The Institute, established in 1988, is an outreach service component of the university and is involved with projects at historical sites in North Carolina. Dr. Keats Sparrow, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, named Dennard to the post to replace Dr. Henry Ferrell, the Institute's founding director, who will return to full-time teaching and research. The appointment is effective Aug. 16.
As the Institute's director, Dennard will meet with representatives of historical sites such as Somerset Place near Creswell and Tryon Palace in New Bern to determine how ECU can increase its involvement with these historical attractions. Included will be discussions about internship opportunities for students and professional service and research projects for faculty.
In past years, the Institute has assisted the sites with archaeological research and has conducted seminars on early architecture. and on African and Native Americans. Other ECU programs associated with the Institute are the ECU Folklore Archive on campus and the ECU Coastal Archaeology Office on the Outer Banks. Sparrow described Dennard as an "excellent representative for East Carolina University." "I feel fortunate to have him as the chief administrator of this important institute," Sparrow said.
A Georgia native, Dennard joined the ECU history faculty in 1986 to teach courses in American history, the Old South and the history of African Americans. He had previously taught at Fayetteville State University. He received his bachelor's and master's degrees from Fort Valley State College in Georgia and Atlanta University. His doctoral degree is from Northwestern University.
Dennard's research interests center on the religious life and traditions of African Americans in the Old South. He is collecting materials for a book about African Americans and the Civil War in North Carolina. His articles on Nat Turner and Malcolm X have appeared in the "Research Guide to American Historical Biography" and the "St. James Guide to Biography."
He was also an advisor and contribtor to a 1996 publication entitled "African American History in the Press, 1851 - 1899." This summer he will participate at the 1999 Chesapeake Regional Scholars Seminar in African American Studies at the University of Virginia.
He was selected for a similar program in 1997 at Harvard University that focused on "Teaching the History of the Civil Rights Movement, 1865 - 1965." Dennard is a frequent speaker at seminars and conferences. Last month, he served as a scholarly commentator at the annual meeting of the Georgia Association of Historians in Savannah. Other recent activities include a presentation on the history of the southern civil rights movement at the opening of the Albany Civil Rights Movement Museum in Georgia, a report on "African American Preachers in the Antebellum South" at an ECU history symposium and a paper on "Slave Thought and Culture" at the Fannie Lou Hamer Summer Institute at Jackson (Mississippi) State University.
ECU News Bureau