ECU grad student pens novel on faith, attitudes in rural North Carolina town

East Carolina University graduate student and adjunct professor Jim Metzger has published “Dim,” a novel that examines faith and attitudes in a small and rural, devout North Carolina community.

Metzger

Metzger establishes a first-person narrative through Methodist minister Tom Maloney, who questions his beliefs and suitability for his chosen profession as he deals with issues such as bigotry, hypocrisy, suicide, patricide, homosexuality, spousal abuse and child abuse.

While events and characters in the story are fictional, Metzger said his observations are drawn upon personal experiences from a brief foray in the ministerial profession. He served as a minister for rural congregations in Georgia and North Carolina, in towns similar to fictional Harmony, N.C., where the novel is set.

“The job wasn’t a good fit for me, just as it’s not for the story’s narrator,” Metzger said.

Metzger said he wrote the novel with university students in mind after teaching a course that required composition, critical thinking and critical reading.

“Some of the novels we read just weren’t good conversation starters, so I thought it would be kind of nice to write what I wasn’t finding,” Metzger said.

Conversation starters in “Dim” include the narrator’s attempts to minister to his congregation, despite duties and personalities he finds disagreeable. The minister’s tolerant and inclusive outlook falls far afield of the severe approach favored by his congregants in the Bible-belt community. The conflicts eventually lead the minister to crisis and difficult personal choices.

Readers may also be drawn to the novel’s adventurous elements that include a boat overturned in shark-infested waters, suspicious deaths in the midst of a hurricane and an outbreak of food poisoning at the church’s annual potluck supper.

Metzger holds masters and doctoral degrees in religion from Vanderbilt University  and a master of divinity form Princeton Theological Seminary. He earned his bachelor’s degree from UNC-Chapel Hill. Metzger served as a visiting assistant professor of religion at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, before enrolling at ECU as a full-time graduate student in English. He has taught religion as an adjunct instructor at ECU and will teach a course for Pitt Community College in the fall.

The novel is available at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble web sites.

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Click here to read/listen to George Olsen interview with Metzger on Public Radio East.

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Housekeeper, supervisor awards announced

The 2011 Housekeeping Supervisors Awards for Excellence recipient was Edward “Nick” Ramkissoon, for service.

The 2011 Second Quarter Housekeepers Awards for Excellence recipients, for service, are Nancy Brown and Ruby Streeter with Academics, Mary May with Residence Halls / Student Recreation Center and Jennifer Thompson with Health Sciences Campus / School of Medicine.

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College of Nursing reports administrative changes

Laura Gantt

Several administrative changes have been announced within the College of Nursing.

Lou Everett

Dr. Laura Gantt will assume an expanded role as the Executive Director of College of Nursing Support Services.  In this role, she will have administrative oversight of the Student Development and Counseling area, Instructional Technology, as well as continuing to oversee the Learning Resources Center and the Concepts Integration Labs.  These support services are critical to support the mission of the CON and administrative oversight in these areas will help to assure that efforts are coordinated in an effective and efficient manner.  Rita Coggins will serve as Assistant Director for the Concepts Integration Labs.  In this role, she will be coordinating day to day activities in the lab.

Dr. Lou Everett will assume the role of Retention and Student Success Coordinator.  As part of student retention efforts, Dr. Everett will be assisting the CON’s Student Development and Counseling Center with tracking of students who have not followed up with their individualized retention plan and will serve as a liaison between faculty and counselors to help students be successful in the undergraduate nursing program.  Nancy Lilley has assumed the role of Assistant Director of Student Services for Pre-Nursing Majors on East Campus.

The college continues to have many students interested in the nursing major and have had 551 new intended nursing students participate in the ECU orientation this summer.  This is in addition to the 574 intended nursing majors who will be returning in the fall.

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Rita Coggins

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ECU alumna Betsy Justus leaves legacy of service

East Carolina University alumna Betsy Young Justus ’67 of Raleigh died July 9.

Justus was the first woman chair of the North Carolina Employment Security Commission, the first woman secretary for the N.C. Department of Revenue and founder/president of the North Carolina Electronics and Information Technologies Association. She also served as senior vide president of business development for ACS Enterprise Solutions and vice president at Alphanumeric System. Among her community activities included service as president of the Greater Hickory United Way, president of the National Association of Employment Security Administrators and chair of the board of directors of the North Carolina Center for Public Policy Research.

Justus was recognized by Gov. Jim Hunt with the Distinguished Women of North Carolina Business and Professional Award. She received a number of honors including Woman of the Year in 1981 and 1981 in the Hickory area, the N.C. Academy of Women Award and the Women in Business Award from the Triangle Business Journal.

Survivors included husband Edward Dale Justus, son Bradford Scott Justus and daughter-in-law Amy, and grandsons Grant and Matthew.

Read more about Justus and her service to the state of North Carolina in the News and Observer. Visit the guestbook for condolences and memories.

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