Every year I look forward to the start of fall semester, when our building comes alive with the faces of eager new students who are enthusiastic about the future. As we welcome everyone back for the start of the year, I'm excited about the future too, especially when I think about all we have happening at East Carolina University and the College of Nursing.
Our new chancellor, Dr. Cecil Staton, took office in July and has already set into motion his vision for building on ECU's legacy of excellence. In stating his priorities at a recent event, he shared aspirations for ECU to raise its national profile, increase research, expand international studies and more. I hope you'll join me in welcoming him as he leads us in renewing our commitment to making ECU a truly great institution.
At the CON, our ability to set strategic goals and pursue them over the past year has created much positive momentum. For example, efforts to expand research capacity have included the addition of tenured and tenure-track faculty positions and a 73 percent increase in manuscript publications from 2014-2015 to 2015-2016. Increased grant activity has led to receiving over $5 million in grants being awarded during the past academic year.
As another strategic goal, we've implemented a number of curricular updates to expand and change our academic programs to suit students' educational goals and our area's health care needs. These changes have included the addition a new post-master's DNP in leadership, a post-doctoral certificate for AGPCNP and FNP, a hybrid online PhD program, a revised accelerated second-degree BSN option, and in fall 2017 a psych mental health nurse practitioner option in the MSN program.
In order to adapt to growth in program offerings, this summer we implemented an organizational restructuring that created three new departments: Nursing Science, Advanced Nursing Practice and Education, and Baccalaureate Education. Grouping our academic programs in this way helps us to more clearly delineate the focus of each department and will facilitate collaboration to enhance teaching, as well as creative and scholarly activity. You can read more about the reorganization in this issue of Pirate Nurse Notes.
As you know, we keep our students at the center of all we do. We're giving $843,562 in scholarships and traineeships to students this year - our most ever - and future efforts will include actions such as continuing to expand interprofessional activities in our curricula and growing our use of classroom and online technology. It's going to be a rewarding year as we continue our efforts to provide the best nursing education possible for our students!
Sylvia T. Brown, EdD, RN, CNE
Dean & Professor