Sustainability Research

Many UNC Asheville faculty members and students take an active interest in sustainability questions and solutions. Take a look at what our faculty and students are doing!

Faculty Focus

Dr. Leah Mathews – Econ Department
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.

Faculty Researchers

Environmental Studies

David Gillette
Jeffrey Wilcox


Robert Bowen

Africana Studies

Agya Boakye-Boaten


Charles Bennett
James Perkins

Mass Communication

Sonya DiPalma

Joint Mechatronics (JME)

Dave Erb


Patrick Foo

Literature and Classics

Merritt Moseley
Lora Holland


Rebecca Hale
David Clarke
Jennifer Rhode Ward
Christopher Nicolay

Atmospheric Sciences

Nina Hall
Alex Huang
Chris Hennon


Mark Harvey
Melissa Himelein


George Heard
Amanda Wolfe
Bert Holmes
Charles James
Amar Nath
Oksana Love
John Stevens
Sally Wasileski


Heidi Kelley
John Wood


Leah Mattews


Steven Patch


Daniel Pierce

New Media

Susan Reiser

Computer Science

Adam Whitley
Marietta Cameron

Art History

Leisa Rundquist


Ioan Muntean

Management Department

Jeff Shields
Mary Lynn Manns

Health and Wellness

Ameena Batada
Kathleen Garbe
Aubrianne Rote