Monthly Archives: June 2005

ECU Educators’ Text Chosen for Superintendent Program

A book co-authored by two East Carolina University education professors has been selected as general leadership text for a UNC program designed to prepare experienced principals for superintendency.

The UNC Center for School Leadership will use “Leading with Emotion” (Scarecrow Press, 2002), co-written by James O. McDowelle and Kermit G. Buckner, in its Leadership Program for Future Superintendents sessions of the Principals’ Executive Program (PEP) in June.

“Of all the arenas in which leaders function, the education environment is one of the most highly emotional,” according to Buckner, who has been a professor in ECU’s College of Education since 1998.

“The effects of dealing with students, parents, employees, school board members, and the general public on a daily basis are considerable. Yet it is a key element that has not just been ignored, but literally banned,” Buckner said.

Emotional intelligence balances out the exclusively rational theories upon which educational leadership has been previously grounded, stated McDowelle, who served as a professor in the College of Education from 1993-2001 before heading to Drexel University in Philadelphia. McDowelle returned to ECU in 2003.

One of the first to incorporate the role of the emotions and emotional intelligence into the study of educational leadership, the book “gives you another view of human nature,” McDowelle said.

“This broadened, holistic view of how to manage your emotions helps you focus and streamline thinking. And if you manage them correctly, you can manage yourself and others more effectively.”

McDowelle adds that besides medicine, schools are the most people-intensive institutions.

The text uses case studies and current events to highlight research in the area of emotional intelligence as it relates to the school environment and offers strategies on how to better work with various constituents.

In addition to the PEP program, the text is also being used by Neumann and Drexel Universities for professional development programs with Philadelphia school administrators.

More information about the book is at

CONTACT: James O. McDowelle, (252) 328-1096 or

NC QUEST Grant Offers Training

East Carolina University’s College of Education has been awarded a $210,827 grant that will offer professional development opportunities to math and science teachers who work in low-income school districts.

The grant from NC QUEST (Quality Educators through Staff Development and Training across North Carolina) was awarded through the UNC Division of University-School Programs and the Center for School Leadership Development. Funding for the “Rural Initiative in Math and Science” project came from federal resources designed to promote initiatives of the national No Child Left Behind Act.

ECU will offer training to 30 middle and high school instructors in Bertie, Lenoir and Hertford counties. On-going professional development options will include tuition for university courses, six hours of content and pedagogy meetings, materials and on-site coaching. Members of the ECU College of Education’s Rural Education Institute and the Center for Science, Mathematics and Technology Education, ECU’s Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Science, the ECU’s Department of Biology worked with these county school systems to submit the grant proposal.

ECU was one of four new partnerships to receive funding, along with UNC-Wilmington, Western Carolina and Winston-Salem State universities. Appalachian, Fayetteville State and UNC-Greensboro universities also received grants to continue comparable projects. Awards were based on evaluations by a national review panel.

ECU College of Education Expands Rural “Revitalise” Project

Revitalise - Expanding the Scope of Teaching and Learning

East Carolina University’s College of Education will receive $400,000 to continue an innovative technology initiative designed to address the issues of retention and renewal of teachers in rural communities.

The REVITALISE program (Rural Educators using Visualization to Inspire Teacher Advancement and Learning to Improve Science and Mathematics Education) is a joint effort between ECU and the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois to help teachers integrate cutting-edge technologies into the curriculum and expand the scope of science and mathematics education in small-town middle and high schools.

Launched in 2002, the initial four-year, $1.4 million program was funded partly by the National Science Foundation, Microsoft Corporation and Advanced Visual Systems.

The program leverages advanced videoconferencing and communications capabilities so that educators in the two states are able to communicate with each other to form virtual learning communities and establish support systems to enhance teacher and student learning. The technology features enable group-to-group interactions with multimedia capabilities within an interactive environment over a high-speed network.

To date, 50 educators have participated in the program for the professional development and support. Many of these former participants, like Angela Becton of Kinston, will return as mentors for the next group.

“As an adult learner, REVITALISE has helped me create relationships with professionals and colleagues that I would not have otherwise, which helps reduce the isolation that can sometimes drive teachers from education,” said Becton, a teacher instructional support specialist with Johnston County Schools.

According to Robin Rider, ECU science and mathematics education professor and project director, REVITALISE is a win-win situation for the students, teachers and their communities. “Communities with teachers involved in this project benefit from expanded knowledge of visualization techniques which the teachers take back to classrooms to enable them to educate students for careers in the 21st century,” Rider said.

There is no cost to teachers, schools or school districts for participating. At completion, teachers receive software to take back to their classroom and a stipend.

“This second cohort of participants represents an even larger contingent of technologically competent teachers in math and science who will make a difference in the learning of their students in the eastern part of the State,” said Marilyn Sheerer, Dean of ECU’s college of education and principal investigator.

This year’s program will kick off with a four-day workshop beginning February 24 involving 54 educators from Camden, Onslow, Chowan, Wayne, Nash-Rocky Mount, Bertie, Pitt and Wilson counties in North Carolina and the following Illinois school districts: Dakota, Dwight, Rankin, Gillespie, Roxana, Somonauk, Unity Point, Lake City, Wayne City, and Pikeland.

ECU Professor joins Teacher Educator Standards Commission

Greenville, NC – Jane Carol Manner, associate elementary education professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, has been selected by the Association of Teacher Educators (ATE) to participate on the Teacher Educator Standards Commission for 2005-2006.

The Commission, which works to refine current standards of practice for teacher educators nationally and develop appropriate assessment devices for each standard, is divided into three teams. Each team is dedicated to one of the group’s three strands of activities.

The Standards Writing Team reviews current literature and research on teacher education and teacher educators. The Research Team conducts research on the standards and their use. The Teacher Educators Standards Cohort (TESC) involves practicing teacher educators in a variety of roles to use the standards for their own self-review. Manner will serve on this team. The group will convene for the first time during the 2005 ATE meeting next month in Chicago.

Throughout the year, the three teams will meet to exchange ideas and to examine the use of electronic portfolios for teacher educators in an effort to offer an improved set of standards and assessment strategies at the end of 2006.

Manner, who joined the College of Education in 2004, specializes in online course development and delivery in teacher education and has written extensively on personalization of the web-based course environment.

Duffy to Keynote Annual Literacy Conference

Greenville, NC – Dr. Gerald G. Duffy, William E. Moran Distinguished Professor of Reading and Literacy at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro, will be the keynote speaker at this year’s Mary Lois Staton Reading/Language Arts Conference at the Greenville Hilton on Friday, Feb. 11.

Duffy is also Professor Emeritus at Michigan State University where he served for 25 years as a faculty member and as a senior researcher in the Institute for Research on Teaching. He is a past-president of the National Reading Conference and a member of the Reading Hall of Fame. His research has utilized both quantitative and qualitative designs in studying effective reading strategy instruction and teacher development in naturalistic classroom-based settings.

Duffy has published more than 100 journal articles, chapters and research monographs and has written or edited five books, his most recent being Explaining Reading (Guilford, 2003). His teaching and service includes developing and teaching a variety of innovative teacher education programs, conducting numerous short and long term field-based literacy workshops, teaching undergraduate and graduate literacy classes at university and school sites throughout North America, Asia and Europe as well as mentoring doctoral students. His work at Greensboro focuses on studying the intersection of teacher effectiveness in literacy and the effectiveness of teacher preparation programs.

The Mary Lois Staton Reading/Language Arts Conference is an annual teacher education conference that brings national, regional, and local speakers on literacy education issues to a one-day conference in Greenville, North Carolina. This event is sponsored by the Department of Curriculum and Instruction in the College of Education at East Carolina University.

The conference will begin at 8 a.m. For more information, contact Dr. Katherine Misulis at (252) 328-6128 or Dr. Lanette Moret at (252) 328-6174.

Sheerer Accepts Invitation from the Office of the Secretary of Defense

ECU Education Dean to Attend National Defense Conference

Greenville, NC – Dr. Marilyn Sheerer, of Greenville, NC, has accepted an invitation from the Office of the Secretary of Defense to participate in the Defense Department’s Joint Civilian Orientation Conference (JCOC 69), the oldest Pentagon program of its kind and the only civilian orientation program held by the department. This conference was initiated in 1948 and is the Secretary of Defense’s premier civic leader program.

The week-long orientation, which will be held April 24 – May 1, 2005, will give participants an opportunity to learn first-hand about U.S. military personnel, their equipment and capabilities as well as national defense strategies.

As a JCOC participant, Sheerer will visit military bases of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard. A very select few distinguished civilians get the opportunity to interact with such an all-encompassing cross section of military leaders and personnel. Sixty (60) U.S. citizens are selected from hundreds of candidates nominated by military commands worldwide. The selection process is highly competitive.

The program begins in Washington, D.C., where Sheerer will meet and be briefed by Defense Department leaders such as Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and other senior military and civilian officials. The attendees then spend the next week in the field, visiting military installations and command centers representing all branches of the Armed Forces.

JCOC participants will fly on military aircraft; fire weapons; experience aircraft carrier landings and launches; and observe amphibious landings, urban area combat techniques, special operations assaults and other warfare demonstrations. The JCOC 69 program concludes in Colorado Springs, Colorado on Sunday, May 1 with a visit to the Northern Command, the agency primarily responsible for homeland security.

Sheerer, who was nominated by the Marine Corps, says that by participating she hopes to gain a better understanding of how institutions of higher education can better address the complex educational needs of the North Carolina’s troops who comprise the third largest military community in the nation.

She is the first ever to attend from East Carolina University.

Dr. Sheerer has served as dean of the College of Education since 1998. She is a member of the North Carolina Public School Forum and serves on the Statewide Advisory Boards for School Leadership and the North Carolina Partners in Mathematics and Science. She also serves on the Board of the North Carolina Partnership for Excellence and is vice president of The Renaissance Group Board of Governors.

National Science Foundation Team Evaluates NC-PIMS Grant at ECU

Greenville, NC – The National Science Foundation (NSF) Team is visiting East Carolina University this week to evaluate the management of the North Carolina Partnership for Improving Mathematics and Science (NC-PIMS) Grant.  They arrived on campus Wednesday, June, 15th and will be in Greenville through Friday, June, 17th.  The NSF team began their visit by listening to a presentation from the grant management team.  Members of ECU’s higher education community including Marilyn Sheerer, dean for ECU’s College of Education; Molly Broad, President of the UNC System; and district superintendents were also present. Wednesday afternoon, faculty at other sites involved with the project met with the NSF team via video-conference.

The NSF team is meeting again on Thursday, June, 16th at J.H.  Rose High  School to observe NC-PIMS Lead Teacher classes. They will meet lead teachers, facilitators and other district members of the project afterwards. Feature presentations will be given by the math team and grant operators Thursday afternoon.

The NC-PIMS grant was established to increase mathematics achievement while decreasing achievement gaps in Eastern North Carolina school districts.  NC-PIMS does this through school leadership, professional teacher development, student encouragement and parental involvement.  A partnership among several institutions was formed to accomplish these goals.  They include: The University of North Carolina General Administration, NC Department of Public Instruction, NC Mathematics and Science Education Network, East Carolina University, Fayetteville State University, UNC Pembroke, UNC Wilmington and the NC Community College System.

NC-PIMS brings schools, universities and community leaders together to form leadership teams.  These teams are in partner districts as well three Regional Leadership Teams in 17 counties across Eastern North Carolina.  The teams work together to align resources that will support student achievement in mathematics.

NC-PIMS provides professional development to teachers through structured workshops and courses.  University faculty design and teach graduate-level classes. Teachers selected from various districts are designated as “Lead Teachers”.  The Lead Teachers receive training for workshops they will teach to teacher-colleagues in their home schools.  The workshops are designed by facilitators with NC-PIMS to aid teachers with tools to increase student achievement.  The facilitators continue to support Lead Teachers throughout the school year and summer.

The NC-PIMS partnership also focuses on parent involvement.   In addition to teacher training, the grant also provides workshops for parents to learn how to engage their students in mathematics at home.

For more information, contact Dr. Ron Preston, Mathematics and Science Education Chair, at 252-328-9353 or Jessica W. Davenport, Director of Communications, College of Education at 252-328-2179.

East Carolina University Researching Japan-US Educational Systems Visiting Classes at Hiroshima Junior and Senior High Schools

It was five years ago when East Carolina University (Greenville, North Carolina, USA) and Hiroshima University became sister schools, and they have been engaged in interpersonal exchanges since then.  On May 27, teachers and students, a total of six, from East Carolina University visited Hiroshima Prefectural Hiroshima Junior and Senior High Schools (Masakazu Banmoto, Principal), located in Nakashima, Takaya-cho, Higashi-Hiroshima City, and observed classes such as English and music classes (playing koto, one of Japanese traditional musical instruments).   The group visited Japan for the purpose of comparative research about Japan-US educational systems, planning to stay in Japan until June 3.

In the 7th-grade students’ English class, 19 students asked the visitors their names, where they are from, their favorite things, and so on in English, having a valuable experience of being exposed to authentic English.  “I spoke with a foreigner for the first time,” Kenta Kaneyoshi said.  He continued, “I sometimes had difficulties in catching what they said, but I want to try hard so that I can converse in English,” and spoke to the visitors actively.

Ms. Mary Corbin, who was observing the classes, said, “It is nice to see students’ willingness to learn” and praised students for their seriousness.

Their next visit was to a koto class of 10th-grade students.  The group learned how to play koto with the Japanese students and performed Sakura (a piece of Japanese music).  Britney Allen, a junior at the university majoring in higher education, commented, “Koto has a different musical scale from that in Western music, and its tone and sound is attractive,” being impressed by the musical instrument.  Caroline Ledford, an associate professor at East Carolina University, praised Japanese students for their attitude by saying, “Students in Japan keep school rules in mind, and therefore they are well-disciplined.”  She continued, “A unified lower and upper secondary school education is rare in public schools in the US.  The environment and the system which allows students at different ages to teach each other is brilliant.”  Regarding the indoor gym and its facilities, she commented, “In the US, we focus on team sports in P.E. classes.  Gymnastics are commonly treated as outside-school activities.”  Comparing the current situation of having a smaller number of P.E. classes in the US, she was amazed by well-preparedness of the facilities as well as the class contents.