Sunday, August 30, 2015
Faculty convocation held
Making progress on the establishment of two new schools, an enrollment of 30,000 students and the largest fundraising campaign in school history are among East Carolina University’s priorities for this academic year, according to Chancellor Steve Ballard.
Speaking on Aug. 21 at the annual faculty convocation as the fall semester begins, Ballard noted several accomplishments during the past year, such as the recent Innovation and Economic Prosperity University designation from the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities and ECU’s ranking as the “Best Bang for the Buck” in the Southeast by Washington Monthly magazine in a list of universities that provide good educational and career outcomes for students.
Ballard outlined the following priorities for the academic year:
Increasing efforts to reward and retain faculty and staff:
Organizing the new Miller School of Entrepreneurship in the College of Business, funded by a $5 million gift from alumnus J. Fielding Miller;
Gaining approval of doctoral programs as part of establishing the ECU School of Public Health;
Developing the School of the Coast and, as part of it, a new joint doctoral program in coastal science and policy with the University of North Carolina at Wilmington;
Continuing to work on building a Millennial Campus.
“We have promised to help our students be successful, address the needs of North Carolina and be an economic engine for the east,” Ballard said. “Without question, we are serving our mission.”
He also stressed ECU is making these gains at a time of cutbacks in state support.
“No challenge is greater than continuing reductions in state appropriations and the uncertainty surrounding state support for the UNC system,” he said.
The university seeks to gain as much as $15 million in new net revenues by increasing enrollment to 30,000 from 27,500 during the next five years, Ballard said.
ECU also will continue work to streamline services and increase research funding, as recommended by the university’s Fiscal Sustainability Committee.
A pair of faculty members also addressed the audience.
Carol Goodwillie, an ECU associate professor of biology who received the 2015 UNC Board of Governors Excellence in Teaching Award, said she has begun implementing research into her teaching as well as engaging students in service-learning. For example, she took a group of students to Greenville’s River Park North to work on removing invasive Chinese lespedeza plants.
“If we ever manage to eradicate that species, there’s always kudzu,” she said, drawing laughter from the audience.
John Shearin, professor and director of the ECU School of Theatre and Dance, recalled a pair of one-act plays he wrote, directed and starred in early in his career.
The plays arose from his experiences as a soldier during the Vietnam War, and he recounted some of the emotional responses the performances drew from fellow veterans and what those reactions meant to him.
“It’s an experience I wish for all of my students,” he said.
John Stiller, an associate professor of biology and chair of the faculty Senate, led the convocation.
Classes started Monday for ECU students.
Three medical students earn top scholarship
Three medical students at ECU’s Brody School of Medicine have been awarded the most prestigious scholarship available at the university.
Anthony “Tony” Botros, John Hurley and Catherine Thriveni have been chosen for the Class of 2019 Brody Scholar award, valued at approximately $112,000. Each will receive four years of medical school tuition, living expenses and the opportunity to design their own summer enrichment program that can include travel abroad.
The award also will support community service projects the students may undertake while in medical school.
Botros, a Concord native, graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2014 with degrees in biology and chemistry.
“My career goal is to establish free health care clinics across the world that will operate and engage the community in a unique way,” Botros said.
“Because the Brody family has graciously borne the heavy financial burdens of medical school through the Brody Scholarship, I can begin pursuing my dream of opening up clinics for the underserved much sooner after graduation than I had planned,” he said.
Hurley, who hails from Monrovia, Md., served the Army as a medic for 16 years — most of that time at Fort Bragg — before attending Campbell University. He graduated in 2014 with a degree in applied science.
Leaning towards a career in internal medicine, Hurley enjoys working in remote, underserved areas.
“I feel that the greatest ability is squandered if not used for the greatest need,” he said. “I have the ability and the passion for difficult, remote work and am now being blessed with the education to support it.”
Thriveni attended North Carolina State University on a Park Scholarship, the university’s four-year merit scholarship program founded on scholarship, leadership, service and character. She recently completed her degree in biological sciences with a concentration in human biology.
She aspires to a career in primary care with a special focus on disease prevention.
“I’m passionate about providing care that encourages the overall wellness of the patient, physically and mentally,” she said.
“This year’s Brody Scholars were selected from an incredibly talented group of 80 incoming medical students,” Mark Notestine, president of the ECU Medical & Health Sciences Foundation, said. “They were chosen not only because of their outstanding academic accomplishments, but also because of their demonstrated leadership, altruism, caring, compassion and dedication to the future of medicine and to the future of North Carolina.”
In its 33rd year, the Brody Scholars program honors J.S. “Sammy” Brody. He and his brother, Leo, were among the earliest supporters of medical education in eastern North Carolina.
The legacy continues through the dedicated efforts of Hyman Brody of Greenville and David Brody of Kinston. Subsequent gifts from the Brody family have enabled the medical school to educate new physicians, conduct important research and improve health care in eastern North Carolina.
Since the program began in 1983, 131 students have received scholarships. About 70 percent of Brody Scholars remain in North Carolina to practice, and the majority of those stay in eastern North Carolina.