Faculty: Dr. Eboni Baugh
Eboni Baugh’s teaching style has been molded by various mentors and specifically the phrase, “You need to do this.”
Throughout her career, Baugh has often listened first and followed with action. That process led to her bachelor’s degree at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, master’s degree at East Carolina University and doctoral degree from Florida State University before beginning her professional academia career at the University of Florida. Listening to others in 2010 brought her back to ECU, where she has flourished as an award-winning associate professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Science in the College of Health and Human Performance.
Baugh’s journey has facilitated her emphasis on mentorship among students and her peers.
“I’m a huge proponent of mentorship, because how I have gotten here has been because other people have seen things from me that I didn’t see in myself,” Baugh said. “With me personally, I never would have done some things on my own, or at least not in the way I did them. So I’m very, very passionate about looking at people’s strengths and supporting them and giving them the capacity to be whatever they want to be and whoever they want to be.”
The National Council on Family Relations named Baugh as its 2023 Ernest G. Osborne Award winner, acknowledging her excellence in teaching and distinguished contribution to families through her pedagogy. She also was recently announced as HHP’s new associate dean for graduate studies and faculty affairs, and in 2020, ECU included Baugh among its Women of Distinction for selfless leadership and outstanding contributions to the university.
The NCFR recognized Baugh for the innovative ways in which she connects with students. A student described Baugh as “the person at ECU who made the most significant positive contribution” to their education.
“In the classroom, I try to make content real for the students by using examples that are important to them,” Baugh said. “One way I can always get students talking is for them to talk about their experiences at ECU. … They are more likely to get engaged if they feel a connection to the material, and I think that is easier maybe in family science, because it is about relationships and they can apply it.”
Human development and family science department chair Sharon Ballard nominated Baugh for the NCFR award.
“There is nothing better, outside of students, than being recognized by your peers,” Baugh said. “I was so excited. It meant a lot to me, because it’s national recognition of the work that I love to do.”
One of Baugh’s main research passions is parenting. Baugh said she also has enjoyed focusing on best practices in teaching family science and developing academic programs to benefit students.
Baugh described the field as the science of studying families and relationships.
“I think when a lot of people think of science, they think of math or beakers or nature,” she said. “But there is something to be said to studying how people interact with each other and ways that we can make people’s lives better.”
Baugh’s impact at ECU, where she completed her Master of Science in marriage and family therapy in 2000, gained layers in recent years when she added the role of ECU faculty in residence for mentoring and inclusion, and was selected by the Office for Faculty Excellence as a faculty fellow.
“Once I got involved, I noticed that we spend a lot of focus on students, which is great and we are supposed to, but faculty are often left out of the equation,” Baugh said. “I thought that we really needed to do more to support faculty and to make sure we retain good faculty, because they are then going to make sure our students are successful. It’s kind of a synergy between parenting, like good parenting produces productive, safe, healthy children. I think good teaching produces the same thing in our students.”
Baugh said she enjoys the passion and engagement often displayed by ECU students, which matches with her mentorship style.
“Because of the type of university ECU is and its connection to the community, it attracts students who are passionate about service,” Baugh said. “Especially in our department, students want to change the world and that is cool. They have these huge ideas. It is great to see their mind at work, and to help them figure out a way they actually can do that.”
Name: Eboni Baugh
Title: Associate professor, program coordinator for family and community services.
Colleges attended and degrees: UNC-Chapel Hill, Bachelor of Science for communication sciences; East Carolina University, Master of Science for marriage and family therapy; Florida State University, doctorate in marriage and family therapy.
Years working at ECU: 13
What I do at ECU: I am a faculty member in the Department of Human Development and Family Science. I also serve as the program coordinator for the family and community services undergraduate program.
What I love about ECU: The students! ECU students are the most engaged and passionate individuals that I have ever worked with!
Research interests: Parenting education and guidance, family science academic development, body image, faculty well-being.
What advice do you give to students? My motto is work smarter, not harder. I encourage students to think with the end in mind and plan accordingly, using their energy wisely.
Favorite class to teach? I love all of my classes, but my absolute favorite would be HDFS 6303: Critical Issues in Family and Cultural Diversity. Students in that class learn a lot about themselves and how to treat others with humanity.
What do you like to do when not working? I love to entertain, having friends and family at my house to enjoy a meal.
Last thing I watched on TV: The most recent episode of “The Real Housewives of _______.”
First job: Retail associate at Casual Corner.Favorite meal: Sushi.
One thing most people don’t know about me: I have the ability to match musical pitch.