Dr. Michael Bassman
Distinguished Honors Professor
Scholarship and Fellowship Advisor for Honors College students
Dr. Michael F. Bassman is the first Distinguished Honors Professor for the Honors College at East Carolina University. Until his appointment to that position, he provided leadership and direction to the University Honors Program in his role as Associate Vice Chancellor.
In 1998, upon the retirement of the first director, there was an on-campus search for a new director of the Honors Program. Dr. Bassman, then Coordinator of the Ethnic Studies Program and Associate Chair of the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, was selected for the three-quarter time position. After one year, he successfully had the position changed to full-time while convincing the Vice Chancellor at the time that different accommodations were necessary to give legitimacy to the program. Several classrooms in Brewster were then renovated for use as office space for the Honors program. Dr. Bassman then focused on program visibility while making certain that the necessary administrators throughout the university were made cognizant of the advantages of the Honors Program. In time, he added paid undergraduate research assistantships, a passport program, and an Honors Residence Hall shared with International Affairs.
Emphasis was also placed on community engagement and study abroad. In fact, over time, he and his students developed strong ties with Belvoir Elementary School and the surrounding community of Latino migrant families. As a result of their relationship with the school, there was a marked increase in reading scores among the minority children which eventually led to a major award in a competition sponsored by Bank of America. In 2003, the EC Scholars were placed under Dr. Bassman's supervision. At the same time, he was in charge of undergraduate fellowships and scholarships. Dr. Bassman introduced the Undergraduate Research Program on campus as well as the annual Undergraduate Research Symposium. He was the founding member and Editor-in-Chief of Explorations - The Undergraduate Research Journal for the State of North Carolina. Perhaps his most important legacy in the University Honors Program was his dedication to the students. During his tenure, he always had time to advise a student, whether academically or personally. Under his leadership, the University Honors Program increased in number of students and number of graduates going on to medical school or doctoral programs. Moreover, with his assistance twelve students were awarded Fulbrights and two received Goldwaters. His seminars continue to fill up quickly as students know that they will be challenged.
Dr. Bassman, originally from New York City, completed his B. A. in French and Latin at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York. He was then awarded a fellowship to study at Brown University for the M.A.T. in French. During his last six months at Brown, he also taught French and Latin at a rural high school Rhode Island. The next step in his career found him at the University of Connecticut where he received both a fellowship and Teaching Assistantship to pursue the M.A. and PhD. degrees in Romance philology. He took one year away from the university when invited to serve as Associate Director of the UCONN Program in France (six months in Paris followed by ten months in Rouen). Upon returning to Connecticut for his doctoral exams, Dr. Bassman successfully applied for a Fulbright fellowship to Romania where he spent two years researching his doctoral dissertation. After teaching for several years, his area of interest became Jewish life in Eastern Europe before WWII and the Holocaust. To increase his knowledge base, Dr. Bassman returned to school and studied at the following institutions: Columbia University (Yiddish Studies); Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Yad Vashem (Holocaust Studies); National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Seminars (Princeton University; Harvard University; University of Washington).
Dr. Bassman was hired by East Carolina University to teach French and Latin. As a proponent of interdisciplinary studies, he was a founding member and then Coordinator of the first interdisciplinary program at East Carolina: Medieval-Renaissance Studies. In the late 1980's, he was co-founder and then Director for ten years of the Ethnic Studies program. Dr. Bassman is known as an active and innovative member of committees on-campus as well as local and international organizations, and as Past President of Phi Kappa Phi, Dr. Bassman was asked to compete for the position of Regional Delegate. He has been the recipient of numerous awards and honors and grants. Relevant examples include The Board of Governors Distinguished Professor for Teaching Award and the ECU Service Award. He has also authored numerous refereed articles and chapters.
In 2013, Dr. Bassman was also appointed as the Scholarship and Fellowship Advisor for Honors College students. In this role, Dr. Bassman will be advising students on learning more about national and international scholarship and fellowship opportunities.
Dr. Todd Fraley
Honors Faculty Fellow and Coordinator of Undergraduate Studies
Todd Fraley is the 2012-2013 Honors College Faculty Fellow. He is currently an associate professor in the School of Communication, where he also serves as the Coordinator for Undergraduate Studies and the Internship Director. He holds bachelor's degrees in Political Science and Sociology from James Madison University and earned his MA and PhD in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Georgia, Athens.
While at ECU, Todd has been awarded the University Centennial Award for Excellence in Leadership and the Alumni Award for Outstanding Teaching. He is also a Chancellor's Leadership Fellow and a William C. Friday Fellow for Human Relations. He has numerous publications and presentations and was a named a 2010 Research Fellow at Northeastern University's Center for the Study of Sport in Society.
Outside of the classroom, Todd coaches youth soccer and baseball, serves on the Board of Directors of the Greenville Community Shelter, and enjoys traveling and spending time with his wife and two children.
Dr. Timothy Runyan
Professor and Senior Research Associate in Maritime Studies
Timothy J. Runyan is a Faculty Fellow in the Honors College. He is a member of the Institute for Coastal Science and Policy. Runyan received his PhD from the University of Maryland, and was awarded a fellowship for study at the University of London. Faculty appointments included the University of Maryland, Cleveland State University where he chaired three departments and served as assistant dean, Oberlin College, and director of the graduate program in Maritime Studies at ECU. From 2007-11, he was invited to serve as Acting Manager of the Maritime Heritage Program, Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)—the largest maritime heritage program in the federal government.
He has published several books including European Naval and Maritime History, 300-1500; and To Die Gallantly: The Battle of the Atlantic, and served five years as editor of the scholarly journal The American Neptune, published at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Mass. Runyan is chair of the editorial advisory board of Sea History, published by the National Maritime Historical Society and on the editorial board of several scholarly journals including Coriolus: A Journal of Maritime Studies (Mystic Seaport, CT). He is a founder and trustee of the Great Lakes Science Center in Cleveland, one of America s largest. He led the effort to preserve the 1925-built, 618-foot Steamship William G. Mather as a museum ship on the Cleveland, Ohio lakefront. For ten years he served as president of the Great Lakes Historical Society and its Inland Seas Museum. Runyan is chair of the National Maritime Alliance, a leading advocate for federal support for maritime heritage.
A scuba diver, he has participated in several underwater archaeology projects. He was a principal investigator in the survey and identification of the Russian-American Company bark Kad'yak that sank in 1860 off Kodiak, Alaska. It is the oldest shipwreck found in Alaska, and the only Russian American Company ship discovered. The recipient of numerous research grants, he is Principal Investigator for a $250,000 project with the US Department of the Interior, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management for 2011-13. Runyan leads a team of Honors College staff in the Living and Learning Program that provides learning opportunities and challenges for students outside the classroom. He enjoys sports, especially basketball, and everything involving the ocean and inland waters. His wife Laurie is also an educator and they enjoy time with their children and grandchildren.