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ECU University Studies Program - Staff

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Dr. Nelson Cooper is currently serving as the Interim Director of the University Studies Program. He has been on the faculty in the Department of Recreation & Leisure Studies since 2003, and is a tenured associate professor. He served on the Faculty Senate from 2009-2013 and currently serves as Vice-Chair of Faculty Governance.


After finishing his undergraduate studies at NC State, Dr. Cooper accepted his first full time position at NC Wesleyan College as the Director of Campus Recreation. The experience energized him for a career in campus recreation and student affairs. After 2 years, he began graduate studies at East Carolina University, during which he served as a Graduate Assistant in Campus Recreation and Wellness and in the Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies. Upon completing his masters in 1995, Dr. Cooper became a full-time instructor in the Recreation and Park Management degree program at ECU. In 2003, he completed his PhD at Clemson University and returned to ECU.


His teaching and research interests include recreational sports programming, youth activity programming, and recreation and park planning and assessment. He has published various manuscripts in professional journals, mentored numerous graduate student theses and projects, and written performance management plans and assessment reports for recreation service agencies. He enjoys any activity that includes his wife, Mary Ann, son, Jefferson, and daughter, Bailey. His favorite activities include camping, hiking, and boating.


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Stephanie Kugler Bailey serves as Assistant Director of the Academic Advising and Support Center and Academic Advisor of the University Studies Program. 

Stephanie grew up in Geneva, Switzerland and Fairfax, Virginia. She attended East Carolina University where she earned her Master's degree in Counselor Education and a Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education.Stephanie began advising at ECU in 2005 in the College of Health and Human Performance and then the College of Allied Health and Pre-Professional Advising Center, where she worked with a variety of students interested in the health field.  Stephanie also teaches COAD 1000 (Freshman Seminar). Stephanie has professional memberships with the North Carolina School Counselor Association, NACADA (National Advisor Association), and is a member of Zeta Tau Alpha Fraternity. She currently serves as Co-Chair of the Advisor Training Committee. In her spare time, Stephanie enjoys spending time with her wonderful husband Scott and daughter Grace, as well as close family and friends. An addiction to shopping, sitting on the beach with a good book anywhere (but you will find her most on the OBX) and time with family seem to fill up any extra time! Stephanie is a lifelong PIRATE and loves sharing the purple and gold spirit with her ECU students.

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