Appalachian Studies (minor)

When you think about the Appalachian Mountains, does an image come to mind? Perhaps misty, blue mountains, or lush green forests, or maybe even rushing waterfalls. All of these beautiful features are hallmarks of the Appalachian Mountain range, but the Appalachian region is so much more than scenic vistas and picturesque mountain views. This is a land steeped in rich culture and history, containing unique strengths and challenges. With the Appalachian Studies minor, professors from fields as diverse as history, sociology, biology, literature, religion, and art provide
meaningful insight into what sets this distinctive region apart. If you plan to live or work in Appalachia, this minor will help you understand and address the needs of the local individuals and communities. 

The annual Appalachian Heritage Week celebration introduces students to traditional music, handicrafts, business, and cuisine.

Located on campus, the Stephenson Center for Appalachia hosts presentations and events featuring regional leaders, artists, authors, and other influential figures. 
The Appalachian Mountains and region are named for the Appalachee, an indigenous tribe who lived in the Florida Panhandle.

What You'll Study

You’ll work side-by-side with professors to examine Appalachia through a multidisciplinary lens. 

The minor consists of 18 credit hours, and you can choose from a variety of courses that fit your interests. All students are required to take both the History of the Southern Appalachian Region and Appalachian Literature courses. For the minor’s electives, you can explore options like Appalachian Women, Appalachian Photography, Rock Climbing, Mountain Biking, and Clogging. The only limitation is that no more than eight credit hours can be taken from any one academic discipline. 

Students can also take a three credit hour internship in the Appalachian region, which will involve you in the community before graduation. No matter what your personal interests are within the minor, make sure you check out the programming offered by the Stephenson Center for Appalachia. The center hosts several workshops and speakers throughout the year so students, faculty, staff, and community members can meet and learn from High Country business owners, artists, leaders, and more.

After Graduation

No matter your major, the Appalachian Studies minor can complement any degree, especially for those students looking to pursue a career in Appalachia. From elementary education and criminal justice to careers in outdoor recreation, a minor in Appalachian Studies will provide you with the specific knowledge needed to serve the people in the area. 

Appalachian Heritage Week ushers in spring at Lees-McRae

The Lees-McRae community got outside and gave back during the 2021 Appalachian Heritage Week.

The college tradition, which was held virtually in 2020, gives everyone on campus the opportunity to engage with the history and culture of the area. Students and employees interact with local artists and business owners, eat classic Appalachian fare in the dining hall, and perform volunteer work for different organizations.

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Meet the Faculty

Kathy Olson, MFA 
Instructor of Rhetoric

Scott Huffard, PhD
Assistant Professor and Program Coordinator of History

Robert Turpin, PhD
Assistant Professor of History

Katie Wall, EdD
Assistant Professor of Outdoor Recreation Management, Director of the BB&T Leadership Initiative

Melissa Ball-Martin
Program Coordinator of Communication Arts and Design, Associate Professor of Communication Arts and Design

Michael Iauch
Assistant Professor of Communication Arts and Design

Ready to take the next step?

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