Director, First Year Experience
137B Killian Annex
- Has been a member of the Western Carolina University family since 2004.
- Her philosophy and pedagogy is grounded in holistic and integrated approaches to connect academic, co-curricular, social, and developmental experiences and that provide an inclusive and diverse perspective that is representative of students, faculty, staff, and the institution.
- Her educational and professional background is in Arts Education (from Prescott College in Arizona) and in Theatre Costume Design (from UNC Greensboro)
- Has 20 year as a professional educator, including 14 in higher education and 6 in public schools.
- Maintains administrative oversight for all FYE transition courses, first-year seminars, and summer learning communities.
- Facilitates professional development workshops for collaborative and interdisciplinary strategies.
- Co-founder and Program Director for the Theatre in Education Program at WCU (2005-2010).
- Recipient of the Chancellor's Meritorious Service to Students Award; the Chancellor's Engaged Teaching Award and a finalist for the Excellence in Teaching Liberal Studies award.
- Fellowship and Grants: Served as a Fellow for the CFPA, and for the Center for Service Learning - Author of eight grants to fund program development and student research.
Assistant Director for Residence Life
Duties include: Selection, training and supervision of Resident Directors; overseeing
student development, administration and programming in the residence halls; supervision
of the administration
of residence halls; maintaining programming budgets; adjudicating all major and minor violations of university code of student conduct; counseling and advising of resident students.
Office of Academic Initiatives in Residential Living
- Teaches LEAD LLC "The Band of Brothers"
- Committed to Service Learning and the Community Table
- Resident Director of Scott Hall and Walker Hall through Spring 2011
- Licensed Myers Briggs Evaluator
- Undergraduate Degree: Political Science from Appalachian State University
Assistant Director of Writing/Rhetoric/Critical Studies
- Education: Ph.D., Indiana University, Bloomington, Comparative Literature with a Film Studies emphasis
- Areas of Specialty: Composition, Film/Media Studies, and 20th Century American Literature
- Previously: Adjunct instructor at Johann Wolfgang Goethe-University in Frankfurt, Germany
Assistant Director, Center for Service Learning
Jennifer Cooper is the Assistant Director of the Center for Service Learning at WCU, where she helps students, faculty, and staff get involved in the community. She currently teaches LEAD 152: Going Green, co-chairs the WCU Poverty Project steering committee, and serves on several other campus committees and task force groups. She has worked in many areas of higher education: she has taught courses at WCU and Emory University, worked as an academic advisor at the University of Tennessee, and served as a researcher and administrator at WCU. She has presented on service learning and political science topics at national and regional conferences. She earned her B.A. and M.A. in political science at the University of Tennessee, and did further graduate work at Emory University.
Jennifer has been active in the community since she was a teenager. She holds leadership positions in a variety of area groups, including Jackson Neighbors in Need, Habitat for Humanity of Jackson County, and the Sylva Community Garden, and is also a regular volunteer with the Community Table and the Watershed Association of the Tuckaseegee River. When she isn’t working, Jennifer loves watching and playing sports, being outdoors, cooking, and reading.
Office of Leadership and Student Involvement
- Teaches LEAD LLC "Freshman Leadership Institute" Course
- Teaches LEAD 180 Course
- Coordinator for Freshman Leadership Institute & Cat Camp
- Advisor for Dance Marathon - Western Carolina University
- Resident Director at Ramapo College of New Jersey, Fall 2004 - Spring 2010
- Founding Mother of Beta Kappa Sigma, Black and Latina Sorority Inc.
- Graduate Degree: Human Behavior / Organizational Psychology
Janina Cauley DeHart
Assistant Director of Academic Transition & Success
First Year Experience
137-A Killian Annex
- Over 10 years of experience in higher education with various roles in academic support and as Coordinator for the Academic Success Program (ASP)
- Over 10 years of experience in teaching various courses in college transition, academic skills, and leadership
- Previous experience includes working with conflict resolution and mediation, including training and establishing peer mediation programs
- Serves as a resource for students and staff on academic policies, particularly related to academic standing
- Member of the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA); served on the Region 3 NACADA steering committee from 2006 to 2010; chaired the 2007 Region 3 NACADA Conference; served as the NC Liaison to NACADA from 2008 to 2010
- Presenter at state, regional, and national conferences on topics such as supporting students in academic difficulty, the issue of customer service in higher education, and partnering with parents for student success.
- Nationally Certified Counselor (NCC)
- Earned M.S. in Community Counseling from WCU and an additional 18 hours of graduate work in Anthropology/Native American Studies; Earned B.A. in American Indian Studies from UNC Pembroke
Assistant Director of Undergraduate Admissions
Office of Admissions
- Admissions recruiter throughout based North Carolina, Tennessee, and South Carolina.
- Campus tour and group tour coordinator
- Open House co–planner
- Creator of the WCU Bucket List program for FYE
- Began working at WCU in November of 2007
- Undergraduate Degree: Business Management & Administration from Western Carolina University
- Graduate Degree: Masters of Project Management from Western Carolina University
Director, Orientation Programs
224 Killian Annex
- 25 years in higher education at Western Carolina University; 13 years in continuing education; a short time in Alumni Affairs as Director and remaining time in Orientation
- Instructor of LEAD 241, the orientation counselor training class
- Manages and coordinates new student orientation sessions for Spring and Summer sessions in cooperation with multiple offices/departments campus-wide
- Serves on multiple councils regarding student experiences and has served on multiple program review assessment teams
- Presented at national and regional conferences
- Former coordinator of the state's largest Elderhostel program coordinating sessions throughout western North Carolina as well as on campus
- Collaborates with the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce, the Downtown Sylva Assocation and the Dillsboro Association in providing regional information to new students and their families
- Holds current memberships in National Orientation Directors Association (NODA), Southern Regional Orientation Workshop (SROW), Association of Collegiate Conference and Events Directors-International (ACCED-I)
- Held memberships and received awards from National University Continuing Education Association (NUCEA), Association for Continuing Higher Education, Inc. (ACHE), Association of College and University Housing Officers - International (ACUHO) and Learning Resources Network (LERN) one of the largest associations for lifelong learning
- Earned a BSBA from Western Carolina University and advanced hours toward and MBA
Professor - Social Work
After receiving her graduate degree from the University of Tennessee in 1985, Rebecca Lasher worked in clinical social work for 23 years specializing in counseling with children and adolescents. Her years of experience in the field led her in 2008 to the current position of Assistant Professor in the Department of Social Work. As a former school social worker, her interests include poverty and how it impacts children in the educational environment. Her service at Western Carolina includes involvement on the Faculty Senate as the elected secretary and the Department of Student Community Ethics as the Chair for Academic Integrity hearings. In 2014, the freshman class of 2017 selected Rebecca as the First Year Experience Advocate of the year. Within the greater community she serves on the Board of Directors for AWAKE-Adults Working and Advocating for Kids’ Empowerment, Rebecca is committed to the provision of services to abused and neglected children and their families in Jackson County.
Although she did not attend or graduate from Western Carolina University, Rebecca has been a devoted Catamount fan for 26 years after marrying former WCU football and baseball player, Ernie Lasher. They are the parents of twin daughters. Rebecca enjoys attending athletic events and cheering on the Cats!
As a previous international student and international scholar herself, Ling Gao LeBeau is
enthusiastic about fostering transition of international students and scholars into
American higher education
institutions and serving American faculty and students to study and conduct research abroad. She has a Master of Language Education from Indiana University Indianapolis and is currently completing PhD in Higher Education (expected 2015) from Indiana University Bloomington, with concentration on international education. Before coming to the U.S. many years ago, LeBeau was a faculty teaching English as a foreign language in a Chinese university. LeBeau’s research interests include student global learning, curriculum internationalization and international mobility. LeBeau’s dissertation is focused on campus internationalization assessment. Her published work has explored topics including teaching the Chinese language in the United States, international mobility of U.S. faculty, computer-assisted foreign language instruction and cross-cultural communication.
Coulter Faculty Commons
Undergraduate Experience Librarian
- Information Literacy Instruction Coordinator for the Writing, Rhetoric, and Critical
Program (English 101 & 202)
- Library Liaison to the FYE Program, Transfer Student Program, Honors College, International Programs, WALC and other undergraduate communities
- Member of the WCU Community since 2003
- Education: B.A. in History from Western Carolina University, Master of Library Science
North Carolina Central University
Theresa Cruz Paul
Writing & Learning Commons
Stephanie Sue Rowell
Assistant Director, Academic Initiatives
A Unit of the Department of Residential Living
- Over 13 years of experience in higher education working with housing and residence life programs. A proud member of the WCU family for over three years.
- Coordinates a variety of one-on-one interactions with residential students to provide support in their transition to college life.
- Coordinates the residential aspect of freshman living-learning communities including the Academic Success Program, the LEAD LLCs, and WHEE Teach.
- Coordinates Human Development and Leadership Retreat.
- Serves on multiple university committees including Western Carolina PEAKS, Western Carolina EXTREMES, Learning Community on Learning Communities, Writing and Learning Commons Advisory Board, and the Division of Student Affairs Assessment Team.
- Presented at state, regional, and national conferences.
- Earned a B.A. in Speech-Communications from Gustavus Adolphus College and an M.S.Ed. in Higher Education and Student Affairs from Indiana University.
- Enjoys endurance athletics, traveling, and photography.
Junior at WCU
The transition into College is one of the most exciting and scariest times of any student’s life; new people, surroundings, and cultures all collide to create a four-year understanding of yourself. As a PAL I’ve learned the value of what the friendship and guidance of another student can mean, and it is my job to provide that guidance to more students. I became a PAL to help students find their place at Western Carolina,so they can realize their own potential and exceed it.
Sophomore at WCU
FYE Office Assistant
High School Activities and Honors: HOSA, Volleyball, Honors Society
Major Course of Study at Western Carolina University: Biology
Class Level: Sophomore
Western Carolina University Activities, Clubs, and Hobbies: FYE Employee, Fitness Workout, One Book Committee, Painting
Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Personal Fact: I donated 16 inches to lock of love.
Favorite Quote: "Be yourself because everyone else is taken."
Director of Athletic Bands, Assistant Professor
School of Music
David Starnes joined the School of Music at Western Carolina University in the summer of 2011 as Assistant Professor/Director of Athletic Bands. He directs the Pride of the Mountains Marching Band and the Symphonic Band. A native of Chattanooga, Tennessee, Mr. Starnes graduated magna cum laude from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville in 1988, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Music Education. Prior to coming to Western Carolina, Mr. Starnes was the founding Director of Bands at Kennesaw Mountain High School in Kennesaw, Georgia, where he served for eleven years. Mr. Starnes is married to Rhea Jeanne Starnes, an architect, and they have a teenage daughter, Hannah. In his spare time, Mr. Starnes enjoys Indianapolis Colts football and playing with his two dogs, Oliver and Peyton.
Coordinator, Advising and Special Program
CEAP Suite 201 Student Support Center
- Has been a member of the College of Education and Allied Professions since 2010
- Coordinates Academic Advising for CEAP’s undergraduate teacher education programs
- Oversees the WHEE Teach Living and Learning Community for education majors
- Liaison for School of Teaching and Learning to Open House and Orientation
- Member of CEAP Leadership Council
- Current membership in the National Academic Advisors Association (NACADA)
- Presenter at state and regional conferences
- Current projects include investigation into stress in teacher education programs and gamification for pre-service and in-service teachers
Pre-Health Professional Advisor
The Honor's College
- Ph.D., University of Tennessee
- M.H.S., Western Carolina University
- B.S., Western Carolina University
Dr. Tallant is a Western Carolina University alumna (and North Carolina native) with a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Health Sciences from WCU. Dr. Tallant became a registered dietitian in 1999 and completed her PhD at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, in 2008. She returned to WCU in 2003 as a Liberal Studies Visiting Instructor in the School of Health Sciences, moving to a fixed-term Liberal Studies Assistant Professor in 2006, and a tenure-track position with the Nutrition & Dietetics Program in 2011. Dr. Tallant currently lives in Graham County with her husband, Mack, and 7-year-old son, Jackson.
Student Community Ethics
School of Teaching & Learning
- Ph.D., University of Tennessee, Human Ecology with a major in Community Health Education, 2001
- M.S., University of Tennessee, Health Education, August, 1997
- Master of Education, University of South Carolina, Student Personnel Services, 1992
- B.A., Carson-Newman College, History, English, and Political Science, 1991
- Alcohol/drug issues and college students
- Eating disorders and college students
- Cultural influences on health behaviors
- Obesity in children
Associate Director of Outdoor Programs
Division of Student Affairs
As director of Basecamp Cullowhee, Josh holds a Master’s of Science in Recreation Management from the University of Montana. A native of Brevard NC, Josh grew up exploring the mountains and rivers of Western North Carolina. Josh has worked in the outdoor industry for over 20 years and has more than 1000 field days on outdoor trips of 30 days or longer. He has instructed mountaineering, rock climbing, and whitewater trips in many of the remote corners of the world, spending most of his international time in the Patagonia region of South America. Most of his work history involves teaching for field-based programs such as Outward Bound and the National Outdoor Leadership School. Josh's mission is to teach students more about themselves, others, and the environment through the medium of outdoor recreation.
Junior at WCU
High School Activities and Honors: Men of Destiny, FCA, Track and Field, S.M.A.R.T., S.A.V.E., Service Learning Diploma
Major Course of Study at Western Carolina University: Psychology
Class Level: Junior
Western Carolina University Activities, Clubs, and Hobbies: SALT, FCA, Campus Church, Art
Personal Fact: I am an insane jump roper.
Favorite Quote: "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." -Philippians 4:13
- Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering, Syracuse University
- M.S. in Applied Statistics, Syracuse University
- M.S. in Electrical Engineering, Harbin Institute of Technology, China
- B.S. in Electrical Engineering, Harbin Institute of Technology, China
Areas of Interest:
Signal and Image Processing; Prognostics and Health Management of Wind Turbine Systems;
Face Recognition; Estimation, Filtering and Tracking; Particle Swarm Optimization; Wireless Communications.