ECU celebrates International Women’s Day

Members of the ECU community listen to a panel discussion on topics related to sex and safety during International Women's Day, celebrated March 5 at ECU. (Photos by Jay Clark)

Members of the ECU community listen to a panel discussion on topics related to sex and safety during International Women’s Day, celebrated March 5 at ECU. (Photos by Jay Clark)

The Chancellor’s Committee on the Status of Women hosted a series of discussions Wednesday, March 5 to mark International Women’s Day at East Carolina University. More than 100 students, faculty and staff attended.

Presentations lasted throughout the day and covered topics like social media benefits and challenges, sex and safety, international women and respect, moving from victim to challenger, financial health, and physical health and wellness. Featured speakers included representatives from the ECU Police Department, Student Involvement and Leadership, Campus Recreation and Wellness and the Victim’s Advocate Office.

The opening session also included partners from other countries participating via ECU’s Global Classroom, and the lunch discussion featured a panel of students from Canada, Kenya, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela.

“Oxfam’s latest statistics show that women perform 66 percent of the work,

produce 50 percent of the food, earn 10 percent of the income and own 1 percent of property,” said Rai D’Honore, event organizer and CCSW member. “There is something terribly wrong with this picture.”

“International Women’s Day exists not only to celebrate women’s achievements but also to shed light on the necessity of bringing social and economic equality to all,” she said. “We hope in future years to expand the awareness of the ECU community on this issue so that it may participate in helping to actualize gender equality here at home and abroad.”

The group hopes, in particular, to draw greater participation by men, students in Greek organizations and athletes to future events.

Other International Women’s Day sponsors included the Ledonia Wright Cultural Center, the Office of Equity and Diversity, Student Affairs, Women’s Studies and the Kinesiology Student Association.

Women from universities around the world joined in discussions on International Women's Day discussion via ECU's Global Classroom.

Women from universities around the world joined in discussions on International Women’s Day discussion via ECU’s Global Classroom.




Hip-hop radio legend Jay Smooth to visit ECU

Deejay and social commentator Jay Smooth, founder and host of New York City’s longest running hip-hop radio program, will speak at 6 p.m. March 19 at Hendrix Theatre, East Carolina University. Jay Smooth1

Smooth’s radio program, WBAI’s “The Underground Railroad,” was launched in 1991 when he was a teenager. He is the mastermind behind the politically-oriented video blog “The Ill Doctrine” (, where he offers contemporary observation on topics including race, politics, music and pop culture.

Smooth is a leading voice in the sociopolitical realm who gained national attention with his video “How To Tell Someone They Sound Racist” and his TEDx Talk “How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Discussing Race.”  He aims to entertain, challenge and enlighten audiences with his perspective on music, politics and culture. He encourages audiences to participate in critical thinking about the world, engage in conversations about cultural issues that matter and find common ground.

The lecture is part of the Talking Across Difference series, a collaborative effort among units within ECU’s Division of Student Affairs and the Department of Student Involvement and Leadership. The lecture series objective is to present varying viewpoints on timely and challenging issues with a goal of encouraging mutual respect, close and sympathetic listening, diverse perspectives, suspended judgment and critical reflection.

The Ledonia Wright Cultural Center and Volunteer and Service-Learning Center are sponsoring the event, which is free and open to the public.

For additional information, contact Melissa Haithcox-Dennis with the Ledonia Wright Cultural Center at 252-328-6495 or via email at

Finance professor publishes articles

Articles by finance professor Jaclyn Beierlein in the College of Business have recently appeared in professional journals. The following articles were published:

  • “How Do Retail Investors Choose Investments? Evidence from the Indian IPO After-Market,” in the International Research Journal of Applied Finance
  • “Teledermatology: An examination of per-visit and long-term billing trends at East Carolina University from 1996-2007,” in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology
  • “Should Personal Finance be the first finance course?” and “Who Takes Personal Finance?” in Financial Services Review.

Construction Management students compete in international event

ECU students Leanna Becker, Ben Avolis, Courtney Carter, Dylan Hutchinson, Brantlee Jobe and Alex Littleton (pictured left to right) competed in the international Residential ConstructionManagement Competition. (Contributed photo)

ECU students Leanna Becker, Ben Avolis, Courtney Carter, Dylan Hutchinson, Brantlee Jobe and Alex Littleton (pictured left to right) competed in the international Residential Construction Management Competition. (Contributed photo)

By Erin Acree
ECU Department of Construction Management

Six students from East Carolina University’s Department of Construction Management competed last month in the Residential Construction Management Competition at the International Builder’s Show in Las Vegas.

The 34 teams that participated from universities and colleges throughout the United States represented the top 2 percent of students in their field across the country.

The competition gave participants the opportunity to apply skills learned in the classroom to a real construction project by completing a management proposal to develop a pre-selected plot of land. Proposals were submitted to a group of construction company executives who acted as judges. During the convention, students defended their proposals to the judges in front of an audience.

ECU students placed in the top half of the teams competing and they hope to be selected to compete again next year. Leanna Becker, Ben Avolis, Courtney Carter, Dylan Hutchinson, Brantlee Jobe and Alex Littleton attended. Alternates were Megan Sommer, Logan Hahm and Kacie Wolcott, who will serve on the team in 2015. Dr. Eric Connell served as advisor.

The International Builders’ Show is the premier event for National Association of Home Builders student chapters to network with builders from across the country. The competition, held during the show, gives students the opportunity to demonstrate their ability to solve construction-related problems by working on real-life construction projects. There are three levels of competition: four-year programs, two-year programs and secondary school programs.

ECU professor to oversee acclaimed Capital Jury Project Archive

East Carolina University criminal justice professor Dr. Jonathan Sorensen will oversee the Capital Jury Project archive in the ECU Department of Criminal Justice.



The data archive includes interviews from more than 1,198 death penalty jurors in 14 states. Results from the study have enabled researchers to publish more than 60 academic and law journal articles over the last 22 years. The archive was originally funded by the National Science Foundation.

“The significance of the CJP is hard to overstate: it is the single most comprehensive and influential study of capital punishment ever completed,” said Sorensen.

Project originator William Bowers, formerly a professor at the University of New York at Albany and Northeastern University, asked Sorensen to collaborate on the Capital Jury Project and forwarded its data archive to ECU.

“Bowers and his colleagues sought to look inside the ‘black box’ at sentencing deliberations to better understand the decision making of jurors in capital punishment cases. We will continue with this and similar studies to assess the efficacy of capital punishment policies nationwide,” Sorensen said.

Sorensen, who joined the ECU faculty in 2012, has achieved national prominence as an expert on capital punishment and prediction of criminal offender dangerousness. As the author of three books and more than 70 peer-reviewed articles, Sorensen’s research has been cited by, among others, the U.S. Supreme Court in Ring v. Arizona (2002) and the American Bar Association.

Criminal Justice Department Chair Dr. William Bloss is pleased that the department has been selected to house the CJP archive. “Having Dr. Sorensen affiliated with the Capital Jury Project is a distinction for the department and a testament to his stature as a scholar,” said Bloss. “Housing the CJP archive will afford our faculty and students an extraordinary opportunity to work, along with Dr. Sorensen, on this historic research study.”

For additional information about the CJP archive, visit

Family donates portrait of Dail House patriarch

Unveiling a portrait of the man who built the Dail house, home of ECU chancellors since 1965, left to right, Alex B. Dail, Nancy Dail Hall, Anne Dail Ashe and Chancellor Steve Ballard. (Photos by Cliff Hollis)

Unveiling a portrait of the man who built the Dail house, home of ECU chancellors since 1965, are left to right, Alex B. Dail, Nancy Dail Hall, Anne Dail Ashe and Chancellor Steve Ballard. (Photos by Cliff Hollis)

By Steve Tuttle
ECU News Services

Three grandchildren of the man who built Dail House, the official residence of East Carolina chancellors for the past 65 years, have donated a portrait of him that now hangs in the Fifth Street home.

Chancellor Steve Ballard and Nancy Ballard greeted Alex B. Dail, Anne Dail Ashe and Nancy Dail Hall for the Feb. 28 unveiling.

The portrait of the late William Haywood Dail Jr. was created in 1923 when he was 45. For many years Dail owned Greenville’s only brick making company. Four of East Carolina’s original buildings were mostly constructed with Dail bricks, as was Dail House.

The university acquired the 5,100-square-foot Italianate home in 1949. John Messick was the first chancellor to live there.

The grandchildren, who all live in Virginia, return to Greenville every December to lay wreaths at the family plot in Cherry Hill Cemetery. Before their most recent visit, Nancy Ballard invited them to the residence for a tour.

In a letter accompanying their gift of the portrait, the Dail grandchildren said, “We cannot think of a better place for this portrait to hang.”

Haywood Dail Jr. was an avid supporter of a local bond referendum to attract the fledgling East Carolina Teacher Training School to Greenville. By his own admission given during the college’s 50th anniversary, he chewed up and swallowed some “no” paper ballots during the vote counting.

He died in 1959 at the age of 81.

Nancy Ballard, wife of ECU chancellor Steve Ballards, straightens the newly hanged portrait of William Haywood Dail Jr.

Nancy Ballard, wife of ECU chancellor Steve Ballard, straightens the newly hung portrait of William Haywood Dail Jr. during a ceremony Feb. 28.

ECU symposium to address biodiversity, climate change

The East Carolina University Center for Biodiversity will host a two-day symposium on the effect of climate change on biodiversity in the southeastern U.S. March 14-15 in Room 307, Science and Technology Building.

Events on Friday, March 14  begin at 8:30 a.m. and run through 5:30 p.m. Saturday’s events will begin at 8:30 a.m. and conclude at noon.

Twelve scientists in the field of biodiversity and climate change will present at the symposium, including Dr. Terry Root of Stanford University, a 2007 recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize for her work on the International Panel on Climate Change. Root will lead a discussion on “Changing Climate: Changing Species,” on March 14.

Other lecture topics will include future climates for the southeastern U.S.; the responses of forests, waterways, insects, avian migration and food webs to climate change; and the short-term and long-term concerns associated with climate change.

“Our planet is currently in the midst of two very dramatic global changes – the loss of its biodiversity and a rapid change in its climate,” said Dr. David R. Chalcraft, director of the Center for Biodiversity and associate professor of biology.

“The goals of the symposium are to advance our collective understanding of how biodiversity is responding to climate change in the southeastern US, and more broadly, to provide a general framework that could guide researchers, managers and policy makers.”

“It is imperative that we understand the consequences of climate change on biodiversity if we wish to better conserve our remaining biological resources,” said Chalcraft.

More than 90 participants from various institutions across the Southeast, including universities, community colleges, state and federal agencies, private companies and politicians will attend the two-day event. All are welcome to attend the free, public lectures. A full schedule and registration information is located online at

The symposium is sponsored by the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences Center for Biodiversity. Support is provided by the Harriot College of Arts and Sciences, the Department of Biology, Academic Affairs, private donors and the Southeast Climate Science Center.

For additional information, contact Chalcraft at 252-328-2797 or Individuals requesting accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) should call 252-737-1016 (voice/TTY) at least 48 hours prior to the events.

Avenarius to speak present ‘local voices’

East Carolina University anthropology professor Christine Avenarius will present “In their own words: Local voices on the Outer Banks economy and the environment,” at 6 p.m. March 6 at the UNC Coastal Studies Institute in Wanchese, N.C.

Avenarius will present an analysis of community voices she collected over the summer months of 2013 with a team of five graduate students from ECU’s sustainable tourism and anthropology programs. They listened to 208 Dare County residents and their suggestions for suitable measures for coastal management and the long-term health of the local economy.

The project Restarting the Dialogue About Coastal Management Policies: Understanding Perceptions of Environmental Change Among Residents of the Outer and Inner Banks is funded by the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation and will continue its conversations with local residents in Inner Banks counties surrounding the Albemarle sound over the summer months of 2014.

This community engagement project was inspired by the 2012 North Carolina state moratorium on adopting a rate of sea level rise for regulation purposes that revealed a seemingly widespread divergence in perceptions of environmental change among local stakeholders and scientists.

Avenarius became interested to learn what local residents of the Outer and Inner Banks have noticed about their natural environment, what language they use to identify continuity and change, how they explain and reason about their observations, and what suggestions they have for local policy development and resource allocation.

Conversations with a quota sample of 208 participants from different age groups and socioeconomic backgrounds each lasted about 75 minutes and included open ended questions, pile sort and sentence completion tasks.


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