themselves as individuals as they assume positions of leadership in their careers and communities, to remember that “the human heart is more than a pump.”

Elliott encouraged the students to seek out mentors, whether it be in the career of interest, in community service, or in spiritual matters. Although it has been traditionally thought that one should seek a mentor similar to oneself, she continued, studies have shown that mentor relationships in which the individuals are different have been successful because people learn much from each others’ differences.

Good mentors listen to their proteges, are understanding, challenge them to exceed their expectations, coach them toward success, help build their self-confidence, provide counsel, teach by example, and offer encouragement, Elliott said.

Mentors should encourage their proteges to communicate openly with them, set guidelines and expectations from the beginning, and establish performance measures because it is a serious business relationship, she continued.

Everyone can benefit from mentoring relationships, Elliott said, encouraging both the professional leaders and students to act as mentors as well as seek out their own mentors.

Sixteen women professionals from the education, business, medical, law enforcement, financial, engineering, and judicial fields participated in the luncheon. They included:

  • Michelle Collins Barefield, a physical therapist at Greeneville Orthopaedic Clinic;
  • Karen Burke, a deputy U.S. marshal for the Eastern Judicial District of Tennessee;
  • Shawn Collins, manager for customer care at Forward Air, Inc.
  • Jacquelyn Elliott, vice president for admission and financial aid at Tusculum College;
  • Dr. Kimberly Estep, provost and academic vice president at Tusculum;
  • Judith Henry, chief executive officer of Worthy Solutions, a firm dedicated to helping business leaders build sustainable, collaborative relationships;
  • Dr. Lisa Johnson, director of the School of Education and director of learning support services at Tusculum;
  • Jennifer Keller, branch manager at the east Greeneville branch of First Tennessee Bank;
  • Dr. Vicki Kirk, assistant director of instruction for Greeneville City Schools;
  • Ivy Leonard, treasurer for Leonard Associates, a management company overseeing BTL Industries, LMR Plastics, and several other associated companies and commercial warehouses;
  • Cynthia Bibb Pectol, a Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 31 Mediator and an adjunct faculty member at Tusculum;
  • Kelly Kreiter Penning, human resource manager for John Deere Power Products;
  • Glenda Robinson, director of pharmacy for Greene Valley Developmental Center;
  • Helen Smith, assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern Judicial District of Tennessee;
  • Cathy Walden, president of W & W Engineering, LLC; and
  • Andie Westwood, clinical liaison for Reckitt Benckiser in its pharmaceutical division.

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Admission Cleanup

President Henry, Admission and Financial Aid staff members cleanup gardens surrounding Virginia Hall

Posted on 06 September 2006 by

Admission CleanupThe grounds around one of the College’s most historic buildings received an afternoon of tender love and care on Monday, thanks to staff members from the offices of Admission and Financial Aid and Tusculum College President Dr. Dolph Henry.

The College’s campus has a reputation for being one of the most beautiful in the area, but the wet summer months allowed some weeds to flourish in the gardens surrounding Virginia Hall.

Built in 1901, Virginia Hall houses the Admission and Financial Aid offices, as well as several classrooms, two computer labs and offices for faculty, the registrar and the College’s Graduate and Professional Studies program.

“The beauty of Tusculum College’s campus is something that visiting prospective students and their parents frequently mention. It is important for us to keep our campus looking its best. This is especially true in and around Virginia Hall, which is often the first building visited by newcomers to the College since they begin their visit at the Admission Office,” said President Henry.

Along with Dr. Henry, ten members of the Admission and Financial Aid staff took part in the beautification effort. The grounds keeping work began after lunch and included pulling weeds from the gardens, trimming overgrown bushes, placing plants on and around the sidewalks, and edging the ground and sidewalks in front and beside the Hall.

Jacquelyn Elliott, Vice President for Admission and Financial Aid at the College, organized the effort as a result of a discussion at a joint Admission and Financial Aid staff meeting.

“We should all take pride in our community. Working together as a team on such a project helps us better understand the work of our fellow colleagues in grounds and maintenance. We’re all part of one campus here…and helping each other get the work done is rewarding,” Elliott said.

See more pictures from the cleanup effort.

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Students commemorate ‘Nettie Fowler McCormick Service Day’ with projects in the community

Posted on 06 September 2006 by

CrumleyHouseGroups of Tusculum College students could be found Thursday surveying creek banks, painting school playground equipment, and repairing a riding rink used in the rehabilitation of individuals with brain injuries.

These projects and many others made the community the classroom for these students as the college marked the annual Nettie Fowler McCormick Service Day, one of the oldest traditions at the state’s oldest institution of higher learning.

Participating in the Service Day activities were approximately 300 students, including freshmen and members of the Bonner Leader organization on campus, and about 25 faculty and staff members.

In the past, each class and sometimes two classes were each assigned a separate service project, but this year was different as the college assisted in a large project that involved seven classes – more than 100 students. These classes participated in the College Creek survey project, which involved splitting the students into groups to survey sections of the creek from an area on Rufe Taylor Road, following the creek’s path to the Tusculum campus and then beyond toward Nolichucky River.

Under the supervision of representatives from such agencies as the Soil Conservation District, the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, the Tennessee Valley Authority, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, the students measured creek banks, described the conditions of the creek banks in writing, noted entry points of storm water drains, etc., and marked coordinates of the sections using GPS (Global Positioning System) units.

The information gathered by the students will create a database of information to be used in applying for an EPA grant for storm water control and creek restoration along College Creek. Paul Hayden, a soil conservationist with the Greene County Soil Conservation District, who is writing the grant proposal along with a representative from the TVA, said he was contacted after the project was announced during the summer by Tusculum’s Center for Civic Advancement about ways students could help.

From those conversations, a plan developed for students to conduct the surveys, and Hayden traveled to campus prior to the Service Day to teach the students about the project and the steps in conducting the survey.

“This creek’s primary pollution is siltation coming from not only storm water but also from disintegration of the embankments, which means there are no trees, no shrubs, no dense vegetation to keep the soil in place,” he said. The increase in silt in the creek leads to less insect life which in turns decreases the number of fish, and the students’ work on Thursday provides the information about the current conditions of the creek needed in the grant proposal, Hayden continued.

The grant is a five-year proposal to improve conditions along the creek and seeks funding of roughly $500,000 for the entire project, he said. If received, the college could receive $150,000 to $200,000 for use to control storm water runoff into the sections of the creek on campus, Hayden added.

Students and their instructors also traveled to seven other sites for a variety of service projects. Students at Rural Resources were split into small groups working on a variety of projects including creating large planters to be distributed to area residents to allow them to grow their own “mini-gardens,” painting, organizing supplies, and weeding.

Making improvements to the playground area at the Education Center of Greene County was the accomplishment of the morning for one class. At the Child Advocacy Center in Mosheim, students were able to provide assistance in a variety of ways, including some painting.

Two classes’ service involved working directly with the people served at their project sites. A class traveled to Comcare Inc., where they interacted with the clients. Another group went to Greeneville Care and Rehabilitation Center (formerly Lifecare West) where they entertained residents with games. Painting, landscaping, repairing fencing around a riding rink, and unloading hay bales and sawdust for the horse barn kept the students who went to the Crumley House Brain Injury Rehabilitation Center in Limestone busy. The work of the students and others who volunteer their time is very much appreciated, said Wayne Hunigan, program director at the Crumley House.

“We are a small organization and we don’t have a large staff,” he said. “When students and other organizations volunteer it means a lot to us. It allows us to get projects done that would be difficult for us to do without help.” The repairs to the riding rink, the painting, and landscaping were such projects, he added.

Another class stayed on campus, going to the Doak House Museum where the students helped assemble about 1,000 craft kits to be used in the museum’s upcoming educational programs for public school children.

The day of service is named for the college’s first major benefactor, Nettie Fowler McCormick, the widow of the inventor of the mechanized harvestor and founder of the company known as International Harvester. Nettie Fowler McCormick Service Day was established in 1913 by the trustees of Tusculum in recognition of her beneficence to the school. Initially, the day had an emphasis on sprucing up the campus, in honor of her love of cleanliness and good order. The day has since evolved to provide service throughout the community, as well as on campus.

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Josephson at Commencement

Character Counts president: ‘From Success to Significance: Living the Good Life’

Posted on 01 September 2006 by

Josephson at Commencement In a presentation liberally sprinkled with insights from a variety of historical figures, a noted ethicist urged a Tusculum College audience Thursday morning (Aug. 31) to “live a life that matters” and to “move beyond success into significance.”

Michael Josephson, founder and president of Josephson Institute of Ethics and president of the CHARACTER COUNTS! Coalition was the guest speaker at the college’s opening convocation, officially launching the 2006-2007 academic year. Josephson, who has extensive media exposure as an ethical commentator, founded the institute that created the CHARACTER COUNTS! youth-education initiative that is used by character education public school programs across the State of Tennessee and elsewhere.

The Josephson Institute is overseen by a volunteer, independent Board of Governors. Josephson serves without salary as president of both the Institute and the CHARACTER COUNTS! Coalition, according to the Institute web site.

Josephson spoke in the Annie Hogan Byrd Fine Arts building auditorium to a crowd made up mostly of Tusculum College students, most of the Residential College faculty, and numerous college staff members and community figures. The First Tennessee Human Resources Agency, Tusculum College and Scott M. Niswonger supported the speaker’s visit. Tusculum College Museums Program Director George Collins was instrumental in bringing Josephson to the college.

Focusing his comments mostly toward students, Josephson said that the college years are a time of asking four questions: 1) what do you want to have? 2) what do you want to do? 3) who do you want to be with? and 3) who do you want to be? The last question is the most important of the four, he said, and how it is answered affects the answers to the other three.

He recounted the story of Alfred Nobel, a wealthy and successful industrialist who invented dynamite. Nobel, however, realized he was not happy with mere “success” after reading his own obituary, published by mistake in a newspaper. Seeing his life defined in the obituary as a string of successes, Nobel was distressed, Josephson said, and decided to “go beyond success to significance.” So he created the Nobel Peace Prize, which has led to the lasting association of the Nobel name not with dynamite, but with human betterment.

Josephson also discussed Albert Schweitzer, who forsook a life of wealth and luxury to become a medical missionary in impoverished parts of Africa, and Anne Frank, a Jewish girl forced to hide from the Nazis for years before finally being taken to a concentration camp, where she perished. Her famous diary contains insights showing wisdom beyond her years, Josephson said, including the quote: “The final forming of a person’s character lies in their own hands.”

Josephson cited a quote from a man whose experience paralleled parts of Anne Frank’s: psychologist and author Victor Frankl, who survived the concentration camps that killed the rest of his family. In his classic, “Man’s Search for Meaning,” Frankl wrote: “Everything can be taken from a man but …the last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” Josephson quoted sources from several religious, cultural and moral traditions to drive home his points. He cited a Buddhist proverb: “Pain is inevitable; suffering is optional.”

He also presented several pieces of advice in his own words: “Stop whining. It gets you nothing and isn’t very attractive.” Also: “What we now call ‘pressures’ we used to call ”temptations.’ And we knew just what we were supposed to do about them.” He cited a modern cultural tendency to use the prevalence of a particular idea or practice as grounds for declaring it acceptable. This, he argued, is wrong in that it equates the “is” with the “ought.”

Cynics, he said, tend to “move the ‘ought’ toward the ‘is’” i.e., to justify actions as right because they are commonly done. The proper approach, he said, is to try to move the “is” toward the “ought” – to bring actual practice in line with what is right. “There’s a difference between what you have a right to do and what is right to do,” he said.

The inability of one individual to correct every wrong should not cause that individual to languish in doing what he or she can do, Josephson said. He quoted Edward Everett Hale: “I am only one; but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; I will not refuse to do something I can do.”

“Life is a strategic plan,” Josephson said. “And the goal of that plan is the eulogy you want to earn for yourself.” Saying he was going to “turn this convocation into an invocation,” Josephson said in conclusion: “I invoke you to live a life that matters.”

The Joseph & Edna Josephson Institute of Ethics is a public-benefit, nonprofit, nonpartisan and nonsectarian membership organization founded by Michael Josephson in honor of his parents. Since 1987, the Institute has conducted programs and workshops for over 100,000 influential leaders including legislators and mayors, high-ranking public executives, congressional staff, editors and reporters, senior corporate and nonprofit executives, judges and lawyers, and military and police officers.

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Focus on ethics in the U.S. improving, but much work still to be done, CHARACTER COUNTS! program creator says

Posted on 01 September 2006 by

JosephsonA look at the current state of ethics in the United States brings both good and bad news, says Michael Josephson, founder of the institute that developed the CHARACTER COUNTS! youth-education initiative used in schools in Tennessee and across the nation.

When he began working with ethics issues, there was a challenge to convince people that character education was needed, said Josephson, founder and CEO of Josephson Institute of Ethics, speaking at a luncheon Thursday (Aug. 31) at Tusculum College.

While no one needs to be convinced of its importance anymore, Josephson quoted some sobering statistics about the current state of ethics among students in the classroom and in the corporate world. For example, he said that there continues to be significant rates of academic cheating, theft, underage drinking and drug use among youth, and the cases of financial fraud in companies such as Enron have not meant a better ethical climate in the corporate world, but that different types of misconduct have arisen. “I don’t mean to sound so pessimistic,” he said. “Improvements have been made, but there is still so much we can do.”

Improving character and ethical behavior in a community is difficult, but it is doable, Josephson said. It takes people declaring it is important to their communities and committing to measures such as educational programs that will make a difference. “No one person can do everything, but each individual can commit to doing what they can to make a difference,” he continued.

Josephson delivered the keynote address at the college’s Opening Convocation of its 213th academic year and then spoke at a luncheon for community leaders, college faculty and staff, and regional representatives from the First Tennessee Human Resource Agency, which coordinates CHARACTER COUNTS! programs in Northeast Tennessee and helped bring Josephson to campus. The agency and Tusculum have partnered in the past few years to present awards to volunteers in the region who are models of good character. The main award is named for Tusculum’s founders in recognition of the college’s tradition and continuing commitment to develop educated citizens distinguished by academic excellence, public service, and qualities of Judeo-Christian character. The luncheon was sponsored by First Tennessee Bank, Tusculum College, and the college’s Department of Museum Program and Studies.

Those working with programs that focus on character and ethics are facing the challenge of finding resources for programs that will make a difference in improving individual’s character, and thus bettering society, Josephson said.

He noted that CHARACTER COUNTS! has expanded in past years from the basic program aimed primarily at school children to programs involving sports teams, business and industry, the court system, law enforcement, and public administration. While character programs have grown in number and visibility, “the real gauge is have people learned?” Josephson asked. “People are much more willing talk about character and ethics than doing it.”

Josephson said he has worked with companies regarding ethics issues, but many don’t make changes because they are afraid of losing that edge over their competitors or fear falling behind others who continue to act unethically to get ahead.

The high-profile cases of companies of Enron have resulted in legislating morality in certain areas, but it hasn’t reduced the amount of misconduct, he continued. “There have been more people convicted – with serious sentences – of white collar crime in the past five years than in the past 100,” Josephson said.

Laws have been passed in the past few years to curb unethical behavior, he said, but in some ways, those laws can give people a license not to make ethical judgments of their own. “I would rather a person not do something unethical because they know it is wrong, than not do it because of a fear of punishment,” Josephson said.

Quoting statistics reported from surveys of high school students about their behavior, Josephson said that colleges and universities are behind the curve when it comes to helping students who these surveys show may not have a strong ethical foundation develop strong character.

It would not be difficult to interject some lessons about character and ethics into every subject, whether it be literature, history, business, or science, he said, and a program similar to the training CHARACTER COUNTS! provides to teachers about character instruction cannot be found on a college campus in the nation.

College athletics is treated as a business in the U.S., Josephson said. On almost every level, from youth league sports to professionals, athletes are put on a pedestal during their career. But, he asked, how have they been prepared for life after sports in an environment where coaches and players have been so pressured to win that it leaves no room for the great lessons of character that can be taught and learned on the playing field.

“Sports is a measure of our society,” he said. “The behavior of some spectators from the tee-ball level to professional sports has gone past intense, passionate cheering to behavior that is obnoxious and offensive.” The need for education is great not only for young people but also for parents and adults, he said.

“We don’t have a kid problem, we have an adult problem,” he said. “Kids do act different, but they are behaving the way we taught them to behave.” CHARACTER COUNTS! has parenting education programs, and that type of education needs to be a continuing thing for parents, Josephson said.

Adults are instructed that success in teaching character is found in the acronym “TEAM” – teach, enforce, advocate, and model, he said. “Adults need to look more closely at themselves and be more accountable,” he said.

When asked about the role of religion in character, Josephson said he would like to see religious groups take a greater role in character education and promotion. CHARACTER COUNTS! has programs tailored for Catholic and Jewish schools and is talking with a Islamic school about developing a curriculum.

Regardless of theology, religions have a common focus on individuals being good, and there are common characteristics they emphasize that are also found among the tenets of CHARACTER COUNTS! – trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, and citizenship. “We secularized it because in such a diverse society as ours, we knew we had to,” he said.

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