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
Teaching in Mursion
Mursion@ECU grant applications now available for NC school systems
The East Carolina University (ECU) College of Education is pleased to present an innovative professional development experience for faculty and staff across the educational spectrum. Mursion is an immersive learning experience that provides participants with a safe space in which they can practice what they have learned in the classroom and throughout their careers with an opportunity to get direct feedback from virtual students, peers, and authorized observers. We are so proud of the work our 2017-18 Mursion@ECU grant recipients are doing, that we are Continue reading →

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CollegeRED-6
Students focus on College Readiness
Dr. Matthew Militello, Wells Fargo Distinguished Professor in Educational Leadership, hosted a Community Learning Exchange with EJ Hayes Elementary School from Martin County at ECU Thursday, March 29. The 25 5th graders and their parents engaged in activities led by Militello, College R-E-D’s Travis Pickney, and EJ Hayes principal Dr. Larry Hodgkins. The exchanged focused on college readiness and College R-E-D’s 3 C’s: Cheerleader, Counselor, and Coach. The participants also toured campus and the ECU athletic facilities.

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WRALTOW-1
College of Education alums honored with teaching awards
Two East Carolina University College of Education alumni were recently honored with teaching awards in North Carolina. Julie Brickhouse, a special education teacher at Wahl Coates Elementary School of the Arts, was named the Pitt County Schools Teacher of the Year on Wednesday, March 14, at Rock Springs Center. In addition to earning both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the ECU College of Education, Brickhouse has many other ties to the college: Serving as a part-time instructor in the adapted and general curriculum programs 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