Archive for December, 2013

Belt and Lefler examine issues stemming from anthropological research involving Native peoples at national conference

Roseanna Belt, director of the Cherokee Center, and Lisa Lefler, director of WCU’s Culturally Based Native Health Programs, participated in the annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association held recently in Chicago.

Lefler organized a two-panel session for the national meeting titled “Research and Partnership: Old and New Lessons for Anthropologists from Native America.” The session included anthropologists and Native peoples in examining what has been done in the past and what needs to be done better in the future to provide a lasting, collaborative relationship, said Lefler. Belt gave a presentation on her experiences as a tribal member working with researchers.

“These sessions were needed to discuss important issues facing researchers working in Indian country,” said Lefler. “American anthropology was developed in large part from studies in Indian country. From Frans Boas and Elsie Clews Parsons, to the contemporary Raymond D. Fogelson and Margaret Bender, we have experienced years of trust, mistrust and navigation of partnership in the homes and communities of Native peoples. We have extracted culture, language and artifacts and conducted studies of almost everything one can study regarding the human body and experience. As anthros in Indian country, we have been cussed, heralded, despised, loved and evaluated.”

Papers for the sessions were presented by professionals in the field from linguistics, archaeology, ethnohistory, physical anthropology, ethnobotany and various sub-fields of socio-cultural anthropology.

“No other discipline has dealt with the legacy of past missteps and grievances as anthropologists who work among this nation’s First Peoples,” said Lefler. “Today, however, as most of these communities face tremendous challenges in health, education and economic disparities, as well as revitalization of language and culture, those of us who do work with Native communities feel privileged to be asked to assist because of skills our discipline provides. We have opportunities to work smarter and partner in our research as never before by listening and learning from our partners.”

Lefler said the sessions were well attended and participants expressed interest in planning future sessions.


Faculty members explore partnership to improve special education in Jamaica

David Westling, the Adelaide Worth Daniels Distinguished Professor of Special Education, and Karena Cooper-Duffy, professor of special education, recently met with educational leaders and teachers in Jamaica to discuss a proposal to improve education and training of children with severe disabilities.

The proposal includes creating a new master’s degree program in special education, developing a training center for teachers and launching a campaign to help educate Jamaicans about people with disabilities, according to an article titled “WCU Partnership with Jamaica to Address Special Needs Education, Support,” by Kate Chappell.

Faculty, staff members help host regional training event

More than 60 National Ski Patrol instructors from across the Southeast came to WCU this fall for the organization’s daylong annual Outdoor Emergency Care Instructors training. The course prepared participants to train ski patrol members for the upcoming ski season.

WCU has hosted the annual training course for the past six years. Ben Tholkes, associate professor of parks and recreation management, and Bill Clarke, director of Ramsey Regional Activity Center, assisted in setting up the training.

Communication students host public outreach presentations

Western Carolina University student Tomas Aponte (right) assists Aquilla Greene during a session to help participants master the basics of email, social media and other tools.

Western Carolina University student Tomas Aponte (right) assists Aquilla Greene during a session to help participants master the basics of email, social media and other tools.

Student teams from a course taught by Jim Manning, associate professor of communication, recently offered public outreach presentations at the Jackson County Senior Center and Cullowhee Valley School.

One presentation focused on the basics of email, social media, online shopping and mobile phone apps. A second presentation centered on how parents can monitor and control a child’s web and mobile device use.

Kickoff event announced, website launched for WCU’s 125th anniversary

Western Carolina University will celebrate the 125th anniversary of its founding with a yearlong celebration in 2014 that begins with a kickoff event on Thursday, Jan. 23, in the Grandroom of A.K. Hinds University Center.

Festivities from 12:25 to 2:25 p.m. will include a fashion show of apparel adorned with WCU’s 125th logo, refreshments, prizes, games, giveaways and birthday cake.

For more information about this event and others, visit the recently launched website for WCU’s quasquicentennial at

WCU students to present at Carolina Coding Initiative event

Western Carolina University is co-sponsoring Carolina Coding Initiative events to be held at the North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching from Monday, Dec. 9, to Wednesday, Dec. 11.

Event partners from WCU include the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, the School of Teaching and Learning, and the College of Business’ computer information systems program.

The event features free classes in basic coding for beginners age 9 and older, demonstrations by students and faculty from WCU and other institutions, and the chance to learn about technical careers and opportunities in Western North Carolina.

WCU students will demonstrate software they have developed during events, which include a reception and programming sessions that take place between 4:30 and 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 9. WCU computer science students also will present their capstone projects from 5:30 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 10, and 5:30 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 11.

The initiative is designed to help meet a goal of getting 10 million students of all ages to try programming for the first time this year. For more information on “One Hour of Code,” visit

Student engineering project benefits nursing, emergency management

What used to be a cluster of cords and equipment for a high-fidelity SimBaby mannequin used by WCU nursing and emergency management students is now organized into a mobile-friendly, efficient system that WCU engineering students designed.

WCU officials await answers on Nov. 21 fire

The future of three dining establishments damaged by a November fire on the Western Carolina University campus remains unknown as state insurance and construction officials continue analyzing the structural integrity of the building and conducting a financial assessment of the damages.

Annual holiday video greeting is unveiled

Western Carolina University has shared its third annual holiday video greeting card, titled “Moments to Remember” and hosted at the website

Festival opening with WCU Night

Iceless ice skating and a fireworks show headline the activities for the 30th annual Dillsboro Lights and Luminaries Festival, which is always the first two Fridays and Saturdays in December in downtown Dillsboro.

Faculty member and students light and learn in Dillsboro

Helping Dillsboro glow for the town’s annual Lights and Luminaries festival are Carroll Brown, an associate professor in the hospitality and tourism program at Western Carolina University, and her students. For the last five years, they have helped light more than 2,500 candles, placed luminaries in designated locations and assisted with decorations and lights.

Faculty gain access to national online education improvement tool

Western Carolina University faculty can now access the rubric developed by Quality Matters, a nationally recognized research-based resource for online educators, for applying quality standards to course design and soon will be able to take part in related professional development opportunities and peer reviews.

Categories | The Reporter

Photos | WCU News Services

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