By Debbie Justice, Director of IT Planning

New staff joined the IT division this year, a number of current staff moved to new positions and, as the year ends, two longtime colleagues will retire.


John Arnst

John Arnst, Hourly Support Technician

A member of IT Client Services’ Hardware Service Center team, John started work in January 2009. He currently attends Southwestern Community College where he’s working on his associate’s degree with a double major in computer engineering technology and electronic engineering technology. He will graduate in summer 2009.

Chris Baxley

Chris Baxley, WebCat System Administrator

An important member of the Coulter Faculty Center WebCat team, Chris transferred from the advancement research office in August 2008 and helped support faculty in their use of Blackboard Vista and other technologies in their classes. In March 2009, Chris was promoted to the WebCat System Administrator position where he continues to support faculty but also works as the team’s specialist in Blackboard configuration and interfaces with Banner student data.

Read more about Chris.

Barry Bidwell

Barry Bidwell, Technology Support Analyst

Barry joined IT Client Services’ Desktop Support team in September 2008, and is well known to faculty and staff in WCU’s satellite programs. He makes regular trips to their locations to provide on-site support for issues that can’t be handled remotely. In addition to his general desktop support duties, Barry works with VPN, thin client, and remote access support technologies.

Aaron Brunck

Aaron Brunck, Network Analyst

A member of the networking and communications department, Aaron joined us in July. He worked as an electronic design draftsman with Tyco Electronics in Fairview, NC and is an active member of the US Army Reserves. He has extensive experience and training in electronics, networks, and communications.

Check out the wireless coverage maps Aaron maintains for the campus.

Nancy Carden

Nancy Carden, Administrative Support Associate

Many people on campus know Nancy from her work in the Office of the Provost and with the Faculty Senate, and as a member of the Staff Senate. She joined the Office of the CIO in February 2009 and helps support Dr. Newton Smith, associate CIO, and staff across the IT division.

Jason Foster

Jason Foster, IT Support Technician

A former student employee, Jason accepted a position with the IT Client Services Hardware Service Center after he graduated in December 2008 with a B.S. degree in Telecommunications Engineering Technology. With his four years’ experience as a student technician and a newly earned degree, Jason hit the ground running in his new role!

Craig Fowler

Craig A. Fowler, Chief Information Officer (CIO)

An information technology executive with more than 20 years of private-sector experience with several Fortune 500 companies, Fowler is WCU’s next chief information officer. A resident of Hickory, Fowler will succeed Wilson “Bil” Stahl, who has served as Western Carolina’s CIO since 2005.

Read more about Craig

Dirk Herr-Hoyman

Dirk Herr-Hoyman, Director of Web Services

Dirk joined WCU in October 2008. Prior to joining us, he was the eLearning System Architect at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Read more about Dirk.

Jason Melvin

Jason Melvin, Faculty Training Specialist

The newest IT member of the Coulter Faculty Center, Jason joined us in February 2009. A graduate of WCU in commercial and electronic music, Jason had been working in the area of digital media for the Institute for the Economy and the Future.

Caden Painter

Caden Painter, IT Support Analyst

Caden joined the IT Client Services Help Desk team in January 2009. He worked with the team as a student technician before his graduation from WCU in May 2008 with a B.S.B.A. in Computer Information Systems.

Laura Simons

Laura Simons, Database Administrator

A member of the Department of Application Development and Data Management, Laura oversees the Oracle database, which is core to the Banner environment. She came to WCU in August 2008, moving from a DBA position at UNC Charlotte.

Laura Talamonti

Laura Talamonti, Instructional Technology Consultant

A member of the WebCat team in the Coulter Faculty Center, Laura helps faculty integrate and use Blackboard Vista and related tools in their courses. She joined the WebCat team in September 2008.

Read more about Laura.


Brian Bard

Brian Bard, Operations and Systems Analyst

In October 2008, Brian transferred to his current position in the systems and operations department where he works on server administration and other related tasks. Previously, he worked as an IT Support Analyst for IT Client Services Desktop Support team.

Brian Dickens

Brian Dickens, IT Support Analyst

A member of the IT Client Services Help Desk team since 2007, Brian was promoted in September 2008 to his current position and helps oversee the day-to-day operations of the services provided by the Help Desk.

Becca Hauge

Rebecca “Becca” Hauge, IT Support Analyst

When she first arrived at WCU, Becca started out in the IT Hardware Service Center. In October 2008, she was promoted to her current position on the Student Computing team in IT Client Services. In her new role she’s able to apply her more-than six years of experience as a student computing specialist at Winona State University.

Jeff Kiska

Jeff Kiska, SharePoint System Administrator

Previously the WebCat system administrator in the Coulter Faculty Center, Jeff was promoted to his SharePoint position in the systems and operations department in February 2009. This is a new position that will focus primarily on supporting the QEP student eBriefcase project—at least for now!

Zach Phillips

Zach Phillips, Technology Support Analyst

In August 2008, Zach moved from an hourly to a permanent Technology Support Analyst position with the Client Services’ Technology Management team. He helps keep classroom technologies up and running and helps faculty who use the classrooms.


Newt Smith

Newton Smith, Associate CIO

Associate CIO Newt Smith will retire June 30, 2009. Newt has been a member of the WCU community for many years. An associate professor of English for several years, Newt also was the chair of the faculty and active in many campus initiatives, including the integration of instructional technology into the English curriculum. He left the faculty to serve as the director of Web Services for more than two years before accepting the position of associate CIO. We’ll certainly miss his sense of humor, his great stories, and his skill at bringing people together to work on issues. Newt and wife June have plans to travel, spend time with the grandkids, and figure out how to be a retired couple!

Bil Stahl

Wilson “Bil” Stahl, CIO

The Office of the CIO will not be the same—June 30, 2009 is also the date on which Associate Provost & CIO Bil Stahl will retire from WCU. His plans include a move to Asheville, so we may not see him around as much. We wish him all the best.

Read more about Bil’s retirement in a recent article from The Reporter .