A NEW AUTUMN | Press services

ECU faculty convocation kicks off academic year

A gathering of nearly 200 faculty and staff Friday at Wright Auditorium marked the start of a fall semester that, for the first time since 2019, will not be overshadowed by a pandemic and all the rules and accompanying restrictions.

East Carolina University’s 2022 faculty convening emphasized optimism and inclusion for the new academic year — ideal speakers including Chancellor Philip Rogers emphasized.

After a recitation of the ECU Land Recognition by Student Government Financial Advisor Aleshia Hunt and a welcome by Faculty President Anne Ticknor, Professor of Education, Rogers highlighted the accomplishments of the previous 12 months and the anticipation of the new academic year.

Chancellor Philip Rogers speaks during the faculty convocation at the Wright Auditorium.

“Now is a time to recommit ourselves to the bold pursuit of our mission,” Rogers said, “and it is a celebration of renewed hope, energy, optimism and momentum toward forward as we embark on the fall semester.”

Over the past year, he said, ECU has accomplished the following:

Additionally, he noted, graduation rates are above the national average and have improved by 10 percentage points over the past decade. “Nearly 90% of our students (surveyed) are employed or enrolled in graduate school within six months of graduation, and we continue to be among the top 10% in the nation for mobility social,” Rogers said.

He said the coming year will see work to refresh the university’s strategic plan while adhering to the mission of student success, regional transformation and public service.

“The timing is perfect given that the UNC Board of Governors approved a system plan refresh in May and ECU’s current strategic plan ends this calendar year,” he said. “Our effort is not to construct an entirely new plan. Instead, we will build on these commitments and our many areas of excellence to imagine who we want to be as a university three to five years from now. Let’s challenge ourselves to consider innovation as a central theme of the updated plan, which I hope we can launch at the start of the new calendar year.

Mark Rasdorf and Angela Wells speak at the faculty convocation at the Wright Auditorium.

Rogers also noted ECU’s history of accepting students of varying abilities and the need to maintain robust enrollment numbers as birth rates and the number of high school graduates decline.

“Academic supports, health and wellness services, opportunities for community engagement and a safe environment are among the many important considerations as we prepare for this future,” he said. “Across all dimensions of student success, let us recommit to innovation and ensure we have the structures, programs and services to meet the needs of today’s learners.

He also advocated expanding educational offerings to more types of learners, from adults seeking a degree to full-time workers who need to advance their skills with many others and use new teaching tools. to achieve this.

Additionally, Rogers noted efforts to increase and improve campus diversity and promote civil discourse.

“Let’s challenge ourselves to use our gifts to make a difference,” Rogers said, “to keep mission at the center of our work, to value and respect each other, to seek new and innovative ways to pursue our commitments boldly, to take advantage of the momentum that awaits us and move forward as a single ECU.

Next, Ticknor spoke of the political and other pressures on education systems and educators about what is and is not taught in schools, colleges and universities as well as the “secret wound” suffered by students and faculty members of color, those from the LGBTQ community and others.

“We have to do better,” Ticknor said of fellow faculty members. “Our voices must be centered, assertive and visible. When we are excluded from these decisions, we are left with ambiguity and uncertainty about the choices that are made that impact our profession. We must go beyond writing anti-racism statements to implementing changes that will positively impact lives.

Brandon Kyle and Cierra Buckman from the Brody School of Medicine discussed the work of the Sexual and Gender Diversity Committee on the Health Sciences Campus. They noted that eastern North Carolina is a “healthcare wasteland” when it comes to providing care for people in the LGBTQ community.

Angela Wells, associate professor at the School of Art and Design, and Mark Rasdorf, director of the Dr. Jesse R. Peel LGBTQ Center, discussed an annual “True Colors” photography exhibition, which kicked off during the Month of the LGBTQ history in October 2016. The exhibition will continue this fall with the theme “We Say Gay”. A reception will be held on October 4 at 5:30 p.m. at the Peel Center at the Main Campus Student Center.

The summons was also the first for Provost Robin Coger, which began in July.

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