Senate Document Number 3201S

Date of Senate Approval 03/01/01

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Statement of Faculty Senate Action:

IDC 2:   Guiding Concepts

The University of North Carolina at Asheville provides a superior liberal arts education for well-prepared students who are committed to learning and personal growth. Through this education the university aims to develop students of broad perspective who think critically and creatively, communicate effectively, and participate actively in their communities. The ultimate aim of the university is to provide students the best possible opportunity to acquire the skills, knowledge, and understanding necessary to pursue their goals, to find meaning in their lives, and to take their places as contributing citizens of a changing society. In light of these aims, the following concepts guide UNCA.

Who We Are

I. Liberal Arts

Education at UNCA is solidly grounded in the liberal arts. A liberal arts foundation provides the surest means of enabling students to develop in a manner consistent with the aims of the university. In accordance with its designation as North Carolina's public liberal arts university, and consistent with the Carnegie Classification, at least half of all UNCA degrees are awarded in the liberal arts and all degrees are infused with the liberal arts. The centerpiece of General Education at UNCA is its nationally-recognized Humanities Program, which examines what humanity has achieved, desired, and believed over several thousand years of recorded history, and how these concerns and passions influence today's world.

II. Diverse and Collaborative Community

The community of students, faculty and staff that is UNCA is diverse and collaborative. UNCA graduates will live and work in an increasingly diverse world. Those who would contribute to such a world must be aware of and sensitive to human diversity, and be able to work with those whose perspectives and backgrounds are not their own. Through a diverse and collaborative community, UNCA recognizes and celebrates human diversity, while preparing students for the future. In order to facilitate collaboration, and especially collaboration among faculty and students, UNCA is small by choice, seeking no more than 3500 students, with a constantly increasing proportion of residential students.

III. Environmentally Responsible

UNCA is environmentally aware and responsible. The UNCA campus is the home of more than 1100 residential students and the place where approximately 4000 additional members of the UNCA community spend many of their waking hours. As such, their well being is affected by the quality of the UNCA environment. Through environmental awareness and responsibility, UNCA provides a campus that supports the well being of the UNCA community and serves as an example for others.

IV. Commitment to Excellence and Continuous Improvement

Commitment to excellence in liberal arts education and continuous improvement in all things is characteristic of UNCA life. These commitments focus the efforts and broaden the understandings of the members of the UNCA community so as to best provide for the learning and personal growth of students.

What We Do

V. Emphasis on Learning

Undergraduate learning is the highest priority of UNCA and the continued learning of faculty and staff is supported. Undergraduate learning, because it profoundly affects the intellectual development of students, is the highest priority of UNCA. To assist in this development, the continued learning of faculty and staff is also supported. Consistent with learning on a human scale, classes at UNCA are small enough to allow active involvement and large enough to encompass diverse perspectives.

VI. Support of Personal Growth

Undergraduate personal growth is strongly supported and the personal growth of faculty and staff is supported. Undergraduate personal growth, because it profoundly affects the overall development of students, is strongly supported by UNCA. To assist in this development, the personal growth of faculty and staff is also supported.

How We Do It

VII. Primary Focus on Teaching

Teaching is the primary focus of UNCA faculty and interdisciplinary teaching is encouraged. Teaching contributes directly to the learning and personal growth of students. Interdisciplinary teaching is encouraged because the ability to connect different areas of knowledge is one of the highest expressions of the intellect, and faculty who demonstrate this ability help students to make such connections themselves.

VIII. Creative, Scholarly and Collaborative Activity

Creative, scholarly and collaborative activity are integral parts of UNCA life, and activities involving students are especially valued. These activities, by the new knowledge and perspectives they bring about, contribute to the learning and personal growth of the UNCA community and to the larger communities of which UNCA is a part. UNCA's Undergraduate Research Program is a nationally-respected expression of student scholarship and collaborative learning.

IX. Co-curricular Experiences

UNCA provides diverse co-curricular experiences and helps create new ones. Co-curricular activities provide experiences and help form relationships that powerfully affect the personal growth of students. These activities, like the students they serve, are varied and ever changing.

X. Community Involvement

UNCA is involved in the community. Community participation is a responsibility of a public university that contributes to the community while simultaneously enhancing the learning and personal growth of those involved.

XI. Lifelong Relationships with Graduates

UNCA has lifelong relationships with its graduates. Learning and personal growth are the pursuits of a lifetime, not only of the college years. UNCA seeks to contribute to the continued learning and personal growth of its graduates through lifelong relationships. These relationships, through the opportunities they provide, help provide for the learning and personal growth of current students.