Archive for October 2nd, 2013

Steve Morse to speak at Tennessee event

Steve Morse, economist and director of WCU’s Hospitality and Tourism Program, will be a featured speaker at a joint legislative luncheon hosted by the Gatlinburg (Tenn.) Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Gatlinburg (Tenn.) Hospitality Association on Friday, Oct. 11.

Morse will present a study on tourism and serve as moderator for a panel discussion.

Nancy Helm-Estabrooks honored by Massachusetts organization

Nancy Helm-Estabrooks, professor emerita of communication disorders at Western Carolina University, has been honored for her work in the field of communication sciences and disorders by the Massachusetts Neuropsychology Society.

Nancy Helm-EstabrooksNancy Helm-Estabrooks

Nancy Helm-EstabrooksNancy Helm-Estabrooks

Helm-Estabrooks received the society’s 2013 Edith Kaplan Award on Sept. 12 in recognition of her contributions to the field of neuropsychology that promote the “process approach,” a method of accessing brain function with testing first developed by Kaplan, a world renowned clinical neuropsychologist who died in 2009. Helm-Estabrooks is the first speech-language pathologist to receive the award, which was established in 2004.

Helm-Estabrooks said Kaplan was a “close colleague and mentor” of hers for more than 30 years, and Kaplan served as co-chair of Helm-Estabrooks’ doctoral dissertation committee.

Helm-Estabrooks joined the WCU faculty as an adjunct professor in May 2009 and soon after was named the university’s first Catherine Brewer Smith Distinguished Professor of Communication Disorders. Prior to coming to WCU, she worked as a research professor in the School of Medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and as a clinical investigator for 32 years at the Harold Goodglass Aphasia Research Center at Boston University School of Medicine.

Helm-Estabrooks’ work with individuals who have aphasia, a language disorder that often results from a brain injury caused by a stroke, traumatic brain injury or neurological diseases, gained considerable attention from the national media in the fall of 2011 as a result of her involvement in the rehabilitation of former Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle “Gabby” Giffords, who suffered gunshot wounds during an assassination attempt. More recently, Giffords visited the Asheville area last year and again this year for intensive sessions of language treatment with Helm-Estabrooks.

For more information about WCU’s Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, contact department head Bill Ogletree at 828-227-3379 or

WCU-sponsored conference has strong turnout

Renee Bussanich (second from right), a family school specialist with Buncombe County Schools, discusses items that school crisis response teams sometimes use to help students during a presentation Friday at the Break by the Lake conference for student support services personnel held at Lake Logan in Haywood County

Renee Bussanich (second from right), a family school specialist with Buncombe County Schools, discusses items that school crisis response teams sometimes use to help students during a presentation Friday at the Break by the Lake conference for student support services personnel held at Lake Logan in Haywood County

About 140 student support services staff members from the region took part Friday, Sept. 27, in the 16th annual Break by the Lake conference, which was sponsored by counseling programs within Western Carolina University’s Department of Human Services.

The conference showcased best practices for work with young people and included sessions on topics such as conflict resolution, crisis response and working with parents in poverty. Participants came from 12 school districts. Charter schools also were represented.

State Employees Combined Campaign under way

Donations and pledges during the first week of the State Employees Combined Campaign at Western Carolina University totaled more than $8,000, according to an update on WCU’s SECC website at

“While the 2013 campaign is off to a great start, we still have a long way to go to reach our goal of $30,000,” said Ashley Beavers, creative services production manager and WCU SECC chair. “If you have not yet returned your pledge form, please consider doing so. Every donation – every dollar – will make a difference.”

The campaign, the only officially sanctioned fund drive conducted on WCU’s campus, enables all state employees to support any of more than 1,000 eligible charitable causes. The 2013 campaign runs through Friday, Nov. 8.

Contributions by permanent employees can be made by payroll deduction, and all employees, retirees and students may contribute by check or cash. All contributions are tax deductible.

Employees who have not received SECC giving guides and pledge forms are encouraged to contact a solicitor. For a list of solicitors, visit For more information about WCU’s campaign, contact Beavers at

Trophies lure high school bands from six states to tournament at WCU

Members of the Tuscola High School marching band from Waynesville perform at last year's Western Carolina Tournament of Champions.

Members of the Tuscola High School marching band from Waynesville perform at last year’s Western Carolina Tournament of Champions.

­­Twenty-five top high school marching bands from six states will compete at Western Carolina University’s 13th annual Tournament of Champions invitational at E.J. Whitmire Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 12.

Hosted by WCU’s award-winning Pride of the Mountains Marching Band, the young musicians will be competing for the prestigious Chancellor’s Award, a large glass traveling trophy that is presented to the grand champion band, and the North Carolina Roll of Honour, awarded to the highest scoring band from North Carolina, as well as place trophies in categories.

The Oct. 12 competition’s preliminaries will begin at 8:45 a.m. and continue through the morning and afternoon to select three class champions which, along with the next seven highest scoring bands, will advance to the finals competition that evening at 7 p.m. Gates will reopen at 6 p.m.

The Pride of the Mountains Marching Band will share an exhibition performance of its 2013 halftime show “Generation NeXt” at 4:15 p.m. featuring the music of Beethoven, Michael Jackson, KISS, Christina Aguilera, Justin Timberlake, The Average White Band, Robert Randolph, Florence + the Machine and Skrillex. “It’s a drill that is really, really demanding and very, very difficult; the show has 130 pages in it,” said David Starnes, director of the band. “It’s something that’s going to be really cool when you see the whole production together.”

Tickets are $10 for the preliminary competition. Tickets for the finals are $8 if purchased in advance or at the gate before 4 p.m., and are $10 if purchased after 4 p.m. Group rate is $8 for preliminaries and $8 for finals (15 or more paid by one check). Children under the age of 12 will be admitted free when accompanied by an adult.

To reserve tickets for groups in advance, call 828-227-2998. For more information on the tournament, visit

Campus benefits from back-up Internet connection

The completion of a second Internet service connection to Western Carolina University this summer enabled services to continue on campus Friday, Sept. 6, even though a problem with a fiber-optic cable near Huntersville caused one of the connections to go down for 11 hours.

Having redundancy in Internet service connection is an important part of the Division of Information Technology’s Disaster Recovery Plan and keeping the academic and business activity of the university running without interruption.

For the full story, visit “The Internet went down on September 6. Did you notice?” on DoIT News.

Association of Retired Faculty and Staff to meet Nov. 6

The Western Carolina University Association of Retired Faculty and Staff will meet on campus in the Ramsey Regional Activity Center on Wednesday, Nov. 6.

The keynote speaker for the event will be Sylva’s Gary Carden, a WCU alumnus, author, playwright and folklorist. Recipient of the 2012 North Carolina Award for Literature, Carden will discuss his latest book, “The Appalachian Bestiary,” which details mythical creatures in the region that developed out of ancient legends, folklore, history and storytelling.

Event check-in begins at 10 a.m. and will be followed by a social at 10:30 a.m., a business meeting at 11:15 a.m., a Dutch treat luncheon and speaker.

The association was formed in June when more than 125 retired WCU faculty and staff members and their spouses, partners and friends traveled from North Carolina, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia to participate in the first meeting.

“Our inaugural meeting in June was a resounding success and registrations for our November meeting are moving along rapidly,” said Gordon Mercer, president of the association and professor emeritus of political science. “We encourage spouses and friends of retired faculty and staff to attend, and for all to register early so the Dutch treat luncheon and refreshments for the meet-and-greet social may be planned.”

Registration for the November meeting is requested by Tuesday, Oct. 29. For more information, contact Mercer at 828-369-2693 or Fred Hinson, president-elect and former vice chancellor for academic affairs, at 828-293-5620.

WCU, community leaders examine strategies to forge stronger regional partnerships

Western Carolina University has a vital role to play as an “indispensable partner” working with communities across Western North Carolina if the region is to thrive and prosper in the years ahead. The key word in that phrase is not “indispensable” but “partner,” said James Votruba, a nationally recognized leader in university-community collaboration, who was the keynote speaker during a regional engagement leadership retreat Friday, Sept. 27, at WCU.

WCU wins grant to improve opportunities for students with intellectual disabilities

Western Carolina University has been awarded a $225,000 grant to help develop tools and resources to better enable students with intellectual disabilities to transition into the workforce or enroll in post-secondary education.

Student proposals sought for second Discovery Forum; deadline is Oct. 14

Western Carolina University will host its second Discovery Forum, an event designed to encourage young people to share innovative ideas for making their communities better places to live, on Tuesday, Nov. 5.

Thousands enjoy Mountain Heritage Day; award winners announced

Celebrating its 39th year, Western Carolina University’s Mountain Heritage Day drew thousands of visitors to the Cullowhee campus Saturday, Sept. 28, to sample mountain music, arts, crafts, foods, traditions, games and activities. VIEW SLIDESHOW

Categories | The Reporter

Photos | WCU News Services

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