UNC Asheville’s Campus Buildings and Spaces Review Working Group has been assembled to study ways to ensure that our campus is a welcoming place for all and to eliminate names on spaces and buildings that do not align with the values of UNC Asheville.
It is expected that this Working Group will consider building names that should be reviewed, changed or renamed on our campus and will provide short and long term recommendations for Trustee review. This group is comprised of students, faculty, staff, and alumni.
Dr. Lyndi Hewitt (Co-Chair of the Working Group)
Lyndi Hewitt is director of UNC Asheville’s Center for Teaching and Learning, and associate professor of sociology. She has won the University’s Community Connector Award for her use of academic engagement to address community problems. She has held the Sara and Joseph Breman Distinguished Professorship in Social Relations, and is former chair of the Department of Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies.
She has taught courses on research methodology and methods, social movements, human rights, globalization and development, health and illness, and gender. Her primary research interests are situated at the nexus of social movements, global inequalities, and intersectional approaches to feminist theory and practice. She was selected to serve as a delegate of Sociologists for Women in Society to the United Nations Economic and Social Council.
Dr. Darin Waters, (Co- Chair of the Working Group)
Darin J. Waters is the executive director of the Office of Community Engagement, and an associate professor of history at UNC Asheville. He is a member of the North Carolina Historical Commission, the N.C. Arboretum Board of Directors, and the Advisory Commission on Portraits, regarding portraits hanging in the N.C. Supreme Court. Additionally, Waters was appointed as a William J. Friday Fellow by the Wildacres Leadership Initiative.
In 2014, Waters founded UNC Asheville’s annual African Americans in Western North Carolina and Southern Appalachia Conference, and in 2018, he was given the Old North State Award by Governor Roy Cooper in recognition for his contributions to preserving and sharing the state’s African American history. Waters also is the producer and co-host of the Waters and Harvey Show on Blue Ridge Public Radio.
As a professor, Waters has taught courses in American history, North Carolina history, Appalachian history, African American and Brazilian history. He also specializes in the history of race relations in both the United States and Latin America. In his role as the Executive Director of the Office of Community Engagement, Waters works closely with campus and community leaders, representing an array of community-based organizations, to strengthen and build new partnerships for and with the university.
Dr. Agya Boakye-Boaten
Agya Boakye-Boaten is chair and associate professor of Africana and interdisciplinary and international studies at UNC Asheville. A native of Ghana, Boakye-Boaten in 2017 was awarded a Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship to a Ghanaian University, the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration to develop their general education curriculum. He is also the program director of UNC Asheville’s “Discover Ghana” faculty-led study abroad program. He was awarded a 2019-20 Fulbright U.S. Scholar grant to teach and conduct research in Ghana at the University of Cape Coast. He also is the founding editor and editor in chief of Moja: Interdisciplinary Journal of Africana Studies.
Dr. Juan Sánchez Martinez
Juan Sánchez Martinez is originally from the Andes (Bogotá, Colombia). His interest in indigenous cultural expressions and ancestral epistemologies introduces into the classroom ways to approach culture and nature, challenging traditional theories about language, genres, and periods, as well as colonial concepts such as nation, race, and progress. From both his involvement in solidarity networks and his research into the works of contemporary indigenous writers, Sánchez Martinez has built a trans-indigenous corpus, highlighting the tensions between indigenous literary nationalisms, migrant experiences, and expectations on indigeneity. He is a founding editor of Siwar Mayu (“River of Hummingbirds”) a multiligual online journal devoted to contemporary indigenous writers and artists.
Dr. Jinhua Li
Jinhua Li is assistant professor of Chinese studies and language and international/interdisciplinary studies at UNC Asheville. She teaches courses in Chinese language and studies, Chinese and East Asian films, and Chinese and East Asian literature. Her research interests include comparative cinema studies, Chinese language cinema, transnational cultural studies, and gender politics.
Dr. Daniel Pierce
Dan Pierce is a professor of history at UNC Asheville, and in 2018, was given the WNC Historical Association’s Outstanding Achievement Award for his contributions to the preservation of local history. He has been the University’s National Endowment for the Humanities Distinguished Professor. He teaches classes in Appalachian and Southern history, the Civil War, writing and history, and environmental history. The author of many books, Pierce’s work focuses on the history of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Southern Appalachian history, the history of moonshining, and NASCAR history. He is currently engaged as part of a team of community members working to create a monument in Old Fort, N.C., to the convict laborers, many of whom died due to harsh conditions, whose forced labor extended the railroad into the mountains of Western North Carolina.
Clifton Bush, Women’s Soccer Coach
Clifton Bush began his second season as the head coach of the UNC Asheville women’s soccer program in the fall of 2020. Having studied management and organizational leadership and young adult development, Bush brings a unique educational foundation and approach to the women’s soccer program. He also spent six years as a police detective in Caldwell, Idaho.
Andrea Martinez currently serves as the associate director of pre-college outreach in the Office of Admission at UNC Asheville. She is responsible for the administration of UNC Asheville’s GEAR UP college access grant, which serves 11 school districts in WNC, in conjunction with Appalachian State University, to promote college readiness, awareness, and post-secondary degree attainment. Additionally, Martinez supervises the coordination of the Junior Bulldog Program, the University’s signature college readiness program for engaging middle school students, and the ¡Vamos! Program, a college access & high school dropout prevention program for Latinx youth.
Luke Givens is the director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs and Intercultural Center at UNC Asheville. He leads, executes, and assesses University-wide diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. Givens manages and provides oversight for the Office of Multicultural Affairs, Intercultural Center, and Diversity Action Council including operation, implementation and evaluation of identity-based Living-Learning Communities, affinity-based mentoring programs, and culturally based heritage month programming. He also serves as administrator of the Bias Incident Response Team, the campus-wide taskforce charged with addressing and responding to incidents of bias and harassment in the community.
Isaiah Green is president of the UNC System Association of Student Governments, and as part of that role, serves ex-officio as the student member (nonvoting) of the UNC System Board of Governors, and is one of the 13 members of the UNC System’s new Racial Equity Task Force. A current student at UNC Asheville, class of 2022, Green served as president of UNC Asheville’s Student Government Association from 2019-20. He started his own business, Full Circle Nation LLC, at the age of 15, and is also active in the Asheville community, previously working with Hood Huggers International to help teach youth learn financial literacy skills and develop their own business plans, and through internships with Hatch AVL and the Dogwood Health Trust.
Brailey Sheridan is a current UNC Asheville student, class of 2020, and news editor of UNC Asheville’s student newspaper, the Blue Banner. She also serves as communications coordinator for UNC Asheville’s Prison Education Program.
Elina Morrison is a current UNC Asheville student, class of 2021, and is executive director of community outreach in UNC Asheville’s Student Government Association. She has also served as president of UNC Asheville’s student chapter of Amnesty International, and is co-editor of Dignity: An Undergraduate Human Rights Journal, founded in 2020 at UNC Asheville.
Kenya Smith Edwards
Kenya Smith Edwards ’00 is chair of UNC Asheville’s Alumni Association Board of Directors. She graduated from UNC Asheville with a degree and marketing and management, and then went on to earn a master’s degree in business administration from Strayer University. Currently, she runs her own business, Smith Edwards Group, LLC. where she is a marketing consultant, and is a realtor with Palmer House Properties.
Lakesha McDay ’08 is human resources manager for Dogwood Health Trust, a private foundation focused on improving the social determinants of health and wellness in Western North Carolina. She graduated from UNC Asheville with a degree in interdisciplinary studies and management. She is a graduate of Leadership Asheville, and a certified diversity professional by the Society for Diversity.
Serving in an advisory capacity:
Dr. Dwight Mullen
Dwight Mullen is professor emeritus of political science at UNC Asheville, where he taught for more than 30 years. A 2014 recipient of the UNC Board of Governors Excellence in Teaching Award, he has participated in reading groups at the Burton Street Recreation Center, involved students in his research for the annual “State of Black Asheville” conference, commented on radio and written opinion pieces in area newspapers, volunteered in public schools, and served on numerous local boards. Mullen also has served as a Fulbright Senior Scholar in Malawi, and he is a specialist in American politics and African-American political thought.
Dr. Bill Haggard
Bill Haggard is vice chancellor for student affairs at UNC Asheville. Haggard leads the Student Affairs division, which includes Dean of Students, Residential Education, Citizenship Education, Highsmith Student Union, Housing and Dining Services, the Student Health and Counseling Center, Campus Recreation, Student Crisis Management, Multicultural Affairs, Transition and Parent Programs, International Student Services, and Public Safety. Haggard is a frequent presenter at national and regional conferences and a guest lecturer on topics related to student conduct administration, sexual assault prevention and response, and crisis management. He is active in civic life and has served on a number of boards, including the Administrative Board of the Haywood Street Congregation, a homeless ministry in Asheville, and the Rotary Club of Asheville Board.
Dr. Gene Hyde
Gene Hyde is head of Special Collections and university archivist at UNC Asheville’s Ramsey Library. He serves as editor of the Appalachian Curator newsletter.
Heather Parlier is vice chancellor for human resources, institutional equity, and general counsel at UNC Asheville. Prior to joining UNC Asheville in this role, she served as the vice provost for equal opportunity and affirmative action at Columbia University in the City of New York. She also formerly served as associate general counsel for the City University of New York system.