The Interview Process

This week, my partner Casey and I completed our first interview with Dr. Darin Waters in UNC Asheville’s history department. Despite some technical issues with the mic (having to resort to recording the audio on an iPhone) we had a very fruitful discussion. Waters delved into not only his position as a professor at UNC Asheville, but also his relationship with the university while growing up in Asheville from the 1970s and onward. He also discussed the benefits of the dynamic of a liberal arts college both for students and for professors, as well as how the structure affected how he taught. He compared working in UNC Asheville to working at UNC Chapel Hill, a traditional research university. Overall, Waters gave my partner and me great insight in both the perspective of a UNCA professor and as a resident of the city our school is based in.

Two interviews we have lined up for next week are with Gene Hyde and Colin Reeve, the archivist in our Special Collections archive. I’d asked Gene, who is also my boss, about being interviewed; his relationship with the history of our university and with the communal interest in our university’s archival materials seemed pertinent to our project. He agreed, and also suggested I interview Colin as well, as he played a role in curating and digitizing a large part of our collections specifically related to the university.

We are also considering interviewing Greg Dillingham, Distance Learning Services Manager at UNC Asheville. Having worked directly with digital courses in ou university, his perspective with working with students in digital courses seemed relevant to the discussion of digital learning and the liberal arts. Anne Ogg, the instructional designer in Ramsey Library, helps students working with digital tools such as TimelineJS. She has been teaching courses to classes about how to create digital projects in several departments, and is also an individual we are considering contacting about an interview.

Gathering Interviews and Planning a Layout

So far within my individual research for our COPLAC project, I have organized two interviews for next week. One is with Professor Darin Waters, who is in the history department and has a concentration in African American history in the South. He is very familiar with Asheville’s cultural history, and has had family in the area for several generations. His grandfather, Isaiah Rice, had recently had a photography exhibit through our Special Collections archive that essentially documented the African American experience in Asheville in the 1950s. Waters also has a son who started attending UNC Asheville this semester; he has a unique relationship with UNC Asheville as both a faculty member and a parent of a student. He works as an assistant to the Chancellor as well, and has a greater understanding of the inner workings within our university than some.

We also plan on interviewing Gene Hyde, the Special Collections archivist. As our university archivist, in an archive that heavily contains historically valuable documents, photographs, books, and other materials relating to our university’s history, he would be a beneficial perspective to have as part of our documentation of our university.

I’m beginning to experiment with TimelineJS, a program we will be using in our website. I’m less familiar with it than my partner Casey, but have had some experience using it in a history course I’m currently in. It is a useful tool for creating a concise timeline, with access to implementing audio, photographs, and video components in it. We are also working on a visually appealing and clear design for our website. Implementing TimelineJS might be difficult and will definitely be taken into consideration while designing our website’s layout.

The Relationship Between Liberal Arts and Digital Humanities

Liberal arts and digital humanities both place an emphasis on the disciplines of humanities as a field. They have somewhat similar objectives in regard to the content that they focus on, but have different methods; digital humanities looks at how to apply these disciplines to the digital sphere, including digitizing historical documents and other texts. This also includes digitizing and publishing of oral interviews, relating to oral history, a significant part of our COPLAC project.

Liberal arts and digital humanities overlap significantly, sharing the same objectives and overall concepts, while digital humanities translates these concepts through digital tools to places like the Internet. The connections between these two support my research process for the COPLAC digital project because the methods make oral history much more accessible and easy to document. The ability to record and digitize interviews has significantly benefitted the field of oral history, and add a level of understand to the individual experiences and perspectives throughout history.

History, as a core element of humanities, oral history in particular, is most supported by the digitizing of the concepts of humanities by relating larger events to individual experiences. In a sense, oral history would not be what it is if not for the ability to digitize and publish sound recordings of interviews. The listener not only is able to understand the unique perspective and recollection of a historical event, they are also able to better observe and evaluate the event itself.

Project Contract

Julia Bone, Casey Brown

M. Long, C. Woodcox (DH 373)



Our mission is to create a historical narrative of the University of North Carolina at Asheville’s development. We would like to digitally map the development of the liberal arts alongside the development of our campus. Our website will function as a digital exhibit of UNC Asheville’s history and its relationship with the liberal arts. We intend to create a website that would be helpful for anyone with an academic interest in the liberal arts, or the overall history of the UNCA campus. As part of a larger project in our COPLAC course, we will exemplify the growth of a liberal arts university through our school’s unique background.


We will utilize WordPress to allow a multifaceted experience, complete with text, images, and audio. We will link a timeline through TimeLineJS onto our site to create a more interactive experience. We will pay special attention to the aspects of war and the GI Bill for their influences in the development of our campus’ history, along with the impact of tourism on the city and university.



  • We will be using WordPress, with the Twenty Fourteen layout. WordPress is easy to navigate and has all of the tools we believe are necessary to properly convey our project’s purpose.
  • We will also utilize TimelineJS. Any image editing can be handled through Photoshop. TimeLineJS will be used to detail important events throughout our university’s history, as well as events that impacted liberal arts and higher education that affected our school. Link to TimeLineJS:
  • We will upload video components through YouTube and link through our website.
  • We are also considering uploading images from our experiences working on the project, as well as relevant photos of our university that will add historical context. We will go to our university’s Special Collections archive to find photographs that we see suitable for our project.
  • To conduct interviews, we will be using lapel microphones and potentially cameras for recording, which can be found through either our university library or the Mass Communication department.



  • Design and build a website using WordPress by October 11th.
  • Conduct first interview with Dr. Darin Waters of the UNCA History Department by October 13th.
  • Conduct interview with Gene Hyde, Special Collections archivist at UNCA, by October 21st.
  • Conduct 3rd, 4th, and 5th interviews by the end of October.
  • Compile interviews with timeline by November 1st.
  • Finish website and add all components for project and prepare presentation for final due date.


Who will be doing what:

  • We will cooperatively interview Dr. Darin Waters. Julia will interview Gene Hyde.  Casey will be handling the third and fourth interview, and Julia the fifth.
  • We will cooperatively design and create our WordPress website.
  • Casey will be using TimeLineJS to create the timeline; Julia will research and find information that will be laid out in the timeline.

Asheville’s Higher Education in Relation to the U.S.

The changing needs of Asheville’s community greatly affected UNCA, particularly in the way it moved locations and merged with other institutions of higher education to become what it is presently.

In the early 20th century, the United States saw a dramatic increase in K-12 education, both increasing the need for teaching college/high education institutions as well as for institutions for the increasing interest by students to pursue education past K-12. In order to handle this dramatic growth in K-12 education, states set up their own networks of teachers’ colleges. This began with Massachusetts in the 1830s. After 1950, these teachers’ colleges became state colleges and then state universities with a broader curriculum. This is indicated in UNCA’s own historical timeline, as increased enrollment made the college to move to Seely’s Castle in 1949.

UNCA, which was Asheville-Biltmore College at the time, became the first two-year college in North Carolina to receive state funds in 1957. It was the originator of North Carolina’s community college system. Junior colleges, which had grown in popularity by the 1950s and 1960s, were renamed “community colleges”.

Many state universities experienced an explosive growth from small institutions of fewer than 1,000 students to large campuses with 40,000 or more students, as well as a network of regional campuses around the state. In turn, these regional campuses broke away and became their own separate universities. UNC Asheville did not grow to such a dramatic population increase; the student population did not exceed 1,000 until 1970. However, UNC Asheville has many factors that affect its population growth, including the desire to remain a smaller liberal arts school that is still emphasized today.

UNC Asheville, while still named Asheville-Biltmore College, also admitted its first African American student in 1961, when the desegregation of institutions of higher education began to slowly break the barrier in racial exclusion at the collegiate level.

Many of the actions that took place in UNC Asheville’s history aligned with the general history and development of high education in the United States in the 20th century. Asheville-Biltmore College/UNCA accurately exemplifies the changes seen all throughout institutions in the United States in a chronological manner.




Jesse P. Bogue, ed. American Junior Colleges (American council on education, 1948)

Lois Staton (July 1980). “Overlook” (PDF). National Register of Historic Places – Nomination and Inventory. North Carolina State Historic Preservation Office.

“Timeline.” About. University of North Carolina at Asheville, n.d. Web. 10 Sept. 2016.

UNC Asheville’s development as a liberal arts institution

In 1927, the University of North Carolina at Asheville established its roots as Buncombe County Junior College, with a total of 86 students in attendance. In 1929, the Great Depression forced the necessity of tuition to be charged; produce and other goods were accepted from the students to pay the cost. In the same year, the nearby College of the City of Asheville was closing. The two schools were consolidated to create Biltmore Junior College.

1936 brought another change of name to Asheville-Biltmore College. This same year, control was transferred to the Asheville City Schools. With the desire to have its “own” campus, the college relocated to the former County Home for Children – presently site of Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church on Merrimon Avenue in North Asheville.

From 1949 to 1961, Asheville-Biltmore College was located in the Overlook Castle, also known as Seely’s Castle after its original owner, philanthropist Fred Loring Seely. After it outgrew the castle, Asheville-Biltmore College then moved to the current campus in north Asheville. It became a state-supported college in 1963, followed by the presentation of its first bachelor’s degrees in 1966. The following years the school saw the construction of its first residence halls in 1967, followed by more academic buildings.

The college would finally change to its current name, the University of North Carolina at Asheville, in 1969 when it officially became a part of the University of North Carolina System. At this time, the only other two campuses in the system were Chapel Hill and Wilmington. This same year, William Highsmith, who would go on to write a comprehensive history of the college in his 1991 book The University of North Carolina at Asheville: The First Sixty Years, became chancellor. In 1975, Zageir Hall, a social sciences academic building, was completed and named after local  businessman and a longtime supporter of the university Colman Zageir (1894-1975).

UNC Asheville’s current mission statement prioritizes creating an inclusive and diverse community through a liberal arts education. The development of the school overtime, including its movement toward more pertinent locations and involvement in liberal arts, such as joining the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges in 2009.

UNC Asheville has always remained a small school. It reached its 1,000 student enrollment mark in 1970, with its current enrollment at 3,891 in 2016. In the university’s current mission statement, it is stated that, “At UNC Asheville, we respond to the conditions and concerns of the contemporary world both as individuals and as a university.” Maintaining a consistently small population on campus helps one on one interactivity between students and their professors, further aiding focus on studying liberal arts on an individual level.




“Fact Book.” Institutional Research, Effectiveness & Planning. The University of North Carolina at Asheville, n.d. Web. 11 Sept. 2016.

Highsmith, William Edward. The University of North Carolina at Asheville: The First Sixty Years. Asheville, NC: U of North Carolina at Asheville, 1991. Print.

“Timeline.” About. University of North Carolina at Asheville, n.d. Web. 10 Sept. 2016.