NCWU Receives Grant for Digital Humanities Teaching & Learning

ROCKY MOUNT, NORTH CAROLINA – North Carolina Wesleyan University recently received a $60K grant from The National Endowment for the Humanities. Over the two-year grant period, NCWU will expand the Digital Humanities Lab, create a new course (Introduction to Digital Humanities), improve faculty knowledge of the digital humanities, incorporate local history into digital humanities projects, and promote undergraduate student research projects using digital humanities tools and methods. The proposed expansion of NCWU’s digital humanities programming is aligned with the institution’s mission and commitment to the eastern North Carolina region and its emphasis on innovative teaching approaches to use new information technologies.

Project co-directors, Dr. Jason W. Buel (Communication/Media Arts) and Dr. Shane M. Thompson (Religious Studies) established NCWU’s first Digital Humanities Lab as a physical space on campus to raise the profile of the University’s humanities, with the goal to make them more exciting, accessible, and modern to the general student population.

Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Joseph H. Lane, Jr., states “We are very excited that Dr. Thompson and Dr. Buel have received this grant. Their work in the area of digital humanities is the perfect example of the ways that North Carolina Wesleyan enriches our students’ lives with innovative teaching approaches that take advantage of the amazing new tools that can enrich our classrooms and our contributions to the community.”

The National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities Act of 1965 created the National Endowment for the Humanities as an independent federal agency. The law identified the need for a national cultural agency that would preserve America’s rich history and cultural heritage, and encourage and support scholarship and innovation in history, archaeology, philosophy, literature, and other humanities disciplines. The Endowment awards grants to top-rated proposals examined by panels of independent, external reviewers.

About The National Endowment For The Humanities

Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at:

Bob Ross Bringing Back the Joy to NCWU

ROCKY MOUNT, NORTH CAROLINA – North Carolina Wesleyan University President, Dr. Evan D. Duff, along with Art Curator, Jan Sullivan Volz, and President of Bob Ross Inc., Joan Kowalski, announced that more of Bob Ross’ famous original paintings are set to adorn the walls of The Mims Gallery at The Dunn Center this upcoming holiday season. 

Bob Ross Bringing Back the JOY will be on display in the Mims Gallery of The Dunn Center, located on the beautiful NC Wesleyan University campus from Monday, December 2, 2024 through Monday, January 13, 2025. The 2024 exhibition will entail 76 different paintings than the previous ones on display at NCWU, including special pieces aside from those featured on his PBS show, The Joy of Painting. This will be the second Bob Ross exhibit in North Carolina, but still the largest exhibition ever seen under one roof globally.

Robert Norman Ross, an American painter, art instructor and television host known by so many for his permed hair, showed the world how to paint fun pieces of art. He was the creator and host of The Joy of Painting, an instructional television program that aired from 1983 to 1994 on PBS in the United States, CBC in Canada, and similar channels in Latin America, Europe and elsewhere. Ross subsequently became known through his posthumous internet presence.

During the holiday season of 2023, there were 76 of Ross’ paintings on display from November 1, 2023 through January 4, 2024.  The exhibit was viewed by over 11,000 visitors that traveled from all over the country, and beyond, to see the magnificent work. “We are honored and thrilled that we will have this opportunity to share Mr. Ross’ work again with so many of his fans during the holiday season… this is truly a gift to those that cherish the memory of a great artist and humanitarian,” said Ms. Volz.

The exhibit will open to the public on Monday, December 2, 2024 and run through Monday, January 13, 2025.   Advance Tickets will go on sale Thursday, July 4th for $15 per person.  Free admission for children under five. For more information about the artwork, contact Jan VolzGallery Art Curator at 252.985.5268 or and sign up for the email list at

19th Annual Student Research Symposium on Campus

ROCKY MOUNT, NORTH CAROLINA- North Carolina Wesleyan University hosted their 19th Annual Student Symposium for the 2024 Spring Semester on Wednesday, April 10 at The Dunn Center. The Symposium included student oral presentations, guest speaker, Meredith Gringle, and concluded with a student poster presentation.

Co-Coordinator, Dr. Heather Louch, shares that the Student Symposium started in 2004 as a way for students conducting research to share that research with the university community. It was modeled after a conference, where research is shared either through poster sessions or oral presentations. Louch states, “Presenting at a conference is something that most students do if they go on to graduate school; with the Symposium, they gain a similar experience and see the full circle of research from developing an inquiry to sharing the results with a broader audience. It has been a successful event for so many years only due to the ongoing support of colleagues at the University.”

Louch often asks students what they learned about “doing science,” and the admittance of frustration, lack of motivation or interest, and realization of how much work it requires is also paired with how rewarding and fun it can be. Louch responds, “All of these comments encompass the sentiments felt by researchers as they work through their investigations and prepare to share their research, so in that regard, students have experienced first hand the ups and downs of the research investigation while also being able to discuss those findings with the community. What better way to learn about ‘doing science’?”

Winners of the poster competition have received a certificate and a cash prize courtesy of the School of Mathematics and Sciences (all poster presenters were enrolled in science courses). The winners are as follows (upper and lower designation refers to the course number with 300/400 being the upper-level courses):

1st Place Lower-Level Category:
Dunya Salem – Does Texture Protect Caterpillars from Predation?  

2nd Place Lower-Level Category:
Mackenzie Landers, Wesley Owens, Stephanie Valle – How Ladybug Spots Affect Predation

1st Place Upper-Level Category:

Chloe Lynch, Kristalyn Minchew, Christian Van Norden – The Effects of Acetaminophen and Microplastics on Physella acuta Movement, Growth, and Reproduction

2nd Place Upper-Level Category:
Gracie Wade – Investigating and Observing Feline Activity Through the Eyes of Hunger

Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Joseph Lane, states, “The Student Symposium represents the very best example of North Carolina Wesleyan’s personal, practical, and purpose-driven approach to education.  We are so proud of the students who presented their research and who demonstrated excellent command of their topics when answering questions from the judges, faculty, and community.”

Pfizer Executive and Site Lead announced as NCWU Commencement Speaker

ROCKY MOUNT, NORTH CAROLINA – On May 4, 2024, North Carolina Wesleyan University will celebrate its Spring Commencement with more than 300 graduates. This year’s commencement speaker will be Dr. Kara Renai King who is the Vice President and Site Lead for Pfizer Pharmaceuticals– Rocky Mount facility.

Dr. Kara Renai King, Vice President and Site Lead for Pfizer Pharmaceuticals

As Vice President and Site Lead for Pfizer, Dr. King is responsible for one of the largest sterile injectable facilities in the world, with more than 1.4 million square feet of manufacturing space on 250 acres in Eastern North Carolina. Nearly 25 percent of Pfizer’s sterile injectables used in U.S. hospitals are produced at the site.  A wide range of products are produced at Rocky Mount, including anesthesia, analgesia, therapeutics, anti-infectives and neuromuscular blockers. These products are available in small volume presentations, such as ampules, vials and syringes. More than 200 million units are processed at the Rocky Mount site annually to help treat patients around the world.

Dr. King holds a bachelor’s degree in Biology from Hampton University, a Masters’s degree in Cell Biology & Biotechnology from University of the Sciences, and a Doctorate in Organizational Leadership from Eastern University.

Dr. King is recognized as an expert on leadership who has extensive experience in the biopharmaceutical industry in both traditional and contract development manufacturing organizations. Her experience ranges from early drug product development to commercial operations. She has held leadership roles in Quality, Tech Ops and Drug Product Operations (from bulk product manufacturing to finishing). She joined Pfizer in 2021 following successful leadership roles with Minaris Regenerative Medicine and Merck.

Dr. King delivers value to organizations through her servant leadership style complimented by her strong foundation in science, strategic mindset, and the ability to create an environment that fosters joy, creativity and innovation. Hallmarks of her leadership are building high performing teams, elevating leadership capability, and delivering results.

“We are looking forward to Dr. King’s address to our Class of 2024. Under her leadership, Pfizer and NCWU have forged a strong partnership that provides extraordinary opportunities to Wesleyan’s students and graduates, and that partnership was made stronger by our shared efforts to overcome the devastation of last summer’s tornado.  Dr. King’s approach to leadership and strategic vision will provide an inspiring example to our graduates,” stated President Dr. Evan D. Duff.

“I’m humbled and excited to stand before the talent of the future from NC Wesleyan University at this year’s 2024 Commencement,” noted Dr. King.

Dr. King has long demonstrated engagement in and solicitude for the community in which she lives and works. She utilizes her skills, experience and resources to invest in the local community and help others achieve their dreams.  Among her many community service activities, Dr. King sits on the boards of Eastern University and the International Leadership Association (ILA), and she serves as the Treasurer for Silver Lining Sports.

Faculty Member Earns Advanced Credential in Sports Science

ROCKY MOUNT, NORTH CAROLINA – Exercise Science faculty member, Vanessa Batchelor, recently earned an advanced credential through the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) as a Certified Performance and Sport Scientist® (CPSS®). This highly regarded certification in Exercise and Sport Science fields emphasizes applying scientific principles to improve athletic performance and prevent injury.

This enhancement to Batchelor’s credentials expands her certified skill sets in research, statistics, and data analytics as they apply to sport. She earned her initial strength and conditioning certification—NCSA’s Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist® (CSCS®)—in 2018. Batchelor is a 2016 alumna of North Carolina Wesleyan, earning a B.S. in Exercise Science, and earned an M.S. in Exercise Science at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 2019.

This CPSS® credential opens a variety of future career avenues for Batchelor, who has served as a Visiting Instructor of Exercise Science since the fall of 2022, and as the North Carolina Wesleyan Assistant Women’s Soccer Coach since 2021. CPSS®-certified scientists are hired as qualified Sports Science Coordinators or Directors, Sports Performance Analysts, or research and data scientists for sports teams/organizations at the collegiate or professional level, research organizations, or private practices. 

From left: Dr. Meir Magal, Chair of the School of Math and Science and Program Coordinator for Exercise Science; Vanessa Batchelor, Visiting Instructor of Exercise Science; Tim Dornemann, Associate Professor of Exercise Science. (Photo by Jordan Stone/University Photographer)

Batchelor added that her certifications set North Carolina Wesleyan’s programs apart from other small universities by utilizing recently acquired top-of-the-line advanced sport science technology to its full extent—enriching the student and student athlete experience over other small NCAA DIII institutions. Her advanced credentials will also significantly enhance the academic and athletic experiences of North Carolina Wesleyan’s current students through her mentorship of student interns, applying a hands-on approach with student research, and designing unique learning experiences using advanced technological resources.

Working directly with exercise science students at North Carolina Wesleyan, Batchelor has helped foster the major’s active undergraduate research program—yielding several student presentations at the Southeast American College of Sports Medicine (SEACSM) and ACSM annual meetings and a 2023 publication in Gazzetta Medica Italiana-Archivio per le Scienze Mediche she co-authored with students and colleagues at North Carolina Wesleyan.

Dr. Meir Magal, Chair of the School of Math and Science and Program Coordinator for Exercise Science acknowledges the added value Batchelor brings to the Exercise Science program and coaching staff.  “I am very excited to have Vanessa on the exercise science team. With her extensive education, wealth of experience, and the attainment of this challenging and quality NSCA certification, she brings a unique and valuable perspective to the program.”

NCWU Earns 2024-25 Military Friendly Designations

ROCKY MOUNT, NORTH CAROLINA – North Carolina Wesleyan University announced today that it has earned the 2024-2025 Military Friendly® Gold Top 10 School Designation, ranked 7 in the category of “Private not offering Doctorate” and 2024-2025 Military Friendly® Military Spouse Friendly School.

military friendly badge

Institutions earning the Military Friendly® School Designation were evaluated using both public data sources and responses from a proprietary survey. More than 1,800 schools participated in the 2024-2025 survey with 537 earning special awards for going above the standard.

The 2024-2025 Military Friendly® Schools list will be published in the May and October issue of G.I. Jobs magazine and can be found at

Methodology, criteria, and weightings were determined by Viqtory with input from the Military Friendly® Advisory Council of independent leaders in the higher education and military recruitment community. Final ratings were determined by combining the institution’s survey scores with the assessment of the institution’s ability to meet thresholds for Student Retention, Graduation, Job Placement, Loan Repayment, Persistence (Degree Advancement or Transfer) and Loan Default rates for all students and, specifically, for student veterans.

“NC Wesleyan University acknowledges the value that student veterans and their families bring to our campus.  We are committed to supporting our military-connected students by ensuring that each student has the resources needed to be successful. Our designation as a Top 10 Military Friendly® school shows the efforts made by faculty and staff to honor and support our military community at Wesleyan.” Laura Brown, Associate Dean of Veteran Services.

veteran student holding award

Active military student, Madison (Woods) Duff, describes first hand why Wesleyan is a top-10 military friendly school. “I am currently Active-duty Air Force and everyone at NCWU has been so helpful and understanding when it comes to needing extensions due to military obligations. Wesleyan made the application process so easy and I love the online, asynchronous format of my classes. I am pursuing a bachelors degree in Organizational Leadership, which I plan to use once I get out of the military. I am proud to be a student at NCWU!”, states Madison.

“Military Friendly® is committed to transparency and providing consistent data-driven standards in our designation process. Our standards provide a benchmark that promotes positive outcomes and support services that better the educational landscape and provide opportunity for the Military Community. This creates a competitive atmosphere that encourages Institutions to evolve and invest in their programs consistently. Schools who achieve awards designation show true commitment in their efforts, going over and above that standard.” – Kayla Lopez, National Director of Military Partnerships, Military Friendly.®

University Recognized by ACSM’s Exercise is Medicine® Program

NCWU among 145 Campuses Honored Worldwide 

ROCKY MOUNT, NORTH CAROLINA – North Carolina Wesleyan University is one of only 145 universities and colleges around the world to be honored by Exercise is Medicine® (EIM) for its efforts to create a culture of wellness on its campus. Faculty/Staff Personal Training, Wesleyan Wellness initiatives, the Walk with the President, the Lunch and Learn Series for Health, and other physical activity events conducted by the NCWU Health and Movement Science Club helped NCWU earn Silver level designation from the Exercise is Medicine® On Campus (EIM-OC) program. Exercise is Medicine is a community-impact initiative of the American College of Sports Medicine.

“We are thrilled to recognize these campuses’ commitment to make movement a part of daily campus culture and give students the tools to cultivate physical activity habits that will benefit them throughout their lives,”said interim CEO Katie Feltman, CAE. “These campus programs are nurturing future leaders who will advance a key tenet of Exercise is Medicine: making physical activity assessment and promotion a standard in health care.” 

“We are excited to have received the EIM-OC Silver distinction for the fifth year in a row! This distinction was made possible by the collaborative efforts of our students, faculty, staff, and administration, who continue to support our efforts to promote the health benefits of physical activity on campus,” said Dr. Shannon Crowley, Associate Professor of Public Health, and Exercise is Medicine on Campus program advisor. 

Of the 145 campuses recognized this year, 83 received Gold, 44 received Silver and 18 received Bronze. All Gold, Silver and Bronze universities and colleges will be officially recognized on May 29 at the EIM recognition ceremony at ACSM’s Annual Meeting.

EIM-OC calls upon universities and colleges to promote physical activity as a vital sign of health and encourages faculty, staff and students to work together to improve the health and well-being of the campus community.  

EIM-OC launched its recognition program in 2014 to honor campuses for their efforts to create a culture of wellness. Schools earn Gold, Silver or Bronze status based on their activities. Gold level campuses have created a referral system where campus health care providers assess student physical activity and refer students as necessary to a certified fitness professional as part of medical treatment. Silver campuses engage students, faculty and staff in education initiatives and make movement part of the daily campus culture while Bronze level campuses promote and generate awareness of the health benefits of physical activity.  

About Exercise Is Medicine 
The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) co-launched Exercise is Medicine® (EIM) in 2007 with the American Medical Association. ACSM continues to manage the global health initiative, which seeks to make physical activity assessment and promotion a standard in clinical care, connecting health care with evidence-based physical activity resources for people everywhere of all abilities. EIM is committed to the belief that physical activity promotes optimal health, is integral in the prevention and treatment of many medical conditions and should be regularly assessed and included as part of health care. Visit for additional information. 

About the American College of Sports Medicine 
The American College of Sports Medicine is the largest sports medicine and exercise science organization in the world. More than 50,000 international, national and regional members and certified professionals are dedicated to advancing and integrating scientific research to provide educational and practical applications of exercise science and sports medicine. More details at  

Wesleyan Competes in Ethics Bowl Competition

ROCKY MOUNT, NORTH CAROLINA – Eighteen teams from NCICU campuses participated in the competition this year. The 2024 theme was, “Ethics in Artificial Intelligence and Cybersecurity.” Students had to consider several complicated cases involving both artificial intelligence and cybersecurity, then make their arguments about their position on the case.

Final scores were tallied, semi-finalists were announced, and the two matches set: Queens University and High Point University were paired, as were St. Augustine’s University and Montreat College. Queens and Montreat met in the finals, where Queens University prevailed.

North Carolina Wesleyan lost close matches to Pfeiffer, Mars Hill, High Point, and Montreat. The Battling Bishops ethics team included Landon Duff, Fabio Felli, Amanda Modlin, Matthew Tiller, Noah Larkin, and Clarence Alex Sanderford who where led by Professors Jason Buel and Shane Thompson.

“We are so proud of our excellent Ethics Bowl Team as well as their coaches, Dr. Buel and Dr. Thompson.  These young people have taken the time and initiative to generate a considerable body of research on one of the pressing ethical dilemmas of our times.  Although we think they probably deserved to win more matches than they did, we know they represented us well and demonstrated the power of a North Carolina Wesleyan education in their presentations”, stated Provost Dr. Joe Lane.

“This year’s teams were exceptional,” said NCICU President Hope Williams. “It was clear they had done extensive research on the complex topics and developed well-organized, cohesive arguments to present to the judges. I was very impressed with all the teams.”

This was NCICU’s 13th Ethics Bowl. Williams believes it provides unique, important opportunities for the students. “By participating in the Ethics Bowl, students learn research and presentation skills that will serve them well in their careers,” Williams said.

But the most valuable opportunity, she noted, may have been interacting with the more than 70 professionals who volunteered their time as judges or moderators and who represent many networking opportunities and careers, from law, architecture, engineering and cybersecurity to banking, nonprofits, and state agencies.

Clark Dudek, a Triangle entrepreneur and AI expert, was keynote speaker at the dinner on Friday night at the North Carolina Museum of History. He discussed how society has adapted to emerging technologies. “AI is new and may be scary,” he said. “But we are working on how to connect with this new tool and learn how it can complement the rest of our tools.”

24 Hours to Make A Lifelong Impact

ROCKY MOUNT, NORTH CAROLINA – On March 26, friends and alumni of NC Wesleyan will have an opportunity to show their Bishop Pride and support the University during its fifth annual, 24-hour day of giving campaign, A Day for Wesleyan. This is a day when all NC Wesleyan University supporters, particularly alumni, celebrate the University through donations to support its vision and its students. In a short period of time, donors to the campaign can help advance the educational experiences for all students, help invest in new technologies for learning, create more scholarship opportunities, allow students to grow into their purpose, and help build Wesleyan’s future in the region.

“The A Day for Wesleyan campaign this year is focusing on the emerging needs for the University. Supporting the Annual Fund, also known as the Wesleyan Fund, gives the university the flexibility to grant more scholarships and financial aid to students in need, create more internships within our business community, invest in relevant technologies for the library and classrooms, and provide more co-curricular activities for all students,” said Mark Hinson, Sr. Executive for Philanthropic Engagement. “All gifts on March 26, regardless of size, add up to make a huge impact!”

When asked about the importance of A Day for Wesleyan, NC Wesleyan President, Dr. Evan Duff, stated; “We hope that our alumni and the community will join us in showing their Bishop Pride and support this campaign on Tuesday, March 26. When alumni and friends of the University unite to share their passion for Wesleyan, amazing things can happen for this entire community.”

Help Wesleyan continue impacting this community while also providing its students with a personal, practical and purpose-driven education. Donors can learn more and participate in A Day for Wesleyan by visiting the secure giving website,, or by calling 252.985.5581.

Wesleyan Works Program Expands to Johnston Community College

North Carolina Wesleyan University partners with JCC to expand student transfer options and employee educational benefits

ROCKY MOUNT, NORTH CAROLINA – March 2024–North Carolina Wesleyan University (NCWU) and Johnston Community College (JCC) have signed an agreement which expands the educational opportunities of students who graduate with an Associate Degree through the Wesleyan Works program.

Wesleyan Works is a transfer program designed for community college students who plan to continue their education at NCWU. Students who earn an Associate in Arts (AA), Associate in Science (AS), Associate of Arts in Teacher Preparation (AATP), Associate of Science in Teacher Preparation (AATS), Associate of Engineering (AE), Associate in Applied Science (AAS), or Associate of Nursing (ADN) will have generous transfer credit of 75 hours and a clear definition of the courses that are transferrable from JCC to NCWU.  

These students will also have access to academic advising and financial aid counseling through NCWU. Students also have the option to participate in an accelerated Associate to Master’s degree program.

“Transfer programs are critical to our mission here at JCC and are the pathway to an accessible four-year degree for many students,” says JCC President Dr. Vern L. Lindquist.

“We are look forward to the opportunities this partnership opens up for our students and employees.” Lindquist adds.

“North Carolina Wesleyan University has had a long-standing focus on supporting community college students further their education. Because Johnston Community College seeks only the best opportunities to benefit their students and alumni, partnering with them made sense. We both value pathways to support student’s educational journeys that is affordable, practical, and purpose-driven,” says NCWU President Dr. Evan Duff.

The agreement also extends discounted tuition to employees of Johnston Community College who would like to pursue an advanced degree.