MLAS 500.001 - The Human Condition

Instructor: Peg Downes, Ph.D.
3 graduate credit hours
CRN 10132
Mondays, 6:00 - 8:30 p.m.
245 Karpen Hall, UNC Asheville

We will read and otherwise experience (as, through the arts and through community service) an interdisciplinary, international and millennia-spanning range of reflections on what it means to be human. Students will participate in discussions, of course, and write both short and longer papers involving further research into sources of answers and, perhaps, of wisdom.

Required texts

To be announced.

Instructor Peg Downes

Director of the Master of Liberal Arts Program
Professor of Literature

B.A., LeMoyne College
M.A., Southern Illinois University
Ph.D., Florida State University


ENG 520.001 – Creative Writing: Three Genres

Instructor: Holly Iglesias, Ph.D.
3 graduate credit hours
CRN 10133
Tuesdays, 6:00 - 8:30 p.m.
102 Carmichael Hall, UNC Asheville

In this course, we will study the craft and explore the tradition and contemporary models of three literary genres – creative nonfiction, poetry and drama. In addition, students will develop their own writing skills in a workshop setting, moving through a series of drafts to the final revision of their own work (essays, poems, scenes and dramatic monologues) and hone the analytical skills that inform literary criticism. Because good readers (of both raw and polished work) make good writers, students will develop an understanding of the skills and vocabulary of literary analysis and critique.

With the goal of creating significant work in each genre, they will write a group of poems (formal and free verse), a work of creative nonfiction and a short play or dramatic monologue. In addition, they will perform in-class writing exercises and compose an in-depth reflection on their development as a writer during the semester. Students will experience the vital processes of draft and revision, peer review of works-in-progress and literary critique of exemplary texts.

Required texts:

  • Stephen Minot, "Three Genres" (Pearson/Prentice Hall, 2007)
  • Dinty W.Moore, "The Truth of the Matter" (Pearson/Longman, 2007)

Instructor Holly Iglesias

Core MLAS Faculty
Instructor in  Literature, Humanities and Arts & Ideas

M.A., University of Miami
Ph.D., Florida State University


    ENG 520.002 – Advanced Creative Prose Workshop

    Instructor: Tommy Hays, M.F.A.
    3 graduate credit hours
    CRN 10134
    Tuesdays, 6:00 - 8:30 p.m.
    119 New Hall, UNC Asheville

    This is a small workshop that will be limited to only eight students, who are interested in devoting the semester to their own writing. Ideally students will have already taken a creative writing class in the MLAS, but I will consider others who have extensive writing experience. Some students may have an ongoing project in mind, such as a collection of stories, a novel or a memoir. Others may simply be interested in writing more rigorously, and we can plan your pieces as you go. However, unlike my other workshops, I will limit workshop submissions and outside reading of other texts, so that each student will have time to devote to their own work. Also there will be no writing assignments outside of their own work. I will meet with each student as much as he or she needs me to in responding to and guiding their work.

    Anyone interested in taking this class should contact Tommy Hays at for permission. Limit eight students.

    Required texts

    • Francine Prose, "Reading like a Writer"
    • "The Best American Short Stories of 2010" edited by Richard Russo

    Instructor Tommy Hays

    Core MLAS Faculty
    Director of the Great Smokies Writing Program

    B.A., Furman University
    M.F.A., Warren Wilson College


      ENG 520.003 – Literary Classics of the 21st Century

      Instructor: Sam Schuman, Ph.D.
      3 graduate credit hours
      CRN 10136
      Thursdays, 6:00 - 8:30 p.m.
      127 Karpen Hall, UNC Asheville

      In this course, we will look at several books written in English since the turn of the twenty-first century. Some were enormously popular; some are by well-known authors; some are obscure; some are tragic and others comic. The choice of texts is rather idiosyncratic: these are all books I enjoyed reading!

      We will seek to ask, and perhaps even partially, answer the questions: “What makes a work of fiction last? Why does one book become a classic, and another disappear after a few years? What, exactly, IS a classic? Which, if any, of these works might still be being read in 2109?"

      Required texts

      • Yann Martel, "Life of Pi"
      • Kent Meyers, "The Work of Wolves"
      • Louise Erdrich, "The Plague of Doves"
      • Arthur Phillips, "The Egyptologist"
      • Khaled Hosseini, "The Kite Runner"
      • Junot Diaz, "The Brief, Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao"
      • Marilyn Robinson, "Gilead"
      • Elizabeth Kostovo, "The Swan Thieves"
      • Salmon Rushdie, "The Enchantress of Florence"
      • John Irving, "Last Night at Twisted River"
      • Michael Chabon, "Gentlemen of the Road"

      Instructor Sam Schuman


      MLAS 520.001 - Origins of the Romantic Movement

      Instructor: Daniel Weiser, Ph.D.
      3 graduate credit hours
      CRN 10137
      Wednesdays, 6:00 - 8:30 p.m.
      102A Reuter Center, UNC Asheville

      This interdisciplinary course will explore the roots and development of the Romantic movement as it took hold in the first half of the nineteenth century. Beginning with the French Revolution, we will survey the seismic shift that affected all of the cultural movements throughout Europe, producing a revolution in literature, music and painting that was decidedly more self-expressive, passionate and dynamic. Using the two great composers, Frederic Chopin and Robert Schumann as focal points, the course will also delve into the writers and painters who traveled in the same circles as the composers and who shared their new Romantic style. Dr. Weiser, a renowned pianist and cultural historian who has taught at Dartmouth College, will perform much of Chopin and Schumann's piano music during class and will also present live chamber music and vocal performances using musicians from the Asheville Symphony and Lyric Opera. No prior musical studies are required, only a healthy interest in probing and understanding the multi-layered interrelationships between the arts.

      Required Texts

      Students should be able to find used copies of each of these texts through UNC Asheville's Bookstore and/or popular online used book sellers.  Total cost, if each purchased used, should be around $100.

      • Breckmam, Warren. "European Romanticism: A Brief History with Documents." Bedford/St. Martin's Press, 2008. ISBN-13:978-312-45023-6 and ISBN-10: 0-312-45023-0
      • Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von. "The Sorrows of Young Werther." Penguin Classics. ISBN: 0-14-044503-x
      • Wolf, Norbert. "Romanticism." Germany: Taschen Press, 2007. ISBN: 978-3-8228-5310-8
      • Appelbaum, Stanley, ed. " English Romantic Poetry: An Anthology." Dover Thrift Editions. ISBN-13:978-0-486-29282-3 and ISBN-10:0-486-29282-7
      • Eisler, Benita. "Chopin's Funeral." Vintage Books, 2003. ISBN: 0-375-70868-5 and ISBN 978-0-375-70868-8
      • Reich, Susanna. "Clara Schumann: Piano Virtuoso." Clarion Books, 1999. ISBN: 0-618-55160-3
      • Fiero, Gloria. "The Humanistic Tradition, Book 5: Romanticism, Realism and the 19th Century World." McGraw-Hill. ISBN-13:978-0-07-291020-9 and ISBN-10:0-07-291020-8
      • Hoffmann, E.T.A. "The Nutcracker and the Golden Pot." Dover Thrift Editions. ISBN 0-486-27806-9
      • Appelbaum, Stanley, ed. and transl. "Great German Poems of the Romantic Era." Dover, 1995. ISBN-13:978-0-486-28497-2 and ISBN-10:0-486-28497-2
      • Landis, J.D. "Longing." NYC: Ballantine Books, 2000. ISBN 0-345-44721-2

      Instructor Dan Weiser

      Spring 2011 MLAS Instructor

      B.A., Columbia University
      M.A., Peabody Conservatory, Johns Hopkins University
      Ph.D., Peabody Conservatory, Johns Hopkins University

          MLAS 540.001 – The United States & China

          Instructor: Jim Lenburg, Ph.D.
          3 graduate credit hours
          CRN 10138
          Mondays, 6:00 - 8:30 p.m.
          102 Carmichael Hall, UNC Asheville

          China and the U.S. first made contact in 1783 when an American merchant ship docked at the port of Canton. Since that time relations between the two nations have varied dramatically. While the Chinese came to view the U.S. as just another of the western imperialist powers, the Americans came to view China as a rich market for U.S. merchants, missionaries and middle-class American values. In the 60 plus years since the founding of the Peoples Republic of China, U.S./Chinese relations have varied from outright fear and hostility characterized by the Korean War, to allies in efforts to contain the expansion of the power of the Soviet Union and to potential partners/rivals in an increasingly globalized world. This course will examine the history of the relationship from the perspective of multiple disciplines as well as both a Chinese and American point of view.

          Required texts

          All are paperback editions.

          • Warren I Cohen, "America's Response to China," 4th edition
          • Jonathon Spence, "To Change China: Western Advisers in China"
          • Rakush and Lee, "Land Without Ghosts: Chinese Impression of America"
          • James Kynge, "China Shakes the World: Challenge for America"
          • Chen Jian, "Mao's China and the Cold War"

          Students will also read scholarly articles and primary resources found on the web.
          Students will also view films and watch the opera, "Nixon in China."

            Instructor Jim Lenburg

            Spring 2011 MLAS Instructor


            MLAS 540.EZ1 – Cultivating the Creative Workplace

            Instructor: Fran Ghee Ross, Ph.D.
            3 graduate credit hours
            CRN 11159
            Wednesdays, 6:00 - 8:30 p.m.
            Taught at Asheville Middle School (Distance Education course)

            How can we offer conditions under which creativity in the workplace might thrive? We'll study the arts, the creative process, psychology, philosophy and management in search of answers.

            This course is designed to expand your awareness of, and fluency in, the creative process, as well as its potential value in transforming mainstream workplace culture. A major assumption is that artistic, ecological thinking precedes organizational change. Another is that ours is an arts-deprived culture. A third: A paradigm based on art and metaphor could help loosen common individual and institutional constrictions.

            This course will lead you into unfamiliar and familiar parts of yourself. It will involve taking creative risks in a supportive environment. You are encouraged to bring your workplace experiences to class and to imagine and model alternatives. Whether you're a manager, an administrative assistant, a teacher, a field rep, a dentist or an independent contractor, you'll be able to adapt and apply what you learn to the realities of your world.

            Required texts

            These books are available at the UNC Asheville Bookstore, as well as online, from vendors such as,,, etc. A copy of each book is also on reserve at the library.

            • Barron, Frank, A.Montuori, & A. Barron (1997). "Creators on creating: Awakening and cultivating the imaginative mind." NY: Tarcher. ISBN 0-87477-854-9
            • MacKenzie, Gordon (1998). "Orbiting the giant hairball: A Corporate fool’s guide to surviving with grace." NY: Viking. ISBN 0-670-87983-5
            • McNiff, Shaun (2003). "Creating with others: The Practice of imagination in life, art & the workplace." Boston: Shambhala. ISBN 1-57062-966-8
            • Wheatley, Margaret J., 2nd Edition (2006). "Leadership and the new science: Learning about organization from an orderly universe." SF: Berrett-Koehler. ISBN 1-57675-119-8
            • Whyte, David (2002). "The heart aroused: Poetry and the preservation of soul in corporate America." NY: Currency (Doubleday). ISBN 0-385-48418-6

            Texts will be supplemented by several brief videos to be shown in class.

            Instructor Fran Ross

            Spring 2011 MLAS Instructor

            B.A., Queens College (City University of New York)
            M.A., Goddard College
            M.S., Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
            Ph.D., European Graduate School, Leuk, Switzerland


            MLAS 560.001 - Neuropsychology & Savantism

            Instructor: Michael Neelon, Ph.D.
            3 graduate credit hours
            CRN 10139
            Wednesdays, 6:00 - 8:30 p.m.
            208 Carmichael Hall, UNC Asheville

            This course is an introduction to the field of Neuropsychology, the study of the relation between human brain function and behavior. In particular, these brain-behavior links are established based on the deficits that arise when particular brain areas are damaged. We will read case studies of individuals suffering from brain injury or illness in order to “peak behind the curtain” of consciousness and see how the human brain produces thought and perception. We will also explore how the brain adapts to such insults, even to the point of producing unusual surfeits of ability, a condition known as “savantism.” As part of these topics, basic principles of brain anatomy and function will also be covered.

            Required texts

            • A. R. Luria, "The Man with a Shattered World"
            • A. R. Luria, "The Mind of a Mnemonist"
            • V. S. Ramachandran, "Phantoms in the Brain"
            • Oliver Sacks, "The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat"
            • Darold A Treffert, "Extraordinary People: Understanding Savant Syndrome"

            Instructor Michael Neelon

            Assistant Professor of Psychology
            Spring 2011 MLAS Instructor

            B.A., Pomona College (Linguistics)
            M.A., University of Wisconsin, Madison (Experimental Psychology)
            Ph.D., University of Wisconsin, Madison (Experimental Psychology)


            MLAS 560.002 – Astronomy & Cosmology

            Instructor: Randy Booker, Ph.D.
            3 graduate credit hours
            CRN 10140
            Tuesdays, 6:00 - 8:30 p.m.
            127 Karpen Hall, UNC Asheville

            This course will explore the historical, cultural, philosophical and scientific sides of the development of astronomy and cosmology. The course will span a wide period from ancient astronomy through the present. One goal of the course is to understand how science progresses. The course will show the impact that advances in the other sciences (such as biology, geology, physics and chemistry) have had on our understanding of the universe. The course will emphasize how the type of astronomy we practice, our understanding of both the universe and our position in it are a product of the type of society we live in and of social change. We will study the relationship that exists between society and science, and between society and individual scientists. We will examine the contributions of astronomy not only to scientific understanding but to society and culture as well. This course does NOT require a science or math background.

            The course format will be primarily class discussions concerning topics raised in the readings. There will also be several video presentations as well as mini-lectures from time to time.

            Required Texts

            • Bertolt Brecht, "Galileo," a play.
            • Timothy Ferris, "Coming of Age in the Milky Way," 1988.
            • Stephen Hawking, "The Universe in a Nutshell," 2001.
            • Edward Harrison, "Masks of the Universe" (2nd edition), 2003.
            • Timothy Ferris, "The Science of Liberty," 2010.
            • Timothy Ferris, "The Whole Shebang," 1997.
            • Brian Greene, "The Elegant Universe,"1999.

            Instructor Randy Booker

            Professor of Physics
            Chair of the Graduate Council
            Spring 2011 MLAS Instructor

            Ph.D., Duke University


            MLAS 560.003 – Tools for Climate Change Information and Decision–Making

            Instructor: Todd Pierce, Ph.D.
            3 graduate credit hours
            CRN 10141
            Wednesdays, 6:00 - 8:30 p.m.
            133 Carmichael Hall, UNC Asheville

            Survey of climate observational datasets and the tools that are used to visualize and analyze them. Includes working with climate data and climate model output; using graphing packages and geographic information systems (GIS) for climate change decision-making; and exploring simulation and group facilitation tools for decision making and analysis of climate change impacts. Prerequisite: familiarity with Windows computers and Microsoft Office tools.

            **A one-credit support course, MLAS 571.001, will be offered in conjunction with this course. All students who do not meet the technology prerequisites (listed below) for MLAS 560.003 are strongly encouraged to register for this one-credit support course by e-mailing Todd Pierce at**

            Prerequisites for MLAS 560.003/topics to be covered in MLAS 571.001

            • basic MS Windows and MS Office skills
            • data file formats and conversion techniques
            • understanding relational databases vs spreadsheets
            • cartographic methods and techniques
            • sharing data online - HTML, XML, KML, and other formats

            Required Texts

            • Stephen Few, "Now You See It: Simple Visualization Techniques for Quantititative Analysis"
            • Paul Bostad, "GIS Fundamentals," 3rd edition
            • US Global Change Research Program, "Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States"
            • One more textbook on decision making, to be determined.

            Supplemental Reading

            • Colin Ware, "Visual Thinking for Design"
            • Helen Wright, "Introduction to Scientific Visualization"
            • Mark Monmonier, "How to Lie With Maps"
            • Edward Tufte, "The Visual Display of Quantitative Information"
            • NRC, "America's Climate Choices"

            Instructor Todd Pierce

            NEMAC Senior Research Scientist
            Spring 2011 MLAS Instructor

            B.S., Tulane University
            Ph.D., University of Oxford, U.K.


            MLAS 560.004 – The Case for Vegetarianism

            Instructor: Kitti Reynolds, Ph.D.
            3 graduate credit hours
            CRN 11172
            Thursdays, 6:00 - 8:30 p.m.
            228 Rhoades/Robinson Hall, UNC Asheville

            This course explores various reasons for eating little or no meat, including aspects of human health, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and ethical treatment of animals. The format will combine group discussions, student presentations, lectures and videos. Readings will include "Eating Animals" by Jonathan Foer.

            Required texts

            To be announced.

            Instructor Kitti Reynolds

            Assoc. Professor of Environmental Studies
            Spring 2011 MLAS Instructor

            B.A. Earlham College
            M.S. University of Georgia
            Ph.D. University of Georgia


            MLAS 560.005 - The Interpretation of Dreams

            Instructor: Steve Wilkerson, Ph.D.
            3 graduate credit hours
            CRN 11259
            Mondays, 6:00 - 8:30 p.m.
            231 Carmichael Hall, UNC Asheville

            Depth psychology is unanimous in affirming the value of dreams as a rich source of significant information from the unconscious. The tools and techniques for dream interpretation are, however, often mysterious or unfamiliar or altogether forgotten. This seminar will acquaint students with the most influential theories about the meanings of dreams, including those of Freud and Jung. Particular attention will focus on the important role dream groups can play in understanding dreams. The course is designed to encourage students to become familiar with dream material and to guide them in the symbolic understanding of the dream's images, allowing them access to its meaning on a variety of levels. The ultimate objective is a better understanding of unconscious psychological processes and, therefore, of what it truly means to be human.

            Required texts

            • Freud, Sigmund. The Interpretation of Dreams. ISBN--0465019773.
            • Jung, C. G. Memories, Dreams, Reflections. 0679723951.
            • Sanford, John A. Dreams and Healing: A Succinct and Lively Interpretation of Dreams. 0809121298.
            • Stevens, Anthony. Private Myths: Dreams and Dreaming. 0674216393.
            • Taylor, Jeremy. Dream Work: Techniques for Discovering the Creative Power in Dreams. 0809125250.

            Instructor Steve Wilkerson

            Spring 2011 MLAS Instructor

            M.D., Duke University
            Ph.D., Duke University
            Ph.D., Pacifica Graduate Institute

            MLAS 572.001 – Directed Readings: Approaches to Research

            Instructor: Holly Iglesias, Ph.D.
            2 graduate credit hours
            CRN 10142

            Wednesdays & Thursdays, 5:00 - 5:50 p.m. for group meetings only, see course description for more information

            102 Carmichael Hall, UNC Asheville

            Prerequisite: Successful completion of 9 hours in the MLAS Program

            This two-hour course provides direction and focus in research for students who have completed introductory coursework. It is individualized by topic and methodology, providing each student support in following a course of directed reading in order to narrow an interdisciplinary theme into a focused thesis. The process is a literature review (an essential initial step in refining a research topic) and the final product is a concise, well-written annotated bibliography that describes and evaluates recent in-depth scholarship on the topic and its context. The course will prove useful for students who are preparing to create a variety of final projects, including a research-based thesis, a community project or a creative writing manuscript.

            Each student will meet with the instructor regularly throughout the semester and the class will meet as a group several times. Directed reading and the creation of an annotated bibliography requires discipline, discernment and independence; clear, organized and focused writing; and good time management skills.

            Required texts

            • Will be determined for each student after consultation with the Instructor.

            Instructor Holly Iglesias

            Core MLAS Faculty
            Instructor in  Literature, Humanities and Arts & Ideas

            M.A., University of Miami
            Ph.D., Florida State University



            MLAS 573.EZ1 - Getting Grants: Basic Skills and Strategies

            Instructor: Gerard Voos, Ph.D.
            3 graduate credit hours
            CRN 11151
            Thursdays, 6:00 - 8:30 p.m.
            Taught at the Asheville Municipal Building, 100 Court Plaza (Distance Education course)

            This course was developed in response to numerous student requests for applied knowledge and practice in the identification and securing of grant funding. Throughout this program, we will explore the grants world, the high level of competition that exists and the need to succinctly and explicitly present one’s concepts. Through hands-on skills practice and discussions of strategy, the class will develop project ideas from needs statements and letters-of-intent through submission of the final proposal. Students will work singularly and in groups to replicate the roles and responsibilities inherent in creating a project team and writing a winning proposal.

            Required texts

            To be announced.

            Instructor Gerard Voos

            MLAS Core Faculty
            Director of the Office of Sponsored Scholarship and Programs

            B.S., University of Kentucky
            M.S., Colorado State University
            Ph.D., University of Rhode Island


            MLAS 670.001 – Prospectus/Scholarly Inquiry Seminar

            Instructor: Dee James, Ph.D.
            3 graduate credit hours
            CRN 10143
            Thursdays, 6:00 - 8:30 p.m.
            232 Karpen Hall, UNC Asheville
            Prerequisite: Successful completion of 21 hours in the MLAS Program and a 3.0 minimum cumulative GPA.

            This seminar provides a forum for students to develop their individual scholarly interests into a capstone MLAS project. Includes survey of techniques of inquiry in the arts, humanities, social sciences and natural sciences, as well as practical issues from finding a topic, to final presentation and defense. Students will define a topic for the project seminar and begin preliminary research. Project proposals must be approved by the project advisor, the project seminar instructor and the Program Director. (Grading S/U).

            Required texts

            To be announced.

            Instructor Dee James

            Professor of Literature
            Director of the Writing Program

            B.A., UNC Asheville
            M.A., Clemson University
            Ph.D., University of South Carolina


            Please call the MLAS Program Office with any questions regarding this schedule of courses: 828.250.2399.