ECU student named GM of the Year

Jose Morales, a student in the School of Hospitality Leadership at East Carolina University, was recognized as General Manager of the Year by the Strand Development Company. Morales serves as GM at the Microtel Inn and Suites by Wyndham in Greenville.

Jose Morales is pictured with executives from Strand. (Contributed photo)

Jose Morales is pictured with executives from Strand. (Contributed photo)

Under Morales’ leadership, the Microtel Inn and Suites by Wyndham was chosen as one of Microtel’s Top-20 properties out of 350 worldwide during Wyndham Hotel Group’s annual conference in Las Vegas in 2013.

“The Microtel Inn & Suites Greenville’s commitment to excellence in revenue, rewards enrollment and guest satisfaction has earned it this well-deserved recognition as one of the best hotels in the Microtel Brand,” said Raju Uppalapati, owner of the Microtel Inn & Suites Greenville. “I am very proud of our dedicated and customer oriented team. Their commitment to service and quality shows through this award.”

Dr. Robert O’Halloran, director of the School of Hospitality Leadership, said, “Our students and alumni who represent us in the workforce continue to bring national attention to our program. We are very proud to have such an outstanding hospitality leadership program here at East Carolina.”

Strand Development Company is a 50-hotel management company with locations in the Southeastern United States. The company specializes in the two to four-star hotel segments and is approved to operate hotels under all the leading hotel brand families including; Marriott, Hilton, Starwood, Wyndham, Choice and IHG.


ECU alumna named Women of the Year



East Carolina University alumna Kolenya Edwards, an officer with the Greenville Police Department, was named Woman of the Year at the North Carolina Law Enforcement Women’s Association annual conference last week in Edneyville, N.C.

A Roanoke Rapids native, Edwards holds a master’s degree in criminal justice. She is a 9-year veteran of the Greenville Police Department, where she serves as personnel and recruiting officer. She is a member of the department’s Honor Guard and a certified N.C. law enforcement instructor.

The NCLEWA is a non-profit organization dedicated to fostering the professionalism of women in law enforcement in North Carolina.


ECU School of Social Work offers master’s program in Rocky Mount

The ECU School of Social Work will host an informational session at 6 p.m. Sept. 12 for persons interested in earning a master of social work degree through an extended time cohort program held in Rocky Mount, N.C.

The session will be held at the Gateway Technology Center, 3400 North Wesleyan Boulevard.

Tentatively scheduled to begin in the fall of 2014, the MSW program is a 60 credit hour, degree-focused program with classes offered on Saturdays through a hybrid of delivery methods, including face-to-face and online instruction.

For additional information, contact the ECU School of Social Work at 252-328-5650, visit,  or e-mail


Ballard to chair Child Development and Family Relations

Dr. Sharon M. Ballard has been appointed the new chair of East Carolina University’s Department of Child Development and Family Relations following a national search.

Dr. Sharon Ballard

Dr. Sharon Ballard

Ballard joined the faculty of the department in 2000 and served as interim chair for one year.  Ballard has taught for The University of Tennessee – Knoxville and Western Carolina University. She also taught family and consumer sciences in the public schools for six years.

Ballard’s research interests include family life education, sexuality education, parenting education, service-learning and community engaged scholarship.  The majority of her publications are related to family life education and sexuality education.

“I am thrilled to serve as chair of such a vibrant department,” said Ballard.  “CDFR has amazing faculty, staff and students and our nationally recognized programs prepare students for rewarding careers in which they make a positive difference for children, families, and communities. It is gratifying to lead a department that has such a positive impact, not only in Eastern North Carolina, but nationally and internationally.” she said.

Ballard is the past chair of the Certified Family Life Educator Advisory Committee with the National Council on Family Relations and she was the 2012 recipient of the Certified Family Life Education Service award.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in home economics education from the University of Maine.  She received both a master’s degree and doctorate in child and family studies from The University of Tennessee – Knoxville. Ballard is a Certified Family Life Educator, Certified in Family and Consumer Sciences, a trained provider of the Triple P Parenting Program and a licensed K-12 family and consumer sciences teacher.

The Department of Child Development and Family Relations is housed within the College of Human Ecology. For more information on the College of Human Ecology, its students and programs, visit



Positive parenting program a success for ECU

ECU professor Kerry Littlewood lists high-risk situations for parents during a five-week positive parenting program held at ECU. (Contributed photo)

ECU professor Kerry Littlewood lists high-risk situations for child behavior problems during a five-week positive parenting program held at ECU. (Contributed photo)

By Nicole Wood
ECU College of Human Ecology

East Carolina University’s College of Human Ecology in partnership with the Pitt County Health Department and the university’s Department of Human Resources held a free, five-week Positive Parenting Program (Triple P) for faculty and staff.

Triple P was designed to treat and prevent common behavioral issues that parents may encounter when raising children and teenagers. ECU professors Eboni Baugh, Sharon Ballard, Kerry Littlewood and Lisa Tyndall focused the program on empowering parents to become more confident and efficient in their childrearing techniques.

Kerri Augustino, Triple P participant and lab specialist with ECU’s Department of Internal Medicine, said that this type of course should be an integral part of family planning. “When people are preparing for children to come into the world they attend classes on what to expect during the birthing process, they often take a tour of the hospital, or learn CPR, but what they should be taught how to be a good parent,” said Augustino.

ECU faculty leading the Triple P program provided information handouts specific to participants' needs.

ECU faculty leading the Triple P program provided information handouts specific to participants’ needs.

One of the Triple P program’s hallmarks is flexibility that allows for each provider to facilitate the program in a way that best meets participants’ needs. ECU’s sessions included provider-led activities, small-group discussions and individualized take-home tip sheets. The providers have also planned ongoing follow-up and information delivery via Blackboard.

Scheduled to accommodate attendance during employee lunch breaks, the program was more popular than expected with seating capacity reached within 48 hours. Due to the high demand, the program will be offered again in October and perhaps on an ongoing basis once a semester if funding can be obtained.

Littlewood, Triple P provider and ECU social work professor, said that grant funding from the Centers for Disease Control paid for initial training, accreditation and implementation of the program.  “There is still a question of how the course will be funded once the grant money runs out,” she said.

Dr. Matt Dwyer, director of ECU’s Center for Counseling and Student Development, said he was thrilled to be a Triple P participant and hopes that the program will continue. “Triple P allowed me to set my own goals and work on them with the support of the instructors and my classmates. Overall, I walked away very pleased, happy that I took the time out to engage in the program, and believe that I am a better parent as a result of my involvement in Triple P,” said Dwyer.

ECU faculty members are also serving as a Triple P evaluation team for the Pitt County Health Department. The team will evaluate different types of implementations, barriers to implementation, and delivery methods; measure program outcomes; and map delivery areas to identify gaps in coverage across the county. Their evaluation will then be used to improve implementation of the Triple P program throughout the county. Additionally, the group’s local evaluation will contribute to a larger cross-site evaluation of Triple P across multiple states.