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University Gazette

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Creating meaningful lives

The College of Arts & Sciences at Carolina is the only school that is, in fact, as old as the University itself. More than 75 percent of the students who graduate from Carolina will do so with at least one major in the College. It is also the academic home of 25 percent of Carolina’s graduate students. In this Q&A, Dean Kevin Guskiewicz shares his vision for the college.



How is the College changing to meet the challenges of the 21st century?

We are emphasizing experiential learning. That means hands-on learning, learning outside the traditional classroom walls. It includes study abroad. It includes for-credit internships. It includes research-intensive courses and service learning opportunities. Experiential learning reinforces lessons learned in the classroom and provides students with real world experiences and the opportunities to apply what they’ve learned.

What is the College’s role in the University’s research enterprise?

We’re Carolina’s third-largest research enterprise. Our faculty brought in more than $113 million in research funding last year alone. And both our graduate students and undergraduate students are making significant contributions to this research.

What is the mission of the College?

Our new mission statement was meant to be bold and memorable and short enough to put on a T-shirt. It is “Think, communicate, collaborate, create for meaningful lives.” That’s what I believe a Carolina education will prepare you to do and the kind of outcome it will provide—a life of meaning and fulfillment. It applies to our faculty as well as our students. And yes, we do have T-shirts with our mission statement printed on them. 

How are you changing the College’s approach to teaching?

We are striving to remove the traditional academic silos to unleash new thinking and new interdisciplinary opportunities. That’s what our tagline, “synergy unleashed,” conveys. I’m trying to create more courses that are co-taught by faculty in different fields, so that students have this broad exposure to understand how seemingly unrelated disciplines share similarities and can inform one another. I’m trying to create more opportunities for interdisciplinary research and trying to provide our students an opportunity for a global education in an increasingly interconnected world. I’m trying to prepare them for careers that haven’t even yet been invented. 

What is your hope for the College’s students and faculty?

I hope that students will be inspired to embody the College’s mission and an appreciation for what it means to be attending what I believe is the greatest global public research university in the nation. I hope that they will absorb that dedication to public service that is in the DNA of Carolina, the first and the most public of the public universities. I want the same goal for our faculty. We are all about making contributions to make our state, the nation and the world a better place.