Category Archives: Faculty News

Ironsmith awarded Phi Kappa Phi Literacy Grant

Professor emeritus Marsha Ironsmith from ECU’s Department of Psychology was awarded a 2016 Literacy Grant from the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi — the nation’s oldest and most selective collegiate honor society for all academic disciplines. Ironsmith is one of 16 recipients nationwide to receive the award.

Ironsmith

Ironsmith (contributed photo)

The grant of more than $1,200 will be used to support a project that pairs East Carolina University psychology students with elementary-aged children attending an after-school program at Building Hope Community Life Center in Greenville. The center’s goals include strengthening academic achievement and character development.

As part of the project, ECU students facilitate the reading and discussion of books with characters from diverse backgrounds facing challenges familiar to the children. Discussions focus on encouraging empathy for others and are enhanced with creative writing, art, music and film projects to foster deeper comprehension.

The Phi Kappa Phi Literacy Grant program was established in 2003 to provide funding to Phi Kappa Phi chapters and active members for ongoing projects or new initiatives that reinforce part of the society’s mission “to engage the community of scholars in service to others.” Drawing from a multi-disciplinary society of students and scholars from large and small institutions, applicants are encouraged to consider literacy projects that have creative relevance to their disciplines and the needs of their communities.

Founded in 1897, Phi Kappa Phi inducts approximately 30,000 students, faculty, professional staff and alumni each year. The society has chapters at more than 300 colleges and universities in North America and the Philippines. Membership is by invitation only to the top 10 percent of seniors and graduate students and 7.5 percent of second-term juniors. Faculty, professional staff and alumni who have achieved scholarly distinction also qualify. The society’s mission is “to recognize and promote academic excellence in all fields of higher education and to engage the community of scholars in service to others.” For more information about Phi Kappa Phi, visit www.PhiKappaPhi.org.

–Jules Norwood

College of Arts and Sciences announces three new faculty leaders

East Carolina University’s Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences has announced the appointment of three new department chairs.

Dr. Jefferson “Jeff” Shinpaugh

Dr. Jefferson “Jeff” Shinpaugh, professor of physics and director of the ECU accelerator laboratory, is the next chair of the college’s Department of Physics, effective July 1.

Jefferson Shinpaugh (contributed photo)

Jefferson Shinpaugh (contributed photo)

Shinpaugh came to ECU in 1994. He oversaw and supervised a major renovation of the ECU Accelerator Laboratory, funded by the National Science Foundation and the ECU Division of Research and Graduate Studies, and he has been serving as interim chair of physics since July 1, 2015.

“I am honored to be selected as the next chair of the department, and I look forward to serving the department in this role,” said Shinpaugh. “We have great faculty who are committed to their research and are dedicated to teaching and student training at all levels in our BS, MS and PhD programs.”

Shinpaugh’s research interests include biological effects of radiation, radiation damage in materials and particle track structure, material analysis and modification using ion beams, and atomic collision processes. He has received more than $2.6 million in financial support from NASA, the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Department of Energy and has conducted experiments at various ion beam facilities in the U.S. and Germany.

As chair of physics, Shinpaugh has several goals for the department.

“One of our primary goals is to continue to expand our research programs in biomedical physics. We expect to strengthen our collaborations with the other science departments and with the medical school, and for our undergraduate programs, we expect to significantly increase the number of physics majors. A physics degree provides many career options, and our graduates have found very successful careers,” said Shinpaugh.

Dr. Alethia Cook

Dr. Alethia Cook, associate professor of political science and director of the security studies program, has been named chair of the Department of Political Science.

Alethia Cook (contributed photo)

Alethia Cook (contributed photo)

“I am very excited to have this opportunity to lead the Department of Political Science,” said Cook. “We have incredibly talented faculty and students who are among the best on campus. I’m looking forward to being in a position to help the department’s faculty and students achieve their goals.”

Coming to ECU in 2007, Cook’s attraction to ECU included her ability to be part of the Security Studies Program. Cook said it was particularly important that she play a role in developing the courses and curriculum for the Master of Science in Security Studies, which admitted its first students in 2010. Under Cook’s direction, the program has experienced continuous growth, including a new BA/BS Security Studies informal concentration created in the spring of 2015.

Cook’s research interests span various aspects of homeland and international security, including Weapons of Mass Destruction, terrorism, pandemic disease and the factors that influence violence in conflicts.

Since coming to ECU, Cook has published three books “Emergency Response to Domestic Terrorism: How Bureaucracies Reacted to the 1995 Oklahoma City Bombing,” “The United States and Iran: Policy Challenges and Opportunities” and “Drawing a Line in the Water: The Mavi Marmara Incident and Israel’s Naval Blockade of Gaza.” She has two additional works in development.

In her new role as department chair, Cook plans to build on the department’s strengths.

“Building on the department’s existing strengths will be an important factor,” said Cook. “These include a high level of scholarly productivity, strong and positive interaction with our students, interdisciplinary collaboration across campus and a growing Master of Science in Security Studies program. It is important to not lose sight of these areas where we are excelling.”

Dr. Marianne Montgomery

On August 16, associate professor of English Dr. Marianne Montgomery will step into the role of chair for the college’s Department of English. Montgomery came to ECU in 2006, and currently, she is serving as interim chair of the department.

Marianne Montgomery (contributed photo)

Marianne Montgomery (contributed photo)

“I’m excited by the opportunity to lead a vibrant, vital department whose work is central to ECU’s mission of student success, public service and regional transformation,” said Montgomery. “English is a big department, so this is a big new job. I am fortunate to have supportive and experienced colleagues in the department and in the college to help me to learn this new role.”

Montgomery, who specializes in Shakespeare and Renaissance drama and is particularly interested in English accounts of cultural encounter, including the work of the college’s namesake,Thomas Harriot.

“My goal is for English to be a department that works constructively with other units in the college and university, attracts lots of students and educates them well, uses its resources wisely to encourage productivity in teaching and research/creative activity, and celebrates individual and collective successes,” said Montgomery. “In the coming year, we will focus on recruiting, workload and our academic program review self-study.”

Dr. William M. Downs, dean of the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences, underscores the importance he places on these three programs as engines of excellence in the college.

“Political science, physics and English are disciplines that are absolutely essential for the success of the College of Arts and Sciences and for our university’s broader mission,” said Downs. “Together, they account for more than 700 of the college’s undergraduate and graduate majors.

“I have great confidence that these three new departmental leaders will work effectively to promote impactful research, provide inspirational teaching and serve our community. I am grateful to have their talents on the Harriot College leadership team.”

–Lacey Gray

Updated 1 Card design unveiled during orientation

The ECU 1 Card office has announced a redesign of the ECU 1 Card. Students attending the first New Student Orientation were among the first to receive a newly designed card. The new multi-purpose ID card will be phased in rather than doing a complete recarding of the entire campus community. Current 1 Cards will remain active.

The new card features a rendering of the cupola and university logo, along with the card holder’s name, photo, and designation, such as student, faculty or staff. It was a collaborative effort, with input from several campus constituents and student leaders, according to 1 Card Director Merlena Artis. The design was done by ECU Creative Services.

Also changing with this new class of East Carolina students is a new name for the Gold Key Account, one of the declining balance funds tied to the 1 Card. Bounty Bucks is the name of the account, making it more reflective of the university’s nautical themes. 

“We’re hoping students will find the new name fun, and be more inclined to join the number of students, faculty and staff who take advantage of the account,” said Artis. Given the enthusiasm at the first two orientation sessions, the account is becoming more popular than in previous years.

Funds in the Bounty Bucks account can be used for prescriptions and services at the Student Health Center, purchases at Dowdy Student Stores, payment of fines and fees at various campus locations, as well as at the 1 Card Office. A complete list of Bounty Bucks uses and how to add funds to the account is found on the 1 Card web site: www.ecu.edu/1card. Additional uses for this declining balance account are in the planning stages.

Earlier this year a new application for mobile devices was released called GET, where all card holders can see the balance of funds in accounts tied to their card. The GET application information is also available on computers through the Pirate Portal or the 1 Card website. Transaction history for 1 Card accounts, the ability to report your card lost, and view locations to use the 1 Card are available through GET. Through settings, users have an added security measure where they can mark their mobile device as lost and deactivate PIN’s that would be used for the GET application.

Another new feature underway is the ability for parents and family members to add funds to card accounts via the internet through TouchNet.  

Updated cards for staff and faculty will be phased in by departments at various intervals over the next two years. Employees will be notified when they can have their new card made. Current 1 Cards will remain active throughout the transition, including the GET and TouchNet features.

See the 1 Card web site for more information about card uses and security: www.ecu.edu/1card.

The ECU 1 Card is the official photo ID card for East Carolina University. All students, staff, and faculty need this card whenever they are asked to show university identification. The ECU 1 Card is used for spending accounts such as the Dining Plan and Bookstore account.  It is also used for specific building access and worn as an ID badge at the Brody School of Medicine and other locations. While the ECU 1 Card is required for identification purposes, other accounts linked to the card are optional.

–Leslie Craigle

Drs. Carabello and Kiser bring international experience to improve cardiovascular care in eastern NC

The Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University and Vidant Medical Center have appointed two acclaimed specialists to key leadership positions. Drs. Blase Carabello and Andy Kiser bring international experience and a new level of expertise in cardiovascular care to the East.

Drs. Carabello and Kiser

Drs. Carabello and Kiser

Carabello joins the ECU Department of Cardiovascular Sciences as chief of cardiology at Brody and director of the East Carolina Heart Institute (ECHI) at the medical center.

He is recognized worldwide in the field of valvular heart disease. He specializes in the care of patients with complex valvular heart disease and general internal medicine. He co-authored the AHA/ACC Guidelines for the Treatment of Valvular Disease from 1998 to 2016.

Carabello earned his MD degree from Temple University. He completed his training in both internal medicine and cardiology at Harvard Medical School.

“I’ve known a thousand doctors in my life but only 50 physicians,” said Carabello. “A doctor is a technologist. A physician understands the power of science and the importance of evidence-based medicine but also knows the limitations of those disciplines, and that’s where the art of medicine learned from experience takes over. That art and the willingness to feel the patient’s anxiety about his/her illness and calm that fear makes a physician a physician.”

Kiser joins the Department of Cardiovascular Sciences as chief of cardiac surgery and director of cardiovascular surgical services at ECHI. He arrives from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he was chief of cardiothoracic surgery.

An international leader in minimally invasive valve and coronary artery surgery, Kiser has particular expertise in interventional surgery to avoid incisions in the chest. He developed the suprasternal approach for transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR), and performed the first such procedure in the United States in 2015. He also pioneered paracardioscopic procedures to treat atrial fibrillation.

A North Carolina native, Dr. Kiser earned his BS and MD degrees with honors at UNC-Chapel Hill, followed by training there in general surgery and cardiothoracic surgery.

“The East Carolina Heart Institute has a long and outstanding history of providing excellent care to the people of Eastern North Carolina.  The cardiac surgery program is recognized as being one of the top 30 in the country for the best patient care and outcomes, better than 97 percent of all other cardiac surgery programs nationally,” said Kiser.

“This is an example of the commitment by the Brody School of Medicine and Vidant Health to have a heart team approach to care where the patient and family is central to our processes and decision making.  I am honored to be a part of this community and to be able to join such an outstanding team.”

–Amy Ellis

Brody School of Medicine names new chair of pediatrics

The Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University has named a new chair for the Department of Pediatrics. ECU neonatologist Dr. Jason Higginson assumed the role June 1.

ECU neonatologist Dr. Jason Higginson

ECU neonatologist Dr. Jason Higginson – the new chair of the Department of Pediatrics

Since joining Brody in 2012, Higginson has served as chief of neonatology for the department, medical director for the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and Newborn Medicine, and co-medical director for the James and Connie Maynard Children’s Hospital at Vidant Medical Center.

Prior to joining ECU, Higginson served at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, as assistant chief of graduate medical education, division head of research resources, medical director of the Neonatal High-Risk Clinic, and assistant division chief of newborn medicine. In addition, he served on active duty in the U.S. Navy from 2002-2012 and transitioned to the Navy Reserve in 2012.

He currently serves as the regimental surgeon for the U.S. Marine Corps Combat Logistics Regiment 45 and leads the U.S. Navy Reserve Medical Corps Pediatrics Specialty, advising the surgeon general of the U.S. Navy regarding pediatric policy and credentialing.

Higginson completed his medical degree at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California-Los Angeles, followed by an internship and residency in pediatrics at the University of California-San Francisco Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland. He then completed a fellowship in neonatal-perinatal medicine at the National Capital Consortium at Walter Reed.

“Dr. Higginson is an experienced clinician, researcher and administrator and brings an extensive skill set to the role of chair of the Department of Pediatrics,” said Dr. Paul Cunningham, dean of the medical school.

–Amy Ellis

Psychology professor selected for Hendrix Award

Associate Professor Dr. Lisa Campbell has been selected as the inaugural recipient of the Dr. William H. Hendrix Psychology Faculty Excellence Award.

Established by Dr. William H. Hendrix, who graduated as a psychology major from ECU in 1962, the award recognizes one psychology faculty member who demonstrated the highest level of excellence in scholarly achievements during the past academic year, excellence in teaching and mentoring activity, as well as service to the department, university and profession.

Dr. Lisa Campbell (Contributed photo)

Dr. Campbell’s scholarship focuses on ethnic disparities in pain conditions and cancer outcomes, as well as developing culturally sensitive psychosocial and behavioral interventions to enhance post-treatment quality of life in African-American prostate cancer survivors.

The award was announced at the Department of Psychology Graduate Recognition Ceremony on May 6. Dr. Susan McCammon, chair of the Psychology Department, described Dr. Campbell’s scholarship as valuable because it not only advances the field of health disparity research, but also offers interventions for disease and pain management to medically underserved populations.

Dr. Campbell was selected by a committee of three faculty in the psychology department as well as Dr. Cindy Putnam-Evans, Associate Dean for Research in the Harriot College of Arts and Sciences.

Hendrix, for whom the award is named, earned his masters and Ph.D. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology at Purdue University. After teaching and serving as head of the Department of Management at Clemson University, he was a distinguished Visiting Professor in the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Leadership at the United States Air Force Academy. He is now retired from academia, but his business, Hendrix and Associates, offers organizational consulting.

ECU faculty publish book after finding success in improving writing program

Members of East Carolina University’s English Department collaborated to publish a book they hope will help other higher education institutions harness the full potential of their writing programs.

After successfully utilizing the reaccreditation process to improve ECU’s writing program, faculty members Will Banks, Wendy Sharer, Tracy Morse and Michelle Eble co-edited, “Reclaiming Accountability: Improving Writing Programs through Accreditation and Large-Scale Assessments.” The book provides examples of how departments and writing programs have used accreditation to gain the kinds of benefits seen at ECU through similar initiatives around the country.

ECU English faculty members

ECU English faculty members (left to right) Tracy Ann Morse, William P. Banks, Wendy Sharer and Michelle F. Eble co-edited, “Reclaiming Accountability: Improving Writing Programs through Accreditation and Large-Scale Assessments.” (Contributed photo)

As part of the Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP), required for accreditation, the authors focused their efforts on specific initiatives that would help broaden the reach of ECU’s writing program. “We saw reaccreditation as an opportunity to rethink our first-year writing program and our writing-intensive program so they worked together more effectively at helping students move from beginning college-level writing and thinking across their years at ECU,” said Banks, associate professor.

According to Sharer, director of the QEP, some of the changes seen in the program at ECU include:

  • Additional peer consultants to work with students and faculty in all disciplines in a larger, welcoming University Writing Center.
  • A revised Writing Foundations curriculum that includes a new, sophomore-level composition course designed to help students transition into writing in their major areas.
  • Writing mentors embedded in writing-intensive courses across the curriculum.
  • A website that brings together writing-related resources.

Additionally, the university provided resources to help faculty learn new information about writing and how to teach it in major courses.

As part of the updated curriculum, the class “Writing About the Disciplines” was added for second-year students to make it easier to transfer their skills to writing for their disciplines. “We are making the writing that students are doing explicitly relevant to the writing they will do in their majors or even careers,” said Eble, associate professor.

Their book brings together a series of critical cases that show how accreditation has been used in similar ways at other institutions to effect change on campus and across various academic programs. It illustrates how faculty can use accreditation to cultivate campus-wide discussions of writing to better meet local student learning needs.

–Jamie Smith

Medical Education Day showcases innovation

East Carolina University’s Second Annual Medical Education Day was held April 20 at the Brody School of Medicine. The event showcased 27 projects related to undergraduate and graduate medical, nursing and allied health education from students and faculty across the health sciences campus.

College of Engineering student Samantha Hamann discusses her poster with Brody dean Dr. Paul Cunningham during the university’s second annual Medical Education Day.

College of Engineering student Samantha Hamann discusses her poster with Brody dean Dr. Paul Cunningham during the university’s second annual Medical Education Day.

The event provided faculty, residents and students the opportunity to present innovations in curriculum and teaching, educational research and leadership to a growing community of educators, leaders, scholars and learners to promote educational excellence.

The best oral presentation award was presented to Dr. John Norbury, clinical assistant professor in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, for his work entitled, “A Focus on Nerves and Joints: Impact of a Revised Curriculum for the 4th Year Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Clerkship at Brody School of Medicine.” Second place was awarded to Dr. Luan Lawson, assistant dean for curriculum, assessment and clinical academic affairs at Brody, for her presentation, “Implementation of an Interprofessional Simulation Curriculum for Medical and Nursing Students using TeamSTEPPS.” Third-year medical student David Baker took home the third-place award for his presentation, “Latino Lay Health Advisors Building a Healthier Community.”

The best poster award went to Dr. Shuhua Ma, a third-year pathology resident, for her project, “Implementation of Resident Sign Out with Functions to Compare Resident and Attending Reports.” Second place was scooped up by Samantha Hamann, a student in the Department of Biomedical Engineering, for her project, “A Shoulder Reduction Trask Trainer.” Third place was awarded to Melissa Barnes, a graduate student in the Department of Public Health, for her poster, “Inclusion of LGBT Health Topics in Curriculum at Brody School of Medicine.”

The event is an offshoot of Brody’s $1 million, five-year grant from the American Medical Association to help reshape how future doctors are trained.

To view the podium and poster presentations or to learn more about Brody’s AMA grant – the REACH Initiative – visit ecu.edu/reach.

–Amy Ellis

ECU chapter of Gold Humanism Honor Society inducts new members

An organization at East Carolina University honoring medical students and resident physicians who exemplify humanism and professionalism inducted 18 new members at an April event.

The Brody School of Medicine Chapter of the Gold Humanism Honor Society began in 2011, recognizing third-year medical students for demonstrated excellence in clinical care, leadership, compassion and dedication to service. Last year the chapter expanded to include resident physicians – each nominated by third-year medical students based on their commitment to teaching and compassionate treatment of patients and families, students and colleagues.

Resident physicians selected this year are Dr. Kenji Leonard (surgery); Dr. Aakash Modi (family medicine); Dr. Sean Marco (internal medicine); and Dr. Glenn Nanney (physical medicine and rehabilitation).

BSOM resident physicians

Front row: Drs. Kenji Leonard and Aakash Modi. Back row: Drs. Sean Marco and Glenn Nanney (Photos by Gretchen Baugh)

Additionally, 14 third-year students from the Brody School of Medicine were inducted into the society this year. They are Mark Ash, David Baker, Lauren Brown, Tiffany Byerly, Alexandria Dixon, Nicholena Etxegoien, Meagan Evangelista, Kevin Harris, Mehrin Islam, Mia Marshall, Eli Robins, Steven Roseno, Amanda Small and Zachary Wood.

BSOM students

Front row: Amanda Small, Mehrin Islam, Mia Marshall. Back row: Nicholena Etxegoien, Steven Roseno, Lauren Brown, Alexandria Dixon, David Baker, Zachary Wood, Mark Ash, Meagan Evangelista, Tiffany Byerly, and Kevin Harris (Eli Robins not pictured)

The students join thousands of honor society members in training and practice, inspiring and nurturing humanism in others. Membership in GHHS goes beyond selection and induction into an honor society; its members have a responsibility to model, support and advocate for compassionate, patient-centered care throughout their careers.

During their fourth year of medical school, student inductees select and execute a project that exemplifies humanism; participate in Solidarity Day, a nationwide initiative to highlight humanism in medicine; and sponsor a fundraising event.

Inspiration for the society began in the late 1990s when medical educators and residency program directors expressed the need for a way to identify applicants to residency training programs who had outstanding clinical and interpersonal skills.

The faculty adviser for the Brody chapter is Dr. Hellen Ransom of the Department of Bioethics and Interdisciplinary Studies.

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