Bridgeman to head PSCC Magnolia campus

Lesli Bales-SherrodEast Knox, Our Town Leaders

Pellissippi State Community College has hired Stella Bridgeman as dean of the Magnolia Avenue Campus. The community is invited to a “meet and greet” with Dean Bridgeman at 9 a.m. Friday, Feb. 18, at the campus, 1610 Magnolia Ave., Knoxville. RSVP by Friday, Feb. 11, to

Bridgeman replaces Dean Rosalyn Tillman who retired in March 2021. Tillman was the opening dean at the campus in 2000.

Bridgeman joined Pellissippi State on Dec. 1, 2021. A native of Roane County and three-time graduate of Tennessee Tech University, Bridgeman’s 20-year career in higher education includes being an academic advisor in the College of Education at Tennessee Tech, assistant director of the Student Success Center at the University of Tennessee and, most recently, director of First-Year Programs at the University of Tennessee.

“Being a campus dean, we cross several lines: academic affairs, student affairs. We have to be knowledgeable about everything from recruitment to retention and graduation and everything in between while putting that all together for our campus’ students,” Bridgeman said. “Student success is important to me, and being a campus dean allows me to compile everything I’ve done in my career in higher education, at both Tennessee Tech and UT, and use all those different skill sets in one position, and that’s exciting.”

Bridgeman already felt she had “a whole little family” at Pellissippi State, having worked with Pellissippi State leaders, including Division Street Campus Dean Esther Dyeron a joint program with UT. She was only on board five days before Pellissippi State experienced a ransomware attack during finals week.

“I was able to learn a lot about Pellissippi State in a short amount of time because I jumped in to work Virtual Student Services in the aftermath of the cyberattack,” Bridgeman said. “The best part was talking with students.

“I particularly enjoy working with first-year students, especially those who don’t have a major in mind because their minds are wide open to all the possibilities. I was a first-generation college student, and what I realize is that you don’t know what you don’t know. I like helping students understand their strengths so that they can explore different avenues. I want them to feel comfortable coming in and talking with me. I know that having support provides the space to make great things happen.”

Bridgeman’s goals for Magnolia Avenue Campus include growing enrollment, providing resources for students and continuing to bolster community connections. She already forged a new partnership with Knoxville Utilities Board, which held a two-day career fair on the Magnolia Avenue Campus in January.

Pellissippi State’s vice president for student affairs, Rushton Johnson, also announced the hiring of Priscilla Duenkel as dean of the college’s Blount County Campus.

Lesli Bales-Sherrod does marketing and writing for Pellissippi State Community College.

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