New Roane State building has health science labs, high-tech classrooms

Goff Health Sciences and Technology Building

Roane State Community College officials will celebrate the new Goff Health Sciences and Technology Building during a Friday morning ribbon-cutting ceremony in Oak Ridge. Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam will be a featured guest.


This new $13.8 million building at Roane State Community College mixes high-tech amenities with new teaching techniques, and it eases overcrowding at the Oak Ridge campus. It adds space for health science classes and programs such as surgical technology, organic chemistry, and pharmacy technician students. It also incorporates environmentally friendly design features such as a reflective white roof, lights that adjust automatically, geothermal wells that help heat and cool the building, and rain gardens that capture storm water runoff.

The high-tech amenities include “smart dummies” that can be programmed with symptoms to train nursing students, full multimedia and wireless systems in classrooms, and more than 300 computers, including in five computer labs. There is a distance education classroom with microphones hanging from the ceiling, and an engaged learning, or “flip,” classroom, where students do homework before class and come prepared to collaborate and solve problems.

A new surgical technology program, co-sponsored with Walters State Community College, will be housed here. There is a new organic chemistry lab, and Roane State’s pharmacy technician program is moving to Oak Ridge from the college’s main campus in Harriman. There is also a “flex lab” that can be easily and quickly configured to suit the training needs of area industries. It has a high ceiling and bay door, plenty of power and conduits, and gas and ventilation.

The new three-story, 64,000-square-foot building—officially named the Goff Health Sciences and Technology Building—might be described as Melinda Hillman’s “baby.” Hillman, who is Roane State’s vice president of advancement and community relations, has spent thousands of hours during the past six years working on the project, from its inception in 2008 through the planning and fundraising stages to the end of construction. She will be among those celebrating during a Friday morning ribbon-cutting ceremony that will feature special guests, including Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam.

“It’s sort of ‘birthing a baby,’” said Hillman, who clearly has a passion for the project and hasn’t taken a vacation in a year. “I’ve worked on it so long.”

Hillman and Owen Driskill, Roane State’s director of marketing and public relations, recently led reporters on a tour of the brick-and-coated-metal building, the last expansion that the 40-acre Oak Ridge campus can accommodate. [Read more…]

Reception for new Roane State president on Tuesday

Chris Whaley

Chris Whaley

The Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce will host a reception on Tuesday for Chris Whaley, the new president of Roane State Community College.

The hour-long reception starts at 4 p.m. Tuesday.

Whaley is Roane State’s fifth president, a press release said. He succeeds Gary Goff, who retired Oct. 31 after leading the college for seven years.

Whaley is a Roane State graduate. After three years in private practice as an attorney, he returned to the college in 1997 as program director of the A.A.S. Paralegal Studies program, a position he held through 2002.

Since then, he has worked his way up through other administrative positions at the college, the release said. He was named dean of social science, business, and education in 2002, and in 2010, he was promoted to vice president of student learning/chief academic officer. Whaley has also taught as an assistant professor, associate professor, and full professor of legal studies, and he continues to teach.

Whaley earned his associate’s degree in social science from Roane State, a bachelor’s degree in political science from Middle Tennessee State University, and the doctor of jurisprudence from the University of Tennessee College of Law.

Roane State is hosting receptions for Whaley at the college’s nine campuses. The first reception was held Nov. 1 at the main campus in Harriman, and more events are planned for the next few weeks.

Ranked the 27th best community college in the nation by, Roane State has campuses in Crossville, Harriman, Huntsville, Jamestown, Knoxville, LaFollette, Lenoir City, Oak Ridge, and Wartburg.

The Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce is at 1400 Oak Ridge Turnpike.

For more information about the receptions, call (865) 882-4507 or (865) 882-4501.

Roane State’s Goff receives Muddy Boot award

Gary Goff Muddy Boot Award

Former state Rep. David Coffey, left, presents the Muddy Boot award to Roane State Community College President Gary Goff. Also pictured is Goff’s wife Heidi Goff. (Submitted photo)

Roane State Community College President Gary Goff received a “Muddy Boot Award” during an East Tennessee Economic Council meeting on Friday.

The awards honor people who have used their work and community activities to make East Tennessee a stronger region.

“Gary is an example of the person who—though not here for a very long time—makes a huge difference in the quality of the community,” ETEC President Jim Campbell said. “His leadership spanned from higher education, to K-12, to business partnerships and beyond. His legacy will last far longer than his seven-year tenure at Roane State Community College, and for that we honor him today with our highest award, the Muddy Boot.”

The Muddy Boot Award was created in the 1970s to honor people who have gone above the call of duty—like those who served the nation during the Manhattan Project—to make the community, the state, and the nation a better place to live and work, a press release said. More than 70 people have received the award since then.

[Read more…]

MTSU, Roane State sign transfer agreements

Roane State and MTSU Signing

Middle Tennessee State University President Sidney A. McPhee, left, and Roane State Community College President Gary Goff sign dual admissions, concurrent enrollment, and reverse transfer option agreements in September. (Submitted photo)

The presidents of Middle Tennessee State University and Roane State Community College signed agreements on Sept. 26 that will ease the transition for students seeking to transfer from the college to the university in Murfreesboro.

Sidney A. McPhee of MTSU and Gary Goff of Roane State authorized three agreements that create dual admissions, concurrent enrollment, and reverse transfer options between the college and the university. The signing took place at the Knoxville Museum of Art during MTSU’s “True Blue Tour,” a six-city admissions caravan of deans, administrators, and counselors, a press release said.

“We welcome this opportunity to strengthen our already strong ties with Roane State,” McPhee said. “MTSU is the No. 1 destination of transfer students in Tennessee and this agreement makes it even easier for Roane State students to attend our university.”

“Roane State is excited to sign these three agreements with MTSU. The agreements will provide greater opportunities for our students,” Goff said. “We are proud to partner with Middle Tennessee State University.”

[Read more…]

TBR names Whaley as Roane State president

Chris Whaley

Chris Whaley

The Tennessee Board of Regents on Monday unanimously appointed Chris Whaley as the next president of Roane State Community College.

The college has its main campus in Harriman and several branch campuses, including one in Oak Ridge.

Whaley will start the new job on Nov. 1, a TBR press release said. He will replace Gary Goff, who is retiring Oct. 31 after leading Roane State for seven years.

[Read more…]

Retirement receptions Oct. 8 for Roane State President Gary Goff

Gary Goff

Gary Goff

Public receptions will be held Monday, Oct. 8, for Roane State Community College President Gary Goff, who is retiring Oct. 31 after leading the college for seven years.

One reception will be held at the Roane County campus in Harriman, and the other will be at the Oak Ridge campus.

The reception at the Roane County campus will be from 10:30 a.m.-noon in the administrative area of the Dunbar Building. It will be on the building’s second floor, near the president’s office.

[Read more…]

Whaley recommended as next Roane State president; vote expected Oct. 1

Chris Whaley

Chris Whaley

After a nationwide search, a state education official has recommended that Roane State Community College pick one of its own executives to be the next president.

Tennessee Board of Regents Chancellor John Morgan has recommended that Chris Whaley, Roane State’s vice president of student learning and chief academic officer, be appointed to the job, TBR said in a news release Monday.

The board of Regents could consider the appointment during a 3 p.m. Oct. 1 teleconference.

[Read more…]

Consortium led by Roane State receives $12.6 million federal grant

A consortium led by Roane State Community College received a $12.6 million federal grant to offer more training for health care careers and help students finish their degrees, the U.S. Department of Labor announced Wednesday.

The announcement included $500 million in grants for community colleges and universities across the country. The Roane State consortium was one of 27 funded nationwide, Roane State President Gary Goff said in a press release.

[Read more…]

Finalists for Roane State president in Oak Ridge, Harriman next week

The three finalists for Roane State Community College president are scheduled to take part in interviews, forums, and receptions next week in Oak Ridge and Harriman.

The three finalists are Elizabeth Lewis, vice president of academic affairs at Northeast Lakeview College in Universal City, Texas; W. Michael Stoy, president of Middle Georgia College in Cochran, Ga.; and Christopher Whaley, vice president of Student Learning and chief academic officer at Roane State Community College in Harriman.

The interviews, forums, and receptions are scheduled on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday.

[Read more…]