From Dr. Scott Eldredge, Communication Department Head

Hello and Welcome to Western Carolina University’s Fall semester and start of the 2022-2023 Academic Year! The start of the Fall semester is always my favorite time of year to be here on campus in our beautiful Western North Carolina mountains. I love being out and about on campus hearing the marching band practice, seeing students hustle around campus to class and meeting up with friends, and faculty and staff helping new students find their way to class. There always seems to be a sense of excitement as the Fall semester starts!

While the pandemic has certainly forever changed our world in a variety of ways, being out and about on campus these last few days has filled me with a sense of hope and anticipation for the coming year. I don’t want to say we are back to normal, but rather, I feel we are settling into a new normal that, so far, feels pretty good. Here are some quick stats on where we are at as a university starting this Fall:

– We are on track to have one of the largest Freshman classes ever in the history of Western Carolina University at nearly 1,950 first-time, full-time freshman students.
– Nearly 30% of our students are transfer students coming to us from community colleges and early college programs from around North Carolina and from across the country.
– While our official census day is still two weeks away, the university is on track to have a total student population somewhere near 11,600.
– The top three North Carolina counties where WCU undergraduate students come from are Buncombe, Wake, and Mecklenburg.
– The top counties for WCU graduate students are all in the Western North Carolina region, including Buncombe, Haywood, Jackson, and other counties in the far western North Carolina mountains.

In the Communication Department, we are busy planning for the Fall semester with several new initiatives in the works, visits from our alumni planned, and several new classes being offered. Some of those highlights include:

– Now that we have launched our radio station on the new frequency at 95.3 FM, live programming will return to WWCU, including newscasts and live election night coverage being planned.
– Alumni coming back to meet and talk to students will include Phil Jackson from the National Forest Service, Caleb Peek from iHeart Radio – Asheville, and Kimberly Gleiser from Hospice of Davidson County.
– We are offering several new classes, including TV Practicum classes working with University Athletics, a new Introduction to Multi-Media Production class, and an Advanced Directing and Producing Studio Practicum.
– We will launch a fundraising campaign for the Shannon Christy Memorial Scholarship fund to run throughout the semester.
– We will be pursuing Underwriting Opportunities for WWCU-FM.

Finally, we welcome four new faculty members to the Communication Department. Grace Cheshire, Nora Radway-Moore, and Gabriel Wisniewski-Parks all teaching in our COMM 201 – Foundations of Communication program, and Kelsea Schoenbauer teaching Interpersonal Communication as part of our Human Communication course offerings we provide to the Integrated Health Sciences program. Watch our newsletters and website for more information on these folks!

And there’s more to come!! We are all excited for the coming year and the possibilities out there waiting for us. If you would like to help support the department as we continue to develop and offer these kinds of opportunities to our students, visit the links below.

-To support the overall work of the department and donate to the general department fund visit here.
-To support the specific mission of the Shannon Christie Memorial Scholarship Fund and help us get the scholarship fully endowed visit here.
-For more information about Shannon Christie and the scholarship established to honor her visit here.

ALUMNI: We’d love to hear from you! Follow us on Facebook and Instagram, and send us a note at to let us know how you’re doing!

Thank you for supporting the work of the Department of Communication and our students here at Western Carolina University.

Scott Eldredge
Associate Professor
Department Head – Department of Communication