Teachers and administrators from K-12 schools across Western North Carolina will have a chance to schedule in-school presentations on international cultures for their students as a reorganized outreach program gets started back up in Western Carolina University’s Office of International Programs and Services.Beginning in April, teams composed of WCU students and faculty and staff members, along with international cultural “hosts” from the university, will be available to visit schools in the region to give presentations on various cultures, said Ling Gao LeBeau, who recently was appointed director of the WCU office. “These presentations will be designed to raise the cultural awareness of students – to provide an opportunity for them to get to know cultures on the other side of the world and to learn to accept and understand them,” LeBeau said.
The process of restarting the outreach program began in December when eight teams of students from a WCU intercultural communications class taught by Jim Manning joined with their hosts – WCU international exchange students and faculty, and international community members – in giving presentations on various cultures at Cullowhee Valley School and Smoky Mountain High School in Jackson County. Manning, an associate professor in WCU’s Department of Communication, oversaw the effort that provided eight presentations at the schools in less than a week.
The hourlong presentations included hands-on learning activities for the Cullowhee Valley and Smoky Mountain students as well as insights into the cultures of China, Macedonia, Saudi Arabia, France, Germany and South Korea. The presentations got rave reviews from the schools’ teachers. Smoky Mountain High foreign language teacher Suzanne Tompkins said she “loved” the presentation provided to her class. “It brings everyone out of the box and makes students think outside of their own culture and society,” she said.
Students of Cullowhee Valley teacher Gretchen McCue learned about the culture of Germany and constructed “St. Martin’s Day” lanterns that are a custom of that traditional Germany holiday. “The excitement of the presentation group was so contagious,” McCue said. “The students were excited from the moment the first slide appeared to the moment they saw their lanterns light up.”
The WCU student groups worked with their hosts to create learning activities appropriate for specific grade levels and learning abilities. One Smoky Mountain High class learned what it takes to become a French hip-hop artist and wrote rap songs in French, while other students had an opportunity to try on South Korean attire and write in languages such as Arabic and Chinese.
School teachers and administrators around the region who are interested in scheduling presentations should contact Ling Gao LeBeau at 828-227-3433 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Randall Holcombe
Vittal Anantatmula, professor and director of the master’s degree program in project management, recently gave a half-day presentation to IBM employees in Japan. Anantatmula discussed how U.S. universities teach project management skills as well as how people who earn master’s degrees in project management develop their careers differently from people who have not completed degrees. Another portion of his presentation outlined how U.S. enterprises collaborate with universities.
Six students and two faculty members from WCU’s doctor of physical therapy program spent part of their winter break serving at a free physical therapy clinic in a rural mountain community in Honduras where residents have little or no access to health care.The group traveled to the community of Taulabe in partnership with the Hendersonville-based nonprofit Honduras Fountain of Life, which serves the community in multiple capacities including supporting a school and girls orphanage.
Todd Watson, a professor of physical therapy who coordinated a similar experience for WCU students last year, said he and Ashley Hyatt, assistant professor of physical therapy, with WCU students Rebecca Bermudez, Heather Devine, Mary Goforth, Joshua Jones, Joey Marion and April Nonato helped run a medical brigade physical therapy clinic and spent time in service at the orphanage.
Joining them for part of their experience was a team of eight East Carolina University students. The ECU group became involved after Victoria Chapman, a Smoky Mountain High School alumna, learned about the community and opportunities for service through a connection with Dr. Matthew Mahar of Sylva, who volunteered with the WCU group last year.
“The ECU team’s aim was to provide education on nutrition and diet for the community,” said Watson. “During our clinic days, several members of the ECU team also spent a few hours observing physical therapy care of people with conditions like neck and back pain, or weakness following a stroke. Moving forward we hope to be able to coordinate a larger scale health fair in the community next Christmas break with the WCU-ECU collaboration.”
By Teresa Killian Tate
Dr. Mark A. Kossick, professor of nursing and graduate nurse anesthesia simulation coordinator, presented three lectures on Friday, Jan. 23, as a visiting professor at East Carolina University. His lectures were “Essentials of EKG Interpretation for the Anesthesia Provider,” “Critical Assessment and Interventions for Invasive Hemodynamic Data” and “Anesthesia Concepts for Patients with Valvular Heart Disease.”
WCU faculty, staff and students have the opportunity to nominate faculty and staff for multiple university and college-level teaching, research and service awards using the university’s online Integrated Awards process through Thursday, Feb. 5.
The winners for the awards included in the process will be announced at the spring Faculty and Staff Excellence Awards ceremony.
WCU education faculty Patricia Bricker and Rus Binkley co-wrote with Emily Jackson from the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project a chapter for the book “EcoJustice, Citizen Science and Youth Activism: Situated Tensions for Science Education.”
Recently released by Springer, the volume is centered on bridging environmental and science education. The chapter by Bricker, associate professor and associate director of the School of Teaching and Learning; Rus Binkley, associate professor of social studies education; and Jackson is titled “Building Teacher Leaders and Sustaining Local Communities Through a Collaborative Farm to School Education Project—What EcoJustice Work Can Preservice Teachers Do?”
The chapter details and evaluates the results of ASAP’s partnership with WCU and a school system in 2009 to integrate the Growing Minds Farm to School program, which is centered on connecting farms and schools and providing positive experiences with healthy foods, into the pre-service teacher experience.
The offices and exhibits of the Mountain Heritage Center are expected to temporarily relocate to Hunter Library later this year as part of a long-term plan in which the museum will move into and become a focal point of a campus welcome center to be constructed.
Five WCU students who previously attended Swain County or Robbinsville high schools have been helping mentor students at their alma maters through the college application process this year using social media tools and by visiting the schools.Coordinated by Project Discovery, a federally funded program hosted at WCU to help eligible students access post-secondary educational programs, the mentorship program is supported by a $5,000 grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission administered through Appalachian State University.
Danielle Jones, a senior from Robbinsville majoring in hospitality and tourism management with a minor in entrepreneurship, said working as a mentor has been rewarding and that she enjoys answering high school students’ questions about college, such as how college differs from high school.
By Teresa Killian Tate
The anticipation has about ended and the shivering is yet to begin for a group of Western Carolina University Leadership Academy participants who have committed to jumping into the frigid waters of Lake Junaluska this coming Saturday, Jan. 31, during the third annual Polar Plunge.
The Board of Trustees of the Endowment Fund of Western Carolina University has issued a request for qualifications for a project to develop a medical office building to be constructed near the university’s Health and Human Sciences Building.
Western Carolina University’s Graduate School will host the 2015 Graduate Education Summit on Thursday, Feb. 12, featuring a half-day of sessions centered on the topic “Finding the Balance: Rigorous Content Instruction and Research vs. Preparing Future Professionals.”
A pioneering concept for reducing student run-around will celebrate a decade of success between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Monday, Feb. 16, when the OneStop Student Service Center throws a party for the campus community it serves.
The Global Spotlight Series sponsored by Western Carolina University’s Department of Political Science and Public Affairs begins again this semester with a Monday, Feb. 2, panel featuring four presentations involving the South China Sea.
“Tracking Time,” an exhibition of paintings by two artists, Anna Jensen of Asheville and Karen Ann Myers of Charleston, South Carolina, will open Thursday, Jan. 22, at Western Carolina University’s Fine Art Museum.
Burton Ogle, professor and director of WCU’s environmental health program, was selected at WCU’s candidate for the 2014-15 Southern Conference Faculty Member of the Year Award.
The award recognizes members of the faculty in the Southern Conference who have made a significant impact in the lives of students. Ogle and one candidate from each institution in the conference will be recognized during halftime of the men’s championship game at the Southern Conference basketball tournament in March. The winner will receive $4,000 from the conference.
WCU community members will share how they are using digital tools, techniques and media in their research, scholarship and teaching projects as part of Digital Humanities at WCU events to be held this spring.
An evening of “lighting talks” centered on how digital humanities are being used at WCU will be held in the theater of A.K. Hinds University Center on Tuesday, Feb. 3, at 5 p.m.
A Digital Humanities at WCU speaker series also will feature Brent Kinser, associate professor of English, discussing text analysis at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 4; Paul Worley, assistant professor of English, discussing digital publishing at 2 p.m. Monday, Feb. 16; Rebecca Dobbs, assistant professor of geosciences and natural resources, discussing geographic information systems and mapping at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 18; and Elizabeth Skene, digital initiatives librarian, discussing open access and creative commons, at 3 p.m. Wednesday, April 22. All events take place in Hunter Library Room 156.
In addition, everyone interested in learning more about Digital Humanities at WCU is invited to informal lunch discussions the first Friday of each month at 11:45 a.m. in Courtyard Dining Hall.
The 10th annual Service Learning Fair will be held in the Grandroom of A.K. Hinds University Center on Tuesday, Jan. 27, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Representatives from a range of nonprofit and service organizations will be available to meet members of the campus community and discuss possible volunteer and internship opportunities.
The poem that Christian Henderson shared as part of WCU’s weeklong tribute to slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. – “Ashes” by Andrea Gibson – conveyed the stories of people around the world who were burned alive because of their sexual orientation.
Geoff Goehle, an assistant professor of mathematics at WCU, helps develop features and write code for WeBWorK, an open-source online homework grading system for mathematics and science used at WCU as well as more than 700 other colleges and universities.
Cindy Nicholson, formerly business officer for the North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching, is the new director of procurement and accounts payable services at Western Carolina University.
A Sylva resident, Nicholson oversees the university’s purchasing and accounts payable units and its surplus property operations. She is filling a vacancy created by the retirement of Arthur Stephens, who stepped down last year after 25 years of service to the university.
The new position represents a homecoming of sorts for Nicholson, who previously held several increasingly responsible roles in the purchasing office at WCU after she joined the office in 1986. She was associate director of purchasing for the university until she began working at NCCAT in 2007.
A 1983 graduate of Atlantic Christian College with a bachelor’s degree in business administration, Nicholson worked previously as payroll and purchasing clerk for BE&K Construction in Canton, assistant office manager for Garden Lake Estate in Wilmington, and business office manager for Lowe’s in Wilmington.
Her appointment, effective Monday, Jan. 12, was announced by Jolene Elkins, WCU’s associate vice chancellor for financial services.
“We are pleased to be able to welcome Cindy back to WCU from just across N.C. Highway 107 at NCCAT,” Elkins said. “She’s no stranger to the university, having more than 25 years of North Carolina purchasing experience, including 20 at WCU, and she is familiar with the systems used by the University of North Carolina and state government.”