Apr 302013



 Under the Dome

Published: April 29, 2013 Updated 11 hours ago

By Lynn Bonner and John Frank — Staff writers

UNC system President Tom Ross issued a statement Monday expressing concern about House Bill 937, which would loosen the state’s gun laws.

Part of the bill allows holders of concealed carry permits to keep guns in locked vehicles at college and university campuses.

“We have an obligation to provide a safe environment for our students and employees, and every UNC campus has a trained police force charged with promoting the safety of all people who come onto our campuses,” Ross said in a statement.

“All UNC chancellors and chiefs of police believe allowing guns on campus would increase the risk to public safety and hamper our ability to protect not only our students, staff and faculty, but also campus visitors, including parents, siblings of students, and summer camp participants. Vehicle break-ins are one of the leading crimes on college campuses, and even guns brought lawfully onto campus, as contemplated by this bill, could fall into the wrong hands and result in serious injury or death.

“In addition, a number of UNC campuses house early college high schools, middle schools, or summer camps for younger children. The presence of these young people further heightens our concerns about the safety risks that come with guns getting into the wrong hands. Moreover, when responding to an armed robbery or active shooter incident, our officers would often be hard pressed to distinguish between a criminal suspect and well-intentioned bystanders with weapons drawn, particularly in the heat of the moment. The potential for tragedy far outweighs any potential benefit or convenience to concealed-carry permit holders..”

via Dome: UNC leader Tom Ross lambasts bill allowing guns on campus | Under the Dome | NewsObserver.com.

Apr 302013



Public Works Director Kevin Mulligan explains a few suggestions during a public input meeting about proposed changes to parking regulations in the neighborhood north of the university held at City Hall on  Monday, April 29, 2013.   (Aileen Devlin/ The Daily  Reflector)

Public Works Director Kevin Mulligan explains a few suggestions during a public input meeting about proposed changes to parking regulations in the neighborhood north of the university held at City Hall on Monday, April 29, 2013. (Aileen Devlin/ The Daily Reflector)

By Michael Abramowitz

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Greenville city staff gathered residents’ concerns, opinions and questions on Monday evening about proposed parking regulation changes in a section of the city north of the East Carolina University campus.

The public input meeting at City Hall was part of a process initiated by the City Council to address concerns some residents of the University Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative Overlay District have about parking conditions.

Two recommendations emerged in March from a six-member overlay initiative committee to limit and control parking for district residents only and establish backyard parking standards that include limiting the number of continuous vehicles on site to four on an improved surface with proper screening, Development Director Merrill Flood told the audience.

The second step in the process came on Monday when the staff — including Flood, Public Works Department Director Kevin Mulligan, City Engineer Stacey Pigford, Police Chief Hassan Aden — gathered and sorted the public’s comments, questions and concerns.

Flood displayed a map that highlighted controlled on-street parking in a portion of the college historic district, roughly located north to south between East First and Fifth streets, and east to west between Elm and Reade streets. A proposed expanded area of regulation also would include the rest of the historic district and an area between East First Street and River Drive, Flood said.

More than 50 percent of residents on streets within the highlighted area must have more than 50 percent of their neighbors’ names submitted on a petition to enact resident-only parking, which would include appropriate signage and issued permits, Mulligan said.

All on-street regulations would apply on Monday-Friday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., Mulligan said.

Opposing points of view were most clearly framed around the issue of property owner rights versus aesthetic values of the overall neighborhood that might be affected by the sight of cars in yards.

“It appears that owners can do what they want on their properties, even to the point of graveling in the whole darn yard, and in some cases on adjoining properties,” a resident said. “That’s as ugly as you can get.”

A resident followed with a comment reflecting a different point of view.

“If you don’t like the view, put up a fence,” the resident said. “What people do with their property is their business.”

Several attendees said they were concerned that the parking restrictions would hinder access to the city’s nearby greenway section in the neighborhood for city residents and make the greenway less inviting there.

Mulligan reassured local residents that the city has no wish or intention to allow that to happen.

Residents of the area between River Drive and First Street do not face the on-street parking obstacles that their neighbors in the lower section face, several of them told the staff.

One attendee suggested that the number of cars allowed to park on a yard should be determined by the available size of the property, rather than a set number of four. Flood replied that properties would have to evaluated individually with regard to those circumstances.

Neighborhoods would be monitored for persistent parking violations, but infrequent or occasional violations to accommodate visitors would not be addressed, Flood said.

Council members directed the staff to analyze Monday’s public input, combine it with recommendations from the city’s Transportation and Parking Commission and forward a proposal package to the council in time for a June vote on further action so adopted changes could take effect by the beginning of ECU’s fall semester.

Contact Michael Abramowitz at mabramowitz@reflector.com or 252- 329-9571.

via The Daily Reflector.

Apr 302013




Published: April 29, 2013 67 Comments


SAN JOSE, Calif. — Dazzled by the potential of free online college classes, educators are now turning to the gritty task of harnessing online materials to meet the toughest challenges in American higher education: giving more students access to college, and helping them graduate on time.

Nearly half of all undergraduates in the United States arrive on campus needing remedial work before they can begin regular credit-bearing classes. That early detour can be costly, leading many to drop out, often in heavy debt and with diminished prospects of finding a job.

Meanwhile, shrinking state budgets have taken a heavy toll at public institutions, reducing the number of seats available in classes students must take to graduate. In California alone, higher education cuts have left hundreds of thousands of college students without access to classes they need.

To address both problems and keep students on track to graduation, universities are beginning to experiment with adding the new “massive open online courses,” created to deliver elite college instruction to anyone with an Internet connection, to their offerings.

While the courses, known as MOOCs, have enrolled millions of students around the world, most who enroll never start a single assignment, and very few complete the courses. So to reach students who are not ready for college-level work, or struggling with introductory courses, universities are beginning to add extra supports to the online materials, in hopes of improving success rates.

Here at San Jose State, for example, two pilot programs weave material from the online classes into the instructional mix and allow students to earn credit for them.

“We’re in Silicon Valley, we breathe that entrepreneurial air, so it makes sense that we are the first university to try this,” said Mohammad Qayoumi, the university’s president. “In academia, people are scared to fail, but we know that innovation always comes with the possibility of failure. And if it doesn’t work the first time, we’ll figure out what went wrong and do better.”

In one pilot program, the university is working with Udacity, a company co-founded by a Stanford professor, to see whether round-the-clock online mentors, hired and trained by the company, can help more students make their way through three fully online basic math courses.

The tiny for-credit pilot courses, open to both San Jose State students and local high school and community college students, began in January, so it is too early to draw any conclusions. But early signs are promising, so this summer, Udacity and San Jose State are expanding those classes to 1,000 students, and adding new courses in psychology and computer programming, with tuition of only $150 a course.

San Jose State has already achieved remarkable results with online materials from edX, a nonprofit online provider, in its circuits course, a longstanding hurdle for would-be engineers. Usually, two of every five students earn a grade below C and must retake the course or change career plans. So last spring, Ellen Junn, the provost, visited Anant Agarwal, an M.I.T. professor who taught a free online version of the circuits class, to ask whether San Jose State could become a living lab for his course, the first offering from edX, an online collaboration of Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Ms. Junn hoped that blending M.I.T.’s online materials with live classroom sessions might help more students succeed. Dr. Agarwal, the president of edX, agreed enthusiastically, and without any formal agreement or exchange of money, he arranged for San Jose State to offer the blended class last fall.

The results were striking: 91 percent of those in the blended section passed, compared with 59 percent in the traditional class.

“We’re engineers, and we check our results, but if this semester is similar, we will not have the traditional version next year,” said Khosrow Ghadiri, who teaches the blended class. “It would be educational malpractice.”

It is hard to say, though, how much the improved results come from the edX online materials, and how much from the shift to classroom sessions focusing on small group projects, rather than lectures.

Finding better ways to move students through the start of college is crucial, said Josh Jarrett, a higher education officer at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which in the past year has given grants to develop massive open online courses for basic and remedial courses.

“For us, 2012 was all about trying to tilt some of the MOOC attention toward the more novice learner, the low-income and first-generation students,” he said. “And 2013 is about blending MOOCs into college courses where there is additional support, and students can get credit. While some low-income young adults can benefit from what I call the free-range MOOCs, the research suggests that most are going to need more scaffolding, more support.”

Until now, there has been little data on how well the massive online courses work, and for which kinds of students. Blended courses provide valuable research data because outcomes can easily be compared with those from a traditional class. “The results in the San Jose circuits course are probably the most interesting data point in the whole MOOC movement,” Mr. Jarrett said.

Said Dr. Junn, “We want to bring all the hyperbole around MOOCs down to reality, and really see at a granular level that’s never before been available, how well they work for underserved students.”

Online courses are undeniably chipping at the traditional boundaries of higher education. Until now, most of the millions of students who register for them could not earn credit for their work. But that is changing, and not just at San Jose State. The three leading providers, Udacity, EdX and Coursera, are all offering proctored exams, and in some cases, certification for transfer credit through the American Council on Education.

Last month, in a controversial proposal, the president pro tem of the California Senate announced the introduction of legislation allowing students in the state’s public colleges and universities who cannot get a seat in oversubscribed lower-level classes to earn credit for faculty-approved online versions, including those from private vendors like edX and Udacity.

And on Wednesday, San Jose State announced that next fall, it will pay a licensing fee to offer three to five more blended edX courses, probably including Harvard’s “Ancient Greek Heroes” and Berkeley’s “Artificial Intelligence.” And over the summer, it will train 11 other California State campuses to use the blended M.I.T. circuits course.

Dr. Qayoumi favors the blended model for upper-level courses, but fully online courses like Udacity’s for lower-level classes, which could be expanded to serve many more students at low cost. Traditional teaching will be disappearing in five to seven years, he predicts, as more professors come to realize that lectures are not the best route to student engagement, and cash-strapped universities continue to seek cheaper instruction.

“There may still be face-to-face classes, but they would not be in lecture halls,” he said. “And they will have not only course material developed by the instructor, but MOOC materials and labs, and content from public broadcasting or corporate sources. But just as faculty currently decide what textbook to use, they will still have the autonomy to choose what materials to include.”

While San Jose State professors decided what material should be covered in the three Udacity math courses, it was Udacity employees who determined the course look and flow — and, in most cases, appeared on camera.

“We gave them lecture notes and a textbook, and they ‘Udacified’ things, and wrote the script, which we edited,” said Susan McClory, San Jose State’s developmental math coordinator. “We made sure they used our way of finding a common denominator.”

The online mentors work in shifts at Udacity’s offices in nearby Mountain View, Calif., waiting at their laptops for the “bing” that signals a question, and answering immediately.

“We get to hear the ‘aha’ moments, and these all-caps messages ‘THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU,’ ” said Rachel Meltzer, a Stanford graduate and mentor who is starting medical school next fall.

The mentors answer about 30 questions a day, like how to type the infinity symbol or add unlike fractions — or, occasionally, whether Ms. Meltzer is interested in a date. The questions appear in a chat box on-screen, but tutoring can move to a whiteboard, or even a live conversation. When many students share confusion, mentors provide feedback to the instructors.

The San Jose State professors were surprised at the speed with which the project came together.

“The first word was in November, and it started in January,” said Ronald Rogers, one of the statistics professors. “Academics usually form a committee for months before anything happens.”

But Udacity’s approach was appealing.

“What attracted us to Udacity was the pedagogy, that they break things into very small segments, then ask students to figure things out, before you’ve told them the answer,” said Dr. Rogers, who spends an hour a day reading comments on the discussion forum for students in the worldwide version of the class.

Results from the pilot for-credit version with the online mentors will not be clear until after the final exams, which will be proctored by webcam.

But one good sign is that, in the pilot statistics course, every student, including a group of high school students from an Oakland charter school, completed the first, unproctored exam.

“We’re approaching this as an empirical question,” Dr. Rogers said. “If the results are good, then we’ll scale it up, which would be very good, given how much unmet demand we have at California public colleges.”

Any wholesale online expansion raises the specter of professors being laid off, turned into glorified teaching assistants or relegated to second-tier status, with only academic stars giving the lectures. Indeed, the faculty unions at all three California higher education systems oppose the legislation requiring credit for MOOCs for students shut out of on-campus classes. The state, they say, should restore state financing for public universities, rather than turning to unaccredited private vendors.

But with so many students lacking access, others say, new alternatives are necessary.

“I’m involved in this not to destroy brick-and-mortar universities, but to increase access for more students,” Dr. Rogers said.

And if short videos and embedded quizzes with instant feedback can improve student outcomes, why should professors go on writing and delivering their own lectures?

“Our ego always runs ahead of us, making us think we can do it better than anyone else in the world,” Dr. Ghadiri said. “But why should we invent the wheel 10,000 times? This is M.I.T., No. 1 school in the nation — why would we not want to use their material?”

There are, he said, two ways of thinking about what the MOOC revolution portends: “One is me, me, me — me comes first. The other is, we are not in this business for ourselves, we are here to educate students.”

via Colleges Adapt Online Courses to Ease Burden – NYTimes.com.

Apr 292013



Monday, April 29, 2013

East Carolina University will recognize excellence in teaching, leadership, research and service at the fifth annual Founders Day/University Awards Day convocation at 9 a.m. Wednesday in Hendrix Theatre in the Mendenhall Student Center.

Presenting the awards will be Peter Hans, chairman of the UNC Board of Governors, Robert Brinkley, vice chairman of the ECU Board of Trustees, and ECU Chancellor Steve Ballard.

Several UNC system award recipients are among the honorees at Wednesday’s event. Samuel Sears, director of ECU’s doctoral program in health psychology, received the 2013 O. Max Gardner Award, the highest faculty honor bestowed by the University of North Carolina system. The honor pays tribute to one faculty member within the UNC system who, during the current academic year, made the greatest contribution to the welfare of the human race.

ECU biology professor John Stiller received one of the 2012-13 UNC Board of Governors Awards for Excellence in Teaching. The award is presented annually to one educator from each of the 17 UNC system schools to honor outstanding contributions in the classroom.

Other awards to be presented include:

Six UNC Board of Governors Distinguished Professors Awards.

The James R. Talton Jr. Award for Leadership, ECU’s highest recognition for leadership.

Centennial Awards for Excellence in the categories of ambition, service, leadership and spirit.

ECU awards for research and creative achievement, inventions and the scholarship of engagement.

Scholar-Teacher awards.

Alumni Association Awards for excellence in teaching.

Faculty, staff and students will be inducted in ECU’s Servire Society, which honors dedication to service in the community. Some inductees will be honored with society membership for the sixth consecutive year.

Following the convocation, a 1 p.m. ribbon-cutting ceremony will celebrate the new location on the first floor of Joyner Library for the Office for Faculty Excellence, the Quality Enhancement Plan, the University Writing Center and the University Writing Program. A conference room in honor of Dorothy House Clayton also will be dedicated.

The annual celebration of Founders Day and University Awards Day commemorates the establishment of East Carolina University by the N.C. General Assembly 106 years ago.

via The Daily Reflector.

Apr 292013


Jayla Johnson,10, picks out some fruit to eat during an event at the Boys and Girls Club of Ayden on April 26, 2013.   (Aileen Devlin/ The Daily Reflector)

Jayla Johnson,10, picks out some fruit to eat during an event at the Boys and Girls Club of Ayden on April 26, 2013. (Aileen Devlin/ The Daily Reflector)

By Michael Abramowitz

Monday, April 29, 2013

AYDEN — Miss Greenville has a prescription for better nutrition, and the young people at the Boys & Girls Club in Ayden are all eating healthier because of it.

Theresa Hallatt, 23, Miss Greenville 2013, had been volunteering at the club for her undergraduate work in public health at East Carolina University, she said.

“I was helping the children with homework, reading with them and just falling in love with them,” Hallatt said.

Hallatt said the children would ask her for quarters for the vending machines. When she realized what they were buying — chips and soda — she was determined to find a way to replace the unhealthy snacks with more nutritious items.

“I don’t eat that stuff myself, but I found myself munching along with them,” Hallatt said. “So I decided to bring healthier things to the club for them and me to snack on.”

The idea caught on with the children, but Hallatt said she found that her personal budget would not stretch enough to sustain everyone’s needs.

She shared her dilemma with Jay Faron, then the executive director of the Boys & Girls Clubs, and told him she wanted to find a way to feed children healthy snacks and teach them that when they get hungry, they can grab an apple, orange or some trail mix instead of a bag of chips.

Faron told Hallatt he recently had received a $25,000 grant from Vidant Medical Center to fund a nutritional program but had not used it because he did not have enough manpower to execute it properly, Hallatt said.

“I told him I would find the manpower if he could fund a healthy nutrition program, and he said he could do that,” she said. “I called my mother on the way home and cried as I told her what might happen.”

With help from the faculty at ECU, Hallatt wrangled a grant for a one-year study to roll out the program, called Snack Rx, and track its effect on the children. She and two other ECU nutrition students — Lizzy Kroeger and Tara Harman — worked with the Ayden club members.

“They learned that good health starts at a young age,” Hallatt said. “Children who become obese at a young age generally carry that burden through life.

“We wanted to foster a different way for them to think about their health and good nutrition,” she said. “We teach them through this program to create and hold onto health eating habits themselves.”

Based on what the children had to say about the program and the things they have learned, the message is sinking in.

Jayla Johnson, 10, interrupted her snack of grapes, melons, cheese and hummus to talk about her new eating habits at the club and at home.

“Well, I don’t like the hummus so much right now, but I like the other stuff, and I learned how good fish is for you, and I didn’t know that,” Johnson said.

She recited the nutritional components in fish, including calcium and omega 3 acids.

Lamonna Cox, 9, ate some pita bread and pineapple, dipping celery into a bit of ranch dressing as she talked.

“I love pineapple. All of this is delicious,” she said. “And you know, if you don’t get enough calcium, your bones get like a sponge.”

Robert Ellis, Ayden Boys and Girls Club unit director, said he could not be more pleased about the change he has seen in his young members.

“Most of these kids needed an upgrade in their nutrition,” Ellis said. “We had to change the junk-food lifestyle to healthier eating habits. Theresa and her colleagues have done a remarkable thing with these children.”

Taking the fresh food mission at step further, John and Nancy Bray of A Time for Science have contributed a vegetable garden that the children can manage and gather healthy foods.

The Snack Rx program continues until August, but the club will encourage the children and search for more funding to keep the program going, Hallatt said.

Contact Michael Abramowitz at mabramowitz@reflector.com or 252-329-9571.

via The Daily Reflector.

Apr 292013


The Greater Greenville Community Foundation has received a $500,000 donation from John and Nancy Bray. They are joined by Mary Raab, left, a GGCF board member, and Melissa Spain, right, CEO of the Greater Greenville Community Foundation.

The Greater Greenville Community Foundation has received a $500,000 donation from John and Nancy Bray. They are joined by Mary Raab, left, a GGCF board member, and Melissa Spain, right, CEO of the Greater Greenville Community Foundation.

Monday, April 29, 2013


John and Nancy Bray of Pitt County recently presented the Greater Greenville Community Foundation a donation of $500,000 for the establishment of the John and Nancy Bray Charitable Gift Fund. The Brays are the owners and directors of A Time For Science, based in Grifton.

“The foundation is especially proud of the years of hard work and the lifelong commitment that the Brays have had to the area of science in eastern North Carolina,” Melissa Spain, CEO of the foundation, said. “We have had the privilege of working closely with the Brays for several years as they set up A Time For Science under the 501(c)(3) of the Greater Greenville Community Foundation. Their passion for science and their desire to create eastern North Carolina’s first science and nature center has been a lifelong dream for them and anyone who knows John and Nancy certainly have witnesses their dedication and commitment to making that a reality.”

A Time For Science is a nature and science learning center dedicated to encouraging environmental awareness and appreciation and to advancing science literacy and competency by encouraging and supporting active participation at all levels in science, technology, engineering and math activities and programs. A Time For Science partners with East Carolina University and Pitt Community College to incorporate programs and science related initiatives into the public school system.

“After lifelong careers for both John and Nancy with Metrics, the Brody School of Medicine and teaching in Pitt County Schools, both of the them were ready to put their passion for Science and Technology and Nature to work in a way that would improve eastern North Carolina while hopefully stimulating young people and adults alike to become better educated in Science and Technology and spark that interest in our young people to pursue careers in these areas,” Spain said.

via The Daily Reflector.

Apr 282013
Photos by Jay Clark/ECU News ServiceECU student Kim Opsal, right, and Monisha Mayo of J.H. Rose High School work together on team

Photos by Jay Clark/ECU News ServiceECU student Kim Opsal, right, and Monisha Mayo of J.H. Rose High School work together on team “Slim Jim” during ECU’s Steel Chef competition.

ECU notes:

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Orange juice, mint leaves and five medium turnips: they might not sound like the best mix for a sweet concoction, but at an East Carolina University culinary competition, those ingredients were combined into mint turnip cupcakes that took first prize.

The ECU Steel Chef competition was held April 3 at the Golden Corral Culinary Center on campus as part of the College of Human Ecology’s celebration of Hospitality Week.

The annual event pits teams of students against one another in an event modeled after television’s popular Iron Chef competition. Four teams of students were given two secret ingredients and told to complete an entrée and appetizer (or dessert) in just under an hour. In a new twist this year, each team included a mystery chef, chosen from students in J.H. Rose High School’s culinary arts program.

Now in its fifth year, the Steel Chef competition is gaining momentum. ARAMARK Culinary Director Chef Paul Cyr has served as head judge each year. He said the students’ creativity and competency levels have risen each year, but the turnip mint cupcakes were the most creative dish he has seen in the history of the competition.

The winning team, named “Lettuce Turnip the Beet,” included ECU students Jennifer Freeman, Amanda West and Elizabeth Kroeger with mystery chef Nydeira Council of J.H. Rose High School.

The other teams were “Legendiary,” with Frank Walsh, Ashton Kidwell and William Scott Allen; “NutriYummy!” with Ayushi Shah, Michelle LaRue, Maria Bailey and Matt Haak; and “Slim Jim” with Maryssa Kuchta, Andrew Reynolds, Kimberly Opsal and Monisha Mayo.

ECU hospitality leadership student Elizabeth Copeland has participated in Steel Chef for three years and managed this year’s event. “The event went very smoothly, especially given that we added the high school students to the mix,” Copeland said.

“I am very happy about how things turned out and quite proud of everyone because the food was delicious. Also, it was an amazing opportunity to work with ECU-TV to record the event for their channel. It really helps us to reach a broader audience,” she said.

J.H. Rose High School student Nydeira Council saw the competition as a way to challenge her problem-solving abilities. “Everything we learn in the food classes at school helped prepare me for the event, but being in the kitchen at Steel Chef really challenged me to think on my feet,” Council said.

“We are very proud of all of the student competitors – even if it was a nutrition team that ultimately won this hospitality event,” said Robert O’Halloran, chair of the School of Hospitality Leadership. “Next year we will reclaim the top spot!”


Dental faculty member named Apple Distinguished Educator


Dr. R. Todd Watkins Jr. of the ECU School of Dental Medicine has been named to the Apple Distinguished Educators Class of 2013.

Representatives of Apple were at the dental school April 17 to recognize Watkins, assistant dean for dental education and informatics. They also presented the school with the Apple Distinguished Program Award.

Apple described its distinguished educators as “part of a global community of education leaders recognized for doing amazing things with Apple technology in and out of the classroom. They explore new ideas, seek new paths, and embrace new opportunities.” Distinguished educators also advise Apple on integrating technology into learning environments and share their expertise with other teachers and policy makers.

“Dr. Watkins has a unique ability to visualize and implement education for the current generation of professional students,” said Dr. Greg Chadwick, dean of the ECU School of Dental Medicine. “All of the technologies that the ECU School of Dental Medicine has implemented and will implement focus on the mission of the program. It is truly innovation with purpose.”

Apple computers and mobile devices are the primary computer technology used at the dental school. Dental students, faculty and staff members use Apple laptops, iPhones and iPads for administrative work, teaching and communicating.

At ECU, Watkins has created customized problem-based learning networks, implemented seven different e-books/journals and has filed a patent for a new competency-based outcomes assessment engine in the form of a grid called XComP (extensible competencies platform), which is being prepared for commercialization through ECU.

“I have had an interesting career, balancing academic program development with corporate product development,” Watkins said. “I wish to use this opportunity to help develop the next generation of technology tools and educational strategies.”

Watkins, a native of Gastonia, has a bachelor’s and dental degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He completed an advanced education in general dentistry residency at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio and also served on the faculty there. His work in designing instructional software led to the creation of VitalSource, which develops electronic textbooks and other educational technology.

He is a member of the American Dental Education Association and the American Medical Informatics Association.

In January, the School of Dental Medicine was named an Apple Distinguished Program for 2012-2013 for the innovative implementation of technology in all aspects of its instructional, problem-solving and clinical education programs.


Upcoming Events


  • Today-Tuesday: “The Furies,” 2 p.m. today and 8 p.m. Monday and Tuesday at McGinnis Theatre. It is the final play in a trilogy of Greek tragedies written by Aeschylus, to be performed by the ECU/Loessin Playhouse. Tickets $12.50 for adults, $10 for students. Contact McGinnis Theatre Box Office at 252-328-6829 or 1-800-ECU-ARTS.
  • Wednesday: Founders Day/University Awards Day, 9 a.m. Hendrix Theatre in the Mendenhall Student Center. The event celebrates the establishment of ECU by the N.C. General Assembly 106 years ago. Top awards in teaching, engagement, research and creative achievement, leadership and the Centennial Awards for Excellence will be announced. Reception to follow the ceremony.

via The Daily Reflector.

Apr 282013
A crowd of supporters gather at the stage during the Relay for Life event held at South Central High School on April 26, 2013.   (Aileen Devlin/ The Daily Reflector)

A crowd of supporters gather at the stage during the Relay for Life event held at South Central High School on April 26, 2013. (Aileen Devlin/ The Daily Reflector)


“. . .the reason I was out here is if these cancer survivors battle cancer for so many years, I can give nine hours of my time to give back to them. ”

Joseph Main

PCC student

By Jane Dail

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Tents packed with people circled the track at South Central High School as participants walked laps, danced and did what they could to raise money and awareness to help cancer survivors and research.

More than 2,000 people attended the 28th annual Relay for Life of Pitt County fundraising walk on Friday and Saturday in an effort to stamp out cancer and help those suffering from the disease. All the money raised goes to the American Cancer Society, with part of the funds benefiting the McConnell-Raab Hope Lodge.

Ashely Lamprecht, community manager for the event, said this year’s fundraising efforts, which started on Sept. 1, have raised about $250,000 so far.

Lamprecht said there were 99 teams at this year’s Relay for Life and 1,047 registered participants. She said about 400 cancer survivors came to walk and show their support.

Event Chairwoman Carolina Smithwick said this year’s Relay for Life was the biggest ever. Smithwick said she and many others had been awake from 7 a.m. Friday until the end of the event noon on Saturday, fueled by caffeine and a passion for Relay for Life’s mission.

“It’s absolutely worth it,” Smithwick said. “We’re out here and we unify. … Cancer doesn’t sleep, and neither do we. We hate the disease. It’s such a great feeling, when I look and I see these people out here, it just makes everything worth it.”

Entertainment chairwoman Crystal Octigan said the event was a definite success, after hearing good feedback from participants and committee members.

“We think this has definitely been the best Relay for Life of Pitt County in a while,” Octigan said. “It definitely exceeded last year. They’re taking baby steps every year.”

To help keep the energy going throughout the night, the event hosted everything from Zumba classes to J.H. Rose High School’s marching band, as well as local bands, DJs, East Carolina University’s Drum Line and some musical performances from a cancer survivor and a family member of a someone taken by cancer.

Octigan said the different times of the day throughout the event were representative of a cancer survivor’s journey, starting with the diagnosis at daylight.

Then at twilight, it reflects the mental and physical components of battling cancer. The night time represents the challenges posed by radiation and chemotherapy, but then the morning light represents remission.

“It symbolizes that cancer never sleeps,” Octigan said. “That’s why we’re here 24 hours.”

Joseph Main, a Pitt Community College student, said this year was his first year volunteering at Relay for Life. He initially signed up for a few hours on Friday, but ended staying throughout the entire event.

“After being here, it was amazing,” Main said. “I kept telling people the reason I was out here is if these cancer survivors battle cancer for so many years, I can give nine hours of my time to give back to them.

“I’m definitely going to come back next year.”

Smithwick said her family has been affected by cancer, a reason why the event is so important to her.

“My dad is actually a cancer survivor of 11 years,” she said. “They gave him a prognosis that he would never see me graduate elementary school. We witnessed a miracle. And I lost my grandfather back in June to pancreatic cancer, so it’s close to my heart.”

Though the event was a success, Relay for Life’s fundraising efforts are not over, according to Octigan. Last year Relay for Life in Pitt County raised more than $370,000, and people have time to continue giving throughout August by visiting relayforlife.org and searching “Pitt County.”

“(The relay) ends up being in April, but our season doesn’t end in April,” she said.

Smithwick said the camaraderie she sees at Relay for Life helps propel the success of the event.

“We come together, we don’t know each other and we feel like a family,” she said. “… The whole point of this event is no one goes through this battle alone. Whether you’re a survivor, whether you’re a caregiver, whether you’re currently fighting, nobody does it by themselves.”

Contact Jane Dail at jdail@reflector.com or 252-329-9585.

via The Daily Reflector.