PrintASHEVILLE – For Chancellor Mary Grant, what sets UNC Asheville apart is simple.

“UNC Asheville’s a great university because of the people – and that’s the faculty, the staff and the students.  That’s something that struck me the moment I stepped on this campus,” Grant says in the accompanying video.

Grant cites world-class faculty who choose to teach undergraduates at a liberal-arts institution.  Among UNC Asheville’s best programs, she lists the Humanities, Psychology, Engineering Mechatronics and Music.

“The faculty are matching theory in the classroom with high-impact experiences outside the classroom – so students are putting to work what they’re learning,” she says.

“The strength is broad and deep across many disciplines.”

Amid a pronounced emphasis across the country on STEM fields – science, technology, engineering and mathematics – Asheville is the UNC system’s designated liberal-arts campus and remains proud of it.

Grant takes issue with those who would pit the arts against the sciences.

“It’s a false argument,” she says in the next video.  “It divides the liberal arts and the sciences – they are one and the same.

“When you think about the sciences, it is about inquiry.  It is about problem-solving.  It is about curiosity. It is about wanting to answer a complex problem.  That’s all in the liberal arts training – it teaches you to think and to be curious and to want to investigate and to go deeper.

“We can’t have good science if we don’t have people who are trained in the humanities.  We need to know our history, so we don’t repeat the problems as we go forward.”

Some of the leading CEOs in the country, in fact, are liberal-arts graduates.  As an example, Grant cites Stewart Butterfield, co-founder of Slack Technologies, a $2 billion startup in Silicon Valley.

“He’s a philosophy graduate,” Grant says in the following video.  “And one of the things he said about having a degree in philosophy was it enables him to go deeper in the argument, to listen to other opinions, to challenge assumptions.”

“I think the liberal arts, hands down, is a phenomenal education.  And it opens up doors all over the place,” Grant says.

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