Archive for October 21st, 2015

New director of advising Bulluck finds friendly faces on campus

Having been on Western Carolina University’s campus less than two months, new director of advising Travis Bulluck is still getting accustomed to being at a new school with new policies and new faces.

History department’s Szabo to deliver ‘Last Lecture’ on Thursday

Vicki Szabo, Western Carolina University associate professor of history, will speak on the topic “Scholars, Warriors, Cowards and Fools: Fear and Learning from Rome to Raleigh” as she presents the university’s annual “Last Lecture” on Thursday, Oct. 22.

Mountain Heritage Center, WCU faculty honored by North Carolina Folklore Society

Western Carolina University faculty members and the Mountain Heritage Center received prestigious awards from the North Carolina Folklore Society, while local residents with ties to WCU also garnered recognition.

Hunter Library joins forces with county library to help celebrate National Novel Writing Month

Western Carolina University’s Hunter Library and the Jackson County Public Library are partnering to celebrate November’s National Novel Writing Month.

WCU Foundation receives North Carolina GlaxoSmithKline Foundation grant to support math teachers across region, state

The Western Carolina University Foundation is the recipient of a $200,000 grant from the North Carolina GlaxoSmithKline Foundation that will be used to support the Smoky Mountain Math Teachers’ Circle, a professional development organization for math teachers in Western North Carolina, and to create a network of the organizations statewide.

WCU, Harris and Swain hospitals announce Ascent Partnership

Leaders of Western Carolina University and Harris Regional Hospital and Swain Community Hospital on Tuesday, Oct. 20, announced the expansion and formalization of a partnership focused on ensuring access to quality health care in North Carolina’s westernmost counties.

Homecoming activities continue through Sunday

“Purple on the Prowl!” is the theme as the Western Carolina University community celebrates Homecoming 2015 with a full slate of activities through Sunday, Oct. 25.

Comedy show to feature SNL ‘anchor’ tonight

Comedian Jose Barrientos will host a comedy show as part of the Homecoming activities at Western Carolina University at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 21, at the John W. Bardo Fine and Performing Arts Center.

Colin Jost

Colin Jost

Headlining the event will be Colin Jost, the new “anchor” for the “Weekend Update” segment of television’s weekly “Saturday Night Live.” Jost succeeds a host of famous comedic journalists narrating the headline-skewering routine, including former head writers Tina Fey and Seth Meyers.

Chloe Hilliard, a journalist-turned-comedian, and songwriter-satirist Kevin Yee fill out the bill of performers for the event.

Staten Island-born Jost was hired as an SNL writer at age 22 in 2005 and became co-anchor of “Weekend Update” in 2013, replacing Meyers in March of this year. As a stand-up comedian, he has appeared on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” and on programs aired by TBS and HBO. Jost claims inspiration from former sequence anchor Norm McDonald, whom he watched in the role while in high school.

Brooklyn’s Hilliard grew up in a large Hasidic Jewish neighborhood and spent much of her early career writing about culture and entertainment for periodicals such as “The Village Voice,” “Essence” and “Vibe” – the last for which she also served as managing editor and social media manager. She made her national TV debut on NBC’s “Last Comic Standing” and has appeared on AXSTV’s “Gotham Comedy Live.”

Yee describes himself as a “recovering Broadway chorus boy” with performing credits in “Mary Poppins,” a Toronto production of “Mama Mia,” Quincy Jones’ boy band Youth Asylum, and short films like “Foreign Exchange” and “The Legend of the Black Dragon.” A native of Vancouver, the choreographer/songwriter has brought his satirical verses to the stage at a number of comedy festivals and productions, including Second City.

Some comedic moments may not be appropriate for children.

WCU students with ID will be admitted free, and general admission tickets for others are $10 and are available through the box office link at

By Keith Brenton

‘Shield and Spear’ documentary about South African art to screen Oct. 26

Western Carolina University’s Arts and Cultural Events Series will host a screening of the documentary “Shield and Spear” at 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 26, in the theater of A.K. Hinds University Center.

Poster for 'Shield and Spear'

Poster for ‘Shield and Spear’

Following the screening, a reception with filmmaker Petter Ringbom will give audience members as opportunity to discuss the topic and ask questions about the movie.

Admission is free, though some language and situations may not be appropriate for children.

“Shield and Spear” explores stories about identity, art, race and freedom of expression in South Africa, 20 years into democracy. One of the conflicts depicted is the aftermath of an artist painting a caricature of South African president Jacob Zuma, which provoked a lawsuit, death threats and a massive street protest.

The film showing is part of the Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers. An initiative created by South Arts, the tour showcases independent films across the South and engages audiences in post-screening discussions. Learn more about the film at

For more information about the screening, visit or contact Francis Ann Ortiz-Pineda at 828-227-2612.

By Keith Brenton

State Employees Combined Campaign officials say ‘Thanks a hundred million!’

The State Employees Combined Campaign recently topped $100 million in donations from all state employees since its inception in 1986. The campaign, which started at WCU on Wednesday, Sept. 23, is the only off-campus workplace campaign authorized for state employees, enabling all state employees to support any of approximately 1,000 eligible charitable causes to offer help to those in need.

From left, Joyce Carpenter, Tammy Allman and Dana Boyer have been keeping track while the SECC thermometer inches upward. Carpenter is an administrative associate in the Office of Development and Alumni Affairs, which oversees the campaign, while Allman is campaign chair and Boyer is vice-chair.

From left, Joyce Carpenter, Tammy Allman and Dana Boyer have been keeping track while the SECC thermometer inches upward. Carpenter is an administrative associate in the Office of Development and Alumni Affairs, which oversees the campaign, while Allman is campaign chair and Boyer is vice-chair.

WCU community members can give to their favorite charities through the annual SECC through Friday, Nov. 6.

“The SECC brings together the giving power of all state employees, and together we can make a huge difference,” said Tammy Allman, business officer for the College of Arts and Sciences and WCU’s 2015 SECC chair. “At a charity fair, one particular nonprofit mentioned that for each dollar they receive, they are able to turn it into $17 worth of service. So, no matter the amount, your donation will help. If you have not yet returned your pledge form or responded to the ePledge email, please consider doing so. Every donation – every dollar – will make a difference for someone, or a pet, or the environment – or wherever your passion lies.”

The WCU community has donated over $11,000 as of October 12 toward the university’s goal of $35,000. Team captains are encouraging faculty and staff who have not yet returned pledge forms to do so. Contributions by permanent employees can be made by payroll deduction, and all employees, retirees and students may contribute by check or cash. All contributions are tax deductible.

Employees who have not received SECC giving guides and pledge forms are encouraged to contact their Team captain.

“Thank you in advance for your consideration to the 2015 State Employees Combined Campaign. Your help is critical and greatly appreciated,” Allman said.

For more information, WCU employees should visit or contact their team captain or Allman at or 828-227-3874.

Advising Day, Oct. 27, opens registration for spring semester

Advising Day on Tuesday, Oct. 27, will provide Western Carolina University students the opportunity to plan their next classes with representatives of the academic departments. It is the beginning of the official advising and registration period for the spring 2016 semester.

No classes will be held that day.

“Some departments have students schedule individual appointments with their faculty adviser throughout the day,” said Travis Bulluck, director of academic advising. “Some hold group advising sessions and others host informal social gatherings.

“Students can meet with their primary adviser at any point during the advising and registration period to plan for next semester’s classes and to get their alt PIN that’s required for registration,” Bulluck said. “However, they are strongly encouraged to attend the activities their academic department may have scheduled on Advising Day.”

Departmental events and instructions are posted on the Advising Day webpage (

By Keith Brenton

Base Camp Cullowhee receives grant for Tuckaseigee River Cleanup

Base Camp Cullowhee has received a $1,250 grant to assist with its annual efforts to clean up the Tuckaseigee River.

BCC, Western Carolina University’s outdoor programming organization, was one of two recipients of the 2015 Clif Bar Flowing Rivers Campaign, which is awarded by American Whitewater. The grant will provide support to increase the volunteer base for BCC’s 32nd annual Tuck River Cleanup. The Tuck River Cleanup is the nation’s largest one-day river cleanup with about 1,000 volunteers removing 3-5 tons of garbage from 27 miles of the Tuckaseigee River.

Participation in the event has doubled in the last six years and continues to increase as interest in the river has grown thanks to the addition of many river access improvements due to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission relicensing agreement with Duke Energy.

The cleanup with be April 16. For more information, call BCC at 828-227-8813 or email

By Marlon W. Morgan

Speaker to share information on new proto-human discovery

Zachary Throckmorton, assistant professor of anatomy at Lincoln Memorial University, will share a presentation titled “Hello, Homo Naledi!” Wednesday, Oct. 21, at 7 p.m. in a gathering room at City Lights Bookstore in Sylva.

Zachary Throckmorton

Zachary Throckmorton

The presentation about the extinct primate species Homo naledi, discovered in 2013, is sponsored by the Department of Biology and the Department of Anthropology and Sociology at Western Carolina University.

Throckmorton, who is also Rising Star Associate at the University of Witwatersrand’s Evolutionary Studies Institute in South Africa, is a researcher in homonin foot and ankle evolution with an interest in anatomical variation and evolution.

He spoke earlier on campus on the topic “Homo Naledi Strides Again: Deliberate Disposal of a Dated Dichotomy.”

For more information about the presentations, contact Peter Nieckarz at 227-3837 or Nicholas Passalacqua at 227-2306.

By Keith Brenton

Entrepreneurship video series now available online

A series of videos featuring presentations given by outstanding regional entrepreneurs at the ongoing Successful Entrepreneurship colloquium can be viewed online.

The free 11-week program, designed to educate and inspire local entrepreneurs, is offered through a partnership between Western Carolina University’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation and Serrus Capital Partners of Greenville, South Carolina. Class attendance was limited to 75 when the series began Saturday, Aug. 25, but the video recordings make the presentations available conveniently to a wider audience.

Speakers whose presentations have been made available include Dale Freudenberger, Sharon Day, Leighton Cubbage, Tom Finger, Justin Belleme, Laura Bratton, Oscar Wong, Phil Drake, Steve Mudge, Sutton Bacon, Ken Hughes and Curtis Harper.

More videos will be added to the playlist after the Nov. 3, 10 and 17 classes.

By Keith Brenton

Service Learning sponsors activities to benefit Samaritan’s Feet, South Carolina flood victims

WCU’s Center for Service Learning organized two activities recently to benefit humanitarian causes.

The WHEE Walk walk-a-thon was held Oct. 19 to raise awareness about the international organization Samaritan’s Feet and the nearly 1.5 billion individuals around the world who lack safe footwear (top photo.)

During the week of Oct. 8-16, WCU students, faculty and staff joined with Cullowhee Valley Elementary School to collect nearly 200 cases of water for flood victims in South Carolina. The water was delivered to the Columbia (S.C.) police, who were overseeing distribution (bottom photo.)


Forensic science researchers share findings at conference

Several faculty members and colleagues in WCU’s College of Arts and Sciences made research presentations at the International Symposium on Human Identification, held Oct. 12-15.

Kelly Grisedale presented “Use of Massively Parallel Sequencing (MPS) to Assist with Deconvolution of STR Mixture Profiles.” Jessica Barnes, Brittania Bintz and Mark Wilson assisted with the research.

Maureen Hickman also presented “Amplification of Whole Mitochondrial Genome from Challenging Samples via Multiplex PCR Assay.” Erin Burnside, Bintz, Grisedale and Wilson, along with a representative from Petraco Consulting and three others from the University of Central Florida, contributed to the research.

Bintz presented “Assessment of Low-Level Error in Massively Parallel Sequencing (MPS) Data Sets Generated Using the Illumina Miseq Platform and Synthesized Human Mitochondrial DNA Oligonucleotides.” Wilson and Timothy Driscoll of West Virginia University assisted with the research.

Barnes is a graduate student in WCU’s biology program; Bintz is a research scientist and academic adviser in the FForensic Science Program; Burnside is the research protections officer in the Office of Research Administration; Grisedale is an assistant professor in the Forensic Science Program; Hickman is a forensic research scientist in the Forensic Science Program; and Wilson was recently an associate professor and director of the Forensic Science Program.

Play co-written by McGhan to premiere Nov. 23

“In the Soundless Awe,” a play co-written by WCU’s Jayme McGhan, associate professor and director of the School of Stage and Screen, will open Monday, Nov. 23, at Access Theater, an off-Broadway venue in New York City.

The play portrays the struggles of real-life naval Capt. Charles B. McVay 22 years after the loss of his ship, the USS Indianapolis, and most of his crew after a Japanese torpedo attack in World War II. McVay was the only Navy commander to be court-martialed after such a loss. His life ended in suicide in 1968.

Though the events have been dramatized before, McGhan said he and co-writer Andy Pederson were compelled to take a different approach. Pederson is an associate professor of English at Concordia University Chicago.

“Captain Charles McVay suffered from night terrors for decades after the sinking of the USS Indianapolis and his subsequent court-martial,” he said. “As playwrights, we were drawn to what those particular nightmares would have looked like; specifically, the final nightmare before he committed suicide. The ethereal nature of dreams naturally lends itself to theatricality on stage. We started considering what floating aimlessly in the ocean for five days, hallucinations, dehydration, severe injury and ceaseless shark attacks would do to the psyche, and how that survivor’s guilt might play out in dream form. ‘In the Soundless Awe’ ultimately came from a place of historical curiosity and sympathy, and I think that’s evident in the play.”

McGhan and Pederson are currently collaborating on a fictional account of a meeting between W.B. Yeats and Oscar Wilde called “Yeats Gonne Wilde.”

McGhan was named director of Stage and Screen in February.

Sholder’s ‘Alone in the Dark’ to screen at NYC film series

Jack Sholder’s 1987 horror film “Alone in the Dark” will be featured as a one-night-only selection in both “The Deuce” and “Halloween at Nitehawk” film series at the Nitehawk Cinema in New York City.

“They tell me the show is sold out,” Sholder said. “I’ll be doing a Q&A after the screening via GoToMeeting.”

Poster for 'Alone in the Dark'

Poster for ‘Alone in the Dark’

Sholder, professor and director of motion picture and television production at WCU, directed “Alone in the Dark” when he was in his mid-20s. It featured Jack Palance, Donald Pleasance, Martin Landau and Dwight Schultz.

Lunnen, Comer complete management course

Karen Lunnen, department head and associate professor of physical therapy, and Linda Comer, executive associate director of the School of Nursing, recently completed the 2015 Chairs and Academic Administrators Management Program.

The leadership and management course is designed specifically for department chairs and academic administrators within colleges and schools of the health professions, said Becky Zhang, media coordinator for CAAMP,

“Since its inception in 2009, nearly 350 administrators from programs in medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, nursing, allied health and other professions in and out of health care have participated in CAAMP,” Zhang said.

The Academy for Academic Leadership hosts CAAMP each July and August in Atlanta, Georgia. To learn more about the program, visit

Categories | The Reporter

Photos | WCU News Services

Commencement 2017
Commencement 2017


Africa! More Than A Continent