University Awarded Carnegie Distinction
By John Durham
East Carolina University has become one of only 195 institutions nationwide to receive the “community engagement” classification from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.
The foundation, widely known for assessments of colleges and universities, has announced that 119 campuses received the engaged distinction for 2008, joining 76 that were identified in 2006.
Chancellor Steve Ballard said, “Receiving this classification confirms what we at ECU already know – that the commitment and practice of engagement are woven throughout our teaching, research, service and outreach enterprises. This is our history and a core strength as we pursue our mission to serve as a national model for public service and regional transformation.”
Deirdre Mageean, vice chancellor for research and graduate studies, coordinated the university’s application effort, which involved dozens of individuals across the campus. “We tried to reflect the breadth and depth of our commitment to our community, region, state and nation,” Mageean said.
Community engagement is a collaboration between a university and its communities in mutually beneficial partnerships, she said. These partnerships respond to community needs by sharing skills, knowledge and resources.
Mageean cited four projects as particularly compelling examples of ECU’s engagement:
ARISE, or “A Real Integrated Sports Experience,” provides community members, ECU students, faculty/staff, and alumni with and without disabilities the opportunity to participate in a variety of unique sports, fitness and recreational activities – all modified specifically for individuals with disabilities. A partnership between community members and individuals from Campus Recreation & Wellness, Adapted Physical Education, Recreational Therapy and Allied Health, ARISE enables participants to exercise in a supportive environment that meets their physical, cognitive and emotional needs.
Wounded Warrior Battalion East
ECU’s Psychophysiology Lab and Biofeedback Clinic is assisting Marines of the Wounded Warrior Battalion East at Camp Lejeune in returning to civilian life. The Training for Optimal Per-formance, or TOP program, was implemented to provide a continuum of services for Marines returning from war with the ultimate goal of assisting them in adjusting to their disabilities and/or help them transition to civilian life.
Tillery Wellness Program
This innovative, community-built wellness program is a testament to a successful 10-year collaboration between ECU occupational therapy faculty and students and residents of Tillery, a community in Halifax County. This model of ECU partnerships with communities focuses on implementation and evaluation of health services and resulted in the identification of best practices for community-driven health services.
Sustainable Tourism Outreach
In 2007, North Carolina tourism generated more than $1.3 billion in state and local tax revenues. A partnership between the Office of Engagement, Innovation and Economic Development, the Center for Sustainable Tourism and the N.C. Division of Tourism, Film and Sports Development hopes to find practical and applicable solutions to industry problems created by rising energy prices and adverse weather and climate patterns, as well as other obstacles in implementing sustainable practices.
“These projects are just a few examples of the tremendous range of work that our faculty are involved in with the communities of North Carolina.” Mageean said. “We applaud all their efforts which have helped ECU gain this recognition. It is well deserved and confirms ECU’s historic role as a university of and for the people of this region.”