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Chancellor Ponder congratulated members of the Class of 2010 at the May Commencement Ceremony.

Some of the best minds and most influential leaders in history have been products of an interdisciplinary liberal arts education—the foundation of a UNC Asheville experience. Today, employers and educators alike are rediscovering the enormous value of this full-spectrum educational experience. Of course, UNC Asheville has known about the importance of the liberal arts all along.

For instance, a recent survey by the American Association of Colleges & Universities showed that employers prize written and oral communication skills even above science and technology knowledge.

Recently, a study showed that high school math teachers trained at UNC Asheville are the best in the state when it comes to explaining complex problems to young minds.”

In this issue of UNC Asheville Magazine, you’ll see just how well our faculty and alumni excel in the communication field—from landmark non-fiction works on such divergent topics as the history of NASCAR and the Book of Mormon to best-selling Southern fiction by two of our alumnae.

Jon Meacham of Newsweek recently touted liberal arts, writing that “the next chapter of the nation’s economic life could well be written not only by engineers but by entrepreneurs who, as products of an apparently disparate education, have formed a habit of mind that enables them to connect ideas that might otherwise have gone unconnected.”

UNC Asheville’s math teacher education program is a good example. Recently, a study showed that high school math teachers trained at UNC Asheville are the best in the state when it comes to explaining complex problems to young minds.

Earlier this year, the Chronicle of Higher Education reported that some institutions are rediscovering the power of the liberal arts and are revising their curricula in order to graduate adaptable, critical thinkers who are prepared for the complexities of a global society.

As you know, UNC Asheville has been doing just this for decades. Take for example alumna Amber Munger, who is conducting relief work in Haiti, and senior Ellie Johnston, who attended the United Nations Climate Change Conference last year. They are proof that our students don’t back away from facing real-world problems.

So it’s no surprise that I hear from the best employers and graduate schools in the country how well prepared, creative, adaptable and solution-oriented our graduates are. As you read about them in these pages, you may want to commit their names to memory. They are the leaders of tomorrow’s businesses and communities, and the people who are at work changing the world.

— Chancellor Anne Ponder

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