ECU officials praise doctoral status
(Apr. 9, 1998)
East Carolina University officials cheered the April 9 decision by the University of North Carolina Board of Governors to recognize ECU as a doctoral institution.
"This is a great day for the university," said H.E. "Gene" Rayfield Jr., chair of the ECU Board of Trustees. "It is a tremendous accomplishment for our faculty, staff and students. I am proud of them and their achievements."
"Our new status will make a tremendous difference as we move toward the 21st century," Rayfield said.
"Today is a day of celebration for the entire ECU family." Chancellor Richard Eakin said, "This is a genuine milestone for East Carolina. It is truly the beginning of a new era for the university, and we are delighted that the Board of Governors has taken this step. It recognizes the outstanding work that has already been accomplished here and opens the door for even greater success."
"The formal recognition affirms the efforts of scores of East Carolina faculty members, administrators, graduate students, trustees and friends over the years," Eakin said. "It will mean new respect for ECU in the higher education community, enhanced financial resources for the university, and increased opportunities to conduct research that is vital to the entire state of North Carolina and beyond."
The ECU board at its meeting last month had asked the Board of Governors to declare East Carolina a doctoral institution. The Board of Governors at its meeting today in Chapel Hill, approved a resolution declaring that ECU is a doctoral institution. The only other doctoral institution in the UNC system is UNC-Greensboro. UNC-Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University are classified as research institutions.
The UNC General Administration classifies universities according to the criteria used by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. ECU already had crossed the doctoral threshold set by the Carnegie Foundation: Awarding at least 10 doctoral degrees annually in three or more disciplines. Requirements for doctoral degrees such as the doctor of philosophy (Ph.D.) or doctor of education (Ed.D.) include a significant research project and a dissertation. Professional degrees such as the doctor of medicine (M.D.) usually do not have such a research component, and are not counted in the Carnegie classifications.
ECU's first doctoral degrees-in pharmacology, physiology, microbiology, anatomy and biochemistry-were authorized in 1979. Other doctoral programs are in pathology, educational leadership and communication sciences and disorders. The Board of Governors today also authorized the establishment of new doctoral programs in coastal resources management and medical biophysics.
Eakin said that all the current doctoral programs reflect extraordinary and sometimes unique strengths and expertise on the part of university faculty members. The development of future programs will follow that pattern, reflecting special areas of interest and emphasis by ECU scholars and researchers, Eakin said. New programs are likely to be interdisciplinary in nature and to have significance for this region, he said.
Don Sexauer, professor of art and chair of the ECU faculty, said the Board of Governors recognition "has been long in coming. We have been offering doctoral degrees for a number of years and the faculty are happy to see all our previous efforts rewarded. Doctoral status can only improve the quality of the institution through the faculty we hire, the quality of facilities we use in our teaching and research, and the quality of the students we can attract.
"We have come a long way since I first became a faculty member at East Carolina College," Sexauer said. "The milestones that are the most memorable are ones that have made East Caro