Category Archives: Faculty News

COE Seal - Feature Image

Professional Development Opportunities for 2015-2016

The Office of Assessment and Accreditation’s professional development for the 2015-16 academic school year will have two different overarching themes for participants. The workshops will be presented in two different formats to better fit the schedules and preferred learning styles of those interested in attending.  Participants will have the opportunity to attend either a face-to-face or an online session.

Google Apps for Education – A Progressive Workshop Series

Google Apps for Education are becoming a powerful tool in the Pk-12 education world.  Google has created a cost-effective way to bring collaboration tools to the classroom.  This has led to greater integration and implementation of this tool in the classroom with many of our LCSN partners using them.  If you have any questions contact Jason Whited at

Instructional Design for Online Student Success

This professional development series will focus on motivating and retaining online learners by developing a course that incorporates interactive tools, student collaboration, and a variety of assessment activities. In addition, these sessions will include strategies for creating and fostering a sense of community in online or blended courses.  If you have any questions about this workshop contact Holly Fales at

For detailed descriptions of each of the sessions, please visit College of Education Professional Development for Faculty and Staff.

ECU faculty and staff can register for these session via Cornerstone.


College of Education is Busting Myths about Teaching

On August 23, 2015, the College of Education helped welcome over 5,000 students at Pirate Palooza, the university’s largest annual welcome back celebration, held in Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium. . Pirate Palooza featured a variety of ECU traditions and activities where students had the chance to participate in athletic games, speak with vendors, enjoy food, and win prizes!

The College of Education hosted an outreach and recruitment booth at Pirate Palooza with a theme of: Myth Busting: Why You Should Teach! which featured information about the 17 undergraduate teacher education programs and 23 graduate and certificate programs ECU offers.

College of Education faculty and staff engaged students in conversation to dispel myths about the field of education and teaching through an interactive, informative activity. Students were able to choose a question related to teaching and respond to whether it was a truth or myth. Topics covered through the activity ranged from questions about salary to the employment demand for teachers.

It was a successful night for the COE team that staffed the Palooza Outreach booth, speaking with 232 students, many of whom expressed an interest in education and or teaching. Students were impressed with the College of Education representation at the event and the opportunity to get interesting factoids about the teaching profession, college, and ECU.

The College of Education was proud to participate in this event as a creative method of outreach, recruitment, and retention for teacher education programs!

For more information about teacher education at East Carolina University, please visit our website at

The Education Living-Learning Community

The New Education Community of Scholars Get Acquainted and Settle In

One week ago today, the College of Education welcomed 31 new Teacher Education students to ECU and moved them into the newest residence hall on campus, Gateway Residence Hall. This group of students is our newest cohort of Education Living-Learning Community members, which consists of 12 Abernathy, Lane and Maynard Scholars and an additional 19 teacher education students who have expressed an interest in community service and teacher education leadership opportunities within the ECU community.

Over the last week, these students have moved to campus, participated in a campus “meet and great luau”, participated in the ECU teambuilding Challenge Course, and attended their first days of class together, including a cohort section COAD 1000. These 31 new members join our other three cohorts of students and make up our Education Community of Scholars Program (formerly known as the ECU NC Teaching Fellows and Maynard Scholars Program). Please enjoy the video of their exciting week and help me welcome these newest Pirates to our College.

Ellen Dobson

Dr. Ellen Dobson Serves on National Taskstream Panel

Photos Courtesy of Taskstream

In June 2015, Dr. Ellen Dobson, Assistant Director in the COE Office of Assessment and Accreditation, was an invited panelist at Taskstream’s CollabEx Live in New York City. Dr. Dobson participated on a panel addressing CAEP standards and program assessment with Mel Horton of Central Connecticut State University and Courtney Peagler of Taskstream. She also led a roundtable discussion on the use of Taskstream in preparation for the CAEP accreditation process.

In addition to serving on  the panel, Dr. Dobson was also recently recognized as a Taskstream Knowledge Ambassador. This group is a collection of Taskstream clients and advocates who are especially committed to advancing assessment and continuous improvement on their campuses. They work together to promote dialogue and engagement around best practices in assessment.

ECU has used Taskstream since 2009.

Ellen Dobson Leading Discussion

ILS Teacher Prep

Reading Education Faculty Member Elizabeth Swaggerty co-authors Preliminary Report on Landscape of State-level Standards for Teacher Preparation for Literacy Instruction

Dr. Elizabeth Swaggerty headshotThe International Literacy Association issued the first of a two-part report by its Teacher Preparation Task Force reviewing preparation that U.S. teachers receive to teach literacy and how different state departments of education differ in their requirements. The 13-member task force, co-chaired by Deanna Birdyshaw of the University of Michigan and Elizabeth Swaggerty of East Carolina University, includes leading literacy experts from across the country.

The task force used a two-part procedure to inform this preliminary report. The first part included compiling information about requirements for teacher preparation in literacy from 50 state education department websites between July and October 2014. The taskforce then interviewed state education department officials from 23 states to confirm the data collected and to increase understanding of how literacy instruction was addressed in the certification guidelines.

The preliminary report uncovered inconsistent standards and criteria for preparing teachers on how to teach literacy. “While there are limitations to this data and further review is underway, our initial findings show that few states require coursework related to preparation to teach literacy,” said Birdyshaw. Angela Rutherford, University of Mississippi, explained, “Surprisingly, our analysis showed only 18 states require specific courses in literacy for elementary teacher candidates, and half the states did not require specific coursework in any of the licensure areas. Further, there do not appear to be any requirements for literacy experiences during student teaching or other required practica.”

“Our primary takeaway is that all stakeholders need to be involved in the conversation about how to improve preparation of preservice teachers to design and implement instruction that increases the literacy learning of children in kindergarten through grade 12,” added Swaggerty. “We hope this initial report is a starting point for that conversation.”

Given the importance that state education standards and assessments play in the review of Teacher Education Programs, analysis of the data suggests:

  •  Systematic and comprehensive research that investigates preservice program features that effectively prepare candidates to develop students’ literacy across all grades and in all disciplines should be conducted and shared.
  • State standards and assessments related to literacy teacher preparation should be research based and of sufficient quality to provide the feedback needed to develop or revise teacher education curricula and state certification guidelines.
  • State guidelines for preservice teacher preparation should make explicit reference to what candidates should know and be able to do in relationship to literacy instruction.
  • All preservice teachers should be required to participate in activities during their practica that develop their ability to design literacy instruction and monitor literacy growth.

In considering the findings, the taskforce recognized three primary limitations to the research.

  1. This is a preliminary report with the second phase ongoing.
  2. Teacher education programs are in transition, with state education department officials from 15 of the 23 states interviewed stating that changes were being made to teacher certification requirements in the coming year.
  3. State education officials interviewed were knowledgeable about the teaching requirements, but not necessarily experts in the areas related specifically to teaching literacy.

Swaggerty emphasized, “The report shares information gathered about certification requirements at the state level, not teacher education programs. Many teacher education programs go above and beyond the state requirements and have wide-ranging experiences related to teaching literacy.”

The second year goal is to interview Teacher Education Programs officials, administrators, and professors in all 50 states to determine how they are integrating the guidelines.

Preliminary Report on Preparation for Literacy Instruction. pp. 1-13. Newark, DE: International Literacy Association.

Dr. Lori Flint

Dr. Lori Flint Elected to National Position

National Association of Gifted ChildrenDr. Lori Flint, of East Carolina University’s Department of Special Education, Foundations and Research, has been elected chair-elect of the Counseling and Guidance Network of the National Association for Gifted Children.

The mission of this network is to address the critical need for attention to the affective needs of the gifted individual, and not just their academic needs. This Network is dedicated to eliciting the social and emotional growth of individuals who are gifted and talented.In addition, it also emphasizes the planning and implementation of a variety of systems and services for meeting those needs.

Dr. Flint also researches, writes about, and delivers professional development on social-emotional teaching and learning.

Bob Porter

Grant Writing Workshop Series Opportunity Available

Grant Writing Workshop Leader Robert Porter, PhD, has presented grant writing to leading universities and medical schools internationally. He is coming to ECU this Fall to conduct three focused sessions. RSVP early as seating is limited to forty (40) per session.

All sessions will be held in the Mendenhall Student Center Great Room 1

Session 1: Writing Successful Grants –  September 22, 2015 (8:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.)
Session 2: Grants in the Humanities and Social Sciences – September 22, 2015 (1:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.)
Session 3: Writing Proposals to the US Department of Education – September 23, 2015 (8:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.)

To attend, please RSVP to :

Start arriving at 8:00 a.m. for the morning sessions and at 1:00 p.m. for the afternoon session.

Session 1: Writing Successful Grants

This is an introductory workshop that covers basic principles of good grant writing, starting with the phrasing of a compelling research theme to the actual construction of the proposal itself. Major differences between traditional “academic prose” and persuasive grant writing are highlighted. Common pitfalls that can lead to early rejection of good ideas are reviewed, matched with practical strategies for better writing. Special attention will be paid to the perspectives of grant reviewers and how to write in ways that will meet their expectations.

  •  Killer mistakes in grant writing and how to avoid them
  •  Two critical steps that will double your chances for success
  •  How to win over the grant reviewer
  •  Simple keys to a more powerful writing style
  •  Visualization: Using illustrations to “sell” your project

Session 2: Grants in the Humanities and Social Sciences

Starting with the National Endowment for the Humanities, this workshop will cover a number of funding sources of particular interest to disciplines broadly grouped in the humanities and social sciences. Specific grant programs will be reviewed, together with eligibility requirements, funding levels, and lists of projects recently funded by each program. Key elements of the NEH grant review process will be covered, and excerpts from successful proposals will be highlighted. Additionally, participants will be guided to numerous opportunities posted by private foundations.

  • Overview of NEH mission, structure and budget
  • Fellowships and residency programs
  • Awards targeted to junior faculty
  • Support for graduate study and doctoral dissertations
  • Key do’s and don’ts for success

Session 3: Writing Proposals to the US Department of Education

Of the wide range of grant programs offered by the US Department of Education, a select few are targeted to university-based researchers. This session will focus on funding tracks within key DoE divisions such as the Institute of Educational Sciences (IES), the Office of Innovation and Improvement (OII), and the Office of Postsecondary Education (OPE). Guidance will be provided on locating current and future funding opportunities, eligibility requirements, proposal structure, and DoE grant review procedures. Excerpts from successful proposals will be examined as models for preparing key sections. Topics to be covered include:

  • Navigating the DoE grant process
  • Deconstructing the Application Notice
  • Organizing the proposal
  • Understanding DoE grant review and selection criteria
  • Writing critical proposal elements: Need for Project, Research Objectives, Quality of Project Design, Quality of Project Personnel, and Project Evaluation

For more information, please visit

2015 ILA Conference Cover - Transforming Lives Through Literacy

ECU’s COE Reading Education Faculty Have Strong Presence at International Literacy Association Conference

Transforming Lives through Literacy was the theme of the  International Literacy Association Conference held July 18-20, 2015, in St. Louis Missouri and Reading Education faculty from East Carolina University’s (ECU) College of Education had a strong presence at this international event.  Faculty members, Kimberly Anderson, Johna Faulconer, Christy Howard and Elizabeth Swaggerty joined colleagues from 20 countries around the globe to explore ideas, best practices and resources for literacy education and advocacy and to learn from one another.

As active members of the Professors of Reading Teacher Educators, ECU Reading faculty presented sessions on content area literacy, early literacy and teacher education.  Additionally, Elizabeth Swaggerty a co-chair of the ILA Task Force on Literacy Teacher Preparation, a group  examining how our teachers can be better prepared to drive student literacy achievement, helped lead a session sharing the group’s initial findings.

Ensuring that our teacher candidates have the best preparation possible for meeting the literacy and learning needs of all of their future students is always foremost in our thinking. Opportunities to share what we are doing at ECU, learn about what others around the country are doing, and contribute to the national dialogue on literacy education continually pushes our thinking and makes us better, says Kim Anderson, an Assistant Professor of Reading Education.

Dr. Linda Patriarca

East Carolina University’s Own Dr. Linda Patriarca Nationally Recognized

Dr. Linda A. Patriarca is named one of “The 30 Most Influential Deans of Education in the United States ” according to a new list. This will leave the College of Education at East Carolina University in a great position as she steps down and hands the reigns to Dr. B Grant Hayes who will be taking over as dean at the end of July.

In preparing the listing of Deans of Education, the researchers’ goal was “showcasing how they have had an invaluable impact not only on the field of education as a whole, but also on the lives of the future teachers of America whom they have shepherded through their programs.”

The list was compiled by researchers at Mometrix Test Preparation. The list was compiled through analysis of state and national awards and honors, education program rankings, degree program rankings and level of pay received by graduates of the teaching programs. It was developed as a way to honor individuals dedicated to educating the future workforce.


edTPA Data Help Ensure Readiness to Teach

Dr. Diana Lys, Director of the Office of Assessment and Accreditation

I recently had the pleasure and honor of delivering the keynote address for the 2015 edTPA Mid-Atlantic Implementation Conference in Towson, Maryland. As a longtime supporter and champion of observation- and performance-based educator preparation and assessment, I was eager to share with peers from across the nation who are at different places on their journey with edTPA.

First, I wanted to commend each person for being there. By the virtue of their attendance and leadership, participants were helping shift the negative tone of dialogue around teacher preparation by highlighting innovative practices and committing to positive change. At the core of the narrative is a shared rallying call to ensure each teacher candidate enters tomorrow’s classroom ready to teach.

Quality teacher preparation matters, and too much external criticism of teacher preparation exists for the field to be fighting against itself. As a field, we have a moral obligation to prepare the best possible beginning teachers for school children; to ensure each graduate is ready for his or her first day of school. edTPA is a positive, uniting step forward.

For example, teacher educators are practically drowning in data. Yet what are we doing with it? In a program without actionable teacher candidate performance data, program improvement efforts often lack momentum or direction. At East Carolina University, our faculty were convinced our students were well prepared, but we couldn’t prove it. Something was missing. That something was a shared, validated summative assessment confirming the program’s outcomes.

Common Data Get Oars “Rowing in Unison”

Today, we use edTPA data to plan our program-improvement journey. By using a common performance assessment, all of the institution’s oars begin rowing in unison. The educative nature of edTPA helps programs to identify strengths and gaps and offers direction for improvements.

edTPA data help to build a culture of inquiry; again, the educative nature of edTPA has a uniting power for faculty, bringing them together to examine candidate portfolios and to assess their programs at a deeper level. In many ways, edTPA helped to break down the tall, isolating silos in teacher education.

edTPA is one improvement that launched others. We are developing new embedded signature assessments as formative metrics prior to edTPA. We are reconceptualizing our clinical practice through a 2:1 coteaching model, and early data and partner feedback are very positive.

As director of assessment and accreditation, I can’t underscore enough the power and value of edTPA in our accreditation process for the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation—a process that builds like a wave. edTPA was an essential uniting factor across our educator preparation programs, allowing us to surf that wave rather than letting it pummel us into the sand. With the right leadership, edTPA:

  • Provides valid and reliable candidate performance data
  • Fosters a culture of evidence in your teacher preparation program
  • Informs evidence-based program improvement

Let’s Not Waste Our Time

In a recent commencement speech to her son’s graduating class, ABC news correspondent Martha Raddatz said, “Don’t waste your time on those who don’t bring out the best in you.”

Similarly, let’s not waste our time on assessments that don’t bring out the best in our candidates and our programs. Let’s not waste our time on assessments that don’t inform our program improvement efforts and that fail to drive our programs in a positive direction.

Let’s focus the energy of our people, our program improvement efforts, and our analysis on data that are valid, reliable, and content and context specific.

And finally, let’s not be silent about what is best—what matters for the field. Make our voices heard as we endeavor to expand our reach with edTPA—blog, tweet, post, share your stories.

This article was also published to the EdPrepMatters blog at