By Crystal Baity
ECU News Services
East Carolina University faculty members who have teamed up with nine eastern North Carolina community partners to solve a wide range of issues were honored at a graduation ceremony on Dec. 8.
The new graduates of ECU’s Engagement and Outreach Scholars Academy are working on projects ranging from the effects of climate change on water to empowering the elderly in Carteret, Johnston, Lenoir, Pitt and Wilson counties and the Outer Banks.
“The evidence is clear to me that engagement is central to who we are as a university,” said Chancellor Steve Ballard at the graduation ceremony.
Interim Provost Ron Mitchelson said EOSA projects are one of several ways that the university engages students and maximizes their success. By working with communities, the student and faculty experience is enriched. “Solutions that come from our understanding of the processes means more when we appropriately involve the communities that we are intending to help,” he said.
The program pairs a faculty member and a coach who previously graduated from the program with an ECU student. Each team receives $11,000 for their work. ECU now has 68 EOSA alumni from every college on campus.
“One of the important benefits of the academy is we’re able to extend faculty and student work beyond classrooms, labs and the campus to community organizations,” said Dr. Sharon Paynter, interim director of the Office of Public Service and Community Relations. “For each project, there is a community partner. The range of topics comes together around students, public service and regional transformation.”
The program started in 2009.