Archive for October 8th, 2014

Fowler and McFadden present at national conference

Craig Fowler, chief information officer, and Anna McFadden, director of the Division of Information Technology’s Department of Academic Engagement and IT Governance, recently presented “Alignment and Accountability: Moving from the Strategic to the Operational” at an EDUCAUSE conference held in Orlando.

EDUCAUSE is a national nonprofit organization committed to advancing higher education through the use of information technology, and the annual conference attracts 6,000 attendees.

Encyclopedia publishes Henderson’s article about wilderness philosophy

An article by David Henderson, assistant professor of philosophy and religion, about American wilderness philosophy has been published in the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, one of two peer-reviewed, online encyclopedias in the field.

Henderson teaches courses at WCU including “Environmental Ethics” and “American Wilderness Ethics and Aesthetics.” He earned a master’s degree in wildlife and fisheries sciences and a doctorate in philosophy. The title of his doctoral dissertation was “Wilderness: The History, Significance and Promise of an American Value.”

Education students spend day in service at Great Smoky Mountains National Park

From left, Blair Spangenberg, a WCU student majoring in elementary education, and Susan Sachs, a ranger and education coordinator at Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center, search for soil macroinvertebrates as part of a terrestrial invertebrate study. (Photo courtesy Patricia Bricker)

From left, Blair Spangenberg, a WCU student majoring in elementary education, and Susan Sachs, a ranger and education coordinator at Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center, search for soil macroinvertebrates as part of a terrestrial invertebrate study. (Photo courtesy Patricia Bricker)

Western Carolina University students in an elementary science methods class helped collect data for several environmental monitoring projects at Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center at Purchase Knob in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park on Oct. 4.

Students assisted with service learning projects including salamander monitoring, a terrestrial invertebrate study and a phenology study that relates to observing plant and animal life-cycle stages.

The experience helped deepen their knowledge of science and offered the opportunity to learn about science-related curriculum and pedagogy for elementary and middle grades students, said Patricia Bricker, associate professor and associate director of the School of Teaching and Learning. In addition, the students learned more about the park and how it and other parks can be a community-based education resource, said Bricker.

WCU Division of IT selected as finalist for 2014 NC Tech Award

The Division of Information Technology at Western Carolina University is one of four finalists for a customer service award from the North Carolina Technology Association.

The association’s NC Tech Awards, North Carolina’s only statewide technology awards program, recognize companies and individuals who have characterized excellence, innovation and leadership.

“Since 1995, the NC Tech Awards (formerly the NCTA 21 Awards) have honored companies for outstanding achievement in the tech sector and use of technology,” said Brooks Raiford, association president and CEO. “As a finalist in this year’s awards, Western Carolina has distinguished itself as one of the state’s technology leaders.”

WCU’s IT Division is charged with providing a reliable, comprehensive information technology environment to enhance teaching, learning, research, services and business operations. Each month, the division responds to more than 2,850 incidents and service requests on average, and the frontline of support comes from a help desk, which provides phone, email and desk-side support, and Technology Commons, which provides walk-up counter support services.

“Being named a finalist as part of this year’s NC Tech Awards is a wonderful honor and recognition of the efforts, continuous improvement and values of the entire Western Carolina University IT team over the past several years,” stated Craig Fowler, WCU’s chief information officer.

To improve services, WCU began using HDI’s Customer Satisfaction Index service in October 2008 to enable faculty, staff and students to answer a five-question survey after receiving help or a service from IT. The customer rates on a scale of one to five the courtesy as well as the technical skills and knowledge of the analyst; the timeliness of the service provided; the quality of the service provided; and the overall service experience.

The division was recognized in 2013 and 2014 by HDI, a global IT service and technical support association as well as certification and training body, as one of the top 50 performers based on customer satisfaction.

The finalists for this year’s NC Tech Awards were selected by a review committee comprised of nonprofit, media, education and technology leaders representing various regions of the state. Winners will be announced at an awards gala in Raleigh on Thursday, Nov. 6.

Step Afrika! to perform on Oct. 22

The dance company Step Afrika! will perform at Western Carolina University on Wednesday, Oct. 22. (Photos courtesy Step Afrika!)

Step Afrika! will perform Wednesday, Oct. 22. (Photo courtesy Step Afrika!)

Step Afrika!, a professional dance company dedicated to a style of percussive dance called “stepping” that is rooted in African traditional dance, will perform at Western Carolina University on Wednesday, Oct. 22.

The show will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the John W. Bardo Fine and Performing Arts Center.

In stepping, the body is used as an instrument to create intricate rhythms and sounds through a combination of footsteps, claps and spoken word. The combination of movement and sound communicated allegiance to a group, according to tradition in African-based communities.

The Step Afrika! ensemble blends styles practiced by historically African-American fraternities and sororities, African traditional dance and influences from a variety of other dance and art forms. The performance at WCU will feature dance as well as songs, storytelling, humor and audience participation.

Admission is free to WCU students with a CatCard and $5 for all others. Tickets can be purchased at the Bardo Arts Center box office in person, by calling 828-227-2479 or visiting bardoartscenter.wcu.edu online.

The event is part of Homecoming festivities and the Arts and Cultural Events Series at WCU. For more information about the series, visit ace.wcu.edu or contact Francis Ann Ortiz, assistant director of campus programming in the Office of Leadership and Student Involvement, at faortizpineda@wcu.edu or 828-227-2612.

WCU community coming together to celebrate Homecoming with events Oct. 23-26

The Western Carolina University community will come together to celebrate Homecoming 2014 over a four-day period – Thursday, Oct. 23, through Sunday, Oct. 26 – with events that include a professional step show performance, golf tournament, parade through downtown Sylva and football game versus The Citadel.

Social work program receives $1.1 million federal grant

WCU’s social work program is the recipient of a federal grant of more than $1.1 million to expand the number of social workers qualified to practice in the areas of substance abuse prevention and behavioral health in Cherokee and other underserved areas of Western North Carolina.

WCU program receives $436K grant to help protect U.S. coastal parks from rising seas

Through the project, WCU’s Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines will be responsible for assessing the vulnerability of everything from the Statue of Liberty in New York to small roads in places such as Gulf Islands National Seashore in Florida and Mississippi, and then helping the National Park Service decide how to deal with threats that may be presented by coastal flooding.

WCU athletic training group ready for annual 175-mile fundraising relay

The longtime football rivalry between Western Carolina University and Appalachian State University, known as “the Battle for the Old Mountain Jug,” has ceased with ASU leaving the Southern Conference, but a fundraising relay run named after the rivalry and conducted by WCU athletic training students and faculty is continuing.

Students to participate in Charleston, S.C., service trip during fall break

Fourteen WCU students will travel to Charleston, South Carolina, through an alternative break program to participate in service projects focused on environmental and poverty-related issues from Saturday, Oct. 11, to Saturday, Oct. 18.

WCU welcomes new employees

The Reporter annually invites new faculty and staff to participate in a feature that introduces employees hired within the last year.

Categories | The Reporter


Photos | WCU News Services

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Africa! More Than A Continent