Author Archives: Morgan Tilton

Joyner Library team develops resource to improve student literacy skills

Two faculty members from Joyner Library have produced a new digital resource targeted to help students successfully complete research assignments.

Information Literacy Concepts, an open educational resource created by David Hisle, learning technologies librarian, and Katy Kavanagh Webb, head of research and instructional services, introduces high school, community college and college students to information literacy topics and gives them an overview of how to conduct their own research.

Open educational resources (OERs) are free to access and are openly licensed text, media and other digital assets used for teaching, learning, assessing and research. They also are commonly used in distance education and open and distance learning.

“By choosing to publish their textbook as an OER, Hisle and Webb have not only created a clearly-written, well-organized and thorough text that that can be used in multiple educational settings to teach information literacy concepts, but also one that can be freely customized or modified by other instructors to suit their teaching styles and their students’ learning needs,” said Jan Lewis, director of Joyner Library.

This openly accessible primer also provides learners with an overview of major information literacy concepts identified in the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy.

According to its introductory framework, “Students have a greater role and responsibility in creating new knowledge, in understanding the contours and the changing dynamics of the world of information, and in using information, data and scholarship ethically.”

“We want to prepare our students for today’s rapidly changing information landscape,” said Hisle. “Information literacy skills are essential not just in the work they do as student researchers, but also as college graduates who will need to know how to find and evaluate information to meet their real-world information needs.”

Intended learners for this resource include students in their final year of high school as well as those in the first year or two of college. Specifically, these are learners encountering college-level research assignments for the first time.

Because these students are likely unfamiliar with many basic research concepts, this OER will guide them to fulfill the university’s expectations for conducting research and locating high-quality sources for their research-based assignments.

Content includes chapters stemming from navigating search engines, library databases and discovery tools, to evaluating source credibility and recognizing fake news.

“This freely available e-textbook will be a critical supplement for librarians at ECU (and beyond) to give a big-picture view of the skills that students will need to engage in to produce their own high-quality research,” said Webb. “We have tried to write the book in a way that it would be applicable to students in a variety of contexts, whether they are completing assignments for a writing composition course, in their majors or in a semester-long research skills course.”

Information Literacy Concepts is available at

For more information please contact David Hisle at or Katy Kavanagh Webb at


-by Kelly Rogers Dilda, University Communications

ECU students donate to Hurricane Harvey and Irma relief efforts

ECU students are stepping up to make a difference with hurricane relief efforts for communities directly impacted by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Students can donate from their dining plan on Sept. 19-20 and it will go directly to hurricane relief efforts.

Partners include the ECU Residence Hall Association (RHA), Elite Pirates, the Campus Living Community Service Team, Campus Living and Campus Dining.

Hurricane relief effort tables will be set up between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. at Todd Dining Hall, West End Dining Hall and in front of Dowdy Student Stores at Wright Plaza. Students can make a donation of up to $10 using their Purple or Gold Bucks.

All students with ECU meal plans receive Purple or Gold Bucks loaded on their ECU OneCard depending on whether they live on or off campus. Purple and Gold Bucks are pre-paid debit type accounts that are associated with corresponding meal plans. They are spent dollar for dollar.

After the two-day collection concludes, Campus Dining will total the student donations and provide that amount to Aramark, the food service provider for ECU. The total ECU donations will be split and distributed to one college or university in Texas and one in Florida.

These respective universities will purchase items through Aramark on their campuses to help aid in the recovery process of their community. After the items are purchased, ECU Campus and Aramark will then evenly “transfer” the funds generated from this fundraising event to the universities involved.

For additional information, email Troy Nance, Residence Hall Association president, at rhapresident@ecu.eduor Morgan Randolph, Elite Pirates vice president, at


Contacts: Troy Nance, Residence Hall Association president,; Morgan Randolph, Elite Pirates,

ECU physicians share expertise at international lung cancer conference

Physicians in East Carolina University’s thoracic oncology program will represent the university on a global stage Sept. 14-16, making four oral presentations at the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer in Chicago.

“One of the strengths of our thoracic program is our innovative thinking, our innovative treatment. It resonates with people nationally,” said Dr. Paul Walker, chief of hematology/oncology at ECU’s Brody School of Medicine, who will be giving one of those presentations.

ECU doctors will highlight the benefit of combining radiation therapy and immune therapy in the treatment of lung cancer. They also will discuss how genetic markers can determine the likelihood a patient will benefit from immune therapy – an innovation Walker said leads to an individual approach to cancer treatment.

“We just have to find the right therapy for each individual. Then if you can figure out who is going to do well with that specific therapy, treat those patients the same,” Walker said. “But those who have been filtered out, then you’re going to have to find a different treatment for them.”

Lung cancer patient Pam Black undergoes treatment at the Leo Jenkins Cancer Center. (Photo by Cliff Hollis)

Lung cancer patient Pam Black undergoes treatment at the Leo Jenkins Cancer Center. (Photo by Cliff Hollis)

They will also discuss harmful effects immune therapy can have in patients with lung cancer, including lung tissue inflammation that can cause breathing difficulties, often requiring oxygen therapy and even hospitalization. Walker’s team found that administering a monoclonal antibody typically used to treat arthritis resolved the issue within 36 hours for 79 percent of their patients.

The final ECU study – funded by the American Cancer Society and conducted in collaboration with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of South Carolina – looked at disparities in lung cancer treatment for African Americans, who elect to have surgery at a 12 to 13 percent lower rate than Caucasians. But Walker and his fellow researchers found that providing an educator to explain individual diagnosis and treatment options to African-American patients removed the racial disparity.

“This study designed something simple, using a separate educator, and proved this approach can remove the racial disparity in early stage lung cancer in both the decision for surgery and/or Cyberknife radiosurgery,” Walker said.

All four presentations will be published in the Journal of Thoracic Oncology.

In October, members of the thoracic oncology team will present two abstracts at the IASLC 18th World Conference on Lung Cancer in Japan.

“The fact that we’re being invited to present our work nationally and internationally validates the program and it recognizes what you are doing, how you are doing it,” Walker said. “We want other people to hear it and hopefully take it to heart.”


-by Rich Klindworth 

Student startup helps veterans with transition to college

Matt McCall has been there. He knows what it’s like.

Now, with help from GreenvilleSEED@ECU, he’s working to help other veterans make the transition from the military to college.

McCall, who joined the Marines in 2007, deployed to Afghanistan in 2011 and was honorably discharged in 2013, said he spent a lot of time in the tutoring lab after enrolling in Coastal Carolina Community College’s pre-engineering program.

“I had a lot of knowledge gaps, especially in math, chemistry and physics,” he said. “A tutor told me I could get some of the tutoring cost reimbursed through the G.I. Bill.”

With the tutoring help, his grades improved, and he began tutoring other vets who needed help.

“I also helped them file their reimbursement paperwork,” McCall said. “Word spread, and within a couple months I had five students, so I started looking for other veterans and veteran spouses at the school who wanted to be tutors.”

With help from GreenvilleSEED@ECU, Matt McCall (right) has started a company that helps veterans like Michael Kohn transition to college. (Photo by Cliff Hollis)

With help from GreenvilleSEED@ECU, Matt McCall (right) has started a company that helps veterans like Michael Kohn transition to college. (Photo by Cliff Hollis)

Now enrolled in East Carolina University’s biomedical engineering program, McCall has started Beyond Tutoring, a company centered on veterans tutoring other vets. He enlisted the help of Katie Thomas, a fellow Marine and tutor.

“Since the tutors are veterans and spouses, they’re able to relate to the students’ struggles well, especially relocating, anxiety and feeling out of place,” he said. “Our common ground helps break down barriers to learning.”

Student Michael Kohn, an undergraduate business management student at ECU, said the difference in lifestyle coming from the military to college can present a challenge, and it can be intimidating working with other students who haven’t had the same experiences.

“You’re not used to the mentality, the way of thinking and working though problems, the homework,” he said. “So having someone who’s been through what I’m going through, telling me how to work through the system, was a big help.”

Kohn said McCall showed him how to organize papers and manage his time.

“Working in the Army, every day is the same thing,” he said. “Matt helped show me how I could take the discipline I learned in the Army and be disciplined in a new way, apply it to the new area.”

McCall joined GreenvilleSEED@ECU to get help refining his business plan and his pitch, and to learn how to scale up the business. GreenvilleSEED@ECU is a partnership between the City of Greenville, the Greenville-Pitt Chamber of Commerce and ECU providing flexible operating space, business expertise and other resources to entrepreneurs.

“As a student entrepreneur, he is juggling the demands of classwork and building a business,” said John Ciannamea of ECU’s Office of Innovation and Economic Development. “Our staff has assisted Matthew with business introductions, vetting ideas and evaluating corporate development issues. His base platform is now well positioned for expansion in the market.”

Beyond Tutoring now has eight tutors and has assisted more than 60 students, 23 of whom are disabled veterans. McCall has also received assistance and advice from ECU’s Miller School of Entrepreneurship, the Office of Technology Transfer and the Pitt County Small Business and Technology Development Center.

McCall said his next goal is to work with the Department of Veterans Affairs to streamline the reimbursement process. It can take months for a student to get reimbursement for the cost of tutoring. One possibility is to create an online form to speed up the process.

“If we can figure out how to get them their money back in a few days instead of five months,” he said, “they’d be more free to get the help they need. … We’ve already gone through the tough parts of transitioning into college, and we can help our students navigate the education system and get the most out of the benefits they earned.

For more information visit


-by Jules Norwood

Laupus Library to exhibit relief woodcarving creations

Laupus Library will open the art exhibit “Visions in Wood: Carved Creations,” on Oct. 3 in the Evelyn Fike Laupus Gallery on the fourth floor of the library. On display through Dec. 9, the exhibit showcases a collection of relief carvings by Dr. Leonard “Leo” Trujillo, professor and chair of the Department of Occupational Therapy in the College of Allied Health Sciences at East Carolina University.

The 2017 fall semester exhibit is part of the library’s ongoing “Art as Avocation” series that showcases and celebrates the artistic talents and self-expression of faculty, staff and students from the Division of Health Sciences.

“Laupus has a long history of showcasing the hidden talents of our health sciences faculty in this series,” said Beth Ketterman, director of Laupus Library. “Dr. Trujillo’s work is masterful and our hope is that those who view these pieces will gain an appreciation for his craft and expertise, and reflect on how the process of creation gives us insights into our own humanity.”

Log cabin by Dr. Leonard Trujillo. (contributed photo)

Log cabin by Dr. Leonard Trujillo. (contributed photo)

Trujillo’s work is reflective of a lifetime of learning the art of carving and love for nature. He recounts his desire at an early age to carve figures out of wood to create three-dimensional illusions in his works.

He will sometimes carve a piece only to study a certain aspect of the carving process. Beginning with a solid plank of wood, Trujillo uses mallets and a multitude of gouges, chisels, riffles and sandpaper leaves, to transform the wood into lifelike images of trees, old barns, nature scenes and once in a while, people.

“The hardest part of the carving process is having to stop and prepare the wood for the work that you are about to do,” he said. “That can take days out of actual carving time.”

In 2013, he built his first studio, doing all but the electrical work. Filled with sharpening machines, vacuum systems, special track lighting and carving gouges lined throughout the multi-stage workspace, it’s easy to see this is far from a getaway spot. He also refuses for it to be referred to as a “man cave.”

“I carve because of the pleasure it brings me, and truly take delight in the way people react to my work,” he said.

Presently, Trujillo isn’t competing in carving club shows and competition. “When you work towards winning a ribbon, you lose the pleasure of carving and it becomes work rather than pleasure,” he said.

An opening reception will be held on Oct. 3 from 4:30-6:30 p.m. and will include a presentation by the artist. The event is open to the public.

To learn more about this exhibition series or if you are interested in showcasing your work, visit

For more information contact Kelly Rogers Dilda at or 252-744-2232.


-by Kelly Dilda, University Communications 

ECU recognized for diversity

East Carolina University has been recognized once again for its commitment to diversity by two publications that focus on diversity in higher education.

For the sixth year in a row, ECU has received the Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) award sponsored by Insight into Diversity magazine. The award recognizes colleges and universities in the U.S. that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion.

The award process involves a comprehensive and rigorous application and includes questions relating to the recruitment and retention of students and employees and best practices, said Lenore Pearlstein, publisher of the magazine.

From left, students Sarah Marisa Mee, Daquevon Rogers and Kia Miller work together in Garrett Residence Hall. (contributed photos)

From left, students Sarah Marisa Mee, Daquevon Rogers and Kia Miller work together in Garrett Residence Hall. (Contributed photos)

“Our standards are high and we look for institutions where diversity and inclusion are woven into the work being accomplished every day across their campus,” said Pearlstein.

There are several programs that made ECU stand out from the competition. These programs, ranging from providing easily accessible data about the campus’ diversity to faculty programs and student groups, encourage the success of women and minority students.

ECU’s Associate Provost for Equity and Diversity LaKesha Forbes points out it isn’t the work of one group or program on campus, but a collaborative effort that makes ECU an inclusive working, learning and living community.

Those programs include Barbershop Talk, a leadership series that explores the personal journeys and unwritten rules for minority males in professional settings to assist men of color in their pursuit to become professionals and leaders at ECU. The Visiting Faculty and Scholars program brings diverse visiting faculty and emerging scholars to conduct research or present on topics related to inclusion, equity, diversity and cultural competence.

“We remain fully committed to diversity and inclusion at ECU and strive for our campus to be reflective of the population of the society we live in today,” said Forbes.

ECU will be featured with 79 other colleges and universities in the magazine’s November 2017 issue.

From left, Korey Kuhlman, Austin Stewart and Taron Fenner.

From left, Korey Kuhlman, Austin Stewart and Taron Fenner.

Top 100 Degrees Conferred 

Diverse: Issues in Higher Education magazine released the Top 100 Degrees Conferred rankings on Aug. 24. ECU was one of the the top 100 colleges or universities in 47 categories ranging from total undergraduate and graduate degrees to individualized programs.

The rankings look at the number of degrees awarded to minority students by colleges and universities across the country in dozens of categories.

ECU ranked No. 47 for the number of African-Americans who receive bachelor’s degrees and was in the top 100 for the number of Native American students who earn bachelor’s and master’s degrees, ranked 51 and 43 respectively.

“The diversity of our student body continues to grow. And as we become even more diverse, we remain steadfast in our intentionality to provide all students with the environment and support to be successful and a classroom experience that prepares them for the multicultural workplace and our global economy,” said Forbes.

Additionally, ECU was 47th on the list of traditionally white institutions who awarded degrees to African-Americans. The magazine selected the top 100 institutions out of 2,718 that were eligible.

To see ECU’s rankings, visit


-by Jamie Smith

ECU students promote positive change while honoring those who served on 9/11

The ECU Center for Leadership and Civic Engagement (CLCE) will kick off the Fall Week of Service on Saturday, Sept. 9 through service to the Pitt County community. During the week, CLCE will promote positive change by hosting service projects throughout Pitt County. The week will conclude on Friday, Sept. 15 with a Family Weekend Service Day.

Community partner service sites include Making Pitt Fit Community Garden, A Time for Science, MacGregor Downs Health & Rehabilitation, and River Park North.

On Monday, Sept. 11, CLCE will partner with the University Writing Center and Student Government Association to host a unique program called Design for Change. This event provides the opportunity for attendees to promote positive change in remembrance of Sept. 11, 2001. There will be four stations where participants can engage:

  • Write for Change: Participants may write letters for change they wish to see on a local, national and/or international level.
  • Design for Change: Participants may paint ECU Peace Rocks to keep or to hide around campus as reminders of peace and positive change.
  • Commit to Change: Participants may write on a chalkboard/poster board their commitment to positive change by completing the sentence, “I will commit to change by …”
  • Post for Change: Participants may take a photo with an Instagram cutout and post to social media using the hashtag #Pirates4Peace.

All volunteers and participants are encouraged to upload images to social media during the entire Fall Week of Service by using #Pirates4Peace.

ECU students, faculty and staff can learn more about Fall Week of Service and the various projects through the 9/11 Day of Service and Remembrance portal on OrgSync (

To learn more about the national 9/11 Day of Service visit

For additional information, contact Tara Kermiet, associate director for curricular programs in the Center for Leadership and Civic Engagement, at 252-328-1554 or via email at


Contact: Tara Kermiet, associate director for Curricular Programs in the Center for Leadership and Civic Engagement,

College of Education dean to serve on state Principal Fellows Commission

Dr. Grant B. Hayes, dean of the East Carolina University College of Education, has been appointed to the North Carolina Principal Fellows Commission, the governing body of the Principal Fellows Program.

Dr. Grant B. Hayes (contributed photo)

Dr. Grant B. Hayes (contributed photo)

Created in 1993 by the General Assembly, the Principal Fellows Program is a competitive, merit-based scholarship that provides loans to individuals with relevant experience and exceptional academic ability who want to enter education administration in North Carolina public schools. The commission administers the program in collaboration with the State Education Assistance Authority.

Hayes is one of two deans from schools of education in the UNC system appointed by President Margaret Spellings. The commission requires that two deans serve on the 12-member board with the remaining members appointed by state organizations or elected officials.

“I am honored to be appointed to the commission and I look forward to working with the other members to do this important work,” Hayes said.

More than 1,200 fellows have completed the program since its inception. Individuals selected for the Principal Fellows Programs have the opportunity to attend school on a full-time basis and earn a master’s in school administration in two years. The program is offered at 11 UNC system campuses including ECU, and provides one year of full-time academic study and a one-year, full-time internship in a North Carolina public school.


-by Cole Dittmer, University Communications

College of Nursing welcomes 125 new students

More than 100 ECU students were officially introduced to the nursing profession during the College of Nursing’s twice-annual Lamp of Learning ceremony on Aug. 31.

The ceremony, held in the Brody School of Medicine auditorium, recognized 125 new students in the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) Program as family and friends looked on.

Meaghan Brown receives her lamp pin from a classmate at the College of Nursing’s Lamp of Learning ceremony on Aug. 31. (Photos by Cliff Hollis)

Meaghan Brown receives her lamp pin from a classmate at the College of Nursing’s Lamp of Learning ceremony on Aug. 31. (Photos by Cliff Hollis)

During the ceremony Dr. Sylvia Brown, dean of the college, reminded students of the university’s dedication to service, a value shared by the college and the nursing profession. She emphasized Gallup Poll data that has consistently pointed to nursing as the most trusted profession among all professions, and urged new students to remain honest and ethical in order to preserve that trust.

“That is a wonderful characteristic that we want to maintain and instill in our nursing students,” she said.

Dr. Annette Peery, associate dean for undergraduate programs, introduced each student on stage as Brown presented him or her with a gold lamp pin representing Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing. The lamp symbol signifies service and light, and is also featured on the College of Nursing pin that students receive at graduation.

“As you wear that pin, think of these symbols and what they mean, particularly your orientation to service as part of the profession,” Brown said.

Nursing student Taylor Harrison recites the College of Nursing pledge at the Lamp of Learning ceremony at the Brody School of Medicine on Aug. 31.

Nursing student Taylor Harrison recites the College of Nursing pledge at the Lamp of Learning ceremony at the Brody School of Medicine on Aug. 31.

Krista Whitley, a nursing student from Kinston, was among those having pins affixed to their purple scrubs.

“It’s really special,” she said. “It makes me want to work even harder. Ever since high school I’ve always wanted to be a nurse. I job shadowed in high school and observed a couple of surgeries. It really pumped me up and made me want to be a nurse.”

Admission to the College of Nursing’s BSN program is very competitive. In addition to meeting the university and college requirements, students’ scores on a required national pre-admission exam are taken into account along with their GPA, enrollment status and other factors. Students accepted into the program this year had an average GPA of 3.7.

Phyllis Burt attended the ceremony to watch her daughter Heavenlee Burt receive her pin.

“She worked hard for this and I love her. I am very proud of her,” Burt said. “I came a long way just to catch her in this moment. I think the world is going to be a better place.”


-by Natalie Sayewich, University Communication

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