Archive for August, 2015

WCU’s fall color commentator predicts best leaf-looking season in years

Fall leaf color in the mountains of Western North Carolina should be the best it has been in a number of years because of generally drier-than-normal conditions during 2015.

Proposed QEP topics to be presented at Sept. 1 forum; vote set for Sept. 2-12

The power to choose the topic of focus for Western Carolina University’s next Quality Enhancement Plan rests with the WCU community, and a forum has been scheduled to outline the eight topics that will be put up for vote.

Forum provides update on reaccreditation, master plan, enrollment – and the links between them

Members of the Western Carolina University community gathered Monday, Aug. 24, for updates on three important topics for the year ahead, the first in an ongoing series of conversations about some of the issues that keep Chancellor David O. Belcher and other campus leaders awake late at night.

University to focus on sexual assault prevention, other compliance issues

Mary Ann Lochner, general counsel for Western Carolina University, repeatedly has characterized higher education as “the most heavily regulated industry in the United States.” Take the Americans with Disabilities Act as one lone example.

Steep Canyon Rangers to perform at WCU Friends of the Arts members-only concert

Grammy Award-winning bluegrass supergroup Steep Canyon Rangers will perform at a membership concert for the Western Carolina University Friends of the Arts at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 19, on campus.

Faculty Showcase Recital kicks off WCU’s recital series Sept. 1

Western Carolina University’s School of Music begins its 2015-16 recital series on Tuesday, Sept. 1, with the Faculty Showcase Recital.

The event will take place at 7:30 p.m. in the recital hall of the Coulter Building. Admission is free and a reception will follow.

Faculty members participating in the recital include Ian Jeffress on saxophone performing with Lyn Burkett on piano in Baljinder Sekhon’s “Gradient”; Mario Gaetano on vibraphone performing “Three Pieces for Vibraphone” by Gitta Steiner and “With a Mazy Motion” by Tim Huesgen and Eldred Spell on flute with Lillian Pearson on piano performing Phillippe Gaubert’s “Nocturne et Allegro Scherzando.”

Also performing will be the Smoky Mountain Brass Quintet playing “Vuelta del Fuega” by Kevin McKee; Lillian Pearson on solo piano performing “Nocturne No. 6” by Gabriel Faure; Travis Bennett on horn performing J.S. Bach’s “Suite 5” and a faculty trio of Will Peebles on bassoon, Shannon Thompson on clarinet and Burkett on piano playing Beethoven’s “Trio in Bb Major, Op. 11.”

John West, director of the School of Music, will present two awards at intermission – the Distinguished Service award presented to Robert Holquist, and the Distinguished Alumni award to Janis Bryant.

For more information, contact the School of Music at 828-227-7242.

By Marlon W. Morgan

WCU Bookstore gets Energy Star certification

The Energy Star logo is frequently found on household appliances across the country. But rarely do you see it affixed to a building. Unless that building is the Western Carolina University Bookstore.

Family friendly paddling competition set for Sept. 12 in Cullowhee

The sixth annual Old Cullowhee Canoe Slalom, a family friendly paddling competition on a calm section of the Tuckaseigee River near the Western Carolina University campus, will be held on the morning of Saturday, Sept. 12.

Competitors work their way through the gates at the Old Cullowhee Canoe Slalom. This year’s event will be held Saturday, Sept. 12.

Competitors work their way through the gates at the Old Cullowhee Canoe Slalom. This year’s event will be held Saturday, Sept. 12.

Competition will begin at 9 a.m. just upstream of the Old Cullowhee Road bridge on the back side of campus. Categories will include single open canoe, double open touring canoe, decked double canoe, parent and child canoe, men’s single kayak, women’s single kayak, kid’s kayak (ages 12 and under) and stand-up paddle board.

Nine gates will be set up for paddlers to negotiate on flat but moving water. Canoes, paddles and personal flotation devices will be provided, but kayakers and paddle boarders are expected to bring their own kayaks and boards. An awards ceremony will begin 30 minutes after the last run.

The course will be erected by 1 p.m. Friday, Sept. 11, and will be open the remainder of that day for practice.

Pre-registration for the slalom is requested and is taking place at the offices of WCU’s Base Camp Cullowhee, located in WCU’s Campus Recreation Center. The entry fee is $5 per person, per category.

Event organizers are students from WCU’s Parks and Recreation Management Program and Base Camp Cullowhee. Proceeds from the race will benefit the Parks and Recreation Management Club and the PRM Scholarship Fund.

In conjunction with the slalom, the Cullowhee Revitalization Endeavor organization will be holding a raffle and fundraising event to benefit the proposed river park project. The fundraiser and raffle drawing will be held at Tuck’s Tap and Grille after the canoe race.

For more information, contact Base Camp Cullowhee at 828-227-3633 or

By Randall Holcombe

Cathryn Griffin photography exhibit on display at WCU Fine Art Museum

An exhibition of works by Cathryn Griffin, professor of photography at Western Carolina University, continues on display through Friday, Sept. 25, at the university’s Fine Art Museum in the John W. Bardo Fine and Performing Arts Center.

“Griffin’s work calls attention to the strange beauty that lies in those simple, unique, ephemeral moments that truly happen once in a lifetime,” said Denise Drury Homewood, director of the museum.

"Highway Jumper 2" by Cathryn Griffin

“Highway Jumper 2” by Cathryn Griffin

Griffin’s works have been featured in literary and art magazines, in solo and group exhibitions all over the country and in the permanent collections of art museums and galleries from Massachusetts to California. Some works currently appear on the websites of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Appalachian Photographers Project.

She is a winner of the National Exposures Best of Show Award and a recipient of grants from the Ford Foundation and other benefactors.

A discussion of Griffin’s work will take place at 5 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 3, in the Fine Art Museum, followed by a reception.

The museum is open to the public Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Thursdays 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Admission is free, and so is parking near the Bardo Arts Center. For a full calendar listing of exhibits and associated event information, visit or call 828-227-3591.

This exhibition will travel to the Asheville Art Museum, 2 S. Pack Square, appearing from Saturday, Oct. 17, through Sunday, Jan. 10.

By Keith Brenton

WCU’s lifelong learning institute offering second year of educational sessions

LIFE@WesternCarolina, Western Carolina University’s lifelong learning institute, is beginning its second year with a series of educational sessions for Western North Carolina residents 50 and older who are interested in enriching their lives through the pursuit of knowledge.


LIFE@WesternCarolina offers weekly sessions in both Cullowhee and Asheville focusing on a variety of topics including business, history, science, literature, politics and personal development.

“What a thrill to see our program grow and develop as we begin our second year with the corroboration of the university, the board and the community membership. LIFE has evolved into a rich and rewarding experience for the community of Western Carolina,” said Kay Wheeler, current president of LIFE@WesternCarolina.

Sessions are offered weekly for 12 weeks during the fall and spring semesters. Fall semester programs will begin Tuesday, Sept. 8, in Cullowhee and Wednesday, Sept. 9, in Asheville.

In addition to lectures, the institute will offer social opportunities and field trips as presenters share expertise from various backgrounds. Presenters include university faculty as well as professionals and community members from throughout the region.

Participants will register for sessions being held at one of two sites. Programs will be held Tuesdays in the ground-floor auditorium of H.F. Robinson Administration Building on the Cullowhee campus, and Wednesdays at the university’s instructional site at Biltmore Park Town Square, located at 28 Schenck Parkway in Asheville. Sessions at both locations will begin at 10 a.m. and continue until noon.

Tony Kiss will open the first sessions with a presentation on “Breweries in Western North Carolina.” Kiss has been writing about craft beer for the Asheville Citizen-Times since 1994, when the region’s first brewery released its first ales. Over the past 21 years, he has watched as craft brewing has grown from a tiny industry into a major economic engine with 40-plus breweries and millions of dollars of investment.

Other speakers and topics for 2015-16 year will include “WCU Students in the Arts” with George Brown, “My Life as a Director of Marching Bands” with Bob Buckner, “Discover Life in America” with Todd Witcher, and more. The final lineup of program topics will be announced soon.

Cost of membership in the institute is $125 per year, including 24 engaged learning experiences with opportunities to take part in additional activities related to some of the topics. Participants may attend all or as many sessions as they like.

For more information or to register for the LIFE@WesternCarolina institute, contact the Division of Educational Outreach at 828-227-7397 or visit

– Contributed Information

Sneed to deliver Indian health lecture at WCU on Sept. 2

Sarah Sneed, a resident of Cherokee’s Birdtown community who earned her law degree at Harvard Law School, will visit the Western Carolina University campus Wednesday, Sept. 2, to deliver the sixth annual Public Lecture on Indian Health.

Sneed will speak on the topic “Federal Indian Health Policy and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians” at 6 p.m. in Room 204 of WCU’s Health and Human Sciences Building.

Sneed’s lecture will provide an in-depth look at federal Indian policy in relationship to the evolution of health care for the Eastern Band, said Lisa J. Lefler, director of WCU’s Culturally Based Native Health Programs.

Sneed graduated with honors with a degree in history at the University of Colorado at Boulder prior to earning her law degree. She has worked in various capacities with Indian tribes throughout her career.

For more information, contact Lefler at 828-227-2164 or email

By Randall Holcombe

Philosophy and religion faculty members contribute to lecture series

Several members of the Philosophy and Religion Department are participating in a lecture series at the Center for Life Enrichment in Highlands.

Michelle Sorensen was scheduled to give a lecture Wednesday, Aug. 26, on “The Rise of the Individual and the Quest for Meaning,” examining the worldviews of paradigmatic thinkers from the cultures of Greece, India, the Middle East, and China during the period of 800-200 BCE, including Socrates, Homer, Confucius, Lao Tzu and Shakyamuni Buddha – a period termed the “Axial Age” by the German philosopher Karl Jaspers.

“My presentation will introduce thinkers and philosophies of this period in order to stimulate thought and discussion on what I consider to be the ‘proto-Enlightenment’ period of the Axial Age and the rise of the individual within society,” Sorensen said before the event.

On Monday, Aug. 3, and Tuesday, Aug. 4, respectively, Jeffrey Vickery gave lectures on “A Brief History of Islam and Politics” and “What Sustains Radical Islamists.”

Christopher Hoyt presented a lecture on “The Concept of Secularism” on Monday, Aug. 11.

For more information on these lectures or the Center for Life Enrichment, call 828-526-8811, visit or stop by the office at 348 South Fifth Street in Highlands.

Kossick presents at national conference

Mark A. Kossick, professor of nursing and graduate anesthesia simulation coordinator in the Nurse Anesthesia Simulation Lab, lectured on Wednesday, July 15, at the Northwest Anesthesia Seminars conference in Branson, Missouri.  His lecture titles included “Guidelines for Perioperative IV Acetaminophen use in Pediatric Patients,” “Applied Clinical Pharmacology for Ryanodex” and “Clinical Implications of Etomidate & Adrenal Insufficiency.”

Political science research articles find audiences

Faculty members in WCU’s Political Science and Public Affairs Department have been receiving good news regarding publication of research recently.

Jackie Sievert, assistant professor, had her paper “HDMA, Housing Segregation, and Racial Disparities in Mortgage Lending” accepted to the Stanford Journal of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, Volume XII, with an expected publishing date in 2016.

Assistant professors Jay Gerlach and Tyler Reinagel had a paper, “Internships as Academic Exercise: An Assessment of MPA Curriculum Models,” published in the Journal of Public Affairs Education. The paper can be seen at:

Reinagel and Chris Cooper, professor and department head, had their paper, “The Limits of Public Service Motivation: Confidence in Government Institutions Among Public Servants,” published in Administration and Society. The abstract can be viewed at:

Spanish professor translates prologue to 400th anniversary edition of ‘Don Quixote’

Santiago Garcia-Castanon, professor of Spanish in the Department of World Languages, wrote an English translation of the prologue to the second part of “Don Quixote” by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra that was recently published in a brochure and distributed to schools in northern Spain to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the book’s publication.

In addition, Garcia-Castanon’s seventh poetry collection and fourteenth book, “Las orillas de una mar incierta” (“The Shores of an Uncertain Sea”), was published in early August in Aviles, Spain, where he gave a public reading of the poems on Monday, Aug. 3, just before returning to the United States.

In May, Garcia-Castanon won first prize in the Lincoln-Marti International Poetry Competition.

Professor hosts trip to Ghana as WCU’s focus turns toward continent of Africa

As an undergraduate student at Oberlin College, Kofi Lomotey began organizing trips to Ghana for anyone interested in learning about the history and culture of the West African country.

WCU’s Pride of the Mountains preparing new production, ‘That’s What’s Up’

Nine months after serving as the lead band at Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City, members of Western Carolina University’s Pride of the Mountains Marching Band are rehearsing their new production, “That’s What’s Up,” and planning trips to the Bands of America Grand National Championship and a Carolina Panthers football game.

Forum to update campus on master plan, reaccreditation, enrollment trends

Members of the Western Carolina University community will have an opportunity to hear updates about three important university topics – the campus master plan, the bid for reaccreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, and emerging enrollment and demographic trends – during a public forum Monday, Aug. 24.

Rose receives grant for research, teaching in communication sciences and disorders

Amy Rose, assistant professor of communication sciences and disorders at Western Carolina University, was recently named recipient of a $5,000 grant to support her academic enrichment as a teacher and research in her field by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

Remembering the impact of former arts, sciences dean Cliff Lovin

Monday, Aug. 17, brought more than the start of a new academic year. It also brought news that Western Carolina University had lost an important leader who served at critical periods of the institution’s history. The night before, Clifford Ramsey Lovin lost his fight with cancer.

Categories | The Reporter

Photos | WCU News Services

Commencement 2017
Commencement 2017


Africa! More Than A Continent