Janice Faulkner enrolled at East Carolina a week after her high school graduation and earned both a B.S. and the M.A. in English from what was then East Carolina College. After post-graduate work at the famous Breadloaf School of English in Vermont, she joined the ECU faculty. During her tenure at ECU, she was an English professor, director of alumni affairs, chairman of the board of the ECU Credit Union, director of the Regional Development Institute and Associate Vice Chancellor for Regional Development. She also published two English textbooks and numerous articles on folklore, local history, historic preservation and economic development.
She served a term as the first female executive director of the North Carolina Democratic Party. In 1993 Governor Hunt appointed her as North Carolina's Secretary of Revenue. In April 1996 he appointed her as Secretary of State with a mandate to restore that troubled office to health and a position of public trust. Yet a third time Governor Hunt called her into a leadership role when he appointed her as Commissioner of the Department of Motor Vehicles. She served in this role from April 1997 to April 1991. She retired from government service following this appointment.
Since her retirement, she has served East Carolina University as a member of the University Foundation, was the inaugural chair of the university's Board of Visitors, served as the founding chair of the ECU Women’s Roundtable in 2003 and served on the ECU Centennial Task Force and its steering committee.