Humanities at UNC Asheville

If you're familiar with the core curriculum (integrative liberal studies) which students must follow here at UNC Asheville, then you have doubtless heard of our interdisciplinary Humanities program.    I am currently taking the senior capstone course that will bring my time with Humanities to a close, so I thought it would be a great topic to introduce on the blog.  Essentially, over one's period of study at UNC Asheville, he or she will be required to complete four Humanities courses.  The first three, which everyone must take are "Humanities 124: The Ancient World," "Humanities 214: The Medieval and Renaissance World," and "Humanities 324: The Modern World (Mid 17-20th Century)".  

Each of these courses are four credit hours, as opposed to the "standard" three hours by which most classes here are defined.  The reason for this is that every week, students must attend a lecture given to all Humanities students. The Common Lectures offered for each level of Humanities occur on Fridays throughout the day.  Most teachers require attendance, and may either call roll or administer short quizzes on lecture material at the beginning of the following week.  The Humanities program utilizes sources from an array of academic fields in order to help students develop critical thinking skills and synthesize information.  The great thing about the Humanities program is that it asks members of the UNC Asheville faculty (regardless of whether they are actually teaching a section of Humanities that semester) to give a particular Friday lecture.  This keeps things interesting and allows students to learn from experts across disciplines.   

Following a standard, four-year college experience, students can map their Humanities courses over the course of freshman, sophomore, and junior years, or can take one humanities course each semester if he or she so desires.  The final, or capstone course, also four hours, is to be taken only by students who have completed over 75 hours of study, and who have taken all three preceding courses.  Here, students have some flexibility: they can choose to take either "Humanities 414: Individual in the Contemporary World" or "Liberal Studies 479: Cultivating Global Citizenship."  There is a slight difference between the two courses in terms of required texts and focus points, which the image at the end of this post outlines in more depth.  Although I chose to take LS 479 because it fit well with my schedule, and I like the professor teaching the particular section I chose (Wednesday nights 6:00-9:30), so far I've been very satisfied with the course.  I find its connection to real-life issues and dilemmas to be very useful and thought-provoking, and have been able to draw connections to both previous Humanities courses and classes I am currently taking.   

A final word on Humanities at UNC Asheville--although the course itself may seem difficult or time-consuming, don't be scared!  It's a great resource that will connect you not only with your fellow students and teachers, but your past, present, and future as well!  Check out the link to the Humanities website above for more information, or leave comments if you have questions.  

Bonus: Hum 414 vs. LS 479

 HUM 414 "The Individual in the Contemporary World""LS 479: Cultivating Global Citizenship"
Credit Hours
  • 4 (3+1 Recitation section)*
  • 4
ILS Requirement
  • Satisfies ILS senior capstone requirement
  • Satisfies ILS senior capston requirement
Course Format
  • Sections meet twice weekly with instructors AND attend Friday Common Lecture 11:25-12:35
  • Core syllabus
  • Combination of lecture, class discussion, group work, major project/paper
  • Sections meet with instructor unless otherwise noted
  • Common experiences vary by term
  • Ccore syllabus
  • Combination of lecture, class discussion, group work, major project/paper
  • *Students must register for BOTH section (recitation) and Common Lecture
  • Students register for 4-credit section only
Course pre-requisites
  • 75 hours + HUM 124, 214, 324
  • 75 hours + HUM 124, 214, 324
Key Differences
  • Serves as a 4th Humanities course in a series including HUM 124, 214, 324
  • Focus on arts, culture, identity, social justice movements, future studies
  • Integrates earlier HUM Program curriculum with social and natural science disciplines
  • Focus on ethics, governance, economics, environmental sustainability
Service Learning
  • Varies by instructor
  • Varies by instructor* (required for all HONORS students)
Required Texts
  • The Individual in the Contemporary World, eds. Campbell and Chapman
  • (Additional 1 or 2 supplemental texts per instructor)
  • Ethics, Peter Singer
  • The Bhagavad-Gita: Krisna's Counsel in Time of War, Barbara Stoler Miller (trans.)
  • Buddhist EthicsL A Very Short Introduction, Damien Keown
  • Cradle to Cradle, William McDionough and Michael Braungart


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Homecoming 2012

As of 12:30 this afternoon, the celebrations for this year's homecoming events have officially begun. Today, students were able to enjoy a 500 pound ice cream sundae courtesy of local ice cream parlor The Hop, whose owners also happen to be UNCA alumni.  I can't think of a snazzier way to get Homecoming 2012 off the ground, can you?  Events today conclude with the "Nearly Naked Mile" at 9 pm.  The rest of the week is punctuated with basketball games, tailgating, dance performances and dancing, and much more.  The men's basketball games, Alumni Art Invitational Exhibition, and Homecoming Dance in particular seem really exciting, and would definitely be worth the trip for any UNC Asheville alum.  (Actually, just seeing the changes to the campus itself would be worth the visit.  Witnessing the new Kimmel Arena, for example, would be an amazing experience for anyone used to our old Justice Center court!)  If you're neither student nor alumni, you can still participate in some of the events on campus.  Check out the homecoming parade, which runs through campus, or buy a ticket to the third annual "Go Hard or Go Home" step show ($3).  If you would like to see a more detailed list of the homecoming events on the horizon, I've posted the link to the Homecoming 2012 webpage.  Take a look!  Hopefully we'll see you soon!  

Homecoming 2012 Master Schedule

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Food Trucks: El Kimchi

Last week, while I was driving home from work, I noticed a food truck parked at a local restaurant that caught my eye for a number of reasons.  First, I hadn't seen many food trucks in Asheville before, and second, this truck is called "El Kimchi," which, if you've been keeping up with this blog, interested me because I'm a big fan of Korean food.  Upon further investigation, I found out that El Kimchi seems to be a recent upstart, and sells both Korean and Mexican cuisine at various locations around Asheville.  Since this is my first real contact with a food truck, I am finding the excitement of its ever-changing locations quite a treat.  On its official Facebook and Twitter pages, it posts several times a day where it will be parked, and seems to take location suggestions from customers eager to indulge their taste buds.  If you want to know where to get your fill, you have to check their social networking pages for the surprise location.  Since I love surprises and Korean food, the combination of the two proved too delightful to resist, so today, my friend and I found out where the El Kimchi truck would be parked from 11 to 2 pm, and headed over to West Asheville to grab a bite for lunch.  We enjoyed some chicken and pork rice bowls and the daily special, goon mandu (군만두, dumplings filled with tofu and veggies), and got to know the owners a bit.  The food itself was great, especially the dumplings.  What a delicious afternoon!  

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Be Mine ♥

Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!  Although the local meteorologists called for snow (70% chance!) this morning, it is shaping up to be quite a beautiful day, not even a cloud overhead.  How will you celebrate the holiday today?  Will you take advantage of the lovely weather for a romantic stroll outside?  Whatever your plans, I hope they are filled with warmth, happiness, and, of course, a little love!  On Sunday, my sister and I prepared some goodies to distribute to our friends to let them know how grateful we are to have them in our lives.  Although nothing seems to say "Happy Valentine's Day" like chocolate, we decided to whip up a batch of sugar cookies with pink frosting instead.  We felt that homemade cookies would be the very best way to spread a little holiday cheer, and had a blast baking and distributing them.  As my Valentine's Day present to you, I'm sharing the photos we took of the cookies (have a virtual bite!) and the recipe we used.  If you want to make these for your loved ones, I hope you'll give it a try.  The cookies are soft, moist, and delicious.  Enjoy with a glass of cold milk, or share a few with your friends.  They'll put a smile on your face, and bring some joy to your Valentine's Day, no matter how you end up spending it! 

Recipe (borrowed from here)

For the cookies:
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
4 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 large eggs
5 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the frosting:
5 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1/3 cup (5 1/3 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
7-8 tablespoon milk (plus more, as needed)
Food coloring (optional)
Sprinkles (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.  In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder and salt.  In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar together on medium-high speed until soft and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.  Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.  Blend in the vanilla.  With the mixer on low speed, add in the dry ingredients mixing just until incorporated and evenly mixed.  Cover and chill the dough for 1 hour.

When you are ready to bake the cookies, scoop a scant quarter cup of dough and roll into a ball.  Flatten the ball slightly and place on the prepared baking sheet.  Repeat with the remaining dough, spacing the cookies at least 2-3 inches apart.  Bake about 10-12 minutes or just until set  (do not overbake!  The edges should be no more than very lightly browned if at all).  Let cool on the baking sheet for several minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the frosting, place the confectioners’ sugar in a medium bowl.  Add the melted butter, vanilla, and milk to the bowl and whisk until smooth.  Whisk in additional milk as necessary, 1 teaspoon at a time, until you reach your desired consistency.  Tint with food coloring if desired.  Use a spatula or spoon to frost the cooled cookies (If the frosting begins to thicken as you decorate, just continue to whisk in small amounts of milk to keep it workable).  Top with sprinkles if desired.  Store in an airtight container. Makes 2 dozen large cookies.

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Books & Breadboard

This morning, I met my parents, sister, and grandfather for a delightful brunch in Biltomore Village, a part of Asheville I don't think I've touched upon yet.  Biltmore Village is an area close to Asheville High School, the hospital, and the River Arts District, which I visited last semester.  Located in Biltmore Village is the Biltmore House and Estate, known for being the largest privately owned home in America.  (When the weather warms up, I'm hoping to take a trip to the Biltmore House and post about it, so stay tuned for that!)  There are a number of small shops and restaurants in Biltmore Village itself, so we could have visited any of these for a satisfying meal, but today we chose a small little place called the Books & Breadboard.  As the name suggests, this little cafe is part bookshop, part eatery.  The place itself is actually a tiny bookstore, but there are tables scattered throughout, which allows customers to simultaneously enjoy a calm atmosphere, browse for books, and enjoy good food.  All dishes are served on wooden cutting boards, which adds a touch of whimsy to the meal.  When spring arrives, they will open up the patio seating outside, allowing diners to enjoy the warm weather and a view of downtown Biltmore Village with their new books and cup of morning coffee.  Check out the website for more information!

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Ski Shuttle

Yesterday, my friends and I were able to enjoy an evening of skiing at Cataloochee, the ski resort that I visited over break.  Thanks to the school's awesome campus recreation program, we were able to take part in the ski shuttle service, and ride with other UNC Asheville students to the ski lodge and enjoy a discounted evening of skiing to the tune of about $30.  Considering that rentals and lift ticket cost me about $60 when I went independent of the school, and that the ski shuttle "package" also offered the option of free ski or snowboard lessons, I'd say this was a pretty excellent deal--well worth the money!  Campus Recreation offers UNC Asheville students a wide number of group trips around Western North Carolina and even beyond, but until this semester, I've been too busy with work and school to participate, so it was an adventure.  My group devoured the along snacks and dinner (sandwiches and homemade pasta) that we'd brought with us before hitting the slopes.  I hadn't before seen any of my friends' ski skills, and felt comforted that most of us, with a few exceptions, are on roughly the same level.
We were told that Cataloochee had received a light snowfall on Friday morning, and found that by nightfall, all of the runs were open, and the conditions were still great.  Although the weather was biting cold, once we started moving, all we felt was the exhilaration of racing down the slightly icy slopes.  While there, I was surprised to run into my brother and his roommate, who apparently make a habit of taking advantage of the ski shuttle to snowboard most winter weekends.  We rode the chairlift together to the intermediate slope, which I, as a novice, navigated with some difficulty before wiping out completely (we're talking skis, poles, hat and goggles flying through the air and me landing face-first in the snow).  This little hiccup aside, the evening proved to be an awesome way to take advantage of the wintry weather and spend time with other members of the UNC Asheville community.  If you end up coming to UNC Asheville or are already a student here, you should definitely give this, or any other of the programs offered by Campus Recreation a try.  You might be surprised by how much fun you'll end up having!   

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