Archive for March 19th, 2014

Faculty present at conference for international organization now headquartered at WCU

Three Western Carolina University faculty members recently presented papers at the 51st annual international conference of the Public Choice Society at which Edward J. Lopez, a WCU professor of economics and BB&T Distinguished Professor of Capitalism, completed his tenure as president of the society. Lopez, who moved the organization’s headquarters from George Mason University to WCU last year, is now the society’s permanent executive director.

At the conference, which was held in Charleston, S.C., Lopez organized and chaired four plenary sessions that featured top scholars of politics and economics, including Dani Rodrik of the Institute for Advanced Study and Sam Peltzman of the University of Chicago. Lopez also organized 72 concurrent sessions on which nearly 300 scholars from 22 countries presented research papers.

Todd Collins, associate professor of political science and public affairs and director of WCU’s Public Policy Institute, chaired a session at the conference titled “Principal Agent Problems” and presented a paper he co-authored with Chris Cooper, associate professor and head of the WCU Department of Political Science and Public Affairs, titled “A ‘Court’ of Public Opinion? Influences on Judicial Decision Making in the U.S. Supreme Court.”

Stephen Miller, associate professor of economics, presented “Income Inequality and Income Shifting: A New Way to Understand the Piketty-Saez Data.”

The Public Choice Society is an international professional association of social scientists studying collective action in both government and private settings such as group cooperatives and voluntary associations. The organization started in 1963 when a small group of economists, political scientists, sociologists and others sought to provide a forum for exchange of ideas across disciplines. Their research grew into a school of thought known as the rational choice approach to politics and government. Three of the society’s 26 presidents have won the Nobel Prize in economics.

Collins presents at national event

Dr. Shawn Collins, interim associate dean of the College of Health and Human Sciences and director of the nurse anesthesia program, recently presented a peer-reviewed lecture at the 2014 AANA Assembly of School Faculty held in San Diego. His lecture was titled “A Paradigm Shift: Emotional Intelligence in Anesthesia.”

Kossick presents at North Carolina state meeting

Dr. Mark A. Kossick, professor of nursing, presented on March 8 two lectures at the 2014 North Carolina Association of Nurse Anesthetists District III/IV Meeting held in Concord. His lectures were titled “Understanding the Diagnostic Criteria and Anesthetic Implications for Bundle Branch Blocks” and “Anesthesia Review and Update on the Diagnosis and Management of Atrial Fibrillation.”

Fire-damaged buildings removed

Demolition of fire-damaged buildings on campus that were home to three businesses began in March.

Demolition of fire-damaged buildings on campus that were home to three businesses began in March.

Demolition began in March of buildings in a commercial strip along Centennial Drive that were damaged by fire last fall.

The fire-damaged areas were home to Subway, Rolling Stone Burrito and Mad Batter Bakery and Cafe.

A private developer will be sought to build a mixed-use facility on the site with a goal of occupancy in August 2016. Owners of the existing developments along the commercial strip, including those affected by the fire, will have the right of first refusal for commercial space in the new building.

Health and physical education students and faculty meet with legislators

Western Carolina University health and physical education students and faculty recently took part in the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance’s sixth annual SPEAK Out! Day on Capitol Hill.

Taking part were WCU students majoring in health and physical education including Beth Arney from Hickory, Jon Benken from Atlanta, Kyle Bernier from Murphy and Kaylie Dean from Oxford, as well as health and physical education faculty members David Claxton and Tom Watterson.

Participants sought support for co-sponsors of the Promoting Health for Youth Skills in Classrooms and Life Act, or PHYSICAL Act. The bill designates physical education and health education as core subjects, making them eligible for federal funding under Title I and Title II. The funding would help school districts expand physical education and health education programs and professional development for teachers, leading to potential opportunities to dedicate weekly physical activity time, enhanced classroom instruction or development of creative health programs.

WCU representatives in Washington, D.C., for SPEAK Out! Day included, from left, Tom Watterson, Jon Benken, Kyle Bernier, Beth Arney and Kaylie Dean.

WCU representatives in Washington, D.C., for SPEAK Out! Day included, from left, Tom Watterson, Jon Benken, Kyle Bernier, Beth Arney and Kaylie Dean.

The students also encouraged continued support for the Carol M. White Physical Education Program, a grant program in which federal funds support physical education.

“The research is clear on the impact that physical education has on all aspects of a student’s life, from improved academics and behavior in the classroom to increased confidence to excel in other endeavors, both personal and academic, as well as the obvious proven health benefits of being physically active,” said Claxton. “We hope that we helped our legislators understand the importance of having health and physical education recognized as core subjects so that educators at the local level will have the choice to spend federal dollars on health and physical education if they think that is where the money should be spent.”

WCU students and faculty shared stories on the impact of the Carol M. White Physical Education Program on the local level and their interest in seeing passage of more stringent mandates for physical education and health education.

In North Carolina, each school district requires students enrolled in pre-kindergarten, kindergarten and grade levels below high school to participate in physical activity as part of the district’s physical education curriculum. The amount of time and days per week are left up to each school.

Watterson said adding physical education to the core standards will enable educators to be able to show how successful students can be in their overall health and well-being.

“This overall health extends outside the classroom and has a great impact on the students’ standard of living for the rest of their lives,” said Watterson.

“This overall health extends outside the classroom and has a great impact on the students’ standard of living for the rest of their lives,” said Watterson. For more information about WCU’s health and physical education programs, visit

March 24 concert fundraiser at WCU to feature A.W. Duo

The acclaimed classical music duo of Alyona Aksyonova and James Waldo will be featured in a Monday, March 24, concert at Western Carolina University to benefit United Christian Ministries of Jackson County and the WCU Honors College’s student study abroad fund.

The A.W. Duo will be featured in a fundraising concert Monday, March 24, at WCU.

The A.W. Duo will be featured in a fundraising concert Monday, March 24, at WCU.

Known as the A.W. Duo, the husband-and-wife team will perform at 7:30 p.m. in the recital hall of WCU’s Coulter Building. Tickets are $5 for students and $15 for all others.

Aksyonova, a pianist from Russia, and Waldo, an American cellist, met and began playing together while attending graduate studies at Mannes College in New York City. Based in Manhattan, the duo is beginning its second season of professional engagements this spring, including performances at the Piccolo Spoleto Festival in Charleston, S.C.; the Highlands-Cashiers Chamber Music Festival; and appearances in New York, Connecticut and Rhode Island.

Ellen Dressler Moryl, founder and artistic director emeritus of the Piccolo Spoleto Festival, has called the A.W. Duo “exciting…ravishing…divine.” “These gifted young players are true artists who can transport the listeners in their audience straight to heaven,” she said.

The program for the concert will include works by Ludwig van Beethoven, Ayumi Okada, Alexander Scriabin, Chandler Carter and Sergei Rachmaninoff.

Funding for the A.W. Duo’s appearance at WCU is being provided by two members of the Honors College’s Advisory Board from Highlands, Dr. Mark Whitehead and his wife, Kathy Whitehead, said Brian Railsback, dean of the college.

“This opportunity provided to us by both the Whiteheads and the A.W. Duo allows us to serve members of our community through United Christian Ministries and the students of the Honors College through one great evening of music,” Railsback said. “I hope to see an audience of students, faculty, staff and community members coming together for two important causes. WCU and the community achieve so much working together like this.”

Railsback said he is proud of the Honors College student board of directors, who could have planned the event as just a fundraiser for the student study abroad fund, but instead chose to include their community partner, United Christian Ministries.

Prior to the March 24 performance, Aksyonova and Waldo will present a workshop focusing on the business aspects of their artistic lives at 4 p.m. in the Catamount Room of WCU’s A.K. Hinds University Center. The workshop is open to everyone.

A reception will be held following the evening concert.

Tickets will be available in advance and at the door. For advance tickets, contact Bonnie Beam in WCU’s Honors College office at 828-227-7383 or

Graduate-level social work program reaccredited

Western Carolina University’s master’s of social work program recently earned re-accreditation that extends through 2022.

The Council on Social Work Education’s Commission on Accreditation voted to reaffirm the accreditation after reviewing a self study, site visit report and response to the report

Trustees authorize planning for building renovations, additions in upper campus

The Western Carolina University Board of Trustees has given its unanimous approval to allow university officials to proceed with planning and design for renovations and additions to Buchanan Residence Hall and Brown Building in the historic upper part of the Cullowhee campus.

New student fee to support sustainability initiatives

Full-time students will begin paying an additional $5 in fees during the fall and spring semesters to support sustainability initiatives on campus. The new fee, which takes effect this fall, is expected to generate more than $77,000 a year, which a student-led committee will then allocate to sustainability-related projects proposed by students, faculty and staff.

Carolina West Sports Medicine to host open house at WCU site

Carolina West Sports Medicine, which provides physician coverage and physical therapy for WCU athletics, will host an open house at its new clinic space in WCU’s Health and Human Sciences Building on Thursday, March 27.

Shapiro Scholarship will benefit WCU students specializing in fluency disorders

A new scholarship at WCU will provide financial assistance to outstanding graduate students who want to specialize in helping children and adults overcome disorders of speech fluency such as stuttering, cluttering and acquired forms of speech disruption.

Students to demonstrate research talents during expo, symposium

The research prowess of Western Carolina University students will be on display as the university holds two early spring events, the Undergraduate Expo and Graduate Research Symposium.

Literary Festival to be held March 31-April 4

Established and emerging authors of poetry, fiction and creative nonfiction will discuss and read from their works at Western Carolina University during the 12th annual Spring Literary Festival from Monday, March 31, to Friday, April 4. New at the festival this year will be a day dedicated to WCU authors on April 4 in honor of the yearlong celebration of the university’s 125th anniversary.

‘Les Miserables’ to stage April 3-6

The Tony-Award-winning musical “Les Miserables” will be performed under the direction of Broadway star Terrence Mann at Western Carolina University from Thursday, April 3, through Sunday, April 6. The WCU Friends of the Arts will host a “Bidding, Broadway, Beverages and Baguettes” event with a silent auction before the performance on Friday, April 4.

Categories | The Reporter

Photos | WCU News Services

Commencement 2017
Commencement 2017


Africa! More Than A Continent