Brian Ralph

Believe in Peace

WPU Redesigns Curriculum

WPU faculty have redesigned WPU’s educational curriculum to focus not only on what students learn but on how students learn.

Beginning in the Fall 2023, the majority of WPU courses will shift from three to four credit hours. This change will allow more time in courses for students to learn actively, deeply, and immersively. The emphasis is this new structure is on immersive learning, a key pillar in WPU’s Believe in Peace Strategic Plan.

Immersive learning is the process of learning through experience and applying what you’ve learned in an active environment. From conducting research in class to working with community partners to developing marketing plans to engaging in international relation simulations, WPU faculty create transformational learning environments that prepare students for the future.

Alongside the four-credit transition, the new general education requirements, known as the Peace Core, will go into effect that fall. The Peace Core curriculum exposes students to the liberal arts and equips students with the critical thinking, problem-solving, and communication skills they need to succeed as global citizens and professionals.

WPU receives SACSCOC reaffirmation 

In a momentous achievement, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) reaffirmed William Peace University’s accreditation in June 2022.

The accreditation body for higher education institutions across the Southern states, SACSCOC reaffirms accreditation every 10 years after a thorough review of the institution. Over seventy rigorous standards had to be met to receive the reaffirmation, along with hosting a successful virtual visit, due to COVID-19. 

Campus-wide collaboration and courage were required to reach this incredible achievement. 

The reaffirmation showcases WPU’s commitment to high-quality education, integrity and student success. In a rare accomplishment, WPU had no follow-up items associated with the reaffirmation. 

“I’m incredibly proud that WPU received such a successful evaluation,” said SACSCOC Liaison and WPU Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs Carolyn Blattner. “Every office and department was tapped into in some way to make this happen.”

Additionally, the SACSCOC review team expressed excitement for WPU’s Quality Enhancement Plan: Building Tangible Immersive Learning Experiences (TILEs) five year-initiative. This initiative seeks to increase students’ creative problem-solving and collaboration abilities by incorporating immersive learning into courses in every major across the curriculum.

WPU enhances Senior Leadership Team

WPU is excited to share that the Senior Leadership Team (SLT) has had several new additions. Comprised of six talented members, WPU’s SLT executes the University strategic plan throughout all areas on campus. Together, this incredible team moves the University forward every day.

Damon Wade Ph.D., Vice President for Enrollment Management

Wade is responsible for developing and overseeing all university enrollment, recruiting, and related marketing communications programs and leading the development of marketing resources and strategic campaigns for student recruitment, enrollment stability, and strategic enrollment growth.

Paul Scherschel, Interim Vice President for Advancement

Scherschel is responsible for fundraising, including annual, grants, major, and planned giving; advancement services; donor stewardship; alumni relations; and partnerships. In this position, he builds relationships with current and potential supporters of WPU.

Lynda Szymanski, Vice President for Academic Affairs

Szymanski serves as the chief academic officer of WPU and is responsible for providing leadership, oversight, advancement, and coordination of the academic functions of the University.

Belinda Burke, Vice President for Administration and Chief Financial Office

Burke is responsible for the University’s financial operations and administration, including the controller’s office, facilities, human resources, information technology, public safety, the University bookstore, and food services.

Kelley Dietz, Director for Presidential Operations

Dietz manages the Office of the President and supports the President with communications, strategic engagement, board management, leading Commencement, Presidential student engagement, office budget, and the University’s Strategic Plan.

Frank Rizzo, Vice President for Student Life

Rizzo oversees the areas of residence life, student activities, leadership development, summer and fall orientation, student government, judicial affairs, student health, counseling, community involvement, spiritual life and athletics. 

WPU’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion grows staff, location 

WPU enhanced its commitment to its Believe in Peace Strategic Plan value of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) this past year. 

In Fall 2022, the Office of DEI relocated the second floor of Belk Dining Hall to the second floor of Main Building. Its new location offers a more visible and larger space. Along with that, the Office increased its staffing to include two full-time employees in Spring 2023.

The WPU Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion was founded in 2017 to provide support, advocacy, training and education and community-building events and programs for  WPU students, faculty and staff. 

Led by Director Leah Young, the Office has a programmatic focus on the needs and topics of minority students including students who identify as members of marginalized groups or identities such as LGBTQIA+, first-generation college students, women, international students, African American, Latinx/Hispanic, Asian, Native American, Pacific Islander, etc. 

The DEI Office also works closely with the Office of Human Resources on DEI initiatives, education and programming for employees.

WPU Campus Impacted through Courageous Gifts

WPU campus and students were impacted by numerous donations from the Courageous Giving campaign.

Launched in 2022, donors make the decision to support the Courageous Giving campaign by making a courageous commitment that provides our students with the resources they need to learn through immersive experiences, build upon their courage and develop the confidence needed to turn their passion into purpose. 

These major gifts are shaping both the future of our University and our students — they have created scholarships, aided campus initiatives, supported immersive learning and more. 

Already, the gifts have made an impact on students. In Spring 2022, nine WPU students were supported by the Coastal Courageous Finish Scholarship, established thanks to the generosity of the Coastal Credit Union Foundation. The scholarship allowed them to overcome the remaining financial barriers that prevented them from completing their education. 

We are grateful to these donors for the impact they are making across campus. As of February 28, 2023, WPU has had 14 courageous donors: 

  1. Roger and Celia Sims, Rich Ivey, and numerous friends and family
  2. The Coastal Credit Union Foundation
  3. Willard G. Ross and Libby Holding Ross
  4. The Fenwick Foundation and Stuart and Tricia Phoenix
  5. Angela Caveness Weisskopf
  6. Billie Redmond and Kemp Harris
  7. Gale McKoy Wilkins ’11 and Carl Wilkins
  8. Tony Parham and Dr. Lynda Morris Parham
  9. Family, friends and classmates of Heidi Renee Plemmons ’97
  10. Bryan and Gibbs Chadwick Ives ’76
  11. Peggy Britt ’56 and the Bill and Peggy Britt Foundation
  12. A.E. Finley Foundation
  13. Mary Elizabeth (“Beth”) Lawrence ’69
  14.  Emma Nashner ’69

If you would like to learn more about this incredible group of supporters, please visit


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