Category Archives: Conferences

REDE retreat discusses interdisciplinary research

Cross-discipline research was the topic at hand June 20 at the 2018 Research, Economic Development and Engagement Interdisciplinary Research Retreat held at Greenville’s Eastern Area Health Education Center.

More than 80 East Carolina University researchers and department leaders joined REDE for the event, which included guest speakers from the University of Kentucky, North Carolina State University and the National Science Foundation.

The retreat focused on the growing role and success of interdisciplinary research at major universities.

Interdisciplinary research is a type of research done by teams that integrates information, data, tools, perspectives and techniques across academic departments. This type of work brings together engineers, biologists, economists and psychologists, for example, to solve a need.

“We want our researchers to cross traditional academic boundaries and work together to support ECU’s research mission,” said Jay Golden, vice chancellor for research, economic development and engagement. “It’s a difficult process to begin; it’s not easy reaching across departments to find one another and create meaningful partnerships. However, we have to start reaching across disciplines to come up with solutions to the health, educational and economic disparities our region faces.”

Robert Smart, from left, Elizabeth Blood and Tyrone Borders answer questions during a panel discussion at the 2018 Research, Economic Development and Engagement Interdisciplinary Research Retreat held June 20 at Greenville’s Eastern Area Health Education Center. (Photos by Matt Smith)

Robert Smart, from left, Elizabeth Blood and Tyrone Borders answer questions during a panel discussion at the 2018 Research, Economic Development and Engagement Interdisciplinary Research Retreat held June 20 at Greenville’s Eastern Area Health Education Center. (Photos by Matt Smith)

Current trends

Elizabeth Blood, program director at the NSF, said her organization has seen a shift in funding from individual-led projects to team-oriented interdisciplinary research projects.

From 2004-13, NSF funding for multiple primary investigator research projects rose 40 percent from $1.5 billion to $2.1 billion. The rise has been stark in science and engineering funding, Blood said, with more team-led papers receiving acknowledgments from academic publications.

“We’re seeing a convergence in research toward working together to solve specific and compelling problems with deep integration across disciplines,” Blood said. “Interdisciplinary research combines knowledge, methods and expertise from different disciplines, allowing research to form new frameworks that advance scientific discovery and innovation.”

Blood said the NSF has shifted its focus to 10 big ideas – including harnessing data, understanding the “rules” of life and navigating the new Arctic. The foundation provides tools to help researchers solve these problems, including its solicited interdisciplinary programs, research centers, education training and the National Ecological Observatory Network.

The NSF also provides best practices for team-led interdisciplinary research, including project management guidelines, technology application and training strategies.

“Researchers and universities have to take into account that interdisciplinary teams are not only built upon intellectual skill,” Blood said. “You have to take into account that project leadership, project management, data management and innovative training techniques are necessary pieces of grant proposals.”

Interdisciplinary success and rural health

N.C. State University’s Robert Smart also touched on the benefits of interdisciplinary research, specifically within his university’s research clusters and its Center for Human Health and the Environment.

In 2011, N.C. State launched its Chancellor’s Faculty Excellence Program, which brought together researchers across a range of academic disciplines to tackle global issues. While the creation of the clusters took time to develop, Smart said that the university has seen early successes from its 20 cluster programs. The programs include topics ranging from digital transformation of education to genetic engineering and society.

“The creation of our clusters allowed faculty to create new interdisciplinary groups and have new interactions between and within disciplines,” Smart said. “It was a bottom-up process with faculty proposals and submissions driving the problems our clusters aim to solve.”

Smart also described the development of N.C. State’s Center for Human Health and the Environment, which promotes interdisciplinary research not only at N.C. State, but also at other academic institutions. Six ECU researchers are members of the CHHE.

“CHHE has developed three interdisciplinary research teams that cut across different disciplines including genomics, veterinary and human medicine, epidemiology, exposure science, statistics, bioinformatics, genetics, cell and developmental biology, and toxicology,” Smart said. “We’re using researchers from different academic areas to solve problems like GenX contamination in the Cape Fear River and providing data for student and teacher professional development programs and activities.”

Tyrone Borders, director of the University of Kentucky’s Rural and Underserved Health Research Center, discusses rural health trends at the 2018 REDE Interdisciplinary Research Retreat.

Tyrone Borders, director of the University of Kentucky’s Rural and Underserved Health Research Center, discusses rural health trends at the 2018 REDE Interdisciplinary Research Retreat.

Tyrone Borders, director of the University of Kentucky’s Rural and Underserved Health Research Center, added that interdisciplinary research can be done on a variety of topics pertinent to eastern North Carolinians.

“In the future, population health – including understanding widening mortality rates and increasing suicide rates – and facilitating rural health care access are going to be important research topics,” Borders said. “These topics pull in researchers from economics, psychology, sociology, public policy and epidemiology, creating an environment that not only fosters research across disciplines, but one that has to have interdisciplinary research to survive.”

ECU’s research mission

In conjunction with ECU’s Rural Prosperity Initiative, the university has increased interdisciplinary research efforts.

In 2017, ECU launched seven university-wide research clusters – with an eighth planned this fall – that provide a framework for fostering interdisciplinary research, outreach and engagement. The clusters bridge the gap between industries and ECU’s research projects, which makes it easy for researchers to pursue innovative research that forges new intellectual directions and discoveries.

ECU and REDE are also exploring ways to highlight researchers for their interdisciplinary efforts. The division has changed how sponsored awards are credited. Faculty on interdisciplinary projects can have a portion of the award credited to them and to their departments and colleges so that the value of the individual contribution to the team is acknowledged and accounted for.

In addition, REDE funds, which in previous years were used to support pilot projects and preliminary data gathering, will be funneled through ECU’s research clusters, which are interdisciplinary in nature.

“It’s important that our faculty, staff and students support the growth of research on campus,” Golden said. “REDE is a service organization. We want to support our faculty and students in their pursuit of research activities to make positive impacts in our region.

“We’re going to continue to work to find ways to overcome barriers to interdisciplinary research so we can become America’s next great national university,” he said.

 

-by Matt Smith, University Communications

Conference promotes diversity, inclusion

Keynote speaker Derrick Jefferson, an academic librarian at American University in Washington, D.C. presented to a crowd of 125 attendees. (Photos contributed by Joyner Library)

Keynote speaker Derrick Jefferson, an academic librarian at American University in Washington, D.C., presented to a crowd of 125 attendees. (Photos contributed by Joyner Library)

A recent conference at ECU aimed to promote a better understanding of diversity and inclusion among paraprofessional library staff across the state.

Joyner Library’s 14th annual Paraprofessional Conference, “Navigating the Path to Diversity,” was held May 11 for school, public and academic library staff, who aren’t professionally licensed librarians.

The conference provided 125 attendees an array of sessions and presentations focused on the concept that libraries should be inclusive environments that make their many resources available to all individuals in the communities they serve.

It also offered guidance on how library staff might better navigate their roles and responsibilities in creating safe environments by embracing concepts that promote an understanding of diversity.

“I think for really inclusive organizations to come into fruition, people are going to have to back down a little bit and listen,” said keynote speaker Derrick Jefferson, an academic librarian at American University in Washington, D.C. “Really listen. Then listen to more people. And it’s going to take a lot of talking, and a lot sharing, and a lot of conversations. I think that’s when we begin breaking down walls.”

David Hisle presented an iPad photography application and challenged participants to a self-guided tour of the library.

David Hisle presented an iPad photography application and challenged participants to a self-guided tour of the library.

For many individuals and communities, a library may be the only free source of computer and Internet access, classes and events, and special support for the disabled. Libraries also offer facilities where academic and civic groups can congregate around various local and national topics.

Attendees participated in a raffle for the chance to win amazing door prizes, announced at the end of the conference.

Attendees participated in a raffle for the chance to win amazing door prizes, announced at the end of the conference.

“Libraries aren’t just books, but a pulse for the neighborhood,” said Jefferson, who earned a master’s in library information sciences from Louisiana State University. As a graduate student he also worked as a Project Recovery scholar in New Orleans, using grant funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services to help rebuild libraries and educate library science students after the devastating storms of 2005.

Jefferson recommended social media as a good resource for library paraprofessionals to stay up-to-date on the diversities within their communities. He said Twitter in particular can be an excellent resource for libraries to connect with people in the real world in real time.

“You have to remember when you took your very first breath in this world we live in, the mold was broken. You are exactly who you are meant to be. Don’t forget that,” he said. “How you represent your organization matters. How we keep that growing more powerful than any fear is by working together. From the strength we possess as a group, to each of us on a microscopic level – we can make change.”

Joyner Library’s SHRA Assembly sponsored the event, with additional funding provided by the ECU’s Office for Equity and Diversity and the Master of Library Science Program.

 

-by Kelly Rogers Dilda, University Communications

Eastern AHEC, ECU and Camp Lejeune partner on new military-civilian cardiac conference

More than 250 military and civilian health professionals came together for a new educational conference entitled Premature Cardiac Death in Eastern North Carolina on May 8 at Camp Lejeune.

Held at Camp Lejeune, the first Premature Cardiac Death in Eastern North Carolina conference brought together more than 250 military and civilian health professionals. (Photos by Jackie Drake)

Held at Camp Lejeune, the first Premature Cardiac Death in Eastern North Carolina conference brought together more than 250 military and civilian health professionals. (Photos by Jackie Drake)

This collaboration allowed physicians, nurses, first responders and others to share and discuss best practices for prevention, intervention and emergency response for cardiac events and cardiovascular disease. The conference was jointly provided by Eastern Area Health Education Center Department of Nursing and Allied Health Education, the Office of Continuing Medical Education and the Department of Cardiovascular Sciences of the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University, in partnership with Naval Medical Center Camp Lejeune.

Dr. D. Lynn Morris, chief of interventional cardiology at the East Carolina Heart Institute and professor of cardiovascular sciences at the Brody School of Medicine, spoke at the conference at Camp Lejeune.

Dr. D. Lynn Morris, chief of interventional cardiology at the East Carolina Heart Institute and professor of cardiovascular sciences at the Brody School of Medicine, spoke at the conference at Camp Lejeune.

The program was a success, according to Dr. Mary Wilson, assistant director for nursing education at Eastern AHEC. “Participants were able to gain a deeper understanding of the various types of cardiovascular disease that impact many in our region, current treatment guidelines and research findings,” Wilson said. “Overall, the conference provided an opportunity to learn about the unique health care needs of eastern North Carolina and facilitate joint efforts to coordinate patient care for both military and civilian populations.”

More than 18,000 people in North Carolina died from heart disease in 2016, according to the State Center for Health Statistics. A number of counties in the east, such as Lenoir and Jones, have cardiovascular disease death rates above that of the state. This issue also affects military personnel.

“Events like this allow us to learn from one another,” said Capt. James Hancock, commanding officer of Naval Medical Center Camp Lejeune, during opening remarks. “We each bring something unique, different capabilities to the table, and today we have an opportunity to share those talents and education. The future of health care in eastern North Carolina depends on us working side-by-side.”

Mildred Carraway, director of continuing medical, pharmacy and dental education at Eastern AHEC, shakes hands with Capt. James Hancock, commanding officer of Naval Medical Center Camp Lejeune.

Mildred Carraway, director of continuing medical, pharmacy and dental education at Eastern AHEC, shakes hands with Capt. James Hancock, commanding officer of Naval Medical Center Camp Lejeune.

“I was really excited about collaborating with the military health care system,” said Dr. J. Paul Mounsey, chief of electrophysiology at the East Carolina Heart Institute. “I enjoyed interacting with the military physicians. We got a lot of positive feedback and the participants asked great questions. There was a good exchange of ideas. There is huge potential for the future in our goal of improving health care in eastern North Carolina.”

Upcoming continuing education and professional development events from Eastern AHEC include a Military Women’s Health Symposium on Sept. 19 and a Cardiovascular Symposium on Dec. 6. For more information, visit www.easternahec.net.

 

-by Jackie Drake, Eastern AHEC

Tarboro native and entrepreneur Janice Bryant Howroyd to keynote annual Business Leadership Conference

East Carolina University’s College of Business (COB) will hold its fourth annual Business Leadership Conference April 10-11 at the Mendenhall Student Center.

The two-day conference, open to COB juniors, seniors and graduate students, complements the intensive leadership preparation students receive while enrolled. Speakers and breakout sessions will prepare students for the realities of the business world and provide opportunities to interact with conference speakers, ECU’s Business Advisory Council, alumni, employers and community members.

Janice Bryant Howroyd (Contributed photo)

Janice Bryant Howroyd (Contributed photo)

Janice Bryant Howroyd, founder and CEO of ActOne Group, will be this year’s keynote speaker. She will speak Tuesday, April 10, from 1-1:45 p.m. in Mendenhall’s Hendrix Theatre.

More than 40 additional leaders and entrepreneurs representing hospitality, banking, finance, accounting, sporting and health care industries will participate in more than 25 breakout sessions during the event.

Discussions include:

  • CEO lessons learned with Chad Dickerson, former CEO with ETSY and John Chaffee, CEO with NCEast Alliance.
  • Paths to sports marketing jobs presented by Kelly Jones of the Columbus Blue Jackets and Ryan Erdman of the Carolina Hurricanes.
  • From student to professional with COB alumna Angelina Brack, VP with JPMorgan Chase, who will talk about how students should focus on their foundation.
  • Words of wisdom from Business leaders Tom Arthur, retired CEO of Havatampa, Bob Arthur, retired president of Philadelphia Investment Management Company, and CEO Eddie Smith of Grady-White Boats.

Approximately 1,000 business students are expected to attend this year’s conference.

“This is my favorite time of year at the College of Business,” said COB Dean Stan Eakins. “During the conference, students will be able to hear from major national and international leaders that represent a variety of backgrounds and successes. I, for one, can’t wait to hear what these leaders have to say.”

Born in Tarboro, Howroyd founded ActOne Group in 1978. Today, the company is a multibillion-dollar global enterprise with multiple divisions including AppleOne (staffing), ACheck Global (background checks and screening), and AgileOne (workforce, total talent management and procurement solutions). Each of these divisions service unique areas of workforce needs and provide total talent communities and management solutions across the globe. Staffing offices are located in more than 300 cities across the United States and Canada. ActOne Group does business in 21 countries and addresses the needs of workforce, technology and competitiveness.

Howroyd also is the author of “The Art of Work: How to Make Work, Work For You” and serves on academic and industry boards that promote the education and support of women and minorities in business.

“We are looking forward to hosting Ms. Howroyd,” said Eakins. “She spoke at last year’s conference and the feedback was so tremendous, we asked her to be the keynote for this year. We are so honored and proud that she accepted.”

For more information about the Business Leadership Conference and a detailed program, visit http://www.ecu.edu/cs-bus/conference/.

 

-Contact: Michael C. Rudd, College of Business, ruddm16@ecu.edu, 252-737-4574

ECU to host international media and gender conference

East Carolina University will host the 2017 Console-ing Passions: International Conference on Television, Video, Audio, New Media and Feminism July 27-29. Registration will be held in the Bate Building at 8 a.m. each day.

Console-ing Passions was founded in 1989 by a group of feminist media scholars and artists looking to create a space to present work and foster scholarship on issues of television, culture and identity with an emphasis on gender and sexuality. Console-ing Passions is comprised of a board of scholars whose interests converge around the study of media. The first CP conference was held at the University of Iowa in 1992.

The conference promotes the discussion and awareness of issues of gender identity and expressions, among other topics. More than 200 people — undergraduate students, graduate students, professors, independent scholars and artists — will be presenting scholarly and creative work at the conference.

In support of its mission to rally the community towards a more productive dialogue about gender identity and representation, civil rights and public policy, the conference will feature two lunchtime roundtables devoted to discussing LGBT-related legislation in North Carolina. The conference will also host a fundraiser for ECU’s LGBT Resource Office on Friday, July 28 at Crave Restaurant, with music by Greenville’s Nuclear Twins. Funds raised will support student scholarships.

The conference’s opening session will take place at 6 p.m. July 27 in the Faulkner Gallery in Joyner Library.

Console-ing Passions is celebrating 25 years of international feminist media studies scholarship, and the CP@ECU plenary will be a celebration of the conference’s origins and founders. Two of the conference’s original founders — Mary Beth Haralovich of the University of Arizona and Lauren Rabinovitz or the University of Iowa — will reflect on Console-ing Passions’ origins, history and future. Board member Brenda Weber of Indiana University will also speak about how the organization has grown and changed over time and about the future of feminist media studies.

The conference keynote will begin at 6 p.m. in Fletcher Hall on July 29. Keynote speaker Michelle Lanier is the director of the North Carolina African American Heritage Commission and senior program director of Traditions & Heritage at the N.C. Arts Council. After a welcome by ECU Provost Ron Michelson, Lanier will deliver her talk, “Pine Straw, Tobacco Fund & the Secret/Sacred ‘Beading Bees’: Making Place and Meaning on these Afro-Carolina Landscapes.”

For more information, please visit http://www.console-ingpassions.org.


Contact: Dr. Amanda Klein, ECU Department of English, kleina@ecu.edu

ECU hosts the Academy of Leisure Sciences Teaching Institute

East Carolina University’s Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies in the College of Health and Human Performance hosted the 2016 Academy of Leisure Sciences Teaching Institute Feb. 24-26.

Nearly 90 professionals nationwide attended the event themed: Honoring the Past, Treasuring the Present and Shaping the Future.

“The ALS Teaching Institute provided all participating faculty and students interested in teaching the opportunity to learn best practices and new pedagogical innovations to help reach a new generation of students,” said Dr. David Loy, associate professor in the Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies.

ECU Associate Professor Dr. Richard Williams speaks at the 2016 Academy of Leisure Sciences Teaching Institute (Photo by Chuck Baldwin)

ECU Associate Professor Dr. Richard Williams speaks at the 2016 Academy of Leisure Sciences Teaching Institute (Photos by Chuck Baldwin)

Session topics included faculty collaboration between and within disciplines, fostering digital literacy and utilizing online and technological resources as educational tools.

The department’s planning committee included Drs. David Loy, Paige Viren, Clifton Watts and Nelson Cooper.

“Our planning committee for the teaching institute wanted to demonstrate East Carolina University’s leadership in integrating technology in higher education,” said Loy. “What a great opportunity for our peers to see the wonderful things we are doing here as East Carolina.”

ECU Professor Dr. Abbie Brown, Department of Mathematics, Science and Instructional Technology Education, delivered the keynote address entitled, The Networked Teacher: Instruction that Honors the Past, Keeps Pace with the Present and Looks to the Future.

“The Academy of Leisure Sciences Teaching Institute has a long history,” said Cooper.

ECU hosts the 2016 Academy of Leisure Sciences Teaching Institute Feb. 24-26.

ECU hosts the 2016 Academy of Leisure Sciences Teaching Institute Feb. 24-26.

“Recreation, parks, tourism, sport, and leisure educators from across the nation gather biennially to discuss best practices and share success stories of successful teaching and learning in our discipline. This was the first time East Carolina hosted the Teaching Institute and we were really excited to be selected.”

The institute aims to share information among recreation, parks, tourism, sport and leisure educators concerning traditional and new trends related to education, education administration, teaching, research so that educators can remain current in the techniques, content, and skills needed in higher education, according to the website.

–Kathy Muse