FACULTY SENATE


 Senate Document Number     0707F


 Date of Senate Approval      11/29/07


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Statement of Faculty Senate Action:



(see next page)
IDC # 2


The University of North Carolina

Notification of Intent to Plan a New Baccalaureate, Master’s, or C.A.S. Program


THE PURPOSE OF ACADEMIC PROGRAM PLANNING: Planning a new academic degree program provides an opportunity for an institution to make the case for need and demand and for its ability to offer a quality program.  This notification, and the planning activity to follow, do not guarantee that authorization to establish will be granted..

                                                                                                            Date:    October 1, 2007                      

Constituent Institution:  University of North Carolina - Asheville                                                                           

      CIP Discipline Specialty Title:  Anthropology                                                                                           

      CIP Discipline Specialty Number:  45.05        Level: B         M         C.A.S.        

      Exact Title of the Proposed Program  _Anthropology_________

      Exact Degree Abbreviation (e.g. B.S., B.A., M.A., M.S., C.A.S.):              B.S.

      Does the proposed program constitute a substantive change as defined by SACS? Yes__  No_x_

      a)  Is it at a more advanced level than those previously authorized?  Yes__  No_x_

      b)  Is the proposed program in a new discipline division?  Yes____  No __x__

      Approximate date for submitting the Request to Establish proposal (must be within one year of date of submission of notification of intent to plan):   January 01, 2008                                

      Proposed date to establish degree:  month    August   year 2008  (Date can be no sooner than six months after the date of notification of intent to plan and must allow at least three months for review of the request to establish, once submitted.)


1.  Describe the proposed new degree program. The description should include:

a)   a brief description of the program and a statement of educational objectives


Anthropology seeks to document and understand the varieties of human experience. It does this by attending comparatively to the local and individual, from studying the economics of a ritual festival in a remote village in Bolivia to the symbolic meanings behind market trading in Madagascar to the particular understandings of healing and health among head-hunters in Java to inequalities of identity politics in an American city.


Building on the anthropology concentration in the sociology major (implemented in 2004), the sociology department is proposing an anthropology major, to be housed in a joint sociology and anthropology department. Since the hire of a tenure-track anthropologist in 1990, the sociology department has been committed to offering anthropology courses. With the addition of a second tenure-track anthropologist in 2001, the sociology department doubled our commitment to the teaching of anthropology. When the sociology department undertook a fundamental revision of our curriculum, we formulated a concentration in anthropology. Thus, the role of anthropology in the sociology department evolved from unlinked courses to having a unique curriculum in anthropology.  That curriculum however is situated in the discipline of sociology. The logic of the anthropology concentration now (and likewise, the general sociology concentration) is to bring both the groups of students together early in their UNC-Asheville careers for a joint 200-level course about social and cultural inquiry that integrates the two disciplines; have them split for the methods and senior research thesis courses; and then, bring them together again for a final senior symposium, in which students examine contemporary topics that are germane to both fields. In proposing the anthropology major, we are not proposing any curricular changes. Hence, in the new major, we propose to offer the same courses as the anthropology concentration. We will add more electives and have anthropologists teach the courses that are currently taught by sociology faculty, as we hope to gradually hire more anthropologists.


We foresee, if our new major is approved, adding three more tenure-track positions over a period of three to ten years. First, we hope to replace Jim Pitts when he retires at the end of the academic year 2008-09 with a cultural anthropologist whose areas complement but do not overlap the current two cultural anthropologists (e.g., a development anthropologist specializing in Peru or a medical anthropologist specializing in India). We are now applying for a place-holder position.[1] 


We are envisioning a joint department where the anthropology students could benefit from the expertise of sociology faculty and vice versa. Anthropology is well partnered with sociology in a single department (see the American Sociological Association’s 2006 publication, Models and Best Practices for Joint Sociology-Anthropology Departments). Anthropology and sociology are sibling disciplines. Both disciplines study the same social phenomena, but through a different lens. Anthropology’s distinct interests in nonwestern, local, and thickly described ethnographic experiences – the study of particular individuals in particular places – makes anthropology a distinct discipline that attracts a distinct group of students as majors.


Making the change from a sociology major with a concentration in anthropology to a major in anthropology is not going to affect resources but potentially will make a difference in the pride of anthropology majors (whose diplomas will read “anthropology”), the ease of admission to graduate programs in anthropology for students, the enhancement of career opportunities for students with an international focus, and the attractiveness of UNC-Asheville to potential faculty (both anthropologists and non-anthropologists, because anthropology is a key discipline in the liberal arts).  


The educational objectives for the proposed anthropology major are articulated with the ones for the sociology major. In the proposed anthropology major’s curriculum, students will be actively engaged in learning about human beings from all places and all times, as well as the constructed and constrained nature of all social and cultural realities. Students will be encouraged to develop the critical thinking and communication skills necessary to apply these insights to productive and meaningful professional and personal lives in their communities. The specific educational objectives of the proposed anthropology major are stated below. The department, through the study of anthropology, encourages students to:

·         Explore the richness of all social life—both the familiar and the unfamiliar—through cross-cultural and comparative study.

·         Appreciate other ways of life and different systems of meaning, belief and knowledge.

·         Understand the concepts of cultural relativity and ethnocentrism.

·         Understand and be able to apply the ethnographic model.

·         Appreciate the importance of language as demonstrated through clear, competent and creative written and oral communication.

·         Become responsible for their own education through participation in a community of learning with faculty mentors and student peers.


b)   the relationship of the proposed new program to the institutional mission and how the program fits into the institution’s strategic plan


The core of UNC-Asheville’s mission – both in the way we see ourselves and the way we are understood by the UNC system – is the liberal arts. Our mission statement says a liberal arts education is “liberating, promoting the free and rigorous pursuit of truth, respect for different points of view and heritage, and an understanding that values play a role in thought and action.”[2] The university’s mission is advanced in a number of complementing ways, both in the variety of our majors and in the general education, or Integrative Liberal Studies, curriculum.


     Students – the students who choose to come to a public liberal-arts university – are eager to understand the meaning of human experience, to situate themselves within the range of human activity, and to understand themselves against the diversity of human expression.  Moreover, UNC-Asheville has a growing sense of its obligation to prepare students for a diverse world of intersecting differences. Anthropology invites – indeed, demands – that students consider their humanity in the face of difference. It promotes the idea of cultural relativity, that if we are to understand others we must do so on their terms, not ours. The addition of an anthropology major would help UNC-Asheville better prepare its students for understanding difference—on campus and post-graduation. 


c)   the relationship of the proposed new program to other existing programs at the institution


A renewed interest in cultural differences has excited many aspects of UNC-Asheville’s curriculum – from biology’s concern with understanding cross-cultural human physical differences, to history’s turn to the so-called “people without history,” to literature courses on South American, Asian, and African fiction and poetry, to the humanities program’s turn to understanding humanity outside of Europe. Our new program in Health and Wellness has an expressed interest in thinking about health in social and culture contexts.


The discipline of anthropology has a unique four-field emphasis with specializations in cultural, biological, archaeological, and linguistic. Currently, our two cultural anthropologists teach courses that are cross-listed in the Africana, International, Religious and Women’s Studies programs. The field of biological anthropology with its focus on human variation, nutrition, and primatology has great potential to the Biology, and Health and Wellness programs; the field of archaeology with its focus the study of human culture through material remains has potential to add to the Art History, Classics, History, and Chemistry programs; and the field of anthropological linguistics has potential to add to the Literature and Language, and Foreign Languages programs. As well, depending on the specialization of future cultural anthropologists that the department might hire, links to the Environmental Studies, Economics, and Political Science programs may be possible.  The current two cultural anthropologists teach in the Integrated Liberal Studies (freshman and transfer colloquia, five clusters, Writing, Information Literacy, and Diversity Intensives), Honors and MLA programs, and they have given well-received Humanities lectures.  


d) special features or conditions that make the institution a desirable, unique, or appropriate place to initiate such a degree program:


Anthropology’s core interest is documenting and understanding the variety of human experience in a complex and changing world. That interest alone makes it a fitting major at any public liberal arts university. It is especially appropriate at UNC-Asheville at this particular time and place. 


The city of Asheville and its university attract a wide range of people who are expressly interested in other societies and ways of life. The population of Asheville speaks dozens of languages and practices all of the world’s major religions and many smaller ones as well. The city and campus have growing interests in alternative lifestyles – from the ways people deliver their babies to how they prepare their food, clothe their bodies, worship their deities, and dispose of their dead. Students at UNC-Asheville likewise demonstrate a growing interest in locating themselves within a wider framework of humanity than they have hitherto experienced.


No other discipline than anthropology makes it the core of its business to pay attention to human diversity. UNC-Asheville has undertaken a new emphasis on diversity: from the strategic planning process down through the university planning council to the Diversity Intensive requirement in our Integrative Liberal Studies curriculum, the university wants to see more diversity in population and curricula. A stronger program in anthropology, attractive to an emerging class of majors, can help the campus move forward in both its liberal arts and diversity initiatives.


2.  List all other public and private institutions of higher education in North Carolina currently operating programs similar to the proposed new degree program.


According to the American Sociological Association’s 2006 publication, Models and Best Practices for Joint Sociology-Anthropology Departments, “Among liberal arts institutions, 25 of the top 50 liberal arts institutions have a joint sociology/anthropology departments, and the bulk of those are in the Northeast….” 


Eight public and three private institutions in North Carolina offer BA’s in Anthropology.  The following table shows the number of students from each college who graduated with a first or second major in anthropology during the 2005-2006 academic year.



N Graduates

Appalachian State University


Davidson College


Duke University


East Carolina University


North Carolina State University at Raleigh


University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


University of North Carolina at Charlotte


University of North Carolina at Greensboro


University of North Carolina-Wilmington


Wake Forest University


Western Carolina University


Total Awarded




3.   Estimate the number of students that would be enrolled in the program during the first year of operation:   Full-Time  21                                                                 Part-Time  2


4.   If there are plans to offer the program away from campus during the first year of operation:

a)            briefly describe these plans, including potential sites and possible method(s) of delivering instruction.

b)            indicate any similar programs being offered off-campus in North Carolina by other institutions (public or private)

c)             estimate the number of students that would be enrolled in the program during the first year of operation:  Full-Time______               Part-Time______


5.         List the names, titles, e-mail addresses and telephone numbers of the person(s) responsible for planning the proposed program.




Email addresses



Volker Frank

Chair and Associate Professor



Melissa Himelein



Heidi Kelley



John Wood

Associate Professor



This intent to plan a new program has been reviewed and approved by the appropriate campus committees and authorities.




[1] Contingent on anticipated growth, we would like to add next a biological anthropologist whose specialties enhance the Health and Wellness program (e.g., a nutritional anthropologist) and then, an archaeologist (specializing in the prehistory of the Cherokee perhaps).

[2] Mission statement, approved by UNCA Board of Trustees, Aug. 24, 2000.