Sunday, December 9, 2012
East met west last week to ensure that more residents of Jackson County and surrounding counties have access to dental care.
State legislators and officials from East Carolina University, Jackson County, Western Carolina University and Southwestern Community College gathered on Dec. 3 to break ground for an ECU School of Dental Medicine Community Service Learning Center.
The $3 million, 7,700-square-foot center will be built in the Jackson County services complex and just up the hill from the county’s senior center, Department of Social Services and rescue squad. Officials expect the building to be completed next summer.
“ECU is thrilled to partner in the health care mission of Jackson County and the region,” said Dr. Phyllis Horns, ECU vice chancellor for health sciences, who attended the groundbreaking. “We are proud to lead initiatives for improved dental and other health services for residents of this region and across the state.”
The dental center in Sylva, a town of approximately 2,600, is the third of 10 centers ECU is planning for the state. The first center opened in Ahoskie in June, and a second will open in Elizabeth City in January. Each center contains 16 dental chairs and state-of-the-art general dentistry facilities.
School of Dental Medicine faculty members, post-doctoral residents and dental students will provide patient care, giving the residents and students experience practicing in a community setting. The center also will employ local staff members.
“We’ve anticipated the center in Sylva for a few years,” Dr. Greg Chadwick, dean of the School of Dental Medicine, said. “Now we are anxious to see the building completed on this beautiful parcel of land. Collaboration with legislators, public health providers, elected officials and many dentists in the region has been terrific.”
Studies indicate residents of Jackson and surrounding counties do not have adequate dental resources.
The School of Dental Medicine intends to place fourth-year dental students in rotations in community service learning centers throughout the state. The school admitted its first 52 students in August 2011. A second class of 52 students entered this August. All students are North Carolina residents, representing 50 counties.
“We are proud to be a part of this initiative by East Carolina,” Jackson County Manager Chuck Wooten said. “Our hope is that the dental center will help more students in our region consider dental professions and that some of ECU’s dental students who work here will fall in love with the mountains and want to stay.”
College of Education in national study
The College of Education at ECU is among 10 institutions nationwide to be included in a study highlighting teacher education programs that use data in innovative ways.
University of Washington researchers, aided by a grant from The Spencer Foundation, are building case studies of programs that utilize data to direct research and improve programming. Fellow educators at Stanford University and UNC-Chapel Hill nominated ECU for inclusion in the study.
Principle investigator Cap Peck said that teacher education has come under increased scrutiny in recent years, and institutions are now required to produce a wealth of data about their programming. Many universities are following mandates to report the data but doing little more with the information.
“Others lean forward into the opportunity to learn from the data,” Peck said.
The College of Education at ECU is seizing those opportunities, he said. Administrators use data to develop a vision for the program, he said, and then encourage faculty and staff to further their own education and conduct research to meet emerging needs.
A professor of special education and teacher education, Peck visited ECU in late November to talk with administrators, faculty and clinical teachers about how they use data to improve their effectiveness.
“People share a belief system and culture … about pushing the status quo here,” Peck said. “It’s very unusual.”
Diana Lys, director of assessment and accreditation for the college, said his visit is evidence that the investments ECU has made toward improving and updating teacher education practices are “bearing fruit.”
“ECU has always had a proud tradition of teacher education,” she said. “Being included in this study really demonstrates that we continue to be a leader … in teacher education innovation.
“I also hope that Dr. Peck’s visit acts as confirmation, maybe even validation, for our faculty that their investments in assessment, program improvement, practice-based research, and focus on student learning outcomes is not only important locally, but valued nationally.”
Lys said she looks forward to seeing how ECU efforts compare to other “high data users” featured in the study.
“People respond to pressure in a variety of ways,” Peck said on the final day at ECU. “This place is very, very focused on creating better teachers for kids.”
Bassman Award recipient honored
Joyner Library at ECU honored the winner of the 2012 Michael F. Bassman Honors Thesis Award during a ceremony on Dec. 4.
Greenville native Danielle N. Martin was recognized as the winner of the 2012 Michael F. Bassman Honors Thesis Award, recognizing excellence in research and writing by students in ECU’s Honors College. Martin is a senior majoring in multidisciplinary studies with a concentration in neuroscience.
The award, sponsored by Joyner Library, is for $500 and honors Michael F. Bassman, associate professor of foreign languages and literatures, and formerly associate vice chancellor of the Honors Program.
Martin’s award-winning paper, titled “The Ever-Changing Social Perception of Autism Spectrum Disorders in the United States,” has been accepted for publication in the peer-reviewed journal, Explorations: the Journal of Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities for the State of North Carolina.
Martin previously was the recipient of the Phi Kappa Phi Outstanding First Student Award and the Milton Harrington EC Scholars Award.
She is the daughter of George and Renee Martin of Greenville.
- Tuesday: Blood Drive at the Brody School of Medicine, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. in the Brody Commons Area (old Laupus Library). All donors are entered in a Red Cross drawing for a $1,000 gift card. To schedule an appointment, email Joani Zary Oswald firstname.lastname@example.org.