Archive for August, 2013

WCU couple connects adopted daughter with twin

“Good Morning America” and Fox Carolina, WHNS-TV out of Greenville, S.C., recently shared news stories about a quest that led Joseph Pechmann, associate professor of biology, and Karen Kandl, biology instructor and associate director at Highlands Biological Station, to the twin sister of their 7-year-old daughter Anna, who the couple adopted from the city of Feng Cheng in the Jiang Xi Province in China.

Kandl had noticed in an online community that Anna looked similar to a child named Ella who was from the same community as Anna and had been adopted by a couple in Michigan. When Kandl realized the girls had the same birthday, the couple contacted Ella’s parents to see if there was interest in exploring the possibility that the girls might be sisters.

“We did so because we thought it would be wonderful for Anna to have a biological sister in addition to her sister Becky, our biological daughter,” said Pechmann.

DNA testing confirmed that the girls are sisters, and the families recently met. The reports on Fox Carolina and on Good Morning America are available online.


Faculty member completes 600-mile bicycle ride

Al Kopak is greeted by his wife, Kim Kopak, and 2-year-old daughter Kayla at the conclusion of his approximately 600-mile ride from Cullowhee to Orlando.

Al Kopak is greeted by his wife, Kim Kopak, and 2-year-old daughter Kayla at the conclusion of his approximately 600-mile ride from Cullowhee to Orlando.

Al Kopak, assistant professor of criminology and criminal justice, rode his bicycle approximately 600 miles from Cullowhee to Orlando during a week in May.

Kopak’s parents drove a support vehicle, and he was greeted at the end of the ride by his wife, Kim Kopak, and 2-year-old daughter, Kayla. Kim Kopak is an administrative associate in the office of the College of Fine and Performing Arts.

WCU releases new commercial

Western Carolina University has posted a new commercial, which was created in-house by videographer and WCU alumnus Joseph Hader. The voiceover was performed by Zack Keys, a designer in creative services at WCU.

The commercial will air this fall during Catamount football games to be broadcast on ESPN-3, including games on Saturday, Sept. 7, against Virginia Tech and on Saturday, Oct. 19, against Wofford.

Latest issue of WCU magazine posted online

The issue of The Magazine of Western Carolina University for fall 2013 is now available online.

Cover of the Fall 2013 issue of WCU magazineFeature articles include “Binding Force: From the Townhouse to the Woodland Stage and the Old Mountain Jug, traditions keep us happily connected to our beloved university,” “Boston Strong: A former WCU track athlete describes the kindness of strangers in the wake of the marathon bombing,” and “The Bare Facts: Forty years ago, WCU was the epicenter of collegiate streaking in the U.S.”

In addition, the magazine includes a multimedia story with multiple videos and slideshows called “Test of Endurance: A couple builds a top school for outdoor responder training.

A PDF version of the print edition also is posted.

New mural unveiled in Belk Building

A new mural, "Tree of Life," was painted outside the office of the College of Fine and Performing Arts on the third floor of the Belk Building.

A new mural, “Tree of Life,” was painted outside the office of the College of Fine and Performing Arts on the third floor of the Belk Building.

The College of Fine and Performing Arts recently unveiled “Tree of Life,” a 26-by-9-foot mural outside the college’e office on third floor of the Belk Building that was pained by Sylva artist Austen Mikulka.

Austen Mikulka

Austen Mikulka

The piece depicts a community of larger-than-life bugs and a tree. Mikulka said he was excited with the textured look he was able to achieve with some of the bugs, such as the “fuzziness” of a giant bee.

The piece helps connect the arts community at WCU with the arts community of the greater Western North Carolina community, said Courtney Thompson, executive assistant with the College of Fine and Performing Arts.

WCU senior selected for UNC system’s new scholars program

University of North Carolina President Tom Ross (center) meets with six students from the University of North Carolina system participating in the inaugural year of the Marian Drane Graham Scholars Program. With Ross are, from left, Mark Hatcher of East Carolina University, Daniel Mull of Western Carolina University, Elizabeth White of UNC Pembroke, Sa'Metria Jones of UNC Charlotte, Kenya Kirkman of Winston-Salem State University and Brittany Reeves of UNC Chapel Hill.

University of North Carolina President Tom Ross (center) meets with six students from the University of North Carolina system participating in the inaugural year of the Marian Drane Graham Scholars Program. With Ross are, from left, Mark Hatcher of East Carolina University, Daniel Mull of Western Carolina University, Elizabeth White of UNC Pembroke, Sa’Metria Jones of UNC Charlotte, Kenya Kirkman of Winston-Salem State University and Brittany Reeves of UNC Chapel Hill.

Daniel I. Mull of Hayesville, a senior at Western Carolina University, was among six students from campuses of the University of North Carolina system who recently completed the inaugural year of the Marian Drane Graham Scholars Program.

Sponsored by the University of North Carolina General Administration in Chapel Hill, the new summer program provides an opportunity for students to develop leadership skills and gain a better understanding of issues facing public higher education in North Carolina.

During their experience, the students spent time with staff members in the General Administration offices and visited with policy leaders in state government and business. They also worked from 15 to 20 hours each week in a state government agency. Mull was assigned to the UNC system’s Center for International Understanding in Raleigh, where he researched the economics, education, demographics, culture, and diplomatic and humanitarian efforts of 193 countries in the United Nations to assist in the development of a strategic index for future programs.

The students also traveled to Washington, D.C., where they attended meetings with several political and educational leaders, and to all of their home campuses. In addition to WCU, they visited Winston-Salem State University, UNC Charlotte, East Carolina University, UNC Pembroke and UNC Chapel Hill.

As the culmination of the six-week experience, each student developed a capstone project focusing on a higher education issue. Mull’s project was titled “Teacher Evaluation in Higher Education: A Comparative Analysis of K-12 and Higher Education Evaluation Methods.”

Mull is a 2010 graduate of Hayesville High School. A music education major, he is the son of Juliah M. Dix and Kenneth Mull. Michael Schallock, WCU associate professor of music, is his academic adviser and faculty sponsor for the program.

The Marian Drane Graham Scholars program is named for the wife of Frank Porter Graham, former UNC president who served as a U.S. senator and United Nations representative.

Prospective students, families invited to WCU’s Sept. 14 Open House

Western Carolina University will open its doors to prospective students and their families and friends as the university holds its first Open House of the fall semester Saturday, Sept. 14.

Hosted by the Office of Undergraduate Admission, Open House gives visitors a chance to tour the campus, learn about the university’s wide array of academic programs, and find out the important details of topics such as financial aid. Prospective students attending on Sept. 14 also can pick up a free ticket to see WCU’s football team take on the Citadel that afternoon.

For interested students who cannot attend the Sept. 14 event, WCU’s second Open House of the fall will be held Saturday, Nov. 9. Campus tours also are available year-round by appointment for students and their families.

Preregistration for Open House and more information is available by going to the website or by calling the Office of Undergraduate Admission at 828-227-7317 or toll-free 877-928-4968.

WCU, UNC Charlotte joint doctor of nursing practice program welcomes 1st students

The first students in a new doctor of nursing practice degree program offered by Western Carolina University in partnership with the University of North Carolina at Charlotte had their inaugural class meeting Monday, Aug. 19. From left, are program directors Shawn Collins of WCU and Dianna Inman of UNCC; WCU students Suzanne Greene, Jamison Lord, Karen Lewis and Cheryl Johnson; UNCC student Dianne Earnhardt; WCU student Sharon Reynolds; UNCC students Holly Wahab, My Linh Waldrop, Mariama Foh, Sherry Bernardo and Erika Gabbard; and WCU student Bryan Haslam.

A new doctor of nursing practice degree program offered by Western Carolina University in partnership with the University of North Carolina at Charlotte welcomed its first group of students as the fall semester got under way Monday, Aug. 19.

Six advanced-practice nurses from WCU along with six advanced-practice nurses from UNC Charlotte comprise the initial cohort of students in the new program, which was approved in February by the University of North Carolina Board of Governors.

Face-to-face courses taught at UNCC and at WCU’s new instructional site at Biltmore Park Town Square in Asheville. The program’s first cohort met on the UNC Charlotte campus.

The new program offers specialties in family nurse practitioner, nurse anesthesiology and nursing administration, said Judy Neubrander, director of WCU’s School of Nursing. The DNP has begun this fall as a post-master’s program, giving students who have completed requirements for a master of science in nursing degree the option of continuing for another two years of study to receive a doctor of nursing practice degree. In 2016, the program will begin enrolling students who have bachelor’s degrees and who will start three years of study to earn their doctoral degrees in one of the three specialty areas, Neubrander said.

The DNP is the third doctoral-level academic program at Western Carolina. The university also offers doctoral degrees in educational leadership and physical therapy.

For more information about the DNP program, contact the WCU School of Nursing at 828-227-7467.

The Sixties to come alive at WCU

With “1960s: Take It All In” as the 2013-14 campuswide interdisciplinary learning theme, the WCU community will explore the legacy and lessons from a decade of political upheaval, scientific accomplishments, extensions of pop culture, artistic expression, and new synergy in feminism and civil rights.

New Wakeley endowed scholarship fund to benefit psychology students

Among the many roles held by the late John H. “Jack” Wakeley during his 35-year career in higher education, the one most dear to his heart was that of psychology professor because he loved both the subject matter and interacting with students in the classroom, says his wife of 54 years, Sue Wakeley of Cullowhee. “It was truly the love of his life to teach psychology,” she said recently.

Graduate students get helpful advice at orientation session

Western Carolina University students who are beginning their graduate studies this fall in Cullowhee relied on their GPS – Graduate Peer Scholar – to help them get started on the right path to degree completion during an orientation session sponsored Aug. 22 by WCU’s Graduate School.

Special announcement, reception to be held Sept. 3

Western Carolina University has scheduled a special announcement event and reception for Tuesday, Sept. 3. The event will begin at noon on the Central Plaza near the Alumni Tower on the WCU campus.

Reporter to share faculty and staff “off the clock” news

The Reporter newsletter for faculty and staff is launching a new section called “Off The Clock” to feature announcements of faculty and staff members’ achievements beyond their work at WCU.

Share your news for consideration for inclusion at Submissions will be edited to match the newsletter’s style.

For information, guidelines and deadlines related to all submissions to The Reporter, including top stories, news briefs and achievements, visit The Reporter’s “Contact” page.

Faculty, counseling alumna co-author article about postpartum mood disorder research

The Family Journal recently published an article by Phyllis Robertson, associate professor of counseling; Russ Curtis, associate professor of counseling; Rebecca Lasher, assistant professor of social work; Sharon Jacques, professor emerita of nursing; and Shelley J. Tom, counseling alumna, titled “Experiences of Postpartum Mood Disorders of Women With More Than One Child.”

This is the second article published from an online research project that explored women’s postpartum mood disorder experiences. The study isolated the experiences of 127 women who have more than one child.

The article’s authors say findings suggest the need to reevaluate the reliance on past histories of depression or other mental illnesses in screenings for determining a woman’s predisposition for developing PMD regardless of the number of births the woman has experienced. A majority of the women experienced symptoms with subsequent births, and a majority reported no prior history of mental or emotional issues before having children. One-fourth reported having no symptoms with their first child.

“It is important that health care providers educate expecting parents and screen for PMD with every mother during each pregnancy,” the article states. “This study suggests that standardized screenings need to include questions regarding intrusive thoughts and psychosis, as these are not examined in currently used screening tools.”

SLIDESHOW: Freshman Move-In Day

The majority of Western Carolina University’s approximately 1,600 freshmen moved in on Friday, Aug. 16. Students, faculty and staff took time to help and welcome members of the Class of 2017.

Music faculty to present woodwind recital Aug. 22

Faculty members from the School of Music at Western Carolina University will present a woodwind recital on campus Thursday, Aug. 22.

Showtime is 7:30 p.m. in the recital hall of the Coulter Building. Admission is free.

Faculty performers will be Andrew Adams, piano; Ian Jeffress, alto saxophone; Eldred Spell, flute; Terri Armfield, oboe; Shannon Thompson, clarinet; and Will Peebles, bassoon. They will be assisted by Michael Brubaker, horn.

The program will feature a performance by Jeffress on “Scaramouche,” a piece by Darius Milhaud originally written for alto saxophone and orchestra but arranged for alto saxophone and woodwind quintet for this concert, and Adams on Mozart’s “Quintet for Piano and Winds.”

The program also will include “Caprice on Danish Airs” by Camille Saint-Saens, written for flute, oboe, clarinet and piano.

WCU ranked high in educational value

Western Carolina University is among North Carolina colleges and universities that provide students with the highest return on their educational investments, according to two online guides to higher education.

In a list of the “Highest Return-On-Investment Colleges in North Carolina,” the website ranks WCU at No. 16 out of all the two- and four-year colleges analyzed in the state. The ranking is based on the cost of tuition and fees, along with data indicating the average starting salaries of graduates and lifetime earnings figures from the salary data collection organization

King documentary to be screened Aug. 28

Western Carolina University will screen “King – From Montgomery to Memphis” on Wednesday, Aug. 28, in honor of the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington where the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. made his famed “I Have a Dream” speech.

The documentary, which is free and open to the public, will be shown at 7 p.m. in Niggli Theatre.

As part of the event, Jack Sholder, director of WCU’s Film and TV Production Program and an editor of the 1970 Academy-Award nominated documentary, will take part in a panel discussion.

The film features original footage of King, a civil rights leader known for his commitment to nonviolence, from the Montgomery bus boycott in 1955 to his assassination in Memphis in 1968.

The screening is one of the first events to be held on campus in connection with WCU’s 2013-14 interdisciplinary learning theme, “1960s: Take It All In.”

Native health lecture set for Sept. 4

Spero M. Manson, the Distinguished Professor of Public Health and Psychiatry and head of the Centers for American Indian and Alaska Native Health at the University of Colorado at Denver, will deliver WCU’s annual public lecture in native health on Wednesday, Sept. 4.

Spero Manson

Spero Manson

Manson will present “The Special Diabetes Program for Indians: The Power of Evidence-Based Practices” at 3 p.m. in Room 204 of the Health and Human Sciences Building.

Manson’s programs include national centers engaged in research, program development and training for native communities in rural, reservation, urban and village settings. He has published more than 150 articles on the assessment, epidemiology, treatment and prevention of physical and mental health problems as well as addiction.

His awards include distinguished service awards from the U.S. Indian Health Service as well as awards from the American Public Health Association, Gerontological Society of America, the American Association of Medical Colleges and the Society for Medical Anthropology.

Graduate program in speech-language earns reaccreditation

Western Carolina University’s graduate program in speech-language pathology has been reaccredited by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association’s accrediting arm, the Council on Academic Accreditation.

The action comes after a lengthy self-study by faculty in the program and follows a site visit by members of the CAA accrediting team in April. The reaccreditation is for an eight-year period and is effective through July 31, 2021.

Bill Ogletree, head of WCU’s Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, received notification of program reaccreditation earlier this month from Charles L. Madison, chair of the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology.

The eight-year reaccreditation period is the maximum granted by the CAA, Ogletree said. “We are very pleased to be recognized by this national organization for the quality of our academic program in speech-language pathology,” he said. “This recognition is significant to our profession, our students and alumni, and to those served by graduates of the program. It signals that ours is a strong program that meets the rigorous standards of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.”

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Commencement 2017
Commencement 2017


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