UNC Asheville Celebrates 90th Academic Year with Move-in Day August 18, 2017; Fall Classes Start with Solar Eclipse on August 21, 2017

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UNC Asheville students at the statue of Rocky the Bulldog

The University of North Carolina at Asheville celebrates 90 years of educational excellence in 2017-18, with the newest class of students moving in on August 18, 2017. 

“Move-in day is a great example of UNC Asheville’s hands-on approach as faculty, staff and returning students welcome our new students by helping them move into their residence halls. It’s one more reason why students love coming to Asheville’s university and North Carolina’s public liberal arts university, where collaboration and creativity are at the core of all that we do,” said UNC Asheville’s Chancellor Mary K. Grant. 

UNC Asheville will welcome 1,029 new students, estimated on move-in day and to be confirmed on “census day,” 10 days after classes start. With an expected total enrollment of 3,750, UNC Asheville has grown from 85 students in its founding year of 1927. The university has experienced a net increase of 1 percent in enrollment over the past five years.

Fall 2017 will include 661 new students entering from high school and 368 transfer students, with 33 percent of those transfers coming from A-B Tech. Overall, the number of transfer students has increased 13 percent from the previous year, and the number of students transferring from A-B Tech has grown 20 percent in a year. At least 65 percent of those entering from high school bring transfer credits and college coursework with them. Diversity of first-time first-year students has increased to 21.9 percent, with final numbers to be determined on census day.

Of the incoming undergraduate students, 87 percent come from North Carolina, with 13 percent coming from 29 other states and five foreign countries. In-state students come from 73 counties and 369 high schools. Students from the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians will start or continue their studies as part of an instructional credit agreement signed in 2015, and students from Asheville High School and SILSA (School of Inquiry & Life Sciences at Asheville) take classes as part of a dual enrollment agreement. The Master of Liberal Arts and Sciences – UNC Asheville’s graduate program – welcomes six students in fall 2017.

Students have something extra on their syllabi for the first day of classes in 2017, with a condensed class schedule for Monday, August 21, to allow a mid-day viewing of the solar eclipse that will cross campus. Asheville will experience a 99 percent solar eclipse at 2:37 p.m. on Monday, August 21, and UNC Asheville will host eclipse activities and provide solar eclipse glasses for the campus community between 1 and 3 p.m. on the Quad. Additional activities for the public are planned downtown in Pack Square from noon to 3 p.m. in partnership with the Asheville Museum of Science. For more information, visit https://lookoutobservatory.unca.edu/2017-total-solar-eclipse.

Fall Event Highlights

Classes will resume a normal schedule on Tuesday, August 22, and the fall semester will be filled with special events celebrating UNC Asheville’s 90th Anniversary.

On August 31, author Jennine Capó Crucet will offer a free public lecture in Lipinsky Auditorium at 7 p.m. on her award-winning novel Make Your Home Among Strangers, which was selected as this year’s summer reading.

UNC Asheville 90th anniversary logoUNC Asheville will also welcome New York Times columnist David Brooks, a leading analyst of American culture and politics, in a free public lecture at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 12. This event, which will be held in Kimmel Arena on campus, is supported by The David and Lin Brown Visionary Lecture Series and The Van Winkle Law Firm Public Policy Lectures and will be the keynote lecture for UNC Asheville’s Founders Day, a celebration as part of the university’s 90th anniversary. Advance tickets are available at events.unca.edu. Doors will open at 6 p.m. No backpacks are allowed in Kimmel arena and all bags will be checked at the door.

Founders Week at UNC Asheville continues with a focus on the local community, from campus gardens to state history. The third annual Farm-to-Table Dinner on the Quad will take place Sept. 14, and a history symposium, “Zebulon B. Vance Reconsidered,” brings Yale University Professor of History David Blight to campus that same evening. On Sept. 22-24, UNC Asheville holds its annual Homecoming and Family Weekend, inviting the entire Bulldog family back to campus for a weekend celebration.

New Programs, People and Initiatives

UNC Asheville also launches several new programs in fall 2017, adding a major and minor in Arts Management & Entrepreneurship, a minor in American Indian & Indigenous Studies, and undergraduate certificates in Contemplative Inquiry as well as Food, Food Systems & Culture.

“These new programs bring together the expertise of our faculty and the interests of our students, intersecting with Asheville’s unique history and momentum. They will provide students with an interdisciplinary foundation on which to build their careers, engage civically with the places they call home, and advance their knowledge and skills,” said UNC Asheville Provost Joseph R. Urgo.

Incoming students join cohorts of science scholars, with four students named as Chemistry & Biology Scholars, funded as part of a $1.5 million grant from the North Carolina GlaxoSmithKline Foundation. The Chemistry & Biology Fellows & Scholars Program also funds teaching and research fellows and is modeled on the successful Chemistry Scholars Program at UNC Asheville. Now in its seventh year, the Chemistry Scholars Program, funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), welcomes five new students. In addition, four first-year students join the NSF-funded Atmospheric and Computer Science Exploratory Scholars (ACES) Program, and 25 students have been awarded scholarships across a variety of majors as part of the Mission Health Scholars program announced in spring 2017.

The Black Mountain College Legacy Fellows and Research Interns, funded through a $180,000 grant from the Windgate Foundation, also continues this fall. Renowned artist Mel Chin will be the Black Mountain College Fellow for 2017-18 and is partnering with STEAM Studio at UNC Asheville and its senior engineering class to develop an exhibit planned for Times Square in New York City.

In addition, UNC Asheville has begun implementation of a $700,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support an arts and educational alliance focused on public humanities and community engagement. The first visiting makers start their residencies at STEAM Studio this fall, with half a dozen planned for the year. This grant enriches the partnership with the Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center (BMCM+AC), advances new partnerships with local community colleges through participation in the Humanities Program, and creates models for the public liberal arts and humanities through UNC Asheville’s STEAM Studio and a partnership with The Center for Craft, Creativity & Design. The grant funding will expand UNC Asheville’s development of the annual African Americans in Western North Carolina Conference, to be held October 19-21, 2017. UNC Asheville Associate Professor of Art and Art History Brent Skidmore has been named the university’s Public Arts and Humanities Chair as part of the grant.

This fall, UNC Asheville also welcomes 14 new faculty members, including scholars in art & art history, biology, computer science, drama, economics, engineering, health & wellness, management & accountancy, mathematics, modern languages & literatures, new media, and sociology. New initiatives further connect students to both faculty and staff, with a pilot Student Success Coaching program that pairs students with members of the campus community to provide expertise and resources.

The personalized approach starts with the admissions process, as UNC Asheville now offers tours on demand. Prospective students and their families are encouraged to register online for daily tours or visit campus during one of the fall Open House events Oct. 14 and Nov. 11, 2017. These open houses provide a chance to meet students and faculty, discuss housing and financial aid, and they take place in advance of the early action admissions deadline of Nov. 15, which is also the deadline for priority consideration for Laurels and Pisgah Scholarships. Applications are now available for spring 2017 and fall 2018 enrollment at UNC Asheville.

UNC Asheville also has several construction projects underway. New student residence halls are being built next to Brown Hall between University Heights and W.T. Weaver Blvd. Concurrent construction is taking place on the other side of Brown Hall with renovations to Highsmith Student Union, bringing the student experience to the front and center of the building. A glass-front student-life porch will provide meeting spaces and open areas for student organizations, as well as an area to showcase a student art gallery and share the work of the Intercultural Center. A 5,000 square-foot multipurpose room will increase the university’s ability to host campus and community events, from large lectures to banquets and conferences. Highsmith Union remains open during construction, with entrances on the first floor of the building.

Visit unca.edu/apply to learn more or contact UNC Asheville’s Office of Admissions and Financial Aid at admissions@unca.edu or 828.251.6481.