Archive for November, 2015

Students team with Center for Service Learning for activities expo

Western Carolina University students participated in a two-hour activities expo with 20 youth and adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities on Thursday, Nov. 12, as part of ongoing community involvement by the WCU Center for Service Learning.

WCU awards first Charles Stancil Stephens-Kudzu Players Scholarship

A new scholarship endowment at Western Carolina University will provide financial support to students who major in a School of Stage and Screen academic program, while honoring the legacy of an actor and the local community theater group he helped establish.

Dillsboro Lights and Luminaries festival begins with College Night

Purple Thunder, the winter drum line of Western Carolina University’s Pride of the Mountains Marching Band, will kick off the 32nd annual Dillsboro Lights and Luminaries during the festival’s College Night on Friday, Dec. 4.

Volunteers needed to continue work at School of Alternatives library

Western Carolina University’s Hunter Library and Center for Service Learning, along with participants from the university’s 2014-15 Leadership Academy program, are partnering with the Jackson County School of Alternatives to develop a functional and sustainable library at the school.

Volunteers from WCU work at the Jackson County School of Alternatives in October. More volunteer time is needed to complete a project to create a viable library at the school.

Volunteers from WCU work at the Jackson County School of Alternatives in October. More volunteer time is needed to complete a project to create a viable library at the school.

Last May, Leadership Academy participants visited the school located on Skyland Drive near Sylva as part of their regional tour and “were deeply impressed by the dedication of the staff doing outstanding work for their students with very few resources,” said Liz Skene, digital initiatives librarian at Hunter Library who is overseeing the project.

Inspired to collaborate with the school, which is also known as “The Hub,” the Leadership Academy class identified the library as an area in which WCU could offer expertise and assistance, Skene said. The school currently has no functioning library and no staff dedicated to operating it. “There is a physical library space in the school with a few hundred books on shelves roughly organized, but there is no formal shelving system, no catalog of the books for students or teachers to search, and no method for checking out books,” Skene said.

Late in October, a group of 21 volunteers from WCU began the task of physically reorganizing and cataloging the school’s library. The three-step process involves adding books to the school’s account using the website LibraryThing, determining the Lexile reading level of each book, and labeling it with the reading level and author’s last name, Skene said. The work is supported by a School University Teacher Education Partnership grant from WCU’s College of Education and Allied Professions.

Among the volunteers were WCU students Savannah Bateman and Michael Redman. Both said they enjoyed helping out at the school, with Bateman adding that it was a “wonderful experience” to learn how to catalog books and create a library. “I also enjoyed working with such wonderful people,” she said. Redman called the effort a “valuable project” and said he was impressed by how many people volunteered. “Everyone worked hard and we got a lot done. Hopefully, the contribution will be a lasting one,” he said.

Significant progress was made by the volunteers in October, but about 65 percent of the library still needs to be cataloged and sorted, and groups of volunteers are being sought, Skene said. No previous experience is needed and date and times are flexible.

For more information on volunteering, contact Skene at

By Randall Holcombe

North Carolina Council of Graduate Schools conference hosted by WCU

Mimi Fenton, WCU English professor and former dean of WCU’s Graduate School and Research, serves as the 2014-15 president of NCCGS. She said she chose the phrase, “the world was all before them,” taken from John Milton’s “Paradise Lost,” because it reflects the possibilities that graduate education offers in shaping students’ intellectual, personal and professional world, which in turn influences the world everyone lives in.

“Ours is now a world that, more than ever, needs just what graduate education brings: a citizenry possessing advanced knowledge and the ability to make new knowledge; circumspect and reflective thinkers, researchers and leaders who are skillful problem preventers and problem solvers; and innovators and visionaries who genuinely value learning as crucial to a more humane world,” Fenton said.

“The world is all before us as educators, administrators and support­ers of our graduate students and their learning,” she said. “We’re in a time that needs steadfast dedication to making high-quality, rigorous graduate education accessible to students to prepare those students to participate in a global world.”

The N.C. Council of Graduate Schools includes 22 institutions that offer more than 800 master’s, doctorate and professional degree programs and enroll more than 56,000 students. The conference, held Nov. 5-6 with workshops and sessions at WCU’s Biltmore Park site, attracted more than 160 graduate education administrators and staff from across North Carolina. The conference included sessions covering best practices for recruitment and retention, methods to support student success, the future of the master’s degree, and advocacy strategies for the importance of graduate studies.

The keynote address, “Visioning the Horizon: The Energizing Opportunity to Reshape Graduate Study,” was delivered by Bob Augustine, senior vice president of the national Council of Graduate Studies in Washington, D.C. Fenton said an important facet of the event was the final panel on “The Enduring Relevance of Graduate Education,” which included local guest presenters Ron Rash, Terry Bellamy and Floyd “Ski” Chilton.

Rash is WCU’s Parris Distinguished Professor of Appalachian Culture and author of six novels, including the New York Times bestseller “Serena,” and three books of poetry. Rash said it was his graduate education that gave him the deepened literary knowledge, writing skill and personal discipline that helped him evolve as a writer.

Chilton, professor of physiology and pharmacology at Wake Forest School of Medicine and a WCU alumnus, emphasized that educators should ask students the “right questions” about who they are and what they are passionate about so students can dedicate their graduate educations on making a real difference and contribution in the world. Chilton is a leading authority on the impact of diet and nutrition on health.

Bellamy, the first African-America mayor of Asheville, talked about the need for institutions to meet the intellectual and social needs of communities they serve — to be putting forth innovators, thinkers, world changers and dreamers with a vision, with the skills to make it real. The WCU alumna is now an outreach coordinator with Asheville Housing Authority and remains committed to community involvement.

To see the full program, access presentations and for more information on NCCGS, go to For more information about WCU Graduate School programs, call 828-227-7398 or email

By Geoff Cantrell

Causby to address human resources issues during Thursday forum

Cory Causby, Western Carolina University’s associate vice chancellor for human resources, will speak about a variety of human resources topics during a forum sponsored by WCU’s Staff Senate.

Cory Causby

Cory Causby

Causby will address salary plan implementation, legislative updates, professional development opportunities and other issues during the event set for 3 to 5 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 19, in the theater of A.K. Hinds University Center.

The forum is open to all WCU faculty, staff and students. For more information, contact Human Resources and Payroll at 828-227-7218.

By Randall Holcombe

Students, Cullowhee church to host free Thanksgiving dinner

Western Carolina University’s Student Social Work Association is partnering with Cullowhee United Methodist Church to host a free Thanksgiving dinner for members of the community.

The dinner will take place at 5 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 20, at Cullowhee United Methodist Church, 416 Central Dr. in Cullowhee.

While everyone is invited to participate in the meal, it is directed in particular to local residents and WCU students who might not have a chance to partake in a traditional Thanksgiving meal with family and friends.

Several area businesses have made donations, including Bojangles of Sylva, HoneyBaked Ham, Bogart’s of Sylva, Dunkin’ Donuts of Sylva, Food Lion of Sylva, Ingles of Sylva, Walmart of Sylva, Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort, McDonald’s of Sylva, Half Past of Sylva, Cullowings of Cullowhee, Zaxby’s of Sylva, Mad Batter Food and Film of Sylva, Barber Orchard Fruitstand of Waynesville, Speedy’s Pizza of Sylva, The Point Market in Cullowhee, The Dandelion in Hendersonville and Colonial Country Club in Thomasville.

For more information, contact Student Social Work Association faculty adviser Jeanne Dulworth at or 828-273-1485.

By Marlon W. Morgan

Alumnus Guignard to be honored at reception, local reading

Current and former faculty members and students from WCU’s Department of English are invited to a reception honoring alumnus Jimmy Guignard as he reads from his first book at 6:30 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 21, at City Lights Bookstore in Sylva.


Guignard is a 1999 master’s graduate whose thesis was directed by Jim Byer, retired head of the English Department.  After completing his doctorate at the University of Nevada-Reno, he joined the faculty at Mansfield University in Pennsylvania, where he is currently an associate professor and head of the English Department.

An avid cyclist, Guignard will read from his book, “Pedaling the Sacrifice Zone: Teaching, Writing, and Living above the Marcellus Shale,” written about fracking near his home in Pennsylvania. “He writes as a father, cyclist, environmentalist and rhetorician in a scholarly narrative of substantial importance for readers in Western North Carolina,” said Marsha Lee Baker, WCU associate professor of English.

Bill McKibben, environmental journalist and author of “Deep Economy,” described the book as a “real act of witness.”

“Pedaling through some of the country’s loveliest – and hardest-used – countryside, Guignard provides the rare combination of information and wisdom,” McKibben wrote.

— Contributed information

Handmade Holiday Sale scheduled for Friday, Nov. 20

The annual Handmade Holiday Sale will be held in the Star Atrium adjacent to the Fine Art Museum at Western Carolina University from noon to 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 20.

A customer checks out items for sale at last year’s Handmade Holiday Sale. This year’s event will be held Friday, Nov. 20. (Photo courtesy of Temi Adeleye, Western Carolina Journalist)

A customer checks out items for sale at last year’s Handmade Holiday Sale. This year’s event will be held Friday, Nov. 20. (Photo courtesy of Temi Adeleye, Western Carolina Journalist)

Admission to the event and the museum is free. Purchases can be made by cash or check, with a portion of proceeds going to support Fine Art Museum programming. The sale will feature high-quality gift items from WCU students, staff and alumni, such as scarves, ceramics, jewelry, knitted wear and books. Live music and snacks will be shared during the event.

The Handmade Holiday Sale is held the week before Thanksgiving to enable community members to begin their holiday shopping before Black Friday while supporting local artists, said Dawn Behling, gallery specialist at the Fine Art Museum.

The museum is located in the John W. Bardo Fine and Performing Arts Center and is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays, with extended hours on Thursdays to 7 p.m. Admission and parking are free. The museum is closed on university holidays and breaks. For more information about the sale, contact Behling at 828-227-3591 or

By Geoff Cantrell

Traditional and contemporary Indonesian music performance set for Nov. 22 at WCU

Western Carolina University and Warren Wilson College will join forces for a concert of traditional and contemporary Indonesian music Sunday, Nov. 22.

WCU students prepare for a performance of gamelan ensembles.

WCU students prepare for a performance of gamelan ensembles.

The 7:30 p.m. performance of gamelan ensembles will be held in the recital hall of the Coulter Building on the WCU campus. It is free and open to the public. At the conclusion, the audience will be invited onstage to try out the instruments firsthand.

A gamelan is an orchestra of tuned metal percussion instruments, including various sizes of gongs and chimes, drums and bamboo flute. Two types of gamelan will be heard on the concert.  Warren Wilson College students will perform on a Central Javanese gamelan in slendro tuning, while WCU students and community members will perform on a West Javanese gamelan degung. A special feature of this program will be the premiere of two short works for gamelan by WCU students Alex Day and Jordan Wilson.

The Warren Wilson ensemble is led by Kevin Kehrberg and the WCU ensemble is led by Will Peebles. For more information, contact Peebles at 828-227-3258 or

By Geoff Cantrell

Fine Art Museum gift shop offers a convenient holiday stop

As the holiday season approaches, the recently opened gift shop at the Fine Art Museum on the Western Carolina University campus offers a nearby but off the beaten path shopping opportunity.

The retail space is located in the John W. Bardo Fine and Performing Arts Center, close to exhibitions and the 1,000-seat performance hall. The student operated shop is open 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday. Glassware, jewelry and other local handcrafted items join art books, notebooks and prints for sale.

A student in the fine arts program assists customers at the FAMShop.

A student in the fine arts program assists customers at the FAMShop.

“We’re so pleased to open the FAM Shop, which promotes the value of locally-produced, handmade artwork by WCU students, faculty, staff and alumni,” said Denise Drury Homewood, museum director. “Additionally, FAM Shop features a selection of notecards, postcards and exhibition catalogues featuring artwork from the museum’s permanent collection and exhibitions.”

Tyann Stubbs, a fine arts major with a concentration in painting and drawing, works at the FAM gift shop. The rising senior said she can envision a career working within a gallery or museum because it encompasses everything she enjoys about the art community.

“I think it is great to see firsthand your peers selling their artwork,” Stubbs said. “It is really inspiring to see a place on campus that is so committed to helping their students, alumni and local community thrive.”

The gift shop can be included with tours to the museum. To schedule a tour for schools, groups and organizations, reserve a time by emailing

The Fine Art Museum is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays, with extended hours on Thursdays to 7 p.m. Admission and parking are free. To learn more about the gift shop or upcoming exhibits and events, go to or call 828-227-3591.

By Geoff Cantrell

Jazz trumpet star Bill Warfield joins WCU Jazz Ensemble for Dec. 1 concert on campus

The Western Carolina University Jazz Ensemble will present a special fall concert at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 1, on campus in the recital hall of the Coulter Building. The performance is free and open to the public.

Bill Warfield

Bill Warfield

Bill Warfield, trumpeter, recording artist and associate professor of jazz at Lehigh University, will be the featured performer. The student jazz ensemble will join him on original compositions, as well as his arrangements of songs by Herbie Hancock, Lee Morgan, Dave Stryker, Donald Byrd and Kenny Dorham.

In a varied career as composer, arranger, leader and sideman, Warfield has performed with a widerange of musicians, including Ornette Coleman, Mel Torme, David Sanborn and Randy Brecker. He has performed at Birdland, The Blue Note, and Iridium jazz clubs in New York City, and directs the New York Jazz Repertory Orchestra. The Bill Warfield and Hell’s Kitchen Funk Orchestra’s latest CD “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy” was a Downbeat magazine editor’s pick in August.

“I met Bill Warfield during our lecturing at the international summer jazz workshop in Prague, Czech Republic, this summer,” said Pavel Wlosok, WCU associate professor of jazz. “We both led the workshop’s big band and performed together on a few occasions in Prague’s finest jazz clubs. He is an inspiring jazz educator, world-class arranger and trumpeter, and our students are very lucky to have the opportunity to share the stage with him, as well as perform his original arrangements.”

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

By Geoff Cantrell

Reich, Davenport present in Salt Lake City

Chesney Reich, director of the Writing and Learning Commons, and its associate director Mattie Davenport delivered a presentation titled “We’re All in This Together: Tutor Training as a Learning Commons” at theNational Conference on Peer Tutoring in Writing in Salt Lake City on Friday, Nov. 6.

The theme of the conference was “(De)Center: Testing Assumptions about Peer Tutoring and Writing Centers.” Their presentation featured an explanation of WCU’s mandatory training course for peer tutors, which combines readings and activities that apply to tutors of all subjects.

Faculty papers published in chemistry, physics journals

Two faculty members in the Department of Chemistry and Physics have been published in journals of their respective fields of study.

Jamie Wallen, assistant professor of biochemistry, was recently notified that a manuscript he coauthored, “Structural Analysis of Streptococcus pyogenes NADH Oxidase: Conformational Dynamics Involved in Formation of the C(4a)-Peroxyflavin Intermediate,” has been published by the ACS Journal, Biochemistry.

Yee Kao, assistant professor of physics, also was notified that the manuscript he coauthored, “Running of Oscillation Parameters in Matter with Flavor-Diagonal Non-Standard Interactions of the Neutrino,” has been published in the Journal of High Energy Physics.

Chemistry students conduct lab work to test wine factors

Some Western Carolina University chemistry students are hoping the fruits of their labor in a university laboratory will benefit Western North Carolina’s wine-making industry.

ABSN students heading toward graduation gain confidence through service-learning

As a student in Western Carolina University’s Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing Program, Nick Ianniello of Candler was anxious and a little apprehensive about his upcoming career as a nurse.

Campus Conversations to resume Nov. 16-19

A series of campus conversations centered on four topics identified by Western Carolina University Chancellor David O. Belcher as areas of emphasis for the 2015-16 academic year will continue over a four-day period – Monday, Nov. 16, through Thursday, Nov. 19.

WCU Programs at Biltmore Park to hold Nov. 17 Open House

Prospective students will have an opportunity to find out about the wide variety of graduate and professional programs offered by Western Carolina University during an Open House set for Tuesday, Nov. 17, at WCU’s instructional site in Asheville.

WCU's Biltmore Park instructional site.

WCU’s Biltmore Park instructional site.

The event will be held at WCU’s location in Suite 100 at 28 Schenck Parkway (beside P.F. Chang’s) in Biltmore Park Town Square. The Open House will be a drop-in, and interested individuals can come by anytime between 5 and 7 p.m. to enjoy refreshments and talk to WCU faculty and staff.

WCU’s offerings taught either partly or entirely in Asheville include doctoral programs in educational leadership and nursing practice; master’s programs in accountancy, business administration, counseling, English, health sciences, nursing, public affairs, social work and technology; bachelor’s programs in mechanical engineering and nursing; and several certificate programs such as professional and technical writing, and family nurse practitioner.

For more information, call 828-654-6498 or email

By Randall Holcombe

WCU School of Stage and Screen presenting ‘Blithe Spirit’ Nov. 18-22

A seance gone wrong sets up a collision between the ghost of a mystery writer’s first wife and his new wife in “Blithe Spirit,” a comic play set for production at Western Carolina University beginning Wednesday, Nov. 18, and continuing through Sunday, Nov. 22.

A seance doesn’t quite turn out as planned in “Blithe Spirit,” Noel Coward’s classic comedy to be presented at Western Carolina University beginning Wednesday, Nov. 18. From left, cast members include Ellen Dyar as Elvira, Sarah Luckadoo as Ruth Condomine, Jordyn Tracy as Madame Arcati, Autumn Bryson as Edith the maid, and Cory Phelps as Charles Condomine.

A seance doesn’t quite turn out as planned in “Blithe Spirit,” Noel Coward’s classic comedy to be presented at Western Carolina University beginning Wednesday, Nov. 18. From left, cast members include Ellen Dyar as Elvira, Sarah Luckadoo as Ruth Condomine, Jordyn Tracy as Madame Arcati, Autumn Bryson as Edith the maid, and Cory Phelps as Charles Condomine.

The late English playwright Noel Coward’s classic work will be presented in WCU’s Hoey Auditorium at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 18 through Saturday, Nov. 21, and at 3 p.m. Nov. 22. It is part of the Mainstage theater season presented by WCU’s School of Stage and Screen.

In the play, the socialite and writer Charles Condomine invites a medium to his house to conduct a seance, hoping to gather information for his next book. Instead, he becomes haunted by the ghost of his temperamental first wife, Elvira, who attempts to disrupt Condomine’s marriage to his second wife, Ruth, who cannot see or hear the ghost.

Brenda Lilly, assistant professor in the School of Stage and Screen, is directing the production, which includes WCU students in the principal roles. A veteran actress, writer and producer for television and stage, Lilly also previously directed “Peter Pan” and “Pump Boys and Dinettes” at WCU.

“From a pedagogical perspective, nothing teaches comedy better than a Coward production,” she said. “Timing, language, rhythm – all are in play when taking on his work. We are lucky here in the School of Stage and Screen to have such talented actors ready to take on the challenge of bringing ‘Blithe Spirit’ to life.”

The cast for WCU’s production includes Cory Phelps, a senior acting major from St. Petersburg, Florida, as Condomine; Ellen Dyar, a senior musical theatre major from Juneau, Alaska, as Elvira; Sarah Luckadoo, a senior acting major from Hickory, as Ruth; and Jordyn Tracy, a sophomore acting major from Greenville, South Carolina, as Madame Arcati, the medium who makes it all possible.

Two guest artists from the Flat Rock Playhouse, Dennis Maulden and Paul Feraldi, are assisting with the WCU production. Maulden is designing the set and Feraldi is designing the set dressing and props. Others members of the WCU community contributing to the production are Chris Collins, light design; Susan Brown-Strauss, costumes; and Jennifer Stadelman, sound design.

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

Tickets are $16 for adults; $11 for senior citizens and WCU faculty and staff; and $7 in advance ($10 day of show) for students. Advance tickets are available by contacting the box office at the John W. Bardo Fine and Performing Arts Center at 828-227-2479 or online at Any remaining tickets will be available at Hoey Auditorium beginning one hour before each production.

By Randall Holcombe

Anthropologist to be speaker at WCU’s International Education Week

Ian McIntosh, an Australian anthropologist, will share research from two of his key areas of interest during Western Carolina University’s annual International Education Week, November 16-20.

Ian McIntosh

Ian McIntosh

MacIntosh is the director of international partnerships at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis and the associate director of the Confucius Institute in Indianapolis. He will be delivering a lecture titled “Promoting Peace Through Health Care in Kenya,” at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday in the University Center’s Multipurpose Room.

A second presentation, “Virtual Study Abroad in Conflict Zones: A Gaza Case Study,” will be shared by McIntosh at 10 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 19 in the University Center Multipurpose Room.

Sponsored by the Office of International Programs and Services, IEW brings a slate of events offering a wider worldview to the campus and its community.

Other IEW events during the week include:

  • “Teaching African History at WCU,” a lecture by Saheed Aderinto, assistant professor of history, 9 a.m. Monday, Nov. 16 in the UC Multipurpose Room
  • A performance by the world-traveling Smoky Mountain Brass Quintet, 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 17 in Coulter Recital Hall, with a reception to follow
  • “Discovering Japan Through the Movie ‘Maiko Haaan,’ ” presented at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday in McKee 135
  • An origami workshop, “Learning the History of Origami” offered at 4:40 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 18 in McKee 121

To learn more about IEW, contact IPS at 828-227-7494 or

By Keith Brenton

Categories | The Reporter

Photos | WCU News Services

Commencement 2017
Commencement 2017


Africa! More Than A Continent