The university is intensely focused on its students, Western Carolina Chancellor David Belcher says in the accompanying video.
“This is what Western lives every single day,” he says.
Though it is growing rapidly and now has more than 10,800 students, Western has strived to build “intentional relationships” between faculty, staff and students, Belcher says.
“So far, we’re getting it right. But this is a place that is about students – and that is what makes Western Carolina University special.”
Provost Alison Morrison-Shetlar recounts how when it opened as a one-room school in 1889, Western had 18 students and one instructor – and that’s the largest its student-faculty ratio has ever been. (It’s now 16 to 1.)
Belcher highlights some of Western Carolina’s signature programs, including Forensic Science (with, yes, a body farm on campus), Musical Theater and the Pride of the Mountains Marching Band, in which 15 to 20 percent of each freshman class enrolls.
But he also highlights traditional programs, including a Creative Writing program anchored by author Ron Rash, Nursing, Teaching and – in a part of the state starved for engineers – Engineering.