Back to Class Session Descriptions
Join our accomplished faculty and staff in any of these sessions to get a sense of the academic rigor and inquiry that serves as the hallmarks of a UNC Asheville education!
Back to Class Session Times
Session 1: 10 - 10:45 am
Session 2: 1:15 - 2 pm
Most, but not all, of the Back to Class offerings will be available during both sessions. Any offerings that are only scheduled for either Session 1 or 2 are noted with the session description.
Consequences of a Life Chronicled Online
Location: Karpen Hall, room 012
Social media isn’t as hard or as easy as it looks. A strong social media presence requires knowing which platforms are right for you. All of us are, at the very least, in the social media spotlight. Unlike earlier generations, it is highly likely that a current student’s life from high school through college is chronicled online. Understanding how social media platforms can help and hinder a career is crucial to success. Your greatest commodity might just be your Internet property.
Sonya DiPalma is an assistant professor of public relations at the University of North Carolina Asheville. She is a 2012 finalist for the Great Ideas For Teaching competition and a 2011 recipient of the Plank Center’s Fellowship for Educators, which placed her with the national social media team for the American Red Cross. Dr. DiPalma has presented social media sessions at the 2012 National Episcopal Communicators Conference, the 2011 North Carolina Public Relations Society of America Southeast Regional Public Relations & Marketing Conference, and the 2010 North Carolina Local Government Budget Association Winter Conference. She is one of 5,000 accredited public relations practitioners in the United States.
Psychology and the Law
Location: Karpen Hall, room 005
This talk will provide participants with an overview of recent findings in the field of psychology and law, including the psychology of policing, eyewitnesses, jury selection and decision-making, insanity and competency, and sentencing. Special emphasis will be placed on State v. Glen Edward Chapman, a wrongfully convicted Death Row inmate in North Carolina who was released in 2008 after an extensive, six-year re-investigation which included the work of approximately four dozen UNC-Asheville students.
Dr. Pam Laughon has taught at UNC-Asheville since 1989, where she is presently Chair of the Psychology Department. She was a Guardian ad litem in North Carolina for a decade, and she has served as a Mitigation Specialist for Indigent Defense Services since 1996, representing over 120 capital murder defendants and death row inmates in NC, SC, and TN. She was a recipient of the Kellie Crabtree Award from the NC Academy of Trial Lawyers in 2008, and she was given the William Bruce Award by the Western North Carolina Psychological Association in 2010. Dr. Laughon also received the Award for Teaching Excellence in Social Sciences, given by UNC-Asheville in 2009.
Corn From a Jar: Moonshining in the Great Smoky Mountains
Location: Karpen Hall, room 016
Dr. Daniel (Dan) Pierce will speak about his book, Corn from a Jar, released June 2013.
Dr. Pierce is the author of the first truly comprehensive history of early NASCAR, Real NASCAR: White Lightning, Red Clay, and Big Bill France (UNC Press, 2010). He is Professor of History, Chair of the department, and resident professional cracker at the University of North Carolina Asheville. He earned his Ph.D. at the University of Tennessee where he worked with distinguished southern historian James C. Cobb.
He is also the author of the The Great Smokies: From Natural Habitat to National Park (UT Press, 2000) and has had his work published in the New York Times, Southern Cultures, Smokies Life magazine, numerous encyclopedias including the New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture, and has appeared on NPR's Talk of the Nation, The History Channel, North Carolina People with William Friday, North Carolina Bookwatch, and the South Carolina ETV Emmy Award winning program Take on the South.
Thinking Outside the Bun: Promoting Healthy Eating in Communities
Location: Karpen Hall, room 241
(First session only, from 10 - 10:45 am)
Today’s headlines are filled with warnings about the obesity and chronic illness crises in America. Despite the importance of a healthy, nutritious diet, only one-third of Americans eat the recommended amount of fruit and vegetables and many Americans consume far more sodium, sugars, and fats than they need. Join Ameena Batada, assistant professor in the Department of Health and Wellness, for a discussion of various community-level interventions designed to promote healthy eating. We’ll discuss government programs such as supplemental nutrition assistance, community-based activities such as local food policy councils, school nutrition issues such as vending machines and classroom parties, and policies such as soda bans and workplace breastfeeding breaks. We’ll examine what is working and some of the politics surrounding what Americans eat.
Ameena Batada, DrPH, teaches courses on community health promotion, health parity, maternal and child health, health policy, mass media and health, and global health. Her research focuses on community-based health promotion, health disparities, school health and food marketing to children. Dr. Batada joined UNC Asheville after heading education, research, and outreach for Sesame Workshop India and before that advocating for school health nutrition standards and limits on food marketing to children with the Center for Science in the Public Interest.
Hiking Through History and Science
Location: Karpen Hall, room 006
The rugged landscape of the southern Appalachians had a profound impact on the human communities that developed in this region. At the same time, humans left their own dramatic imprints on the landscape. Join Dr. Rossell as she discusses the intimate connections between humans and the landscape, emphasizing local historical events such as the construction of the Buncombe County Turnpike, the Civil War, and the arrival of the railroad into western North Carolina.
Irene Rossell is a professor in the Environmental Studies Department, where she has taught for 20 years. She received the UNCA Distinguished Teacher Award in 2013. In addition to her course Hiking through History and Science, Dr. Rossell teaches Ecology and Field Biology, Plant Ecology, and Woody Plant Identification. Her research interests include the distribution of plants in the southern Appalachians (including rare plants and woody vines), wetland plant ecology, and plant-animal interactions. Dr. Rossell is currently collaborating with several local science teachers to develop an environmental education program for middle school aged girls.
The Place of Values in a College Education
Location: Karpen Hall, room 034
How do values figure in a college education? Should a university be value-neutral? What if it is a state university? And what do we mean by values anyway? If values play a role in students' experience - WHOSE values? Merritt Moseley will address these questions and others posed by faculty, students, parents, and government officials.
Merritt Moseley is the chair of the Department of Literature and Language at UNC Asheville, where he has taught for thirty-five years. He has chaired the Humanities program and directed the University Honors Program and the Key Center for Service-Learning and teaches Humanities, Honors, and Literature classes. Two of his daughters graduated from UNC Asheville.
An Overview of Interdisciplinary Studies
Location: Zeis Hall, room 202
What do International Studies, Asian Studies, Ethics & Social Institutions, the Individualized Degree, Legal Studies, and Neuroscience have in common? These are examples of interdisciplinary majors and minors offered by the Interdisciplinary Studies Program at UNC Asheville. Among some of the fastest growing majors at UNC Asheville, these programs of study have attracted students who are seekers of a liberal arts education that transcends disciplinary boundaries, and yet allows student to develop critical thinking skills that help them see the connections between fields of study, thereby experiencing a transformative educational experience in which the whole is more than the sum of its parts.
Surain Subramaniam is the Director of Interdisciplinary Studies, International Studies and Asian Studies Programs, and Associate Professor of International and Asian Studies. He earned his interdisciplinary BA in International Studies & Political Economy from Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pennsylvania, and his MA and PhD in International Studies from the University of South Carolina. He has taught at UNC Asheville since 2001. Subramaniam teaches interdisciplinary courses in International Studies and Asian Studies. He has also taught courses in the Humanities, Honors, and Master of Liberal Arts programs, as well as in the Integrative Liberal Arts curriculum. His research interests are in the areas of democratization in Southeast Asia, specifically in Malaysia and Singapore; challenges to liberal democratic governance from rising non-Western societies; and the effects of globalization on Asia. He received the Distinguished Teaching Award in the Social Sciences in 2005, and the University Distinguished Service Award in 2012.
Southern Women's History
Location: New Hall, room 012
(Second session only, from 1:15 - 2 pm)
Class position, the dominant racial hierarchy, and ideas about gender have shaped the lives of southern women. At the same time, women have crafted strategies of resistance, forged new identities for themselves, and projected their goals and interests into the southern public sphere. In this session, Dr. Judson will discuss the contributions of women to the modern civil rights movement.
Dr. Sarah Judson is Associate Professor of History. Her fields of expertise are 20th century US Women’s History and 20th century African American History. She earned her BA from UNC Chapel Hill and her PhD from New York University. Her work has appeared in scholarly journals, including The Journal of Women’s History. Currently, she is researching and writing about the social and political impact of urban renewal in Asheville. A native of North Carolina, Judson is particularly interested in the lives of southern women and the ways that they have impacted and helped create the modern south.
UNC Asheville: The Best Value for a Public Liberal Arts Education
Location: Karpen Hall, Laurel Forum
(Second session only, from 1:15 - 2 pm)
Join our Provost, Dr. Jane Fernandes, as she highlights the value of UNC Asheville and all it offers in terms of preparing the next generation of great thinkers, innovators and leaders. Dr. Fernandes will also highlight recent developments within UNC Asheville's academic realm that demonstrate the high caliber education students receive at UNC Asheville.
Jane Kelleher Fernandes joined UNC Asheville as Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs in July 2008. As an academic leader and educator of national prominence, her life's work—creating inclusive academic excellence in education at all levels—has taken her from Hawaii to the Atlantic seaboard. She earned a Master's degree and a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the University of Iowa. Her undergraduate degree is in French and Comparative Literature from Trinity College in Hartford, Conn.
Dr. Fernandes, who is deaf, was raised in the oral tradition to speak English and attended public schools in Worcester, Mass., long before the passage of state and federal laws requiring accommodations to be made for equal access. While a graduate student at the University of Iowa, she began learning American Sign Language. After immersing herself in signing and Deaf culture, she is today a balanced bilingual able to speak the languages of both Deaf and hearing people.
Dr. Fernandes brings with her a wealth of educational experience. Following eight years as an academic leader in both pre-college and higher education settings, she became vice president and then the provost at Gallaudet University, an institution for deaf students, in Washington, D.C. While there, she led academic strategic planning to raise enrollment, retention and graduation rates, to strengthen academic standards, and to achieve equitable outcomes for students across race and among the many ways there are to be deaf.
In addition to her position as Provost, Dr. Fernandes is a tenured professor of education at UNC Asheville and serves as a Senior Fellow with the Johnnetta B. Cole Global Diversity & Inclusion Institute, founded at Bennett College for Women in Greensboro, N.C.
How to Help Your Student be Successful in College
Location: Karpen Hall, room 038
Now that you're settling into your role as the parent of a UNC Asheville student, join us as we explore the developmental processes your student is experiencing as s/he transitions into college life. Jay Cutspec and Barbara Galloway will review the various aspects of transition that you and your student will (or currently are) moving through as both of you seek to find balance in the midst of adjustment.
Jay is a healthcare administrator who has been in the Asheville community for over 20 years, and is originally from upstate New York. Most of his career has been in the administration of psychiatric and acute care hospitals. Jay has a bachelor's degree from the University of Buffalo in Business Administration and Finance and received a master's degree in Health Administration from Duke University. Jay is a rabid Duke basketball fan. When he is not working, he enjoys running, studying spirituality, and college basketball. Jay is married to Patti Cutspec and has three children in college.
Barbara has a Master's degree in Education with a focus on Community Counseling from Western Carolina University and is a Licensed Clinical Addiction Specialist. She has extensive experience working with individuals struggling with substance abuse/addiction, mood disorders, and family system issues. Barbara firmly believes people have the internal resources to make significant therapeutic changes and approaches clinical work from an empowerment perspective. She encourages clients to connect with community organizations and support groups as a tool to reinforce change, support ongoing wellness and develop an expanded support network. Outside of work, she enjoys making quilts and knitting, creative cooking, distance running, and takes full advantage of all Asheville has to offer.
Asheville's thriving farmers market scene: It's not just about the food
Location: Karpen Hall, room 035
(First session only, from 10 - 10:45 am)
Farmers markets in Asheville and the surrounding area are increasingly popular – and for good reason! These markets put consumers face-to-face with area producers who sell fresh and local products. Through observations, surveys and interviews at several area farmers markets in 2012, we found that the farmers market setting also plays an important role in the exchange of information, social enjoyment, and community-building. As a result, it seems farmers markets provide our community more than just food. This talk with share insights gained from the research, funded by the Sara and Joseph Breman Professorship of Social Relations at UNC Asheville, and an opportunity to learn more about Asheville's thriving farmers market scene.
Dr. Leah Greden Mathews with students/alumni Zoe Hamel, Rebecca Baylor, Rachel Carson, and Kelly Giarrocco
Dr. Leah Greden Mathews, Interdisciplinary Distinguished Professor of the Mountain South and Professor of Economics, has been at UNCA since 1997. Her research in environmental economics estimates the prices for those things you can't buy in the store like water quality, scenic quality and cultural heritage. Her most recent research attempts to better understand why people value these intangibles with a focus on local food and farmland. Projects include an examination of how the relationships between buyers and sellers affect purchases at farmers’ markets and a study measuring the effectiveness of alternative local food messages. Dr. Mathews is also very engaged in the scholarship of teaching and learning. She is currently examining the effectiveness of senior capstone projects and, in collaboration with several UNCA faculty, assessing student learning in the Food for Thought cluster. In 2006, Dr. Mathews was awarded UNC Asheville’s Distinguished Teaching Award in Social Sciences. In 2013, she received a Scholarly and Creative Achievement Award from UNC Asheville and, with her Food Cluster faculty colleagues, the William E. Bennett Award for Extraordinary Contributions to Citizen Science from the National Center for Science and Civic Engagement.
Zoe Hamel is a French student majoring in Economics and Mathematics. Zoe, a senior, plays on the UNCA women's tennis team and has been an active undergraduate researcher while at UNCA, working on two separate research projects in Economics.
Rachel Carson is a senior Health and Wellness Promotion Major and teaching licensure student who competes on the women's track and cross country teams here at UNC Asheville. In addition to working as a research assistant for the last 2 years, Rachel has worked as an intern at Mission Health's Research Institute and a data specialist/fitness instructor at BalanceME Camps.
Rebecca Baylor is a junior Sociology major. In addition to her work as a research assistant, Becky is part of the all-female a cappella group on campus.
Kelly Giarrocco graduated from UNCA in December of 2012 with a degree in Economics. Her passion for local food, community, and gardening shaped her education and work experience while at UNCA. Kelly interned with the Garden Media Group in Pennsylvania, volunteered at community gardens and small farms, worked as a research assistant, and managed the campus garden through the Student Environmental Center.