Archive for October 7th, 2015

Energy efficiency article by WCU team to be published

Several faculty members in the WCU Department of Engineering and Technology have co-written an article to be published in the January edition of the Encyclopedia of Energy Engineering and Technology by Taylor and Francis Group.


Bora Karayaka, assistant professor; Martin Tanaka, assistant professor and graduate program director; and Aaron Ball, professor, teamed up with a recent Master of Science in Technology graduate from WCU, Lee T. Holland, to author “Power Systems: Thermal Load Characterization and Regulation.”

The article details experiments designed to compare the performance of a traditional on-off thermostat controller with a device providing smoother temperature control in order to improve both comfort in enclosed spaces and the use of electrical energy from the utility.

By Keith Brenton

Costa named GSU scholar, delivers lecture

James Costa, biology professor and director of the Highlands Biological Station, delivered a lecture Monday, Sept. 28, at Georgia Southern University as part of the honor of being named GSU’s 25th Joseph LeConte Scholar.

Jim Costa

Jim Costa

“Indefatigable Naturalists: Wallace and Darwin on the Evolutionary Trail” shared insights from Costa’s research specialty, the pursuit of evolution theory investigators Charles Darwin and the less known Alfred Russel Wallace.

The LeConte Scholars Program is the oldest endowed visiting scholars program at Georgia Southern and is named for Joseph LeConte, a naturalist and scholar who was born and raised near where the University is now located.

Kossick shares three lectures at Kentucky conference

Mark A. Kossick, WCU professor of nursing and graduate anesthesia simulation education coordinator, presented three lectures on Saturday, Sept. 26, at the 2015 Kentucky Association of Nurse Anesthetists Fall Meeting, held in Lexington.  His lectures were titled “Diagnostic Criteria for Atrial Fibrillation and Current Treatment Strategies,” “Diagnostic Criteria and Clinical Implications for Conduction Defects” and “Practice 12 Lead EKGs and EKG Rhythm Strips.”

Professor presents pine tree research

David Butcher, analytical chemistry professor in WCU’s Department of Chemistry and Physics, presented research at SciX 2015 in Providence, Rhode Island, on Tuesday, Sept. 29.

David Butcher

David Butcher

SciX, short for “the great scientific exchange,” is a national conference sponsored by the Federation of Analytical Chemistry and Spectroscopy Societies.

The presented research, completed with May graduate in forensic science Alyssa Bailey, was titled “Determination of Calcium, Magnesium, and Aluminum in Pine from the Southern Appalachians.” It is part of a larger, continuing study of conifers in the region.

The presentation reported the determination of calcium, magnesium, and aluminum in pine foliage and surrounding soil from Jackson County.

“Conifers have been affected by acidic deposition at various locations throughout the world,” the abstract for the research explained. “Their proposed mechanism for conifer decline by acidic deposition involves decreased availability of the essential minerals calcium and magnesium, accompanied by increased exposure to aluminum, a toxic mineral.”

Butcher and Bailey also presented their research, “Incorporation of the Synthesis of Benzil into the General Chemisty Curriculum” at SciX in 2014.

— Contributed information

Crosson named assistant vice chancellor for budgets, financial planning, analysis

Kristen Crosson, formerly director of budgets and financial planning at Western Carolina University, is now serving as assistant vice chancellor for budgets, financial planning and analysis.

Kristen Crosson

Kristen Crosson

The change is part of a restructuring of the university’s Division of Administration and Finance announced by its vice chancellor, Mike Byers.

The restructuring includes the elimination of an associate vice chancellor position earlier this year, and represents the first step in the redistribution of duties to existing personnel within the division, Byers said.

“Kristen has made a huge difference at WCU, leveraging her experience at the North Carolina Office of State Budget and Management and at the University of North Carolina General Administration,” he said. “As WCU continues to navigate the changing environment in higher education, Kristen’s expertise now will be used in greater ways in the area of analysis and financial modeling.”

Crosson joined the university staff in the spring of 2013 as no stranger to WCU. She had worked with WCU personnel for a decade through her service as assistant vice president of finance for UNC General Administration and through her work as a budget and capital analyst with the Office of State Budget and Management.

“Since my arrival at WCU, I have been grateful to have the support of my chief financial officers, the phenomenal budget office staff, the Division of Administration and Finance, and all of campus to assist us in achieving goals of the ‘2020 Vision’ Strategic Plan and mission of service,” Crosson said. “I greatly appreciate the formal and informal professional development opportunities that have enabled me to expand my professional and personal knowledge on many aspects of higher education administration.”

She holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and a master’s degree in public administration, both from North Carolina State University. She has lived in North Carolina since 1994 and is originally from Bechtelsville, Pennsylvania, in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains.

By Bill Studenc

WCU announces development, alumni relations leadership change

Jim Miller, associate vice chancellor for development and alumni relations at Western Carolina University, will be stepping down as director of the university’s fund- and friend-raising unit effective Dec. 31.

Miller, who initially came to WCU to lead the university’s development office in 2003, informed his staff on Monday, Oct. 5, that he would be resigning from his position at the end of the calendar year in order to move closer to family members in the Raleigh area.

Miller said he has come to the conclusion that an upcoming comprehensive fundraising campaign currently in the early stages would require an additional obligation of time that does not mesh with his and wife Tara’s personal plans to return to family.

“While the emerging comprehensive fundraising campaign represents a significant professional and personal opportunity to help strengthen the future of Western Carolina University, it also would require a six-plus year commitment to see it through,” he said. “That is a timeline Tara and I simply cannot accommodate in light of our desire to assist Tara’s aging parents and be part of our grandchildren’s lives.”

A national search for the next leader of development and alumni relations will get underway as soon as possible. During the transition, WCU Chancellor David O. Belcher has assigned temporary administrative oversight of the Office of Development and Alumni Affairs to Provost Alison Morrison-Shetlar.

“Jim Miller played a significant role in the successful completion of one campaign at WCU and he will be leaving the university well-positioned for success in the upcoming campaign, one that will focus on increasing the number of endowed scholarship holdings to help ensure access to higher education for all capable students,” Belcher said.

Over the last two fiscal years, the university has increased its fundraising totals through the WCU Foundation by 29 percent and 25 percent, respectively, and alumni participation rates have increased.

The university has added 126 endowed scholarships since Belcher’s installation address of March 2012, when he identified raising money for student scholarships as WCU’s top philanthropic priority.

Miller came to WCU as associate vice chancellor for development in the spring of 2003. His career in professional fundraising began with United Way of Wake County and United Way of North Carolina, followed by 13 years in institutional advancement positions at Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Zombie Run 5-K scheduled for Oct. 31 at WCU

The Western Carolina University Student Physical Therapy Association will host the second annual Zombie Run 5-K Chase Race at 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 31.

The event will begin at a site near the WCU softball stadium.

Each runner will receive flags to wear during the race that zombies along the course will try to steal. Runners who make it to the finish line with at least one flag will be considered “Zombie Apocalypse Survivors.”

Registration is $20 before the race and $25 on race day. Those who register by Thursday, Oct. 15, are guaranteed a race T-shirt. Proceeds will be used to support physical therapy services for the community and research in that field.

Packet pickup and race day registration will be held from 2 to 3:30 p.m. on Oct. 31.

Registration is available online by visiting and searching for “Zombie Run 5K Chase Race.”

By Randall Holcombe

Reporter to feature weekly proverb from Africa

In support of Western Carolina’s interdisciplinary learning theme for 2015-16 and 2016-17, “Africa! More Than a Continent,” The Reporter will publish a graphic each week featuring a proverb with its beginnings in that continent’s cultures.

A sample of the proverbs that will be featured.

A sample of the proverbs that will be featured.

Contributed by Kofi Lomotey, Bardo Distinguished Professor in Educational Leadership, the proverbs typify the wisdom and wit of many nations in Africa and each will be credited when possible to the nation of its origin.

“In Africa, proverbs are pearls of wisdom interspersed in speech,” said Lomotey, a frequent visitor to Africa. “They are used so regularly that they are often used unconsciously. They are considered critical in making a winning argument; they encapsulate a point being made. In Africa, proverbs make arguments more smooth, palatable and convincing. They reflect the long experience of Africans – personified by sages who composed them as a reflection of their peoples’ wisdom – and are, accordingly, quite persuasive. They represent a gift from the African ancestors reflecting ancient and contemporary wisdom.”

The proverb graphic is in the lower part of the right-hand column on the Reporter web pages. Clicking on the graphic will take the viewer to a page on the WCU website describing the theme, part of the ongoing Intentional Learning Plan created with the 2007 iteration of the Quality Enhancement Plan.

WCU community to celebrate Homecoming 2015 with activities Oct. 21-25

“Purple on the Prowl!” will be the theme as the Western Carolina University community comes together to celebrate Homecoming 2015, with major public events planned over a five-day period – Wednesday, Oct. 21, through Sunday, Oct. 25.

Events include comedy and country music shows featuring nationally known performers, a golf tournament, the traditional parade down Main Street in Sylva, a performance by WCU’s Inspirational Choir, and a football game pitting the Catamounts against the Samford Bulldogs.

Scheduled for Oct. 21 is a Homecoming Comedy Show featuring Colin Jost, one of the stars of NBC’s iconic “Saturday Night Live.” Jost, who is currently SNL’s “Weekend Update” host, will be joined by comedians Jose Barrientos, Chloe Hilliard and Kevin Yee. The show begins at 7:30 p.m. in the John W. Bardo Fine and Performing Arts Center. Student tickets, free with a valid Cat Card, are available at the information desk of A.K. Hinds University Center. General admission tickets are $10 and can be purchased at or 828-227-2479.

Activities set for Thursday, Oct. 22, include the “Last Lecture” delivered by Vicki Szabo, WCU associate professor of history, at 4 p.m. in the theater of the University Center. The annual event honors a WCU faculty member who has been recognized by students for teaching with great passion and enthusiasm. Szabo will address the topic “Scholars, Warriors, Cowards and Fools: Fear and Learning from Rome to Raleigh.”

The WCU cheerleaders lead the team onto the field at E.J. Whitmire Stadium during the 2014 Homecoming football game.

The WCU cheerleaders lead the team onto the field at E.J. Whitmire Stadium during the 2014 Homecoming football game.

A Homecoming concert featuring rising country star Hunter Hayes will begin at 8 p.m. Oct. 22 at Ramsey Regional Activity Center. Hayes is a four-time Grammy nominee and was named New Artist of the Year in 2012 by the Country Music Association. Advance tickets are $20 for WCU students and $25 for all others, and all tickets are $25 on the day of the show. Tickets are available at or by calling 828-227-7722.

Events on Friday, Oct. 23, begin with the annual Alumni Scholarship Homecoming Golf Tournament at 11 a.m. at Maggie Valley Golf Club. The cost of $100 per person includes golf, one mulligan and two raffle tickets. RSVPs are required by Friday, Oct. 16, to WCU’s Office of Alumni Affairs at 877-440-9990 or 828-227-7335, or by emailing

Also on Oct. 23, WCU’s Homecoming Parade will begin at 6:15 p.m. in downtown Sylva. University alumni, students, faculty, staff and friends are invited to cheer as community and student floats, Catamount cheerleaders, the Homecoming Court and the Pride of the Mountains Marching Band march and roll down Main Street.

Activities on Saturday, Oct. 24, will begin with the Chancellor’s Brunch and Alumni Awards Ceremony at 10 a.m. in the Grandroom of A.K. Hinds University Center. Honorees are Teresa Williams, former chair of the WCU Board of Trustees, Distinguished Service Award; Keith Ramsey, professor of medicine at East Carolina University’s Brody School of Medicine, Academic Achievement Award; Michell Hicks, former principal chief of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, Professional Achievement Award; and Brandon Robinson, an attorney in Durham, Young Alumnus Award. The cost is $15 per person and business attire is requested. RSVP by Oct. 16 by calling the Office of Alumni Affairs or by emailing

Football tailgating will begin at noon Oct. 24, and Catamount fans will gather at E.J. Whitmire Stadium at 3:30 p.m. for the Homecoming game versus Samford. Halftime activities will include recognition of the Homecoming award winners and court, plus an announcement of this year’s Homecoming king and queen. Tickets to the game are available from the WCU athletics ticket office at 800-344-6928.

Postgame activities will include the African-American Alumni Reception at 6:30 p.m. in the Peele, Westmoreland Suhre, Hartshorn Hospitality Room at the Ramsey Center. RSVP by Oct. 16 by calling the Office of Alumni Affairs or emailing

Homecoming 2015 activities will conclude Oct. 25 with the WCU women’s soccer team’s match versus Samford at 2 p.m. at the Catamount Athletic Complex and a concert by WCU’s Inspirational Choir in the University Center Grandroom at 3 p.m.

For more information and a complete schedule of Homecoming events, check out the website or contact WCU’s Alumni Affairs office.

By Randall Holcombe

‘English on the Ides’ discussion series continues Sunday

The “English on the Ides” discussion series sponsored by Western Carolina University’s Department of English and City Lights Bookstore in Sylva will continue Sunday, Oct. 11, with a talk presented by Laura Wright, associate professor and head of the department.

Wright is the author of a new book, “The Vegan Studies Project.” She said her presentation, titled “Veganism and the Rhetoric of Terror: How 9/11 Shaped the Way We Eat,” will include a discussion about how the book came about. “I will focus in particular on the way that, as I wrote the book, I realized that the only reason I could conceive of something called ‘vegan studies’ was, sadly, because of 9/11,” she said.

All events in the “English on the Ides” series are held at 1 p.m. Sundays at the bookstore.

The series will conclude Oct. 25 with English professor Annette Debo presenting “Poets are Lyric Historians: The Necessary Past for African-American Poets.”

For more information about the series, contact Paul Worley at or the bookstore at

By Randall Holcombe

Association of retired WCU faculty, staff to meet Oct. 13

The Western Carolina University Association of Retired Faculty and Staff will meet on campus in the Ramsey Regional Activity Center on Tuesday, Oct. 13.

Speakers for the event will be Russ Townsend and Tyler Howe of the Cherokee Ambassadors. Townsend and Howe will discuss the history of Cullowhee Valley when it was part of the Cherokee Nation.

Event registration begins on the concourse of the Ramsey Center at 10 a.m. and will be followed by a social at 10:30 a.m., a business meeting at 11:20 a.m., a Dutch treat luncheon at 11:30 a.m., and presentations from the speakers at noon.

The association formed in 2013 when more than 125 retired WCU faculty and staff members and their spouses, partners and friends traveled from North Carolina, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia to participate in the first meeting. Subsequent meetings have attracted about 100 attendees, and the October meeting will mark the group’s sixth gathering.

“We want to encourage outreach to all WCU retired faculty and staff,” said Fred Hinson, past-president of the association and former senior associate vice chancellor for academic affairs. “Our goal is to serve the retired faculty and staff of the university, wherever they may be, and to build a sense of community.”

Curtis Wood, current president and emeritus professor of history, said the association “has an important role in maintaining connections.”

Membership is open to retired WCU faculty and staff and their spouses and partners. Annual association dues are $10 per person or couple.

Registration for the October meeting is requested by Wednesday, Oct. 7, and the cost for the luncheon, gratuities and reception is $18 per person.

For more information, contact Curtis Wood at 828-293-5377; Fred Hinson at 828-293-5620; or Gordon Mercer at 828-369-2693.

Nominations sought for Board of Governors Award

Nominations for the University of North Carolina Board of Governors Award for Excellence in Teaching are being accepted through 5 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 20.

The award, presented annually to one faculty member on each UNC campus, was created in 1994 to encourage and recognize excellence in teaching. Recipients must have been employed at WCU for at least seven years; must be tenured and teaching in the academic year selected; cannot be a previous winner of the Board of Governors Award; and cannot be a winner of WCU’s Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award in the same year.

The electronic nomination form is available online.

For more information or to receive a copy of the complete award information, contact Laura Cruz, director of Coulter Faculty Commons, at or 828-227-2092.

Students to rally for social justice at 20th anniversary of Million Man March

When O’Shay Massey, a Western Carolina University senior from Milwaukee, learned of the opportunity to attend the 20th anniversary of the Million Man March in Washington, D.C., she didn’t hesitate reserving a spot on the bus. It was an opportunity she couldn’t pass up.

New director Ward sees ICA as a place for all to gather

Growing up in a single-parent household in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Kham Ward was what many would consider a good kid. He was taught to always be respectful and he excelled in school with a GPA a shade under 4.0.

Runners ready for Mountain Jug Run for Research this weekend

The eighth annual Mountain Jug Run for Research will go on this weekend as planned, while the future for this Western Carolina University to Appalachian State University relay is pending.

Steep Canyon Rangers bringing songs from top-selling album ‘Radio’ to campus

Western North Carolina’s own Steep Canyon Rangers will be performing songs from their new top-selling album “Radio” when they come to Western Carolina University on Monday, Oct. 19, to present a membership drive concert for WCU’s Friends of the Arts.

Center for Service Learning to hold barefoot walk-a-thon

Western Carolina University will hold a walk-a-thon unlike most others on Monday, Oct. 19, beginning at 7:30 p.m. at the Catamount Athletic Complex ― participants will go barefoot.

Categories | The Reporter

Photos | WCU News Services

Commencement 2017
Commencement 2017


Africa! More Than A Continent