Southwest Tennessee Community College

For Immediate Release

Date June 9, 2008

For More Information: Brenda Rayner, 901-333-4247


Longtime Technology Virtuoso Named Provost / Executive Vice President at Southwest Tennessee Community College

Dr. Joanne H. Bassett is the newly appointed Provost / Executive Vice President at Southwest Tennessee Community College. Dr. Bassett has served at the college in a variety of capacities since 1973. Her long career at the college has included stints as professor of reading, chair of developmental studies, and dean of distance education and instructional technology.

From the early days of the Apple II computers, Dr. Bassett foresaw the important role that technology would ultimately play in learning and teaching. In the 1970s she wrote BASIC programs to teach vocabulary and reading skills; she was the first to train her department in the use of e-mail; and her department was the first at the college to use a computer, projector, and interactive presentation board in the classroom. "Those were Stone Age achievements. Southwest now uses video-conferencing equipment to teach courses across Fayette and Shelby counties, offers more than 150 online courses and nine online degrees, and uses podcasting and voice boards in its online and other distance education courses. Students have high expectations these days; no more yellow notes and chalk boards."

Prior to accepting her new position, Dr. Bassett had been dean of distance education and instructional technology for many years. During her tenure, the number of 21st century multimedia classrooms increased dramatically and a first-class faculty development program was instituted. This training program includes cutting-edge training in technology so superior that it attracts participants across the state and region, and from as far away as Maine.

"We are exceedingly proud of the work we do with our faculty in technology and pedagogy for both online and traditional classes. And we are always trying to find ways to help our students achieve their goals while making their way through life. Our latest initiative is 'split (hybrid) courses,' which include time in the classroom with the professor and time out of class on the computer. With this format, we are able to enroll a working adult in up to 12 hours a semester in just two evenings a week, or on Friday nights and Saturday mornings. These split courses are very, very successful," said Dr. Bassett.

Dr. Bassett recently attended her second Oxford Round Table in Oxford, England. Participation in the Oxford Round Table is by invitation only and includes participants from around the world. The topic of this session was "The Regulation of Cyberspace: Balancing the Interests." In her role of executive vice president over information services, this is a topic she handles regularly. "At the college, we are constantly battling this global issue on a much smaller scale. How do you allow students and faculty freedom and access while preserving the integrity of your network and operating within the scope of the TEACH Act, CALEA and music piracy laws? These are difficult issues with no simple solution."

Participation in an Oxford Round Table is exciting in and of itself, but traveling abroad and working with colleagues from around the world heightens one's awareness of the global nature of life today, thanks to the internet, global trade and business, and the interdependence of nations. So little of what Americans use and consume comes from the USA.

Dr. Bassett recognizes the changing and shrinking world in her strong support of Southwest's International Studies initiative. Last week, the first students returned from studying in South Africa for three weeks. "One of the most exciting facets of my position is celebrating a student's success. When one of our students, the majority of whom are on financial aid, qualifies through our intense selection process to travel to a remote destination to study and immerse him or herself in a foreign culture, it is life-changing, as one of the recent student-travelers so aptly commented."

Most Southwest students might never experience world travel and the cultural awareness that develops through such travel. Through participation in TNCIS, a statewide consortium, selected students can travel and study abroad for a $100 fee. How wonderful to be able to say, "I spent my career at a college that provides so many opportunities, so many life-changing experiences to Shelby and Fayette citizens."

Dr. Bassett earned her bachelor's and master's degrees in English at the University of Memphis and her doctorate in curriculum and instruction at the University of Memphis. She also attended the University of Maine in Orono and Portland, Maine (Junior Year Summer Residential); and Bates College, Lewiston Maine.

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CUTLINE: Dr. Joanne H. Bassett