Archive for April 1st, 2015

Three from WCU among fellows announced for 2015 i3@UNC workshop

The University of North Carolina Office of Learning Technology and Innovation has announced the selection of 28 fellows to participate in the second annual Instructional Innovation Incubator to be held this year at the University of North Carolina Wilmington.

Scott Eldredge of the WCU Department of Communication and Mary Knowlton and Ann Putnam Johnson, both from the School of Nursing, will be participating in the program.

The i3@UNC program supports UNC system faculty in the development of new online and blended courses that expand educational opportunities and improve student learning outcomes.

Faculty participants are designated i3@UNC Fellows. They work under the guidance of state and national experts in instructional technology and design, learning to develop new online and blended courses. The program fosters a system-wide community of faculty innovators in teaching and learning.

Fellows were chosen by a selection committee composed of i3@UNC alumni, program directors and Matthew Rascoff, vice president for technology-based learning at UNC General Administration. Candidates for the i3@UNC program must be full-time faculty in the UNC system who are tenured, tenure-track, or have at least five years of full-time teaching experience. They develop new online or blended courses that meet the needs of a broad set of students, develop core intellectual skills, and engage students in active learning.

Reitz presents music research at conference

Christina L. Reitz, assistant professor of music, presented her research titled “Fletcher’s Omaha Music Collection: Select Analysis and Subsequent Influence in Post-Romantic America” at the Nineteenth Century Studies Association, a national interdisciplinary conference that convened in Boston from March 26-28.

Reitz’s research examined the harmonizations of Alice C. Fletcher’s transcriptions by John Comfort Fillmore and Arthur Farwell and their contributions to the ethnocentric naivete associated with the Indianist School of American composers.

Reitz also moderated part one of the “Musical Materiality” session at the conference and serves as chair of the publicity committee of the NCSA.

Economics professors examine state’s political economy

Zac Gochenour and Steve Miller, assistant professors of economics, attended the Public Choice Society’s annual meeting in San Antonio on March 12-15 and presented “To be, not just to seem: The political economy of North Carolina.”

The presentation – the title of which gives a nod to the state’s motto – discussed the fiscal policy and political economy of North Carolina.

The Public Choice Society is a long-running gathering of scholars from economics, political science and related fields whose research applies the methods of economics to non-market contexts such as politics, religion, crime and family studies. WCU’s Edward Lopez serves as its executive director and past president.

English Department offers free answers online

Ever wonder what the plural of “conundrum” should be? Or whether a peculiar word not found in any dictionary is misspelled, or a created word from someone like J.R.R. Tolkein, James Joyce or Lewis Carroll? Or whom you would contact to be certain you’re using the word “whom” correctly?

The English Department at Western Carolina University has answers, and they’re easily obtained using a simple new form titled “Ask an English Professor” on their Web pages.

The form – which only requests a name, an email address and question – is the idea of Laura Wright, head of the department, who initially receives the questions by email.

“When questions come to me, I send them along to the faculty member with the most expertise in the area that most pertains to the question,” Wright said. “I’ve been getting to them in about a day, but we haven’t had many yet.”

The content of the question may involve grammar, etymology, literature/poetry, language structure, word usage – the kind of question usually asked of someone who teaches English at a university. But you don’t have to be a student at a university in order to ask.

The online Oxford English Dictionary furnished an answer to a recent question posed to the English Department.

The online Oxford English Dictionary furnished an answer to a recent question posed to the English Department.

“The tool came about after several of us were discussing the weird questions that we sometimes get asked by members of the community – not by students,” Wright said. “For example, I just got a call from a local businessman who was restoring a statue sculpted in the early 1880s bearing an inscription with the word ‘galleried,’ which seemed wrong to him. He wanted to know if this was, in fact, correct usage. He and I then consulted the Oxford English Dictionary to determine that the usage is correct. Another satisfied customer.”

Students, other faculty members and staff are welcome to take advantage of the free service, though there are reasonable limitations. “Students studying for exams can certainly use it, but we don’t want to respond to requests for proofreading or for feedback on assignments. The tool is designed for those weird, language-related conundrums that pop up from time to time.”

Wright is confident that she and her colleagues can get to the bottom of them and return the needed answer. “We have a lot of linguistic, literary and rhetorical expertise in our department,” she said.

The form is linked from an “Ask an English Professor” icon on the left side of the department’s home page on the WCU site, quickly accessed at http://english.wcu.edu.

By Keith Brenton

Fariello to present on ‘Curating Community’

Anna Fariello, associate professor of research at Western Carolina University’s Hunter Library, will present “Curating Community” at noon Friday, April 10, at Penn State University. Her presentation, which will highlight successful cultural projects that interpret community culture and involve diverse partnerships, is open to the public and will also be available for viewing online at http://live.libraries.psu.edu/Mediasite/Play/3f0e92f068ba43ea931dd50d63bbcc211d?catalog=8376d4b2-4dd1-457e-a3bf-e4cf9163feda (link no longer active).

Anna Fariello

Anna Fariello

In the presentation, Fariello will discuss her experiences at WCU, where she works with regional repositories to create online access to archival collections. Her talk will cover past and current projects documenting Cherokee culture, her prior experiences working with an African-American school neighboring Virginia Tech and her work with Latino and indigenous folk cultures as part of a Fulbright experience. She also will share strategies to involve underserved communities in the interpretation of culture in an attempt to uncover community voice.

Watterson, Singleton co-lead workshop at Smoky Mountain High

Two WCU faculty members – Tom Watterson from health and physical education and Debby Singleton, who teaches in health and physical education, and parks and recreation management – joined Melissa McKnight of the Jackson County Health Department in co-presenting a workshop recently at Smoky Mountain High School.

Working in partnership with North Carolina’s Action for Healthy Kids organization, the three led a program targeted at individuals working in or with local schools who want to see more emphasis placed on health, wellness, nutrition and physical activity, Singleton said.

Watterson, Singleton and McKnight are part of a team of individuals around the nation who are working with the Centers for Disease Control and American Cancer Society to disseminate information about the National Guidelines for School Health and Physical Activity. The three attended an academy in Atlanta last year and developed an action plan to support their efforts.
As a result of the workshop, at least five new action plans to implement projects and activities supporting school-based wellness were developed, Singleton said.

Sustainable Energy Initiative seeks proposals from WCU community

The Sustainable Energy Initiative at Western Carolina University is seeking environmentally friendly proposals from WCU students, faculty and staff to improve the campus’ sustainability while providing educational value for students at the same time.

The SEI is accepting proposals through Friday, April 3, said Lauren Bishop, director of sustainability and energy management in WCU’s Office of Facilities Management.

The SEI is a committee of students, faculty and staff advisers who are responsible for allocating money toward the implementation of renewable energy, energy efficiency improvements, research and internships on campus. The committee’s annual operating budget comes from a student fee of $5 per student per semester.

More information is available by contacting Bishop at 828-227-3562 or lbishop@wcu.edu. A link to the proposal form is online at the SEI website and hard copies are available by calling.

By Randall Holcombe

International Festival set for April 8 on University Center lawn

Western Carolina University will celebrate the diverse cultures and traditions of its international student population during the university’s 36th annual International Festival on Wednesday, April 8.

Hosted by WCU’s Office of International Programs and Services, the festival is designed to foster cultural awareness, appreciation and understanding of the world’s diversity through music, food, dance, art and crafts.

The event will be held from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on the lawn of A.K. Hinds University Center, beginning with a flag procession and remarks by Alison Morrison-Shetlar, WCU provost. Attendees will have an opportunity to enjoy music and dance while visiting 30 internationally flavored booths staffed by food and craft vendors, campus organizations and international students.

The festival is free and open to everyone. For more information, contact the Office of International Programs and Services at 828-227-7494.

By Randall Holcombe

Harvey Gantt to keynote April 10 ‘North Carolina in Dialogue’ symposium at WCU

Harvey Gantt, an architect and civil rights activist who formerly served as mayor of Charlotte and was a candidate for the U.S. Senate, will be the keynote speaker for a daylong symposium at Western Carolina University – “North Carolina in Dialogue: Our Past, Present and Future.”

Mountain Heritage Center to mark 36 years in H.F. Robinson Building with April 11 celebration

Friends and fans of Western Carolina University’s Mountain Heritage Center are invited to drop by the museum Saturday, April 11, to join in a celebration and reflection on its 36 years of education and service in WCU’s H.F. Robinson Administration Building and to learn about the museum’s upcoming move to WCU’s Hunter Library and its ultimate destination as the focal point of a new university visitor center.

New ‘part-way home’ project designed to help ex-students complete degrees at WCU

Western Carolina University is the recipient of $50,000 in funding from the University of North Carolina General Administration to create a program designed to help former college students who didn’t finish their bachelor’s degrees go back to school.

Smithsonian work group on Native American health, culture to hold three-day meeting at WCU

Native American scholars and activists from around the nation will gather with representatives of the Smithsonian Institution and several federal agencies for a three-day conference at Western Carolina University to discuss issues related to Native health and culture.

Students plan April 18 Habitat for Humanity event in Dillsboro

A group of 52 Western Carolina University students will be hosting a free event called the “Habitat for Humanity Spring Bloom and Build Festival,” from 2 to 8 p.m. Saturday, April 18, that they have been organizing and producing as a service learning project in their “Tourism Planning & Development” course.

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