Creative Nonfiction Workshop-Oral History

(LANG 366) ​Spring 2013 semester students enrolled in a creative nonfiction writing workshop conducted original oral histories with West Asheville residents and produced a collection of profile pieces. Karen Loughmiller of West Asheville Library compiled a list of interviewees who could speak knowledgeably about the periods of transition West Asheville has experienced over the past fifty years. Students spent multiple hours with interview participants (80 years of age or older) in order to produce thoughtful profile pieces representing the diverse histories of West Asheville. This project was developed in collaboration with Asheville Design Center and New Belgium Brewery. Thank you to the Mills Grant for funding a presentation of this project at the National Oral History Association's conference in October, 2013. Check out the public history artifact we created here =>

Professional Writing (LANG 354)

Professional Writing is taught each spring semester. Professional writers include those who write in the workplace (engineers, accountants, managers, computer programmers, teachers) as well as those who write as their profession (grant writers, creative writers, technical writers).


Each semester we partner with a local nonprofit to write one or more grants. Spring 2013 students earned William Randolph School a Capital Planet Foundation Grant of $2,500 to maintain and expand permaculture educational programs. Spring 2015 students earned two, $800 Learning Links Grants with Community Foundation of Western North Carolina. Spring 2019 students wrote grants to support an interactive media site for Burton Street Community Peace Gardens. Spring 2020 student teams designed a web prototype for an online archive, wrote a $20,000 grant to NC Humanities Council, and re-designed learning space in Karpen Hall.


Professional Writing offers students a chance to: research language conventions and types of writing particular to their discipline, make professional connections in their intended career, produce job materials or graduate school materials, as well as research and produce a grant for a local nonprofit. This course appeals to students in all disciplines.

Critical Inquiry and Academic Writing-Food Justice (LANG 120)

The class offers a critical study about the intersections of poverty, racism, and education in terms of food health and access. Students practice writing for a variety of audiences, composing essays, narratives, multimodal, and persuasive texts throughout the semester. This is a service learning course, so students expand their understanding of the food life cycle through their work with on-campus gardens, crop mobs supporting community gardens, local educational food justice nonprofits (FEAST), and / or community supported agriculture projects (The Lord's Acre). 

The Teaching of Writing (LANG 396)

The Teaching of Writing introduces current theories and practices of writing pedagogy to teaching licensure students. Each semester we collaborate with an emerging teacher in a local high school. Pictured above is our Spring 2019 work with Erwin High School and our Fall 2015 work with Madison County High School. UNC Asheville students read and offer written feedback on student drafts at multiple stages in the writing process, and then the students meet face to face to workshop final drafts. UNC Asheville students learn the practices of workshop teaching and using feedback as a learning tool, and the high schoolers benefit from the individual attention to their writing. 

Social Justice Rhetorics (LIT 178)

Social Justice Rhetorics (a special topics course) toured the Burton Street community in order to learn the history of grassroots organizing within Black Asheville communities and to study the threats of gentrification and I26 expansion on this particular neighborhood. This course focuses explicitly on the ways language is used in "everyday" contexts to challenge status quo ways of thinking about marginalized groups. We draw from the interdisciplinary fields of rhetoric and feminist studies to locate lines of inquiry within English studies, visual rhetoric, composition, graphic design, cultural studies, social geography, advertising, art history, sociology, and others. 

Photo Credit:

Amanda Wray. 2013. Spagnola's mural at Penland Auction House. Current site for New Belgium Brewery.