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Pieces of Eight


Two ECU Ph.D. Programs Earn Top Ten Rankings

By Erica Plouffe Lazure

Two of East Carolina University’s Ph.D programs have earned top 10 rankings in a new national study of faculty scholarly productivity.

The 2007 index, produced by Academic Analytics, compiles overall institutional rankings for faculty productivity for 375 universities that offer Ph.D. degrees. ECU’s Communication Sciences and Disorders program, housed in the College of Allied Health Sciences, ranked ninth in the nation. ECU’s Kinesiology, Exercise Science and Rehabilitation program (bioenergetics), housed in the Department of Exercise Science, ranked fourth in the nation, in their respective disciplines. Academic Analytics is a for-profit company partly owned by the State University of New York at Stony Brook.

Chancellor Steve Ballard said, “I am delighted that our faculty members have received this national recognition. It is another indicator of the quality of our research strength as well as our commitment to making a difference in people’s lives.”

Stephen Thomas, dean of the College of Allied Health Sciences, said he was proud of the 12-member research team and was delighted to see the national recognition of their hard work. Their research, he said, contributes not only to new knowledge and technology, but also helps improve the lives of many people.

“Ph.D students come here because they see the good work, not only in the research of our faculty but also in the application of the research and its effect on people’s lives,” he said. “And when our faculty conduct research, they make sure their students are involved, so when they graduate they have a respectable number of articles on their resume and the confidence and experience to conduct meaningful research.”

The Ph.D. program was established in 1997 and now has 14 full-time students. In recent years, the department’s SpeechEasy anti-stuttering device has captured international attention and garnered four patents. The department faculty members hold another patent in the area of telehealth applications to audiology.

Thomas noted that research in the department has made great strides in other areas, ranging from audiology, stuttering, aphasia, auditory processing, hearing science and language disorders, as well as vestibular research (balance problems such as vertigo). In the past year, the department has netted approximately $3 million in research grants.

Gregg Givens, department chair for the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, said the ranking would help continue to attract the very best faculty and students to the program.


This page originally appeared in the Jan. 25, 2008 issue of Pieces of Eight. Complete issue is archived at