Darin J. Waters, Ph.D.




African Americans in WNC and Southern Appalachia Conference

UNC Asheville's African Americans in WNC and Southern Appalachia Conference began in 2014, under the leadership of Dr. Waters. The multi-day conference offers scholars and the community an opportunity to meet and discuss issues related to the African American experience in the region. The focus is original scholarship that sheds new light on African Americans in Southern Appalachia. Asheville has a long history as a regional center for African Americans - its vibrant culture and diverse communities serves as a model for the conference, which addresses issues of both past and current significance. 


Slave Deeds of Buncombe County

Thanks to a partnership between the Register of Deeds office and the Center for Diversity Education at UNC Asheville, in 2013 Buncombe County became the first county in the country to digitize its original slave records. In Forever Free, a documentary about the project, Dr. Waters says this effort shows "that another group of people existed — and contributed to the building of this state, this county, this city....It was the government that allowed slavery to exist from the very beginning, and so I think it’s important for government agencies to be in the forefront of acknowledging the past, which was essentially a crime against humanity.” 


Office of community engagement

In his role as the Executive Director of the UNC Asheville Office of Community Engagement, Dr. 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.

The Office of Community Engagement includes the Center for Diversity Education, Leadership Asheville, and the Family Business Forum.