About Us

We are very excited that the Rural Education Institute (REI) has been elevated to a college-level institute located in Greenville, North Carolina. North Carolina has the 2nd highest number of rural students in the country- 568,161; roughly 40% of its overall percentage of public school students. Additionally, North Carolina has a student population that is poorer and more diverse than most other states (Showalter, Klein, Johnson, and Harman, 2017). REI is housed in East Carolina University’s College of Education (COE). The COE is one of the largest producers of teachers in NC and the chief supplier of teachers to the state’s eastern region. The COE has a formal partnership with 43 public school districts in eastern NC. These rural districts are challenged by high levels of economic need, low performing schools, elevated teacher turnover rates, Health Professional shortage areas for mental and physical health, and difficulty staffing schools with fully-licensed educators teaching in their areas of certification (Harmon, 2007).

Vision

REI seeks to grow and leverage research-practice partnerships that address educational disparities and ensure access to high quality education through targeted research, policy development, and professional learning.  REI values collaboration with school and community partners in exploring common problems of practice through the engagement of varying perspectives. REI supports the National Rural Education Association 2016-2021 research priorities in equal educational opportunity and building capacity to advance rural students’ educational achievements. REI is committed to furthering understanding of key rural contextual factors through the lens of continual improvement.

History

In 1982, the College of Education received a grant from the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation to establish the Rural Education Institute. The Rural Education Institute (REI) was developed to increase awareness of the unique strengths and needs of rural schools in eastern North Carolina. In 1984 the North Carolina General Assembly appropriated funds for ECU’s REI and established a counterpart at Western Carolina University. During this time, REI provided support in curriculum, management, organizational, personnel, technology, policy, and risk management audits for public school systems. In July 2002, REI was reorganized to align the institute with several national organizations and universities that focus on rural education issues. With shifts in funding and priorities, REI currently focuses support on the Clinical Teacher conferences and multiple outreach initiatives for middle school and/or high school students from the region.  These efforts are intended to strengthen the college’s clinical partners’ PK-12 educational opportunities and to recruit, prepare, and support teachers in rural eastern North Carolina (Davis, 2017). While this work will remain under the Office of Educator Preparation, REI has recently been moved under the Dean’s office as a college-wide initiative and is under revisioning to better meet the needs of our school-university-community partnerships.

College News
ECU Student Veteran
Student veteran throws out first pitch at ECU Baseball
Isaiah Ybarra, a 10-year U.S. Marine Corps veteran and East Carolina University history education major, threw out the honorary first pitch at the ECU Baseball “Salute to Service” series on Friday, May 11. Ybarra is a member of the ECU College of Education’s Student Veterans’ Resource Alliance (SVRA), which serves student veterans interested in becoming educators. The SVRA provides student veterans with opportunities in leadership, resource assistance, advocacy, professional development, and outreach. Since 2016, the SVRA has expanded service beyond the initial program area to Continue reading →

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ECU Wright Circle
NC New Teacher Support Program to Relocate to East Carolina University
The University of North Carolina System has announced that the North Carolina New Teacher Support Program (NC NTSP) will relocate from the UNC System office to the campus of East Carolina University beginning this July. The NC NTSP is a comprehensive, university-based induction program offering a research-based curriculum and multiple services designed to promote teacher retention and improve the effectiveness of beginning teachers. The program provides intensive induction support aligned to each teacher’s individual needs, teaching assignment, and school environment. This move is part of Continue reading →

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ECU College of Education Graduates
The ECU College of Education would like to thank all of our generous donors for their continued support of our mission, and congratulate the Class of 2018 on graduating! We hope we can count on your support in the future as we continue the work of transforming the lives of thousands of people around the world by preparing the best educators in their varied fields. Please consider making a donation to the ECU College of Education here: Support the College of Education

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Contact Us

For more information about our programs, please contact:

Kristen Cuthrell, Ed.D.
Associate Professor and Interim Director
1008-A Bate Building
252-328-5748
cuthrellma@ecu.edu