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One-Day Internet Courses to be Offered Aug. 25-26 at WCU

Sunday, August 7th, 2011

ASHEVILLE, NC – Western Carolina University‘s Division of Educational Outreach will offer two one-day Internet courses in late August.

“Using Google Docs,” set for Thursday, Aug. 25, from 8:30 a.m. until 5 p.m., is designed to familiarize participants with the free Google Docs program.  Participants will learn to produce, create, modify and organize text documents, slideshow presentations, spreadsheets, drawings, surveys and more.

Only an Internet connection, a browser (such as Internet Explorer) and a bit of time are necessary to access the program.  Participants will learn how to share their Google Docs files so they can collaborate on mutual projects with others.

“The One-Day Website” will be offered Friday, Aug. 26, from 8:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. The course will cover how to create, design and publish personal websites to the Internet for free, as well as how to maintain website files.

Participants will learn to use the features, options, templates and tools available through an account on Tripod.com, for which they will register at the beginning of the course. To conclude the course, participants will publish their web pages to the Internet.

Instructor Gordon Pike worked as a senior technical writer for General Electric Co. for 33 years before retiring in 1995. While at General Electric, he wrote both military and commercial technical manuals for complex special-purpose electronic systems such as the Apollo Program, the F-16 Pilot Training Simulator and the Trident Missile Program.  He holds a master’s degree in computer-based learning and currently teaches computer courses at Haywood Community College.

The fee for each course is $49 until Friday, Aug. 19, and $59 after that day.  No book or program purchases are required and no special computer skills are needed.

Participants may register for one or both courses, each of which will be held in Room 137 of the Cordelia Camp Building on WCU’s campus.

To register or for more information, call 828-227-7379 or go online to http://learn.wcu.edu.

Global Poverty Project CEO to speak at WCU, Kick off Campus Effort

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011

ASHEVILLE, NC – The 28-year-old co-founder and CEO of a global organization committed to eradicating extreme poverty will visit Western Carolina University on Wednesday, Sept. 7, to inform campus and surrounding community members about the issues and inspire them to take action.

Hugh Evans of the Global Poverty Project will present an interactive multimedia presentation called “1.4 Billion Reasons” at 7 p.m. in the John W. Bardo Fine and Performing Arts Center. The event, which kicks off a yearlong, poverty-focused interdisciplinary learning and service initiative at WCU, is free and open to the public.

“Extreme poverty means living on less than U.S. $1.25 per day,” said Evans in a video about the presentation. “This is a challenge currently felt by 1.4 billion people in our world. This gives us 1.4 billion reasons to respond immediately. Let’s make a legacy of ending extreme poverty.”

In the presentation, Evans will discuss simple, everyday changes community members can make in what they learn, say, buy, give and do to be part of the solution. He will explore five questions: What is extreme poverty? Can we do anything about it? What are the barriers to ending extreme poverty? Why should we care? What can I do?

“We’re looking forward to a dynamic presentation on a compelling topic,” said Jennifer Cooper, interim director of the WCU Center for Service Learning. “Poverty is an important issue in the developing world, but it also affects many in our region. It’s something that we’re all exposed to, particularly in the current economic climate. We hope that the people who attend this presentation will gain a better understanding of poverty-related issues, globally and locally, and that they will feel empowered to take action.”

Evans traces his interest in combating extreme poverty to age 14 when he went on a trip to The Philippines sponsored by World Vision, living with a host family in a tent in a slum built on a garbage dump. When he was 15, he spent a year in India. He later served as World Vision’s inaugural youth ambassador to South Africa in 2002.

As a result, Evans was inspired to set up the Oaktree Foundation, Australia’s first youth-run aid organization with a mission of young people working together to end global poverty. The organization has funded development projects in The Philippines, Papua New Guinea, India, Ghana and East Timor that have provided educational opportunities to more than 40,000 young people.

Evans also was a leader in the 2005 Make Poverty History campaign, which contributed to Australia increasing its foreign aid budget by $4.3 billion a year to help the world’s poorest.

He was named the Young Australian of the Year in 2004 and Junior Chamber International Young Person of the World in 2005.

Evans’ latest endeavor, the Global Poverty Project, was started in 2008 with a $60,000 grant from the United Nations and a $350,000 AusAid grant. The mission is to increase the number and effectiveness of people taking action to see an end to extreme poverty.

Evans’ presentation kicks off a yearlong interdisciplinary learning and service initiative called the WCU Poverty Project. Throughout the 2011-12 academic year, students, faculty and staff from across campus will take part in engaged teaching, learning, service, and creative and scholarly opportunities focused on poverty, locally and globally.

“What we’re hoping is that our students will not only develop a better understanding of the root causes and consequences of poverty, but what they can actually do about it,” said John F. Whitmire Jr., associate professor of philosophy and religion. “It’s a chance for all of us – students, faculty, staff and community partners – to think together about an enormously complex problem in an interdisciplinary way, and also to place it in the more specific context of our own individual lives and vocations or majors. We like to say that Western Carolina is a place for students who want to make a difference in their world, and this is an opportunity to do just that – to clarify what our values actually are with respect to poverty and associated issues, and to practice the kind of responsible civic engagement that is consistent with those values.”

Whitmire and Cooper are co-chairing the WCU Poverty Project Steering Committee, which is made up of faculty and staff from all six of WCU’s teaching colleges and schools, as well as the Honors College, Graduate School, Hunter Library, Undergraduate Studies and other campus constituencies including the Division of Student Affairs, International Programs and Services, Center for Service Learning, Career Services, student leaders and representatives of WCU’s community partners.

For more information, contact Whitmire at [email protected] or 828-227-2636, or Cooper at [email protected] or 828-227-2595.

Day of Service with Walmart raises $1,800 for Reach, Community Table

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011

ASHEVILLE, NC – A Day of Service event sponsored by Western Carolina University‘s Academic Success Program, working with associates from the Sylva Walmart Supercenter, has raised more than $1,800 in cash and much-needed items for two Jackson County charitable organizations.

Students in WCU’s Academic Success Program, who begin their college experience early by participating in a six-week summer session prior to the fall semester of their freshman year, sold tickets for a carnival featuring food and games Saturday, July 16, in the Walmart Supercenter parking lot.

Money raised during the carnival, combined with contributions from Walmart, totaled $2,614.50, which was split evenly between the Community Table and REACH of Jackson County. Walmart also contributed food and drinks for volunteers, and sponsored a concert by The Mixx.

In addition, visitors to Walmart during the Day of Service had the opportunity to shop for items on a wish-list provided by the Community Table and REACH, with approximately $500 in merchandise contributed to each of the two agencies.

The Day of Service also enabled another group of ASP students to volunteer their time and services to other community programs – Full Spectrum Farms, Habitat for Humanity ReStore, Skyland Care Center and CuRvE, or the Cullowhee Revitalization Endeavor.

“This venture allowed our students and members of our community to meet one another and work on mutual goals through a spirit of volunteerism that we all can be proud of,” said Murat Yazan, lecturer in WCU’s Department of English and one of the event organizers.

The ASP program assists students in making a successful transition to the university and includes opportunities for students to become fully engaged as members of the university and the local community.

The Day of Service was sponsored by Western Carolina University’s Academic Success Program, First Year Experience, Center for Service Learning and Quality Enhancement Plan and by Sylva of Walmart.

‘Liars Bench’ Show Returns to Mountain Heritage Center on Aug. 4

Tuesday, July 26th, 2011

Western Carolina University’s Mountain Heritage Center will host and sponsor a free performance of “The Liars Bench” Southern Appalachian variety show at 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 4.

“The Liars Bench” was founded by Sylva writer and storyteller Gary Carden in June 2010, and the show’s cast presented monthly programs at City Lights bookstore in Sylva during its first year. The ensemble gave its first performance in the Mountain Heritage Center auditorium in July to a standing-room-only crowd.

“Cherokee in a Changing World” will be the theme for the upcoming performance at the museum. Cherokee storyteller Lloyd Arneach will speak about the myth of the Nunnihi, Carden will deliver a tale titled “When the Tourist Came,” and Barbara McRae, editor of The Franklin Press newspaper, will give a presentation on the Nikwasi Mound.

Also during the show, Robert Conley, WCU’s Sequoyah Distinguished Professor in Cherokee Studies, will discuss major issues facing the Cherokee people today, as well as present some theories about an ancient Cherokee ritual known as the “Booger Dance.” Barbara Duncan, a musician and poet from the Museum of the Cherokee Indian, and Liars Bench regular Paul Iarussi, a claw-hammer guitarist, also will perform.

For more information about the show, call the Mountain Heritage Center at 828-227-7129.

Western Carolina Presents "Midsummer Night’s Dream Set in 1930s Appalachia

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

ASHEVILLE, NC – Care for a serving of Shakespeare, hold the Elizabethan English and add a dash of fiddle and a soft Southern drawl? The department of stage and screen at Western Carolina University will present “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” – a commentary on the absurdity of love – at 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, Oct. 29-31, and 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 1, at the Fine and Performing Arts Center on the WCU campus.

One of the most often performed of Shakespeare’s comedies, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” weaves multiple storylines: A royal wedding, a group of amateur actors planning the wedding entertainment, the confused affections of four young lovers, and a feuding fairy king and queen whose magical spells cause mayhem. The characters ultimately decide they must have dreamed the chaotic series of events, yet all find themselves changed by the experience.

“Shakespeare has purposely made this all a jumble,” said director Claire Eye, a faculty member in the department of stage and screen. “Shakespeare’s point is that you can’t put logic into who you fall in love with.”

Eye set the play in Depression-era Appalachia because it was a time when people craved laughter, and the play reminds her of qualities of this region. “There’s such a beauty to the music and the people here,” Eye said.

The play’s music, dance, costumes and set will evoke Appalachia, and while the language will be Shakespeare’s original, the pronunciation will be in a Southern dialect – a natural fit because “Shakespeare’s writing is very musical,” Eye said.

The cast includes:

– Titania, queen of the fairies – senior Dayna Damron of Valdosta, Ga.

– Oberon, king of the fairies – junior Jack Watson of Asheville

– Demetrius – senior Jon Coward of Titusville, Fla.

– Lysander – senior Nathanial Mason of Bryson City

– Hermia – junior Christina DeSoto of Charlotte

– Helena – senior Amanda Pisano of Candler

Puck – freshman Peter O’Neal of Raleigh

– Bottom the Weaver – Peter Savage of Asheville, a faculty member in the department of stage and screen

The play is part of the College of Fine and Performing Arts’ Mainstage theater series and recommended for ages 12 and older. Sunday’s showing also is part of the 2009-10 Galaxy of Stars Series.

Tickets cost $20 for the general public, $5 for students and $15 for WCU faculty and staff and people older than 60. To purchase tickets, visit the FAPAC box office or call the box office at (828) 227-2479 for Visa and MasterCard orders. Order tickets for Thursday through Saturday nights here, and Sunday afternoon here. online here.

WCU Ranked No. 10 Among Public Master’s Universities in South

Monday, August 31st, 2009

CULLOWHEE, NC – The latest U.S. News & World Report guide to “America’s Best Colleges” ranks Western Carolina University 10th among public universities in the South that offer master’s degrees.

The list in which WCU is ranked includes higher education institutions that offer a wide range of bachelor’s and master’s degrees, and that tend to attract most of their students from surrounding states. It is the first time WCU has made the U.S. News top 10 list of southern public master’s institutions.

“Western Carolina has moved steadily up the rankings over the past few years, and we are glad to see that trend continue again this year,” said WCU Chancellor John Bardo. “In recent years, our College of Education and Allied Professions has received two major national honors, and our academic programs in business administration, project management, criminal justice and entrepreneurship have earned high national rankings, so it is obvious that our rising academic quality is becoming known nationally.

“Also, earlier this year, our Pride of the Mountains Marching Band was named recipient of the Sudler Trophy, the ‘Heisman Trophy’ of university marching bands. We think there are plenty of signs that good things are happening in Cullowhee,” Bardo said.

Still, Bardo cautioned prospective students against putting too much stock in rankings when they are making the important decision about where to go to college. “After students narrow down their list of prospective colleges to a handful, they should visit the various campuses to get a feel about which one is right for them,” he said.

Bardo said high school graduates who decide they want to become WCU Catamounts can expect to find some of the nation’s best teachers and researchers, representing a wide variety of academic programs, when they enter the classrooms. Among the faculty are Ron Rash and Robert Conley, two of the nation’s top fiction writers; Nancy Helm-Estabrooks, an internationally recognized expert in the field of adult neurological communication disorders; Rob Young, one of the nation’s most-sought-after experts on coastal issues and hurricane impacts; and John Williams, one of only 60 board-certified forensic anthropologists in North America.

WCU representatives will hold informational programs across the state in September to help shed some light on the college admission process for students and their families. The stops include Concord, Sept. 14; Durham, Sept. 15; Raleigh, Sept. 16; and Greensboro, Sept. 17. In addition, Open House sessions will be held on the Cullowhee campus on Oct. 3, Nov. 14, Feb. 17 and April 17.

Western Carolina University Professor Earns Lifetime Achievement Award

Friday, July 31st, 2009

CULLOWHEE, NC – Robert J. Conley, the Sequoyah Distinguished Professor of Cherokee Studies at Western Carolina University, is the 2008 Lifetime Achievement Award winner from the Native Writers’ Circle of the Americas.

A novelist, short story writer, poet and essayist, Conley is the author of more than 50 books. They include “Back to Malachi,” “Ned Christie’s War,” “Mountain Windsong: A Novel of the Trail of Tears,” “The Dark Way,” “War Woman” and “Cherokee Dragon.”

Conley has won the Spur Award from the Western Writers of America for the novels Nickajack and The Dark Island, and for his short story “Yellow Bird: An Imaginary Autobiography.” Earlier this year, he received the Arrell Gibson Lifetime Achievement Award from the Oklahoma Center for the Book.

Conley assumed his duties as an endowed professor at Western Carolina University in 2008, prior to which he was a professional writer and served as programs director of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma. The endowed professorship was established in 1998 and is dedicated to the preservation of Cherokee and Native American culture, heritage and values.

A registered tribal member of the Cherokee Nation, Conley taught throughout the Midwest and was attracted to the mountains of Western North Carolina by the opportunity to connect with ancient Cherokee history. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Midwestern University in Wichita Falls, Texas.

Conley will be honored, along with the winners of the Native Writers’ Circle of the Americas’ First Book Awards for Poetry and Prose, during the Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers Festival at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma in late October.

For more information about Cherokee studies, contact the program office at (828) 227-3841.

WCU Art Museum Marks New Season with Three Exhibits

Friday, July 10th, 2009

Fine Arts Museum, WCU

CULLOWHEE. NC – The Fine Art Museum at Western Carolina University launches its 2009-10 season with three exhibits that, while grounded in Western North Carolina, demonstrate a wide scope. The exhibits will run from Saturday, Aug. 1, through Friday, Sept. 18.

The museum, in WCU’s Fine and Performing Arts Center, will host a reception for the new exhibits from 2 to 4 p.m. Aug. 1.

The exhibits are as follows:

  • "New Gifts: Selections from the Collection of Professor Emeritus Perry Kelly" – Kelly, formerly of the School of Art and Design, gave the Fine Art Museum 50 works from his personal collection. The exhibit features a selection of that work, in a variety of media, by former art faculty and students and visiting artists.
  • "George Masa: A Photographic Vision of the Mountains" – This exhibit, in recognition of the 75th anniversary of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, features the photographs and field notes of George Masa, a native of Japan who arrived in Asheville in 1915 and later opened a photographic studio. A friend of naturalist and author Horace Kephart, Masa explored the mountains of Western North Carolina and lobbied for the establishment of the national park. Special Collections at Hunter Library provided exhibit materials. Photographer George Masa advocated creating Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The Fine Art Museum at Western Carolina University will exhibit Masa’s photographs and field notes from Aug. 1 through Sept. 18.
  • "Dean and Nancy Cramer Lettenstrom: Delicate Balance – Painting + Drawing" – The Lettenstroms, with long artistic careers, recently relocated from the Midwest to Asheville. Painter Dean Lettenstrom’s imagery – simple yet provocative – offers a visual statement about the fragility of the human condition. Nancy Lettenstrom’s mixed media drawings, on handmade paper, often depict animals as representations of the natural world.

Museum hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday. The museum is closed Sunday and Monday and during university holidays and breaks. For more information, contact the Fine Art Museum at (828) 227-3591 or visit online at http://www.wcu.edu/fapac/Galleries/index.html.