Department History

In the mid-1970s, Chancellor William Highsmith responded to requests from the community that the University of North Carolina Asheville provide a specific course of studies that would prepare students for positions in business and industry. Rather than establishing a business department, he had the wisdom and foresight to create a Department of Management. The term “business” has a very narrow focus, whereas the term Management applies to business, non-profit, government, health care, and other areas of human endeavor, as well as the more traditional areas. It includes studies in accounting, engineering, and marketing, and fits the liberal arts mission of the university as it satisfies the needs of the students and the community.

Its first graduates received a Bachelor of Science degree in May of 1976. Since that time, it has grown to become one of the largest department on campus. It offers two distinct Bachelors of Science (BS) degrees in Management and Accounting. In 1995, the Management Department officially became the Department of Management and Accountancy.

Management Program History

The initial management curriculum was strongly influenced by Dr. Lester Zerfoss, one of the premier management consultants in Western North Carolina. The first two concentrations offered were business administration and financial management. The first full-time chair of what was then the Management Department was Dr. Don Hart, a former President of St. Andrews College. The 1980s saw the department grow, adding highly qualified faculty. The efforts to truly liberalize our curriculum in concert with the overall university mission can be seen in the successes of our graduates. Executives in banking, consulting, public service, and marketing began their careers in the classrooms of Owen Hall.

Accounting Program History

In 1981 the department chair, Dr. Robert Williams, a former vice president of American Celanese, acknowledged the demand for an Accountancy program. Dr. Williams charged Linda Nelms with obtaining the permission to plan for this additional degree program. Two distinct areas of emphasis, Financial and Managerial Accounting, were created in order to provide more opportunities for the students to pursue specific interests. In the spring of 1983, the first student received a degree in Accountancy. The program has gained statewide recognition. Graduates have gone on to partnerships in CPA firms, leadership in nonprofits, and positions of responsibility in industry. One of our 1999 graduates placed third in the state of North Carolina on the May 1999 CPA examination.

We are deeply proud of and grateful for our Emeriti Faculty. Their decades of service have created tremendous impact for our students, colleagues, university, and Asheville community. UNC Asheville “grants emeritus status to those faculty members who retire from the University with faculty rank after at least ten years of service at UNC Asheville, upon approval by the Board of Trustees. Faculty members retired and emeriti possess such privileges as continued listing in the university catalog, standing invitations to march in all academic processions and to participate in other academic faculty events on the same basis as currently employed faculty, use of athletic and library facilities and faculty parking areas, and such other privileges as may be extended by the Board of Trustees” (Faculty Handbook

Emeriti Faculty

Don Lisnerski, Professor Emeritus of Management

Dr. Lisnerski joined UNC Asheville in 1982 and retired in 2010 after 28 years of service. During that time, he chaired the department for seven years and was past chair of numerous university committees and bodies, including Faculty Senate. Additionally, he spearheaded our former concentration in Healthcare Administration. In recognition for his generosity in sharing his talents with his department, the UNC Asheville and local communities, and with our State system, Dr. Lisnerski was recognized as one of two Feldman professors in 2007.


  • B.S., Business Administration and Management, SUNY Buffalo
  • M.S.P.H., Health Administration and Accident Research, UNC Chapel Hill
  • Dr.P.h., Health Administration, UNC Chapel Hill

Martha Marshall, Associate Professor Emeritus of Accounting

Professor Marshall joined the UNC Asheville faculty in 1981 and retired in 2003. She served as President of the NC Association of CPAs, President of the Asheville Chapter of NCACPA, President of the Asheville Chapter of the Institute of Management Accountants, and was a member of the AICPA Governing Council. She was a consultant for SCORE working with small businesses. Prior to joining UNC Asheville, she worked in public accounting and industry, as well as teaching at other universities. Her research and teaching areas of specialty included taxation, financial management, non-profit management, and small business operations.


  • B.S., Henderson State University
  • M.B.A., University of Arkansas
  • CPA

Betsy Mayes, Lecturer Emeritus of Accounting

Professor Mayes received Emeritus distinction in 2016. She joined UNC Asheville in 1986 and was a dedicated faculty member in accounting responsible for teaching and mentoring students in the area of tax. Not only did she earn a teaching award during her time on the faculty, but Professor Mayes was also heavily involved in department service as the liaison with our Advisory Board and with respect to engagement in the accounting community.


  • B.S., Business Administration, Western Carolina University
  • M.B.A., Western Carolina University
  • CPA and CMA

Claudel McKenzie, Professor Emeritus of Accounting

Professor McKenzie was the long-serving department chairperson who spearheaded our efforts to earn accreditation with AACSB International. She was also the founder and advisor to the UNC Asheville Accountancy Association, and published several articles, professional papers, and case studies that reflected course objectives. In 1991 she received the Distinguished Teaching Award. Then in 1998 she was awarded the Board of Governors Award for Teaching, and then the Ruth and Leon Feldman Professorship and Service for 2005-2006. Her research interests were business ethics, decision making and other related accounting areas.


  • B.S., Accounting, Mars Hill College
  • M.B.A., Western Carolina University
  • CPA and CMA

Linda Nelms, Professor Emeritus of Accounting

Professor Nelms received Emeritus distinction in 2016. She served on the faculty since 1978 and retired in 2014. As a Certified Public Accountant, a Certified Management Accountant, certified in Production and Inventory Management, Professor Nelms was an active teacher-scholar who believed firmly in theory application.  She was awarded the Ruth and Leon Feldman Professorship for Outstanding Service in 1998 and the University Service Council Award in 2003.  In addition to numerous university and department committees, Professor Nelms served as the Director of UNC Asheville’s Undergraduate Research Program and was a committed faculty mentor for numerous student research projects.


  • M.B.A., The University of North Carolina
  • B.A. in Literature, The University of North Carolina Asheville

Bob Yearout, Professor Emeritus of Management

Dr. Bob Yearout joined the faculty in 1975. On February 19, 2016 the UNC Asheville Board of Trustees voted unanimously to grant Professor Emeritus status to Dr. Yearout. He received numerous teaching, research, and service awards while at UNC Asheville. A committed public servant, Dr. Yearout was one of our most dedicated supporters of our undergraduate research program. He published one book and a significant number of articles in national and international peer reviewed journals in the areas of noise hazards, quality control, inventory control, engineering economics, and management pedagogy.


  • Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering from Kansas State University
  • M.S. in Industrial Engineering from Kansas State University
  • M.S. in Systems Management from the University of Southern California
  • B.S. in Civil Engineering from Virginia Military Institute

Mary Lynn Manns, Professor Emeritus of Management

Dr. Mary Lynn Manns joined the faculty in 1981. During her 39 years at UNC Asheville, she taught numerous courses in both the Computer Science and Management & Accountancy Departments. She served on a variety of committees, including Faculty Senate, and led the project-based internship program. Her work was recognized with teaching and service awards, in addition to the Feldman professor distinction and the Breman professorship. Her specialty was in Management Information Systems, but she was also passionate about helping students become leaders of change. She wrote two books, Fearless Change (2005) & More Fearless Change (2015), did frequent presentations throughout the world, and started the UNC Asheville “Ideas to Action” initiative. Dr. Manns was awarded the Alumni Distinguished Faculty in 2013 and, in that same year, did the commencement speech in which she led the students in a lively dance as a way of inspiring them to begin to change the world. Mary Lynn continues to teach about change leadership for conferences and professional organizations.


  • Ph.D. in Computer Information Systems from De Montfort University (UK)
  • M.S. in Management Information Systems from the University of Colorado
  • MBA from Western Carolina University
  • B.S. in Consumer Services from Indiana University of Pennsylvania