Archive for August 12th, 2015

WCU to focus on diversity, scholarships, student experience, employee support

Western Carolina University Chancellor David O. Belcher has identified four areas of emphasis for the 2015-16 academic year that are central to the institution’s future success: increasing diversity on campus, preparing for a comprehensive fundraising campaign to boost scholarship dollars, enhancing the total student experience, and supporting faculty and staff.

Campus gearing up for start of fall semester, and another possible record enrollment

The potential exists for a fourth straight year of record enrollment as the Western Carolina University community prepares to welcome new and returning students for the start of the fall semester.

New members of Leadership Academy announced

Western Carolina University is welcoming 12 faculty and staff members into the 2015-16 Leadership Academy, a program designed to grow leaders at all levels, regardless of their title or position.

Three entertainment series promise variety for 2015-16

A trio of fine arts and performance series will offer the Western Carolina University community a broad spectrum of entertainment choices again during the 2015-16 academic year. The Mainstage season features dramatic and musical performances by students, while the Galaxy of Stars and the Arts and Cultural Events offerings bring professionally produced acts and films to campus venues.


Two plays and two musicals are part of the 2015-16 Mainstage season presented by WCU’s School of Stage and Screen. Season subscriptions and individual tickets for the productions are on sale at the box office in the John W. Bardo Fine and Performing Arts Center.

Productions in the season featuring student performances are:

“Pop! Who Shot Andy Warhol?,” a musical comedy mystery by Maggie-Kate Coleman and Anna K. Jacobs. Thursday, Oct. 1, through Saturday, Oct. 3, at 7:30 p.m., and a matinee at 3 p.m. Oct. 3, Hoey Auditorium.

“Blithe Spirit,” a classic comedy by Noel Coward. Wednesday, Nov. 18, through Saturday, Nov. 21, at 7:30 p.m., and a 3 p.m. matinee Sunday, Nov. 22, Hoey Auditorium.

“Macbeth is the New Black,” a contemporary take on Shakespeare by Linda Parsons Marion. Wednesday, Feb. 17, through Saturday, Feb. 20, at 7:30 p.m., Hoey Auditorium.

“Gypsy,” a vaudeville/burlesque musical Thursday, April 14, through Saturday, April 16, at 7:30 p.m., and a 3 p.m. matinee on Sunday, April 17, Bardo Arts Center.

“Resident Alien,” a musical by WCU’s Katya Stanislavskya, part of the new Josefina Niggli New Works Series. Saturday, Oct. 31, at 7:30 p.m., Niggli Theatre (Stillwell Building). Free; $5 donation suggested.

A second production in the Niggli series will be announced later, scheduled for Sunday, March 13, at 7:30 p.m., Niggli Theatre. Free; $5 donation suggested.

A special event held annually, the Controlled Chaos Film Festival, featuring movies created by Film and Television Production Program students, will be held Friday, April 29, at the Bardo Arts Center. Tickets are $10 at the door.

Mainstage season tickets are $50 for adults; $40 for senior citizens, faculty and staff; and $20 for students. Musical single event tickets are $21 adults; $16 for senior citizens, faculty and staff; and $10 day of show or $7 in advance for students. Single event tickets for “Blithe Spirit” and “Macbeth is the New Black” are $16 for adults; $11 for senior citizens, faculty and staff; and $10 day of show or $7 in advance for students.

For more information about the Mainstage season and special events, contact WCU’s School of Stage and Screen at 828-227-7491.

Arts and Cultural Events

Comedy, drama, dance and thought-provoking films highlight the offerings of the 2015-16 ACE performance series.

Events in the ACE series include:

The Golden Dragons are recognized throughout the United States and abroad as a premier Chinese acrobatic touring company.

The Golden Dragons are recognized throughout the United States and abroad as a premier Chinese acrobatic touring company.

Golden Dragon Acrobats, Wednesday, Sept. 9, at 7:30 p.m., Bardo Arts Center. $5 students; $10 all others.

Southern Circuit Film: “She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry,” Tuesday, Sept. 15, at 7 p.m., University Center theater. Filmmaker Mary Dore is touring with the film’s showings. Free.

Homecoming Comedy Show, Wednesday, Oct. 21, at 7:30 p.m., Bardo Arts Center. Comedians Jose Barrientos, Iliza Shlesinger, Chloe Hilliard and Kevin Yee. $5 students; $10 general admission, going on sale Tuesday, Sept. 15.

Southern Circuit Film: “Shield and Spear,” Monday, Oct. 26, at 7 p.m., University Center theater. Free.

Southern Circuit Film: “Frame by Frame,” Wednesday, Nov. 11, at 7 p.m., University Center theater. Free.

“Mercy Killers,” performed by its author, Michael Milligan, Thursday, Nov. 12, at 7 p.m., Bardo Arts Center. Free for students with ID; $10 general admission.

Southern Circuit Film: “Art and Craft,” Tuesday, Feb. 9, at 7 p.m., University Center theater. Question-and-answer session with film’s subject, Mark Landis. Free.

Darrah Carr Dance, Thursday, March 10, at 7:30 p.m., Bardo Arts Center. $5 for students with ID; $10 for all others.

“MAKE!: Paint Edition,” Thursday, Feb. 11, at 6 p.m., Fine Art Museum. $15 for one ticket or $25 for two (limit 10).

Southern Circuit Film: “Embers,” Wednesday, March 16, at 7 p.m., University Center theater. Free.

The Catamount Art Tour of Washington, D.C., will be offered March 19-25 for 30 students. Tickets are $300.

Southern Circuit Film: “Kings, Queens & In-Betweens,” Tuesday, April 26, at 7 p.m., University Center theater. Free.

For more information about the ACE series, visit or contact Francis Ann Ortiz-Pineda, assistant director for campus programs, at 828-227-2612.


Galaxy of Stars

A tribute to a comedic icon, a holiday show featuring the “Redneck Tenors” and a performance by an American country-pop superstar top the lineup for the 2015-16 Galaxy of Stars Series at the Bardo Arts Center.

The performances are:

Frank Ferrante will open the Series on Sept. 27 with “An Evening With Groucho,” celebrating the 125th anniversary of the legendary comedian’s birth.

Frank Ferrante will open the Series on Sept. 27 with “An Evening With Groucho,” celebrating the 125th anniversary of the legendary comedian’s birth.

“An Evening with Groucho,” 3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 27.

The United Kingdom Ukulele Orchestra, 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 25.

“3 Redneck Tenors Christmas Spec-tac-yule,” 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 11.

Juice Newton, 3 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 24.

Galumpha – Acrobatic Dance Trio, 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 5.

“Parents Night Out,” 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 5.

Mike Super – Magic & Illusion, 3 p.m. Sunday, May 1.

The Galaxy of Stars Series is presented by the WCU College of Fine and Performing Arts with support from the WCU Friends of the Arts organization. Season tickets are $120 for adults and $45 for students and children. Tickets for single events are $21 for adults; $16 for WCU faculty and staff; $7 students and children; and $15 per person for groups of 20 or more.

To order season subscriptions and individual tickets for any or all three series, call the Bardo Arts Center box office at 828-227-2479 or go online to

By Keith Brenton

Nominations open through Aug. 15 for women’s leadership program

Nominations are being accepted through Saturday, Aug. 15, for Western Carolina University’s Women’s Leadership in Action program.

A new leadership development initiative for WCU women students, faculty and staff has two tracks – a general program of events that will be open to all women students, faculty and staff starting this fall semester, and the competitive Leadership in Action program that is open to women faculty and staff.

The Leadership in Action track is an intensive, year-long experience in which two participants will develop and implement a personal leadership plan, work with a mentor to refine leadership skills, and attend an immersive professional development conference.

Both self-nominations and nominations of other women for the Leadership in Action program are welcome. More information and application instructions were included in a campus-wide email distributed Monday, Aug. 3, by Chief of Staff Melissa Wargo. More information is available by contacting Wargo or Provost Alison Morrison-Shetlar.

By Randall Holcombe

Base Camp Cullowhee finds a new home

Packing up 12 kayaks, 12 canoes and 10 rafts, along with a ton of outdoor gear, and moving it across campus was actually the easy part.

Institute offers professional development to WCU administrative support professionals

For the second consecutive year, Western Carolina University hosted the Summer Institute for Administrative Support Professionals, an opportunity for members of the administrative staff to spend significant time working on professional development. The institute also was a chance for the SPA staff members to network and be recognized for their contributions to the university community.

Anne Aldrich addresses attendees of the administrative support professionals institute.

Anne Aldrich addresses attendees of the administrative support professionals institute.

The two half-day workshops held in July included remarks from WCU Provost Alison Morrison-Shetlar. “Without these great people and their steadfast support of our faculty, students and staff, we would not be the great institution we are,” she said after the event. “I was delighted to join them and express my appreciation for taking the time for professional development and for all they do for the faculty, staff and students at WCU.”

WCU is one of the few public institutions that holds a program like the institute, said Laura Cruz, director of Coulter Faculty Commons. Inspiration for the event came directly from Anne Aldrich, executive assistant in the Office of the Provost. “For some time, I had been aware of the need for greater training opportunities for WCU staff,” Aldrich said. “With that in mind, a couple of years ago I conducted a very informal survey of support staff within Academic Affairs to gauge interest and gather ideas.” From those conversations, the Summer Institute for Administrative Support Professionals was born.

The institute is a reflection of WCU’s collaborative institutional culture, with a steering committee of representatives from the Office of the Provost, Coulter Faculty Commons and the Office of Human Resources and Payroll. A member of that committee, Rusty Marts, WCU’s director of training, said experiences such as the institute have allowed him “to learn that everyone is a leader in some aspect of their lives, although we often do not acknowledge or recognize our own leadership abilities.”

Several SPA employees served as peer mentors and teachers as part of this year’s institute. Carrie Hockman, executive assistant in the College of Arts and Sciences, and Lynley Hardy, administrative support specialist in the Department of Chemistry and Physics, led workshop sessions for their colleagues. Hardy said she accepted the invitation to present because she wanted to “challenge herself and try something new.” Despite some initial anxiety about the presentation, it “all came together when everyone in the room began to share their experiences with one another and to learn from each other – it was like magic,” she said.

Both facilitators and participants said they valued the experience the institute provided. In their evaluations, returning participants emphasized both the social and professional aspects. One respondent wrote, “I really appreciate and value the summer institute series and the opportunity for learning, training and networking it provides.”

New staff members said they especially appreciated the community spirit. “Being a relatively new staff member at WCU, I valued the opportunity to network with other administrative professionals across the university and make those connections,” said Amanda Davis, administrative support assistant in the Department of Human Services. “Western stands out to me as an institution that values and cares for their students and employees, and that’s shown best through programs like this one.”

– Contributed Information

Tholkes interviewed by personal finance website

Ben Tholkes, associate professor in WCU’s Parks and Recreation Management program, was interviewed for an article that appeared recently on the personal finance website

Tholkes and 14 other specialists responded to questions about how local authorities can improve their management of parks and recreational facilities. The information is posted below an article evaluating “2015’s Best and Worst Cities for Recreation.”

Professor’s book listed as summer read by journal Nature

James Costa’s 2014 work “Wallace, Darwin and the Origin of Species” was recommended by the scientific journal Nature as a top choice among summer books in the July edition.

WallaceDarwinCoverThe review by Kevin Padian of the University of California-Berkeley, notes two previous books by Costa, “The Annotated Origin” (2011) and “On the Organic Law of Change” (2013), also published by Harvard University Press.

Costa is a professor of biology and director of the Highlands Biological Station.

Menickelli earns award; voted to board of directors

Justin Menickelli, associate professor of health and physical education at WCU, was awarded the Educational Disc Golf Experience Award on August 8 by the Professional Disc Golf Association in recognition for teaching disc golf to young people.

Menickelli also was elected to the board of directors of the PDGA by the 25,223 active members of the organization.

The PDGA is the international governing body of the sport, similar to the Professional Golf Association in traditional golf.

Faculty members take part in second year of Health Educators Academy

Five Western Carolina University faculty members were selected to participate in the second annual WCU Health Educators Academy, a collaboration between the dean of the College of Health and Human Sciences and Coulter Faculty Commons.

A model for professional development in health sciences, the academy offers participants opportunities to enhance their teaching through in-depth work in curriculum/design, engaged teaching and learning, leadership and the scholarship of teaching and learning, said Doug Keskula, dean of the College of Health and Human Sciences.

Participants in the Health Educators Academy summertime master class were (front, from left) Amy Murphy-Nugen, Gayle Wells, Amy Rose, (back, from left) facilitator Nancy Sayre, Melissa Snyder and Carol MacKusick.

Participants in the Health Educators Academy summertime master class were (front, from left) Amy Murphy-Nugen, Gayle Wells, Amy Rose, (back, from left) facilitator Nancy Sayre, Melissa Snyder and Carol MacKusick.

Participants spent three summer days in an intensive master class led by Nancy Sayre, a well-known health education consultant, researcher and practitioner in competency-based education. Members of this year’s academy said they are eager to share information from the academy by planning campus events and workshops throughout the year.

After having positive results from the inaugural academy last year, Keskula said he wanted to extend the opportunity to a different group of faculty. This year, the mix of participants went beyond the College of Health and Human Sciences to include a faculty member who teaches health sciences in the School of Teaching and Learning. This year’s class includes Amy Murphy-Nugen, assistant professor of social work; Carol MacKusick, assistant professor of nursing; Amy Rose, assistant professor of communication sciences and disorders; Melissa Snyder, associate professor of athletic training; and Gayle Wells, Provost Fellow and associate professor of health and physical education. Two participants from 2014, Jeanne Dulworth and John Carzoli, also were involved.

The themes for this year’s academy are competency-based education and the capture and retention of students who enter programs already possessing some health care skills. Competency-based education allows students to draw on their existing competencies to progress through a course or program by demonstrating competency rather than by following a strict schedule, said Laura Cruz, director of Coulter Faculty Commons. Academy members worked with Sayre to learn more about a process of identifying and developing strategies to assess their students’ competencies and encourage students to progress in developing new ones.

MacKusick said the three-day master class “really made me do a lot of thinking.”

“I want to encourage my colleagues to think about using this in their classes,” she said. “We really do have students who come in with existing medical experiences. Students don’t need to sit through a session on how to make a bed properly if they already know how to make the bed.”

Members of this year’s academy commented on the richness of their exchanges. “I just feel so fortunate to have had this opportunity with all of you,” Rose said to her fellow participants.

One of the goals of academy members is to identify key competencies in each profession and to find teaching and learning strategies that explicitly help students develop and demonstrate competencies in those areas. Academy members will develop rubrics that encourage students to demonstrate high levels of competency and cultivate intentional and innovative ways of teaching that align competencies with student learning outcomes, Cruz said.

The participants’ future plans involve a collaborative authorship on implementing competency-based education in their fields, as well as conference presentations and panels.

Keskula said he is delighted with the results of both years of the academy. Believing that participants’ commitment to teaching and learning should be publicly acknowledged, he said he plans to work with them to design a medal that they and future academy participants can wear as part of their academic regalia.

– Contributed Information

WCU appoints new director of emergency services

Stephen “Shane” Stovall, a certified emergency manager with nearly 20 years of experience leading private and public sector emergency management and disaster recovery efforts, is the new director of emergency services at Western Carolina University.

Photo studio to open for new employee photographs, headshot updates

New faculty and staff members and employees who need to update their headshots are asked to visit the photo studio in the Office of Communications and Public Relations on Tuesday, Aug. 18, between 8 and 11 a.m.

Photos made during these blocks of time require no appointment and usually take no more than five minutes for the entire process. The photo studio is located in Suite 420 of the H.F. Robinson Administration Building.

New employees’ photos will be published in a feature that appears annually in The Reporter faculty and staff newsletter to introduce new full-time and permanent faculty and staff. Full-time faculty or staff members at WCU hired within the last year are asked to complete a brief information form online.  To see an example, visit The Reporter’s new employees 2014 feature.

Employee photographs also are archived for use when needed to accompany news releases.

The photographers request that proper attire be worn with these uses in mind, and recommend a dark jacket, shirt or top.

For more information about photos, contact Mark Haskett at or Ashley Evans at

Categories | The Reporter

Photos | WCU News Services

Commencement 2017
Commencement 2017


Africa! More Than A Continent