Western Carolina University (WCU) is a coeducational public university located in Cullowhee, North Carolina
The fifth oldest institution of the sixteen four-year universities in the UNC system, Western Carolina University was founded to educate the people of the western North Carolina mountains. The university has expanded its mission to serve the entire state and the nation and has grown to become a major cultural, scientific, and educational force in the state and region. WCU now serves more than 10,000 full-time undergraduate and post graduate students, providing an education to students from 48 states and 35 countries. Enrollment for the Fall 2014 semester was 10,382 students.
With its main campus located on the site of an ancient Cherokee Indian village and adjacent to the Great Smoky and Blue Ridge Mountains, Western Carolina has a commitment to the rich traditions of both theAppalachian and Cherokee cultures. The university’s Mountain Heritage Center; Cherokee Center; Craft Revival Project; Cherokee Studies Program and WCU’s partnership to preserve the Cherokee language all reflect that influence – and provide educational resources for the region.
Western is classified by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching as a comprehensive master’s degree granting institution (Masters/L) in the elective “community engagement” category. WCU is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award degrees at the bachelor, masters, intermediate, and doctoral (in education) levels. The university holds 21 program accreditations and is a member of more than 30 state and national associations and organizations to which its professional programs are related. In 2009, the Corporation for National and Community Service recognized WCU by awarding the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction for “exemplary commitment to service and civic engagement” on WCU’s campus and beyond.
As the sixth-largest producer of teachers in North Carolina, the College of Education and Allied Professions was the national winner of the Association of Teacher Educators’ Distinguished Program in Teacher Education Award in 2006. The college is also the 2007 co-winner of the Christa McAuliffe Excellence in Teacher Education Award presented by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities. The Christa McAuliffe Award nationally recognizes outstanding programs in teacher education at AASCU member institutions.
Western Carolina’s Forensic Research Facility (commonly referred to as the “Body Farm”) is just the second facility of its kind nationally. The decomposition research station is an extremely valuable resource for researchers and forensic anthropology students to study natural decomposition.