Melanie Fox came to UNC Asheville in 1986 to play basketballl and study art so she could teach someday. She never really left.
As it turned out, the art world's loss became UNC Asheville's good fortune. Melanie currently serves as the school's Director of Residential Education. In her role, she oversees the residence life component of the on-campus living experience and supervises the Community Directors and the Resident Assistant Staff.
The Director of Residential Education coordinates the educational, cultural, and social activities in the residence halls. She also provides goal-setting and long-range planning for the residential component of the program. In addition, the Director of Residential Education serves as the Citizenship Education Coordinator while also administering the Student Code of Community Standards and the Citizenship Education process.
"What I basically do is to make sure our students who live on campus have a good environment to live in," stated Fox recently. "We want them to have a great experience along with getting a great education."
Melanie has worked at UNC Asheville for 19 years after obtaining her master's degree at Western Carolina. The Canton native was a standout basketball player at Pisgah High School before beginning her collegiate career at Warren Wilson. After two years of study while helping lead the Owls to a national tournament, she decided to transfer to UNC Asheville.
"I wanted to study art, and Warren Wilson just didn't have what I wanted in that area where UNC Asheville did," said Fox. "And I wanted to keep on playing basketball. Luckily, Mary Ann Meyers took a chance on me and let me come to school and play."
Melanie did a solid job for the Bulldogs in her two-year career. She was a starter in the backcourt and helped get UNC Asheville into the semifinals of the Big South Tournament in 1987 and to 12 wins in 1988.
"I remember my first year playing at UNC Asheville, we played N.C. State at Reynolds Coliseum," commented Fox. "It was a doubleheader with the men's team, and in the second half the place started filling up. It was an incredible experience playing in front of that many people, and that's something I'll never forget."
She graduated in 1988 and enrolled at Western Carolina for her master's but was back at UNC Asheville two years later.
"I was lucky enough to get an opportunity to work with residence life. There just weren't any teaching jobs in art when I got through with school so I decided to do this job until an art job opened up," admitted Fox.
It is a job she quickly fell in love with.
"Well, there's never a dull moment," she exclaimed. "I worked first as the Residence Director of Outdoor Education. I worked closely with David Mitchell from athletics and really enjoyed working with college students. It was a new opportunity and I just loved it.
"My second year I became Director of Residence Halls and have been here ever since," added Fox. "We do everything we can to make UNC Asheville a good place to be in the residence halls."
UNC Asheville and the countless students Melanie has worked with over the years are glad she never got that job teaching art.