ASHEVILLE NC – UNC Asheville is partnering with Appalachian State University to increase the number of students in eight Western North Carolina counties who are prepared to enter and succeed in college, as part of the GEAR UP program funded by grants from the U.S Department of Education.
GEAR UP – Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs – is designed to support students as they progress through three distinct transitions: 1) college awareness and readiness; 2) college enrollment; and 3) college achievement, by employing evidence-based support services and resources that are early indicators and predictors of success.
UNC Asheville will offer services and resources to students, parents and teachers in Alleghany, Clay, Graham, Madison, Rutherford, Swain, Wilkes and Yancey counties. GEAR UP will begin with middle school students and expand one grade level each year as students advance through high school and into their first year at a community college or four-year university.
“We are excited to join in this multi-university effort to boost educational achievement across the region,” said UNC Asheville Provost Joseph Urgo. “Here in Asheville, our students and faculty have long been involved in boosting college awareness and readiness through the city school system’s AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) program. Now, we are moving forward with GEAR UP to expand our engagement with young people throughout Western North Carolina.”
As part of GEAR UP, UNC Asheville will offer its growing roster of professional development seminars, with topics including math, art, chemistry, genetics, and culturally relevant pedagogy to K-12 teachers in the eight target counties. The university also will make available its innovative precollege awareness programs that allow students and their families to think critically about college match and fit; and overnight summer enrichment programs will give students a sample of college life.
UNC Asheville will hire a GEAR UP coordinator to serve as the liaison to school districts connecting teachers, students and parents to campus resources. The GEAR UP grant will cover program activities for seven years; UNC Asheville’s annual GEAR UP budget will be $150,000.
Appalachian State University is coordinating GEAR UP project activities in a total of 11 WNC counties; other partners also include Western Carolina University, Isothermal Community College, Tri-County Community College, Wilkes Community College, Discovery Place and the Public School Forum of North Carolina.
ASHEVILLE NC – Structural Abstraction, an exhibition of synthetic polymer and mixed media on canvas and panel by Ian Cage, will open on Nov. 3 in Blowers Gallery in UNC Asheville’s Ramsey Library. A reception with a lecture presentation by the artist will be held from 6-7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 6 in Ramsey Library, Whitman Room. The events are free and open to the public.
Cage’s work examines the interplay between expressive gestures and the sculptural forms that comprise an assortment of abstract figures recurring throughout Cage’s recent work. Cage has exhibited his work in galleries throughout the region, and holds a Bachelor of Science degree from UNC Asheville.
Structural Abstraction will be on view in Blowers Gallery through Nov. 24 during regular library hours. For more information, including library hours, visit Ramsey Library’s website or call 828.251.6436.
ASHEVILLE NC – UNC Asheville will host an observation event to safely view the partial solar eclipse occurring just before sunset on Thursday, Oct. 23. This free, public viewing event will begin at 5:58 p.m. in UNC Asheville’s parking lot P8, uphill from the Reuter Center.
Participants will have the opportunity to watch the partial solar eclipse using telescopes equipped with solar filters. The location also provides a low view of the western horizon, which is difficult to find in the Asheville area and necessary for viewing this eclipse. The event will end with the sunset at 6:44 p.m.
This event is sponsored by UNC Asheville’s Physics Department and the Astronomy Club of Asheville. For more information, including the latest updates regarding cloudy weather and possible cancellations, visit the Astronomy Club of Asheville website.
ASHEVILLE NC – The first professional company in the world dedicated to the tradition of stepping, Step Afrika! will bring it’s high-energy percussive dancing to UNC Asheville. Originating from the song-and-dance tradition created by African-American college students, stepping uses the body to create sound and rhythm through hand clapping, foot stomping and spoken word. Step Afrika! will be offering a performance at 8 p.m Thursday, Oct. 23 in UNC Asheville’s Lipinsky Auditorium. Their performance is free and open to the public.
Although stepping began with historically black Greek letter college fraternities, Step Afrika! has taken its exciting dance style to a wide variety of audiences. On top of its annual 50-city tour of American colleges and universities, Step Afrika! partners with the U.S. State Department, Navy Entertainment and other international organizations to hold performances and workshops for communities around the world.
Step Afrika! is known for bringing its art into the classroom and will lead a free masterclass from 12:30-2:00 p.m. in UNC Asheville’ Humanities Lecture Hall.
Step Afrika! events are co-sponsored by many UNC Asheville offices and programs, including the Office of Multicultural Student Programs, the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life, Africana Studies, Connections Peer Mentoring Program, the Center for Diversity Education, the Black Student Association, International Student Services, Campus Recreation, the Department of Education and Transition/Parent Programs.
UNC Asheville also is included on the U.S. News & World Report list of national liberal arts colleges, private and public, “where the faculty has an unusually strong commitment to undergraduate teaching.” Based on surveys of college presidents, provosts and admissions deans, UNC Asheville is tied for eighth in the nation in this category and is the only public university on this exclusive list.“Self-discovery and intellectual exploration are what define a great liberal arts college experience,” said UNC Asheville Provost Joseph Urgo. “I see that happening at UNC Asheville with our small classes and with so many students engaged in undergraduate research with a faculty mentor. The faculty works continually to reexamine and improve student learning and the overall student experience, especially when it comes to fostering critical thinking and creativity.”
U.S. News & World Report ranked 236 national liberal arts colleges, 212 private and 24 public, in its survey, using a weighted formula that includes academic reputation, graduation and retention rates, commitment to instruction and class size, student abilities and admissions selectivity, college financial resources and alumni financial support.
The U.S. News & World Report rankings are among several accolades UNC Asheville has recently received. In August, The Princeton Review noted the “top-notch academic experience” that UNC Asheville students receive and ranked the university 14th nationally on its “Town-Gown Relations are Great” list.
In July, the Fiske Guide to Colleges named UNC Asheville a “Best Buy” among the nation’s top colleges, and for the 11th consecutive year, UNC Asheville’s Environmental Studies Program was highlighted as showing unusual strength in preparing students for careers.
In the past year, UNC Asheville also was cited as a “best value” by The Princeton Review and by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine.
ASHEVILLE NC – Works by Latino artists in Western North Carolina will be on view at UNC Asheville as the university celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month from Sept. 15-Oct. 15. The exhibition is free and open to the public in the adjoining galleries in Highsmith University Union: the Highsmith Art and Intercultural Gallery and the Intercultural Center Gallery. A public reception with the artists will be held from 6-7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 17 in the galleries.
Victor Palomino, a native of Colombia who has worked as an artist and journalist in North Carolina for more than a decade, will display his works in wire sculpture, mixed media and ink in the Intercultural Center. Sandra Garcia will also display the Kaleidocycle, a project that documents the lives and journeys of immigrants in Western North Carolina.
In the Highsmith Art and Intercultural Gallery, works in a variety of media will be on view by Luis Martinez Cruz and Victor H. Verde of Mexico, Chris Corral of Texas, and Gustavo Villota of Ecuador. The exhibition will also include Mi Historia, stories of the lives of Latinos in Western North Carolina that have been collected at prior exhibits.
UNC Asheville’s Office of Multicultural Student Programs and the student organization HOLA (Hispan@s Orgullos@s en las Americas) are joining to present the university’s Hispanic Heritage Month activities, which include discussions, videos, food events, fairs and parties for students, and this art exhibition.
ASHEVILLE NC – Professor and scholar of Jewish history Michael Brenner will present Why Weimar? at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 30 in UNC Asheville’s Reuter Center. Brenner will explore the dramatic explosion of long suppressed creativity from within Germany’s small Jewish population that took place between the end of World War I and the rise of Hitler.
Brenner’s lecture kicks off the yearlong Evenings at the Cabaret Weimar series, exploring Germany’s tumultuous experiment with democracy during the Weimar era. The period was marked by modernist innovations in the arts, theater, architecture, literature and science, and by a vibrant cabaret culture.
Brenner is the Seymour and Lillian Abensohn Chair in Israel Studies and directs American University’s Center for Israel Studies. He is also professor of Jewish history and culture at the Ludwig-Maximilians University of Munich, and has had visiting appointments at numerous universities. His many books include The Renaissance of Jewish Culture in Weimar Germany (Yale University Press, 1998), and a volume he co-edited with Gideon Reuveni, Emancipation through Muscles: Jews and Sports in Europe (University of Nebraska Press, 2006).
Upcoming events in the Evenings at the Cabaret Weimar series will include film screenings, musical performances and lectures:
October 14: Meet Mack the Knife. Scholar Naomi Graber and piano and voice duo Vance Reese and Amanda Horton will present an evening of the music of Kurt Weill, a leading composer for musical theater in Berlin.
October 28: Is There A Jewish Architecture? Israeli filmmaker Duki Dror presents his award-winning 2012 documentary film, Incessant Vision, an exploration of European architect Erich Mendelsohn’s lyrical modernist designs.
April 7: Einstein in Berlin. Professor Peter Fenves recounts Albert Einstein’s revolutionary theories of the universe and his role as a social activist denouncing German militarism and advocating for a Jewish homeland.
April 21: The Poet of Crossing Boundaries. Professor of European Studies Markus Hallensleben explores the avant-garde poetry, prose and drama of Else Lasker-Schüler—one of the few women affiliated with the Expressionist movement.
April 28: Martin Buber: Jewish Existentialist. Theologian Claire Sufrin discusses the work of philosopher Martin Buber, who started an adult academy for modern Jewish learning in Frankfurt, Germany, and also translated the Hebrew Bible into a highly original German idiom.
This series is free and open to the public, and is sponsored by UNC Asheville’s Center for Jewish Studies and OLLI (the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute). For more information, contact the Center for Jewish Studies at 828.232.5027, or OLLI at 828.251.6140.
ASHEVILLE NC – Hundreds of educators from many disciplines will come to UNC Asheville for the 2014 SENCER Summer Institute, sharing best practices for connecting teaching of STEM topics (science, technology, engineering and math) with critical local, national and global issues. SENCER (Science Education for New Civic Engagements and Responsibilities) will hold its summer institute July 31-August 4, bringing together university faculty, K-12 teachers and educators from museums and science centers across the country.
“The SENCER project is perhaps one of the most important, if not the most important, curriculum reform effort currently underway, particularly in the area of science education,” says Edward Katz, UNC Asheville associate provost and dean of university programs. “SENCER’s aim is to open our students’ minds to the interconnections between fundamental science concepts and the complex social questions they powerfully address. These engaged and interdisciplinary learning approaches have enabled us to reach students who otherwise may not have been open to or interested in science, which is critical if we are to help shape a generation of citizens who are science literate.”
Keith Krumpe, UNC Asheville’s dean of natural sciences, will present at the SENCER Summer Institute, as will Rebecca Hale, Angeldeep Kaur, Caroline Kennedy and Jennifer Rhode Ward of the university’s biology faculty.
UNC Asheville also hosted the SENCER Summer Institute in 2010. “We are pleased that our annual SENCER Summer Institute is returning to UNC Asheville this year,” said David Burns, SENCER principal investigator and executive director of the National Center for Science and Civic Engagement. “A great faculty team from Asheville won our William E. Bennett Award for Extraordinary Contributions to Citizen Science last year.”
SENCER, initiated in 2001 under the National Science Foundation’s course, curriculum and laboratory improvement national dissemination track, is the signature program of the National Center for Science and Civic Engagement. “Our National Science Foundation program brings the science of learning to the learning of science, specifically by connecting course content to issues of local and global impact,” said Burns.
The 285 participants invited to take part in the 2014 SENCER Summer Institute include 39 teams from 118 higher education, museum and science center institutions, and 15 Asheville-area K-12 teachers. Educators will be coming from as far away as South Africa, New Zealand and the Republic of Georgia.
To join in the social media conversation that will be part of the 2014 SENCER Summer Institute, use #SSI2014.
ASHEVILLE NC – UNC Asheville has been authorized by the state to borrow approximately $990,000 to make needed capital improvements. Governor Pat McCrory signed the authorization bill on July 8 allowing approximately $376 million of improvements at six campuses in the UNC system: UNC Asheville, UNC-Chapel Hill, UNC Charlotte, East Carolina University, North Carolina State University and Western Carolina University.
At UNC Asheville the funding will be used to improve learning and living conditions for students, with $550,000 designated for the completion of the Karl Straus Track Building and $440,000 invested in improvements to the Student Recreation Center, including renovations of the current locker rooms, the addition of a gender-neutral locker room and resurfacing the floors of the multipurpose courts. The projects are expected to begin in early fall 2014.
“These projects will allow UNC Asheville to make needed improvements in our recreation facilities, providing a better experience for our students and community members who use these facilities,” said John Pierce, vice chancellor for finance and campus operations.
The projects will be financed by special-obligation bonds, to be repaid by a $27 student debt service fee that has been approved by the UNC Asheville Board of Trustees and the UNC Board of Governors.
The Karl Straus Track serves as the training and competition facility for the UNC Asheville men’s and women’s track and field programs. With the renovation of the track and field facility to NCAA/IAAF standards, UNC Asheville will be able to host intercollegiate and community track meets.
The Student Recreation Center accommodates varying types of recreational activities accessible to students, faculty, staff, and eligible members with a valid OneCard or Recreation Pass. The facility includes a pool, indoor track, racquetball courts and multipurpose courts that may be sectioned off to allow multiple events to occur simultaneously.
ASHEVILLE NC – A few positions remain open in the fall semester for UNC Asheville’s unique, graduate-level certificate program, Climate Change & Society. Tailored for working professionals and students interested in the fields of climate and sustainability, the two-year program consists of four courses, one each semester, with a convenient evening schedule.
The certificate program and course of study were developed to bridge the gap between climate scientists and the government agencies, business and community organizations whose decisions and work may be impacted by climate change.
Applications to enroll in the third cohort of the program are due August 1, 2014. Ten students have completed the coursework, which may be taken on its own through the certificate program, or within the Master of Liberal Arts and Sciences (MLAS) degree program at UNC Asheville.
“I chose classes and research topics that directly related to my work at ASAP,” said Katie Descieux, who began her studies while an intern at ASAP (Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project), and was able to advance to a staff position as research coordinator for ASAP’s Local Food Research Center while earning the certificate and MLAS degree. “The classes that I took that focused on issues of sustainability and community resiliency really resonated with me … and ignited my passion to positively contribute to my community.”
The certificate was affirmed by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools in 2011. The four course sequence includes:
Fundamentals of Climate Change Science
Tools for Climate Change Information and Decision-Making