Category Archives: Faculty News

Dean Stephen W. Thomas honored with retirement reception

Retiring dean Dr. Stephen Thomas and his wife Melody stand beside the portrait unveiled at a retirement ceremony. (Photo by Gretchen Baugh)

Retiring dean Dr. Stephen Thomas and his wife Melody stand beside the portrait unveiled at a retirement ceremony. (Photo by Gretchen Baugh)

By Lauren Edmondson
College of Allied Health Sciences

Faculty and staff from across East Carolina University gathered at the East Carolina Heart Institute on Oct. 13 to honor Dr. Stephen Thomas, who will retire as the dean of the College of Allied Health Sciences this month after 34 years with the college.

Thomas came to ECU in 1980 as a faculty member in the rehabilitation studies department, tasked to start and direct the vocational evaluation master’s degree program. He was named chair of the department in 1998 then later named interim dean of the College of Allied Health Sciences in April 2001.

After his promotion to dean in 2003, Thomas led the college through several new endeavors including the move from its former location in the Belk Building to the new Health Sciences Building in 2006, and a name change to the College of Allied Health Sciences from its original name, the School of Allied Health Sciences.

The retirement reception included food and fellowship, and several gifts and honors were presented to Thomas in thanks for his service and dedication to the field. Along with a certificate of appreciation for his work with the annual Jean Mills Health Symposium, Thomas received the honor of being named Dean Emeritus and a gold stole signifying that new role.

Following the presentations, words of gratitude and praise reflected the dean’s loyalty and passion for the allied health sciences, along with quips about Thomas’ notoriously messy office. Speakers included Vice Chancellor of Health Sciences Dr. Phyllis Horns; deans from across the health sciences campus; his daughter, Dr. Darby Thomas; and chairs of the eight allied health departments.

Thomas then took the podium to thank those in attendance for their continued commitment to the college. He recognized his chairs, faculty, staff and fellow administrators, and then thanked his wife Melody for her unwavering support during his years as dean, interim dean, chair and faculty member at the college.

The evening closed with the unveiling of a portrait of Thomas painted by artist Irene Bailey to be displayed in the Health Sciences Building.

Prior to joining ECU, Thomas held academic, research and administrative positions with the University of Arizona in Tucson, the University of Wisconsin-Stout in Menomonie and the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. Thomas earned his doctorate of education and his master’s degree in rehabilitation studies from the University of Arizona and his bachelor’s degree in psychology and sociology from Texas Christian University in Fort Worth.

Thomas said that he bases his leadership philosophy on a quote by mariner and author John Rousmaniere that states, “The goal is not to sail the boat, but rather to help the boat sail herself.”

ECU professor receives gubernatorial appointment

By Kathy Muse
Health and Human Performance

Gov. Pat McCrory has appointed East Carolina University assistant professor Dr. Beth Chaney to the North Carolina Substance Abuse and Underage Drinking Prevention and Treatment Task Force.



The task force consists of 20 members appointed for a two-year term.

“I am honored to be appointed to the Governor’s task force and am hopeful that we will make positive impacts related to substance abuse and underage drinking prevention,” said Chaney.

Chaney leads a team of ECU researchers in an alcohol field study conducted in downtown Greenville.  The study results will provide important data related to drinking behaviors of over 1,000 bar patrons for the task force to consider when developing recommendations for approaches to address the hazardous drinking issues in North Carolina.

“The behaviors associated with high-risk drinking are complex. Solutions to this problem will demand a multileveled approach, involving changes not only at the individual level, but also at the institutional, community and policy levels,” said Chaney.

Members are charged with preparing a comprehensive plan to address the underage sale and use of alcohol and drugs, risky behaviors and substance abuse among collegians.  Additional work includes providing treatment and recovery services for individuals struggling with substance abuse, according to the executive order which created the task force. “I look forward to working with the task force members to begin to develop strategies for tackling these problems, said Chaney.”

“Substance abuse and underage drinking are critical public health concerns,” said Dr. Glen Gilbert, dean of the College of Health and Human Performance.  “Beth’s service on this task force will add a researcher that understands the behavior of this important population as well as practical approaches to address the issues.”

The task force will build on statewide prevention, treatment and enforcement initiatives implemented by the Alcohol Beverage Control Commission, Alcohol Law Enforcement Division, the Department of Health and Human Services and the UNC system.

The governor signed the executive order at ECU May 14.  ECU is one of six University of North Carolina campuses that will take part in a pilot program that will emphasize prevention and treatment.

Chaney earned a bachelor’s degree in biology and a master’s degree in health studies from The University of Alabama.  She received a doctorate in health education from Texas A&M University.

Business faculty report publications

Faculty in the College of Business have reported recent publications as follows:

  • By Ericka Lawrence (Management), “A Tale of Perception: The Role of Perceived Intent on OCBs and Interpersonal Relationships” in the Journal of Behavioral and Applied Management.
  • By Chris Furner (Management Information Systems), “A multinational study of espoused national cultural and review characteristics in the formation of trust in online product reviews“ in the International Journal of Services Technology and Management.
  • By Denise E Dickins (Accounting), “Practitioner Summary: Offshoring Audit Tasks and Jurors’ Evaluations of Damage Awards Against Auditors“ in the journal, Current Issues in Auditing.
  • By Scott Dellana with John Kros (Marketing and Supply Chain Management), “An exploration of quality management practices, perceptions, and program maturity in the supply chain“ in the International Journal of Operations and Production Management.
  • By Cody Chullen (Management) with James Zemanek (Marketing and Supply Chain Management), “Tribalism among US-Based Premier League Supporters Groups: A Tribal Marketing Perspective“ in Innovative Marketing. Also by Chullen, “How Does Supervisor Burnout Affect Leader-Member Exchange? A Dyadic Perspective” in the International Business & Economics Research Journal.
  • By Jack Karns (Finance), “The Kovel Rule: Extension of the Attorney-Client Privilege to Accountants and Other Professionals in Tax Cases“ in Trinity Law Review.
  • By Stacey Robinson (Marketing and Supply Chain Management), “Using an Old Dog for New Tricks A Regulatory Focus Perspective on Consumer Acceptance of RFID Applications“ in the Journal of Service Research; and “Touch vs. Tech: When Technology Functions as a Barrier or a Benefit to Service Encounters“ in the Journal of Marketing.
  • By Scott Dellana (Marketing and Supply Chain Management), “A Quality and Partnering-Based Model for Improving Supply Chain Performance“ in the International Journal of Strategic Decision Sciences.


Bauer, Rulifson selected as distinguished professors



Two professors in the ECU Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences were inducted as distinguished professors at the college’s annual faculty convocation Aug. 25. The honor is traditionally bestowed upon one individual at the beginning of each academic year.

Margaret Bauer, Rives Chair of Southern Literature in the Department of English and editor of the North Carolina Literary Review, and Roger Rulifson, professor in the Department of Biology and senior scientist with the ECU Institute for Coastal Science and Policy, were selected.

The professorship is the highest honor within the college and is conferred upon a professor whose career exemplifies a commitment to and a love for knowledge and academic life, as demonstrated by outstanding teaching and advising, research and creative productivity, and professional service.

“After this year’s review of nominees, we were so impressed with the exceptional quality of our colleagues that we did something unconventional – unprecedented as far as I know,” said Dr. William Downs, dean of Harriot College. “We found two Harriot College faculty members ‘equally deserving’ of the Distinguished Professorship. And despite everybody telling me that making two awards ‘just isn’t done,’ that is precisely what we are doing this year.”

“At a time when the value of the humanities is often overlooked, I am pleased that ECU’s new Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences starts his first year recognizing the importance of research in the humanities as well as the sciences, and I look forward to seeing Harriot College shine a light on the excellent research and creative activity of many of ECU’s humanities faculty in the future,” said Bauer.



“I am very honored to be chosen for the title of Distinguished Professor of the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences by Dean Downs,” said Rulifson.

“I think of the past recipients, and I know that I will have a challenge ahead to live up to their legacy. I truly appreciate the latitude and encouragement from the Dean’s Office over 30 years to teach what I love to teach, and to conduct research on coastal issues with Biology graduate and undergraduate students, without whom I could not have accomplished so much in the name of East Carolina University.”

For additional information, contact Bauer at 252-328-1537 or, or Rulifson at 252-328-9400 or

Work by ECU art professor named to top 100

Work by ECU art professor Scott Eagle will appear in the Creative Quarterly. (Contributed photo)

Work by ECU art professor Scott Eagle will appear in the Creative Quarterly. (Contributed photo)

Scott Eagle, assistant director and director of graduate studies in the School of Art and Design, has been selected by Creative Quarterly ( as one of their top 100 creatives for 2013. A panel of international judges picked the top 25 pieces for special recognition in each of four categories – fine art, graphic design, illustration and photography. Eagle’s work will appear in the Creative Quarterly Magazine being distributed this fall.

Since early 2000, Eagle has collaborated with author Jeff VanderMeer, a winner of the British Science Fiction Association Award, 2 World Fantasy Awards, finalist for the Hugo Award and author of more than 20 books including “The Steampunk Bible: An Illustrated Guide to the World of Imaginary Airships, Corsets and Goggles, Mad Scientists, and Strange Literature ” and “The Southern Reach Trilogy.”

Last October, VanderMeer published “Wonderbook; The Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction” ( in which Eagle had four artworks used as illustration on seven pages, an interview and a full page photograph that he took of his studio shelves. This guide to writing imaginative fiction takes a completely novel approach and fully exploits the visual nature of fantasy through original drawings, maps, renderings and exercises to create a spectacularly beautiful and inspiring object. Employing an accessible, example-rich approach, “Wonderbook” ( energizes and motivates while also providing practical information needed to improve as a writer. In June, Wonderbook won the Locus Award for best nonfiction and has been nominated for the Hugo Awards.

Additional artwork by Eagle also can be seen locally in a new exhibit at the Pitt County Arts Council at Emerge in the Edwards & Wooten Gallery from Sept. 5 through Sept. 26. Eagle and artist Tim French, a 2011 ECU MFA alumnus, are featured in the “Psychodrama” exhibition. An opening reception will be held Sept. 5 during the First Friday Artwalk in uptown Greenville. French teaches art at Pitt Community College.


Ice cream social honors provost


Derek Maher, associate professor in philosophy and religious studies, shares a laugh with Marilyn Sheerer during her ice cream social celebrating her service to the university since 1996 as professor, department chair, dean and provost.

The June 26 event allowed faculty and staff from across campus to hug Sheerer and wish her well in the next phase of her academic career. She steps down as provost Aug. 15.

One of those well-wishers was Rita Reaves, interim director of Office of Academic Program Planning and Development. “What she has done has helped us remember what’s important – the students who are here and the relationships we can establish to support them.”

(Photos by Cliff Hollis)


Jorgensen urges parents to teach kids about money




ECU professor Dr. Bryce Jorgensen was featured on, and in an article about teaching children about money. Jorgensen said that teaching children financial literacy at early age is critical. “Money influences…marriage, children, where we work, how much we pay in interest, whether we can get a loan, how much debt we are in, a comfortable retirement,” he said.

Read the article. Read the Fox article.   Read the NASDAQ article.

Center for Sustainability Announces 2013-2014 Outstanding Affiliate Faculty Member

Dr. Scott Curtis, associate professor in the Department of Geography, Planning and Environment, has been selected for the 2013-2014 Outstanding Affiliate Faculty Member of the Year Award for the Center for Sustainability. The Center for Sustainability is housed in the College of Engineering and Technology at ECU.



Since 2008, Curtis has contributed to both the Center’s research and outreach activities and to the learning experiences of the students pursuing the master’s in sustainable tourism.

As the faculty lead in the Climate, Weather and Tourism Initiative, Curtis co-hosted the first Southeast U.S. Regional workshop for tourism businesses, researchers and policy-makers, chaired a master’s thesis addressing information use in decision-making by tourism businesses and conducted a focus group of tourism business owners in Beaufort, North Carolina on the effects of weather on tourism products and services.

Curtis received his bachelor’s in environmental sciences at the University of Virginia and then received his master’s and doctorate in atmospheric and oceanic sciences from the University of Wisconsin. His research areas include climate variability and smallholder farming in the Caribbean, climate, weather, and tourism and coastal storms.

Curtis co-authored the “Climate, Weather and Tourism: Bridging Science and Practice” publication, has presented at six conferences on behalf of the Center, developed the Seasonal Weather and Tourism Dispatch and contributed to the National Climate Assessment- Southeast Climate Consortium report. He participates in a wide range of Center- and student-sponsored events.

– Margaret Turner

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