Archive for May, 2014

Employee Summer Challenge to begin June 4

WHEE for Life is encouraging faculty and staff to participate in various wellness activities this summer through the Employee Summer Challenge.

The challenge runs from Wednesday, June 4, through Friday, July 25, and features a bingo-type card. As participants accomplish a wellness activity, they mark off a square. Participants who complete two “bingos” from the challenge card will win a prize.

Additional information will be shared by email in June and at the ice cream social to be held on the lawn of A.K. Hinds University Center on June 4 from 12 to 2 p.m.


Belt presents at National Museum of the American Indian

Tom Belt, coordinator of Western Carolina University’s Cherokee Language Program, was a presenter at “Patterns of Native Health and Wellbeing: An Intercultural Symposium” held on April 11 at the National Museum of the American Indian.

The museum is part of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.

Belt spoke on the topic “Prayer and the Spiritual in Health Ways.” Symposium presentations were streamed live on the web.

The symposium addressed active collaborations involving Native community members and researchers that focus on the distinct cultural values about wellbeing held by Native communities in solving serious health issues.

Belt’s address can be seen on the museum’s YouTube channel.

Division of Student Success presents faculty, staff awards

The WCU Division of Student Success presented awards at a spring celebration held in May. Awards presented include the Commendable Catamount Award to Henson Sturgill from the Registrar’s Office and Kristan Blanton from Advising; the Partnership Award to Orientation Programs; the Unsung Hero Award to Linda Woody from the Registrar’s Office; the Staff Award for Excellence in Student Service to Lisa Frady from Advising and Janina DeHart from Undergraduate Studies; the Faculty Award for Excellence in Student Service to A.J. Grube from Business Administration and Law and Sport Management; and the Office of the Year to Writing and Learning Commons.

Costa’s latest book focuses on English naturalist Wallace

Jim Costa

Jim Costa

A book by Western Carolina University biology professor and Highlands Biological Station director James Costa titled “Wallace, Darwin and the Origin of Species” has been published by Harvard University Press.

The book provides an in-depth look at the work of 19th-century English naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace, who co-discovered the principle of natural selection in 1858. Costa analyzes the development of Wallace’s thinking as seen through the lens of the naturalist’s “Species Notebook,” which is the field notebook and journal in which Wallace recorded his evolutionary ideas during his eight years of exploration in southest Asia in the 1850s. Costa also compares Wallace’s work to Darwin’s work, taking a closer look at the relationship between the two naturalists.

Costa said he hopes the book inspires a new level of appreciation for Wallace’s accomplishments, which have been largely overshadowed by Darwin’s, and corrects the view of Wallace as a secondary figure. The book portrays the two naturalists “as true equals in advancing one of the greatest scientific discoveries of all time,” he said.

For the full story, visit the WCU news site.

Creasy presents at international conference about hospital efficiency strategy

Todd Creasy, associate professor in the Department of Global Management and Strategy, recently presented “Don’t Lose Patients – How a Hybrid Strategy Improved Patient Experience” at the International Conference on Quality Improvement, which was sponsored by the American Society of Quality.

Creasy discussed a project in which he studied the pre-admission testing process for surgical procedures at a rural hospital in Virginia. He subsequently identified ways to reduce patient wait time and then statistically verified that the average wait time had been reduced by 70 percent after the changes were introduced. The changes included combining a three-page form into one page, utilizing a delivery service to collect and deliver patient charts, implementing a patient tracking system that alerted staff of patient wait issues and hosting information sessions with physician offices to explain the new process.

“People get so frustrated by periods of waiting in hospitals – waiting to be admitted to the emergency room, waiting to be seen by a nurse, waiting to be seen by the attending physician, waiting to be served a meal, and waiting to be discharged,” said Creasy. “Extended periods of waiting are detrimental to patient satisfaction that all hospitals take very seriously. This project helped take some of the dissatisfaction out of the hospital experience by dramatically reducing patient wait times during one part of the hospital experience.”

For more information, contact Creasy at

Spring 2014 issue of WCU magazine posted online

The spring 2014 edition of The Magazine of Western Carolina University is now available online.

Cover of 2014 spring edition of WCU magazineFeatured articles highlight WCU’s emphasis on undergraduate research; ceramics professor Joan Byrd, who has been at the university for more than one-third of its existence; and student Aaron Marshall, who has dedicated his life to service for others.

Summer ice cream socials offered on UC lawn

An ice cream social will be held every Wednesday in June and July from 12 to 2 p.m. on the lawn of A.K. Hinds University Center for WCU employees, students and campus visitors. Ice cream is $1 per person.

This event is sponsored by the University Center.

Which Wich, Moe’s Southwest Grill coming to campus

Which Wich, offering made-to-order sandwiches and lettuce wraps, and Moe’s Southwest Grill, which features Tex-Mex fare, will move into the Courtyard Food Court as part of Western Carolina University Campus Dining Services’ changes for the fall semester.

Moe’s Southwest Grill will replace Zoca, a Mexican-themed restaurant, and Which Wich will occupy space that has been home to Freshens. Meanwhile, the Courtyard C-Store will be replaced by a P.O.D. Market and Freshens, which will add flatbreads and rice bowls to its current menu.

“The P.O.D. Market is a convenience store that offers the right mix of product for students,” said Sarah Caruso, Aramark marketing coordinator.

In other developments, Courtyard Dining Hall will begin offering to-go containers for fall, which will enable students, faculty and staff to use a block meal or pay the same price as dining in to grab food to-go. The to-go option will cost the same as dining in. The feature should alleviate some overcrowding during peak hours while offering flexibility for the WCU community, said Caruso.

For more information, visit Campus Dining’s new website.

Campus dining announces summer hours, ‘$5 Fridays’

Western Carolina University Campus Dining Services will open several venues this summer and will offer “$5 Fridays” meals upstairs in Courtyard Dining Hall starting in June.

Burger Studio
Monday-Friday: 2 to 8 p.m. (June 2-July 2; July 7-Aug. 4)

Courtyard C-Store
Monday-Friday: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. (June 2-July 2; July 7-Aug. 4)

Courtyard Dining Hall
Daily: 7 to 9 a.m., 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. (June 2-July 2; July 7-Aug. 4)

Einstein’s Bros. Bagels
Monday-Friday: 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. (June 16-Aug. 4)


Monday-Friday: 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. (June 2-July 2; July 7-Aug. 4)

For more information, visit the WCU Campus Dining Services website.

WCU to host free outdoor summer concerts

Western Carolina University will host free outdoor summer concerts in the Central Plaza at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, June 10; Tuesday, June 24; Tuesday, July 8; Tuesday, July 15; and Tuesday, July 22. The line-up of artists will be announced when acts are confirmed.

WCU wins season ticket card design contest

Western Carolina University’s 2013 football ticket card designed by WCU’s Office of Creative Services recently won TicketReturn’s 2013-14 University Season Ticket Card Design Contest.

WCU's Catamount football 2013 season ticket card won a design contest.

WCU’s Catamount football 2013 season ticket card won a design contest.

TicketReturn is a company that provides box office and online ticketing services, and the honor comes with a framed commemorative award, a catered lunch for athletics staff and bragging rights.

“Our fans love the season ticket cards, and those voting on our design really loved the clean look to it,” said Michael Lee, director of ticket operations at WCU. “Creative Services does a great job in helping to create a design that reflects our marketing brand and theme each year.”

The 2013 football season ticket cards, which fit in fans’ wallets and are shown and then swiped to gain access to WCU’s home football games, featured a close-up image of a football with a colored bar that correlated to the season ticket cardholder’s seats on a provided seating map.

The Creative Services design team wanted the pass to be easy-to-read and to stand out from other passes and cards, said Joseph Moon, who served as the lead designer on the project.

The design was based on the 2012 card on which John Balentine served as the lead designer and incorporated feedback from fans, said Moon, now a graphic designer with the Division of Student Affairs.

Changes included the font, which matched the font used in WCU athletic materials for the 2013-14 season, and the background image.

“I chose a close shot of a football to really give the season pass holder a sense of a football’s texture,” said Moon. “A quarterback’s touchdown pass is directly related to the shape, weight, texture and design of the football itself.

“This year’s design wouldn’t have been as strong without Creative Services’ team effort in researching the practicality and the end-user experience with items like the 2013 football season passes,” he said.

Lee said season tickets for the 2014 season are $125 and can be purchased online at or by phone at 800-34-GOWCU.

MBA students help regional businesses

Twelve students in WCU’s master’s degree program in business administration are assisting six regional businesses this summer to increase export sales by conducting global marketing research and crafting strategies for market penetration.

The students’ work, which is part of a summer special projects course, is supported by a grant from the North Carolina Small Business and Technology Development Center and will be carried out under the guidance of Edward Wright, associate professor in the Department of Global Management and Strategy.

MBA students participated in similar projects last summer for clients including Biltmore Wines. Jeff Plack, business development manager at Biltmore Wines and a WCU MBA student himself, said the students’ contributions were valuable.

“Their research and export strategy provided us with the kind of roadmap that we need to consider our future in supplying Biltmore Wines to a global customer base,” said Plack.

For more information, contact Wright at

Master’s degree students serve as human resources consultants to nonprofit organizations

Students in the master’s degree program in human resources offered through the Department of Human Services served as consultants for three nonprofit organizations in North Carolina during the spring semester. They assisted with tasks ranging from developing a policy handbook to suggesting non-monetary incentives for employees.

Teams worked under the direction of Marie-Line Germain, assistant professor of human resources and leadership, with the assistance of graduate student Ashlei Harris, who served as liaison between the teams of graduate students, the professor and the nonprofit organizations.

Thomas Farrell, one of the student team leaders, said the experience provided an avenue to demonstrate academic proficiency and application while supporting a community-based nonprofit organization. “Incorporating this project into the curriculum has proven invaluable,” said Farrell. “Practice and exposure gained throughout the process builds confidence, preparing us for successful future careers.”

Three teams assisted the Charles House Association, a nonprofit based in Carrboro that provides daytime elderly care for older adults. The team worked with Paul Klever, the executive director, to revise the employee handbook, create a social media policy and develop a new hire orientation program.

“The WCU graduate HR student teams’ work was professional, informed and extremely helpful,” said Klever. “Their contribution to our community nonprofit organization was invaluable.”

Two other teams worked with Denise Bitz, executive director of Brother Wolf Animal Rescue in Asheville. Brother Wolf is the largest no-kill shelter in the state of North Carolina. One team worked on editing and rewriting the employee handbook. The other team developed benefit options for the organization, which included a unique vegan policy.

“I feel as though a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders. Thanks to the students at WCU for helping Brother Wolf Animal Rescue create some essential documents and policies,” said Bitz. “It’s not enough to have these documents in your head when you start to become as big of a nonprofit as we are. They need to be in writing and become a standardized part of your everyday practice. Since our work involves saving animals on a daily basis, there were always things that seemed to get in the way of us being able to develop these documents, and it was an ongoing challenge. Thanks to the WCU students that we worked with, I am now able to put my focus back on saving animals now that I know this other important work was done for us.”

One team worked with Brittany Andrews from Alexander Youth Network, a nonprofit that provides mental health services to children and families, and Youth Opportunities, which provides similar services. The team was tasked with merging the AYN handbook and the YO policy manual while keeping unique policies separate.

“The work that the master’s degree program in human resources team performed for our organization was an invaluable resource. As a nonprofit, we are always trying to make the most out of the resources we have, and having HR professionals be able to help us with revamping our HR policy manual saved us resources and time,” said Andrews. “I was so impressed with the caliber of work that the students created and would recommend them a thousand times over.”

In the continued development of the human resources handbook for nonprofits, two other teams worked with Germain to further develop the foundations of an HR Center for Nonprofits. The teams were tasked with researching the top 10 human resources needs for nonprofit organizations and commonly used non-monetary employee incentives and benefits.

For more information, contact Marie-Line Germain at 828-227-3959 or

Campus leaders explore WNC from Murphy to Asheville in weeklong tour

Thirty campus leaders from Western Carolina University including members of the 2013-14 WCU Leadership Academy crisscrossed the mountains of Western North Carolina for a weeklong tour in May to learn more about the region that the university serves and to help strengthen relationships between WCU and its surrounding communities. Applications are being accepted for the 2014-15 WCU Leadership Academy class through Friday, May 30.

WCU welcomes delegation from Hannam University to campus

Hyungtae Kim, president of Hannam University, was honored with a luncheon at Western Carolina University on Friday (May 23) as he and other representatives from the South Korean university visited Cullowhee to celebrate the partnership that exists between the two institutions of higher education.

Library specialist closes career with all-nighters

Unlike other Western Carolina University faculty and staff who retired in May and prepared to ease into a slower pace of life, Hunter Library’s Terry Ensley opted to work all night during the weeks students prepared for finals to answer questions, help students find books, check library materials in and out, and make coffee – lots of it.

‘Where’s Paws’ contest to wrap up with free children’s event June 28

The “Where’s Paws” game in which children are scouring Cashiers, Cullowhee, Dillsboro and Sylva businesses for images of Paws, WCU’s Catamount mascot, will conclude with a party featuring games, prizes and the chance to meet Paws in Reid Gym on campus on Saturday, June 28, from 1 to 3 p.m.

Students donate to help local nonprofit feed hungry

WCU students recently donated more than $12,000 worth of food and merchandise through the annual end-of-year C-Store Buy-Out program to help the Community Table in Sylva alleviate hunger. The nonprofit organization offers free, nutritious meals and a free food pantry to people who are in need.

Sylva resident wins trip to see WCU marching band in Macy’s Parade

Vivian Cleaveland of Sylva had forgotten about the raffle ticket she bought to support Western Carolina University’s Friends of the Arts when Robert Kehrberg, dean of WCU’s College of Fine and Performing Arts, called with some news and asked if she was sitting down.

Dorondo, Hyman named to professorships

David Dorondo, associate professor of history, has been awarded the Creighton Sossomon Professorship in History, and Jeremy Hyman, associate professor of biology, was named to the H.F. and Catherine P. Robinson Professorship. Both will hold the professorships for three-year terms.

Categories | The Reporter

Photos | WCU News Services

Commencement 2017
Commencement 2017


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