Archive for March, 2015

Volunteers needed for 31st annual Tuckaseigee River Cleanup on April 18

Base Camp Cullowhee at Western Carolina University will present the 31st annual Tuckaseigee River Cleanup on Saturday, April 18, and is looking for volunteers to participate in the nation’s largest single-day effort to remove trash from a river.

Volunteers remove trash from the Tuckaseigee River during the annual cleanup.

Volunteers remove trash from the Tuckaseigee River during the annual cleanup.

Registration for groups and individuals will be held on the A.K. Hinds University Center lawn from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., with the first 600 volunteers to register receiving a free T-shirt and energy bar. There is no early registration for the event.

Base Camp Cullowhee, WCU’s outdoor programming organization, will provide transportation to the river after volunteers receive a life jacket and paddle. On site, staff members will deliver a safety briefing before giving trash bags to participants. Volunteers should anticipate two to three hours of work.

Volunteers who participate by raft have to weigh at least 40 pounds, should wear shoes that won’t come off in the water (such as tennis shoes or sandals with a back strap) and are encouraged to eat lunch before registering. Rafts are self-guided and no coolers or alcohol will be allowed. Walking trails along the river banks are an option for volunteers who do not meet the weight requirement or who do not want to raft.

After the cleanup, volunteers are invited to return to the University Center lawn for a free cookout, live entertainment, yard games and the chance to win prizes donated by local businesses. Winners must be present to receive prizes.

The Tuckaseigee River Cleanup typically attracts up to 900 volunteers each year who remove tons of garbage from 27 miles of the river. The event originally was organized by a small group of students and staff from WCU’s Outdoor Programs who recognized the need to clean up the river.

For more information, contact Jeremiah Haas, coordinator for the event, at 828-227-3625 or visit

Students visit libertarian-themed conference in Washington, D.C.

Accompanied by Zac Gochenour, assistant professor of economics, seven students from Western Carolina University traveled to the 2015 International Students for Liberty Conference in Washington, D.C., in February.

“The conference hosts speakers from academia and politics and from organizations which bridge those two areas,” Gochenour said. “Talks ranged from ‘How to Run an Effective Student Oganization’ to ‘What is Liberty?’ to ‘Police Militarization in the U.S.’ ”

Among the speakers were former congressman and Libertarian Party presidential candidate Ron Paul and, appearing through Skype from Moscow, Edward Snowden, who leaked classified information from the National Security Agency to media in 2013.

“A highlight for me was the talk by Yeon-mi Park, a 22-year-old North Korean refugee who spoke about globalization’s role in fighting tyranny in North Korea,” Gochenour said.

Yeon-mi Park, presenter at the ISL conference

Yeon-mi Park, presenter at the ISL conference

Sophomore Aylicia Stover was one of the students who attended the conference, and was also impressed by the presentation by Yeon-mi Park. “Her speech was about how media such as entertainment may be the key to influencing upcoming North Koreans to possibly start a revolution against Kim Jong-Il,” Stover said. “She also talked about how her family was put into a labor camp, stripped of what little wealth her family had, and how she and her mother tried to escape. Unfortunately her mother did not make it out of North Korea.”

In addition to the speaker presentations, an episode of the Fox Business show “Stossel” was recorded at the conference. “Students were able to ask questions and discuss issues related to liberty in the United States while on national TV,” Gochenour said. “I also introduced interested students to representatives from organizations which were there recruiting for internships and offering summer seminars on topics within politics, philosophy and economics.”

Gochenour said he would like to make attending the conference an annual event. “We hope to continue to bring students to this conference in future years to connect students from WCU with other interested students and organizations from around the world,” he said.

For more information about the conference, contact Gochenour at

McIntyre attends workshop on employment

Kelly McIntyre, graduate programs coordinator in the College of Business, participated in Bridging Opportunities: A Higher Education Collaborative at the Federal Reserve of Richmond (Charlotte branch) on March 11. The workshop brought together leaders of the Federal Reserve’s fifth district and higher education representatives from 20 universities in the two Carolinas.

The goal was to increase partnerships between the Fed and educational institutions for recruitment of students, particularly women, to work and intern with the Federal Reserve. The day included panel discussions on employment opportunities with the Fed as well as the skills young women need to thrive in today’s industry. A working luncheon tackled ways to support and build relationships between educational institutions and the Fed.

McIntyre said she looks forward to continued conversations and hopefully increasing job placement opportunities for WCU students with the Federal Reserve.

WCU English department raffle offers dinner for four, Ron Rash reading

Ron Rash

Ron Rash

Dinner for four and a private reading by Western Carolina University author Ron Rash await the winner of a raffle being sponsored by WCU’s Department of English.

A maximum of 200 tickets, priced at $15 each, are being sold for the dinner and reading, which will be hosted by English department faculty members Catherine Carter and Brian Gastle, said Laura Wright, head of the department. The drawing will take place on the last day of WCU’s Spring Literary Festival, which is set for Monday, April 13, through Thursday, April 16. The holder of the drawn ticket does not have to be present to win, Wright said.

The raffle winner will need to arrange details for the dinner and reading with the hosts and Rash, WCU’s Parris Distinguished Professor of Appalachian Culture. The dinner will have to be redeemed by Monday, June 15.

Tickets may be purchased via check and made out to the English department and mailed to 305 Coulter Building, WCU, Cullowhee, N.C. 28723. Tickets also are available at Harry Alter Books on W. Main Street in Sylva and from Plant Restaurant on Merrimon Avenue in Asheville, and will be sold during the literary festival. Payment options will include cash when ticket purchases are made in person at those locations.

Proceeds from the raffle will be used to support the festival, Wright said. More information about that event is online at For more information about the raffle, contact the English department at 828-227-7264.

By Randall Holcombe

Conley novella published posthumously

WIL-USDI-CoverRobert Conley, who was Sequoyah Distinguished Professor of Cherokee Studies at Western Carolina University until his death in February 2014, authored a work of historical fiction titled “Wil Usdi: Thoughts from the Asylum, a Cherokee novella,” which was recently released by the University of Oklahoma Press.

The award-winning author published more than 80 books, including the Real People series, “The Witch of Goingsnake and Other Stories” and “Mountain Windsong.” A three-time winner of the Spur Award and Oklahoma Writer of the Year in 1999, Conley was inducted into the Oklahoma Professional Writers Hall of Fame in 1996. He was named Writer of the Year by the Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers & Storytellers in 2000 for “Cherokee Dragon” and was recipient of a lifetime achievement award in 2009 from the Oklahoma Center. In 2014, Conley was named recipient of the Western Writers of America’s Owen Wister Award for Lifetime Contributions to Western Literature.

Students, alumni, faculty present at geosciences meeting

Fifteen presentations were made by geoscientists from Western Carolina University at the Geological Society of America’s 2015 Southeastern Section Meeting in Chattanooga, Tennessee, March 19-20.

Ten presentations were authored by 21 student co-authors, with three more faculty/alumni presentations co-authored by students.

Mark Lord, head of the Department of Geosciences and Natural Resources, said the topics ranged from science to policy to science education at the meeting. “It’s a terrific diversity of place and content,” he said.

A PDF listing the topics of presentations by WCU geoscientists is available at this link:

King earns energy manager certification

David King, an energy management specialist in WCU’s sustainability and energy management office, recently received his certification from the Association of Energy Engineers.

The organization recognizes individuals who have demonstrated high levels of experience, competence, proficiency, and ethical fitness in the energy management profession by awarding their Certified Energy Manager designation. To qualify for the certifying examination, they must have completed a degree program balanced with a number of years of experience or at least ten years of experience in energy engineering/management.

Kossick to serve on national association’s scholarship committee

Mark A. Kossick, professor of nursing and graduate anesthesia simulation education coordinator, has accepted an invitation from the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists Foundation to serve on the 2015 scholarship review committee. His responsibilities include critiquing submitted student essays and assisting in the selection of recipients for funded scholarships.

Alexander Macaulay named among UNC system’s top teachers

Alexander Macaulay, associate professor of history at Western Carolina University, has been named one of the best teachers in the University of North Carolina system in recognition of his ability to convince students that history is more than just the memorization of dates and the study of accomplishments of “dead white men.”

WCU undergrads earn another top 10 ranking for research conference

Western Carolina University students have earned another top 10 ranking for their participation in the National Conference on Undergraduate Research, an annual spring gathering that allows college and university students from across the nation to present their best research.

Students joining symphony musicians, community chorus for March 29 concert

Western Carolina University student musicians and vocalists will join the Western Carolina Community Chorus and string musicians from the Asheville Symphony Orchestra for a performance Sunday, March 29.

Vote online now for WCU as ‘Top Adventure College’

Western Carolina University is defending its 2014 title as best outdoor adventure school in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic, and has advanced to the round of the final eight in a leading outdoor publication’s annual competition.

Tyler interviewed about best, worst basketball cities for fans

David B. Tyler, assistant professor of sport management at Western Carolina University, was interviewed recently for an article published on the site titled “2015’s Best & Worst Cities for Basketball Fans.”

Tyler responds to questions about the NBA and gambling, establishing football and/or basketball franchises in Europe, the earmarks of a good fan, and thrifty fandom.

Last fall, Tyler and a colleague at Northern Kentucky University, Joe Cobbs, co-authored a study on the intensity of football rivalries that ranked them by school.

Essay contest being held in conjunction with ‘North Carolina in Dialogue’ symposium

Western Carolina University undergraduate students have until Friday, March 27, to enter their essays in a contest being held in conjunction with the upcoming interdisciplinary symposium “North Carolina in Dialogue: Our Past, Present and Future.”

Set for Friday, April 10, the symposium will bring a lineup of distinguished scholars, public activists and intellectuals to campus to offer perspectives on North Carolina history, politics and culture, said Rob Ferguson, an assistant professor in WCU’s Department of History who is co-organizing the event with Chris Cooper, head of the Department of Political Science and Public Affairs.

Panel sessions will address public education, farming and foodways, social change, and politics and voting rights. Among the speakers will be June Atkinson, N.C. superintendent of public instruction, and former Charlotte mayor and U.S. Senate candidate Harvey Gantt.

WCU undergraduates are invited to submit a 750-word essay that addresses the questions: “Where do you see yourself within the unfolding history of North Carolina, and how do you envision your role in shaping the present and future of the state?” The contest winner will receive a $200 prize and read his or her essay for the audience during the keynote portion of the symposium.

For more information about the contest, contact Ferguson at 828-227-3502 or Essays should be submitted to Ferguson via email.

By Randall Holcombe

Fowler joins EDUCAUSE panel

Craig Fowler, chief information officer, has accepted an invitation to join the IT Issues Panel of the nonprofit organization EDUCAUSE. As a member of the panel, Fowler will be involved in the development of the 2016 Top 10 IT Issues report.

The panel includes individuals from EDUCAUSE member institutions who provide quick feedback on current issues, problems, and proposals across higher education IT.

EDUCAUSE actively engages with colleges and universities, corporations, foundations, government and other nonprofit organizations to further the mission of transforming higher education through the use of information technology.

WCU names director of special events

Stacy MacGregor, former director of marketing and events at the famed Madame Tussauds wax museum in New York, is the new director of special events at Western Carolina University.

Stacy MacGregor

Stacy MacGregor

MacGregor, who also has worked in marketing and events planning capacities at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore and for the Borders Books and Music district covering North Carolina and Virginia, begins her duties at WCU on Wednesday, April 1.

In her new role, she will be responsible for providing leadership and professional expertise in the planning and implementation of high-level university events, including functions related to significant campus announcements and to fundraising, alumni and government relations activities, said Melissa Canady Wargo, chief of staff at WCU.

“Stacy is the consummate event planner with more than 15 years of experience creating and executing successful high-profile events,” Wargo said. “She has demonstrated throughout her career the type of organizational skills, including the attention to detail and deadline, necessary for successful university functions. She will be a great addition to our team.”

A graduate of the University of Baltimore with a degree in business management and marketing, MacGregor has developed throughout her career events ranging from intimate affairs to large-scale functions attended by as many as 25,000 people.

“I absolutely love all aspects of event planning, from the initial creative vision to a beautiful final experience where your guests are having a wonderful time,” she said. “I thrive on working with and motivating a great team, and I see a great team already in place at Western Carolina. I am confident that, together, we can create amazing experiences that grow and develop every year.”

MacGregor succeeds Zeta Smith, who retired in December after directing WCU’s special events for nearly 12 years.

Garcia-Castanon reads poetry at Puerto Rico festival

Santiago Garcia-Castanon, professor of Spanish, is presenting several poetry recitals at the seventh annual Puerto Rico International Poetry Festival by special invitation, March 16-21. He will share his more recent poems at a number of universities, schools and other venues, as arranged by festival organizers.

The Puerto Rico International Poetry Festival is a major weeklong event organized by the Universidad Interamericana and sponsored by the Puerto Rico Senate and House of Representatives. The festival reaches an audience of several thousand people throughout the island. Each year, the organizers invite 17 to 20 poets from the Spanish-speaking world. Garcia-Castanon is one of only 18 international poets invited this year, and the only poet representing his native Spain.

Garcia-Castanon is the author or editor of 14 books, including various critical editions of Early Modern Spanish texts. The award-winning writer’s works include six poetry collections and two novels.

Mexican students to take ESL courses on campus this summer

Six Mexican students will study English as a second language on the campus of Western Carolina University beginning in June.

They are part of their government’s “Proyecta 100,000” program, which intends to place 100,000 Mexican learners in the United States by 2018.

Jill Cargile, director of the Intensive English Program at WCU, said the students will live on campus in residence halls. “We plan to have host families meet with students for a daylong experience to provide a connection to American and local North Carolina culture,” she said. “We are also organizing a number of activities in the local area to help students gain a better understanding of American culture.”

Their four-week study will be intensive. “Our four-level program consists of approximately 20 hours per week of intensive language study in academic English,” Cargile said. “Our courses focus on academic reading, writing, listening, speaking. We will test the students’ English level when they arrive and their proficiency at the end of the program. If the proficiency gains are significant, as I expect, we hope the Mexican government will send more students in the future.”

According to correspondence confirming WCU’s participation, Proyecta 100,000 is part of a “renewed spirit of cooperation between the governments of Mexico and the United States” under the Bilateral Forum on Higher Education, Innovation and Research that Presidents Pena Nieto and Obama initiated last year.

Institutions of higher education participating in the program include the University of Arizona, Western Kentucky University, Texas State University and California State University Chico, among many others.

Cargile said participation in Proyecta 100,000 supports IEP expansion and recruitment plans. “My goal is to double the number of students from both Latin America and Asia in the IEP here at WCU in the next two years, while maintaining the superior quality program and instruction that we have. Most IEP students continue in undergraduate programs of study at WCU, but we also welcome students who want to attend only the IEP for English language instruction or who want to attend for a shorter period of time than our semester-long programs. Allowing for this kind of flexibility in the IEP to promote both growth and diversity will help us expand our young, four-year old program.”

“I am so pleased that my proposal was accepted for these students from Mexico to be in our Intensive English Program during June this year,” Cargile said.

To learn more about the IEP or Proyecta 100,000, contact her at

By Keith Brenton

WCU seeks second win in Top Adventure College poll

The “Round of 32” finished at 9 a.m. Monday, March 16, with Western Carolina taking a decisive victory over Virginia Tech, 83 to 17.

BRO_TopAdventureCollegeSMNo, it isn’t March Madness on the basketball court, but the 2015 Top Adventure College poll sponsored by Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine, and the “score” is in percentage points of online votes.

Last year when the contest was introduced, WCU enthusiasts mounted a massive online campaign and won, the victory announced in the August edition of the magazine. As many as 115,000 votes were cast in the 2014 contest, according to the magazine.

Votes are made and tallied at Participants may vote once every 24 hours.

The “Sweet 16” round began at noon March 16 and continues for a week.

By Keith Brenton

Hoffmann and Kopak article published in ACER

An article co-authored by Norman Hoffmann (adjunct professor, psychology) and Albert Kopak (assistant professor, criminology and criminal justice) titled “How Well Do the DSM-5 Alcohol Use Disorder Designations Map to the ICD-10 Disorders?” has been published in the April edition of the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.

The paper’s third author is Steven L. Proctor, a psychology postdoctoral fellow with the Addictive Disorders Treatment Program at the G.V. (Sonny) Montgomery VA Medical Center in Jackson, Mississippi.

Categories | The Reporter

Photos | WCU News Services

Commencement 2017
Commencement 2017


Africa! More Than A Continent