Press release from UNC Asheville:
UNC Asheville has been recognized for its exemplary commitment to helping undergraduate students learn, grow, and succeed by Colleges of Distinction, a unique guide for college-bound students. Along with being named a 2022-2023 College of Distinction, UNC Asheville was also listed among the best public colleges nationally and best colleges in North Carolina as part of the 2022-23 cohort and received specialized recognition for its Business and Education programs and for its commitment to Equity & Inclusion.
The Colleges of Distinction selection process comprises a sequence of in-depth research and detailed interviews with applicable schools, accepting only those that adhere to the Four Distinctions: Engaged Students, Great Teaching, Vibrant Community, and Successful Outcomes. This model prioritizes the opportunities institutions have for students that make for a fulfilling, individualized college experience and goes beyond a typical overview of institutional data, statistics, and the endowment size.
Colleges of Distinction prioritizes the ways that institutions enable students to have a fulfilling, individualized college experience both inside and outside the classroom and recognizes UNC Asheville for its meaningful interactions and creative connections outside the classroom that contributes to a well-rounded college experience. At UNC Asheville, more than 70% of students complete original research or creative capstone projects as part of a robust undergraduate research program. Additionally, more than 50% complete at least one internship before graduation, preparing them for success after graduation.
“When we focus all of our attention on how schools stack up against one another, we lose track of what really matters: the students themselves,” said Wes Creel, founder of Colleges of Distinction. “Every student has individual needs and their own environment in which they’re most likely to thrive. We want to extend our praise to the schools that prioritize and cater to students’ goals.”
Creel continued, “We’re inspired by the ways in which UNC Asheville immerses students in their fields, all while fostering a welcoming community that will support them through and beyond their college years.”
Aside from overall undergraduate recognitions, Colleges of Distinction also awards recognition in individual areas. UNC Asheville has earned additional recognition for its high-impact approach in the areas of Business, Education, and Equity & Inclusion.
The importance of experiential learning to prepare for future careers in business as well as in education was highlighted in UNC Asheville’s consideration of these awards.
As an Equity & Inclusion College of Distinction, UNC Asheville has demonstrated the promotion of fair treatment and access at all levels, with resources and programming that grant extra support to underrepresented communities.
“Equity is an action, not a statement,” said Tyson Schritter, Chief Operating Officer at Colleges of Distinction. “UNC Asheville is always listening to how it can create a more just environment, from the administrative level down to the students’ everyday experience on campus. We’re encouraged to see this school’s long history of promoting inclusion and making swift yet mindful adjustments along with the ever-changing times.”