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Philosophy and religion faculty members contribute to lecture series

Several members of the Philosophy and Religion Department are participating in a lecture series at the Center for Life Enrichment in Highlands.

Michelle Sorensen was scheduled to give a lecture Wednesday, Aug. 26, on “The Rise of the Individual and the Quest for Meaning,” examining the worldviews of paradigmatic thinkers from the cultures of Greece, India, the Middle East, and China during the period of 800-200 BCE, including Socrates, Homer, Confucius, Lao Tzu and Shakyamuni Buddha – a period termed the “Axial Age” by the German philosopher Karl Jaspers.

“My presentation will introduce thinkers and philosophies of this period in order to stimulate thought and discussion on what I consider to be the ‘proto-Enlightenment’ period of the Axial Age and the rise of the individual within society,” Sorensen said before the event.

On Monday, Aug. 3, and Tuesday, Aug. 4, respectively, Jeffrey Vickery gave lectures on “A Brief History of Islam and Politics” and “What Sustains Radical Islamists.”

Christopher Hoyt presented a lecture on “The Concept of Secularism” on Monday, Aug. 11.

For more information on these lectures or the Center for Life Enrichment, call 828-526-8811, visit or stop by the office at 348 South Fifth Street in Highlands.

Kossick presents at national conference

Mark A. Kossick, professor of nursing and graduate anesthesia simulation coordinator in the Nurse Anesthesia Simulation Lab, lectured on Wednesday, July 15, at the Northwest Anesthesia Seminars conference in Branson, Missouri.  His lecture titles included “Guidelines for Perioperative IV Acetaminophen use in Pediatric Patients,” “Applied Clinical Pharmacology for Ryanodex” and “Clinical Implications of Etomidate & Adrenal Insufficiency.”

Political science research articles find audiences

Faculty members in WCU’s Political Science and Public Affairs Department have been receiving good news regarding publication of research recently.

Jackie Sievert, assistant professor, had her paper “HDMA, Housing Segregation, and Racial Disparities in Mortgage Lending” accepted to the Stanford Journal of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, Volume XII, with an expected publishing date in 2016.

Assistant professors Jay Gerlach and Tyler Reinagel had a paper, “Internships as Academic Exercise: An Assessment of MPA Curriculum Models,” published in the Journal of Public Affairs Education. The paper can be seen at:

Reinagel and Chris Cooper, professor and department head, had their paper, “The Limits of Public Service Motivation: Confidence in Government Institutions Among Public Servants,” published in Administration and Society. The abstract can be viewed at:

Spanish professor translates prologue to 400th anniversary edition of ‘Don Quixote’

Santiago Garcia-Castanon, professor of Spanish in the Department of World Languages, wrote an English translation of the prologue to the second part of “Don Quixote” by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra that was recently published in a brochure and distributed to schools in northern Spain to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the book’s publication.

In addition, Garcia-Castanon’s seventh poetry collection and fourteenth book, “Las orillas de una mar incierta” (“The Shores of an Uncertain Sea”), was published in early August in Aviles, Spain, where he gave a public reading of the poems on Monday, Aug. 3, just before returning to the United States.

In May, Garcia-Castanon won first prize in the Lincoln-Marti International Poetry Competition.

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