ECU recognizes winners of university, BOG teaching awards

From a computer engineering professor making the intricacies of microprocessing accessible for his students to an English professor providing real-world experience for students while helping local nonprofits, East Carolina University depends on its faculty to provide the best possible educational experience in pursuit of its mission of student success, regional transformation and public service.

On Tuesday evening, the university recognized 21 faculty members for teaching excellence during a virtual ceremony.

“I am constantly energized and inspired by the talent and dedication of the faculty at East Carolina University,” said Chancellor Philip Rogers. “There are countless examples that remind me every day of the role our faculty play in advancing ECU’s mission and supporting our students, our university and our region. Today we congratulate the recipients of our university teaching awards and those awarded by the UNC Board of Governors, and I would like to personally thank each of you for all that you do to serve this institution.”

Scholar-Teacher Awards


Nine faculty members were recognized with Scholar-Teacher Awards for engaging students in research, incorporating research in their teaching and demonstrating the synergy between scholarship and teaching. The following were selected from their college or school:

  • Erin Field, Department of Biology
  • Chia-Cheng Lin, Department of Physical Therapy
  • Laura T. Madden, Department of Management
  • Jennifer-Scott Mobley, School of Theatre and Dance
  • Anuradha Mukherji, Department of Geography, Planning and Environment
  • Alexander M. Schoemann, Department of Psychology
  • Brian Sylcott, Department of Engineering
  • Deborah E. Tyndall, Department of Nursing Science
  • Chia Jung Yeh, Department of Human Development and Family Science

Alumni Awards


The East Carolina Alumni Association honored Dr. Tricia Wilson-Okamura of the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, and Dan Elliott of the School of Art and Design with its Award for Excellence in Teaching. The alumni association also recognized Dr. Birgit Jensen of the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures with the Robert L. Jones Award.

Jensen’s students noted that she challenged their preconceived notions of their own country and taught them to look beyond the textbook. “She brought the culture into the room and made us feel it,” said one student.

Dr. Christine Kowalczyk of the Department of Marketing and Supply Chain Management was named the recipient of the Max Ray Joyner Award for Outstanding Teaching in Distance Education, and Dr. Guiseppe Getto of the Department of English received the Service-Learning Teaching Excellence Award.

Each year the UNC Board of Governors (BOG) recognizes one faculty member from each member institution of the UNC System with its Award for Excellence in Teaching. This year’s recipient is Dr. Ricky Castles of the Department of Engineering.

Read more about each award winner below.

The BOG also recognizes outstanding faculty members with its Distinguished Professor for Teaching Awards, and this year’s recipients from ECU are:

  • Dennis Barber III, Miller School of Entrepreneurship
  • Holly Wei, Department of Advanced Nursing Practice and Education
  • Brittany Myles Wright Thompson, School of Communication
  • Tony Thompson, Department of Mathematics Education, Science Education and Instructional Technology
  • Jakob F. Jensen, Department of Human Development and Family Science
  • David Loy, Department of Recreation Sciences

“Teaching is really at the center of what we do and who we are as a university,” said Dr. Grant Hayes, interim provost and senior vice chancellor for academic affairs. “I am grateful for the exceptional quality of teaching at ECU, and recognizing faculty’s work within our classrooms, laboratories and studios speaks volumes to the impact they are making on students. The expertise and effort of our faculty enable ECU to make good on our mission of transforming the lives of our students and, through our students, the entire region and beyond.”