Category Archives: Faculty

Brody dean launches staff initiative

Brody School of Medicine Dean Mark Stacy. (contributed photo)

Brody School of Medicine Dean Mark Stacy. (contributed photo)

The dean of ECU’s Brody School of Medicine, Dr. Mark Stacy, is seeking suggestions from Brody employees about how to “build a better Brody,” and he’s setting aside $100,000 to put their best ideas into practice.

The Brody Staff Leadership Initiative seeks to tap into the knowledge, experience and creativity of the medical school’s employees to improve office efficiency, morale, the work environment and the overall culture at Brody, Stacy said.

“Those employees who are closest to a process, who work in a certain area on a daily basis, are the ones who can best identify how to make things work better,” said Stacy. “I want to empower those people to influence positive change. This is their chance to make a difference.”

All Brody SHRA and CSS staff are eligible to submit a proposal. While employees are encouraged to work in groups to strengthen their requests, proposals from individuals will also be considered.

The deadline for entries is Dec. 15, 2017.

All submissions will be reviewed by a representative group of Brody staff and the Dean’s Administrative Leadership Team. Winners will be announced at a ceremony and celebration event Jan. 10.

All requests – and any questions – should be submitted to Gary Vanderpool, executive associate vice chancellor for health sciences administration and finance, at

For the proposal guidelines and template, visit


-by Amy Ellis, University Communications

ECU faculty members inducted as FAANS

College of Nursing faculty members Dr. Sonya Hardin, left, and Dr. Donna Lake, right, were inducted as Fellows in the American Academy of Nursing. They are pictured at the induction ceremony with Dr. Susan Kennerly, a professor in the College of Nursing who was inducted as a Fellow in 2016. (Contributed photos)

College of Nursing faculty members Dr. Sonya Hardin, left, and Dr. Donna Lake, right, were inducted as Fellows in the American Academy of Nursing. They are pictured at the induction ceremony with Dr. Susan Kennerly, a professor in the College of Nursing who was inducted as a Fellow in 2016. (Contributed photos)

Two East Carolina University (ECU) faculty members were recently inducted as fellows in the American Academy of Nursing. The College of Nursing’s Dr. Sonya Hardin and Dr. Donna Lake were honored during a ceremony at the academy’s annual conference Oct. 5-7, 2017, in Washington, D.C.

“I am proud to welcome this talented cohort of nurses as they join the ranks of the nation’s foremost health care thought leaders,” said Academy President Bobbie Berkowitz. “They bring a rich variety of expertise to the table, and we look forward to recognizing their accomplishments at our policy conference, and then working with them to transform health policy, practice, and research by applying our collective nursing knowledge.”

Selection criteria include evidence of significant contributions to nursing and health care, and sponsorship by two current Academy fellows. Applicants are reviewed by a panel comprised of elected and appointed fellows, and selection is based, in part, on the extent the nominee’s nursing career has influenced health policies and the health and wellbeing of all.

Dr. Sonya Hardin

Dr. Sonya Hardin

Hardin is a professor and the associate dean of Graduate Nursing Programs in the College of Nursing. She leads an interdisciplinary team as the program director for a $2.5 million Health Resources & Services Administration-funded Geriatric Workforce Enhancement Program grant.

With extensive national service with the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses setting national standards and developing the AACN Synergy Model for Patient Care, Hardin has impacted more than 80,000 acute and critical care nurses currently certified worldwide in adult, pediatric and neonatal critical care. She has disseminated the model through consulting at hospitals across the United States. She is certified in critical care and as an Adult Nurse Practitioner. She received her nurse practitioner training from ECU, a PhD from the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center and post-doctoral fellowships at UNC-Chapel Hill and Stanford University.

“It is an honor to be selected as a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing,” Hardin said. “My goal has been to make a difference in the outcomes of patient care and to strengthen the profession through patient advocacy. I am excited to have an opportunity to work with leaders within the US and from around the world to advance health policy and clinical practice.”

Lake is a clinical associate professor of advanced nursing practice and education. She has extensive international experience leading healthcare and academic teams within the Middle East, Europe, Latin America and Africa. Prior to ECU, she spent 25 years in various executive and clinical nursing roles culminating as Colonel in the U.S. Air Force. She has also played an instrumental role in the improvement of corporate quality policies, health promotion and primary care for 68 medical facilities worldwide.

Dr. Donna Lake

Dr. Donna Lake

Lake is the only nurse representative on the $11 million American Medical Association grant-funded initiative Redesigning Education to Accelerate Change in Healthcare (REACH), creating the first of its kind “Teachers in Quality Academy.” She received her BSN from Stony Brook University of New York, a Master’s of Education from the University of Oklahoma and a PhD from Touro University.

“Being inducted as a Fellow into the American Academy of Nursing is a very exciting and a prestigious honor,” Lake said. “Having met many of the Fellows during the induction and conference, it was incredible to learn of their expansive clinical, research, and global and national leadership impacts to the profession of nursing and healthcare delivery systems.

“I am more energized and look forward to my Fellow responsibilities and ECU faculty role to continue my work in engaging with other health leaders in transforming American’s health system, strengthening nursing and health delivery systems, nationally and internationally.”

Hardin and Lake are among 11 inductees from the state of North Carolina this year. They join five other current ECU College of Nursing faculty members as FAANs.

The academy is comprised of more than 2,500 nurse leaders in education, management, practice, policy and research. Fellows include hospital and government administrators, college deans and renowned scientific researchers.


-by Natalie Sayewich, University Communications

First-Generation College Celebration

First-generation students are defined broadly (neither parent has completed a four-year degree) or narrowly (neither parent has any postsecondary education).  With nearly one-third of freshman cohorts across the country designated first-generation, colleges and universities are building programs and resources specific to them and their needs.  ECU is no different.

According to the 2014 Beginning College Survey of Student Engagement (BCSSE) survey, between one-third and one-half of all first-time, full-time students entering ECU in Fall 2014 would be considered first generation students. For example, 55% of respondents to BCSSE indicated that no parent/guardian had a bachelor’s degree or higher and 33% indicated no parent had any schooling beyond high school. (Note: The 2017 BCSSE was administered during this past summer orientation).  

ECU is poised to continue intentional program for first-generation students and their families in order to address the challenges and needs of these students.  We begin by joining institutions around the country in celebrating first-generation college students, faculty, and staff on our campus.

Sponsored by NASPA – Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education and the American Association of Colleges & Universities (AACU), and ECU’s Division of Student Affairs, the inaugural First-Generation College Celebration is being celebrated nationally on November 8, 2017.  As a first-generation administrator, faculty, staff, and/or student, we invite you to join us in celebration.

Please respond at this link:


For more information, contact Dr. Mary Beth Corbin at or 252-328-4173.




Invasive species exhibit opens at N.C. Estuarium

East Carolina University biologist April Blakeslee and students in her lab have created a new exhibit on invasive species at the North Carolina Estuarium in Washington. The exhibit will be unveiled Thursday, Oct. 26 at 4:30 p.m.

ECU biologist April Blakeslee and art and design student Kayla Clark have created a display about invasive species at the N.C. Estuarium in Washington. The exhibit opens Thursday, Oct. 26. (contributed photos)

ECU biologist April Blakeslee and art and design student Kayla Clark have created a display about invasive species at the N.C. Estuarium in Washington. The exhibit opens Thursday, Oct. 26. (contributed photos)

Funded by N.C. Sea Grant with additional contributions from the N.C. Estuarium and ECU’s Department of Biology, Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences, and Division of Research, Economic Development and Engagement, the exhibit highlights Blakeslee’s research on zombie crabs — mud crabs infected with a parasite that takes over their reproductive systems — as well as notable invaders such as lionfish and hydrilla.

“We hope that visitors will come away with a better understanding about invasive species and will be fascinated by this host-parasite system and also the important role that parasites can have in ecosystems” said Blakeslee. “They will also learn more about how each person can make a difference in preventing the spread of invaders by not releasing unwanted pets; cleaning boats of attached algae, plants and animals; cleaning boots — essentially, the message that every person can make a difference in conservation-related efforts.”

ECU art and design graduate student Kayla Clark was instrumental in the design of the exhibit, Blakeslee said. “The exhibit is truly interdisciplinary, bringing art and science together for educating about an important conservation issue.”

The zombie crab parasite is a kind of barnacle, called Loxothylacus panopaei or Loxo for short, that is native to the Gulf of Mexico but is now being found along the east coast as far north as Long Island Sound. Blakeslee and her students dubbed the infected crabs zombie crabs because they continue living but are reproductively dead. The parasite also affects the crab’s behavior, causing it to protect the egg sac as if it were the crab’s own young. The protective behavior is found not only in female crabs, but also in males, which would not normally exhibit such tendencies.

By hijacking the mud crabs’ reproductive system, Blakeslee said the parasite could have a dramatic impact on the population. She and a team of researchers are monitoring mud crab populations in eastern North Carolina to assess and track the spread of the parasite.

The N.C. Estuarium is located at 223 E. Water St. in Washington. For more information visit


-by Jules Norwood, ECU News Services

Joyner Library team develops resource to improve student literacy skills

Two faculty members from Joyner Library have produced a new digital resource targeted to help students successfully complete research assignments.

Information Literacy Concepts, an open educational resource created by David Hisle, learning technologies librarian, and Katy Kavanagh Webb, head of research and instructional services, introduces high school, community college and college students to information literacy topics and gives them an overview of how to conduct their own research.

Open educational resources (OERs) are free to access and are openly licensed text, media and other digital assets used for teaching, learning, assessing and research. They also are commonly used in distance education and open and distance learning.

“By choosing to publish their textbook as an OER, Hisle and Webb have not only created a clearly-written, well-organized and thorough text that that can be used in multiple educational settings to teach information literacy concepts, but also one that can be freely customized or modified by other instructors to suit their teaching styles and their students’ learning needs,” said Jan Lewis, director of Joyner Library.

This openly accessible primer also provides learners with an overview of major information literacy concepts identified in the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy.

According to its introductory framework, “Students have a greater role and responsibility in creating new knowledge, in understanding the contours and the changing dynamics of the world of information, and in using information, data and scholarship ethically.”

“We want to prepare our students for today’s rapidly changing information landscape,” said Hisle. “Information literacy skills are essential not just in the work they do as student researchers, but also as college graduates who will need to know how to find and evaluate information to meet their real-world information needs.”

Intended learners for this resource include students in their final year of high school as well as those in the first year or two of college. Specifically, these are learners encountering college-level research assignments for the first time.

Because these students are likely unfamiliar with many basic research concepts, this OER will guide them to fulfill the university’s expectations for conducting research and locating high-quality sources for their research-based assignments.

Content includes chapters stemming from navigating search engines, library databases and discovery tools, to evaluating source credibility and recognizing fake news.

“This freely available e-textbook will be a critical supplement for librarians at ECU (and beyond) to give a big-picture view of the skills that students will need to engage in to produce their own high-quality research,” said Webb. “We have tried to write the book in a way that it would be applicable to students in a variety of contexts, whether they are completing assignments for a writing composition course, in their majors or in a semester-long research skills course.”

Information Literacy Concepts is available at

For more information please contact David Hisle at or Katy Kavanagh Webb at


-by Kelly Rogers Dilda, University Communications

Host named new leader at School of Theatre and Dance

Jayme Host brings an infectious enthusiasm and high energy as the new director of the School of Theatre and Dance at East Carolina University.

She said she was drawn to the school because of its exceptional faculty, quality of students and stellar reputation.

“The theater world and the dance world is small, so you know where excellence resides,” Host said. “I’m excited to be in this position.”

Host brings 22 years of higher education experience to ECU, previously serving as professor and program head at Lock Haven University in Pennsylvania.

“Jayme comes to us with a great deal of experience in arts leadership,” said Dr. Chris Buddo, dean of the College of Fine Arts and Communication. “In particular, she has been very active in building arts-based curricula and programs.”

Jayme Host (Photo by Cliff Hollis)

Jayme Host (Photo by Cliff Hollis)

Host has extensive experience in accreditation, fiscal sustainability and facilities and production management.

She said she maintains an “umbrella vision” to keep track of internships, academics and the ever-shifting job market for her students. “I hope to be a bridge from their collegiate life to professional life,” Host said.

Host will be the school’s third director since it began in 1963.

“Jayme is coming to us at a time of significant change for the School of Theatre and Dance,” Buddo said. “She has a record of being a force for positive change wherever she has been, and I am confident that she will be able to take our program to the next level. I am thrilled to have a her as a member of our college leadership team.”

Host served as a consultant for the Pennsylvania Department of Education and worked with the Maryland State Board of Education. As a teaching artist, she held residencies with the Maryland Artist Teacher Institute, the Prince George’s County Artist Teacher Institute, the 21st Century Teaching Institute and the Global Arts Integration Network.

She taught in residence at the Riverside International School in Prague, Czech Republic in 2016 and was invited to return as their dance scholar-in-residence.

“I’m an educator and artist at heart,” Host said.

She choreographed for the Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company of Salt Lake City, Utah, as well as the Momentum Dance Company from Panama. The University of Maryland-College Park commissioned her piece, “The Decadent Ball,” which was selected for performance on the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage.

A Sunbury, Pennsylvania, native, Host earned her bachelor’s degree at Goucher College and a master’s at the University of Utah. In addition to performing modern dance internationally, she taught at Goucher and was a certified dance teacher for a performing arts magnet high school in Baltimore County, Maryland, before joining Lock Haven.

Host and her husband, Andrew, have three children, Tanner, Talia and Jack.

(Some information provided from “Revue,” the College of Fine Arts and Communication annual publication).

–by Crystal Baity

ECU’s Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences announces new department chairperson

East Carolina University’s Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences has appointed the next chairperson for the Department of Geography, Planning and Environment. Dr. Thad Wasklewicz, ECU professor of geography, with research interests in geomatics and geomorphology, is currently the director of the Terrain Analysis Laboratory. He steps into his new role as department chair effective August 1, succeeding Dr. Burrell Montz, who has served as chairperson since coming to ECU in 2009.

“I am both grateful to professor Montz for her exemplary leadership over the past eight years and excited to have professor Wasklewicz joining the college leadership team,” said Harriot College Dean William Downs. “Thad will bring us new vision, new energy and a keen commitment to advancing research, teaching and service in this important academic unit.”

“I’ve had an amazing working relationship with Burrell,” said Wasklewicz. “She leads by example and has created a working environment that permits faculty to keep research productivity in our program at an extremely high level. As a department, we have been lucky to have her as a chair, and we look forward to her continued efforts in the program as a faculty member.”

Wasklewicz came to ECU in 2007 as an associate professor and became full professor in 2014. Over the past decade, he has been actively involved in the department through teaching, mentoring students as honors thesis, thesis and dissertation chair or committee member, serving the university and department on multiple committees, and collaborating with colleagues from a variety of departments at ECU, and other universities, on research related to environmental change detection and geospatial technologies to collect and measure these changes.

Dr. Thad Wasklewicz (contributed photo)

Dr. Thad Wasklewicz (contributed photo)

“It’s been a great pleasure working with ECU students. I’ve been working with undergraduate students in the research process and many of those undergraduate students have moved up to the master’s program,” said Wasklewicz. “To see them make it through an undergraduate honors thesis, through their masters and then get employed in positions where their expertise is respected and utilized, has been a very rewarding part of working at ECU.”

In his new role as department chair, Wasklewicz plans to build on the department’s strengths, which include continuing to mentor the faculty and pushing them to succeed, and supporting the involvement of students through a newly developing leadership program. Other initiatives he intends to promote include more international student activities, and continuing to grow numbers and increase the active participation of students in the ECU Geo-Club, which is active in the local community.

“I am excited and ready to promote our program in a manner that grows student interest and increases our presence in the eastern North Carolina community,” said Wasklewicz.

Other goals are to increase marketing of the Planning and Geography programs to attract more students and funding, and perform more service-oriented community activities grounded in current departmental research.

“Our program is not a typical destination place for students coming out of high school,” said Wasklewicz. “Trying to figure out ways to make the Department of Geography, Planning and Environment more of a destination location for students by interacting with local high schools and community colleges, and building stronger connections between programs here on campus – to not only increase our majors but increase the number of students involved in our classes – is one of the things I’d like to see progress during my tenure as chair.”

Among many research interests, Wasklewicz primarily focuses on high-resolution topography and applying topography to understand how hazards like debris-flows initiate and propagate within steep mountainous watersheds. Also, he has a keen interest in how debris flows impact built environments in close proximity to the mountain fronts. These interests have allowed Wasklewicz to conduct research in many locations in the eastern and western parts of the United States, Japan and Central America.

Throughout his time at ECU, Wasklewicz has received more than $2 million in grants and contracts, and he has been invited to present his research more than 90 times at professional meetings and university seminars nationally and internationally. He is the author, or co-author, of more than 40 articles and chapters published in peer-reviewed journals and books.

Wasklewicz is a member of the Association of American Geographers, the Geological Society of America and the American Geophysical Union. He was also a recent visiting Research Fellow at the University of Tokyo and is the current Chair of the Environmental and Engineering Division of the Geological Society of America. His past awards include an ECU Scholar-Teacher Award, the Geological Society of America Gladys Cole Award, an USGS Senior Scientist in Residence Award and a National Science Foundation Career Development Award.

Wasklewicz received his Ph.D. and M.A. degrees in geography from Arizona State University in 1996 and ‘92 respectively. He received his B.S. degree in geography from Plymouth State College in Plymouth, N.H. in 1991.


Contact: Lacey Gray, director of marketing and communications, Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences,, 252-737-1754

ECU dean elected American Board of Family Medicine board chair

A dean of the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University has been elected chair of the American Board of Family Medicine (ABFM) Board of Directors.

Dr. Elizabeth Baxley, senior associate dean for academic affairs and professor of family medicine at the Brody School of Medicine, will lead the second-largest medical specialty board in the country for a one-year term.

The ABFM works to improve the health of the public by certifying family physicians; setting training standards; funding, conducting and publishing research; and collaborating with other specialty boards and organizations.

Dr. Elizabeth Baxley (contributed photo)

Dr. Elizabeth Baxley (contributed photo)

As chair, Baxley said she plans to emphasize the ABFM’s ongoing improvements in the process of continuous certification and work to optimize communication about these processes with family physicians and the public.

“Our challenge is to continue to evolve and innovate in a way that assures the public of the quality and competence that accompanies board certification, while at the same time reducing burden on front-line family physicians,” she said. “I love this work. It reminds me that at every level, medical education has a public trust to uphold. We need to take that commitment to our students, our residents and the patients they will serve very seriously.”

As senior associate dean for academic affairs at Brody, Baxley has oversight of critical areas of the school of medicine, including admissions, student affairs and academic support, medical student curriculum and evaluation, simulation programs, development of faculty, and diversity and inclusion efforts. Shortly after joining ECU in 2012, Baxley led efforts that resulted in a $1 million American Medical Association grant for the school to help accelerate change in medical education by incorporating training in patient safety, quality improvement, interprofessional care and population health into the medical student curriculum.

Prior to joining ECU, Baxley spent 18 years as a faculty member at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine, where she served as chair of the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine. Additionally, she was a faculty member at AnMed Family Residency for five years after her training and subsequently was an associate professor of family medicine at Indiana University School of Medicine. She received her Doctor of Medicine from the University of South Carolina School of Medicine, completed a family medicine residency at AnMed Family Medicine in Anderson, South Carolina, and a faculty development fellowship at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine. Baxley earned her bachelor’s at Clemson University.


-by Angela Todd, University Communications

Social work faculty member appointed to Pitt County board

Dr. Shelia Bunch, professor and director of the School of Social Work at East Carolina University, has been appointed to the Pitt County Board of Social Services.

Dr. Shelia Bunch (contributed photo)

Dr. Shelia Bunch (contributed photo)

Effective July 1, she will serve through June 30, 2020. Drew Pledger, chair of the North Carolina Social Services Commission, announced Bunch’s appointment on June 30. She was sworn in July 11.

“I am excited about the appointment,” Bunch said. “Our School of Social Work has a great working relationship with the local DSS agency, which employs many of our alumni and serves as a field internship site for our students.”

Bunch received her bachelor’s degree from ECU, a master’s in social work from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a doctoral degree from North Carolina State University.

Her research interests include rural domestic violence, rural social work education, issues related to children and families and social inequality.

The Pitt County Department of Social Services is a human services organization that provides many programs including food and nutrition services, adult protective services, child services including child support enforcement, and emergency assistance to residents.


-by Crystal Baity

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