Category Archives: International

Cool classes: 12 unique courses offered this fall

With classes starting up again this week, here’s a look at some of the coolest courses East Carolina University is offering this fall, with topics ranging from Atlantis to Italian geology. If you’re not a student, these classes will make you wish you were. If you are a student, you might just want to pick up one (or more) of the courses below.

ECU student Grace Ward listens to a lecture during a finance class in the SciTech Building on Jan. 25, 2018.

ECU student Grace Ward listens to a lecture during a finance class on Jan. 25, 2018. (Photo by Rhett Butler)

ANTH 1001: Aliens, Atlantis and Archaeology

Did aliens build the Egyptian pyramids? Does Atlantis really exist? Are mermaids real? This course critically examines some of the extraordinary theories concerning archaeological sites and artifacts. Students will learn how to assess claims about the past and gain appreciation of its many different reconstructions, though not all equally plausible.

MERCH 3003: Athleisure Wear

Leggings and Lycra aren’t just for the gym anymore. Activewear or athleisure – casual clothes that can be worn both for exercise and general use – has become a popular trend with global sales expected to top $350 billion in 2020. In this class, students will learn about the markets for athleisure and the merchandising strategies that have turned activewear into a lifestyle shift.

FINA 1904: Personal Finance

ECU’s wildly popular personal finance class combines practical money-saving tips and entertaining lessons to teach students how to be savvy spenders. Taught by Mark Weitzel and Len Rhodes, this class attracts 500 students per semester. Weitzel and Rhodes challenge students to save $100,000 collectively each semester by utilizing the tips they teach, a challenge the students have met for the past 10 years.

Len Rhodes co-teaches the personal finance class with Mark Weitzel. They engage students by making the subject fun and memorable.

Len Rhodes co-teaches the personal finance class with Mark Weitzel. They engage students by making the subject fun and memorable. (Photo by Rhett Butler)

GEOL 1500: Dynamic Earth

It’s one thing to study geology in your own backyard. It’s another thing entirely to study geology in the shadow of Italy’s volcano, Mt. Vesuvius. This course covers the same basics of geology covered in classes on ECU’s main campus, but adapted for ECU Tuscany, the university’s year-round study abroad program in Italy. Students take field trips to the Amalfi Coast and Cinque Terre, where they get to see coastal processes take place on beaches and cliff sides, and to Pompeii, where they see the remnants of a city buried under volcanic ash. Rocks just got a whole lot more interesting.

Students taking GEOL 1500 study the Italian coastline as part of the ECU Tuscany program..

Students taking GEOL 1500 study the Italian coastline as part of the ECU Tuscany program. (Photo by Cliff Hollis)

LING 2720: Invented Languages

In this course, students learn about invented languages such as Klingon and Elvish and are guided in creating their own invented language. The language will be built up incrementally over the course of the semester, starting with individual sounds and ending with brief conversations. Throughout the course, students learn about the features that human languages have and share. In other words, time to brush up on your Dothraki.

POLS 3037: Campaigns and Elections

Only offered during presidential and midterm election years, this course examines the key issues, questions and controversies that surround the study of campaigns and elections in the United States. The midterm elections in November will be enormously important –deciding whether Democrats can gain control of Congress or if Republicans will keep their hold on the legislative branch – giving students plenty to discuss.

HIST 6850 – Field Research in Maritime History

There’s something undeniably right about ECU Pirates working on various shipwreck sites. Past maritime studies students have explored shipwrecks in the Outer Banks, Bermuda and Saipan, uncovering artifacts and piecing together various mysteries at sea.

ECU maritime studies professor Bradley Rodgers and a team of students mounted the first scientific exploration of an unidentified shipwreck site in Bermuda.

ECU maritime studies professor Bradley Rodgers and a team of students mounted the first scientific exploration of an unidentified shipwreck site in Bermuda. (Photo contributed by the National Museum of Bermuda)

ENGL 2570: The Supernatural

Ever heard of the graveyard under Curry Court or the ghost of Cotten Hall? This folklore class explores supernatural narratives and campus lore. Students in the course organize a ghost walk on campus.

HIST 3635: Samurai History and Cinema

This course title (and coolness) is self-explanatory, but let us elaborate. Students study the samurai as a warrior elite in Japanese history and, most especially, film representations of the samurai and Japanese history. In addition to developing a critical perspective on claims about the samurai, the course provides a good introduction to the larger field of Japanese history from ancient times to the present.

HNRS 2013: Becoming Tomorrow’s Leader

Taught by former ECU chancellor Steve Ballard, this honors course is a practical guide to leadership that will teach students the skills to make a positive difference. Emphasis will be placed on understanding leadership’s joys, challenges and landmines as well as determining what kind of leader a student wishes to be. Students will learn vital lessons from great leaders and improve their own capacity to lead.

KINE 1010: Fitness Walking

New studies show there can be substantial health benefits to using a pet to be more active.

The Department of Kinesiology is ahead of the curve with its fitness walking class. For the past five years, it has partnered with the Pitt County Animal Shelter to have students walk shelter dogs for class credit. Cute dogs + exercise = win-win.

ECU freshmen Alexis Parker, left, and Kristen Lovick pet Duke as they relax on campus. Lovick and Parker exercise and play with dogs available for adoption at the local animal shelter..

ECU freshmen Alexis Parker, left, and Kristen Lovick pet Duke as they relax on campus. Lovick and Parker exercise and play with dogs available for adoption at the local animal shelter. (Photo by Rhett Butler)

COAS 2150 – Boating Skills and Seamanship

Small boat safety and seamanship skills are at the center of this class, where students can truly feel like pirates on the open seas. Landlubbers need not register, matey.



-by Erin Shaw, University Communications

ECU anthropology professor named director of international initiatives for Harriot College

East Carolina University anthropology professor Dr. Megan Perry has been appointed director of international initiatives for the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences, effective July 1.

“I’m thrilled to have her expertise and her energy for this important component of our college mission,” said Dr. William M. Downs, dean of Harriot College.

Dr. Megan Perry, associate professor of anthropology and director of international initiatives, Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences. (Photo by Rhett Butler)

Dr. Megan Perry, professor of anthropology and director of international initiatives, Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences. (Photo by Rhett Butler)

In her new role, Perry, who also serves as director of graduate studies for anthropology, will act as college liaison to ECU’s Office of Global Affairs. She will lead efforts to expand study abroad opportunities for Harriot College students, coordinate scholarships, review proposals for faculty-led programs, promote integration of international experiences into curricula and increase the college’s presence of international scholars for short- and long-term residency.

“It’s a new challenge for me. So that always excites me,” said Perry. “I think international education is really important. It opens up a lot of opportunities for our students and professors.”

Perry said her tasks and goals will include making study abroad programs in Harriot College more cohesive; creating a central place where students can find funding for study abroad – making that process easier; seeking out and identifying countries where ECU can establish a more formal partnership; and consolidating sources for faculty who want to go overseas for research, perhaps through an exchange program.

“When I start, I want to meet with faculty who already have international connections. It will be a lot of exploratory work in the beginning,” said Perry.

She also hopes to help facilitate the ability of international students to come to ECU and take a few classes or connect them with professors who they may want to perform research with for a semester.

“I want to increase participation in international programs by both students and faculty, and increase the international perspective of our curriculum,” said Perry.

Perry came to ECU in 2003 after earning her doctoral degree from the University of New Mexico in 2002. She teaches courses on human osteology, death and disease in classical antiquity, and forensic anthropology.

Her research focuses on 1st century B.C. – 7thcentury A.D. Jordan. She has worked on archaeological projects in Jordan for nearly 25 years and is co-director of the Petra North Ridge Project with Dr. S. Thomas Parker of North Carolina State University.

For additional information, contact Perry at perrym@ecu.eduor 252-328-9434.


-by Lacey Gray, University Communications

Visiting Fulbright scholar makes strides in disaster prevention research

Eastern North Carolina’s history with natural disasters helped draw a Fulbright research scholar to East Carolina University this semester.

Victor Oladokun is a professor of industrial engineering from the University of Ibadan in Nigeria. Since beginning his visit with ECU’s Department of Geography in December, he’s been working on developing models that help communities that are prone to flood hazards and disasters.

Victor Oladokun has been at ECU this semester through the Fulbright Scholar program. (Photos by Cliff Hollis)

Victor Oladokun has been at ECU this semester through the Fulbright Scholar program. (Photos by Cliff Hollis)

The Fulbright program is a flagship educational and cultural exchange program that allows students, professors and researchers to study abroad in many countries.

Oladokun chose to study at ECU because of the protocols that have been put in place due to natural disasters that have affected the area in the past.

“After Floyd in 1999, Greenville and, indeed, North Carolina have carried out a lot of flood risk management and resilience initiatives that offer research interests and ECU researchers are heavily involved in those research initiatives,” he said.

As an industrial engineer, his interest in geography began by trying to cross multi-disciplinary skills to his research. He began looking at bigger socio-economic and socio-ecological challenges that have been confronting Nigeria. Geography and urban planning gave him an outlet to expand his research.

Visiting Fulbright Research Scholars Victor Oladokun studies natural disasters.

Visiting Fulbright Research Scholars Victor Oladokun studies natural disasters.

Oladokun said ECU’s geography department has been wonderful hosting him and his family and he feels that the department itself is one big family.

“The department chair, Dr. Wasklewicz, Dr. Montz, and other faculty and staff have gone extra miles to make sure we are comfortable,” he said.

Aside from being a professor, Oladokun is also the author of the book, “Essentials of Career Success: A Career Guide for Young People.” The book is a counseling guide targeting high school students on how to make life and career decisions.

“Young people from Nigeria have tremendous talent, energy and drive that can positively transform our economy and society if we can just give them some directions and show them good role models,” he said.

When he returns to Nigeria, he plans to encourage and educate his students to show interest in hazard risk management and urban resilience research.


-by Bre Lewis, ECU News Services

Global Living-Learning Community broadens students’ cultural perspectives

Fall 2017 marked the official beginning of East Carolina University’s Global Living-Learning Community, consisting of a tight-knit group of seven first-year students from diverse backgrounds who live in the same residence hall on campus. The students’ interests range from anthropology, biology and health care to Hispanic studies and Japanese culture.

The Global LLC is a joint effort between the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences, the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, and ECU’s Division of Campus Living. Global LLC students take classes and workshops together, as well as participate in activities and events that highlight diverse cultural practices, worldviews and linguistic diversity.

Students stand with professor during crepe-making event

Global Living-Learning Community students Genesis Henderson, Maia Slonaker and Ella Dogbe-Tsogbe appear here with Dr. Nicolas Médevielle (left), teaching assistant professor of French, who led a crêpe-making event on campus Feb. 1, celebrating the French holiday, la Chandeleur. (Photos courtesy of Dr. Jennifer M. Valko and Dr. Larkin Murphy)

“Students live in an environment that supports academic achievement and are exposed to cultures and worldviews that will enhance their personal and professional development,” said Dr. Jennifer M. Valko, associate professor of Spanish and director of the Global LLC.

“One of the departmental goals for the Global LLC is to organize workshops, speakers and programs that will permit our majors and minors to mingle with Global LLC students,” Valko said. “The idea is to enhance their relationship within the department, encourage friendships between students who share interests and experiences and continue to help Global LLC students make a smooth transition into the university life at ECU.”

Emmanuella “Ella” Dogbe-Tsogbe, a Global LLC student whose family is from Togo, West Africa, said the Global LLC offers many important benefits.

“The Global LLC is a community for students to be close together,” said Dogbe-Tsogbe.

Students in the Global LLC are not necessarily international students. Many are from the United States and are interested in the world around them, while some students’ families, like Dogbe-Tsogbe’s, are from different parts of the world. Other students’ families are from Korea and Costa Rica.

“We get to interact with each other and share our cultures,” said Dogbe-Tsogbe.

On Feb. 1, the group had the opportunity to learn a bit about the French culture at an event that included a discussion about the history and significance of the French festival, la Chandeleur, with active crêpe-making stations. Hosted by the French studies program in Harriot College’s Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, the event was one of several this spring that are open to all majors at ECU.

“I liked that we were all interacting with each other, not just people from the Global LLC, but also from French classes and other LLCs,” said Dogbe-Tsogbe. “And it was great to make crêpes.”

Dr. Nicholas Médevielle (left) discusses the significance and history of the French holiday, la Chandeleur

Dr. Nicholas Médevielle (left) discusses the significance and history of the French holiday, la Chandeleur, with a group of students before assisting them at a crêpe-making station.

Dr. Nicolas Médevielle, teaching assistant professor of French, who led the event, said, “One of the best ways to interact with students and introduce them to the culture is to prepare food for and with them, and crêpes is a simple enough dish for students to try.”

Médevielle is from the northwestern region of France known as Bretagne or Brittany, where crêpes are embraced as the regional dish.

“I love to show students how they are made, but also to give students some information about the background of this festival,” he said. “As language teachers, we not only want to teach the language but also present some aspects of the cultures and history of the countries associated with these languages.”

According to Médevielle, in contemporary France, la Chandeleur (the festival of candles) is largely seen as a secular festival – an occasion to make and eat crêpes in the middle of the winter, which happens around the time of Carnival and “Mardi Gras” (aka Fat Tuesday).

In reality, la Chandeleur is a very old tradition. It has been celebrated as a Catholic feast for more than 1,500 years, replacing two previously established pagan festivals. La Chandeleur takes place 40 days after Christmas, on Feb. 2, and is a celebration of the presentation of Jesus at the temple in Jerusalem.

Global Living-Learning Community students Genesis Henderson and Maia Slonaker make their own crêpes at the interactive academic and cultural event.

Global Living-Learning Community students Genesis Henderson and Maia Slonaker make their own crêpes at the interactive academic and cultural event.

At the beginning of the event, students learned the significance of the holiday. Then, they were able to view crêpes recipes and instructions in French and English and could sample crêpes made by faculty at two crêpe stations, or work at an interactive station where students were taught how to make their own crêpes.

Global LLC students also participate in a number of academic events that assist them with their transition into university life.

During their first semester at ECU, students in the Global LLC took the “Introduction to Global Studies” course together, taught by Médevielle and assistant professor of Russian studies Dr. Justin Wilmes. They participated in academic workshops on time management, learning styles, study skills and test-taking strategies; attended a business etiquette and networking dinner with an international focus; and engaged in a Skype discussion on the subject of happiness with university students at the Faculdade Max Planck in Indaiatuba, Brazil.

The students are exposed to a variety of support services around campus, including Joyner Library, the Pirate Academic Success Center, Office of Global Affairs, Global Academic Initiatives and Career Services. They interact with faculty, staff, and undergraduate and graduate students from various academic units across ECU.

Michelle Giron Morales, a student in the Global LLC whose family is from Cali, Colombia, said the Global LLC has impacted her the most through the etiquette dinner, Pirate Academic Success Center workshops and the Skype conversation with students in Brazil.

“You can learn anything, from anyone, anywhere,” said Giron Morales.

She also said it is important that the Global LLC continue to emphasize cultural awareness.

“Employers are looking for someone who is willing to interact with people who are different than them,” Giron Morales said. “You learn a little bit more about yourself, too.”

This semester, the Global LLC will offer students the ability to participate in Salsa, Bachata and Merengue dance lessons at Crave Restaurant on Feb. 16, and attend a presentation about Jewish culture and Passover with a traditional Seder Dinner on April 7. A community service event also is in the planning process. For more information, visit


-by Lacey L. Gray, University Communications

Exhibit celebrates 10 years of study abroad in Italy

Photograph by Jim Abbott

A photograph by ECU faculty member Jim Abbott

“Made in Italy: Italy Intensives,” a celebration of the 10th anniversary of East Carolina University’s study abroad program in Certaldo Alto, Italy, will be on display Feb. 2-22 in the Wellington B. Gray Art Gallery at ECU.

Photographer and ECU faculty member Jim Abbott will give a talk about his large selection of photographs in the show at 5 p.m. Feb. 22 in Speight Auditorium.

The exhibition features work by artists who have taught in the study abroad program. ECU instructors included in the exhibition are metal design teachers Marissa Saneholtz, Tim Lazure, Jennifer Wells, Mi Sook Hur, Cristopher Hentz, Barbara Minor Hentz, Linda Darty and James Malenda; drawing and painting teachers Jill Eberle, Michael Ehlbeck, Catherine Walker-Bailey, Michael Voors and Kelly Adams; photography teachers Dan Bailey, James Henkel and Abbott; book arts teacher Terry Smith; and administrative staff and teaching assistants Stuart Watson, Lucy Clark and Chris Ellenbogen.

Art piece

A piece by metal design teacher Marissa Saneholtz

The gallery is located off of Fifth and Jarvis streets in ECU’s Jenkins Fine Arts Center. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The gallery is closed for all university holidays.

Jenkins Fine Arts Center is handicapped accessible. Individuals with disabilities who require accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) should contact the Department of Disability Support Services at least two weeks before the event at 252-737-1016.

For more information, contact Tom Braswell, interim gallery director, at 252-328-1312, or visit


-by Harley Dartt, University Communications

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

Contact: Dr. Amanda Klein, ECU Department of English,

Fulbright program builds partnership for ECU Allied Health in Bulgaria

College of Allied Health Sciences Dean Dr. Robert Orlikoff traveled to South-West University “Neofit Rilski” in Bulgaria this September to assist in developing a professional program in speech-language pathology and to promote research and clinical practice in voice and speech disorders.

Orlikoff lectures with a Bulgarian translator. (Contributed photos)

Orlikoff, right, lectures with a Bulgarian translator. (Contributed photos)

The highly-competitive Fulbright Specialist Program connects U.S. scholars like Orlikoff with their counterparts at host institutions overseas. Fulbright Specialists serve as expert consultants on curriculum, faculty development, institutional planning and related subjects in over 150 countries worldwide.

Orlikoff was hosted by Professor Dobrinka Georgieva, Head of the International Relations Office at South-West University "Neofit Rilski."

Orlikoff was hosted by Professor Dobrinka Georgieva, Head of the International Relations at South-West University “Neofit Rilski.” Here, they’re pictured together in front of the Rila Monastery, regarded as Bulgaria’s most important cultural site.

Orlikoff completed several Fulbright projects in Bulgaria during his two-week residency in September. In addition to providing lectures to undergraduate and graduate students, he led faculty workshops, consulted with clinical practitioners and evaluated several courses in South-West’s program in logopedics – the European equivalent of speech-language pathology as practiced in the U.S.

“This Fulbright grant was an exciting opportunity to interact with students and to work alongside the faculty at South-West University…helping them explore ways to enhance education, research and practice at their institution and throughout Bulgaria,” said Orlikoff.

“While we remain dedicated to caring for our underserved communities in eastern North Carolina, this type of project clearly demonstrates our commitment to the advancement in healthcare nationally and globally.”

An internationally recognized laryngeal physiologist and voice scientist, Orlikoff delivered a keynote presentation at an international voice symposium in Turkey last year. He has presented his scientific and clinical work throughout much of Europe, Asia and North America.