Archive for January 27th, 2016

WCU contingent works on latest phase of Urban Death Project

Several Western Carolina University students and a faculty member spent a recent bitterly cold weekend in the gray winter woods on campus, working on a project that may provide society with an alternative to traditional burial and cremation.

Cullowhee snowfall – a cup half empty or a cup half full?

Every now and then, the disruptive side of nature makes a visit on the WCU campus, and such was the case late last week when a winter storm smothered the Cullowhee Valley in 4 to 6 inches of snow.

WCU collaboration uses animation to explain nanotechnology

Western Carolina University students have designed and created animated videos to explain nanotechnology and its importance that are getting significant national attention.

Moss named to All-Southern Conference Faculty Team

Hollye Moss, Western Carolina’s director of the School of Economics, was named to the inaugural All-Southern Conference Faculty Team.

WCU’s Graduate Education Summit scheduled for Feb. 4

Western Carolina University’s Graduate School will host its 2016 Graduate Education Summit on Thursday, Feb. 4, featuring a half day of sessions centered on the topic “Engagement: External Validation and Graduate Career Placement.”

WCU recognized for services provided to military students

Western Carolina University was recently recognized by several media outlets for the services the university provides to military students.

WCU once again has been named a “Military Friendly School” by Victory Media, a Pennsylvania-based company that surveys 7,000 schools nationwide to rate the services they provide to military students. The company recognizes higher education institutions with leading programs for veterans, members of the armed forces who are leaving military service, and military spouses and dependents.

The publication Military Times recently listed WCU in its “Best for Vets: Colleges 2016” rankings. The rankings factor in the results of Military Times’ annual survey, a comprehensive school-by-school assessment of veteran and military student services and rates of academic achievement. “Best for Vets: Colleges 2016” is an editorially independent news project that evaluates the many factors that help make colleges and universities a good fit for service members, military veterans and their families.

Additionally, WCU has been named a “top school” in the 2016 Military Advanced Education & Transition Guide, which provides a listing of colleges and universities and how they rank in terms of best practices for military and veteran education. WCU was ranked highest in the areas of military culture, flexibility and general support.

WCU’s Office of Military Student Services is part of the university’s Division of Educational Outreach and is based in the Cordelia Camp Building. The office provides personal assistance for military students from the time they apply for admission to the university to graduation day.

“WCU strives to offer all students the best and most reliable resources available, and this is especially true for military students,” said Briana Ford, director of military student services. “To continue offering great service and outstanding support to students, Military Student Services is now offering Green Zone Training, a program for WCU faculty and staff to help them better understand the unique needs of military students. We feel this program will provide valuable information to the WCU community so we can all work together to help military students have a successful educational experience.”

Support groups such as the Student Veterans Association are available to students, as well as veteran counseling services. An on-campus Veterans Resource Center provides military students a place to meet and receive information pertaining to their educations, careers and life needs.

More information about military services at WCU is available at or by contacting Ford by email at or by telephone at 828-227-3074 or toll-free 866-928-4723.

By Randall Holcombe

WCU participants sought for Polar Plunge at Lake Junaluska

Lauren Bishop, chief sustainability officer in WCU’s Office of Sustainability and Energy Management, will be participating in the fourth annual Polar Plunge at Lake Junaluska on Saturday, Feb. 6, and is inviting members of the campus community to join her in being a “WCU Purple Plunger.”

The event raises money for Haywood Waterways Association’s Kids in the Creek and Youth Education programs, which help children learn about water quality and promote environmentally responsible behavior.

For more information, contact Bishop at 828-227-3562 or

By Randall Holcombe

WCU traditional music series continues with concert by Productive Paranoia

The 2015-16 First Thursday Old-Time and Bluegrass Series at Western Carolina University will continue Thursday, Feb. 4, with a concert featuring the Haywood County band Productive Paranoia.

Productive Paranoia

Productive Paranoia

The band’s 7 p.m. performance 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.

Ranging in age from 16 to 21, members of Productive Paranoia are Ean Sheppard, bass; Madeleine Sheppard, vocals; Andreas Kampouris, mandolin and vocals; Connor Luckey-Smith, guitar and vocals; and Keegan Luckey-Smith, banjo and vocals. Band members say they have been inspired by a variety of musical genres, and draw on styles ranging from old-time to contemporary folk to create their unique sound. The group released its first album, “Liars, Fools, and Riches for You,” in 2014.

Sponsored by WCU’s Mountain Heritage Center, the First Thursday concerts and jam sessions will continue through spring, with programs from 7 to 9 p.m. on the first Thursday of each month. The Freight Hoppers will be the featured band on March 3.

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

Galumpha dancers to perform at WCU’s Bardo Arts Center on Feb. 5

The Galaxy of Stars series continues Friday, Feb. 5, when the Galumpha Acrobatic Dance Trio performs a mix of art and entertainment along with award-winning choreography at 7:30 p.m. at Western Carolina University’s John W. Bardo Fine and Performing Arts Center.

The three members of the Galumpha Acrobatic Dance Trio combine stunning acrobatics, striking visual effects, physical comedy and inventive choreography.

The three members of the Galumpha Acrobatic Dance Trio combine stunning acrobatics, striking visual effects, physical comedy and inventive choreography.

The three performers combine stunning acrobatics, striking visual effects, physical comedy and inventive choreography. Their performance features a fast-paced, athletic brand of movement. The group was formed in 2002 by Andy Horowitz and Greg O’Brien. They have performed on “The Late Show with David Letterman,” the 2002 MDA Jerry Lewis Telethon, MTV and Showtime. Galumpha’s choreography has won the Edinburgh Festival Critics’ Choice Award and the Moers International Comedy Arts Prize.

Tickets are $21 for adults, $16 for WCU faculty and staff, and $7 for students and children. They can be purchased by calling the Bardo Arts Center box office at 828-227-2479 or online at

By Marlon W. Morgan

WCU’s Fine Art Museum hosts exhibits, local clothing drive

The Fine Art Museum at Western Carolina University is presenting an exhibition of photography and a sculpture installation, while simultaneously hosting a clothing drive, through Friday, March 18.

The exhibits and coinciding clothes donations are part of a collaboration between the museum and WCU’s Office of Service Learning with local community groups Mountain Projects and Sylva Linings Thrift Store.

The photography exhibit on display at WCU’s Fine Art Museum includes this image by Brazilian-born photographer Pedro Lobo that documents the shantytowns of Rio de Janeiro. (PedroLobo, ©2010)

The photography exhibit on display at WCU’s Fine Art Museum includes this image by Brazilian-born photographer Pedro Lobo that documents the shantytowns of Rio de Janeiro. (PedroLobo, ©2010)

“We want to open a discussion on social justice issues in the Americas and provide a pathway going beyond dialogue that leads to action,” said Denise Drury Homewood, museum director. “Gently-used clothing can be dropped off at a donation bin here at the Fine Art Museum for the duration of the exhibition.”

The soft sculpture exhibit will be a site-specific installation by Jarod Charzewski, associate professor of sculpture at the College of Charleston and recipient of the South Carolina Arts Commission’s 2016 Visual Arts Fellowship. Titled “Scarp,” the folds of fabric will represent exposed sedimentary layers of rock and earth, known as escarpment. This project is about fabricating history with synthetic and fleeting artifacts as the medium and references the earth and the human presence on it, Drury Homewood said.

“The sculptor has said this installation discusses our relationship toward consumerism and perceived obsolescence as a design strategy that inspires consumers to replace their perfectly good belongings with new items. It examines the speed at which we mass-produce, mass-consume and then reproduce goods and materials, which is questionable to our survival.”

The photography exhibit is a series of images by Brazilian-born photographer Pedro Lobo that documents the shantytowns of Rio de Janeiro. Lobo’s photographic landscapes attempt to show the human dignity of the occupants in spite of all the difficulties they face. “His photography does not shy away from depicting the sprawl or the hardships of the favelas, yet they are filled with optimism necessary for life in these marginalized urban neighborhoods,” Drury Homewood said.

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. The museum is located in the John W. Bardo Fine and Performing Arts Center.

To learn more about this exhibition and clothing drive or other upcoming events, go to or call 828-227-3591.

By Geoff Cantrell

Rash interviewed on French television program

Ron Rash, WCU’s Parris Distinguished Professor of Appalachian Culture, was interviewed on the French Channel 5 television program “La Grande Librarie” on Friday, Jan. 22.

Ron Rash

Ron Rash

A video of the interview with host Francois Busnel can be seen and heard online; the segment with Rash begins at about one hour and 17 minutes into the program. They discuss his 2005 novel “Saints at the River,” published in French as “Le Chant de Tamassee” (“The Tamassee Song,” naming the fictional South Carolina river around which the novel’s action revolves).

The conversation turned to aspects of environmental concerns versus family needs, an aspect of the plot – based on an actual event – in which a family wishes to recover the body of a girl drowned in the designated wild and scenic river by temporarily stopping its flow, which would violate the law.

“As a writer, I don’t feel it’s my job to advocate a position,” Rash said. “I feel myself more as a witness, and to me it’s a matter of respecting my reader that I show the situation and let the reader – himself or herself – decide the right and the wrong. And I did that; I hope the reader will be affected, as well as the families and the environmentalists.”

Brown to co-chair sessions at Washington conference

David Brown, director of special projects and initiatives at WCU’s John W. Bardo Fine and Performing Arts Center, will co-chair two sessions at the College Art Association annual conference in Washington, D.C., which is Wednesday, Feb. 3, through Saturday, Feb. 6.

Brown will chair the “Time. Space. Money” session with Niku Kashef of California State University, Northridge. He also will chair “Another 5×5: Mining the D.C. area’s Distinct Culture” with Everlena-Zoe Charlton of American University.

Brown also was recently named the guest curator for an international exhibition “Another Better World” at the Bascom: A Center for the Visual Arts in Highlands. Among the artists are Workingman Collective members Morgan Kennedy, who teaches sculpture at WCU, and Tom Ashcraft, WCU Distinguished Professor of Visual Arts and director of the Master of Fine Arts Program.

By Marlon W. Morgan

Ulrich performs, teaches in Costa Rica

Bradley Ulrich, professor of trumpet at Western Carolina University, recently returned from teaching and performing in Costa Rica.

P. Bradley Ulrich

P. Bradley Ulrich

Ulrich was a featured trumpet artist and instructor at the 2016 International Trumpet Institute of Costa Rica at the Universidad Nacional de Costa Rica from January 7-12.

During the sessions, Ulrich gave warm-up clinics on the trumpet, coached students on solo repertoire, conducted a large trumpet ensemble of participants, and performed as part of the artist recital.

Ulrich was invited back for the first week of July for another seminar involving students from around San Jose. The performance and teaching trip was funded by WCU’s Chancellor’s Travel Grant Fund.

Collins to present at UNC-Chapel Hill legal conference

Todd Collins, associate professor of political science and public affairs, and director of the Public Policy Institute, will present research as part of the UNC law school’s annual “Festival of Legal Learning” in Chapel Hill on Friday, Feb. 12.

The program includes a wide-range of courses offered to attorneys from across the state to fulfill their required continuing legal education hours.

“My presentation is titled ‘You’re Not from Around Here, Are You? Professional Interactions with Unknown Attorneys,’” Collins said. “This presentation stems from a project where my co-authors and I surveyed more than 2,000 attorneys. We explore professional interactions among lawyers that could influence case outcomes.”

A manuscript from this project also is currently under review at a peer-reviewed academic journal.

Reception – Vice Chancellor of Development and Alumni Engagement Candidate – Lori Lewis

Reception – Vice Chancellor of Development and Alumni Engagement Candidate – Lori Lewis | Thursday, January 28, 2016 | 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. | ̶U̶C̶ ̶C̶a̶r̶d̶i̶n̶a̶l̶ ̶R̶o̶o̶m̶ UC Illusions

‘Talking With A Program Officer’

Learn to communicate productively with funding agencies to improve your grant proposals and your success rate. | Thursday, January 28, 2016 | 11 a.m. – 12 noon | UC Dogwood Room

Retirement Reception for Josie Bewsey

Josie Bewsey is retiring after 25 years of service to Western Carolina University. Join us as we celebrate her work and wish her the best! | Friday, January 29, 2016 | 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. | Cordelia Camp Building 109

Categories | The Reporter

Photos | WCU News Services

Commencement 2017
Commencement 2017


Africa! More Than A Continent