Archive for April, 2015

Garcia-Castanon to present research in Vilnius, Lithuania

Santiago Garcia-Castanon, professor of Spanish in the Department of Modern Foreign Languages, will be presenting the paper “Foreign Language Borrowings in a Multilingual Society: The Case of the United States” at the International Conference on Sustainable Multilingualism organized by Vytautas Magnus University in Kaunas, Lithuania, in late May.

Nursing professor shares information about diversity, mentoring

Sharon Metcalfe, associate professor of nursing and director of the Nursing Network-Careers and Technology Mentoring Program, presented on the program’s diversity and mentoring initiatives for the faculty of the Edinburgh Napier University School of Nursing, Midwifery, and Social Care on March 12.

Global management associate professor presents in Raleigh

Todd Creasy

Todd Creasy

Todd Creasy, associate professor of global management and strategy at WCU, presented “What Project Planning Tools Offer the Most Promise?” to the North Carolina Chapter of the Project Management Institute at its meeting in Raleigh on April 23.  There were approximately 250 project managers in attendance.

He discussed the four most popular planning tools identified by project managers as the most promising toward project success.

The presentation was taken from research conducted with colleagues from the Department of Global Management and Strategy – Yang Fan, associate professor, and Nathan Johnson, assistant professor.

WCU music students give WNC school children a taste of opera

Several hundred Western North Carolina school children recently experienced their first taste of opera through a familiar childhood tale, thanks to an outreach program involving faculty and students in the voice program in the School of Music at Western Carolina University.

Student performers presented the opera “Little Red Riding Hood” by Seymour Barab to children from schools in Jackson, Macon and Swain counties, with seven performances in March and April.

The show, about 50 minutes in length and geared toward children in grades one through five, featured a cast of student singers from WCU’s “Opera Workshop” class. The project began last fall semester as students, who were required to commit to the project for an entire academic year, auditioned for roles, learned the score and rehearsed. They went back to work in January to polish the performance and acquire costumes and modest sets and props.

The Grandmother (Corinne Minor) makes a cell phone call while Little Red (Anna Lee Rea) supports her and the Woodsman (Carson Fox) enjoys dinner in the updated opera “Little Red Riding Hood.”

The Grandmother (Corinne Minor) makes a cell phone call while Little Red (Anna Lee Rea) supports her and the Woodsman (Carson Fox) enjoys dinner in the updated opera “Little Red Riding Hood.”

The students altered the original score to suit the production, re-wrote the opening monologue and updated the opera with the use of cell phones and other modern items, said Mary Kay Bauer, WCU associate professor of voice and director of the show.

Students also encouraged improvisation throughout the shows and utilized a concept of performing where there was no “fourth wall,” with characters entering the stage from the audience and asking the children to get involved, Bauer said.

“This has been a great learning experience for our students,” she said. “Usually in the School of Music, we work and work to prepare a performance that is done only once. But here our students worked and worked and were able to perform seven times for different audiences and in completely different locations.”

The opera performances also have proven to be good experiences for the children who saw the shows.

About 160 Highlands School children in grades kindergarten through five, approximately 80 children aged 2 to 5 from area child care centers and nearly 60 adults were “delighted” by shows at the First Presbyterian Church in Highlands, said Angie Jenkins, organist and music coordinator at the church.

“I am a firm believer that it is very important for their development to expose children to different types of music and musical instruments throughout their childhood because this greatly aids their development in many ways,” Jenkins said. “It is our hope that in the future the WCU School of Music will put on another children’s opera and will again bring it to the children of Highlands.”

A few days after the shows in Highlands, nearly 330 children and 32 teachers enjoyed performances of “Little Red Riding Hood” in Swain County, leaving the show with comments such as “awesome,” “wow,” “I loved it” and “that was the best,” said Jenny L. Johnson, director of the Swain County Center for the Arts.

“It was especially clever how important life skills, such as not speaking to a stranger and not inviting a stranger into your home, were made a natural part of the story line,” Johnson said. “The piano sound effects made the show come to life in a creative and lively way. All the actors were superb in their roles and the costuming was delightfully realistic. I personally enjoyed the modern twist to an old story with the cell phones.”

The WCU troupe also performed “Little Red Riding Hood” at Cullowhee Valley and Fairview Elementary schools in Jackson County, with a another performance on campus for WCU students, faculty and staff.

By Bill Studenc

Area entrepreneurs win prize money at WCU conference

Entrepreneurs and owners of existing small businesses from Asheville, Sylva and Hickory shared $7,000 in prize money to help launch or grow their companies during the inaugural LEAD:Innovation conference Wednesday, April 22, at Western Carolina University.

Billed as kinder, gentler versions of the hit TV show “Shark Tank,” competitions included the “Bright Ideas Rocket Pitches” event, a series of fast-paced proposals from entrepreneurs and inventors aimed at potential investors, and the “Promising Business Acceleration” contest, in which owners of promising existing businesses make proposals for additional capital to accelerate growth.

Paul Hedgecock of Asheville won first prize of $2,500 in the “Bright Ideas Rocket Pitch” competition for his pitch for Ugo Tour, a travel and tourism smartphone app for Western North Carolina points of interest.

Second place and $1,000 went to Emily Edmonds of Sylva for her concept for WNC Brewhub, a proposal to establish a shared beer production and distribution facility for breweries across the region.

In the “Promising Business Acceleration” competition, Ted and Flori Pate of Asheville claimed first prize and $2,500 to build their business Local Flavor, which provides a free app for smartphones that promotes only local, non-franchise businesses.

Stewart and Tammy Cook of Hickory took second prize and $1,000 for Cook Consulting App Garden University, a virtual training tool that provides training for substitute teachers customized for individual school districts.

The LEAD:Innovation conference included nine “Bright Ideas Rocket Pitches” and six “Promising Business Acceleration” presentations, said Ed Wright, WCU associate professor of global management and strategy and among the event organizers.

“The subjects of the pitches were quite varied, ranging from an online physicians’ tele-health start-up to new products for stroke rehabilitation,” Wright said. “Overall, the quality of the pitches was excellent, and we look forward to doing this event on a larger scale next year.”

About 100 entrepreneurs, prospective entrepreneurs, investors and others interested in the economic development of Western North Carolina attended the entrepreneurship and small business summit.

The conference was part of a series of scheduled “spin-off events” from November’s LEAD:WNC, a one-day summit convened by WCU to discuss solutions leading to sustainable economic and community development.

By Bill Studenc

Public forum provides progress report on strategic plan, master plan, Millennial Initiative

Western Carolina University has made significant progress toward achieving the goals outlined in its 2020 Vision Strategic Plan, the roadmap intended to guide the institution’s direction and development over the next decade, with the majority of the plan’s strategic initiatives more than 50 percent completed in less than three years.

Faculty, staff achievements recognized at 2015 university awards event

Western Carolina University celebrated employee excellence and achievements for the 2014-15 academic year at the annual spring Faculty and Staff Excellence Awards ceremony Friday, April 24.

Recent research of WCU faculty member focuses on radioactive waste cleanup

Channa De Silva studies the tiny “nano” particles that play a role in big problems as he carries out his teaching and research.

WCU to hold spring commencement ceremonies May 8-9 for expected record class

Western Carolina University will hold three commencement ceremonies over a two-day period – Friday and Saturday, May 8-9 – to recognize the academic achievements of what is expected to be the university’s fourth-straight record spring graduating class.

Western Carolina student receives EPA fellowship

Marissa Taylor, a junior at Western Carolina University, has received one of 34 fellowships conferred by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to undergraduate students studying environmental science and related fields at universities and colleges across the nation.

Economics faculty members present at private enterprise conference in Mexico

College of Business economics professors Zac Gochenour, Ed Lopez, Bob Mulligan and Steve Miller recently took a trip to Cancun, Mexico, to attend the 40th annual Association for Private Enterprise Education meeting.

They were among about 500 other academicians present from around the world and from fields as varied as economics, business, social sciences and humanities.

Miller and Gochenour presented their joint work titled “To be, not just to seem: The Political Economy of North Carolina.”

Miller gave a presentation on IRS-derived income inequality data as part of a panel on Thomas Piketty’s 2014 book, “Capital in the 21st Century.” The other panelists included Phil Magness of the Institute for Humane Studies and Randall G. Holcombe of Florida State University.

Mulligan presented a paper entitled “A Theory of CEO Compensation,” exploring insights from basic microeconomics and behavioral economics to explain why CEOs can be compensated at levels which may seem extraordinarily high.

Lopez, in addition to serving as a member of the APEE board, presented on numerous panels throughout the conference and had four papers on the programs. He presented three as solo author and attended as his co-author presented the fourth.

“APEE is a great conference, and WCU is well-known there,” Lopez said. “Next year, we’ll have an entrant or two in the undergraduate poster competition.”

Ed Lopez, left, participates on a panel about how to communicate economic ideas at the meeting.

Ed Lopez, left, participates on a panel about how to communicate economic ideas at the meeting.

Anantatmula addresses project management professionals

Vittal Anantatmula presents at the March 26 meeting.

Vittal Anantatmula presents at the March 26 meeting.

Vittal Anantatmula was invited to speak on “Vital Signs of Project Management Maturity” at the March 26 meeting of the North Carolina Chapter of the Project Management Institute. About 250 members of the group attended the meeting.

For more information about the chapter and its monthly meetings, contact Anantatmula at

Kossick presents to international audience

Mark A. Kossick, professor of nursing and graduate anesthesia simulation coordinator at the School of Nursing’s Simulation Center at the Biltmore Park instructional site, was the featured speaker at a conference held in Las Vegas, Nevada, on April 13.

His presentation included an eight-hour comprehensive electrocardiogram seminar.

Seminar attendees included anesthesiologists, hospitalists, nurse anesthetists and advanced practice critical care nurses, with some participants attending from Saudi Arabia, Austria and Canada.

The meeting was sponsored by A. Webb Roberts Center for Continuing Medical Education of Baylor Health Care System in Dallas and Northwest Anesthesia Seminars in Pasco, Washington.

Wind Ensemble to perform April 27

The Western Carolina University Wind Ensemble, directed by John T. West, will present a concert at the John W. Bardo Fine and Performing Arts Center at 7:30 p.m. Monday, April 27.

Two student soloists, selected by audition, will be featured. Alec Neal, trumpet, will perform the first movement of Franz Josef Haydn’s “Trumpet Concerto,” and Katelyn Johnson, horn, will be featured in the first movement of the “Second Concerto for Horn” by Richard Strauss.

Michael Tanguay, graduate assistant conductor, will lead William Schumann’s “Chester,” a work based on the Revolutionary War marching tune of the same name.

Commemorating the 150th anniversary of the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, Aaron Copland’s “A Lincoln Portrait” will be performed, featuring narrator George Brown, dean of the College of Fine and Performing Arts.

Other works on the program include “Sketches on a Tudor Psalm” by Fisher Tull and a transcription of Johann Sebastian Bach’s “Fantasia and Fugue in G Minor.”

The free concert will be open to the public.

For more information, call WCU’s School of Music at 828-227-7242

Bands unite to present spring concert on April 28

The Western Carolina University Concert Band and Symphonic Band will take the stage at the John W. Bardo Fine and Performing Arts Center at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 28, to present their annual spring concert.

Three guest performers will be featured in the presentation of works by composers including Travis Cross, Frank Erickson, Richard Saucedo, John Philip Sousa and Jaime Teixidor.

Two music education majors, senior Daniel Scott and junior Alaina Seidle, will conduct the Symphonic Band playing works by Michael Markowski and Samuel Hazo.

The Symphonic Band will accompany Bradley Ulrich, professor of trumpet, as he performs Alexander Arutiunian’s “Concerto for Trumpet.”

Conductors David Starnes, director of athletic bands, and Dillon Ingle, graduate conductor, also will lead works during the evening of music.

Admission is free and the concert is open to the public.

For more information, call WCU’s School of Music at 828-227-7242.

WCU students to present experimental work at .MOV on April 30

Students from the School of Art and Design and the School of Music in Western Carolina University’s College of Fine and Performing Arts will present .MOV, an exhibition of new media and performance, at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 30.

Students will showcase their experimental video, animation, music, motion graphics, soundscapes and short film in the theater of A.K. Hinds University Center.

The free event is the first of its kind to be held at WCU, said Jon Jicha, professor in the School of Art and Design.

Samples of students’ work can be viewed at School of Art and Design on Vimeo.

Camps fill out summer’s calendar with variety, activities

Local children can “Step Back in Time” or “Rocket to Creativity,” learn about theater arts or medical professions, march, play music or sports, read, swim, raft, climb or hike: Western Carolina University hosts an array of camps from athletics to the arts during the summer.

For more information on these opportunities, visit Camps and Programs for Kids at WCU, Swim Programs, Summer Day Camps for Kids hosted by the Mountain Heritage Center and Jackson County 4-H, and WCU Athletic Camps. Information is updated on the camps sites as it becomes available.

Many of the camps’ available openings are limited and fill up early.

Hunter Library will be open 24/7 last two weeks of spring semester

Western Carolina University students who need a quiet place to study for final exams will find Hunter Library open 24 hours a day beginning at 10 a.m. Sunday, April 26, and continuing until 6 p.m. Friday, May 8.

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, May 2, through Friday, May 8.

Largest-ever Tuck River Cleanup draws more than 1,000 volunteers

The largest single-day river cleanup event in the nation drew its largest-ever number of participants April 18, as 1,005 Western Carolina University students and area residents gathered for the Tuck River Cleanup to tidy up its waterway and banks.

Coordinator Jeremiah Haas, assistant director of outdoor programs for Base Camp Cullowhee, credited a break in the week’s rain and student dedication for the participation milestone. “Great weather and a committed student body made this the busiest Tuck River Cleanup in history,” Haas said. “This year’s numbers were up slightly above last year’s 983.”

It was estimated by event organizers – students and staff of Base Camp CUllowhee – that volunteers this year removed several tons of garbage from 27 miles of the Tuckaseigee River, filling a haul-a-way dumpster with trash, including many bicycles and traffic cones found in the river.

The first 600 participants to register received T-shirts. All were invited to a free cookout with live entertainment on the lawn of A.K. Hinds University Center for a chance to win prizes donated by local businesses and organizations. Others provided food, snacks, equipment and advertising for the event.

Sponsors for the event included: Allison Outdoor Advertising; Howard Allman, Nationwide Insurance; Aramark; Astral Designs; The Big Deal Band; Black Rock Outdoors; Blue Ridge Outdoors; The Chalet Inn; Coward Hicks & Siler, P.A.; The Coffee Shop; Dillsboro River Company; Duke Energy; ENO Hammock; Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort; Heinzelmannchen Brewery Inc.; Ingles; It’s by Nature; Jack the Dipper; Jackson County Green Energy Park; KIND Bar; Landmark Learning; Mad Batter Bakery and Cafe; Marshall Rice and Co.; Nantahala Outdoor Center; Pepsi; Republic Services; Riverwood Pottery; Santa’s Land; Andy Shaw Ford; Shear Images; The Sylva Herald; Subway; Nancy Tut’s Christmas Shop; Charles Wolf, State Farm Insurance; Walmart; WCU’s Base Camp Cullowhee; WCU’s Campus Recreation Center; WCU’s Student Government Association; WCU’s University Center; The Well House; Wolf Creek Tree Farm and a grant from the Jackson County Travel and Tourism Development Authority.

By Keith Brenton

WCU students place third in video competition to study bullying

Four students in the College Student Personnel Program at Western Carolina University placed third in a national competition, presented by, surveying the topic of bullying within higher education.

It was the first time a team from WCU placed in the competition. Students representing 20 universities around the nation entered the 14th annual contest.

This year’s case study required students to create a 3-minute video that provided statistical representation of bullying on campuses within the United States and what effects bullying has on these individuals.

Team members Joshua Cauble and Ronni Williams work in the Office of Leadership and Student Involvement. Cauble is graduate program coordinator and Williams serves as graduate program coordinator of clubs and organizations. Both aspire to work with leadership programming after the completion of their degrees in 2016.

Another team member, Cassie Spencer, works in Career Services as the graduate assistant of career services and cooperative education. Spencer hopes to also work in career services once she has graduated.

Team member Andrew Johnson works in admissions at the University of North Carolina Asheville.

All four team members are in their first year within WCU’s CSP program.

For more information about CSP, the team or the competition, contact April Perry at or Adriel Hilton at

Categories | The Reporter

Photos | WCU News Services

Commencement 2017
Commencement 2017


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