Velde inaugural member of national academy on community engagement

Sept. 10, 2014

By Crystal Baity
ECU News Services

East Carolina University’s Beth Velde will be inducted Oct. 7 to a policy group dedicated to honoring scholarship and service at college campuses nationwide.

The Academy of Community Engagement Scholarship invited Velde to become an inaugural member following peer nomination and selection. Velde was recognized for the “practice and model of excellence in collaboration with communities and the university while addressing critical issues of mutual benefit.”

Beth Velde
The academy’s mission is to improve the physical, social, civic and economic well-being of communities by advancing scholarship-based collaborative discovery with higher education partners.

Serving as a representative voice for the field of engagement, the academy will ensure that scholarly activities and policy initiatives keep in mind the needs of the constituents involved.

“I was honored to be nominated and really honored to be accepted,” said Velde, who has entered phased retirement at ECU. “It’s an honor for ECU. So many people don’t know what we do and how it goes beyond volunteering.”

Velde initiated ECU’s Engagement and Outreach Scholars Academy, which pairs faculty members, EC Scholars, graduate students and alumni who work with communities on projects to improve quality of life.

More than 165 ECU faculty and students have partnered on more than 50 outreach scholar projects across the region and state during the past five years. Those community partnerships were celebrated this spring at a five-year anniversary ceremony at the Murphy Center.

Velde, professor emerita and director of strategic planning in the College of Allied Health Sciences, is a founding organizer of the annual Mills Symposium, which addresses health disparities.

Her research includes the culture of engagement at ECU, the perceptions of community partners regarding the roles and responsibilities of telling the story of community engagement and the synergies between leadership and public service. She has led student teams in collecting health data and helped write grants for the town of Tillery in Halifax County.

She leads the ECU team for the Carnegie engaged university classification, which recognizes higher education’s commitment to community engagement, and chaired the working groups responsible for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools narratives on public service and community engagement.

Nationally, Velde chairs the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities’ Council on Engagement and Outreach, which leads APLU’s efforts in engaging constituent universities with communities. The APLU recognized ECU’s partnership with the Lucille W. Gorham Intergenerational Community Center in 2012 with the prestigious C. Peter Magrath University/Community Engagement Award.

With the latest appointment, Velde said she and others in the academy will work on three main areas that address policy development, measure impact and cross partnerships.

“These are things that as an individual it’s hard to do, but if you have a large cadre of people … you might actually get some good research,” Velde said.


Lauren Edmondson from the College of Allied Health Sciences contributed to this story.