ECU administrator joins national board

An East Carolina University administrator is one of five people elected this year to the board of a national accounting organization.

In October, Vice Chancellor for Administration and Finance Dr. Rick Niswander began serving a three-year term on the Board of Directors of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, a member association representing the accounting profession with more than 412,000 members.

Dr. Rick Niswander

Dr. Rick Niswander

“It is a distinct honor to be able to continue to serve my CPA profession and at the same time represent ECU in a national organization,” Niswander said.

Niswander has worked as a CPA for almost 35 years. He came to ECU in 1993 as an accounting faculty member. He served as dean of the College of Business from 2004 until 2011, when he became vice chancellor.

The AICPA board consists of 16 members, 15 of whom rotate every three years in sets of five. The board acts as the executive committee of the AICPA and oversees the organization’s management as well its volunteer committees. Board members work in both the public and private sectors. While the board normally contains one educator, Niswander is the first from ECU and the first in recent memory from a North Carolina institution.

“This is also a distinction for ECU,” Niswander says. “This is another opportunity for me to spread the word about this great university, in addition to serving those in the accounting profession. ECU has many outstanding employees who represent ECU within their respective professions in a similar manner.”

Niswander has a long history of dedication to his profession. He is also a member of the AICPA Council, a body consisting of 250 accountants from all 50 states. He recently finished a term as chair of the Board of Examiners, the body responsible for the oversight of the CPA exam.

ECU psychology students support academic enhancements at Farmville Middle School

Pictured left to right are Farmville Middle School Instructional Coach Etosha Kiah; ECU SASP members Christine Rivera, Caroline Mulhare, Lauren Gaither, Katie Gitto, Erin Jackson, Hannah Wilson and Vicki Steinmetz. Kneeling in front is Farmville Middle School Principal Paul Briney. (Photo provided by Christine Rivera.)

Pictured left to right are Farmville Middle School Instructional Coach Etosha Kiah; ECU SASP members Christine Rivera, Caroline Mulhare, Lauren Gaither, Katie Gitto, Erin Jackson, Hannah Wilson and Vicki Steinmetz. Kneeling in front is Farmville Middle School Principal Paul Briney. (Photo provided by Christine Rivera.)

East Carolina University students are assisting Farmville Middle School students through tutoring and team building projects.

Approximately 10 school psychology and pediatric school psychology students in the ECU Chapter of the Student Affiliates in School Psychology (SASP) have been working with the middle school children to help them perform well academically and continue on to college.

ECU health psychology doctoral student Maribeth Wicoff said tutors provide assistance with subject matter as well as study skills, such as effective note-taking. Team building includes group discussions where students learn techniques for getting “their point across in a professional tone and expressing disagreement non-judgmentally,” she added.

While the partnership benefits students at Farmville Middle School, the ECU students are learning from the experience as well. Dr. Christy Walcott, director of ECU’s school psychology and pediatric school psychology programs, said graduate students who engage in community service enhance their areas of study and receive the added benefits of training before graduation.

Walcott noted three reasons for encouraging community service. “First, psychology is a helping profession that is strongly rooted in principals of social justice,” she said. “Second, we specifically train our students to be leaders in addressing needs and advocating for underserved populations.”

Finally, Walcott added, “We believe that graduate training is a privilege…thus participating in the community is a small way of symbolically and fundamentally giving back.”

The ECU chapter of SASP is formed under the auspices of the American Psychological Association’s Division 16. SASP is designed to keep graduate students apprised of issues pertaining to school psychology while offering activities that support their professional development and advocate for the field. For additional information about SASP, visit http://www.apadivisions.org/division-16/students/.

ECU hosts Peace.Love.Pirates.Cure event Oct. 7

East Carolina University’s Campus Recreation & Wellness will host the eighth annual Peace.Love.Pirates.Cure Cancer Awareness Fair from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 7 in the Student Recreation Center. The event is free and open to ECU students, faculty and staff.

This annual Wellness Passport event promotes cancer awareness and knowledge by providing information tailored to help participants live healthy, cancer-free lives. Included are educational tables and interactive activities designed to help participants avoid skin, breast, cervical, testicular, lung and prostate cancers.

“Peace.Love.Pirates.Cure has reached over 3,500 people since it was introduced in 2007 and we expect another large turnout this year,” said Georgia Childs, associate director for Wellness Programs. “Cancer has impacted every person on our campus in one way or another. It could be the loss of a loved one or someone personally battling cancer, this event brings people together for education, friendship and support.”

Healthy snacks will be available throughout the event, and participants may win T-shirts and other giveaways.

Peace.Love.Pirates.Cure is sponsored by Campus Recreation & Wellness, Student Health Services, Student Government Association, the ECU Department of Health Education and Promotion, ECU Physicians, Leo Jenkins Cancer Center, the American Cancer Society, Colleges Against Cancer, Vidant Health and the Healthy PIRATES student organization.

For more information, contact Georgia Childs at 252-328-5172 or visit www.ecu.edu/crw.

ECU Pirates urged to step outside in nationwide challenge

East Carolina University is asking all Pirates to step outside and get active through the 2015 Outdoor Nation Campus Challenge competition under way through Oct. 17. The university is competing against 58 other institutions representing 30 states.

Grants up to $1,500 will be applied toward outdoor activities on campus, and individual participant prizes are available. Grants are tied to the number of active participants who log their activities and identify ECU as their institution. For 500 participants, ECU will receive $500. If 1,000 Pirates join in, the grant increases to $1,000. For 1,500 active participants, the grant goes up to $1,500.

Participants may sign up and log in at www.oncampuschallenge.org (select East Carolina University).

Points may be earned for a wide variety of outdoor activities including walking, Frisbee golf, fishing and biking, enjoying a hammock, fishing, gardening, hunting, hiking, backpacking, running or jogging, water activities, outdoor yoga, horseshoes, bird watching and stargazing.

Organized team sports like basketball, soccer and football don’t count in the challenge. Activities must be for a minimum of 30 minutes and take place between Sept. 6 and Oct. 17.

For additional information, contact Mark Parker, assistant director for Intramural Sports and Youth & Family at (252) 328-1575 or parkerma@ecu.edu.

Higgs to lead new transportation plan for Atlanta

Clyde Higgs ‘99 of Charlotte, executive vice president of operations and business development for the N.C. Research Campus (NCRR) in Kannapolis, is resigning to be chief operating officer of a group implementing a new transportation plan for Atlanta.

Clyde Higgs

Clyde Higgs

Higgs has led economic development recruitment at NCRR for the past nine years.

In his new job Higgs will be vice president and chief operating officer of Atlanta Beltline, the entity overseeing redevelopment of 22 miles of abandoned railroad tracks running through the center of Atlanta. The old rail line will be transformed into 33 miles of trails, 1,300 acres of parks and 5,600 housing units. Its estimated completion date is 2030.

NCRR is a public-private venture aimed at redeveloping industrial property in Kannapolis, which once was the world’s largest producer of textiles. The state gives NCRR about $30 million a year to support its research programs. The funding is directed through the UNC system. Several UNC system campuses have a presence there.

Higgs is credited with recruiting 20 partners in NCRR, including major universities and international food companies such as General Mills. The center now employs about 1,000 people.

Before joining NCRR, Higgs was the executive director of the technology incubator program at the University of North Texas-Health Science Center. Before working in Texas, he was director of the Office of Technology Transfer & Commercialization at N.C. A&T State University.

Early in his career, Higgs was executive assistant to the president of the N.C. Community College System

Higgs is a graduate of the University of South Alabama who earned a graduate degree in public administration from East Carolina University in 1999.

Higgs recently was elected vice chair of the N.C. State Board of Community Colleges. He chairs the search committee seeking a new president of the state community college system.

— Steve Tuttle

In Memoriam – Clyde Thomas ‘Tom the Jazzman’ Mallison

'Tom the Jazzman' Mallison (Photo by Cliff Hollis)

‘Tom the Jazzman’ Mallison
(Photo by Cliff Hollis)

Clyde Thomas “Tom the Jazzman” Mallison of Greenville, a benefactor of Joyner Library who was widely known for his music program on Public Radio East, died Sept. 6. He succumbed from injuries suffered in a car wreck that occurred shortly after he had completed his show on WTEB New Bern. He was 75.

Mallison, who graduated from East Carolina University in 1966 and was SGA president that year, worked at the Du Pont plant in Kinston for 32 years before retiring in 1998. He hosted the Sunday night jazz program on WTEB for more than 30 years. Before he began his show with WTEB, he broadcast with WOOW AM in Greenville and WITN FM.

In 2009, Mallison donated thousands of jazz music albums from his personal collection to Joyner Library. The recordings span a variety of the sub-genres of jazz, including ragtime, Dixieland, bebop, free, and fusion. The collection now resides in the ECU Music Library.

The Alumni Association honored him with its Distinguished Alumni Service Award in 1998 and its Robert Wright Society Leadership Award. He was a former member of the ECU Board of Visitors, a member of the Chancellor’s Society, a member of the College of Education Advancement Council and a former president of the S. Rudolph Alexander Performing Arts Series.

He is survived by two children and his wife, Frances Mallison, an ECU graduate who is a retired librarian with the Pitt County Schools.

Memorial contributions may be made to Public Radio East, 800 College Court, New Bern, N.C., or First Presbyterian Church Youth Projects Fund, 1400 S. Elm St., Greenville, N.C.

Athletics director returns from leadership conference

Athletics Director Jeff Compher aboard a Coast Guard vessel off the coast of Florida

Athletics Director Jeff Compher aboard a Coast Guard vessel off the coast of Florida

After spending a week observing America’s top military leaders, East Carolina University Athletics Director Jeff Compher said he is determined to put a greater emphasis on student athletes.

“I need to focus on people to make us better – not facilities or equipment,” Compher said after returning from the Senior Leader Engagement Program (SLEP) sponsored by U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter.

“They kept focusing on people, not assets,” Compher said about the briefings he received from senior officers at the Pentagon and at four large military bases.

“I learned that the military really believes in the principle of commander’s intent, which is that the person at the top sets the objective but every other decision is delegated down. The whole idea is to emphasize people over things.”

Delegating authority allows lower-ranking soldiers to feel they are responsible for and in control of their duties, Compher said.

Master Sgt. John Perusek salutes the U.S flag during morning reveille at Homestead ARB, Fla., prior to the start of the day's winter training activities.

Master Sgt. John Perusek salutes the U.S flag during morning reveille at Homestead ARB, Fla., prior to the start of the day’s winter training activities.

“I talked to one (enlisted soldier) on a ship, and he was quick to inform me that this was his deck and those were his ammunition racks. That’s what we need to do here in sports – make our athletes believe that they are in control of what happens in a game, not their coaches.”

Established in 1948, SLEP is the oldest outreach program in the U.S. Department of Defense and the only event sponsored by the secretary. About two dozen leaders from the worlds of business and higher education were invited to the event, which was held Aug. 23-30. Senior representatives of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard served as lecturers.

The intent of the program was to familiarize participants with the challenges faced by men and women in uniform, both on and off the battlefield.

Compher received briefings at the Pentagon, and then toured two military bases in Florida. He participated in a demonstration of parachute rigging at Ft. Bragg and observed a Naval Special Warfare demonstration at a Norfolk military base.

At Ft. Bragg, Compher met Army Master Sgt. John Perusek, a 25-year veteran of the Green Berets. “He told me something that stuck with me,” Compher said about Perusek. “He said in the military what we do is to look past our differences to achieve a common goal. That’s a great motto for us to follow in sports because we have student athletes from all backgrounds and our challenge is to lead them toward a common goal.”

Perusek also is a member of the elite Black Daggers U.S. Army parachute demonstration team who will parachute into ECU’s Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium at the Nov. 7 home football game during Military Appreciation Day.

Overall, Compher said he was struck by how much the military has in common with college sports.

“They deal with young people; we do too. They have those people for a limited amount of time; we do too. Like the military, we are dealing with people who have made a commitment to do something at the highest level, and we have to be able to train and lead our student athletes so they can accomplish their goals.”

— Steve Tuttle

ECU student quoted in The Wildlife Society

Albecker (Photo from Coastal Resources Management PhD program)

Molly Albecker Photo from Coastal Resources Management PhD program)

ECU doctoral student Molly Albecker was quoted in an Aug. 28 article posted by The Wildlife Society about her research presented at the Ecological Society of America’s annual conference in Baltimore. Albecker is a student in ECU coastal resources management program.

Her research focused on adaptations in frogs to salt and brackish water.
View the article here.

Ballard announces phased retirement program availability

Chancellor Ballard has announced the availability of the Phased Retirement Program to eligible faculty members. Eligible members receive an invitation to participate through campus mail. Individuals who did not receive a letter but believe they are eligible should contact their vice chancellor.

Additional details about the Phased Retirement Program are available at http://www.ecu.edu/cs-acad/provostvc/formsandinfo.cfm.

Questions about the program should be directed to Linda Ingalls at 252-943-8584 or ingallsl@ecu.edu (Office of the Provost) or Lisa Sutton at 744-1910 or suttonli@ecu.edu (Division of Health Sciences).