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WCU Stories

David Virtue with students in Norway

WCU’s Newest Professor Sees ‘virtue’ in Middle Grades Students

David Virtue has been involved with middle grades education for 20 years. So, when he first learned that he was named Western Carolina University’s Taft B. Botner Distinguished Professor of Elementary and Middle Grades Education this summer, it’s no surprise that he compared his reaction to the excitement of a middle schooler learning “they were getting a snow day.”  

Meet David Virtue  

Brad Witzel

Developing future teachers is what fuels professor Brad Witzel

Brad Witzel said he has a lot of teaching left in him, at least 15 to 20 years. That’s why it’s taken him some time to get used to being called a distinguished professor. Witzel will join Western Carolina University’s College of Education and Allied Professions this fall as the Adelaide Worth Daniels Distinguished Professor of Special Education. Rather than look at the honor as a career-defining moment on the downside of his teaching, Witzel views it differently.   

Read His Story  

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The Historical Significance and Contemporary Relevance of Juneteenth

Adam Thomas is an assistant professor of history at Western Carolina University whose research examines questions of slavery, anti-slavery warfare, emancipation, race, gender, memory, childhood and kinship in colonial North America and the early U.S. We asked Dr. Thomas to provide some insight into the historical significance of Juneteenth and what the event means during these times of civil unrest and protest.  

David Walton, photo courtesy of UNC Pembrook

A Promise Fulfilled: David Walton was hired as director of WCU’s African American Studies minor

With the hiring of a director to create an African American Studies minor program, Western Carolina University has come one step closer to fulfilling its promise to add the offering to its curriculum. David Walton, an assistant professor of history at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, has been named the director of WCU’s African American Studies minor. Walton will begin his new role, which includes being an assistant professor in the Department of History, Aug. 1.  

Learn More About the Program  

Fire Ant

Fire Ant Problems Increase in Mountains, Including Higher Elevations of the Region

Move over murder hornets. Fire ants, those vicious insects with a painful sting and destructive ways, are becoming more pervasive in the mountains, according to research from the Highlands Biological Station of Western Carolina University.  

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Communication professor Don Connelly wins fifth Broadcast Education Association award

Don Connelly, professor of communication at Western Carolina University, recently became a five-time winner of the Charles and Lucile King Family Foundation “Best of Festival” award, presented by the Broadcast Education Association.  

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David Walton selected to lead WCU’s new African American Studies minor program

David Walton, an assistant professor of history at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, has been named the director of WCU’s African American Studies minor. Walton will begin his new role, which includes being an assistant professor in the Department of History, Aug. 1.  

Students in a surgical room

Faculty, Students with Chinese Ties Bring Much-Needed Surgical Masks to WNC

A chat room conversation between colleagues at Western Carolina University with ties to China led to fast action that is putting surgical masks into the hands of front-line health workers in the region’s smaller care facilities. Yue Cai Hillon, professor of management at WCU, said the effort began with the simple, but the oft-repeated question of “what can we do?”  

Student writing on a blackboard

A Hire Advantage

Working on your college campus probably won’t make you rich, but what if it offered something potentially even more valuable in the long term? Western Carolina University actually offers that – through a program designed to make student employment a more impactful experience  

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