Event encourages innovation in medicine

Hosts of TEDMEDLive at ECU David Holder, left, and Dylan Suttle talk during the event.
ECU Honors College student and EC Scholar Tori Chapman, a nutrition science major, writes on a board designed to stimulate thought and discussion at the TEDMEDLive at ECU event Sept. 13. (Photos by Cliff Hollis)

ECU Honors College student and EC Scholar Tori Chapman, a nutrition science major, writes on a board designed to stimulate thought and discussion at the TEDMEDLive at ECU event Sept. 13. (Photos by Cliff Hollis)

 

By Kathryn Kennedy
ECU News Services

How much can be said about the state of health care in 18 minutes or less? You might be surprised. The nonprofit TED organization has devoted itself to spreading ideas in the form of short, powerful talks since the mid-1980s. TEDMED applies that concept to health care and medicine.

But more important than the talks are the discussions those brief presentations prompt, according to a group of students and faculty who replicated the live TEDMED environment at East Carolina University for the first time Sept. 13.

Hosts of TEDMEDLive at ECU David Holder, left, and Dylan Suttle talk during the event.

Hosts of TEDMEDLive at ECU David Holder, left, and Dylan Suttle talk during the event.

Dylan Suttle, a fourth-year medical student and president of the 2015 Brody School of Medicine class, first proposed the idea for TEDMEDLive at ECU. He attended a national TEDMED event in Washington, D.C., last fall and was inspired by the experience.

“The talks are the sideshow at the real event, (compared to) the collaboration, idea sharing and meeting people outside the talks themselves. I wanted to replicate that here,” he said.

“So much is going on here at ECU but no one has the chance to talk about it. We talk with the faculty, the physicians, but there’s always a wall there. This event breaks all those down.”

He sought help from fellow students, faculty and staff from Brody – and funding from regional partner Vidant Health – and the 150-seat event sold out within the first few weeks of registration.

“The spirit is fun collaboration and inspiration,” said Dr. David Holder, clinical associate professor of pediatrics at Brody and emcee for the Saturday event. “We want conversations.”

A series of eight talks streamed from national TEDMED events in Washington, D.C., and San Francisco provided enough fodder to get people started. Topics ranged from the relationship between drug addiction and neuroscience, to the need for transparency in how doctors are paid, to how intentional usage of light and sound can improve health care environments and healing.

Tori Chapman, a nutrition science major and sophomore in ECU’s Honors College, was particularly struck by one patient’s tale about how a cocktail of multiple prescription drugs created a psychosis that was not present when she first went to the doctor.

“The power of her story makes you think differently,” Chapman said. “And that’s what TED is for. It’s encouraging to see there are people trying to change health care for the good.”

The most unique component of the ECU event was the inclusion of four “homegrown” speakers – men and women from ECU who want to start dialogues about topics of their own choosing. Suttle said organizers considered many impressive applicants, but only four were chosen.

Dr. Daniel Goldberg, assistant professor in the Department of Bioethics and Interdisciplinary Studies, spoke about moving beyond “sick care” to implement social medicine and improve population health.

Dr. Krista McCoy, assistant professor in the Department of Biology, shared frightening statistics about how environmental chemical exposure leads to endocrine disruption and childhood disease.

Dr. Sam Sears, professor in the departments of psychology and cardiovascular sciences, explained that technology is enabling people to live longer, but asked whether they can be happy and feel secure in their health as they cope with chronic disease.

Julie Barrett, a fourth-year medical student, urged the audience and physicians to stop blaming patients who are obese, examine the underlying science and partner with them instead of judging.

Suttle hopes the true impact of this event can be measured through future collaborations and innovations.

“I want to hear about research or some great development where someone says ‘this all started when we met at TEDMED.’”

For more information about the event, visit http://tedmedliveecu.org/.

Velde inducted into national academy

Beth Velde

By Crystal Baity
ECU News Services

East Carolina University’s Beth Velde was inducted Oct. 7 to a policy group dedicated to honoring scholarship and service at college campuses nationwide.

The Academy of Community Engagement Scholarship invited Velde to become an inaugural member following peer nomination and selection. Velde was recognized for the “practice and model of excellence in collaboration with communities and the university while addressing critical issues of mutual benefit.”

Beth Velde

Beth Velde

The academy’s mission is to improve the physical, social, civic and economic well-being of communities by advancing scholarship-based collaborative discovery with higher education partners.

Serving as a representative voice for the field of engagement, the academy will ensure that scholarly activities and policy initiatives keep in mind the needs of the constituents involved.

“I was honored to be nominated and really honored to be accepted,” said Velde, who has entered phased retirement at ECU. “It’s an honor for ECU. So many people don’t know what we do and how it goes beyond volunteering.”

Velde initiated ECU’s Engagement and Outreach Scholars Academy, which pairs faculty members, EC Scholars, graduate students and alumni who work with communities on projects to improve quality of life.

More than 165 ECU faculty and students have partnered on more than 50 outreach scholar projects across the region and state during the past five years. Those community partnerships were celebrated this spring at a five-year anniversary ceremony at the Murphy Center.

Velde, professor emerita and director of strategic planning in the College of Allied Health Sciences, is a founding organizer of the annual Mills Symposium, which addresses health disparities.

Her research includes the culture of engagement at ECU, the perceptions of community partners regarding the roles and responsibilities of telling the story of community engagement and the synergies between leadership and public service. She has led student teams in collecting health data and helped write grants for the town of Tillery in Halifax County.

She leads the ECU team for the Carnegie engaged university classification, which recognizes higher education’s commitment to community engagement, and chaired the working groups responsible for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools narratives on public service and community engagement.

Nationally, Velde chairs the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities’ Council on Engagement and Outreach, which leads APLU’s efforts in engaging constituent universities with communities. The APLU recognized ECU’s partnership with the Lucille W. Gorham Intergenerational Community Center in 2012 with the prestigious C. Peter Magrath University/Community Engagement Award.

With the latest appointment, Velde said she and others in the academy will work on three main areas that address policy development, measure impact and cross partnerships.

“These are things that as an individual it’s hard to do, but if you have a large cadre of people … you might actually get some good research,” Velde said.

###

Lauren Edmondson from the College of Allied Health Sciences contributed to this story.

Largest undergraduate class enrolled

The third largest incoming freshmen class began their studies at ECU in fall semester 2014, hitting the books after enjoying welcome events such as Student Convocation, pictured above, and Pirate Palooza. (Photo by Cliff Hollis)
The third largest incoming freshmen class began their studies at ECU in fall semester 2014, hitting the books after enjoying welcome events such as Student Convocation, pictured above, and Pirate Palooza. (Photo by Cliff Hollis)

The third largest incoming freshmen class began their studies at ECU in fall semester 2014, hitting the books after enjoying welcome events such as Student Convocation, pictured above, and Pirate Palooza. (Photo by Cliff Hollis)

 

By Jeannine Manning Hutson
ECU News Services

East Carolina University welcomed its largest number of undergraduate students to campus with the start of the fall semester.

The university enrolled 22,252 undergraduates, which is 744 more than last fall and is the largest number in university history, said Dr. John Fletcher, associate provost for Enrollment Services. Enrollment figures are considered preliminary until reviewed and approved by the UNC General Administration.

The enrollment numbers for ECU reflect a national trend, Fletcher said. Undergraduate enrollment remains strong while there is a small decrease in the number of graduate students.

Total ECU enrollment is 27,511, which is 624 more students than last year and is the fourth largest enrollment in ECU history. In the Graduate School, enrollment stands at 4,740, which is 162 less than last year.

The number of new freshmen enrolled – 4,226 – is the third largest in ECU history.

Also up is the number of new transfer students – 1,779 – which is 451 more than last year. This year’s number of transfer students is the largest in school history, Fletcher said.

“The increase in overall enrollment at ECU represents an acknowledgement from students new and continuing, from North Carolina and outside the state, who recognize the quality of our faculty, the rich culture and traditions of the Pirate Nation and the value for their education dollar,” Fletcher said.

At UNC-system institutions, the 10th day of class is traditionally “census day” when a snapshot is captured of the school’s enrollment data. At ECU, Sept. 10 was the 10th day of class for the fall semester.

Baumgartner, Morris publish book on political humor

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ECU political science professors Jody Baumgartner, left, and Jonathan Morris have published a book that examines the effect of political humor on politicians. (Photos by Cliff Hollis)

ECU political science professors Jody Baumgartner, left, and Jonathan Morris have published a book that examines the effect of political humor on politicians. (Photos by Cliff Hollis)

 

By Grace Haskin
ECU News Services

“Earlier today, George W. Bush said he has one goal for these debates. He wants to show the American people that he’s presidentiamable.” -David Letterman.

This is just one of many political jokes listed in “Politics is a Joke!: How TV Comedians are Remaking Political Life,” a new book written by two East Carolina University professors, which explains how late night talk shows have influenced the success of politicians.

Written over the course of two years by Jody Baumgartner and Jonathan Morris from ECU’s political science department, and S. Robert Lichter, professor of communication at George Mason University, the book was published July 22.

book“The primary late night talk show hosts that we’re talking about are Jay Leno, David Letterman, Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart. We didn’t set out to restrict ourselves to them, but for the past decade, they have been the major players,” said Baumgartner.

The data for the book has been collected since 1988 from the Center for Media Public Affairs (CMPA), of which Lichter is the director.

“(The CMPA) has been collecting jokes from late night comedy programs and classifying them by who the joke was targeted at or who said the joke. We used that information, which was over 100,000 jokes,” said Morris.

Baumgartner, who read through the 100,000 jokes, was responsible for selecting which ones to put into the book. “It was tough,” he said, but he managed to narrow the jokes down to about 200.

“We weren’t looking for any kind of bias in the jokes, but we clearly found a tendency for late night comics to joke about Republicans more than Democrats,” said Morris. This was no surprise to Morris or Baumgartner, who have been studying humor and politics for the past 10 years.

“Presidents are the most frequent targets of late night comedians. Again, no surprise, but the data shows this.” said Baumgartner. Morris added that former President Bill Clinton is, by far, the most joked about politician within the past two decades.

“More than one late night talk show host has said something to this effect: If there was a hall of fame for late night comedy, Clinton would be the founding guy that they put in because he made their job easier,” said Baumgartner.

Writing a book about political jokes wasn’t intentional, Baumgartner said. “We just stumbled upon a topic that happened to be really popular,” he added.

Morris and Baumgartner came up with the idea to research humor and politics while they were driving to a conference together in 2004. “We have been studying it ever since,” said Morris.

Baumgartner’s latest books include “Conventional Wisdom and American Elections” and “Laughing Matters: Humor and American Politics in the Media Age,” which he co-edited with Morris.

Whereas “Laughing Matters” was academically oriented, Baumgartner said “Politics is a Joke!” could be enjoyed by anyone with an interest in political humor.

“We’re hoping to reach a more general audience with this book, but also have it accessible to our colleagues who study political humor to use it as reference,” said Morris. “People who have read the book keep saying that they skip through our analysis and go straight to the jokes.”

Morris and Baumgartner plan to write another book together focusing on humor from a psychological perspective.

Attorney General Cooper visits ECU

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper presented advice for student financial health during a visit to East Carolina University Sept. 18. The visit was part of a statewide College Cash & Credit Tour. (Photos by Cliff Hollis)
North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper presented advice for student financial health during a visit to East Carolina University Sept. 18. The visit was part of a statewide College Cash & Credit Tour. (Photos by Cliff Hollis)

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper presented advice for student financial health during a visit to East Carolina University Sept. 18. The visit was part of a statewide College Cash & Credit Tour. (Photos by Cliff Hollis)

 

By Kelly Setzer
ECU News Services

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper visited East Carolina University Sept. 18 as part of an initiative to educate college consumers on making wise financial choices.

Cooper hosted approximately 35 ECU students and guests in Mendenhall Student Center for the College Cash & Credit Tour. The event featured presentations from experts in his Consumer Protection Division on student loans, credit and debit cards and the risks of identity theft.

ECU junior Ashley Griffith, center, said she appreciated the opportunity to learn about resources available for financial wellbeing.

ECU junior Ashley Griffith, center, said she appreciated the opportunity to learn about resources available for financial wellbeing.

“We want to offer tips today to make your lives easier and to help you avoid financial problems in the future,” Cooper told students in attendance. “It’s also really important that you know where to go to find the resources you may need.”

Ashley Griffith, a junior in business management and marketing at ECU, said the identity theft recommendations were especially useful to her. “And it’s nice to know that I have a governmental support team (in the Attorney General’s office) behind me if some kind of fraud does happen.”

Assistant Attorney General Matt Liles indicated in his presentation that 59% of college students in North Carolina graduate with some form of student debt. He said at ECU, specifically, that number was 65% in 2012. “It works out to be approximately $24,000 per person right off the bat when you graduate.”

ECU’s Director of Financial Aid Julie Poorman provides guidance and support to students and their families during the financial aid process. She offered some additional advice to students in the crowd.

“We often encourage students to keep an eye on their student loans with the National Student Loan Data System,” Poorman said. “When they go to do loan consolidation or check their credit reports later on, those student loans should match what’s on their NSLDS account.”

In addition to ECU, Cooper’s tour included stops at five other North Carolina college campuses: High Point University, Queens University in Charlotte, Shaw University in Raleigh, the University of North Carolina at Pembroke and Cape Fear Community College in Wilmington.

Resources from the event, such as a student checklist and videos of the presentations, are available online at ncdoj.gov.

University studies program starts strong

University studies degree major Connor Mangold, a junior in the ECU Honors College, is using the degree program to merge his interests in music and computer science.

 

By Steve Tuttle
ECU News Services

From zero to 142 majors in one year is rapid growth for a new degree program at East Carolina University. The university studies program has experienced that surge because its flexible curriculum appeals to a definite niche of students, officials said.

University studies degree major Connor Mangold, a junior in the ECU Honors College, is using the degree program to merge his interests in music and computer science.

University studies degree major Connor Mangold, a junior in the ECU Honors College, is using the degree program to merge his interests in music and computer science.

“We’re getting off to a very strong start,” said program director Dr. Rondall Rice. The first four graduates with the university studies degree graduated at the end of summer session. Twenty-three are on track to graduate this winter, Rice said.

ECU created the university studies major in response to the need of students whose interests and talents don’t easily fit into any major.

Generally speaking, the students he sees come from two academic backgrounds, Rice said. “There are the journey students and the off-ramp students.

“Journey students didn’t find a passion for something, although they took a bunch of courses.

“Off-ramp students are those that tried a traditional degree. They got pretty far into the major but changed their minds, so they try to transition into another major.”

The problem for both kinds of students, Rice said, is they sometimes get discouraged and drop out.

University studies takes an individual, personal approach. “We look at what they have taken and then look at what they’re trying to do,” Rice explained.

“We try to help them find their inner passion,” he said.

One university studies major is Connor Mangold, a junior from Kinston in the ECU Honors College. He’s what Rice would call an off-ramp student.

“I was a music student but I decided that wasn’t for me,” Mangold said. He decided his real interest was an emerging field that blends computer science and art.

“My main area of study is sound design… for electronic music,” he said. “So, my major is part computer science, part music and part animation.

“The best thing about this degree is that it allows me to learn many aspects” of sound design, Mangold said. “It’s still early but I enjoy the fact I get to focus on different fields.”

Students declaring for the university studies major on average arrive with just under 109 credit hours earned, Rice said. “If you consider that most degrees require 120 hours, they’re close to getting a degree.”

Rice said some new students in the program arrive without the 2.5 GPA that most majors require, while others have great GPAs but just couldn’t decide on a major, he said.

“The students who are drawn to us probably would have left the university without a degree,” he said.

After an initial introductory course, students meet with advisers who design a “thematic core” of courses that best fit each student’s interests. For the required capstone experience, students may chose to work an internship, complete a project or write a research paper.

For now the university studies program is a free-standing unit, Rice said. “We are not under any of the colleges. It is under the Academic Affairs division, and we work directly for (Senior Associate Provost) Austin Bunch.”

The unit operates out of offices in the Old Cafeteria Building.

Among the first four graduates was Katelyn Morris. Rice said her thematic core, entitled “Adaptive Technology,” included courses in communication, technology, leadership, multicultural sensitivity comma deleted and children’s special education.

She interned with a high-tech company in Charlotte, which hired her after graduation.

Morris said she hopes her degree will allow her to “work towards selling technology that would allow the autistic child to learn to communicate through devices that will give these students a new sense of freedom.”

Another summer graduate, Kristen Ramsey, entitled her thematic core, “Human Development Through Art.” She combined art and education classes while mixing in psychology and leadership courses.

Her goal is to become an art therapist working with children, and she hopes to attend graduate school after completing an internship at an art gallery in Virginia.

Rice said one university studies student is conducting research this fall, in-concert with the Brody School of Medicine, on how electronic medical records are changing the health care industry.

He said he expects the university studies program will experience another growth spurt next fall. “The next level (of growth) will come from ‘part-way home’ students after we advertise to them. These are ones that dropped out or had other problems. This is specially tailored for former military,” Rice said.

Rice said he expects that by next fall all of the program’s courses will be available online.

Awareness critical for medical students

mededf
Students in the Brody School of Medicine, such as the first year medical students pictured above, now have access to the Office of Diversity Affairs on the first floor of the Brody Building. The diversity affairs office strives to enhance cultural competency among medical students as an essential element of a medical education. (Photos by Cliff Hollis)

Students in the Brody School of Medicine, such as the first year medical students pictured above, now have access to the Office of Diversity Affairs on the first floor of the Brody Building. The diversity affairs office strives to enhance cultural competency among medical students as an essential element of a medical education. (Photos by Cliff Hollis)

 

By Kathryn Kennedy
ECU News Services

In the midst of receiving white coats and reciting pledges, another important message was delivered to medical students arriving at East Carolina University this fall: Diversity is valued at the Brody School of Medicine.

“Diversity is all of us,” Assistant Dean of Diversity Affairs Dr. Todd Savitt told first-year students during orientation in August. “We all comprise diversity. What you see on the surface is only part of (who we are).”

The Office of Diversity Affairs, staffed by Savitt and Diversity Coordinator Chanel Arrington, relocated this summer to the first floor of Brody in an effort to be more accessible to the students they serve.

“When you walk off the elevator, you see us,” said Savitt who is also a professor of bioethics and interdisciplinary studies. “We’re right there.”

They host lunch-and-learn events throughout the year and offer food during study breaks while exams are underway. They coordinate the Safe Zone Program training that is designed to increase understanding and awareness of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues.

Perhaps most importantly, the cultural competency their programming encourages is essential to the practice of medicine.

“Communicating in an effective manner – especially in cross-cultural interactions – can have a strong impact on the doctor-patient encounter,” said Dr. Virginia Hardy, vice chancellor of student affairs at ECU. Hardy spent 16 years at the Brody School of Medicine prior to her current post.

“The population of eastern North Carolina is becoming more diversified,” she said, “particularly as it relates to race/ethnicity, sexual orientation/same-sex relationships and parenting, social economic status, religious practices and indigenous health remedies/complementary medicine.

Jinai Desai, left, and Taylor White chat during a session for first year medical students at the Brody School of Medicine.

Jinai Desai, left, and Taylor White chat during a session for first year medical students at the Brody School of Medicine.

“ Actions from the boardroom to the reception desk can send a clear message whether differences are welcomed and valued.”

In addition to serving students, Savitt and Arrington support faculty and staff groups that recognize and value diversity, including the Brody Women Faculty Committee. They interface regularly with a group of vice chairs for diversity and inclusion – appointed from each academic department at Brody and tasked with coordinating faculty recruitment and retention, community involvement and professional development programming.

“Diversity is all about differences,” Hardy said. “The more interactions that medical students have with individuals who are different…the more opportunity they have to learn about others.”

More information about diversity affairs at Brody is available at http://www.ecu.edu/bsomdiversityaffairs.

Theatre & Dance presents prize-winning show

streetcarfeature
East Carolina University students Jillian Brocki as Stella Kowalski and Austin Crowley as Stanley Kowalski perform in the School of Theatre and Dance production of "A Streetcar Named Desire," Oct. 2-7. (Photos by Cliff Hollis)

East Carolina University students Jillian Brocki as Stella Kowalski and Austin Crowley as Stanley Kowalski perform in the School of Theatre and Dance production of “A Streetcar Named Desire,” Oct. 2-7. (Photos by Cliff Hollis)

By Grace Haskin
ECU News Services

The stage of McGinnis Theatre was transformed into a grim post-World War II New Orleans for the production of “A Streetcar Named Desire.”

The East Carolina University School of Theatre and Dance captivated audiences Oct. 2-7 with the American classic, written by Tennessee Williams in 1947.

The production was impressive, said ECU theatre professor and director of the show, Gregory Funaro. “If this is not the greatest American play, it’s certainly one of them.”

ECU senior Cate Kessler performs the role of Blanche Dubois in the ECU production.

ECU senior Cate Kessler performs the role of Blanche Dubois in the ECU production.

The theatrical drama hinges upon the arrival of Blanche Dubois, an aging Southern belle played by ECU senior Cate Kessler, at the home of her sister, Stella, and brother-in-law, Stanley.

“Blanche has just lost her house, job and husband, so she goes to live with Stella,” said Kessler. “Stella has been telling Blanche not quite the truth about where she lives, which is kind of a dump.”

Stanley, played by ECU senior Austin Crowley, is an unrefined World War II veteran who Crowley described as “uncouth” and “brutish.”

“Stanley only cares about two things: sex and playing poker with his buddies,” said Crowley. “He treats everything around him with violence and views Blanche as an enemy in the war.”

As the play progresses, Blanche’s darkest secrets are revealed and it becomes apparent that she is on the verge of a nervous breakdown. “I could play this role every night for two years, and I would still discover things about Blanche,” said Kessler. “She is every actress’ dream.”

Kessler hoped viewers will look deeper into the show and appreciate its relevance to their own lives. “The themes in this play are timeless: heartbreak, loneliness, being misunderstood and afraid,” she said. “Blanche had her heart broken and she was never the same. I think people will be able to relate to that.”

Funaro praised the cast and crew and said they were “phenomenal” to work with. “I know I’m biased,” he said, “but I’ve seen a lot of college theater, and we have something equivalent to a professional production on our hands.”

“This play is emotionally fulfilling, dramatically interesting and I promise people will be captivated,” said Crowley. “If you’ve never seen a show before, this is the show to see.”

The show was part of the 2014-2015 ECU/Loessin Playhouse season. Upcoming productions include “Kiss Me Kate” and “Dance 2015.”

For more information, visit www.ecuarts.com, call 252-328-6829, or go to the McGinnis Theatre Box Office located in the Messick Theatre Arts Center, open weekdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Leaders elected for faculty, staff senates

Left to right are ECU's newly elected faculty officers John Given, Foreign Languages and Literatures; Andrew Morehead, Chemistry; and Kylie Dotson-Blake, Education. (Photo by Cliff Hollis)

Faculty Senate

Left to right are ECU's newly elected faculty officers John Given, Foreign Languages and Literatures; Andrew Morehead, Chemistry; and Kylie Dotson-Blake, Education. (Photo by Cliff Hollis)

Left to right are ECU’s newly elected faculty officers John Given, Foreign Languages and Literatures; Andrew Morehead, Chemistry; and Kylie Dotson-Blake, Education. (Photo by Cliff Hollis)

 

Three professors elected to head Faculty Senate

By Grace Haskin
ECU News Services

Three East Carolina University professors began their terms as officers for the university’s Faculty Senate July 1.

The newly elected officers are Andrew Morehead, who will serve as chair, John Given, who will serve as vice chair, and Kylie Dotson-Blake, who will serve as secretary of the ECU faculty.

The Faculty Senate represents the general faculty in the shared governance between faculty and administration at ECU.

Morehead, from the Department of Chemistry, served as vice chair of the faculty for the past two years, but he began his service to the ECU faculty senate during his second semester at ECU in 2004. As chair, Morehead will present the faculty’s opinions and concerns to the administration and work with the administration to further ECU’s goals.

Given, of the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, served as a faculty senator for six years and parliamentarian for one year. As vice chair, Given aims to ensure that education is put first while making financially sound decisions. As a long-term goal, he wants to expand study abroad opportunities to more students at ECU.

Dotson-Blake, from the College of Education, has been a faculty senator and was chair of the service-learning committee. As secretary, Dotson-Blake will communicate with faculty, promote transparency and foster collaboration. Her goal is to develop and sustain positive relationships among faculty, administration and stakeholders.

The senate elected the officers at the Faculty Senate’s organizational meeting on April 22 for the 2014-2015 academic year.

For more information about ECU’s Faculty Senate, go to www.ecu.edu/cs-acad/fsonline.

 

Staff Senate

The 2014-15 members of the Staff Senate Executive Committee are, left to right, Penney Doughtie, Lisa Ormond, Arlene Bowling and Mary Schiller. Each was elected to a one-year term. (Photo by Cliff Hollis)

The 2014-15 members of the Staff Senate Executive Committee are, left to right, Penney Doughtie, Lisa Ormond, Arlene Bowling and Mary Schiller. Each was elected to a one-year term. (Photo by Cliff Hollis)


Four staff members elected to executive committee

By Kristen King
ECU News Services

Four East Carolina University staff members began one-year terms as officers of the Staff Senate Executive Committee on June 1.

The new officers are Mary Schiller, chair; Lisa Ormond, chair-elect; Penney Doughtie, secretary; and Arlene Bowling, treasurer.

Schiller began working for ECU in 2001 as Contact Center manager for the Brody School of Medicine. This is her second year as a senator.

During her term as chair, Schiller said she will work to promote and enhance the status of staff to ensure that their expertise is included in university goals. She would like to see more collaboration between the Faculty and Staff Senates and hopes to offer awards from two growing scholarship funds managed by the Staff Senate.

Schiller presented goals for the coming year during the first-ever Staff Senate report to the ECU Board of Trustees in July 2014.

“Speaking at the board meeting was an honor,” Schiller said. “ECU is facing some serious challenges, and as the old saying goes, ‘many hands make light work.’ The Staff Senate is willing to do everything we can to enable ECU to thrive today and in the future. Being included on the agenda at each meeting sends a strong message that staff input is valued by the board as well as the university.”

Another first for the Staff Senate is having an all-female Executive Committee. This is the first time anyone can remember or determine from records that it has happened, Schiller said.

Lisa Ormond is an accountant with the College of Nursing and will reach 26 years of total service at ECU this September. She is serving as chair-elect in year two of her second term as a senator, positioning her to become chair for 2015-16.

Ormond aims to build a closer relationship between staff and Human Resources, working collaboratively to make the best possible decisions for staff. She would also like for staff to have a louder voice within the ECU community.

“So many of our colleagues are unaware of the Staff Senate and its purpose and goals,” Ormond said.

She hopes to see the university regain some of its past stability in the job market, along with competitive salaries and benefits.

Penney Doughtie, a technology support analyst in Financial Services, has been with ECU for 19 years. She believes the Staff Senate is a strong voice for campus and hopes to continue to grow the professional relationship between staff and administration.

Doughtie is also committed to service, and said, “I am honored to be a seven-year member of the ECU Servire Society for community service. The Latin word servire is the University’s motto, and means ‘to serve.’ I personally think it is everyone’s duty to volunteer and I would like to see more staff members volunteer during campus events and in the community.”

Bowling is a personnel coordinator in the Department of Radiation Oncology and has worked at ECU since 2004. She is serving her second year in the Staff Senate. As treasurer, Bowling strives to promote fiscal accountability and good stewardship of university revenues and resources.

“I would like to see all employees at ECU engaged in preserving our heritage and actively making a personal commitment to resolving our current financial crisis,” Bowling said.

Bowling also hopes to serve as a model for and encourage active participation in ECU’s servire motto.

All four agree that one of the biggest challenges facing staff is low morale due to insecurities about their positions. This has been brought on by budget cuts that have caused increased workloads with no compensation increases, combined with promotion restraints and an overall uncertainty about the financial environment.

The Staff Senate comprises 52 delegates representing 4,000 ECU staff members. The Executive Committee is elected by a majority vote of senators and alternates at the May meeting each year.

Additional information can be found at http://www.ecu.edu/cs-admin/staffsenate/index.cfm.

Grant furthers telepsychiatry program

Saeed

ECU News Services

A $1.5 million grant from The Duke Endowment will fund further expansion of the Statewide Telepsychiatry Program (NC-STeP), based out of East Carolina University.

Saeed

Saeed

The grant was awarded to the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Rural Health and Community Care. ECU’s Center for Telepsychiatry began coordinating NC-STeP services in fall 2013.

By using secure, real-time interactive audio and video technology at the bedside, telepsychiatry enables mental health providers to diagnose and treat people needing care at any remote referring site.

“The statewide telepsychiatry program is about providing the best evidence-based care to our patients regardless of where they may be located – large cities or small towns in NC,” said Dr. Sy Saeed, principal investigator on the Duke Endowment grant, director of NC-STeP and chair of the Department of Psychiatric Medicine at ECU. “The expansion of the program through this funding will facilitate enhancing community capacity for caring for people with mental illness,” Saeed said.

The Duke Endowment grant will be disbursed in two installments – $800,000 in 2014 and $700,000 in 2015 – and will be used to build upon the initial success of the telepsychiatry program. Success of this expansion project will result in improved care for patients and cost savings to participating patients, local hospitals, local law enforcement and state hospitals.

Chris Collins, the director of the Office of Rural Health and Community Care, expressed gratitude for this ongoing public and private partnership.

“The additional resources will complement state funding, allowing the telepsychiatry program to expand statewide,” Collins said. “This initiative addresses critical health professional shortages and creates unprecedented community access for individuals in rural and underserved areas to receive treatment for a mental health emergency.”

Based in Charlotte and established in 1924 by industrialist and philanthropist James B. Duke, The Duke Endowment is a private foundation that strengthens communities in North Carolina and South Carolina by nurturing children, promoting health, educating minds and enriching spirits. Since its founding, it has distributed more than $3 billion in grants. The Endowment shares a name with Duke University and Duke Energy, but all are separate organizations.

NCLR traces the scars of war

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ECU News Services

For its 2014 print issue, North Carolina Literary Review devotes its special feature section to “War in North Carolina Literature.” This in-depth exploration includes an interview with author Robert Morgan, who points out, “It is one of the mysteries of human life, and human history that intelligent people, often ethical people, kill each other so often and on such a scale.”nclr1_2

Readers will also find David Cecelski’s fascinating analysis of recordings made by a young Arthur Miller (well before he became one of America’s greatest playwrights) during a visit to Wilmington in the fall of 1941, just weeks before the United States – and Wilmington – were forever changed by the second world war.
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There is also a discussion with Ron Rash and Terry Roberts about the World War I German internment camp that existed in North Carolina and is central to novels by both authors; an essay about a post-apocalyptic civil war in William Forstchen’s novel “One Second After”; and an essay about little-known African American author James McGirt, who wrote about black soldiers in the Spanish-American War.

These join Claudette Cohen’s short story “The Mayor of Biscoe,” winner of the 2013 Doris Betts Fiction Prize, which details the struggle of life for a soldier after he has left the battlefield. Quoting Robert Morgan in her introduction to the section, NCLR Editor Margaret Bauer writes, “Cohen understands, as do these other insightful writers, that there is no ‘delight’ in war.”

The 2014 “Flashbacks” section, with essays and poetry by and about writers featured in past issues, includes an essay by Paul Baggett on author Charles Chesnutt’s “Marrow of Tradition,” which is based on the Wilmington coup d’etat of 1898, as well as Jordan Stone’s essay on Michael Malone’s 1983 novel “Handling Sin.” In addition, Allan Gurganus flips from author to subject in Zackary Vernon’s essay, which delves into the Halloween horror show, held each year at Gurganus’s home, and Shirley Stave takes a look at Lee Smith’s 2002 novel “The Last Girls.” These essays accompany poems by Susan Laughter Meyers, winner of the 2013 James Applewhite Poetry Prize, as well as poems by James Applewhite, for whom the competition is named, and Fred Chappell, who served as final judge for last year’s competition.

Great work also finds a home in NCLR in the “North Carolina Miscellany” section, which this year features paintings by the writer Clyde Edgerton together with the poetry from Hannah Bonner, another of the 2013 Applewhite competition finalists. And Annie Frazier, daughter of “Cold Mountain” author Charles Frazier, shows off her own literary talents in the short story “Sakura,” a finalist for the 2013 Doris Betts Fiction Prize. “You will see when you read her story that writing talent runs in the family,” writes Bauer.

Included in the latest issue is an announcement of a new NCLR creative nonfiction competition in 2015, with the winner published in the 2016 edition, to celebrate the 25th issue of NCLR. The Alex Albright Creative Nonfiction Prize, named for the founding editor, will be open to any writer who fits the NCLR definition of a North Carolina writer: anyone who currently lives in North Carolina, has lived in North Carolina, or uses North Carolina as subject matter.

The issue also announces next year’s theme: “Global North Carolina,” and invites writers to submit for this issue by Aug. 31.

The cover art for NCLR 2014 was designed by Dana Ezzell Gay, an associate professor at Meredith College in Raleigh and NCLR Art Director since 2008. Other contributing designers include Gay’s student Karen Baltimore; Stephanie Whitlock Dicken, who teaches at Pitt Community College; and Dave Cox of Five to Ten Design in Washington, North Carolina.

Published by East Carolina University and the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association, NCLR has won numerous awards. NCLR 2014 has been mailed to subscribers and will be available in independent bookstores across the state. To subscribe to the print issue, go to www.nclr.ecu.edu.

Heart Institute earns top rating

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The East Carolina Heart Institute has received the highest quality rating awarded by the Society of Thoracic Surgeons.

Dr. W. Randolph Chitwood Jr.

Dr. W. Randolph Chitwood Jr.

The society database is the national report card that compares the quality of cardiac surgery programs across the country. Historically, only 12-15 percent of hospitals receive the three-star rating, which is the highest quality category.

In the current analysis of national data – from Jan. 1, 2013 through Dec. 31, 2013 – the cardiac surgery performance at the institute rose to the highest quality tier, earning the three-star rating.

“When a surgeon or a doctor starts to discuss an operation, the three-star rating will give the patient some repose, satisfaction and solace that they are going to an institution that has high quality, great outcomes, and combined with our patient satisfaction rate at the heart institute, that they will have a good family and patient experience,” said Dr. W. Randolph Chitwood Jr., director of the East Carolina Heart Institute and professor of cardiovascular sciences at the Brody School of Medicine.

“We are all about quality. We are all about the highest level of outcomes. We are about patient satisfaction. We are about technology. We have it all here at this heart institute.”

In 2013, the heart institute ranked among the top 14 percent of Society of Thoracic Surgeions programs earning the three-star rating for coronary artery bypass procedures.

The overall bypass quality rating of three-stars measures top performance in four categories: risk-adjusted mortality, risk-adjusted morbidity, use of the internal mammary arterial conduit and appropriate use of all medications that have been shown to improve long term survival. The risk adjusted mortality rate takes into account patient severity, because of underlying health conditions such as stroke, kidney failure, infection and prolonged time on a ventilator.

Additionally, the heart institute achieved a three-star rating for aortic value replacement, ranking them among only 3.2 percent of STS participating programs.

The East Carolina Heart Institute is the first in North Carolina devoted exclusively to improving the state’s health status through cardiovascular health service delivery, research and education. The institute is a partnership between Vidant Medical Center and East Carolina University, with facilities housed on both medical campuses.

Private practice physicians throughout the region are also an integral part of the heart institute.

ECU producing most nurses in North Carolina

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Students in the College of Nursing are trained to treat patients in an East Carolina University simulation lab this summer. ECU was recognized in a report by the UNC Board of Governors for producing the most nurses in North Carolina and for graduates passing the state nursing exam at a rate above the state average. (Photo by Jay Clark)

Students in the College of Nursing were trained to treat patients in an East Carolina University simulation lab this summer. ECU was recognized in a report by the UNC Board of Governors for producing the most nurses in North Carolina and for graduates passing the state nursing exam at a rate above the state average. (Photo by Jay Clark)

 

By Steve Tuttle
ECU News Services

East Carolina University’s College of Nursing continues to produce the most registered nurses in North Carolina and its graduates pass the state nursing exam at a rate above the state average, according to data in a report prepared for the UNC Board of Governors.

The annual tracking report, received by the board at its June 20 meeting, said that 95 percent of the 273 graduates of ECU’s bachelor of science in nursing program who took the state exam in 2013 passed it.

The average state exam passing rate of all 12 UNC system campuses with nursing programs was 90 percent that year. The passing rate of all nursing programs in North Carolina, including those at private colleges and universities, was 85 percent in 2013, the report said.

Enrollment in all UNC nursing programs soared by 31 percent in the past five years, rising from 2,985 in 2009 to 4,212 in 2013, according to the report. Three UNC campuses launched nursing programs in recent years.

With more students in the pipeline, the UNC campuses with nursing programs are graduating 20 percent more RNs now than five years ago, the report said.

But despite the rise in nursing school enrollment, 3,500 nursing jobs remain unfilled across the state, the report said in citing March 2014 employment data.

Across the UNC system, enrollment in master’s degree programs grew from 1,471 to 1,637, or 11 percent, between 2009 and 2013. The number studying for doctoral degrees rose from 119 to 157, or 32 percent, in that time period, according to the report, which is based on data submitted by each campus.

At ECU, enrollment in master’s degree programs grew from 486 to 547 in that five-year period, while enrollment in doctoral programs grew from 31 to 49 in that period, the report said.

The Board of Governors has encouraged growth in enrollment in nursing programs since 2004 when, in conjunction with the N.C. Institute of Medicine, it created the UNC Committee on the Future of Nursing. The committee concluded that graduating more nurses was critical to improving access to health care.

More recently, the Board of Governors green-lighted new master’s and doctoral programs to increase the supply of nurses specially trained to take on more of the health care workload. An example is the doctor of nursing practice degree (DNP) created in 2013 at ECU and five other campuses.

Sylvia Brown, dean of ECU’s College of Nursing, said the DNP program will produce graduates critical to improving health care in the region. She said the program “will help to achieve our mission of improving the health of citizens through the preparation of expert practitioners who deliver primary care in rural areas of the state and assume leadership roles to advance health care delivery.”

The DNP prepares nurses for direct clinical practice and for executive roles in areas that support clinical practice, such as administration, organizational leadership, academics and health policy.

East Carolina’s DNP program coursework is totally online, and clinical practice sites include primary care clinics, hospitals, and public health care agencies. Students are required to attend skills sessions at the College of Nursing several times a year.

Twenty-one students were accepted to the first DNP class in fall 2013. More than half were from eastern North Carolina.

Trustees review fiscal sustainability measures, strategic planning

Robert Brinkley, pictured above, was re-elected July 18 for a second term as chairman of the ECU Board of Trustees.
SGA president Michael King, sworn in July 18 as an ex officio board member, and board member Deborah Davis listen to discussions at the July 2014 meeting of the ECU Board of Trustees. (Photos by Cliff Hollis)

SGA president Michael King, sworn in July 18 as an ex officio board member, and board member Deborah Davis listen to discussions at the July 2014 meeting of the ECU Board of Trustees. (Photos by Cliff Hollis)

 

By Kathryn Kennedy
ECU News Services

Continuing fiscal challenges were front and center during the regular meeting of the East Carolina University Board of Trustees held July 17-18 at the East Carolina Heart Institute at ECU.

Chancellor Steve Ballard began his report to trustees Friday morning by describing the financial strain.

Board members including Danny Scott, pictured above, heard recommendations for fiscal sustainability during a time of severe budget cutbacks for the university.

Board members including Danny Scott, pictured above, heard recommendations for fiscal sustainability during a time of severe budget cutbacks for the university.

“It’s been the most difficult (year) of my 10 years – the seventh straight year of major cutbacks,” Ballard said. “We will do everything we can to protect the most vital parts of the university as we try to cope with what seem to be never-ending reductions.”

At the center of the university’s response is a report drafted by the University Committee on Fiscal Sustainability. It builds on the prior work of the Program Prioritization Committee, which assessed all academic programs at the university.

UCFS members issued 61 recommendations, which were delivered to the chancellor May 1 for review and approval. Ballard adopted all of them, and smaller working groups have been established to develop action plans and best practices for implementation.

Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration Rick Niswander reported that work on seven items is already under way, with 11 more expected to begin this fall. All recommendations will yield action over the next two to three years. More information about the recommendations is online at http://www.ecu.edu/news/fiscalsustainability.cfm.

“This is not simply a cost saving device,” Niswander added. “Much of that savings then gets reallocated (toward priority programs).”

Of particular concern is funding for the Brody School of Medicine – two sources of which remain in limbo as the state legislature has not yet approved a budget or appropriations for the university.

“(Brody) is threatened because of state restrictions that tend to remove its financial opportunities every year,” Ballard told board members during his remarks. “One of my goals is to seek permanent state appropriations for this school. It’s a way to stop the year-to-year bloodletting that’s happening (at Brody).”

Robert Brinkley, pictured above, was re-elected July 18 for a second term as chairman of the ECU Board of Trustees.

Robert Brinkley, pictured above, was re-elected July 18 for a second term as chairman of the ECU Board of Trustees.

Efforts to sustain the medical school are ongoing. They range from improving access to patients by adjusting scheduling and billing protocols; to altering how medical faculty are compensated; to a review of every position and program funded by Brody or its clinical practice, ECU Physicians.

“There are a lot of decisions yet to be made but there is progress in all these areas,” said Phyllis Horns, vice chancellor for health sciences.

Infrastructure needs for ECU’s aging facilities were also discussed.

“Repairs and renovations for an older campus are huge,” Ballard said. “We have urgent, immediate needs of $70 million for repairs and renovations. Those needs will get bigger and the state’s ability to help us pay for those things is not keeping up.”

Despite fiscal challenges, the board also looked toward the future during a review of a new strategic plan for the university. The plan focuses on three commitments outlined in ECU’s mission statement – student success, serving the public and achieving regional transformation.

“It really is an aspirational document,” said Interim Provost Ron Mitchelson, who is leading the planning initiative. “We’re going to set the bar high and try to get there – try our best.”

Proposed initiatives to achieve those ends range from attracting more transfer and military students; to developing a school focused on coastal research; to increasing partnerships between the College of Engineering and various health sciences disciplines.

Board members lauded the strategic plan and Board Chairman Robert Brinkley described it as “aspirational but achievable.”

“I think it’s totally unique; it’s very ECU,” said Trustee Carol Mabe. “There’s tremendous clarity and focus of what we’re going to do and how we’re going to do it.”

ECU last produced a strategic plan in 2007. The next steps for the updated plan are final edits and then approval by the Chancellor’s Executive Council, made up of top university administrators.

Other items from the July board meeting included:

The Board elected officers for the 2014-15 term. Robert Brinkley was re-elected as chairman; Steve Jones, vice chair, and Edwin Clark, secretary, were also re-elected. All will be serving second terms in the positions. ECU Student Government Association President Michael King, a senior, was also sworn in as an ex-officio member.

The Board voted to approve the purchase of property at 908 Forbes Street from the ECU Real Estate Foundation for $107,800. The property is adjacent to a parking lot at the corner of E. 10th and Evans Streets.

Staff Senate Chair Mary Schiller presented her organization’s goals for the coming year. The Staff Senate comprises 52 delegates representing 4,000 staff members, said Schiller during the inaugural Staff Senate report to the board.

The Athletics and Advancement Committee agreed to name various facilities and programs on campus for donors who have given a total or $2.2 million to the university. The largest gift was a $1 million donation from the Harold H. Bate Foundation of New Bern, which paid for the track facility at ECU’s Olympic Sports Complex. Minges Bottling Group of Ayden was also recognized for donating $500,000 toward costs associated with the infield at the track and field facility in the Olympic Sports Complex.

Jeannine Manning Hutson contributed to this report.

Radio contest leads to Keith Urban tour appearance

Kasey Tyndall (Photo courtesy of Michelle Messer Photography)
Kasey Tyndall (Photo courtesy of Michelle Messer Photography)

Kasey Tyndall (Photo courtesy of Michelle Messer Photography)

 

 

By Jeannine Manning Hutson
ECU News Services

Kasey Tyndall has been singing and playing the guitar since she taught herself at 10 years old.

Friday night, Aug. 8, she took her talent to Walnut Creek Amphitheatre to sing a duet with country music superstar Keith Urban when his “Raise ‘Em Up” tour rolls into Raleigh.

The East Carolina University sophomore, who intends to major in nursing,  had a whirlwind week. She found out Aug. 6 that she won a contest held by Raleigh’s 94.7 WQDR to sing with Urban.

The radio station had singers call in and sing Miranda Lambert’s part to Urban’s #1 hit, “We Were Us.”

“I called in. They recorded it, sent to Keith Urban’s team, and they picked me,” Tyndall said.

Tyndall has performed at local festivals and even opened for country music artist Jason Michael Carroll at a show in Louisburg, but never on a stage this large. And she hasn’t performed “We Were Us” live before either, because it’s a duet.

Has she been practicing nonstop? Nope. “I’m trying to save my voice,” she said.

“He’ll play it exactly like he does on iTunes so I know how many measures before I come in,” she said. “And I’m sure if I have a moment, he’ll give me a nod.”

Surprisingly, Tyndall said she’s not really nervous. “The more people, the less nervous I am. It’s going to be fun,” she said.

“I have sound check with Keith at 3:30 p.m., and there’s a strict schedule after that with some gaps,” she said. Her dad, Keith Tyndall of Nashville, North Carolina, will be backstage with her.

“I’m nervous about the set up, but it’s going to be fine,” she said. “I’m not used to (a major production like this), but hopefully I will be soon.”

Some of Tyndall’s friends already had tickets to the concert, but she said, “my family went crazy buying tickets. They are so excited.”

Even though she wants to be a nurse and already has her Nursing Aide I license, Tyndall said she loves singing and performing.

“I tried out for The Voice and American Idol, but a lot of it is not if you can sing or not, it’s about the marketing and if you have a good story.”

Born in Rocky Mount, Tyndall moved to Greenville before sixth grade and graduated from D.H. Conley High School. Her mom, Teresa Martin, works in the Department of Technology Systems in the College of Engineering and Technology and has tickets to Friday night’s show – along with about 15 other family members and friends. “That’s just the ones I know about,” she said.

Her daughter’s feet haven’t touched the ground since Wednesday when she got the news, Martin said. “It just hasn’t sunk in yet.”

“She is more nervous to play for family and friends and sometimes she resists that. It’s true the more people she plays for, the less nervous. Of course this is a lot different,” Martin said.

“She’s down-to-earth, and she’s a good kid,” she said. “I’m very proud of her. Not just her music, but the person that she is.”

If you don’t have tickets to Friday night’s show, you can follow Tyndall on Twitter – @kase_kase_ – to hear about her adventure back stage and beyond.

ECU partners in education-to-workforce pipeline

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ECU is a partner in a new collaborative effort to connect talented young students to potential careers in science, technology, engineering, art/design and mathematics (STEAM). The program may lead young people to pursue studies in areas such as biomedical engineering, a new master's program at ECU. Pictured above, ECU students Tyree Parker and Grace Baran perform engineering processes in a biomedical lab on campus. (Photo by Jay Clark)

ECU is a partner in a new collaborative effort to connect talented young students to potential careers in science, technology, engineering, art/design and mathematics (STEAM). The program may lead young people to pursue studies in areas such as biomedical engineering, a new master’s program at ECU. Pictured above, ECU students Tyree Parker and Grace Baran perform engineering processes in a biomedical lab on campus. (Photo by Jay Clark)

 

By Kelly Setzer
ECU News Services

East Carolina University is partnering on a comprehensive, hands-on initiative aimed at fueling a regional advanced manufacturing and innovation workforce beginning with middle school students.

The Golden LEAF Foundation has announced a $1.25 million grant to support the plan.

The Advanced Manufacturing and Innovation Academy and associated Master eSTEAM Instructor program are the result of a unique collaboration among middle school parents, students and teachers, East Carolina University, Pitt Community College, Pitt County Schools, North East Carolina Preparatory School (Edgecombe County), P.S. Jones Middle School (Beaufort County), STEM East, economic developers and regional advanced manufacturers.

 Pitt County students Adrianne Freeman, left, and Jasmine Foreman visited ECU in February for STEM Day, which focuses attention on careers in science, technology, engineering and math. Freeman and Foreman were examining a miniature car that was created using ECU's 3-D printer. (Photo by Cliff Hollis)


Pitt County students Adrianne Freeman, left, and Jasmine Foreman visited ECU in February for STEM Day, which focuses attention on careers in science, technology, engineering and math. Freeman and Foreman were examining a miniature car that was created using ECU’s 3-D printer. (Photo by Cliff Hollis)

Once implemented, the program will provide an effective education-to-workforce pipeline to address the growing shortage of eastern North Carolina advanced manufacturing workers and entrepreneurs, technically skilled in science, technology, engineering, art/design and mathematics (STEAM), as well as innovation and entrepreneurship (e) processes.

In addition to the schools in Edgecombe and Beaufort counties, all 13 Pitt County middle and K-8 schools will be included in the program.

“ECU and the College of Engineering and Technology will help prepare these middle school students by exposing them to the tremendous career opportunities that lie before them and developing the academic and technical skills that are required for employment in this industry,” said David White, dean of ECU’s College of Engineering and Technology.

Recognizing the economic development possibilities to engage, equip and connect talented young people with regional advanced manufacturing careers and related entrepreneurial opportunities, the group of regional partners developed a comprehensive plan for enhancing students’ creative, innovation and technical skills, knowledge and abilities. The plan includes career awareness strategies, eSTEAM-related in-school and out-of-school curriculum and experiences, and professional development opportunities for 78 eastern North Carolina teachers.

Middle School Innovators Academy student Logan Stox works with Jim Menke to build blue foam models of their innovations. A new program will expand the current academy and enhance its focus on STEAM topics.

Middle School Innovators Academy student Logan Stox works with Jim Menke to build blue foam models of their innovations. A new program will expand the current academy and enhance its focus on STEAM topics.

Crucial to the success of the initiative is the inclusion of art and design to an otherwise technically-focused program. “I am thrilled that this project seeks to marry the creative energies of the arts with the STEM disciplines. It is truly a unique way of stimulating innovation that will create exciting opportunities for the students involved and significant long term benefits for our region,” said Chris Buddo, dean of ECU’s College of Fine Arts and Communication.

The academy is an innovative new approach piloted in this section of the state and was recommended by Pitt County Manager Scott Elliott. The successful cross-institutional collaboration is the first of its kind and may be replicated in other projects, said Wanda Yuhas, executive director of Pitt County Development Commission.

The grant will be administered by ECU’s Office of Innovation and Economic Development, as the program is aimed at supporting existing and future advanced manufacturing employers in eastern North Carolina with an innovative, skilled and capable workforce.

“This innovative approach is all about talent enhancement and retention and has the potential to be an economic development game changer,” said Ted Morris, associate vice chancellor of ECU’s Innovation and Economic Development office. “We are all excited to implement such a forward-thinking program and for this unique opportunity to stimulate true regional transformation.”

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The Golden LEAF Foundation awards grants to 501(c)(3) nonprofits and governmental entities across North Carolina. Golden LEAF’s grantsmaking focuses on three priorities: agriculture, job creation and retention, and workforce preparedness. Projects that focus on other opportunities to support and develop economic strength in tobacco-dependent, economically distressed, and/or rural communities continue to be welcomed.

Golden LEAF Foundation president Dan Gerlach, right, announced the $1.25 million grant to grow a skilled local workforce during a press conference in Greenville June 16. Listening are ECU Innovation Academy Director Wayne Godwin, left, and Ted Morris, associate vice chancellor of Engagement, Innovation and Economic Development. (Photo by Cliff Hollis)

Golden LEAF Foundation president Dan Gerlach, right, announced the $1.25 million grant to grow a skilled local workforce during a press conference in Greenville June 16. Listening are ECU Innovation Academy Director Wayne Godwin, left, and Ted Morris, associate vice chancellor of Engagement, Innovation and Economic Development. (Photo by Cliff Hollis)

100th sustainable-practice business named

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The ECU Center for Sustainability is a partner in the NC GreenTravel Initiative, which has named the Uptown Greenville Umbrella Market its 100th North Carolina business to be recognized for use of sustainable practices that save energy and protect the environment. The Umbrella Market is a Greenville farmer’s market that features locally-grown food and a free shuttle providing transportation.

Pat Long, director of the ECU Center for Sustainability, is pictured with the travel care code, which encourage travelers to take a pledge to travel responsibly. The code was developed at ECU.

Pat Long, director of the ECU Center for Sustainability, is pictured with the ECU-developed travel care code, which encourages travelers to take a pledge to travel responsibly.

The GreenTravel Initiative helps tourists locate lodging, restaurants and activities that will enable them to visit an area while making a positive impact on the environment, society and economy. The program began in 2011 as a joint effort between the ECU center, the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources, N.C. Department of Commerce and the Waste Reduction Partners.

Tourism-focused businesses apply for the program and are selected through a grading system that measures environmentally friendly practices used to conserve energy and water, reduce waste, recycle and protect the environment.

More than 50 million tourists visited North Carolina in 2013, according to the state Department of Commerce. Among those visitors, more and more are seeking out businesses that maintain sustainable practices. The NC GreenTravel Initiative helps by identifying those businesses.

“We know our tourism economy depends upon the protection of our nationally recognized travel offerings,” said Pat Long, director of the ECU Center for Sustainability.

“It will only be enhanced by sending a clear message that North Carolina tourism providers are working hard to limit energy and water use, reduce waste generation, and still provide the quality vacation and business travel experience travelers have become accustomed to.”

For additional information on NC GreenTravel, visit http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/deao/ncgreentravel

For more information on the ECU Center for Sustainability, visit http://www.ecu.edu/cs-tecs/sustainabletourism/index.cfm.

For information on the Travel Care Code developed by the center, visit http://www.ecu.edu/news/travelcarecode.cfm.

 

ECU research highlighted in NatGeo

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Twomey

Twomey

Research from the ECU Department of Biology on Peruvian glassfrogs was highlighted in National Geographic.

Graduate student Evan Twomey, quoted in the piece, has teamed with former grad student Jesse Delia in the research.

According to the article, the research has identified four new species of the see-through frogs, some with green bones. The species is known for gaudy coloring including yellow circles around the eyes.

Read the article in National Geographic…

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Researchers study impact of exercise on moms-to-be, babies

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 Kim Womack of Greenville uses free weights during an exercise session offered to women in their second and third trimesters as part of a study under way at ECU to assess how exercise during those months affects the health of the mother and baby. Womack was due in August. (Photos by Cliff Hollis)


Kim Womack of Greenville uses free weights during an exercise session offered to women in their second and third trimesters as part of a study under way at ECU to assess how exercise during those months affects the health of the mother and baby. Womack was due in August. (Photos by Cliff Hollis)

By Crystal Baity
ECU News Services

East Carolina University researchers are studying the impact that exercise during pregnancy can have on newborn babies and moms.

Linda May, assistant professor of anatomy in the School of Dental Medicine, is leading the study. She has teamed up with graduate and undergraduate kinesiology students in the College of Health and Human Performance to offer exercise training to women in their second and third trimesters.

From left, Dominique Jones, who received his undergraduate degree in May and is now an exercise physiology graduate student, and Olivia Holden, a second-year graduate student in exercise physiology, oversee Beth Ketterman as she uses a leg resistance machine in ECU’s FITT building.

From left, Dominique Jones, who received his undergraduate degree in May and is now an exercise physiology graduate student, and Olivia Holden, a second-year graduate student in exercise physiology, oversee Beth Ketterman as she uses a leg resistance machine in ECU’s FITT building.

“We hope to find that children from women who exercise during pregnancy have better heart measures and are leaner than children from women who do not exercise during their pregnancy,” said May, who is an adjunct assistant professor of exercise physiology.

Kim Womack of Greenville, who is expecting her first child in August, is one of 55 women enrolled in the study to date. A speech language pathologist for Pitt County Schools, Womack does resistance training at ECU’s FITT building near Minges Natatorium.

As part of the study, Womack works out for 45 minutes three days a week at ECU. A friend, Emily Brewer of Greenville, also a speech language pathologist in the school system, told Womack about the study.

“I’m excited to be supervised (during pregnancy) by folks who know what they’re doing,” Womack said.

“I have felt fabulous,” Womack said. “I hope it helps with labor and delivery and to get back in shape afterward, and to have positive effects on the baby.”

Brewer, whose daughter Elyza was born in April, has recruited several women to the study. “I thought it was a great opportunity to stay in shape while I was pregnant and see the benefits through my baby,” Brewer said. “Labor and delivery was definitely something I wanted to get strong for. It helped my endurance in being able to push.”

Emily Brewer of Greenville holds her daughter, Elyza, who was born in April. Brewer has helped recruit other women for the study.

Emily Brewer of Greenville holds her daughter, Elyza, who was born in April. Brewer has helped recruit other women for the study.

Brewer was a regular exerciser before her pregnancy and committed to staying fit before and after her daughter’s birth. “Exercise has always been really important in my life. It’s been wonderful continuing to do something I felt was important for my mental and physical health,” she said.

Deandra Woods of Roxboro, an exercise physiology major who helps the women with their exercises, said “The moms love it. It’s a really good stress relief.” Woods is completing requirements for graduation with the internship this summer.

Jessica Van Meter, an instructor and program coordinator in the FITT building, said the study has benefited both graduate and undergraduate students. “Our graduate students get to find a topic that interests them and still do the coursework in their curriculum,” Van Meter said.

Each semester – spring, summer and fall – undergraduate students schedule and monitor exercise sessions with the mothers in the study. “Everyone works well together,” said Van Meter, who also oversees and coordinates exercise physiology graduate students’ assistantships.

Women in the study have been assigned to do specific exercises during their pregnancy. Some women are doing aerobic activity, such as walking on a treadmill or using the elliptical machines, while others are doing resistance training like free weights. Some are doing a combination of the two. “We know a fair amount about aerobic activity during pregnancy, but little is known about resistance training throughout gestation,” May said.

Beth Ketterman, assistant director for collections at Laupus Library, is expecting in August. “I think it’s helped me to keep my weight gain in a healthy range,” she said. “The core exercises are not exercises I would challenge myself with so it’s been good to have someone motivate me.”

Ketterman said she has achieved her goal to become stronger, and “I hope it has positive effects on my baby.”

Alanna Naylor of Greenville had her third baby, Elora, on April 7. She had never exercised before, but could tell a difference, particularly in her baby. “She was my biggest baby and she didn’t have any problems at all,” Naylor said, adding that her daughter’s motor skills seem to be developing more quickly than her other children.

Data for the study is gathered from ultrasounds, electrocardiograms, measuring the length and circumference of the baby and skin folds. “We are looking for differences in heart measures and body composition,” May said.

Babies are evaluated at one month, six months and 12 months.

The multidisciplinary project is supported by Amy Gross McMillan, associate professor of physical therapy, who is assessing infant nervous and motor system development; Robert Hickner and Joe Houmard, professors of kinesiology; and faculty members in medicine and nutrition. Deirdre Dlugonski, assistant professor of kinesiology, is following up with mothers after delivery to determine if they will keep exercising.

“The main focus of the project is to determine the effect of various types of exercise on infant and child outcomes,” May said. “Ultimately, my goal is to help children be healthier even before birth.” May, who has been at ECU for about two years, teaches medical gross anatomy and microscopic anatomy to dental students. An exercise physiologist by training, her research is exercise-focused. She also has a study on pregnancy and child oral health under way.

Anyone interested in enrolling in the exercise during pregnancy study should contact May at mayl@ecu.edu or 252-737-7072.

Honors students intern with physicians

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ECU Honors College student Leela Goel operates the da Vinci Surgical System as part of an internship with the East Carolina Heart Institute. (Contributed photos)

ECU Honors College student Leela Goel operates the da Vinci Surgical System as part of an internship with the East Carolina Heart Institute. (Contributed photos)


By Jessica Nottingham

ECU Honors College

With their eyes focused on careers in medicine, two East Carolina University honors students saw first-hand the experiences of physicians through a six-week summer internship at the East Carolina Heart Institute.

Honors College and EC Scholar students Leela Goel of Raleigh and Ryan Baucom of Marshville shadowed cardiothoracic surgeons, pediatric cardiologists and interventional cardiologists during patient appointments and surgical procedures. Surgery was the primary focus of the internship requiring three to four days a week of observation in the operating room.

Left to right are Dr. W. Randolph Chitwood Jr., director of the East Carolina Heart Institute, with EC Scholars Leela Goel and Ryan Baucom. Goel holds a plaque with the names of other Honors College students who have completed the ECHI internship program in previous years.

Left to right are Dr. W. Randolph Chitwood Jr., director of the East Carolina Heart Institute, with EC Scholars Leela Goel and Ryan Baucom. Goel holds a plaque with the names of other Honors College students who have completed the ECHI internship program in previous years.

“They have gotten to observe exactly what the surgeon is seeing,” said Dr. W. Randolph Chitwood Jr., director of the ECHI.

“This experience helps decrease the learning curve and increases patient safety and efficacy. [The internship] is high-level, fast learning and involves biology, chemistry, physiology and pharmacology—what they’ve learned in class. It doesn’t all click until they get to work with a patient.”

Beyond witnessing patient treatment planning, surgery and recovery, the students discovered the integral role of advancing technology in patient care. In the ECHI Robotic Surgery Center for Training and Education, Goel worked closely with operators and engineers of the da Vinci Si Surgical System, a minimally-invasive robotic system controlled by surgeons.

“As a biomedical engineering major, I was fascinated by all of the medical technology,” said Goel, a rising junior. “I was especially interested in the medical imaging technologies used, as well as the instrumentation for the da Vinci and the hand tools the surgeons used. This internship has helped me refocus, and now I know that I want to pursue medical research as a physician-scientist.”

Patient interaction and communication were new aspects of medicine for Goel and Baucom. “Throughout the week we would shadow various physicians to see how they evaluate patients and communicate complex medical conditions in ways that patients could easily understand,” said Goel.

To complete the internship, Goel and Baucom selected a procedure to research and present to the ECHI surgical team that would demonstrate their understanding of a particular case and the patient’s treatment.

“The presentation gave us the opportunity to research a case that was interesting,” said Baucom, a senior biochemistry major. “I learned a great deal about hepatocellular carcinomas invading into the right atrium during my research and we are planning on trying to get this case study published.”

The ECHI and the Honors College have partnered to provide two spots each summer in this internship program for ECU honors students. The Honors College facilitates the competitive application process for ECU students annually. ECHI also accepts Park Scholars from North Carolina State University and students from Hampton-Sydney College each year to participate in the program.

“This internship is very unique and it is something that I would not be able to do anywhere else,” said Baucom. “If not for the Honors College initially setting up the summer internship, we may have never gotten an opportunity to work with some of the best surgeons in the country. This internship has strengthened my desire to go into medicine.”

Goel and Baucom participated in an internship that included an introduction to surgeries completed using the da Vinci robotic surgery system. The two are pictured with components of that system.

Goel and Baucom participated in an internship that included an introduction to surgeries completed using the da Vinci robotic surgery system. The two are pictured with components of that system.

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