Thriving on Chaos
In 1987, Tom Peters wrote a well-known book called Thriving on Chaos. It has always been a favorite of mine because Mr. Peters skillfully challenged traditional assumptions about organizational performance. His book is still relevant in 2014... chaos seems to define the environment of higher education. As Meg Wheatley stated in her book, Leadership and the New Science, "In this environment, if you're not confused, you're not thinking clearly."
Today, some commentators have said that higher education is like the proverbial frog in boiling water...the frog doesn't realize it is in deep trouble until it is too late to move its legs. I have some real problems with this analogy, which ignores the fact that public higher education in the US is by far the best in the world and, in North Carolina at least, one of the best values anyone can name. It is still true that, on average, you earn approximately 4 times more with a doctorate than you will with a high school diploma. And college graduates have half of the unemployment rate of those with only a high school degree.
That said, the drivers of change in higher education are real and moving fast...with or without us. Drivers of change include: declining state appropriations, fierce competition for students, technology which threatens residential campuses and traditional ways of teaching, student learning behaviors, and real and positive change in the "coins of the realm"...that is how we determine qualifications for a degree and how we measure learning. In short, credit hours earned can have zero correlation to competencies learned.
So, how is ECU doing in such a chaotic environment? It is too early to know for sure and the last behavior I want to see is this great university resting on its laurels. As Jim Collins has said, hubris is a sure sign of an organization in decline.
However, ECU knows how to adjust to radical changes in our environment. I'm confident about our future because we are mission-driven and authentic. Our mission is to be a national model for student success, public service and regional transformation. We do not try to be something we're not. We do invest our resources in programs that make a difference for people...preparing better teachers, providing dentists throughout North Carolina, training engineers for eastern North Carolina, educating great accountants, financers, and business administrators. In fact, our professional programs all prepare our students for tomorrow's jobs. In the health sciences alone, our goal is to educate 3500 students...virtually all of whom can expect an attractive job at the end of their education.
We do much more. For 20 years, we've been leaders in disruptive technology, especially distance education and hybrid methods of teaching. We've been recognized by the Gates Foundation for the use of technology in dental education and we are a national leader in distance education. In the College of Business we are pioneering a flipped classroom...one devoted to problem solving with lecture content being delivered electronically, and we're offering a MOOC with partners at UNC-Pembroke.
And we understand that, tomorrow, undergraduate education must be more than great classrooms, even though great educations start with great classrooms. Practical experience in our communities is a vital educational tool and we have over 10,000 students each year who are engaged in service learning and volunteerism. We are especially proud of our campus-wide commitment to leadership development. Tomorrow's leaders must be well educated, have relevant experiences in real-world problem solving, and be ready to lead. Our vision is to have every graduate understand leadership and be ready to be a leader when they leave ECU.
There is much more to our story, so stay tuned and stay engaged in East Carolina University. Tomorrow Starts Here.
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The East Carolina University School of Music is home to six vocal ensembles, including the ECU Opera Theater and five choral ensembles--the ECU Chamber Singers, the ECU Men's Choir, the ECU Women's Choir, the University Chorale and the Collegiate Choir.
|The ECU Chamber Singers
The ECU Opera Theater is committed to giving students the opportunity to learn the requisite skills for performing professionally in opera. It has become the tradition to produce two works each academic year in addition to occasional smaller scale offerings and educational opera outreach for children.
The ECU Men's Choir and the ECU Women's Choir perform accompanied and unaccompanied repertoire for male and female voices, respectively. The University Chorale is a mixed-gender ensemble open to all university students. The ECU Collegiate Choir is a small, select group of 18-28 singers conducted by ECU choral graduate students.
The Chamber Singers is the premier choral ensemble at ECU. Comprised of 34-40 auditioned singers, the group tours annually and has performed by invitation at regional and national conferences of the American Choral Directors Association and the National Association for Music Education. The Chamber Singers have produced two professional CD recordings on the Gothic label and were the winners of the 2012 American Prize for Choral Performance (college/university division).
In conjunction with University Communications and ECU TV, the School of Music maintains a YouTube video site and a podcast site of the school's performances. These links are used for student recruitment and contact with alums and patrons.
Recent graduates of the voice department have gone on to be accepted at many of the country's leading conservatories, young artist programs and schools of music at the graduate level. Some have won prizes in prestigious voice competitions including the Metropolitan Opera Competition, The Orpheus National Voice Competition, The National Association of Teachers of Singing Auditions and the Paris Opera Competition. Graduates in the areas of music education and music therapy are consistently awarded excellent positions in their fields upon graduation. Read more: https://www.ecu.edu/cs-cfac/music/voice/index.cfm
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On Friday, February 21, the UNC Board of Governors approved East Carolina University's new mission statement:
ECU Mission Statement
To be a national model for student success, public service and regional transformation, East Carolina University:
- Uses innovative learning strategies and delivery methods to maximize access;
Prepares students with the knowledge, skills and values to succeed in a global, multicultural society;
Develops tomorrow's leaders to serve and inspire positive change;
Discovers new knowledge and innovations to support a thriving future for eastern North Carolina and beyond;
Transforms health care, promotes wellness, and reduces health disparities; and
Improves quality of life through cultural enrichment, academics, and athletics.
We accomplish our mission through education, research, creative activities, and service while being good stewards of the resources entrusted to us.
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University Communications recently launched an exciting new online brand/communications/marketing tool on our homepage, ecu.edu. The interactive infographic tells our story of excellence and achievement. It brands our East Carolina story of academic accomplishment and within the framework of our current values campaign using "Leadership, Scholarship, Discovery, and Service."
This strategic marketing tool is interactive, was developed internally at no extra cost to the university, and will be revised frequently. The content was developed and vetted in partnership with communications representatives across the university and touches on points of excellence across the board.
Please be active participants in our communications efforts by strategically sharing the link below with friends, peers, colleagues, supporters or others you think would benefit from a greater awareness of ECU's story and its demonstrated successes in Leadership, Scholarship, Discovery and Service.
Visit Measures of Success at
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East Carolina University's plan to build two new student centers - one on main campus and one on the Division of Health Sciences campus - was reviewed favorably by the UNC Board of Governors on Friday, Feb. 21. The board voted to recommend that the $156.3 million project be authorized by the N.C. General Assembly when it reconvenes in May.
The ECU student centers are the largest of a dozen construction projects totaling $403.1 million that are planned for groundbreaking at UNC system campuses in the year ahead. UNC President Tom Ross recommended that the Board of Governors approve all 12.
In bringing the projects before the full board, Budget and Finance Committee Chair Louis Bissette said some concerns were raised about how the ECU project would impact student fees. ECU has said an increase of $425 in student fees - implemented in phases over three years - will support $128.8 million of the $156.3 million cost. The fee increase comes at a time when $133 of existing student fees will be eliminated, so students will pay no additional fees next year for this project.
Additional funds will come from other campus sources, including dining, Dowdy Student Stores, Ledonia Wright Cultural Center, parking, student health and student recreation. Read more: http://www.ecu.edu/news/studentcenters14.cfm
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A new space for collaborative medical research and robotics training was lauded by East Carolina University officials as a visionary project at the heart of the university's mission and talents.
|Ron Mitchelson, interim vice chancellor for research and graduate studies, at left, and Dr. W. Randolph Chitwood, director of the East Carolina Heart Institute, enjoy opening events for the institute's fourth floor. (Photo by Cliff Hollis)
The fourth floor of the East Carolina Heart Institute at ECU officially opened Feb. 13 as part of the regular two-day Board of Trustees meeting. Board members, faculty and other guests toured the 37,000-square-foot space, which includes advanced laboratories and simulated clinical rooms.
The ECHI opened in 2008 with the mission of becoming an internationally recognized cardiovascular institute known for high quality patient care, leading-edge technology, widespread education and both basic science and clinical research.
"This is the final piece of the creation of the ECHI," said Dr. Wiley Nifong, director of surgical robotics at the Brody School of Medicine. "This is the research piece of our mission. And it is a remarkable facility -- it is open, not like individual labs with doors that separate; it will facilitate collaboration between investigators. There's nothing like this on ECU's campus from a research perspective." Read More: http://www.ecu.edu/news/echi2014.cfm.
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Work done by ECU's University Communications staff won top honors from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) District III awards for 2014, an annual event recognizing the best communication from educational and professional institutions in the southeastern United States.
Recognized with an Award of Excellence in the category of "Writing for the Web" was the team producing 19 profiles of the fall 2013 incoming class of EC Scholars for the Honors College at ECU. Those profiles were featured in a package on the ECU homepage - which was viewed more than 18,350 times - in university publications, and in news releases published in the hometown newspapers of the incoming students.
The project leader was Kathryn Kennedy. Writers were Crystal Baity, Jeannine Hutson, Mary Schulken, Spaine Stephens, Steve Tuttle and Kennedy. The EC Scholars were photographed by Cliff Hollis during their interview weekend at ECU in spring 2013. Mike Litwin was illustrator for the project and Joy Holster designed and programmed the web page. All work in either ECU Creative Services or News Services, which make up University Communications.
A second recognition went to Litwin, a graphic designer in Creative Services, who received a Special Merit award for his illustrations and design work for posters for "Insectaphobia." Litwin earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in communication arts from ECU in 2001.
"These awards recognize the quality storytelling done by University Communications on behalf of East Carolina and reinforce the fact that work ranks among the best at universities," said Schulken, executive director of communication, public affairs and marketing. "That reflects our commitment to teamwork, to excellence and to being national leaders for our university."
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The new Bachelor of Science in University Studies (BSUS) degree program was implemented effective this spring semester. This program was first proposed in the Strategic Enrollment Management Task Force report approved by the Board of Trustees in early 2009. The formal proposal for the program underwent the review and approval process both on campus and through the University of North Carolina. Final approval was received in received in August, 2013.
Before full implementation could begin, two curriculum proposals went through the campus approval process. Final approval from the Faculty Senate and the Chancellor occurred in December, 2013. With these approvals, all conditions for implementation of the BSUS were met.
The program was designed to assist with retention and graduation efforts of traditional ECU students, as well as to serve non-traditional populations such as military-based students and "part-way" home students (those with 90 + semester hours of college credit, but who did not complete a degree). As a part of the approval process, the program may be delivered by traditional face-to-face instruction or via distance education.
Dr. Nelson Cooper, Associate Professor of Recreation and Leisure Studies in the College of Health and Human Performance, was chosen to serve as the interim director during this implementation year. A national search is currently underway to fill the position of program director on a full-time, permanent basis. Two support personnel positions have been filled, an academic advisor and an administrative assistant.
The faculty members of the team that developed the proposal for this degree program will serve during the spring semester as the Faculty Oversight Committee, which is charged with ensuring the academic integrity of student-proposed thematic cores for the major program of study.
Questions regarding the program may be directed to Dr. Cooper at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 252-328-4294. More information about the BSUS degree program may be found at www.ecu.edu/bsus.
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The East Carolina University Center for Applied Psychophysiology in the College of Health and Human Performance was established in December, 2013 with the goal of building resiliency, decreasing stress-related symptoms associated with exposure to combat, and improving functional performance.
An innovative combination of biofeedback techniques and gaming technology is used to help U.S. military personnel recover from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI). The Center is led by Dr. Carmen Russoniello, Director and Professor in the Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies.
"The wounded warrior program, which is now a center, has demonstrated that this biofeedback and psychophysiological approach can make dramatic improvements in Marines post deployment and now will expand to investigate the potential for pre-deployment, deployment, as well as post deployment for Marines and all military personnel," said Dr. Glen Gilbert, Dean of the College of Health and Human Performance.
"This will have implications for anyone facing stress which of course means all of us. The continued growth of the Center will enhance ECU's recognition as a national leader in this emerging approach to stress management."
The Center partners with the Wounded Warrior Battalion East at Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, North Carolina to help Marine and Navy corpsmen who experience PTSD and TBI using biofeedback. The center is also working with other service branches.
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Provost Sheerer stepping down
Provost Marilyn Sheerer is stepping down from her current role of Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor as of August 15, 2014. She will take her retreat rights for a year, and then return to the faculty in the College of Education in August of 2015.
Chancellor Ballard is soliciting feedback on the appointment of an Interim Provost and welcomes input on the best person to serve in this important administrative role to begin late in summer 2014. All feedback should be sent to Dr. Chris Locklear, Chief of Staff (email@example.com) no later than the end of March.
New Vice Chancellor of University Advancement
Later this month, we welcome Christopher Dyba as the new Vice Chancellor for Advancement. Mr. Dyba is a graduate of Louisiana State University and Duke University. Upon completion of graduate school, Dyba joined the development office at Duke and worked for eight years as both an annual fund reunion giving officer and a major gift officer. After Duke, Dyba worked for more than six years at Auburn University as the Director of Advancement for the College of Business managing a team and the campaign through its successful completion.
A native of Louisiana, Dyba returned to aid Tulane University in its post-Hurricane Katrina efforts to reestablish its advancement office. While at Tulane, Dyba served as the Senor Associate Vice President for Development where he built development teams for ten schools and units, served as a major, principal, and international gift officer, as well as lead and redevelop the university's Annual Fund program.
Board of Visitors to expand membership
On February 14, the Board of Trustees approved a revision of the Board of Visitors charter, expanding membership from 60-70 members. This revision will allow the Board of Visitors to increase the giving potential to the Access Scholarship Program, increase the diversity of the board and broaden its advocacy base.
$450,000 grant to help those with diabetes, depression
East Carolina University has received a grant of $450,000 from the Bristol -Myers Squibb Foundation to help people with type 2 diabetes and related depression or distress manage their illnesses. To address the diabetes-related behavioral conditions, ECU researchers, along with community partners in rural eastern North Carolina, will combine medical and cognitive behavioral treatment with community-based support to assist patients. Read more: http://www.ecu.edu/news/diabetes1113.cfm.
ECU Athletics announces strategic plan
ECU Athletics, under the leadership of Jeff Compher, has announced their new strategic plan, titled UNDAUNTED. Over 80 individuals representing athletics staff and coaches, student-athletes, university administration and faculty, ECU Student Government, Pitt/Greenville Chamber of Commerce, Pirate Club and Board of Trustees participated in the planning process. The plan creates and establishes goals and priorities for ECU Athletics that enable efficient and effective management consistent with its core values and understanding of the department's future mission and vision. Read more: http://blog.ecu.edu/sites/dailyclips/blog/2014/01/31/east-carolina-athletics-announces-strategic-plan/
ECU hosts high school students interested in STEM disciplines
Nearly 300 high school juniors from across eastern North Carolina visited ECU on Friday, Feb. 21 to learn more about careers and degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). ECU faculty and students let 15 hands-on sessions, which included engineering, physics, technology, mathematics, chemistry, biology, construction management, computer science, geology, geography, atmospheric science and math education. STEM Day is a collaboration by the College of Technology and Computer Science, the Thomas Harriott College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Education. Read more: http://www.ecu.edu/news/stemday14.cfm.
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