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Associate Professor Ruffin (Interim Director); Associate Professor Judson; Assistant Professor Zunguze
The Africana Studies minor allows students to supplement existing UNC Asheville majors. The Africana Studies curriculum is designed to give students an understanding and appreciation of the complexities of Africana people from both a historical and contemporary perspective. The curriculum gives students an opportunity to acquire an interdisciplinary foundation to the broad issues affecting Africans and peoples of African descent with the aim of providing a grounded knowledge and appreciation of their experiences.
With a strong interdisciplinary focus, the Africana Studies program offers a minor which promotes intellectual and human growth for its graduates who want to pursue careers or graduate studies in many fields such as anthropology, business, communications, criminal justice, education, geography, health sciences, history, hospitality and tourism, international relations, modern languages, nursing, political science, public and nonprofit administration psychology, sociology, and social work. For additional information, visit the Africana Studies program website, https://afst.unca.edu/.
Professor Bond (Director)
The interdisciplinary Arts program is not an art appreciation course or an introduction to any of the particular arts, but stresses the human significance of art, its social role, its foundation in aesthetics, and its importance as a way of interpreting reality.
Drawing upon the expertise of faculty from various academic departments, the program furthers the interdisciplinary aspects of the University through the study of artworks from different times, places, and having different purposes. For additional information, visit the Arts and Ideas website, https://arts.unca.edu/.
Participating Faculty: Beck, Bennett, Booker, Lundgren, Ruiz (Physics)
A minor in Astronomy complements related natural sciences and liberal arts offerings at UNC Asheville, with the goal of broadening students’ scientific perspectives through the application of scientific methods and knowledge to empirical observations of the universe. The minor facilitates two paths: one is designed for physical science majors and provides a rigorous preparation suitable for graduate studies in physics and astrophysics; the other is open to students of all majors, who are interested in a comprehensive study of astronomy from historical and applied perspectives. Students with a professional interest in astronomy are encouraged to combine the astronomy minor with a physics major, since a thorough grounding in fundamental physics is required for graduate studies in astronomy.
Students pursuing the Astronomy minor at UNC Asheville have access to unique research and outreach facilities, such as the on-campus Lookout Observatory, which offers free public observing nights each month, weather permitting, and where many of our students are also employed part-time as docents. Through our faculty’s active participation in external research collaborations, our students additionally benefit from access to exclusive data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey and the Hubble Space Telescope. UNC Asheville is a member institution in the North Carolina Space Grant Consortium, which provides funds to support educational research and projects, and our students are eligible to apply for North Carolina Space Grant scholarships. For additional information, visit the Department of Physics and Astronomy website, https://physics.unca.edu/.
Visiting Assistant Professor Braimah (Director)
As a performing art that encompasses creation, performance and critical analysis, dance holds an important place in a liberal arts education. By integrating embodied practices with scholarly inquiry, the dance program aims to give students the tools to create, think and contribute in a positive way to the worlds in which we live. Exposing students to a variety of ways to approach questions in dance through practice, theory, dance-making, and analysis allows them to bridge the intersections of dance as a discipline. Students are exposed to the breadth of dance in the world from varying cultures and perspectives, including cutting edge and experimental forms, as well as methodological and practical tools in dance-making, research and presentation, all embedded in our curriculum and ideology.
The dance minor at UNC Asheville prepares students to have a developed knowledge of their bodies as dancers and to be collegiate dance-makers who are connected to a question-based approach to research in movement and writing. Importantly the dance minor helps students articulate their voices in the world through a burgeoning dialogue between dance movement practices, engaged scholarship and creative processes. For additional information, visit the Dance program website, https://dance.unca.edu/.
Human Rights Studies
Associate Professor Haschke (Director)
The Human Rights Studies minor will help students think critically, creatively, and comprehensively about human rights locally, nationally, and internationally from a variety of disciplinary perspectives. While administered by the Political Science department, it draws content, methods and skills from across the disciplines. Insights from Political Science, Anthropology, Sociology, Economics, History, Literature, Philosophy, and a variety of Interdisciplinary Programs can help elucidate and explain how various human rights concepts have emerged, evolved, been codified and implemented (often selectively and incompletely). The program will highlight the philosophical and political tensions inherent in human rights discourse and action, and will also promote unique student opportunities for undergraduate research and engaged scholarship in human rights, helpful to careers in areas such as public policy and administration, education, human services, humanitarian aid, business, journalism, law, criminal justice and law enforcement.
Associate Professor Zubko (Interim Director); Lecturers Campbell, Dunn, Gusain, Lundblad
The interdisciplinary Humanities program is concerned with the wide range of human ideas, values and institutions. The courses examine what we have achieved in our several thousand years of recorded history, what we have desired, what we have believed, and how these concerns and passions influence us. Humanities helps us make educated and ethical decisions. The Humanities program draws together faculty and subject matter from all of the liberal arts—especially history, literature and philosophy but also religion, natural science, social science and fine arts. All Humanities classes involve close reading of primary sources and literary works, informal discussion and gradual refinement of the student’s capacity for written and oral response. For additional information, visit the Humanities Program website, https://humanities.unca.edu/.
In addition to the major field of study and optional minor fields of concentration, undergraduate degree-seeking students may also choose to complete one or more interdisciplinary certificates. Constituent courses in interdisciplinary certificate programs approach a topic or issue from multiple disciplinary perspectives and highlight connections between concurrent or consecutive courses comprising the certificate. Undergraduate certificates include an engaged experience such as a cornerstone course, a capstone course, or another high impact educational practice such as UNC Asheville faculty-led study abroad, cross-course projects, undergraduate research, or service learning. Interdisciplinary certificates will be recorded along with majors and minors on the student’s permanent transcript. Interdisciplinary certficates in Applied Social Science Research , Contemplative Inquiry , Food, Food Systems and Culture , and Sustainability are available.
A Liberal Arts education emphasizes humane values in thought and action and promotes the free and rigorous pursuit of truth—creates good citizens, individuals who assume responsibility for their thoughts and actions and their impact on the world. Their personal development is inextricably linked to the contributions they make to their communities. To be good citizens, people must be able to think critically and to communicate their ideas. In serving UNC Asheville’s liberal arts mission, the Liberal Arts Core works alongside the majors to help students develop and improve these skills by immersing them in an interdisciplinary community of mutually supportive scholars.
At the heart of the Liberal Arts Core lies the philosophical conviction that liberal arts students should experience how the disciplines investigate, understand and construct bodies of knowledge differently, through a range of concepts and methods. A liberal arts education exposes the student to the ways that individual disciplines approach those topics, problems, and issues that inform the human condition. Such an education creates opportunities for students to experience the many points of contact and divergence across the curriculum.