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About Us

We are very excited that the Rural Education Institute (REI) has been elevated to a college-level institute located in Greenville, North Carolina. North Carolina has the 2nd highest number of rural students in the country- 568,161; roughly 40% of its overall percentage of public school students. Additionally, North Carolina has a student population that is poorer and more diverse than most other states (Showalter, Klein, Johnson, and Harman, 2017). REI is housed in East Carolina University’s College of Education (COE). The COE is one of the largest producers of teachers in NC and the chief supplier of teachers to the state’s eastern region. The COE has a formal partnership with 43 public school districts in eastern NC. These rural districts are challenged by high levels of economic need, low performing schools, elevated teacher turnover rates, Health Professional shortage areas for mental and physical health, and difficulty staffing schools with fully-licensed educators teaching in their areas of certification (Harmon, 2007).

Vision

REI seeks to grow and leverage research-practice partnerships that address educational disparities and ensure access to high quality education through targeted research, policy development, and professional learning.  REI values collaboration with school and community partners in exploring common problems of practice through the engagement of varying perspectives. REI supports the National Rural Education Association 2016-2021 research priorities in equal educational opportunity and building capacity to advance rural students’ educational achievements. REI is committed to furthering understanding of key rural contextual factors through the lens of continual improvement.

History

In 1982, the College of Education received a grant from the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation to establish the Rural Education Institute. The Rural Education Institute (REI) was developed to increase awareness of the unique strengths and needs of rural schools in eastern North Carolina. In 1984 the North Carolina General Assembly appropriated funds for ECU’s REI and established a counterpart at Western Carolina University. During this time, REI provided support in curriculum, management, organizational, personnel, technology, policy, and risk management audits for public school systems. In July 2002, REI was reorganized to align the institute with several national organizations and universities that focus on rural education issues. With shifts in funding and priorities, REI currently focuses support on the Clinical Teacher conferences and multiple outreach initiatives for middle school and/or high school students from the region.  These efforts are intended to strengthen the college’s clinical partners’ PK-12 educational opportunities and to recruit, prepare, and support teachers in rural eastern North Carolina (Davis, 2017). While this work will remain under the Office of Educator Preparation, REI has recently been moved under the Dean’s office as a college-wide initiative and is under revisioning to better meet the needs of our school-university-community partnerships.

College News
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Support the ECU Lab School this Holiday Season
  As the Holidays quickly approach many of us start thinking about how we can help our neighbors in need. A CRITICAL need has arisen at the ECU Lab School. We need a small emergency clothing closet and toiletry pantry for our students. Clothing needs include shirts, pants, underwear, and socks. Many of our students also need warm coats and shoes. A well-stocked toiletry pantry that includes toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant and feminine hygiene supplies is also needed. Clothing sizes for both boys and girls in Continue reading →

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Drs. Rhodes and Schmidt Recognized at National Adult Education Conference
Dr. Christy Rhodes, East Carolina University assistant professor of adult education, was recognized for her work as conference chair of the 2017 American Association for Adult and Continuing Education (AAACE) conference. This year’s conferece was held in Memphis, Tennesse, from Oct. 30 through Nov. 3. Rhodes was the first non-AAACE Board of Directors member to serve as conference chair (a role previously held by the organization’s president-elect). She will serve as past-conference chair for the 2018 AAACE conference, to be held in Myrtle Beach, South Continue reading →

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Dr. Zhang conducts workshop at American Evaluation Association annual conference
Dr. Guili Zhang, East Carolina University College of Education Chair of the Department of Special Education, Foundations and Research, conducted a workshop at the American Evaluation Association annual conference in Washington, DC, Nov. 6-11. Zhang’s workshop focused on “Conducting Sound Evaluations using the Context, Input, Process and Product Evaluation Model.” Zhang also attended the “Meet the Authors” event and held a book signing session for her book, “The CIPP Evaluation Model: How to Evaluate for Improvement and Accountability.” Dr. Guili Zhang has been serving as Continue reading →

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Contact Us

For more information about our programs, please contact:

Kristen Cuthrell, Ed.D.
Associate Professor and Interim Director
1008-A Bate Building
252-328-5748
cuthrellma@ecu.edu