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Volunteer State Community College

Volunteer State Community College (VSCC) in Gallatin, TN  is located 25 miles northeast of Nashville, TN. VSCC science faculty have partnered with CCURI to develop an interdisciplinary and collaborative approach to undergraduate research - focusing on water quality of the impaired streams of the Old Hickory Lake - Cumberland River Watershed. Students in courses of Biology, Chemistry, Environmental Science, Geology, Integrated Science and Microbiology are collaboratively working together collecting data from several impaired streams and analyzing the water quality and health of those streams. The water quality research focuses on macro invertebrates studies (Biology); pH, dissolved oxygen, nitrates, phosphates, toxins (Chemistry); sediments and stormwater (Geology); BOD (Environmental Science); microbial loads and pathogens (Microbiology); hardness and dissolved minerals (Integrated Science); hydrocarbons and agrochemicals (Organic Chemistry).

VSCC Faculty UR Team: Dr. Chris Beals, Clark Cropper, Dr. Phil Clifford, Dr. Joe Dolan, Dr. James Neilan, Parris Powers

Science and Math EXPO

COMING this Spring.......12th Annual Science and Math EXPO, April 4th 2013. The EXPO is a student driven community outreach to K-12 stduents.  200 VSCC science students will design and present 70+ hands on activities to engage and share concepts in the sciences and math. The EXPO is one of the college's premier service learning opportunities. Community partners include Fisk University, Vanderbilt University, TDEC and Walden's Puddle. This year's Theme is the "HUMAN ELEMENT".

VSCC has a rich past in providing undergraduate research opportunities for students. These activities have included American Chestnut Inventory in Mammoth Cave National Park, All Taxa Biodiversity Inventory in Edgar Evins State Park, Cardiac Hypertrophy in Channel Catfish, Ingress and Egress Data of Earth's Shadow during March 21 2008 Lunar Eclipse (published in July 2008 SKY & TELESCOPE), Electron Microscopic Analysis of Heavy Metals in Small Animals, Synthesis and Incorporation of Unnatural Amino Acids, Kinetics and Thermochemistry of Polystyrene Foam Pyrolysis.

                  Contact Info: , Associate Professor of Chemistry

Volunteer State Community College, 1480 Nashville Pike, Gallatin, TN 37066

The Vol State Difference!!!

Undergraduate Research Program

Volunteer State's Undergraduate Research program has developed partnerships with the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC), area MS4s (Municipal  Separate Stormwater Sewage) groups, Sumner County Stormwater and the Tennessee Environmental Council (TEC) in monitoring impaired streams in Sumner County, TN.

Students in Intro to Biology (BIOL 1030), Fundamentals of Chemistry (CHEM 1030), General Chemistry I (CHEM 1110), Environmental Science (BIOL 1050) and Science Society & Sustainability (ISCI 1030) monitor sites on 5 EPA declared impaired streams. Collaboratively they collect data including pH, temp, nitates, ammonium, phosphate and sulfate levels, dissolved oxygen and turbidity as part of lab activities. Students use YSI Professional Plus Multiparameter meters to collect data.

Several pictures include VSCC President Dr. Jerry Faulkner with students during field studies at the impaired streams.


Vision and Change Implementation

Integrate Core Concepts and Competencies throughout the Curriculum

  • Introduce the scientific process to students early, and integrate it into all undergraduate biology courses

  • Define learning goals so that they focus on teaching students the core concepts, and align assessments so that they assess the students’ understanding of these concepts 

  • Develop lifelong science ­learning competencies

  • Stimulate the curiosity students have for learning about the natural world

  • Demonstrate both the passion scientists have for their discipline and their delight in sharing their understanding of the world with students


Focus on Student ­Centered Learning

  • Engage students as active participants, not passive recipients, in all undergraduate biology courses

  • Use multiple modes of instruction in addition to the traditional lecture

  • Introduce research experiences as an integral component of biology education for all students, regardless of their major


Promote a Campus wide Commitment to Change

  • Support the development of a true community of scholars dedicated to advancing the life sciences and the science of teaching

  • Advocate for increased status, recognition, and rewards for innovation in teaching, student success, and other educational outcomes

Engage the Biology Community in the Implementation of Change

  • Create active ­learning environments for all students, even those in first ­year biology courses

  • Encourage all biologists to move beyond the “depth versus breadth” debate. Less really is more

High Impact Practices Implementation

Common Intellectual Experiences

Learning Communities

Writing-Intensive Courses

Collaborative Assignments and Projects

Undergraduate Research

Service Learning

Community-Based Learning

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