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UNCA ranked in nation’s Top 20 for “Best Quality of Life,” “Town-Gown Relations,” and More, in The Princeton Review’s “The Best 385 Colleges,” 2020 Edition
Tuesday, 06 August 2019 22:49

From Staff Reports

UNC Asheville is once again featured as one of The Princeton Review’s best colleges and is ranked in the top 20 nationally on several lists with accolades for the “Best Quality of Life,” and “The City Gets High Marks.” The universities included in the 2020 edition of The Best 385 Colleges were chosen “primarily based on our high opinion of their academics,” according to The Princeton Review. 

The description of UNC Asheville in The Best 385 Colleges, 2020 Edition, begins this way:

Offering “small class sizes,” “local art culture,” and “environmental sustainability,” UNC Asheville is “the only public liberal arts school” in North Carolina. Professors are “some of the best in their respective fields” and “have time to invest interest in your individual advancement—not only in the course, but in your life…may come to you with job, internship or volunteer opportunities.” Students praise the fruitful relationships with faculty and opportunities for hands-on research. Says one first-year student, “I…am able to be a research assistant to a teacher who is working on a cloud computing model for ALS research, an amazing opportunity that I only would get at UNC Asheville.”

Additional student survey comments cited by The Princeton Review include:

  • “My peers are inquisitive, mindful, compassionate, and hungry for justice.”
  • The “town and the mountains make living here an exceptional experience,” says another student.
  • Students at UNC Asheville also truly “care about the environment,” and are generally “compassionate,” “open-minded,” and “accepting.”

The Princeton Review’s guide does not rank the 385 schools hierarchically, but does include 62 different ranked top-20 lists, based on its surveys of 140,000 students attending the 385 colleges in the book in 2018-19 and/or the previous two academic years. The survey asked students 84 questions about their school's academics, administration, campus community, and themselves. The 62 lists range from the straightforward “Students Pack the Stadiums” and “Best College Radio Station,” to the quirkier “Election, What Election?” and “Got Milk?” 

Based on the student surveys, UNC Asheville was included on these national top-20 lists:

  • Best Quality of Life (18th)
  • LGBTQ-Friendly (12th)
  • College City Gets High Marks (14th)
  • Town-Gown Relations Are Great (14th)
  • Least Religious Students (18th)
  • Tree-Hugging Vegetarians (18th)
  • Most Politically Active Students (19th)

UNC Asheville has also been ranked either first or second in the nation on the “Best Schools for Making an Impact” list in two of the past four editions of The Princeton Review’s annual winter publication, Colleges That Pay You Back.

U.S. News & World Report also ranks UNC Asheville highly, as seventh-best public liberal arts university in the nation. Kiplinger’s lists UNC Asheville as a best college value. Forbes included UNC Asheville in its recent publication, “America’s Best College Values,” and the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2020 once again included UNC Asheville among the “best and most interesting” colleges in the country.

Applications open on Aug. 15 for early decision and regular decision admission to UNC Asheville for the fall 2020 semester. For more information about UNC Asheville, including the Discovery Days campus tours on Sept. 28 and Nov. 9, visit

As it ends, ‘lack of diversity’ issue raised about speakers at ‘connection’ forum fielded by Hitch
Tuesday, 06 August 2019 22:44
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Six different speakers gave separate addresses on “What are we doing now to connect community?” at UNC Asheville’s Leadership Asheville Buzz Breakfast series on July 25 at Crowne Plaza Expo Center in West Asheville.

The 105-minute session, preceded by a 30-minute breakfast, drew 226 people who signed up to attend, an organizer said. The meeting’s theme was billed as “Building a connected community — the importance of grassroots engagement”

While the speakers each told of their organization’s efforts and accomplishments — and future goals — to achieve community connection, perhaps the most memorable moment of the morning came at the very end.

With the meeting running 11 minutes past its stated 90-minute goal, emcee Ed Manning lamented that there was “time for (just) one question.”

He then read a question from the audience stating that“the lack of diversity of speakers is telling about who is ‘in’ the community. How might we invite those we are trying to bring into the community have a voice in (future) Buzz Breakfasts?”

Those still on the stage looked to fellow speaker Dawa Hitch, comunicationss and public engagement director for the City of Asheville, who stepped to the microphone.

After looking around cautiously — and confirming that Catherine Mitchell, executive director, River Front Development Group, was nowhere in sight, Hitch asserted, “I think I’m the only person of color left on stage... It’s a great question...

“I think ‘diversity’ can have a number of different forms. The more specific we can be about what we mean about ‘diversity’ can be helpful…. It can feel disheartening to someone who has shown up, who is ‘of color,’” to meet with mainly whites. “Let’s foster participation by those who show up. And beyond that, let’s invite” more people of color to participate.

During her presentation, Mitchell had lamented the lack of — and need for -— connection for African-Americans in Asheville.


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