If this education is to be used well,
it is obvious that it must be used some where;
it must be used where one lives,
where one intends to continue to live;
it must be brought home.

Wendell Berry, 1987, Home Economics, p. 52

The Collaborative for Southern Appalachian Studies is an inter- and intra-institutional effort supported by generous funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.


Vision Statement 

A vibrant and sustained academic program focused on southern Appalachia, collaborative and interdisciplinary in nature, serving as a model for education in which understanding of place drives an agenda of teaching, research, and community engaged learning.


Mission Statement

The Collaborative for Southern Appalachian Studies supports the development of academic courses and research projects on the region, and the application of these endeavors to community benefit.  Priority is given to interdisciplinary collaboration among faculty, staff, and students within the University of the South, with Yale University colleagues, and with community members and organizations in southern Appalachia.


Core Values  

  • Higher education has the power and imperative to develop inclinations and skills for informed, responsible, and effective citizenship and leadership, and knowledge to guide these perspectives and efforts.
  • Place and connections to place are central to the human experience and should therefore be a priority for education.
  • Understanding is richer when general principles and theories are examined against and connect with particular place-based realities.
  • Humanistic, collaborative, and interdisciplinary inquiry is crucial to understanding and effectively addressing the social, ethical, and scientific challenges and opportunities of our times.


Key Goals

  • We will foster scholarship about southern Appalachia that is humanistically driven, brings together a variety of methods of inquiry, and marries theory with application.
  • We will prioritize teaching and inquiry that is co-created by faculty, students, staff, and community members and that informs public discourse, continually striving to reach the widest possible public.
  • We will equip students of southern Appalachian studies with the skills and inclinations that allow them to understand deeply and engage effectively with any place, in whatever occupation or vocation and as members of their community.
  • We will advance a different way of thinking about liberal arts pedagogy and the ultimate goals of education—not only what it means to learn at a university but what it means to be an effective and engaged citizen.
  • We will create a substantive and sustainable partnership that brings together the resources of a selective liberal arts institution in rural, southern Appalachia (Sewanee) and a prestigious research-intensive institution in urban New England (Yale).
  • We will support southern Appalachian communities—particularly local ones—in their efforts and visions in ways aligned with our educational and institutional mission.
  • We will develop this program in concert with the common intellectual goals of the University, and in collaborative synergy with intersecting programs and efforts both at Sewanee and Yale and beyond.