Motlow now offers at-home college aptitude testing

Belinda Champion
Belinda Champion

MOORE COUNTY — For obvious health reason, pandemics are awful, no-good things. But sometimes, they lead to innovations. This is the case with Motlow College’s Belinda Champion who recently launched at-home college placement testing.

Motlow accepts achievement test results such as the ACT and SAT. As an alternative to those measures, it also offers placement testing using the Accuplacer, a tool to help college advisors match course planning to a student’s skills and ambitions.

Aspiring college student can now take the ACCUPLACER test in the privacy and safety of their own homes. It’s a computer testing system that helps determine student academic readiness in reading, sentence skills, and mathematics for college-level work. Test results determine which courses are best suited to the student’s level of preparedness.

For some, college achievement tests like the ACT or SAT can be a psychological barrier to college-going ambitions. Poor achievement scores often demoralize students and derail college dreams. Champion, Director of Disability, Testing, and Counseling Services at Motlow, insists that this is unnecessary.

“Tennessee is a college-enabling state,” said Champion. “We are national leaders in ensuring access to college for everyone. We have already tackled the barriers associated with the cost of college through free-tuition scholarships like TNPromise for high schoolers, and TNReconnect for adult students. Now we are tackling the barriers associated with college entrance tests.”

Champion says if students have prior test scores they don’t like, remember that score is a measure of your performance on that day and is not a measure of your potential for the future.

“There are a lot of reasons why people might have poor placement scores or even no placement scores. I work with a lot of students that have taken achievement tests under very challenging circumstances,” continued Champion. “My staff are experts at helping students rewrite their college placement testing story.”

For the next available test dates and registration, please visit the Motlow State testing website at mscc.edu/testing or call 931-393-1763 or 1-800-654-4877 ext. 1763. The last day to apply for Motlow’s Summer semester is May 18. •

{The Lynchburg Times is an independently owned and operated newspaper that publishes new stories every morning. Covering Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

Motlow honors society named one of the world’s best

MOORE COUNTY — Excellence and scholarship among two-year college students like those at Motlow State Community College … that what the Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) international honor society is all about. And Motlow’s one of the top in the world, according to their recent convention.

The 2020 International PTK Virtual Catalyst Convention recently recognized the Motlow chapter of Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) international honor society and its leadership as one of the top 100 chapters in the world. The announcement happened at their yearly Catalyst Convention – a yearly event that happen each spring. It draws thousands of scholars from around the world to represent their chapters, their institutions, and their regions. This year the convention was held online due to the pandemic.

“The Catalyst convention was an excellent wrap up to an amazing year,” said Gregg Garrison, associate professor of biology and Motlow PTK advisor and Tennessee PTK regional coordinator. “This was the best award recognition year we have ever had. Although we were disappointed that we could not be at the actual event this year, we were fortunate to still experience the streamed event from the safety of our own homes. Afterward, I hosted a zoom meeting with the Motlow attendees and several other members and advisors from across the state so we could celebrate together. The experience was amazing.”

Fifteen representatives from Motlow PTK attended the virtual event with more than 3,700 representatives from 1,300 chapters in multiple nations.

Members of the Motlow PTK chapter of Phi Theta Kappa also attended the 2020 Tennessee Regional Convention at Dyersburg State Community College, Feb. 21-23, for a weekend of team building and fellowship with other chapters from colleges across the state.

Motlow PTK advisors and students recently attended the annual Regional PTK convention at Dyersburg State Community College. Pictured are (seated left to right) Barry McKinley, Matthew Bobo, Dasha Grayson, and Hannah Green (standing left to right) Gregg Garrison, Dayron Deaton-Owens, Robin Keel, Misty Griffith, Ashley Cain, Jamaya Blackwell, Heather Whittaker, Nick Locke, Keira Pfefferkorn, Madelyn Wood, Sonja Edge, Laura Brown, and Matilde Olea Guevara. {Photo Provided}

“The Regional Convention was also an amazing experience that allowed Motlow PTK members to travel and meet with members from eleven other colleges from across the state,” Garrison added. “Students were able to share ideas about making their chapter stronger, listen to engaging session speakers, be involved with the election process of regional officers, and celebrate with each other during the awards banquet.”

Two Motlow students were elected as Tennessee Regional Officers for the upcoming year, Madelyn Wood, vice president for Middle Tennessee, and Keira Pferrerkorn, secretary for Tennessee. Motlow PTK students received the following awards at the regional convention:Rebekah Randall, First Place, Publication in Creative Non-fiction; First Place, Distinguished Officer Award, and Keira PferrerKorn, First Place, Extemporaneous Speech Competition. •

{The Lynchburg Times is an independently owned and operated newspaper that publishes new stories every morning. Covering Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

Motlow instructor wins science grant

Omar Tantawi, Motlow Mechatronics Instructor {Photo Provided}

Regionally, there’s a shortage of qualified, well-trained robotics technicians. Thanks to a recent $108,000 National Science Foundation Grant, Motlow College and Principal Investigator Omar Tantawi plan to change that. The award is the second federal grant that Motlow’s Mechatronics department has received in the last two years, bringing the total federal funds granted to more than $650,000.

The money will fund train-the-trainer workshops on intelligent industrial robotics at Motlow’s Smyrna campus and will fund a collaborative robot unit.

“We are very pleased to work with other community colleges and universities to offer this robotics training to support our high-technology industries,” said Fred Rascoe, dean of career and technical programs. “I am very excited to be a part of a wonderful consortium of educators and technology experts in robotics. The delivery of this training is exactly what industry needs to continue its delivery of products and processes in a cost-effective and efficient manner.”

Motlow’s lasered in on becoming a leading institution in mechatronics and robotics on both the state and the national levels as well as leading the charge in regional workforce development.

The project is a diverse collaboration of four academic institutions: Motlow, UT Chattanooga, Chattanooga State, and Lawson State. It impacts major manufacturers in the eastern and central regions of Tennessee and Alabama through training for high-demand skills to sustain the development of the regions’ manufacturing industry.

Work within the project includes developing intelligent robotics curricular modules, train-the-trainer workshops for educators, identifying skill sets needed for handling next-generation robotics, developing a knowledge base of next-generation robotics for secondary and post-secondary educators, and providing awareness of next-generation robotics. Peer-reviewed publications are expected by the end of the project.

Get a “Career in a Year” with Motlow’s new program

LYNCHBURG — Education is the pathway towards more success but not all high-paying careers require a two or four-year degree. That’s the idea behind Motlow College’s new Career in a Year program. They developed it to help local students determined to build a new profession in a short period of time.

Adult learners age 25 and older can use the Tennessee Reconnect scholarship to attend Motlow tuition-free as receive certification in one of seven programs: mechatronics, paramedic, supply chain management, emergency medical technicians, emergency medical technician advanced, early childhood education technical, and customer service.

“The Career in a Year concept supports individuals who are looking to explore, create, or build a new profession in a short period of time,” said Assistant Vice President of Academic Affairs Melody Edmonds. “We offer a variety of one-year certificate programs that can provide the right path for any of these motivations.”

For more information about the Motlow Career in a Year program go to mscc.edu/careerinayear or contact the MotlowAdmissions Office at (931) 393-1520 or email admissions@mscc.edu. •

{The Lynchburg Times is an independently owned and operated newspaper that publishes new stories every morning. Covering Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

Motlow receives nearly $1 million state grant

LYNCHBURG — It’s meant to encourage more high school kids to enroll in college after high school, specifically vocational programs that keep the pipeline of well-trained candidates for local high tech jobs. Earlier this week, the state announced that Motlow College – along with several partners – would be awarded $949,410 through the Governor’s Investment in Vocational Education (GIVE) program for a Teaching Innovative Learning Technologies (TILT) project. Motlow says the project reflects its commitment to continue building pathways between secondary and post secondary education.

“Our primary goal through the GIVE grant is to foster and strengthen long-term regional partnerships between Motlow, industry, workforce development agencies, and K-12 school systems,” said Fred Rascoe, dean of career and technical programs and project lead. “We are excited to continue developing advanced learning programs for middle school and high school students that facilitate students’ progression to a post secondary school such as Motlow.”

That project will positively impact 300 students over the 30-month grant period in reaching Drive to 55 goals through the creation and expansion of pathways between secondary and post secondary institutions. The mechatronics program in Fayetteville will be expanded by the addition of the robotics concentration. The Robotics concentration instructs in industrial robotic safety, operation, maintenance, end-effector design and application, and robot integration into a mechatronics system.

Motlow GIVE Grant team
The Motlow GIVE Grant team included (front row, left to right) Interim Dean of Students Debra Smith, Lincoln County CTE Director Susan Welch, Director of Grants Tammy O’Dell, and Career and Technical Programs Coordinator Ingrid Rascoe as well as (back row, from left to right) VP of External Affairs Terri Bryson, Emerging Technology Liaison Donald Choate, Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Jeff Horner, Executive Director of Automation and Robotics Training Center Larry Flatt, Warren County Director of Schools Bobby Cox, Career and Technical Programs Dean Fred Rascoe, VP of Finance and Administration Hilda Tunstill, and Asst. Vice President for Academic Affairs Melody Edmonds. {Photo Provided}

It will also create a computer coding program for partner school districts beginning at the middle school level, teaching students Swift coding, and a high school program for students to obtain certification in Python coding.

Partnering with Motlow for the project are Fayetteville City Schools, Lincoln, and Warren County Schools, FRANKE, Hamilton-Ryker TalentGro, VideoBomb, Fayetteville-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce, Fayetteville-Lincoln County Industrial Development Board, and the McMinnville-Warren County Industrial Development Board.

“Teaching coding, programming, and development demonstrates to the students the importance of logical thinking, organization, and improves problem solving skills,” said Donald Choate, Motlow emerging technology liaison and trainer. “Our cultural and economic landscape is changing as we have become a high-tech society and culture. We want to give our students the skills necessary for a successful high-tech future.”

The Motlow partnership grant was one of 28 that will receive their total of $25 million in state funding. The program prioritizes K-12, post secondary, and industry alignment across rural Tennessee to develop work-based learning and apprenticeship programs that reflect local industries’ workforce needs and enhances career and technical education statewide.

According to the college, the development of the GIVE-TILT project was prepared and written by Tammy O’Dell, grant writer and coordinator, Fred Rascoe, principal investigator, and Donald Choate, co-principal investigator.  Motlow grant team members include Terri Bryson, Melody Edmonds, Larry Flatt, Tammy Foust, Jeff Horner, Teal Lynch, Tammy O’Dell, Sally Pack, Kathy Parker, Debra Smith, and Hilda Tunstill. • 

{The Lynchburg Times is an independently owned and operated newspaper that publishes new stories every morning. Covering Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}   

Motlow instructors thriving in all digital teaching environment

Motlow Assistant English Professor Andrea Green recently earned praise from her teaching peers for the “most innovative online approach” to today’s 100 percent online Motlow learning environment. {Photo Provided}

LYNCHBURG — When the college year began, there’s no way Motlow College instructors could have imagined that by April they’d be teaching 100 percent online. But that’s exactly what happened.

In mid-March, college officials decided to close all campuses due to the COVID-19 global pandemic. This meant the conversion of dozens of classes and student services to online-only in just a matter of days. Instructors got innovative in teaching and getting students acclimated to a virtual academic environment.

For example, Motlow Assistant English Professor Andrea Green leveraged the resources built into D2L Brightspace – Motlow’s online learning management system – to provide comprehensive online instruction. Green teaches through the use of discussion boards, quizzes, digital rubrics, calendar tools, checklists, announcements, and videos she has recorded.

Green showed off her online savvy at a recent Motlow best practices event. She demonstrated how her students know what is due when it is due and how to access it. The technology allows her to framework lessons as she threads resources, such as her videos, and activities throughout the course via hyperlinks.

“Motlow recently purchased the Kaltura Video Platform for use with the D2L system that allows me to interact with students in a more engaging fashion,” said Green. “Kaltura allows me to mimic what I do in an on-ground setting. My Kaltura videos have garnered a lot of positive feedback from students.”

Library goes online

While the decision to close campuses forced 100 percent online classrooms, it simultaneously required areas of the College that provide critical services to students, such as libraries and student success, to migrate to a 100 percent virtual environment. Motlow librarians are now teaching Information Literacy via Zoom. Student are also staying digitally connected to the library through LibGuides, which provides free access to textbooks, instructional videos, and a database of magazine, journal, and newspaper articles as well as other information from reliable sources. Student can also register for classes and access their Graduation Planning System (GPS).

Students also have access to their completion coaches. Motlow Completion Coaches are essential to individual student success, as proven by statistics that show Motlow at the top of retention and graduation rates in Tennessee. The Motlow Student Success department is offering group academic advising sessions via Zoom. There are regularly scheduled advising sessions for STEM and non-STEM students, with session registration online from the LibGuides Student Online Resources webpage. •

{The Lynchburg Times is an independently owned and operated newspaper that publishes new stories every morning. Covering Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

Now could be perfect time to start Motlow ACE Program

LOCAL NEWS — Stuck at home with nothing to do? Now could be the right time to begin Motlow College’s Adult College Express (ACE) program.

Everyone knows that a college degree gives you an edge in today’s competitive jobs market. The ACE program is an adult centered (25+) cohort-based program. Cohort refers to adults who begin the program together and support each other throughout the path to earn an Associate of Science in General Studies or an Associate of Applied Science in Business Office or Entrepreneurship. ACE features flexible class options. Degree completion is possible in 24 months.

“Attending Motlow improved my life and my family’s life,” said Daniel Owens, Motlow ACE graduate. “When I decided to go to college, I knew it would be a tough decision because of family and work demands. Luckily, Motlow offers Adult College Express. It’s perfect for working adults.  It complemented my schedule and allowed me to take on the challenge of college.”

The ACE program offers a convenient schedule, serves as a peer support group, and helps student build a professional network.

ACE encourages the development of study groups to help reinforce learning. Motlow ACE cohort students are more successful in retention, graduation, and four-year institution transfer than non-cohort-based students. The ACE Program is an accelerated program intended for highly motivated, independent learners. Contact ACE today at ace@mscc.edu. •

{The Lynchburg Times is an independently owned and operated newspaper that publishes new stories every morning. Covering Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

Motlow raises pandemic status to level three

LOCAL NEWS — On Tuesday, Motlow College decided to close all campuses and move to online-only operations. This moves the college’s pandemic response up one level to a Level III Pandemic Alert Level. In a press release, they stated they were doing all they could to “to protect the health and safety of the faculty and staff needed to ensure the progression of student academic success.”

Effective immediately, they’ll be following the guidance of the Tennessee Department of Health, Centers for Disease Control, and World Health Organization by continuing to operate as a online-only college. Students are not allowed on campus for any reason. All campus buildings are closed to both students and non-essential staff. Level III means there will be no campus-based student activities. Libraries will be available online only. Clinicals, internships, co-ops, and apprenticeships will not meet.

Last Friday, the college decided to extend Spring Break through March 22 in response to the global coronavirus pandemic.

On Monday, March 23, all students will resume taking classes in an online-only format. Motlow students will log into Desire2Learn (D2L) to learn about assignments, hear lessons, communicate with classmates, and upload classwork. For more information, visit the Motlow College website. •

{The Lynchburg Times is the only independently owned and operated newspaper in Moore County … covering Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, the Lynchburg Music Fest, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

Motlow extends spring break in response to coronavirus

Motlow website screenshot
Image shows a screenshot of Motlow College’s current homepage showing that they are at a Level 2 response. {Image Provided}

LOCAL NEWS — Motlow College announced on Friday that it will extend Spring Break for all students in response the the coronavirus pandemic. Spring break, originally schedule for March 9-15, will now extend through Sunday, March 22. Classes will resume in an online only format beginning Monday, March 23 and continue online only through Sunday, April. The college will re-evaluate at that point.

The Motlow Spring Break extension will be for students only. Staff will report to work as normal under the direction of their division leaders.

“The extension of Spring Break provides both students and the College the needed time to prepare for alternative delivery methods for classes and to deepen the availability of technologies needed to provide remote services should they be needed. The goal of
this period is to ensure the well-being of staff, students, and faculty while supporting the academic mission of the institution during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic response,” the college said in a press release on Friday afternoon.

Throughout the week, Moltlow College officials sanitized it’s building and worked to update their pandemic plan that divided responses into four distinct levels.

The move to extend Spring Break currently puts the College at a Level II operational stage. Throughout the pandemic response period, the operational status of the College will be posted on the homepage of Motlow’s website (mscc.edu). The operational level icon that displays at the top of the College’s home page will also link students to more detailed information about the college’s pandemic status. Students are encouraged to take time to review the homepage and the linked coronavirus information page to familiarize themselves with the various stages. Students are also encouraged to take any measures they believe are needed to continue their academic plans online, the college explained in a press release.

The College also decided o cancel all student extracurricular activities through the end of the month – including student travel. For more information, visit the Motlow College website. •

{The Lynchburg Times is the only independently owned and operated newspaper in Moore County … covering Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, the Lynchburg Music Fest, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

Motlow hosts Emerald and Gold Gala on March 7

The Motlow College Foundation will host the 28th annual Motlow Gala on Saturday, March 7, at the Manchester-Coffee County Conference Center. The event raises funds for financial assistance to Motlow students. Jack Daniel Distillery sponsors the event and has several employees who are Motlow Alumni. {Photo Provided}

LOCAL NEWS — Come support Motlow College’s mission to give every southern, middle Tennessee student the tools they need for a successful future at the Emerald and Gold Gala on March 7. It’s the annual fund-raising event for the Motlow College Foundation, which provides financial assistance to students.

“Through this annual event, our biggest fundraiser, we are raising money to help Motlow students with educational expenses,” said Lane Yoder, Foundation executive director. “Even with tuition-free learning provided by Tennessee Promise and Tennessee Reconnect, many of our students still need anywhere from moderate-to-significant financial assistance to be successful. For example, we spend thousands of dollars every semester helping students purchase their required books.” 

The event kicks off on March 7 at 5:30 p.m. at the Manchester-Coffee County Conference Center with a champagne social hour. Attendees can make bids of silent auction items and dinner will be served at 6:30 p.m.

This year’s event celebrates the college’s 50th year and it’s sponsored by Jack Daniel Distillery. Nashville-based band, Burning Las Vegas, will provide live music and dancing will begin at 8:15 p.m.

Tickets to the Gala are $125 per person and the deadline to purchase them will be March 2. Tickets can be purchased online at mscc.edu/gala2020 or by calling the Motlow College Foundation office at 931-393-1543. •

{The Lynchburg Times is an independently owned and operated newspaper that publishes new stories every morning. Covering Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}