Archive for December, 2014

Fenton to lead N.C. Council of Graduate Schools

Mimi Fenton, dean of the Graduate School and Research at WCU, has been elected to serve a one-year term as president of the North Carolina Council of Graduate Schools.

Fenton was chosen for the post during the council’s annual meeting held in November in Greensboro. Her primary duties as president will be to oversee the council’s annual Graduate Education Day event that will be held Tuesday, May 19, in Raleigh, and to host the organization’s 2015 annual meeting next fall at WCU’s Biltmore Park instructional site.

Brian Kloeppel, associate dean of WCU’s Graduate School, is currently serving as secretary for the council, which is composed of deans and staff members from the graduate schools of both public and private universities and colleges across the state.

Anantatmula leads seminar for students in Thailand

Vittal Anantatmula, professor and director of the master’s degree program in project management, conducted a seminar on “Integration of Project Management, Knowledge Management and Innovation” for doctoral students at Bangkok University in Thailand.

Michelsen authors chapter in book about crisis in Syria

Niall Michelsen, associate professor of political science and public affairs and director of the department’s international studies program, authored a chapter in the book, “International Organizations and the Implementation of the Responsibility to Protect: The Humanitarian Crisis in Syria.” Routledge Press will release the book in April.

Metcalfe presents at international conference, co-authors journal article

Sharon Metcalfe, associate professor or nursing and director of the Nursing Network Careers and Technology Program, recently presented “Promoting Inclusion of Diverse Students into Professional Nursing: A Review of Three Educational Multicultural Programs at Western Carolina University School of Nursing” at the OMICS International nursing and Healthcare Conference held in Chicago.

Metcalfe also co-authored the article “Enriching the Student Experience through a Collaborative Cultural Learning Model.” The article has been accepted for publication in a special issue of Creative Nursing: A Journal of Values, Issues, Experience and Collaboration.

Kossick is featured speaker for inaugural critical care conference at Blue Ridge Healthcare

Dr. Mark A. Kossick, professor of nursing and graduate nurse anesthesia simulation coordinator, presented eight lectures on Nov. 8 as a visiting professor at Blue Ridge Healthcare in Morganton. Kossick served as the featured speaker for the anesthesia department’s inaugural critical care conference. The continuing education program was attended by nurse anesthetists, physicians, critical care nurses, emergency department nurses and undergraduate nursing students from Appalachian State University. The title of the presentation was “Essential EKG Interpretation Skills for Clinical Practice.”

Hunter Library and Technology Commons to expand hours

Hunter Library and the Technology Commons will be opening earlier and closing later every day of the week for the spring semester 2015.

When classes begin Monday, Jan. 12, both the library and Technology Commons will be open from 7 a.m. until 2 a.m. Monday through Thursday, 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m. until 7 p.m. Saturday, and 10 a.m. until 2 a.m. Sunday.

The extended schedule is in response to requests from students for more time in the library building. It could be adopted permanently next fall if sufficient numbers of students take advantage of the longer hours.

During the holidays and semester break before the spring semester begins, hours will vary. For information about hours of operation during those times, visit

Fall commencement scheduled for Dec. 13 at Ramsey Center

Western Carolina University will hold commencement exercises Saturday, Dec. 13, to honor its fall graduating class and some newly minted WCU alumni who received degrees after this year’s summer school sessions.

The 1 p.m. ceremony at the Ramsey Regional Activity Center is open to everyone and no tickets are required for admission. Chancellor David O. Belcher will preside over commencement and deliver his charge to the fall semester degree candidates and summer graduates.

Graduating student Jill Haley West White of Andrews, a secondary English education major, will deliver the primary commencement address.

WCU’s fall class includes about 800 students who currently are working on final academic requirements to receive their degrees and who qualify to participate in the ceremony. Approximately 140 WCU graduates who completed degree requirements during summer school and who already have been conferred degrees also will be eligible to don caps and gowns for the event.

Individuals attending WCU’s commencement should enter the Ramsey Center through one of four upper concourse doors. Those with physical disabilities should use the northeastern upper entrance, adjacent to the stands of E.J. Whitmire Stadium.

For more information about commencement, contact the WCU Registrar’s Office at 828-227-7216 or e-mail

Library will be open 24/7 for last two weeks of fall semester

WCU students who need a quiet place to study for final exams will find Hunter Library open 24 hours a day through 6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 12.

Free coffee and other hot beverages will be available every night starting around midnight while the library is operating on the expanded schedule.

The ground floor of the library is designated as a quiet zone.

Final exams will be Saturday, Dec. 6, through Friday, Dec. 12.

WCU community members help sustain holiday initiative to serve local children

When coordinators of the nonprofit Jackson County Christmas Store retired after 26 years of service, two WCU faculty members stepped forward to help carry on its mission of benefiting children from families in need during the holiday season.

Conley exhibit open at library

An exhibit at Hunter Library titled “Robert J. Conley: A Tribute,” installed in celebration of Native American Heritage Month, will remain open through the end of December.

Conley, a noted Native American scholar and WCU’s Sequoyah Distinguished Professor of Cherokee Studies, passed away in February. He was a prolific and award-winning author with more than 80 books to his credit and was the 2014 recipient of the Western Writers of America Award for Lifetime Contributions to Western Literature.

The exhibit is on the first floor of the library and consists of an online biography and summaries of Conley’s books, a poster and a selection of books.

Military mom oversees ‘Cards for Soldiers’ drive on campus

The task of overseeing a drive to collect signed holiday cards for distribution to U.S. soldiers deployed around the world might seem like a natural fit for the director of WCU’s Office of Military Student Services. But Briana Ford is motivated to take on that role by another factor – her son, who is in the U.S. Air Force and stationed in Qatar.

Harrill Residence Hall receives LEED gold certification

Western Carolina University’s Harrill Residence Hall has become the university’s second building to be LEED-certified for its comprehensive energy-efficient and environmentally friendly features.

Marching band headlines closing 125th anniversary event this Friday

There’s one more parade left on the itinerary this year for members of Western Carolina University’s Pride of the Mountains Marching Band, who opened the 2014. And the remaining route will be quite a bit different than the trek through the concrete canyons of New York City, as the band will march across the bucolic WCU campus to help wrap up the university’s yearlong celebration of its 125th year of existence.

WCU appoints new parking, transportation director

Fred J. Bauknecht, a member of the police, parking and transportation unit at Western Carolina University since 2009, has been appointed to the newly created role of parking and transportation director.

State’s fish to be featured on new specialty plates designed by art professor

When it comes to fishing, Western Carolina University art professor Jon Jicha is happy angling in all kinds of waters. But recently, Jicha painted a couple of his favorite fish for the North Carolina Department of Transportation to use in two new vehicle plate designs. The designs show native brook trout (the state’s official freshwater fish) and red drum (the official state saltwater fish) in their natural habitats.

Honors College dean presents lectures as part of Cuba tour

The wall of Brian Railsback’s office in WCU’s Honors College has been adorned for many years with a framed photograph of John Steinbeck, the focus of much of Railsback’s scholarly research and writing. But since Railsback’s recent return from a barnstorming trip to Cuba, the visage of another literary giant has made an appearance on the wall. It is “Papa” himself, Ernest Hemingway.

University officials remind WCU community about adverse weather policy

When wintry, inclement weather hits the region, deciding when and whether it is safe to travel to work, or if deteriorating weather conditions necessitate an early departure, ultimately lies with each faculty and staff member under WCU’s adverse weather policy.

Revised graduate program in gifted education to begin this spring

WCU’s newly restructured online master’s degree in gifted education will be offered this spring as a cross-disciplinary, 30-hour program with a one-week field experience and will focus on helping educators promote students’ creativity and innovation.

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Commencement 2017
Commencement 2017


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