Archive for September, 2015

Fariello presents at Washington conference

Anna Fariello, associate professor at Hunter Library, presented at the 2015 International Conference of Indigenous Archives, Libraries, and Museums held this year in Washington, D.C. Fariello’s presentation, “Curating Community: A Team Based Approach to Exhibition Development,” described the making of a touring exhibition that used a team-based approach to achieve a community perspective.

Through a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services to the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, Fariello led an exhibition team in creating an exhibit focusing on Cherokee language and culture using sound recordings as the basis for presenting a coherent story. Rather than translating from English, as is often done, the exhibit text was excerpted from conversations originally recorded in Cherokee. A native speakers’ group conversed with instructors from WCU’s Cherokee Language Program about historic photographs and artifacts. Their conversations were transcribed, translated, and included on the 15 panels that make up the exhibit.

Exhibit panels use smart phone technology and QR codes to link text and images to Hunter Library’s online archive. By pressing an on-screen “play” button, a visitor can listen to the Cherokee syllabary as it is spoken. Visitor evaluations revealed that hearing the language – even while not understanding a single word – expanded the meaning and sensory impact of the exhibition, Fariello said. The exhibit, Understanding our Past, Shaping our Future, is currently on view at the North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching through November.

Fariello also was selected to attend a workshop at Google headquarters. The daylong workshop, Tools for Preserving Indigenous Knowledge, was sponsored by the Google Outreach Program and focused on mapping.

— Contributed information

Ulrich and quintet tour three states next month

Bradley Ulrich, professor of trumpet, will be performing with the Fortress Brass Quintet in Kentucky, Ohio and Colorado during October.

The Fortress Brass Quintet performs a wide range of repertoire, and has twice been the featured brass quintet on the American Brass Autumn Festival in St. Petersburg, Russia.

The Fortress Brass Quintet performs a wide range of repertoire, and has twice been the featured brass quintet on the American Brass Autumn Festival in St. Petersburg, Russia.

The quintet was created by Ulrich to perform during the American Brass Autumn Festival in St. Petersburg, Russia, in 2013, and consists of five brass faculty members from five universities across the United States.

“I only knew one of the other performers, and the other three were selected by reputation and word of mouth,” Ulrich said. “We met for the first time at JFK Airport in New York on our way to Russia, where we rehearsed for a couple of days in Moscow before our first performance during the Moscow Brass Days at the Moscow Conservatory.”

In 2014, the group was invited back to Russia for repeat performances. “After last year’s tour we discussed performing at each other’s universities, and this October we will be performing at the University of Kentucky, Colorado State University and the University of Colorado. Next year, the group will come to WCU and the University of Alabama,” Ulrich said.

Group members are: P. Bradley Ulrich (trumpet/WCU), Eric Yates (trumpet/University of Alabama), Brad Kerns (trombone/University of Kentucky), John McGuire (horn/Colorado State University) and Mike Dunn (tuba/University of Colorado).

In addition to performing and teaching at each of the member’s universities, the Fortress Brass Quintet also will be performing on live radio and for a concert series in Lexington, Kentucky, and giving masterclasses and performing at the University of Louisville and the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music. The Kentucky portion of the tour will take place Oct. 8-11 and the Colorado tour will be Oct. 22-25.

Ulrich serves as artistic director of the American Brass Autumn Festival in St. Petersburg.

For more information, contact him at 828-227-3274.

Carter to speak at Salisbury University

Catherine Carter, WCU associate professor of English, will give a reading and lecture at Salisbury University on Wednesday, Oct. 14, titled “Recycling the Elements of Life: Nitrogen, Carbon and a Few Good Words.”

Carter is author of the poetry collections “Marks of the Witch,” “The Swamp Monster at Home” and “The Memory of Gills.”

She will share the lectern with her father, Nick Carter, a former state biologist who is conducting lifelong ecosystem restoration on his property.

Birkhofer speaks at SUNY-Fredonia

Melissa Birkhofer, lecturer in WCU’s Department of English, traveled to State University of New York-Fredonia to deliver an invited lecture, “Breaking the Black/White binary en los Estados Unidos: police brutality against Latinas/os in 2015” on Sept. 22.

The lecture was part of SUNY-Fredonia’s celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month.

English department colleagues present at conference

The WCU English department’s Marsha Lee BakerEmily Darnell, Rain Newcomb and Laura Samal presented “Work That Won’t Kill Us: Worthy Teaching in Overcrowded Conditions” at the fall conference of the Carolinas Writing Program Administrators in Little Switzerland on Tuesday, Sept. 15.

The conference focused on working conditions that affect writing programs and writing program administrators.

WCU traditional music series to open with concert by Ritter and Ogletree

The 2015-16 First Thursday Old-Time and Bluegrass Concert and Jam Series at Western Carolina University will get underway Thursday, Oct. 1, with a concert featuring the husband-and-wife duo of William Ritter and Sarah Ogletree.

Sarah Ogletree and William Ritter

Sarah Ogletree and William Ritter

Their 7 p.m. performance of traditional music in the ground-floor auditorium of H.F. Robinson Administration Building will be followed by an 8 p.m. jam session in which local musicians are invited to participate.

The music of Ritter and Ogletree focuses on old and new love songs and traditional mountain music. Ritter, a native of Bakersville, is a WCU alumnus who recently earned a master’s degree in Appalachian studies at Appalachian State University. Ogletree was raised in Jackson County and is a graduate of ASU’s sustainable development program.

The couple’s new CD, recorded at WCU, features all traditional songs except for “Be With Me,” which was written by Ritter.

Sponsored by WCU’s Mountain Heritage Center, the First Thursday concerts and jam sessions will continue through next spring, with programs from 7 to 9 p.m. on the first Thursday of each month.

The events are free and open to the public. Pickers and singers of all ages and experience levels are invited to take part in the jam sessions, which also are open to those who just want to listen.

For more information, call the Mountain Heritage Center at 828-227-7129.

By Randall Holcombe

Duke brings perspectives on music, teaching, learning to WCU

Teaching and learning expert, radio commentator and University of Texas-Austin music professor Bob Duke will have two public speaking engagements on the Western Carolina University campus during a two-day residency.

Bob Duke

Bob Duke

Duke appears on the weekly public radio program and podcast “Two Guys on Your Head” that looks life, learning and aspects of human behavior. He is the founder and director of the University of Texas-Austin Center for Music Learning and also directs the psychology of learning program at the Colburn Conservatory of Music in Los Angeles. A former studio musician and public school music teacher, his academic research spans multiple disciplines, including motor skill learning and neuroscience. His most recent work explores memory and cognitive processes engaged during musical improvisation.

His talks are free and open to the public, and of particular interest to teachers:

  • Thursday, Oct. 8, “If We Learn Like That, Why Do We Teach Like This?” at 7 p.m. in the A.K. Hinds University Center theater.
  • Friday, Oct. 9, “Beautiful,” about not losing the emotional connection to music during music instruction, at 1:25 p.m. in Coulter Building recital hall.

In addition to the two talks, he will meet with WCU faculty in a brown bag lecture on Thursday, Oct. 8, and work with music students and instructors throughout his WCU residency.

Duke has directed national research efforts under the sponsorship of such organizations as the National Piano Foundation and the International Suzuki Institute. He lectures frequently on the topics of human learning, systematic observation and evaluation, and behavior management, presenting workshops and teaching demonstrations throughout North America. He is the author of Scribe 4 behavioral analysis software. His recent books are “Intelligent Music Teaching: Essays on the Core Principles of Effective Instruction” and “The Habits of Musicianship: A Radical Approach to Beginning Band.”

His two-day residency is sponsored by WCU’s Visiting Scholar Program, College of Education and Allied Professions, College of Fine and Performing Arts, School of Music, Coulter Faculty Commons and university music fraternities. For more information, call WCU’s School of Music at 828-227-7242.

By Geoff Cantrell

North Carolina Folklore Society to hold Oct. 9-10 annual conference in Cullowhee

The North Carolina Folklore Society will hold its 102nd annual conference on Friday, Oct. 9, and Saturday, Oct. 10, at Western Carolina University and the N.C. Center for the Advancement of Teaching.

Gary Carden

Gary Carden

This year’s theme is “Native Voices: A View from the Mountains” and will feature a series of talks, demonstrations and exhibits on Cherokee culture, Southern Appalachian heritage and mountain traditions. The conference is open to the public, with most activities free of charge or covered by a $5 registration fee.

Both days feature a full program of activities and concurrent sessions. Opening day highlights include a reception, a regional book display and sale, and evening performances of live music by the Junior Appalachian Musicians and storytelling by Gary Carden.

The following day features paddle-stamped pottery and Cherokee stories by Dean Reed, and an exhibition on the Cherokee language. The keynote address, “Language as a Window into Culture,” will be delivered by Tom Belt, WCU’s Cherokee Language Program coordinator, who is fluent in the Cherokee language.

Tom Belt

Tom Belt

The conference will conclude with presentations of the Brown-Hudson Awards, which recognizes individuals who make significant contributions to the sharing and appreciation of traditional culture and folklore, and the Community Traditions Award to honor a group that supports folk life and traditional culture.

“Every year, the North Carolina Folklore Society comes together at a different location across the state to meet friends ― old and new ― and this year we are fortunate to welcome everyone to our doorstep,” said Anna Fariello, an associate professor at WCU and 2010 recipient of the Brown-Hudson Award. “We will showcase mountain arts and crafts, Cherokee language and wisdom, regional music and storytelling, and more. This is an accessible, casual event that celebrates community and all are welcome.”

The society promotes North Carolina heritage and culture through support of folklore practitioners and professionals, with recognition through publications and awards. The 2015 conference is sponsored by WCU’s Cherokee Studies program, Hunter Library and Mountain Heritage Center; Jackson County Arts Council; Cullowhee Revitalization Endeavor; and City Lights Bookstore. Program and registration information can be found at

By Geoff Cantrell

New Talent Management System to launch in October

Western Carolina University’s Human Resources and Payroll Office is preparing to launch a major upgrade to its Online Talent Management System, which will streamline the hiring process for both hiring managers and job applicants.

“The new Talent Management site will improve the user experience for people who apply for positions at Western Carolina University, as well as streamline business processes for those who manage the hiring process,” said Cory Causby, associate vice chancellor for human resources and payroll.

The first phase of the new Talent Management site will go live for all position types Monday, Oct. 5. At that time, all new positions will be posted in the new system. The new site also complements several of WCU’s strategic initiatives, Causby said. “The upgrade will make our search, hiring and position management processes more efficient and effective and will replace several manual, paper-intensive processes that are currently in place,” he said.

The Office of Human Resources and Payroll is working with key stakeholders throughout the university to prepare for the launch and is currently offering training and general information sessions for faculty and staff who will use the system. Training is available through face-to-face sessions or online tutorials.

For more information on the new Talent Management system, visit or call 828-227-7218.

Award-winning interior designer Cynthia Leibrock to speak at WCU

Cynthia Leibrock, an award-winning author and interior designer, will deliver a public lecture titled “Residential Design for Health and Longevity” during a visit on the Western Carolina University campus.

Cynthia Leibrock

Cynthia Leibrock

Leibrock will speak at 5 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 1, in Room 130 of the John W. Bardo Fine and Performing Arts Center. The presentation will be followed by a book signing for her newest work, “Design Details for Health: Making the Most of Design’s Healing Potential.”

Leibrock also will lecture for interior design classes during her four-day visit in WCU’s School of Art and Design.

Leibrock has said her mission is to increase health and longevity through better design of interior spaces. She is the founder of Easy Access to Health, a firm in Livermore, Colorado, that offers consulting services in patient-centered design, planning for independent living, product analysis and judiciary witness services. Some of her projects have involved the Betty Ford Center, the UCLA Medical Center, a universal design exhibit for the Smithsonian done in collaboration with Julia Child, and special design of the interiors of Toyota automobiles.

For more information about Leibrock’s visit to WCU and public lecture, contact Erin Adams, associate professor and coordinator of WCU’s Interior Design Program, at

By Randall Holcombe

CAPS Cab provides students with a fun way to learn about counseling services

With the popular television game show “Cash Cab” no longer in production, Western Carolina University’s Office of Counseling and Psychological Services has found a way to bring its version to campus.

WCU students hunt for phages through course funded by Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Western Carolina University student Sean Kent didn’t pick the course, but when he saw he was registered for it, the name “Phage Hunters” immediately got his attention.

Former WCU economist Stephen Miller to take part in discussion on morality, free market

Former Western Carolina University associate professor of economics Stephen Miller will return to campus Monday, Oct. 5, to take part in a discussion about morality, big business and economic inequality as part of WCU’s Free Enterprise Speaker Series.

Harris completes ‘Biking for Biology’ ride of 144 miles

Darby Harris, a lecturer in WCU’s Department of Biology, completed the inaugural “Biking for Biology” project Saturday, Sept. 19, with a ride on his road bike totaling 144 miles.

Harris had pledged to ride one mile for every $5 donated to the Biology Club by Friday, Sept. 18. With $710 in donations, his mission on Sept. 19 was to ride 142 miles. He did that, plus two bonus miles.

Harris’ route took him from the WCU campus to Balsam, and north on the Blue Ridge Parkway. He finished the ride in the Linville Falls area.

Darby Harris prepares for the ride.

Darby Harris prepares for the ride.

WCU’s Mainstage theater season opening with ‘Pop! Who Shot Andy Warhol?’

The Mainstage theater season of Western Carolina University’s School of Stage and Screen opens Thursday, Oct. 1, with the college campus premiere of the new high-energy musical comedy-mystery “Pop! Who Shot Andy Warhol?”

Everyone’s a suspect in the musical comedy-mystery “Pop! Who Shot Andy Warhol?” – including Warhol (played by Michael Gallagher) and his “Superstar” friend Candy Darling (played by Alex Drost).

Everyone’s a suspect in the musical comedy-mystery “Pop! Who Shot Andy Warhol?” – including Warhol (played by Michael Gallagher) and his “Superstar” friend Candy Darling (played by Alex Drost).

Performances are scheduled at WCU’s Hoey Auditorium at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 1 through Saturday, Oct. 3, with a special 3 p.m. matinee on Oct. 3.

With book and lyrics by Maggie-Kate Coleman and music by Anna K. Jacobs, “Pop!” takes the audience back to June 3, 1968, when pop artist and cultural icon Andy Warhol was shot in his Manhattan studio, a place known as the “Silver Factory.” The musical explores Warhol’s relationships with his posse of “Superstars” – historical figures such as socialite Edie Sedgwick and ultra-feminist Valerie Solanas.

The actors portray Warhol’s Superstars, as well as a host of other roles ranging from life-sized dolls to expressionist painters. Every character in the production is a suspect in the shooting – even Warhol. The show’s popular music and outrageous lyrics are punctuated by the sound of a gun.

Michael Gallagher, a senior acting major from Morrisville, will portray Warhol. Other cast members, all musical theatre majors, are Alex Drost, a senior from Blairsville, Georgia, as Candy Darling; Kylee Verhoff, a junior from Jacksonville, as Edie Sedgwick; Samantha Alicandri, a senior from Weehawken, New Jersey, as Viva; Iliana Garcia, a junior from Newnan, Georgia, as Valerie Solanas; Logan Marks, a junior from Mansfield, Massachusetts, as Gerard Malanga; and Benjamin Sears, a sophomore from Waynesville, as Ondine.

“Pop!” is directed by Claire Eye, and music director is Katya Stanislavskaya. Others contributing to the production are John Scacchetti, choreography; Dustin Whitehead, fight choreography; Andrew Mannion, set design; and Susan Brown-Strauss, costume design.

The show includes adult language and content and is not suitable for young audiences.

Tickets are $21 for adults; $16 for senior citizens and WCU faculty and staff; and $10 on the day of the show ($7 in advance) for students. Tickets are available by contacting the box office of the John W. Bardo Fine and Performing Arts Center at 828-227-2479 or online at

By Randall Holcombe

Paddlers win honors at Old Cullowhee Canoe Slalom

Local paddlers gathered on the banks of the Tuckaseigee River on the back side of the Western Carolina University campus Saturday, Sept. 12, to compete at the sixth annual Old Cullowhee Canoe Slalom.

The Bobilya family – Kirsten, Anika, Lilyanne and Andrew – glide to a first-place finish in the “parents/kids” category at the Old Cullowhee Canoe Slalom. (Photo courtesy of Debby Singleton)

The Bobilya family – Kirsten, Anika, Lilyanne and Andrew – glide to a first-place finish in the “parents/kids” category at the Old Cullowhee Canoe Slalom. (Photo courtesy of Debby Singleton)

Proceeds from the race will benefit the Parks and Recreation Management Club and the PRM Scholarship Fund. With 90 individual race registrations, this year’s slalom was the biggest one so far, said Maurice Phipps, WCU professor of parks and recreation management.

“Thanks go out to the parks and recreation management majors for organizing the event with WCU’s Base Camp Cullowhee,” Phipps said. “We also want to thank John Prentice and Sam Hopkins for the use of their land and WCU’s Center for Service Learning for their volunteers, plus everyone else who volunteered with course erection, planning, judging, timekeeping and number-crunching, enabling everyone to have a great time.”

The event was held at the site of a proposed river park. A party was held after the race at Tucks Tap and Grille with a fundraiser for the park organized by the Cullowhee Revitalization Endeavor organization.

The family-friendly paddling competition was held on a calm section of the river. Nine gates were set up for paddlers to compete for the best times. Paddlers with winning times are:

Open touring canoe: First, Todd and Griffin Murdock; second, J.P. Gannon and Trip Krenz; third, Joshua Gross and Lucind Ramsey.

Parents/kids: First, Andrew, Kirsten, Lilyanne and Anika Bobilya; second, Mike and Angus Despeaux; third, Justin, Ellie and Alexander Padgett.

Men’s single racing kayak: First, Erick Bartl; second, Mark Singleton; third, Mike Despeaux.

Men’s single kayak: First, Michael Ferraro; second, Fian McCabe; third, Maurice Phipps.

Women’s single kayak: First, Annie Bartl; second, Skyler Singleton; third, Elizabeth Munns.

Single open canoe: First, Sam Fowlkes; second, Tim Carstens.

Stand-up paddle board: First, Mark Singleton; second, Erick Bartl; third, Debby Singleton.

By Randall Holcombe

Two WCU parks and recreation management majors, Alex Church (left) and Alex Koerner, compete in the “open touring canoe” category at the Old Cullowhee Canoe Slalom. (Photo courtesy of Debby Singleton)

Two WCU parks and recreation management majors, Alex Church (left) and Alex Koerner, compete in the “open touring canoe” category at the Old Cullowhee Canoe Slalom. (Photo courtesy of Debby Singleton)

WCU’s Laura Wright authors ‘The Vegan Studies Project’

Laura Wright, head of the Department of English at Western Carolina University, is author of the newly published book “The Vegan Studies Project: Food, Animals and Gender in the Age of Terror.”

Laura Wright

Laura Wright

Published by the University of Georgia Press, the book is billed as “the foundational text for the nascent field of vegan studies.”

In her book, Wright examines the social and cultural discourses shaping society’s perceptions of veganism as an identity category and social practice. She discusses the frequent intersection of veganism and animal rights, and focuses on the depiction of the vegan body – both male and female – in contemporary works of literature, pop culture, advertising and new media, especially in light of what she terms “post-9/11 anxieties over American strength and virility.”

Wright said that her book is her attempt to explore, understand and challenge society’s notions of the culturally loaded term “vegan.”

“My hope is that this project helps place veganism within a social and historical context that will allow for a greater understanding of its increasing impact – in whatever form that impact may take,” she said.

Wright will discuss her book at 1 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 11, at City Lights Bookstore in Sylva. She also will be joined by Carol Adams, author of “The Sexual Politics of Meat” and of the forward in Wright’s book, for a discussion at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 6, at Malaprop’s in Asheville.

A faculty member at WCU since 2005, Wright specializes in postcolonial literatures and theory, ecocriticism and animal studies. Her publications include “Writing Out of All the Camps: J. M. Coetzee’s Narratives of Displacement” and “Wilderness into Civilized Shapes: Reading the Postcolonial Environment.”

Bent Frequency Duo bringing sax, percussion performance to WCU

The Western Carolina University School of Music will host a recital by the Bent Frequency Duo on Sunday, Sept. 27, beginning at 7:30 p.m. in the recital hall of the Coulter Building.

Bent Frequency Duo is Jan Baker (left) on saxophone and Stuart Gerber on percussion.

Bent Frequency Duo is Jan Baker (left) on saxophone and Stuart Gerber on percussion.

With Stuart Gerber on percussion and Jan Baker on saxophone, the new music duo will perform six commissioned works, including Engebretson’s “Oceans of Brightly Colored Broken Glass,” as well as Laurie Anderson’s “From the Air.” The concert is free and open to the public.

Gerber and Baker, both on the faculty of the School of Music at Georgia State University in Atlanta, formed the duo as a subset project to their larger new music chamber ensemble, Bent Frequency. They currently are on tour in the East, with scheduled concerts in North Carolina and South Carolina this fall, and Pennsylvania and New York in the spring. They will perform in France in January, including premieres of works by Laurent Durupt, commissioned by a grant from the French American Cultural Exchange.

The duo has premiered nearly 20 new works since 2013 and is recording an album, with a first CD to be available next year.

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

By Marlon W. Morgan

WCU drum line has memorable experience at Panthers game

As part of the team’s slogan “Two States. One Team,” the NFL’s Carolina Panthers decided to have a drum line from a North Carolina university and one from South Carolina perform at halftime with the team’s own drum line, Purrcussion, at Sunday’s home opener against Houston.

Facilities Management crew makes sure Mountain Heritage Day stays ‘well-grounded’

Roger Turk and his grounds staff from the Department of Facilities Management have been busy preparing for what he regards as one of the two biggest campus events each year.

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Commencement 2017
Commencement 2017


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