Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences
Departmental Outreach


Departmental Outreach Partnerships

The College of Arts and Sciences departments each pledge to designate, develop, and showcase one signature outreach partnership within their department. These collaborative programs will include community partners including non-profit organizations, schools, religious communities, government institutions, and cultural entities that advance discipline-specific scholarship, instruction, and service.

"Anthropology After Dark" - The Department of Anthropology began hosting "Anthropology After Dark" in 2015 to celebrate World Anthropology Day—an initiative by the American Anthropological Association. It is designed for anthropologists to celebrate and participate in their discipline with the public. The discipline of anthropology is dedicated to advancing human understanding and tackling the world’s most pressing problems. At ECU, the annual event is held each spring and is open to the community and showcases faculty and student research with short lectures, hands-on displays, and tours of the archaeology laboratories.

GO-Science - GO-Science is establishing a science museum and outreach center in downtown Greenville. Department of Biology Chair Dr. Jeff McKinnon serves on the GO-Science Board of Directors and chairs the organization’s education committee. Biology MS alumna Kristi Walters is Director of Education, and biology graduate students and faculty members regularly participate in outreach events. Internships are planned for Biology undergrads.

“Business Symposium on the State of the Economy” - One of the Department’s main outreach events is the Business Symposium on the State of the Economy. Each October, the Department of Economics invites a panel of nationally renowned economists to provide presentations and discussions among members of the financial and business communities of Eastern North Carolina (There were 99 attendees in 2015). The event is open to the public, with an emphasis on the current and future course of the economy. The Symposium is repeated in the evening in a public forum at the university.

Alumni Golf Tournament - The department also holds its annual Alumni Golf Tournament every April. The tournament is open to current and former students, faculty, staff and friends of the department. The tournament provides opportunities for fundraising for departmental scholarships as well as social networking between students, faculty, and alumni.

"WRITE TIME, WRITE PLACE" - The English Department Community Action Committee is a cohort of faculty in the department who go out to various venues in the community and assist with such writing tasks as resumes, grant applications, job applications, and creative writing projects.

The committee held its first “WRITE TIME, WRITE PLACE” activity at the Cornerstone Baptist Church on March 21, 2015. They held subsequent events at the Lucille Gorman Inter-Generational Community Center on September 23, again at the Cornerstone Baptist Church on November 21 and December 5, the Reimage Church in Winterville on April 9, 2016, and at the Lucille Gorman Inter-Generational Community Center on April 16, 2016.

Foreign Languages & Literatures
"Dos Mundos" (Two Worlds) Spanish/English Dual Language Enrichment Program - In the summer of 2014, Dr. Ann Borisoff conducted a feasibility study to examine the possibility of implementing a K-5 dual language Spanish-English program in the Pitt County Schools district. A series of parent meetings were held to gauge interest in the dual language program, and the community responded very positively.

In fall 2015, 48 kindergarteners at Belvoir Elementary in Pitt County started their school year in “Dos Mundos.” The program offers several benefits to students. First, the program will enable students to become bilingual, speaking with ease in both languages, as well as bi-literate, reading and writing in both languages. Second, both English language learners and Spanish language learners in dual language programs typically score higher on standardized achievement tests, according to Borisoff, who conducted extensive research on academic achievement in dual language programs prior to district implementation of “Dos Mundos.” Third, participants in dual language programs develop a high degree of cultural competence, working comfortably with students and adults from very different backgrounds. The goal is to add one grade level per year into the program, reaching full implementation of the K-5 program by 2020. This cohort of students will then continue with an academic content class taught in Spanish at the middle school.

Geography, Planning and Environment

"AMEXCAN" - The collaborative partnership between the Association of Mexicans in North Carolina, Inc. (AMEXAN) and Dr. Misun Hur, in the Department of Geography, Planning and Environment, was established in 2013 and has remained steadfast serving the Latino community in eastern North Carolina. AMEXCAN strives to create a strong regional leadership structure throughout rural eastern NC, designed to advocate issues ranging from poverty to basic human rights through educational, leadership, cultural, advocacy and health programs.

Among many projects and programs, AMEXCAN values greatly the interns the organization receives. Since Fall 2015, Tristan H. Briggs, an undergraduate student majoring in Human Geography, has worked as an intern. Tristan’s role in the organization focuses on advocacy. One of the events Tristan lead was the Annual Latino Community Leadership Conference, held on February 27, 2016, at Pitt Community College. The conference engaged the Latino community by focusing on advocacy, leadership, and education through interactive group discussions and activities. Attendees were leaders of the Latino community from all over eastern NC, officers from NC Department of Health & Human Services, a representative of the Mexican Consulate and political representatives.

City of Greenville Neighborhood Advisory Board
- Partnering with the City of Greenville’s Neighborhood Advisory Board (NAB), students in PLAN4025: Housing and Neighborhood Planning are carrying out an engaged outreach project using cooperative and collaborative learning. Since 2013, students have contributed to the city’s annual Neighborhood Symposium in various tasks. In Spring 2016, students are participating in the symposium with poster exhibits, which highlight best practices that promote the sense of community in neighborhoods. Six posters will be presented during the symposium on April 30, 2016 at the Greenville City Hall Chambers.

Geological Sciences

Beginning in 2010, ECU Geological Sciences and the Coastal Water Resources Center have partnered with the City of Greenville on a variety of stormwater and stream-related projects. The department has worked with the City of Greenville and a group of water resources professionals to initiate and implement a Stormwater Master Plan This resulted in an intensive study to characterize water quality and stormwater issues in Greenville’s major watersheds. Currently, in spring 2016, the department is helping the city to characterize Town Creek watershed in downtown Greenville, prior to a major restoration effort. They will work with the city to evaluate the restoration effects on flood risk and water quality, and educate local citizens on the effects of urban runoff on Coastal Plain streams.

National History Day - This is the department's major outreach event. Held every spring, the Department of History works with middle school and high schools in eastern NC to host the regional National History Day competition. Between 200-300 middle school and high school students compete in several fields (documentaries, essays, websites, posters, and performances). Top projects go on to compete at state finals, and winners of state finals go on to compete at the national competition.

Annual Math Contest - The Department of Mathematics holds an Annual Math Contest. Middle Schools, High Schools and Private Schools in the District, East of I-95, are eligible to compete. Students that are currently enrolled in Algebra I, Algebra II and Geometry compete in the exams, and all students may compete in the Comprehensive exam. Each year, ECU hosts 400 – 550 students from 38 – 42 schools, who participate in the Math Contest. When students arrive the morning of the contest, the Dean or Provost welcomes them. ECU student volunteers then escort the contestants to their test areas. While the students are testing, the sponsors/teachers attend a social, used as a recruitment tool for ECU.  After the tests, students can have lunch on or off campus, along with their school sponsors. The Math Department holds an awards ceremony the afternoon of the Math Contest, and the top 5 students and schools in each category are given certificates, with the first place winners receiving plaques. The students who finish in the top 8% - 10%, are eligible to move on to the State and Regional competitions. 


REAL Crisis Center – The Department of Psychology has formalized its connection with REAL Crisis Center, a comprehensive crisis intervention program in Greenville. While students have long been active in volunteering at REAL, and its Executive Director Mary Smith is a psychology alumna, the department has formalized their connection. Students enrolled in this section of Psychology Field Experience work with training Director, Matt Interante, and complete the required training at REAL Crisis Center. They gradually take on more responsibility and provide 24-hour crisis counseling services via telephone. Crisis counseling services include information and referral, suicide prevention, victim services, and community outreach services. Dr. Susan McCammon coordinates the course.

Read to Feed at Building Hope – Read to Feed is a service-learning course in which students meet in class for discussion one hour per week, and tutor elementary school children for two hours per week at Building Hope Community Life Center (an after-school program for at-risk youth, which is located near campus). As an incentive for the children to read, sponsors are obtained to donate a financial contribution for pages read by the children, and the children use the money to purchase animals for families in developing countries through Heifer International’s Read to Feed program. The course is co-taught by Dr. Marsha Ironsmith (professor emerita) and Dr. Susan McCammon. In the fall of 2015, the children read more than 16,000 pages, and the funds they raised from their sponsors allowed them to purchase a water buffalo, pig, a flock of chickens, a trio of rabbits, and a goat.