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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
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Rural Education Project Lands $999,751 Grant
Bringing computer science and computational thinking to rural school districts is the goal behind the iCS4All project, which the NSF recently awarded a $999,751 grant. The project, named Integrating the Computer Science for All Initiative in Three Rural Eastern NC School Districts (iCS4All), will be led by principal investigator Matt Militello, the ECU College of Education’s Wells Fargo Distinguished Professor in Educational Leadership, co-principal investigator Martin Reardon, assistant professor in education leadership, and include partnerships with the ECU Department of Computer Science, and the Friday Continue reading →

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ECU College of Education hosts Annual Ceremony to Honor Scholarship Recipients, Donors
Video Slideshow from Donor and Scholarship Recipient Ceremony More than 100 students in the East Carolina University College of Education received a record amount of scholarship support for the upcoming academic year. For the 2017-18 academic year, more than $582,000 in merit and need-based scholarships were distributed to 102 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral education students. The awards range from $250-$20,000. Some of the awards are open to all education students while others are earmarked for specific education majors or programs. “Attracting the best students and Continue reading →

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ECU Awarded Grant to Enhance STEM Education
The East Carolina University College of Education was recently awarded a $599,939 grant from the National Science Foundation to improve undergraduate STEM education. Project INTERSECT (Interactive STEM Education Competence in Teaching) will address the nature and role of discipline-specific discourse in the classroom. The goal of the project is to explore how training with immersive classroom simulation activities affect the ability of ECU math and science teacher candidates use of discourse as a means of instruction. The Project INTERSECT team will use the Mursion Lab Continue reading →

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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