ECU Foundation purchases home to be used as chancellor’s residence

The ECU Foundation has completed the purchase of a home to be used as the chancellor’s residence at 3100 Kariblue Lane in Star Hill Farm neighborhood, Greenville.

The purchase amount was at the previously reported price of $1.3 million. The home, designed by noted architect, William Harvey, is approximately 8,500 square feet and sits on 5.2 acres of land.

“The ECU Foundation is excited to have acquired this wonderful property,” said Chris Dyba, vice chancellor for University Advancement and president of the ECU Foundation. “We are very grateful to the owner, because he allowed us to purchase his home at a price significantly below its appraised and replacement value. We believe this purchase will provide ECU a wonderful residence for its chancellor and a great venue to host functions for alumni, donors, students, corporate leaders and top candidates for ECU leadership.”

David Fisher, chair of the ECU Foundation added, “I am pleased that the ECU
Foundation is in a position to help our university by purchasing this house. This has been a multi-year plan that is best for ECU and Greenville.”

No date for move-in for the Chancellor has been set.

The ECU Board of Trustees, which has endorsed the Foundation’s purchase, has begun a review of the Dail House on Fifth Street (and surrounding properties) and will make a recommendation about its best use for the university and the surrounding community at a later date.


Contact: Chris Dyba, vice chancellor for University Advancement,

ECU honored as a breastfeeding friendly workplace

East Carolina University has been recognized as a Breastfeeding Friendly Workplace by the North Carolina Breastfeeding Coalition, a nonprofit that protects and promotes breastfeeding.

ECU was recognized for providing space for breastfeeding and time for working mothers to continue their lactation needs after returning to work. Kelli Russell is a teaching instructor in ECU’s Department of Health Education and Promotion and co-chair of the Women and Gender Advancement Council’s lactation committee. She said ECU has a total of nine lactation rooms on main campus and health sciences campus for nursing mothers.

View of the lactation room in Ross Hall (Contributed photo)

View of the lactation room in Ross Hall (Contributed photo)

“The private rooms give students, faculty, staff and campus visitors a safe, clean place to breastfeed or pump,” said Russell.

In addition to privacy, the spacious rooms include comfortable seating, outlets, towels and other items nursing mothers may need. Some of the rooms also include sinks and cold storage.

“Awareness is key,” Russell said. “Our website lists where the rooms are located and how to access the rooms.”

To receive the Breastfeeding Friendly Workplace award, a location must meet strict guidelines and have accommodations in place to support breastfeeding mothers as employees.

Last summer ECU also received recognition for participating in World Breastfeeding Week sponsored by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action.

Severe Weather Awareness Week at ECU

As part of Severe Weather Awareness Week, East Carolina University will conduct a test of the ECU Alert emergency notification system at noon Friday, March 9.

The test will assess multiple communication systems including the ECU homepage, email, indoor and outdoor loudspeakers, LiveSafe push notifications, VOIP phone (text and voice), text messages, computer pop-up notifications, and messages on digital displays.

People on campus will hear an audible alert on their office telephones and on loudspeakers that will identify this as a test of the ECU Alert emergency notification system. Employees, students and parents will also receive ECU Alert test emails to registered accounts. Digital screens located throughout campus will carry a test message. Users who have registered for ECU Alert cellphone messages will receive a text message.

Campus computer users are reminded that the university has a pop-up notification system, AlertUs, which will fill the computer screen with the ECU Alert message when activated. After the users have read the message, clicking “Acknowledge” will close the warning.

Registration for cellphone messaging is available by selecting the register tab in the purple bar at

Faculty, staff and students are encouraged to download the free safety app LiveSafe at LiveSafe allows users to discretely and anonymously report suspicious activity and safety concerns to ECU Police.

Kickoff event set for regional program to provide better health data at lower cost

Representatives for dozens of not-for-profit hospitals and county health departments will be on hand March 6 for the kickoff of a regional program aiming to provide its participants with better health data at a lower cost.

The Office of Health Access in the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University, working with the Foundation for Health Leadership & Innovation in Cary, secured a $320,000 award from The Duke Endowment last year to help establish a standardized regional community health needs assessment process in eastern North Carolina.

To date, 23 hospitals and health departments representing 32 different counties have agreed to take part in the Eastern N.C. Regional CHNA program, which will help to streamline both the data collection and reporting aspects of the health needs assessments they must conduct.

Hospitals are currently required by the Internal Revenue Service to conduct these assessments every three years, while the state Division of Public Health requires local health departments to conduct essentially the same assessments every four years.

The new program, which standardizes the methodology and synchronizes the assessment process, will enable the participating entities to conduct the surveys on the same three-year cycles.

“It’s going to deliver better data and more consistent data, data that can be compared and contrasted across county lines. Never before have we really been able to do that,” said Al Delia, director of Brody’s Office of Health Access. “And in terms of the cost, the economy of scale and the centralizing of the process will save money overall and most of the counties and hospitals will see quite a significant cost savings.”

Tuesday’s kickoff event will also serve as the announcement of the private company that was awarded the contract to assist with the data collection, analysis and writing of the county-level reports.

The event starts at 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, March 6 in the conference room of the Eastern AHEC building, located at 2600 W. Arlington Blvd. in Greenville.

Kickoff Agenda


-Contact: Rob Spahr, ECU Health Sciences Communications,, 252-744-2482

ECU, RTI International explore partnership

East Carolina University and RTI International are exploring opportunities to jointly combat health, economic and educational disparities in eastern North Carolina.

As part of ECU’s Rural Prosperity Initiative announced by Chancellor Cecil Staton in 2017, the university has challenged itself to become a national model of how a major research university can lead regional transformation and create a new generation of technologies, micro-businesses and innovative solutions.

By developing a partnership with RTI, an independent, globally-engaged nonprofit research institute dedicated to improving the human condition, ECU can better serve the needs of rural residents in eastern North Carolina. RTI delivers reliable data thorough analysis, innovative methods, novel technologies and sustainable programs that help partners, like ECU, inform public policy and ground practice in evidence.

“ECU is excited to develop this important partnership,” said Dr. Jay Golden, vice chancellor for research, economic development and engagement at ECU. “RTI is an internationally recognized leader for developing and implementing impactful research programs. Its long history of collaborating with research universities and institutions like ECU will allow our faculty and students to benefit from those experiences and be able to extend our research and engagement capabilities both in North Carolina and around the globe.”

Last fall, ECU launched seven research clusters, with an eighth planned later this year. Research clusters are part of a formal university strategy to connect interdisciplinary faculty and researchers who might not have met through traditional means. With the clusters, faculty from across ECU can establish partnerships and combine their talents to advance the Rural Prosperity Initiative.

Representatives from RTI met with ECU research cluster co-directors Feb. 21 to discuss collaboration opportunities such as having RTI staff on external advisory boards; offering lectures between ECU and RTI research leaders; creating student internship and mentorship opportunities; and establishing partnerships with ECU faculty members and RTI on research projects.

“By joining forces with ECU, we have the opportunity to further alleviate health, economic and educational disparities in our community,” said Jacqueline Olich, senior director of University Collaborations at RTI.

The company has a long record of working with research universities, institutions, faculty, scholars, staff and students to advance scientific scholarship. In 2014, the RTI University Scholars Program was launched, bringing academic researchers from the 16 University of North Carolina campuses and Duke University to work alongside RTI’s scientists and researchers.

“Our missions are similar in that we are focused on improving the human condition,” Golden said. “Our new university-wide research clusters align with RTI’s priority practice areas of human health; energy and environmental sciences; education and workforce development; food security and agriculture; and innovation ecosystems.”


-by Matt Smith, University Communications

Could a poll boost ECU’s national reputation?

The next presidential election may be two years away, but East Carolina University’s Center for Survey Research has its focus set on Nov. 3, 2020.

•Peter Francia is the new director of ECU’s Center for Survey Research.

Peter Francia is the new director of ECU’s Center for Survey Research. (Contributed photo)

By then, Director Peter Francia hopes to have established a university polling center capable of accurately predicting the voting margins.

If successful, the university could join other polling powerhouses like Quinnipiac University, Monmouth University and Marist College, who regularly find themselves in the national spotlight come campaign season – an otherwise rare occurrence.

“They have a national reputation because of the polling they do. Why not ECU?” Francia said.

Becoming well-known for political polling extends beyond simple name recognition. The president of Monmouth University has estimated the value of free media exposure to be close to $1 billion. When John Lahey started Quinnipiac’s poll in the late ’80s, the school was a small commuter college with fewer than 2,000 students. A coordinated effort to build a polling facility helped turn it into a nationally known university with more than 10,000 students today.

“If you were to follow our admissions and our growth, you could follow the poll,” Lahey told Politico last year.

ECU plans to set up its poll beginning with a call center that will be built with the help of a $100,000 donation from alumni Wayne and Sherry Holloman. The Hollomans have annually supported a political science scholarship, Honors College student programming and the Voyages of Discovery lecture series.

Wayne and Sherry Holloman donated $100,000 to the Center for Survey Research to establish an ECU polling center.

Wayne and Sherry Holloman donated $100,000 to the Center for Survey Research to establish an ECU polling center. (Contributed photos)

“Imagine learning the results of the election and hearing people say, ‘ECU was dead on it,’” Wayne Holloman said. “It could be big.”

Housed in the Harriot College of Arts and Sciences, the Center for Survey Research currently assists the university as well as private clients and public agencies in public opinion and community assessment research. That includes survey design, questionnaire development, data collection and focus group research.

“We’ve seen across the country that university-based opinion polls can capture the pulse of the electorate and catapult their institutions to prominence,” said Dr. William Downs, Dean of the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences. “Wayne and Sherry Holloman are great friends of ECU and of the Arts and Sciences, and their generous investment in our Center for Survey Research will ensure that Pirate polling has a successful launch and an impactful future.”

Francia, who is also a political science professor, said a polling center makes sense at ECU because North Carolina is an exciting state to be in politically.

“On the presidential map, North Carolina is not a red state or a blue state. It is a purple state. There is also a history of very competitive statewide contests for governor and for the U.S. Senate,” he said. “Moreover, partisan control of the U.S. Senate could potentially hinge on a single seat in 2020. If so, North Carolina’s U.S. Senate election will have national implications.”

The ECU Poll will involve students by giving them opportunities to work in the call center, develop questionnaires and conduct data analysis. Francia said he hopes the polling center can be worked into the political science curriculum so more students can learn how polling and random sampling works.

In addition to political polling, the university would be capable of polling on other topics that affect the area, like opioid use and immigrant labor.

“Expanding services and missions is important,” Holloman said. “That’s what this is. Making ECU a part of the community, the state and the nation.”


-by Erin Shaw, University Communications

College of Education hosts summit with regional, national partners

Creating opportunities and maximizing achievement for all students was the focus of a school equity summit hosted recently by East Carolina University.

The ECU College of Education Department of Educational Leadership partnered with regional and national education leaders to hold the summit Feb. 19-20 at the Eastern Area Health Education Center in Greenville.

Keynote speaker Thomas Murray speaks at an equity summit hosted by the ECU College of Education Department of Educational Leadership Feb. 19-20.

Keynote speaker Thomas Murray speaks at an equity summit hosted by the ECU College of Education Department of Educational Leadership Feb. 19-20. (Photos by Cole Dittmer)

The summit was part of FORCE (Focusing On Rural Challenges in Education) initiative, a national collaborative involving the school districts in Duplin, Jones, Pender and Sampson counties, ECU’s Department of Educational Leadership and the nonprofit Panasonic Foundation.

The purpose of FORCE is to improve equity in the classroom, maximize student achievement and close achievement gaps for all students. Leaders participated in activities to help improve their vision for instructional leadership, shared beliefs around equity and discussed resources across the districts.

The summit provided opportunities to analyze three topics that impact equity in schools:

  • “Racial Diversity,” presented by Matt Militello, ECU College of Education Wells Fargo Distinguished Professor of Educational Leadership;
  • “Linguistic Diversity,” presented by Marjorie Ringler, interim chair of the educational leadership department;
  • “Transforming Learning with Technology,” presented by Thomas Murray, co-author of “Learning Transformed: 8 Keys to Designing Tomorrow’s Schools, Today.”
Participants discussed ways to integrate findings from the equity summit into their school districts.

Participants discussed ways to integrate findings from the equity summit into their school districts.

Educators incorporated the presentations in work sessions that analyzed their school district data through the lens of equity. Each school district team worked to develop an equity goal to implement in their districts.

Militello said the FORCE partnership is very unique.

“This consortium marks a unique collaboration among school districts, a philanthropic foundation and a university. Secondly, all of our work is focused in the classroom,” Militello said. “While we are working with school leaders, our professional development lives in the very classrooms we hope to improve and together we are engaged in living the Panasonic mission of breaking the links between race, poverty and educational outcomes.”

The Panasonic Foundation’s mission is to break the links between race, poverty and educational outcomes by improving the academic and social success of all students. The foundation was created in 1984 by a $10 million endowment from Matsushita Electric Corporation of America, which has since been renamed Panasonic Corporation of North America.

The FORCE consortium has four site-based sessions in the school districts each year and two annual national meetings to which it sends teams in order to learn from other Panasonic projects across the country. This was the first of the new annual, local summits.

The equity summit was held at the Eastern Area Health Education Center in Greenville.

The equity summit was held at the Eastern Area Health Education Center in Greenville.


-by Cole Dittmer, University Communications

Joyner Library Spring Banquet to feature ECU alumna and author Kristy Woodson Harvey

Kristy Woodson Harvey will present as this year’s Spring Banquet.

Kristy Woodson Harvey will present as this year’s Spring Banquet. (Photo contributed by Joyner Library)

The Friends of Joyner Library will host “A Charming Southern Evening” with Kristy Woodson Harvey as part of its 2018 Spring Banquet on March 22.

Harvey is a Phi Beta Kappa, summa cum laude graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s School of Journalism and holds a master’s degree in English from East Carolina University, with a concentration in multicultural and transnational literature. She is the author of “Dear Carolina,” “Lies and Other Acts of Love,” “Slightly South of Simple,” and “The Secret to Southern Charm.”

“The Secret to Southern Charm,” to be released in April, is her second novel in the Peachtree Bluff Series featuring Ansley Murphy and her three daughters. According to New York Times bestselling author Elin Hinderbrand, “Harvey’s signature warmth and wit make this a charming and poignant story of first loves, missed opportunities, and second chances and proves that she is the next major voice in Southern fiction.”

Her writing has also appeared in numerous publications and websites including Southern Living, Traditional Home, Parade, USA Today, Houzz and Our State. She has been seen in Women’s Health, The Washington Post, U.S. News & World Report, The Huffington Post, Marie Claire’s The Fix, Woman’s World, Readers’ Digest and North Carolina Bookwatch.

Guests of this year’s event will enjoy dinner, a silent auction, a copy of “The Secret to Southern Charm” and a chance to learn more about Harvey’s inspiration and creative process. Also during the program, the Friends of Joyner Lifetime Membership Award will be presented to long-time member Frances Mallison.

The event is open to the public and will begin at 5:30 p.m., with programming scheduled to start at 6 p.m. at the Greenville Hilton. All proceeds will be used to support student awards, community events and opportunities for staff development at ECU.

Tickets may be purchased at for $75 per person until March 15. Checks will also be accepted and should be made out to Joyner Library with 2018 Spring Banquet in the memo line.

Responses should be sent no later than March 15 to Rachel Mason, Joyner Library development officer, at 252-328-4090 or

For more information about the Friends of Joyner Library, visit


-by Kelly Rogers Dilda, University Communications

Research clusters share goals

Directors of East Carolina University’s university-wide research clusters shared their goals and expected outcomes Feb. 21 at Eastern AHEC.

The research groups are intended to enlist faculty and researchers from across the university to work on common interest areas.

Representatives from all seven clusters met to share their short and long-term goals with each other and associate deans of research. The meeting allowed directors to pinpoint research areas each cluster was interested in pursuing, while combining resources with other groups.

Dr. Brandon Morrison, director of strategic initiatives for the division of research, economic development and engagement, said the unique challenges eastern North Carolina faces require an innovative problem-solving approach.

“Innovation seldom originates from isolation,” Morrison said. “By bringing together a network of faculty and researchers with diverse backgrounds and interests, this meeting was the first step in fostering collaboration across clusters and academic disciplines, with the goal of catalyzing joint research projects in the future.”

Cluster goals

Big data and analytics cluster directors Leonard Annetta and Huigang Liang said their near-term priorities included research into bioproducts and bioenergy, health sciences, machine learning and innovative visualization. The cluster intends to house and analyze data that supports rural-based companies in conjunction with ECU’s recently announced partnership with analytics leader SAS.

Burrell Montz and Alex Manda, directors of the energy and natural resources cluster, are focusing their research priorities on biogas and off-shore energy, including wave and wind-powered energy. Faculty will also investigate water quality in eastern North Carolina, surface and groundwater management, wastewater management and storm water management.

ECU’s health behavior cluster will align its goals with human health behaviors and how those behaviors create patterns that can be used to influence patients’ health decisions. Directors Sam Sears and Kim Larson said that their near-term focus is on adolescent risk behaviors, especially those that affect sexual risk, mental health and physical activity.

Reide Corbett (right) works with J.P. Walsh on a project at the Coastal Studies Institute. Corbett, one of two directors of East Carolina University’s marine and coastal research cluster, introduced the cluster’s goals to other directors at a presentation meeting on Feb. 21.

Reide Corbett (right) works with J.P. Walsh on a project at the Coastal Studies Institute. Corbett, one of two directors of East Carolina University’s marine and coastal research cluster, introduced the cluster’s goals to other directors at a presentation meeting on Feb. 21. (Photo by Cliff Hollis)

Marine and coastal cluster directors Reide Corbett and David Griffith believe their initial work will be placed in three broad areas – continental margin resources including non-renewable and renewable energy, cultural resources and biological resources; natural hazards including storms, saltwater intrusion and human vulnerability; and marine and coastal health including environmental and human health, health disparities and toxicology.

Mark Mannie, co-director of the human health and disease cluster along with Espen Spangenburg, said his group would focus on increasing understanding of acute and chronic disease in the region, including obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, stroke, and cancers that affect rural residents. Long-term priorities include educating health care workers and patients about these diseases along with new therapies and treatments.

The precision medicine cluster, which focuses on tailoring medical treatment to individual patients, is led by Keith Kenne and David Collier. The group plans to determine how health care professionals can classify individuals into subgroups while providing optimal treatment options based on a patient’s susceptibility to a particular disease and their response to treatments.

STEAM directors Shawn Moore and Daniel Dickerson rounded out the presentations, offering three main areas of interest for their cluster. The group will focus their research efforts on teacher preparation and enhancement, college workforce readiness and public understanding of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) content. They plan to accomplish this by creating educational materials, using and introducing others to research-based innovative technologies and tools, and offering faculty engagement outreach opportunities.

The directors said that forming interdisciplinary relationships with faculty members whose research interests align with their goals is a top priority. Faculty members are encouraged to reach out to cluster co-directors for more information.

Last fall, ECU launched seven research clusters, with an eighth planned later this year. Research clusters are part of a formal university strategy to connect interdisciplinary faculty and researchers who might not have met through traditional means. With the clusters, faculty from across ECU can establish partnerships and combine their talents to advance Chancellor Cecil Staton’s Rural Prosperity Initiative and address pressing health, education and economic disparities.


-by Matt Smith, University Communications

1 2 3 4 5 191