OUTSIDE THE CLASSROOM
New Leadership Speaker Series targets ECU graduate students
Jan. 20, 2012
By Kathryn Kennedy
ECU News Services
Until now, focused leadership training at East Carolina University has targeted mostly undergraduate students. That’s changing this semester.
Thursday, Jan. 26 marks the beginning of ECU’s first Graduate Leadership Speaker Series. Four lectures featuring university administrators and a retired military leader are scheduled monthly through April, divided between the east and west campuses.
“Graduate education by its nature is preparing students academically for leadership, management and supervisory positions,” said Dr. Belinda Patterson, associate dean of Graduate Studies. “And this is taking it outside the classroom and exposing them to successful leaders, motivating and inspiring them to see the possibilities in practice.”
|Dr. Richard Eakin, interim dean of the ECU Honors College, will speak at the first event in the leadership series. (Photo by Cliff Hollis)
The idea grew, in part, from the success of a visit in November from Al Delia, a former ECU administrator who now works as a senior policy adviser to Gov. Bev Perdue. He was recently appointed interim secretary for the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services effective Feb. 1. Dozens of students came to hear from and interact with Delia in an informal setting.
“The main focus for leadership in undergraduate studies is service oriented. This is more professionally oriented,” said Dr. Paul Gemperline, associate vice chancellor for Research and Graduate Studies. “So many of our graduate programs, especially at the doctoral level, have traditionally prepared students for the professorate. And a lot of those students don’t go into academia, they go into professional employment.”
“We want to inspire them to be leaders outside of their profession as well, in the community or wherever they’re going,” said Patterson.
This first series primarily features leaders at ECU. A presentation by former ECU chancellor Dr. Richard Eakin will kick off the series, with offerings from deans and associate vice chancellors scheduled down the road.
“We’re just beginning with baby steps,” Gemperline said, “Growing something here with campus resources because we don’t have resources to invest heavily in these kind of efforts.”
Graduate and Professional Student Senate President Marc Stevens Jr. said he thinks students will appreciate the effort and take advantage of the opportunity to interact with leaders. Stevens is pursuing a master’s in public health, and the organization he leads helped plan the series.
“Leadership is an important role in any job or position,” he said in a phone interview. “You never know when you might be given the opportunity to supervise others. You can be very good at doing your job, but how can you direct other people? How can you bring them together?”
Patterson predicts the series will grow to include lectures throughout the year with the potential to establish workshops and other training opportunities down the road.
Space is limited so registration for these events is highly recommended. To register, send an email to email@example.com.
ECU Graduate School currently offers 76 master's degree programs, two intermediate programs, and 62 graduate certificate programs through 11 colleges and schools. They also offer 16 doctoral programs and four professional programs.