Association Honors Faculty with Alumni Awards for Teaching

Faculty play a vital role in shaping students’ college experiences and maintaining bonds after students graduate from East Carolina University.

To this end, the East Carolina Alumni Association sponsors the University Alumni Awards for Outstanding Teaching and the Robert L. Jones ’58 Award for Teaching Excellence.

These awards were among several given at the seventh annual Founders Day and University Awards Celebration on April 27 in Hendrix Theatre.

The 2016 University Alumni Awards for Outstanding Teaching went to Dr. Cody Chullen, assistant professor of management in the College of Business, and Dr. Sandra Lookabaugh, associate professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Science in the College of Health and Human Performance. The 2016 Robert L. Jones ’58 Award for Teaching Excellence went to Dr. Laura Levi Altstaedter, assistant professor of Hispanic studies education in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Since coming to ECU in 2011, Chullen has taught classes in managerial negotiation, human resource management, and principles of management both face-to-face and online. Additionally, he is a Chancellor’s Leadership Fellow and a Teaching with Technology Fellow of the university. He works closely and consults with an array of businesses in the manufacturing, mental health services, and healthcare industries.

“I believe it is my mission as a management educator to develop students as a whole person rather than a learner of a singular subject,” Chullen wrote in his teaching statement. “I believe students should be equipped with skills that are applicable beyond simple subjects. These skills – those not considered content knowledge – include communication, problem solving, networking, discussion, debate, information gathering, resource finding, expression and reflection. The development of these skills makes serious inquiry possible by giving intellectual exploration a vehicle in which to move forward.”

Alumnus DaJuan Lucas ’13, ’15 named Chullen one of his most influential professors in a Pirate Profile posted at ecu.edu when he was a student.

Lookabaugh, who focuses on children’s use of transitional objects and human-animal relations, says, “As I reflect over the past 25 years of university teaching, I have maintained the core belief that, ‘Before you can teach them, you have to reach them.’ Building relationships with my students is the foundation of my teaching philosophy and the basis for all learning. I model the caring, compassionate, kind attitudes and behaviors I expect them to utilize with me, classmates, colleagues, and the families they serve. My goal in all courses, introductory-level to graduate-level, is to foster knowledge and build skills that can be applied to a myriad of contexts that promote optimal human functioning.”

“I will never forget the day that Dr. Lookabaugh met with me as an undergraduate student and sparked my passion for teaching,” said alumna Ashley Norris ’06, ’08, now an instructor in the same department as her former teacher. “I see firsthand, on a daily basis, that Dr. Lookabaugh is as committed to each of her students as she was to me 10 years ago.”

Levi Altstaedter’s research focuses primarily on second language writing at the college level. She is particularly interested in peer feedback and how it impacts students’ writing proficiency. She is also interested in researching the effects of technology-enhanced language instruction on students’ perceptions and language proficiency.

“It is my goal as an educator of 21st century students and future teachers to facilitate my students’ knowledge acquisition process by providing multiple opportunities for student-driven learning and by bringing the world to the classroom,” she says. “I aim to accomplish this by helping students create and understand their own knowledge-construction processes, adopt global perspectives, develop collaborative skills and multicultural awareness, and ultimately become intellectually empowered individuals and action-driven practitioners.”

“Dr. A is the best teacher that I have ever had,” says alumna Mariah Richards ’14. “During my time as her student, she continually challenged me to push the limits of my potential and to think critically in the target language and about the target culture. If it were not for her support and recommendation, I would not have become the lead Spanish tutor at ECU’s Pirate Tutoring Center or have been accepted into graduate school through New York University to pursue my MA in Spanish Linguistics at their campus in Madrid, Spain.”

The East Carolina Alumni Association is proud to recognize these faculty members for their dedication in preparing students to become successful alumni.

The portfolios of winners of the Robert L. Jones Award for Outstanding Teaching and the Alumni Association Awards for Outstanding Teaching, along with those for the Board of Governors Awards and the Max Ray Joyner Award for Outstanding Teaching in Distance Education are kept in the Office for Faculty Excellence in Joyner 1001 where they serve as resources on excellent teaching.

The Office for Faculty Excellence coordinates the University Teaching Awards Program with the Faculty Senate Awards Committee and the University Academic Council.

By Jackie Drake

Dr. Brock Womble ’94, ’96, ’01 to Lead NCCAT

NCCAT_m_brock_womble_2This past October, East Carolina alumnus Dr. Brock Womble ’94, ’96, ’01 was selected to become the next executive director of the North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching (NCCAT).

Despite being executive director for only a month and a half, Womble already has a vision. He plans on using his position to help improve teacher appreciation and give teachers more opportunities for professional development.

“Teachers need to be reminded of how thankful we are to have them educating our children. Teachers are tremendous role models and leaders for our students,” said Womble. “The goal is to provide high quality professional development to teachers in an environment that values teaching profession.”

Womble’s appointment comes as no surprise, as his body of work and education makes him a perfect candidate for the job. Womble attended ECU after graduating from Appalachian State University. During his time he was able to receive his masters, educational specialist, and doctorates degrees.

“I began my professional teaching career in Hertford County and the proximity and reputation of the educational program led me to choose East Carolina University,” said Womble. “The educational leadership faculty had a wealth of experience in public school leadership and the value of those experiences provided me with insights to lead various schools and school districts.”

Womble has a decorated resume, bringing 22 years of education in numerous local, state and national leadership roles. Some positions he has held include serving as a member of the NCAT Board of Trustees and as a superintendent in four different regions of North Carolina.

Despite the experience, Womble also credits his success to the relationships he formed at ECU.

“My fondest memories at East Carolina University are the relationships I established with classmates and professors,” said Womble. “The friendships established at East Carolina University have helped me become successful in my professional career.”

By Michael Avila

Association Honors Faculty with Alumni Awards for Teaching

Faculty play a vital role in shaping students’ college experiences and maintaining bonds after students graduate from East Carolina University.

To this end, the East Carolina Alumni Association sponsors the University Alumni Awards for Outstanding Teaching and the Robert L. Jones ’58 Award for Teaching Excellence. The Office for Faculty Excellence coordinates the University Teaching Awards Program with the Faculty Senate Awards Committee and the University Academic Council.

These awards were among several given at the sixth annual Founders Day and University Awards Celebration on April 29 in Hendrix Theatre.

The 2015 University Alumni Awards for Outstanding Teaching went to Dr. Christine Kowalczyk, assistant professor in the Department of Marketing and Supply Chain Management, and Dr. David Loy, associate professor in the Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies.

Kowalczyk has been teaching at ECU since August 2011. She works with the ECU chapter of the American Marketing Association. She was selected by the Advertising Educational Foundation as one of 15 participants from across the nation for a visiting professor program in New York City in the summer of 2013 to gain current understanding of the advertising industry.

“Marketing is all around us, and I spend each day relating the topics we are learning to everyday examples,” she said in her teaching statement. “I challenge my students to think more critically. I encourage them to question what companies are doing for marketing and think about why the companies are doing what they are doing.”

One of her former students, David Rosenberg, said, “She has continuously helped me to succeed in my learning career even after I had completed her class.”

Loy is a nationally respected expert in therapeutic recreation who has been teaching at ECU since 2001. He has been integral to the success of ECU’s annual Adapted Recreation and Wellness Day, which has been held for more than 15 years. He received the 2010-2011 Ray Martinez Award for Excellence in Teaching from the College of Health & Human Performance.

“In all my classes, I build experiences that mimic and imitate real life learning,” Loy said in his teaching statement. “I feel it is my calling to bring my practical knowledge to students so they can apply it in a way that makes a difference in our world.”

“The best experience I had in my college career was taking Dr. Loy’s camping with disabilities class in the summer of 2010,” said Lauren Walters Harrell ’11, now the director of wellness at Cypress Glen Retirement Community. “He has been a great asset to me as I continue to learn and progress in my career.”

The 2015 Robert L. Jones ’58 Award for Teaching Excellence was given to Dr. Kris Kirschbaum, an assistant professor in the School of Communication.Kris-Kirschbaum

Kirschbaum has taught health communication at ECU for more than seven years. In 2011, she was recognized as the most inspiring faculty member in the School of Communication. In 2013, she received a STAR Teaching Award from ECU.

Kirschbaum believes student can be lifelong learners. “My goal as a professor is that students are curious about the world and hungry for more knowledge, even after a semester is over,” she said in her teaching statement.

“I am confident that my academic and professional success is in large part thanks to Dr. Kirschbaum’s investment in me during my time as a graduate student,” said Ryan A. Miller ’11, who is now a manager at MAXIMUS Center for Health Literacy.

The East Carolina Alumni Association is proud to recognize these faculty members for their dedication in preparing students to become successful alumni.

The portfolios of winners of the Robert L. Jones Award for Outstanding Teaching and the Alumni Association Awards for Outstanding Teaching, along with those for the Board of Governors Awards and the Max Ray Joyner Award for Outstanding Teaching in Distance Education are kept in the Office for Faculty Excellence in Joyner 1001 where they serve as resources on excellent teaching.

By Jackie Drake

Alumnus Makes History

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Joshua Gaskill ’10 is teaching history – and making it.

As a history teacher at Pamlico County High School in Bayboro, NC, he is a fourth generation educator and ECU alumnus. He was recently honored as the 2014-2015 Pamlico County Schools District Teacher of the Year and the Southeast Regional Teacher of the Year for North Carolina.

“As a result of becoming the district teacher of the year, I received the George R. Brinson Honored Educator Scholarship which allowed me to attend the North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching. I am very humbled by these accomplishments and am happy to have found my true calling through teaching,” said Gaskill.

Aside from teaching history, Gaskill is the social studies department chair as well as the driver’s education coordinator. He serves on the school’s improvement team and he leads his department’s professional learning community.

Gaskill is a 2003 graduate of Pamlico County High School and a fourth generation Pamlico County educator. He is also a fourth generation ECU College of Education alumnus. While at ECU, Gaskill earned his master in teaching (MAT) in history and was a member of the Pirate Club.

“I was actually enrolled in a doctoral program at ECU after receiving my bachelor’s degree from NC State. However, after a semester in the program, the coursework left me unfulfilled. With so many teachers in my family, I knew firsthand and had experienced what a positive impact the profession had on the lives of others. From there, I made the decision to enroll in the MAT program and it was the best decision of my life,” said Gaskill.

“This is a family legacy, and I believe in the quality education I received through the MAT program,” said Gaskill. He recognizes Dr. Allen Guidry for contributing to the valuable education he received from ECU.

Gaskill is still involved with ECU today. “I have been trained to serve as a clinical teacher to host student interns within the Latham Clinical Schools Network through the ECU College of Education,” said Gaskill. “I am proud to be an ECU Pirate!”

By Sara Strickroot

Alumna named Special Needs Art Educator of the Year

By Jackie Drake

Alice Zincone ’89, ’98 was named the 2014-2015 Special Needs Art Educator of the Year this past fall by the North Carolina Art Education Association.

“As anyone would be, I was very happy, pleased, and proud,” said Zincone, who teaches art and music to visually impaired students at Governor Morehead School in Raleigh.

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In addition to her teaching duties, Zincone brings various artists and performers to her school through the Artists in Schools program from the United Arts Council. Each summer, she runs a three-week summer program for visually impaired students from all over the state.

“I try to give students unique art and music opportunities,” she says. “It’s very rewarding to give these students opportunities that they probably wouldn’t have in their home communities.”

“My favorite part is interacting with the kids,” she continued. “We’re a residential school where the students stay from Sunday night to Friday noon, so we’re like a big family.”

Since her mom worked as a physical therapist for those with special needs, Zincone was able to see the importance of learning adaptations and modifications for people of all ability levels.

Zincone initially earned a bachelor of fine arts in design from ECU in 1989. After working as a jewelry designer for seven years, she wanted to switch gears and try something new. She decided to get an education degree. As a Greenville native, she knew ECU would again be the right choice.

“I had the art background and wanted to teach. I thought it would be a good next step. I’ve always enjoyed learning and gaining new experiences,” she said.

Since she had completed all her general course requirements, it didn’t take her long to complete her second degree.

“Campus was still fairly similar. I just slid right back in,” she said.

She taught elementary school in Johnston County for three years and in Wake County for five years before starting at Governor Morehead School in 2006.

She became a certified Teacher of the Visually Impaired in 2009 and earned National Board Certification in early and middle grades art in 2010.

Alumna is NC Regional Teacher of the Year

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By Jackie Drake

North Carolina’s Northeast Regional Teacher of the Year is Jami Dickerson ’08, a third grade teacher at Eastern Elementary in Greenville. The announcement was made during a special ceremony at the school on December 9. Dickerson qualified for the honor after being named the 2013-2014 Pitt County Teacher of the Year in March.

“I’m honored; it’s very humbling,” said Dickerson, who is in her fifth year of teaching. “It’s also mind-blowing. I still can’t believe it happened. It’s been a long process, but it’s gone by fast. I’m excited for things to come.”

Originally from Roanoke Rapids, Dickerson grew up playing soccer and came to play for ECU. “I visited on a recruiting trip and loved the campus and the town. I loved everything about ECU.”

Dickerson had long wanted to be a teacher, but her mother, also a teacher and ECU graduate, counseled her to try other careers first to be sure. Dickerson studied exercise physiology for a year before realizing that her heart lay with helping children, to her mom’s delight.

“I am very happy and proud I went to ECU,” Dickerson says. “Now I have ECU students doing their student teaching with me. The relationship that Pitt County and ECU have is great. I love how our kids that are eight or nine years old all get excited about our university. I’m glad that I have first-hand experience of ECU to share with them.”

Dickerson said her favorite part of teaching is her relationships with the kids. “Nothing is better than a happy child. I love seeing them having fun and enjoying learning.”

Dickerson is one of nine finalists for the the North Carolina Teacher of the Year, who will be announced this spring.

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