ENGAGEMENT AND ECU TOMORROW
In my 2005 Installation Speech I stated, “ECU has always focused on our social responsibilities…we are not ‘infected by the ivory tower syndrome’ …. to use Professor Henry Ferrell’s words.” My vision was to work with the ECU community to create a university that re-defined the notion of public service, making service among the highest honors of the university. Our application for the Carnegie Foundation Elective Classification for Community Engagement is part of the strategic process to achieve that vision. The application process allowed us to reflect upon our view of service and articulate what it means to ECU. At ECU community engagement is a partnership between our university and many communities established to respond to issues and opportunities in a mutually beneficial way.
Since the adoption of our motto “To Serve,” ECU has been engaged. At ECU service consists of curricular engagement, outreach and partnerships. We have the infrastructure to support all of these components and we are committed to excellence in each. Curricular engagement includes service learning, volunteerism, and community service. Service learning occurs within a structured course and is rooted in an academic discipline. Community service is composed of volunteer projects organized by students, student organizations, and the Division of Academic and Student Affairs.
Outreach and partnerships describe two approaches to community engagement. Outreach focuses on the application of institutional resources to the community with benefits to both campus and community. Partnerships focus on collaborative interactions with the community that result in mutually beneficial exchanges, exploration and application of knowledge, development of information, and identification of resources. The first involves the university reaching out, the second joins the university and community in a collaborative relationship.
ECU faculty, staff and students are engaged with the community. Together we create an ECU culture of engagement. ECU Tomorrow, our Strategic Plan, provides the framework for us to continue this important work. We are committed to these broad goals: excellence in education, promotion of economic prosperity, becoming the Leadership University, health care and medical innovation, and inspiring lives through the visual and performing arts.
ECU does make a difference.