Archive for November 13th, 2013

Football coach to appear on National Geographic Channel show

Mark Speir, head football coach, will appear on the “Biker Church Reborn” episode of the National Geographic Channel series titled “Church Rescue,” which will air at 10 p.m. Monday, Nov. 18.

A promo for the episode has been shared on YouTube.

Student film wins award at festival

WCU alumna Christy Conyers and WCU student Andrew Dyson accept the jury award for the best student film at the 2013 Asheville Cinema Festival for their work on "Jerry."

WCU alumna Christy Conyers and WCU student Andrew Dyson accept the jury award for the best student film at the 2013 Asheville Cinema Festival for their work on “Jerry.”

The Western Carolina University student-created film “Jerry,” a dark comedy about a homeless man who comes back to haunt the local politician who ran him over, won the jury award for the best student film at the 2013 Asheville Cinema Festival.

“Jerry” was a film and television production program senior project that involved dozens of students. Accepting the award was alumna Christy Conyers, director from Pittsboro, and student Andrew Dyson, producer from Spartanburg, S.C. In addition to Conyers and Dyson, the WCU student cast and crew of “Jerry” included writers G.M. Hill from Fort Mill, S.C., and Grant Hengeveld from High Point, and actors Hengeveld, Joseph Callahan from Shelby, Hannah Chatham from Statesville and Jaclyn Helms from Spruce Pine. The director of photography was Jason Ledford from Cherokee. Taylor Peasants from Lexington served as assistant director, and the editor was Mitchell Metz from Chapel Hill.

Sandi Anton, co-founder of the Asheville Cinema Festival, said making a comedy such as “Jerry” is very difficult. “Comedy is very subjective, and it can really fall flat, but when it works, as ‘Jerry’ did, it is delightful and thought-provoking,” said Anton. “The acting and direction was inspired and fun – a great combination.”

Jack Sholder, director of WCU’s film and television production program, said “Jerry” was very well crafted, from the photography, editing and acting to the main title sequence by the School of Art and Design’s Mason Adams to the score by Joe Basile, a master’s degree student in the School of Music.
“What really struck me was the level of storytelling,” said Sholder. “The film keeps surprising you with its turns and keeps you engaged. When I was waiting for a screening to start on the last day of the festival, two women seated behind me were talking about a film they’d seen, and I realized they were talking about ‘Jerry.” That’s as big a compliment as you can get.”

Ombudsperson available to hear concerns, help manage conflicts

Jayne Zanglein

Jayne Zanglein

Jayne Zanglein, professor of business administration and law, and sport management, is serving as the provost fellow responsible for providing ombudsman services to WCU faculty and staff.

Zanglein’s services include, but are not limited to, listening to complaints, mediating disputes with co-workers or supervisors, helping facilitate meetings that might otherwise be contentious, assisting groups with understanding and working with different personalities to improve workplace morale and providing conflict management training.

Zanglein, whose services are confidential and free to faculty and staff, can be reached at 828-227-7191, 828-331-8066 or For more information, visit “WCU Creates Ombuds Office” online.

Author to discuss Cherokee War of 1776 at MHC

Nadia Dean

Nadia Dean

Author, journalist and researcher Nadia Dean will visit Western Carolina University on Thursday, Nov. 14, to give a presentation focusing on the Cherokee War of 1776 and the legendary Cherokee war chief Dragging Canoe.

Dean’s presentation will begin at 7 p.m. in the auditorium of the Mountain Heritage Center.

Dean’s first book, “A Demand of Blood,” was published by Valley River Press in Cherokee in 2012. The book chronicles the Cherokee War of 1776, a conflict fought in the shadows of the American Revolution, and how that war played out between the Cherokee and colonials.

A native of Columbia, S.C., Dean was raised in the Middle East and United States, and she studied photography and film at the University of South Carolina. Dean was the photographer for the 1989 PBS documentary “Days of Rage” and her photographs of the Palestinian uprising were published in Time magazine, The New York Times and the Chicago Tribune. Since then, she has reported and produced television and print news reports from Beirut, Tel Aviv and Washington, D.C.

Those attending the Nov. 14 presentation are encouraged to also view the Mountain Heritage Center’s exhibit on Cherokee craftsmanship, “Qualla Arts and Crafts: Tradition and Innovation.”

For more information about the presentation or exhibit, contact the Mountain Heritage Center at 828-227-7129.

International Education Week event to highlight Islam, environmentalism

Ibrahim Abdul-Matin, author of “Green Deen: What Islam Teaches about Protecting the Planet,” will deliver the plenary address Thursday, Nov. 21, as part of Western Carolina University’s annual International Education Week.

The talk will be held from 4:30 until 6 p.m. in the theater of A.K. Hinds University Center on the WCU campus.

Abdul-Matin for the past 10 years has been an advocate for transforming what he calls the nation’s “pollution-based way of life” to one that prioritizes the planet and its people. He says that his dedication to the environment is rooted in his Deen — his religion of Islam.

Abdul-Matin is an environmental policy consultant and has worked with Green for All, Green City Force, Interfaith Leaders for Environmental Justice, the Prospect Park Alliance and the New York City Mayor’s Office of Long Term Planning and Sustainability.

He has appeared on FOX News, Al-Jazeera and ABC News’ “This Week” and is featured regularly on public radio’s morning news show “The Takeaway.” His writing has appeared in The Washington Post,, The Daily Beast, GOOD Magazine, ColorLines, Wiretap and Elan Magazine.

The presentation at WCU is open to the public free of charge.

Other events during the week include presentations by WCU faculty, staff and students about international education and study abroad programs, and a visit by WCU international students to Tuscola High School on Friday, Nov. 22.

For a complete schedule of events, contact Christopher Pedo, international student adviser in the Office of International Programs and Services, at 828-227-2557 or via email at

Graphic novelist to speak Nov. 13

Tim Lane, a graphic novelist and freelance illustrator, will give a free public lecture about his work Wednesday, Nov. 13, at 4:30 p.m. in Room 130 of the John W. Bardo Fine and Performing Arts Center.

The event is sponsored by the School of Art and Design. For more information, call 828-227-3590.

Screening of ‘Woodstock’ to be Nov. 19

A film series connected to the campuswide interdisciplinary learning theme, “1960s: Take It All In,” will continue Tuesday, Nov. 9, with the screening of the documentary “Woodstock.”

The event, which is free and open to the public, will begin at 7 p.m. in the theater of A.K. Hinds University Center. The film details the 1969 Woodstock Music and Art Festival that drew hundreds of thousands people.

For more information, contact Jack Sholder, director of WCU’s film and television production program, at 828-227-2324 or

Ron Rash honored in both Carolinas, Canada

October turned out to be a good month for collecting awards for Western Carolina University faculty member and author Ron Rash, who was honored for his literary body of work by organizations in both Carolinas while also pulling in an award for his latest book from the far away Rocky Mountains of Canada.

Meredith Whitfield named director of external relations

Meredith Curcio Whitfield, former special assistant for federal relations and research at Appalachian State University, has been named director of external relations at Western Carolina University.

Radio re-creation group announces 2014 production

“Echoes of the Cotton Club,” a salute to the roots of jazz and the big band era music, will be staged in the John W. Bardo Fine and Performing Arts Center on Thursday, April 24.

Categories | The Reporter

Photos | WCU News Services

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