BOONE, N.C. — Dr. Valerie Wisekamp, Dr. Lynn Searfoss and Dr. Clark Maddux were awarded $99,785 in funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) for their interdisciplinary project, “Blurred Boundaries: The Experience of War and Its Aftermath.”
Wisekamp is assistant professor in Appalachian State University’s Department of Communication; Searfoss is associate professor in Appalachian’s Department of English; and Maddux is director of Appalachian’s Watauga Residential College.
According to Wisekamp, this project, which is part of the “Dialogues on the Experience of War” program, brings together student and community veterans and their families to discuss how the humanities affect our understanding of armed conflict. The project, which began in the fall 2017 semester, continues through April.
“‘Blurred Boundaries: The Experience of War and Its Aftermath’ explores the ways in which texts, photographs and films illuminate two wars: the Civil War and Vietnam,” said Wisekamp. “Discussions related to the Civil War focus on material related to Western North Carolina and connections will be drawn between the ambiguities of that war and Vietnam.”
Dr. Mike Mayfield, former vice provost of undergraduate education at Appalachian, said, “The grant is another measure of Appalachian’s commitment to veterans and their families, and will strengthen partnerships with the community.”
Wisekamp said the series’ six conversations, which will be led by Appalachian student veterans, examine how the humanities help us comprehend the ambiguous nature of war.
Discussion leaders for the project include veterans Mel Falck ’14, of Wheeling, West Virginia; Joe Hough, of Hendersonville; Phillip Weiner ’16, of Chapel Hill; and Adam Williams, a native of Blairsville, Georgia.
Falck, a U.S. Army veteran who served in Iraq, is a doctoral student in Appalachian’s educational leadership program and is an administrative support specialist with Appalachian’s Reich College of Education. He holds a master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling from Appalachian, with a focus in expressive arts therapy and addictions counseling.
Hough, who serves in the North Carolina National Guard, has deployed to both Afghanistan and Iraq, and is a student in Reich College of Education’s educational administration program at Appalachian. He is the assistant superintendent of Buncombe County Schools.
Weiner served in the U.S. Navy for four years before obtaining his bachelor’s in criminal justice at Appalachian in 2016. Weiner is an officer in Appalachian’s Student Veterans of America chapter and a student in the Master of Public Administration program at Appalachian.
Williams, a sophomore English major at Appalachian, is the son of a U.S. Army Ranger. He has interned with the VALOR Clinic Foundation, an organization dedicated to helping veterans, particularly those with injuries, return to civilian life.
About the Department of English
The Department of English at Appalachian State University is committed to outstanding work in the classroom, the support and mentorship of students, and a dynamic engagement with culture, history, language, theory and literature. The department offers master’s degrees in English and rhetoric and composition, as well as undergraduate degrees in literary studies, film studies, creative writing, professional writing and English education. Learn more at https://english.appstate.edu.
About the Department of Communication
One of seven departments housed in the College of Fine and Applied Arts, the Department of Communication at Appalachian State University focuses on preparing students to succeed in the varied fields within the communication industry. The department offers five majors – advertising, communication studies, electronic media/broadcasting, journalism and public relations – and a minor in communication studies. Graduates work in a wide range of positions in media, corporate, agency, government and nonprofit organizations.
About the Watauga Residential College at Appalachian
The Watauga Residential College is a specialized academic program where classes are discussion-based seminars that allow students to pursue topics of interest to them within the context of the class. This program provides an unusual opportunity for students to become engaged in learning at a deep level through class discussions and research projects. Watauga classes are interdisciplinary and this approach to learning requires students to integrate knowledge from a variety of disciplines to gain a complete perspective on a topic.
About Appalachian State University
Appalachian State University, in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The transformational Appalachian experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and embrace diversity and difference. As one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina System, Appalachian enrolls about 19,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.