Academics & Research

At UNC Asheville, you don’t have to be an Environmental Studies major to learn about sustainability issues: Creative and forward-thinking professors incorporate this multi-dimensional concept into nearly every department and program on campus. As of our last survey, over 100 individual classes were identified that significantly incorporated sustainability content. Students from disciplines as diverse as engineering, sociology, economics, and art history have opportunities to consider the relationship between humans and their environment in classes that examine food and nutrition, alternative energy, religious traditions, and more. Course offerings are always changing, so be on the lookout for classes that give you a chance to expand your knowledge of sustainability.


The McCullough Institute

The McCullough Institute for Conservation, Land Use, and Environmental Resiliency aims to be a national model for blending environmental study with business and sustainable economic growth in urban and rural landscapes. Visit our McCullough Fellows page for more information about the fellowship program.


Faculty Focus

Economics professor Dr. Leah Mathews and her students recently completed the Farmland Values Project for the Western North Carolina Region. Dr. Mathews’ research focused on how people value farmland, because population growth has led to land-use change in North Carolina. Dr. Mathews and seventeen student researchers conducted the Farmland Values Project over four years, gathering data from surveys, focus groups, and community mapping. The goal was to create information useful to public policy makers, land use planners, developers and other public officials about the values people hold for farmland. The study found that people are willing to pay between $185 to $195 to protect dwindling farmlands, saying those lands add considerable value to quality of life as well as economic potential.


Applied Sustainability

UNC Asheville’s National Environmental Modeling and Analysis Center (NEMAC), established in November 2003, is a center of the University and specializes in science communication and the development of decision support tools for local and regional planners, decision makers, and the public.

NEMAC helps people understand the relevance and importance of complex issues such as climate and weather, forest health, natural hazards, land use planning, and the efficient use of our energy and water resources. Our tools, developed with the assistance of UNC Asheville undergraduate research students, include web applications, interactive geographic information system (GIS) applications, multimedia delivery technologies, and print media. NEMAC and its many partnerships bring students, scientific professionals, and local decision makers together to help solve problems facing our society. NEMAC supports its applied research through mechanisms such as contracts, agreements, and grants with our various partners, including federal agencies; city, county, and state governments; and local entrepreneurs.