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WCU Rescheduled Open House

Western Carolina University

Western Carolina University

Western Carolina University will throw open its doors to prospective students and their families and friends as the university holds Open House on Saturday, April 5. Hosted by the Office of Undergraduate Admission, Open House gives visitors a chance to learn about the university’s wide array of academic programs, find out the important details of topics such as financial aid, and tour the campus. The April 5 event was added to the university’s spring schedule after an Open House scheduled for February was canceled due to inclement weather. Because of the many events occurring on campus on April 5, the Open House that day will begin at noon. The schedule starts with an academic and student services information fair from noon to 1:30 p.m. around the concourse of WCU’s Ramsey Regional Activity Center. Following a welcome session in the Ramsey Center main arena from 1:30 to 2 p.m., prospective students will have a chance to engage in academic sessions led by WCU faculty members from 2:15 to 3 p.m. Visitors can choose among several options for the 3 to 5 p.m. period, including tours of campus and residence halls, information sessions on admissions and financial aid, and participation in campus events. For interested students who cannot attend Open House on April 5, campus tours also are available year-round by appointment for students and their families. Preregistration for Open House and more information are available by going to the website openhouse.wcu.edu or by calling the Office of Undergraduate Admission at 828-227-7317 or toll-free 877-928-4968.

WCU’s Online Programs Receives High Marks

Western Carolina University

Western Carolina University

Western Carolina University’s online master’s degree programs in human resources and project management have received high national rankings in affordability and “Best Buy” designations from the distance education information clearinghouse GetEducated.com. WCU’s human resources program was ranked No. 3 in affordability following a national survey of 37 regionally accredited higher education institutions that offer online master’s degrees in that academic field, said Melissa Eubank, director of information services for GetEducated.com. The survey showed that the average cost of an online master’s degree in human resources nationwide is about $23,500. The cost of WCU’s program is $9,339 for North Carolina residents. Earlier this year, GetEducated.com gave WCU’s online bachelor’s degree program in entrepreneurship a No. 2 national ranking in affordability. Other WCU online master’s programs that have received high rankings from the clearinghouse in recent years are nurse educator, nurse administration and health sciences.

WCU To Hold Open House

Western_Carolina_University_sealWestern Carolina University will welcome prospective students and their families and friends to campus as the university holds Open House on Saturday, March 22. Open House gives visitors a chance to tour the campus, learn about the university’s wide array of academic programs, and find out the important details of topics such as financial aid. For interested students who cannot attend the March 22 event, campus tours also are available year-round by appointment for students and their families. For more info call 828-227-7317.

Mountain Heritage Day. Saturday, September 28th

Western Carolina University’s 39th Annual Mountain Heritage Day will commence this weekend on Saturday, the 28th. The WCU Mountain Heritage Day festival will be free to the public and feature a full list of mountain music, activities, and many arts & crafts, and food booths. Scott Philyaw had the following to say about the festival’s history, “When this school was started, back in the 1880′s by the people of the Cullowhee valley and Jackson County, they included things that are very similar to mountain heritage day. The very first commencement had music, it had barbecue, it had presentations of the various aspects of the region, much as Mountain Heritage Day does. It attracted a large number at that time of one thousand people for a weekend. In many ways Mountain Heritage day harkens back to those earliest celebrations when what we call Western Carolina University was known as Cullowhee Academy.”

The Mountain Heritage Day will start off with a 5-K foot race at 8 am. The Blue Ridge and Balsam Stages will be playing continuous mountain music, clogging, and southern storytelling. There will be demonstrations of Cherokee stickball among other games from the Cherokee Tribe. Directly in front of the Balsam Stage there will be a new platform, created for members of the audience to show off their dance skills. There will be a children’s tent providing activities for the younger attendees, as well as hayrides. Among all the other mentioned events there will also be demonstrations and competitions for: Chainsaw wood cutting, baked and canned goods, period costumes, and contests for beard and mustaches. Expect to see, blacksmithing, black powder shooting, as well as interpretations of Cherokee hunting capabilities. The festival will be rain or shine. No pets allowed though service animals are welcome. “The festival itself starts at 10:00am, the 5-K Race starts at 8:00am. Registration for the chainsaw contest starts at 9:00am. We are recommending people show up around 9:30 so they can find a place to park. The festival closes down at 5:00pm.”

For more information visit MountainHeritageDay.com or call 828-227-7129

WCU Enrollment Tops Ten Thousand

Total enrollment at Western Carolina University has topped 10,000 students for the first time in the institution’s history, a milestone reached in large part because of an increase of five percentage points in the freshman retention rate to nearly 79 percent.

Western Carolina’s total enrollment for the fall 2013 semester is 10,106, a 5 percent increase over last year’s tally of 9,608 students. The university’s freshman retention rate – the percentage of first-time, full-time freshman students who returned for their sophomore year – is 78.7 percent this year, compared to last fall’s retention rate of 73.7 percent. WCU Chancellor David O. Belcher announced the enrollment figures during a special event and reception held at the Central Plaza area on campus Tuesday. The enrollment record comes as the university is gearing up to mark the 125th anniversary of its founding, Belcher told the several hundred students, faculty, staff and alumni gathered for the announcement. A yearlong quasquicentennial celebration is being planned for the 2014 calendar year. “It’s amazing to think that when this institution was founded in a one-room schoolhouse in 1889, up there on the hill, it had a grand total of 18 students,” he said. “Today, Western Carolina has grown to become a major cultural, scientific, economic and educational force in this region and in our state.”

Enrollment figures are up across the board, with increases in the numbers of first-time freshmen, undergraduate transfers, graduate students, distance education students and students taking classes at the university’s instructional site at Biltmore Park, Belcher said. The improving enrollment and retention numbers are important, he said, because they signify that WCU is doing its part to help increase to 32 percent the number of North Carolinians who have four-year degrees, which is one of the goals of the University of North Carolina system. Keeping students enrolled and on track to graduation has become even more important because the UNC system is moving toward performance-based funding, with graduation and retention rates among the factors that will determine how much money WCU and other universities will receive from the state, he said.


NC Governor Appoints Three New Members to WCU Board of Trustees

A Rutherford County educational foundation executive, the first woman elected principal chief of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, and a Highlands homebuilder are the three newest members of the Western Carolina University Board of Trustees.

N.C. Gov. Pat McCrory appointed Charles Philip Byers to fill a recent board vacancy, and Joyce Conseen Dugan and John R. Lupoli to four-year terms on the WCU board.

Byers is filling a vacancy on the board created by the departure of Brenda Wellmon of Mecklenburg County, who stepped down as a trustee for personal reasons this summer.

In addition to Wellmon, McCrory’s appointments to the WCU board fill vacancies left by outgoing members Tommy Saunooke, member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Tribal Council, and William Forsyth, retired executive director of the Cherokee County Economic Development Commission.

Byers, Dugan and Lupoli will join two other new members – Phil Drake, chief executive officer of Drake Enterprises, and Kenny Messer, an executive with Milliken Corp. – elected to the WCU board earlier this year by the University of North Carolina Board of Governors.

The board will hold its first quarterly meeting of the new academic year at 9:30 a.m. Friday, Sept. 6, in the board room of H.F. Robinson Administration Building. The board also will hold committee meetings and discussions beginning at 1 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 5, at various locations on the fifth floor of the Robinson Building.


WCU Campus Master Planners to Seek Community Input

Representatives of the firms assisting Western Carolina University in drafting a comprehensive master plan that will guide campus development and improvements in the years ahead will return to Sylva on Tuesday, Aug. 13, to seek additional community input. The drop-in session is scheduled for 5:30 until 7 p.m. in the atrium of Jackson County Public Library. Refreshments will be served, and community members can arrive at any point during the event to offer feedback. The public session is a follow-up to a previous forum held in Sylva in May. It will be led by Ron G. Smith, a Sylva native who has worked on the renovation project for the Jackson County Public Library and on WCU’s Hunter Library master plan. Smith is among the principal consultants with the architecture firm McMillan, Pazdan and Smith, which is working on the WCU project with Hanbury, Evans, Wright and Vlattas, a firm specializing in campus design and planning. Launched last year, the 17-month master planning process has included public forums held on and off campus last fall to help the steering committee set directions, with a community meeting at Cullowhee Valley School. Consultants were on campus in April soliciting feedback, gathering information and conducting impromptu focus groups with students, faculty, staff and members of the community. A preliminary report and plan by the consultants are expected to be completed by early September, followed by a series of campus and community presentations for reaction in October and November. After revisions based on that feedback, the final master plan should be ready for consideration by the WCU Board of Trustees at its meeting in December.

For more information about the master planning effort, visit the website masterplanning.wcu.edu, where there is a “share your feedback” link.

Expansion of WCU Undergrad Engineering Program

The $20.6 billion biennial budget recently approved by the N.C. General Assembly includes more than $1.4 million for expansion of Western Carolina University’s undergraduate engineering program to Biltmore Park. State appropriations for 2013-14 include $698,962 for engineering program start-up costs and laboratory equipment at WCU’s Biltmore Park location, and $719,844 in recurring funds to cover faculty positions and ongoing operations. With the budget now signed by Gov. Pat McCrory, WCU will proceed with established processes for bringing academic offerings to the Asheville area, with the expanded engineering program expected to begin at Biltmore Park in the fall of 2014. Additional engineering education opportunities in the fast-growing corridor between Asheville and Hendersonville will help meet increasing industry and business demand for a highly qualified workforce, said WCU Chancellor David O. Belcher. “This is a real game-changer for Western North Carolina,” Belcher said. “The Milken Institute, which is a major economic think tank, has stated that one of the keys to a region’s success in economic development is close proximity to an institution of higher education that offers engineering degrees. With the funding provided by the General Assembly, we will be able to expand our Cullowhee-based engineering program to better serve the people and our business partners in Buncombe, Henderson and surrounding counties.” The Biltmore Park program will primarily focus on serving working professionals and will lead to a general engineering degree that will provide the specific skills sought by regional industry partners. WCU’s generalist approach to engineering offerings has a common core of mathematics and science, augmented by concentrations in specific engineering specializations. Additional engineering specializations can be created to meet the needs of the region. Because of industry demand, a new concentration in mechanical engineering will be offered on the Cullowhee campus beginning this fall.

For more information about engineering or any programs in WCU’s Kimmel School of Construction Management and Technology, visit the website kimmel.wcu.edu or call 828-227-7368.


WCU Chancellor Announces Phasing Out of Some Academic Programs

Western Carolina University Chancellor David O. Belcher announced Thursday, that the university will proceed with the phased discontinuation of 10 of the 13 academic programs previously recommended by a campus task force for closure. Belcher also announced that programs in motion picture and television production, Spanish and Spanish education, which had been recommended for discontinuation, will be retained, with program directors responsible for developing action plans to address weaknesses and take steps toward improvement. Programs that will begin the process of phased discontinuation are a bachelor’s degree program in German; master’s degree programs in health and physical education, mathematics, mathematics education, music, music education and two master’s programs related to teaching English to speakers of other languages; and a minor in women’s studies. In addition, a total of eight programs have agreed to voluntarily discontinue operations because of low enrollment or similarity to other programs available at WCU. Those programs are undergraduate minors in American studies, Appalachian studies, broadcast sales, broadcast telecommunications engineering technology, digital communications engineering technology, earth sciences and multimedia; an undergraduate program in business designed as a second major for non-business students; and master’s degree programs in chemistry education and teaching music. Chancellor Belcher had the following to say about the decision; “I have explored quality indicators. I have considered the degree to which programs and their owners – faculty, coordinators, department heads – have been thoughtfully proactive, before the advent of program prioritization, in recruitment and retention efforts, and the degree to which they have been successful,” he said. “I have explored the differences between need in the region and actual demand for Western Carolina’s programs. And I have wrestled with potential impact of program loss.” Those programs slated for discontinuation will not be closed immediately. They will be placed on inactive status and will not enroll any additional students. The university is developing program-specific plans to “teach out” students currently enrolled in those programs, or to help them transition into a similar program at WCU or to another institution, as it follows best practices for the discontinuation of academic programs. “Western Carolina University cannot be all things to all people. It never could, but the economic climate of the last five years and the resulting budget reductions have made this fact, too often ignored, a blatant reality,” Belcher said. “Our university must focus, ensuring that it does not diffuse its efforts and resources, both fiscal and human, in so many directions that the institution jeopardizes the quality of all of its programs.” Decisions to eliminate academic programs are subject to the approval of the University of North Carolina system. Western Carolina also must follow specific guidelines required by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, WCU’s official regional accrediting agency. Belcher’s announcement regarding his final decisions does not represent the last chapter in program prioritization at WCU. The university will integrate ongoing program prioritization into its regular cycle of program review, which will draw upon additional recommendations made by the task force related to improvements in the process and the data used for assessment.

Detailed information about program prioritization at WCU, including task force recommendations and final decision reports from the chancellor, can be found online at the website programprioritization.wcu.edu.

WCU’s Academic Success Program Set for this Saturday

Western Carolina University’s Academic Success Program (ASP) students have collaborated with the Town of Sylva, Walmart of Sylva, Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort, and several area nonprofits and businesses to host the third annual Day of Service this Saturday in the Bridge Park. The festival in the park will include games, food, music, and nonprofit vendors from 9am-1pm. At 11am, Harrah’s will provide a lunch fundraiser to include grilled flat iron steaks, grilled chicken, baby red potatoes, fire roasted corn salad, warm tortillas, and clover honey baklava. A kids’ lunch box will include a hot dog, potato chips, fresh apple slices, a fruit snack, and a toy surprise. Festival attendees can also enjoy local musicians, Sugar Barnes, Perfect Third, and John Luke Carter on the Bridge Park stage. In the evening, from 5-9pm, there will be a benefit concert in the Bridge Park, featuring local bands, P.M.A (Positive Mental Attitude) and Porch 40. Food vendors and nonprofits will be set up throughout the evening as well, and all proceeds and donations directly benefit the Community Table, Jackson Neighbors in Need, and Communities in Schools Great Smoky Mountains. Jack the Dipper Ice Cream will be set up in the park, selling ice cream at the morning festival, and during the evening celebration, donating 10% of the day’s sales to the three benefit organizations. Throughout the day, ASP students will be volunteering in a variety of service projects throughout Jackson County, to benefit Catman2, Appalachian Homestead Farm and Preserve, Sylva Rotary, river cleanup, Pathways Thrift Store, Full Spectrum Farms, and roadside cleanup along Highway 107 and Old Cullowhee Road. Support, volunteers, and donations from local businesses have helped to make this event possible. Walmart of Sylva has generously awarded a $500 grant to each of the benefit organizations: the Community Table, Jackson Neighbors in Need, and Communities in Schools. In addition to Walmart and Harrah’s, community sponsors include WRGC Radio, Signature Brew Coffee Company, the River Jordan Christian Store, In Your Ear Music, Friends of the Jackson County Public Library, Survival Pride Clothing, Heinzelmannchen​, Finders Keepers, City Lights Bookstore, Hollifield Jewelers, It’s By Nature, and Soul Infusion Tea House and Bistro. These businesses and organizations are providing prizes for a raffle sponsored by the Town of Sylva, hosting donation jars, and making monetary contributions to local nonprofits. Questions about the Day of Service can be directed to Glenda Hensley, at ghensley@email.​wcu.edu.


WCU Transit System Facing Changes


Taken from WCU's Website

Picture Taken from WCU’s Website

The Cat-Tran transit service offered by WCU to students living off campus may soon be gone completely. While seen by most as a good idea, the service is reportedly not used often enough to justify the spending. Cat-Trans has two main functions, one is to provide on campus rides between Western Carolina’s lecture halls, parking lots, dorms, and other facilities. The other function is to provide transportation to students living off campus from their homes or apartments to campus. Of the 365,000 passengers only about 1% rode the off campus routes. The cost of a student riding the on campus route is roughly $1 while the cost of an off campus rider is around $20. Each student pays a $96 fee that goes toward funding transit services. Of the $800,000 collected, the off campus transit takes up 10% of that budget. No changes are being planned for the 2013-2014 school year but WCU Police Chief Ernie Hudson, who also oversees Cat-Tran, said he will most likely suggest cutting the program the following year if more people don’t start utilizing the off campus transit.

WCU and Town of Sylva to Host ASP’s Day of Service

Western Carolina University’s Academic Success Program is partnering with the Town of Sylva to host its annual Day of Service, on Saturday, July 20, 2013 in the Bridge Park in downtown Sylva. ASP students will participate in day-long service projects throughout Jackson County, while a festival to raise funds and awareness for local nonprofits and service organizations will be held in the Bridge Park. Aiding in this effort as a community sponsor is Wal-Mart of Sylva. Wal-Mart will act as a collection site from July 5-20, providing shoppers with a Wish List of items for the Community Table, and collecting community donations. In addition to shoppers’ donations, Wal-Mart of Sylva is awarding grants to the Community Table, Jackson Neighbors in Need, and Communities in Schools. With generous contributions from Wal-Mart of Sylva and Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort, ASP students will be able to donate all proceeds from the event to benefit the three organizations, in addition to donations from Wal-Mart, funds raised by Harrah’s, and those collected by local businesses. All proceeds and donations will benefit the Community Table, Jackson Neighbors in Need, and Communities in Schools of the Great Smoky Mountains. The ASP Day of Service Festival will take place in the Bridge Park from 9am-1pm, with music, food, carnival games, arts and crafts, inflatables, and a variety of booths with information on local nonprofits and their efforts. The Farmers’ Market will be held in its usual location next to the park. Meanwhile, ASP students will be volunteering throughout Jackson County, working with Appalachian Homestead Farm and Preserve, Catman2, the Watershed Association of the Tuckasegee River, Pathways Thrift Store, Full Spectrum Farms, and several other volunteer projects. To close out the day, a free concert and evening celebration will be held in the Bridge Park from 5pm-9pm. The Day of Service aims to foster the growing relationship between WCU and the community, provide an engaged learning experience for ASP students, and to support vital community service organizations in Jackson County. For more information on ASP or the Day of Service, contact Glenda Hensley, at ghensley@email.wcu.edu or by phone, at 828-227-2786.




Big Nasty Jazz Band Performs Free Concert June 20 at WCU


Big Nasty Jazz Band

Big Nasty Jazz Band

The annual outdoor Summer Concert Series at Western Carolina University continues Thursday, June 20, with the Big Nasty Jazz Band. From Asheville, the Big Nasty Jazz Band is a unique jazz experience that brings back the music of the ’20s and ’30s and encourages listeners to get up and dance. WCU hosts the Summer Concert Series, presented by the A.K. Hinds University Center, on Central Plaza every Thursday in June and July (excluding July 4). The series features an eclectic variety of genres and is free to the public. Shows begin at 7 p.m. and last 60-90 minutes. Audience members are welcome to bring blankets, chairs and snacks. The rain location is inside the University Center. Next up is the Honeycutters, an old-school country experience, June 27.

 For more information, contact Lori Davis, assistant director for campus activities, at ledavis@wcu.edu or 828-227-3622.

WCU Outfielder Julian Ridings & Third Baseman Tyler White Selected During the 2013 MLB First Year Draft

Western Carolina had two players selected during the 2013 Major League Baseball First Year Player draft which concluded over the weekend. Junior outfielder Julian Ridings was taken by the Tampa Bay Rays in the 18th round while senior third baseman Tyler White was taken by the Houston Astros in the 33rd round, both coming on the final day of the draft. Ridings was the 22nd pick of the 18th round – and the 548th player taken overall – while White was the first pick of the 33rd round and 977th pick overall. Both Ridings and White are the first-ever Catamounts to be drafted by their respective clubs, Tampa Bay and Houston. Scouts have Ridings profiled as a “top of the order hitter where he can take advantage of his speed and instincts on the base paths.” Even with his improved power numbers over the past two seasons, doubling his number of doubles from eight to 16 and improving upon his home run totals from three to 11 from his sophomore to junior year, scouts have Ridings pegged as “more of a line-drive hitter with gap power as a professional”. Being taken in the 2013 MLB Draft put an exclamation point on a solid career and superb senior year for Tyler White. A first-team All-Southern Conference selection and the media’s SoCon Player of the Year, White hit .363 in 2013 to rank tied for second on the squad while his .416 batting average in SoCon play led the team. He also paced the squad with 66 RBI and 16 home runs while his 27 doubles broke a 10-year old, single-season record. Ridings and White were among 22 players from the Southern Conference drafted during the three-day, 40-round event which concluded Saturday. At total, 1,216 players were selected in the 2013 draft.

WCU Welcomes Student Representative as Newest Member of Board of Trustees


Ryan Hermance

Ryan Hermance

Ryan Hermance, president of the Student Government Association at Western Carolina University, took the oath of office Friday, June 7, as the newest member of the university’s Board of Trustees, which also said goodbye to two departing members. A senior from Newton, Hermance was elected 2013-14 WCU student body president during the spring semester. The position also entails serving as an ex-officio member of the trustees. “We welcome you to this board,” Joan MacNeill, chair of the trustees, said after Hermance was sworn in by Terry Welch, assistant to the chancellor and secretary to the board. “We know that you will represent the students well. We feel that, as the representative of the students, you are the most important member of this board, so welcome.” Hermance is pursuing degrees in political science and international studies. The son of Wayne and Debbie Hermance, he is a 2010 graduate of Bandys High School. Administration of the oath of office came during the board’s quarterly meeting. As the board welcomed its newest member, it also bid farewell to two out-going trustees – MacNeill and Steve Metcalf, both of whom complete the second of their consecutive four-year terms on June 30. In an emotional series of remarks, fellow board members thanked MacNeill and Metcalf for their contributions to the university, and Chancellor David O. Belcher recognized MacNeill in particular for her 16 years of volunteer service to WCU – six as a member of the Foundation Board of Directors, and 10 as a member of the Board of Trustees, including two tours of duty as chair. “I could not have hoped for a better ally and friend as I began my chancellor’s journey,” Belcher said, recalling the first time he met MacNeill when she was serving on the search committee that brought him to WCU in 2011. MacNeill’s service to public higher education is not ending, however. A co-founder and former president of the Great Smoky Mountains Railway, she was recently named by the N.C. Senate to the 32-member University of North Carolina Board of Governors. She will begin serving on that board effective July 1.


Mimi Fenton Named Dean of Graduate School at WCU


Mimi Fenton Dean of WCU Graduate School

Mimi Fenton Dean of WCU Graduate School

Mimi Fenton, who has been serving as interim dean of Western Carolina University’s Graduate School and Research since July 2012, has been selected to become the academic unit’s permanent leader. A professor of English, Fenton has been leading WCU’s graduate education programs and research activities since the retirement of the previous dean, Scott Higgins, who stepped down last June after 31 years of service to the university. Mark Lord, acting provost, announced the appointment of Fenton on Wednesday, May 29. The appointment is pending approval by the WCU Board of Trustees and the University of North Carolina Board of Governors later this summer. “Mimi has done a wonderful job in her year as interim dean, and has implemented significant initiatives to improve the efficiency of both the graduate studies side of the operation and the research administration side,” Lord said. “She worked closely with program directors on strategies to increase enrollment, initiated a summer research assistantship program and restructured the Office of Research Administration. She brings first-hand experience to this position from the faculty and administrative perspectives, and the numerous teaching awards she has received throughout her career attest to her ability to connect with students.”

 Fenton, a faculty member at WCU since 1992, previously served as associate dean in the College of Arts and Sciences from 1997 until 1999 and as director of graduate studies in English from 1995 to 1997. An acclaimed scholar of English poet John Milton, whose works include “Paradise Lost,” Fenton won WCU’s University Scholar Award for 2005-06, the UNC Board of Governor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2004, the WCU Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award for 2002-03, and the WCU College of Arts and Sciences Teaching Award for 2002-03 and 1995-96. “I feel privileged and honored to serve as part of the leadership team at Western Carolina University,” Fenton said. “It is an exciting and fortuitous time for graduate education and research. I am working toward increased enrollment in our excellent graduate programs, greater visibility of graduate education throughout the region, development of new sources of funding for graduate students, and intensified research support for students, staff and faculty. Many great opportunities lie ahead, and I am inspired by the progress we have been making and the possibilities for the future.” Fenton earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English from the University of Wyoming, in 1980 and 1982 respectively, before earning her doctorate in English from the University of Kentucky in 1990. She has taught at the University of Wyoming, University of New Orleans, Francis Marion University, University of Kentucky and Purdue University North Central. She is a member of the Council of Graduate Schools, the N.C. Council of Graduate Schools and the International Society for Research Administrators, and she was elected president of the Milton Society of America in 2011.

The Graduate School dean reports directly to the provost and is responsible for the development, promotion, coordination and evaluation of graduate education, and oversees and promotes sponsored research and compliance at WCU. The university’s graduate education program currently includes more than 450 faculty members from more than 50 degree programs. Nearly 1,700 students are enrolled in graduate education at Western Carolina through on-site classes in Cullowhee, in Asheville through WCU Programs at Biltmore Park, and around the world through online courses.

 For more information about graduate programs at Western Carolina University, call 828-227-7398 or email grad@wcu.edu.

WCU’s Ken Flynt Endows Business Scholarship In Memory of His Son


 WCU_Ken FlyntKen Flynt, an associate dean in the College of Business at Western Carolina University, has endowed a scholarship in memory of his late son. The Chad M. Flynt Scholarship will benefit students majoring in sport management who carry a 3.2 grade point average and display leadership and engage in extracurricular activities in the College of Business and university at large. Rising junior Carly J. Sprouse of Waynesville was named the first recipient of the scholarship, which will award her $500 for the 2013-14 academic year. “I’m honored to receive it,” Sprouse said. Flynt graduated from WCU in 1971 with a business degree and went on to spend a long career in banking before returning to his alma mater as an employee. At the end of 2012, he began to think more about how he could support WCU and its students and arrived at the idea of endowing a scholarship. “I really appreciate the value of WCU and the College of Business in my life,” Flynt said. “I love this place, and I care very deeply about our students.” Flynt chose the College of Business sport management program because his son, who died 17 years ago while still a teenager, had been athletic – he ran and played golf – and Flynt could imagine him having gone into sport management as a career. Sprouse, team manager for Catamount women’s basketball, carries a 3.5 grade point average and is a member of the Honors College. She hopes for a career in collegiate women’s basketball.

 For more information about the Chad M. Flynt Scholarship or giving to WCU, contact Brett Woods, director of development, at bwoods@wcu.edu or 828-227-7124.

WCU Holds Dedication Service for the New Health and Human Sciences Building


Students, faculty. and dignitaries relax and enjoy the open floor space of WCUs new Health and Human Sciences building

Students, faculty. and dignitaries relax and enjoy the open floor space of WCUs new Health and Human Sciences building

Open. Large. State-of-the-art. All of these, and more, are apt descriptions of Western Carolina University’s new addition to its campus. The 160,000 square feet Health and Human Sciences building was open to the public today for a dedication celebration and tours of its high tech classrooms, lecture halls, and laboratories. “The difference in this building is that it is saturated with technology,” said, WCUs Director of Instructional Technology and Desktop Services, William T. Frady. “That’s the difference between it and the other side of campus.” Whether it is wall-to-wall WIFI, hospital room simulators, or video conferencing equipment connecting students and faculty to colleges across the globe, IT Program Manager describes it as, “certainly state-of-the-art”. This new addition to the University’s facilities is the first to be built on its western campus, and promises to be the first of more expansion in that direction. When WRGC asked Chancellor David Belcher what was in store for the future of that part of WCU he was optimistic. “It’s hard to say what will happen next,” he replied, “but what we do know is that we have people who are talking to us about the possibilities of building medical offices on the campus.” “I think, in many ways, that it will just extend the reach of our University through partnerships. It will be internship opportunities for our students, collaborative opportunities for our faculty working with health care professionals on ground breaking and applied research, and then serving the people of our region. That in the long run is what it’s all about.”

WCU Has New Dean of College of Arts and Sciences


Richard Starnes

Richard Starnes

Western Carolina University Provost Angi Brenton announced on Wednesday, that Richard Starnes is the new permanent dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. Starnes, who has been serving as interim dean of the College of Arts and Sciences since July, is an associate professor of history and former head of WCU’s Department of History. A member of the WCU history department faculty since 2000, Starnes earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in history from Western Carolina, in 1992 and 1994 respectively, before earning his doctorate from Auburn University in 1999. The appointment of Starnes is the result of a national search for a permanent dean of the college by a committee led by Sean O’Connell, head of the WCU Department of Biology. The College of Arts and Sciences is WCU’s largest college, consisting of 11 academic departments, nearly 200 faculty and some 2,000 students. The appointment will not be final until approved by the WCU Board of Trustees and the University of North Carolina Board of Governors later this spring.