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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
Mursion Lab at ECU
Mursion ‘Grants’ Draw Six School Districts to ECU
The East Carolina University College of Education Mursion team hosted leaders from six counties on Thursday, July 27, that have decided to take advantage of an offer to use Mursion@ECU as part of their professional development plan for the 2017-18 school year. Mursion provides an immersive experience in a safe space providing an opportunity for repeat practice with immediate feedback. The environment allows candidates, teachers, and administrators to practice their craft where no harm can be done, but skills can be honed through the use Continue reading →

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LSAC
ECU Lab School Advisory Council Meets for First Time
The inaugural meeting of the East Carolina University Lab School Advisory Council was held Thursday, Aug. 10, inside the ECU College of Education Speight Building. The advisory council consists of representatives from the College of Education, the ECU Office of the Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor, and Pitt County Schools. The advisory council voted to appoint Chris Locklear, ECU Vice Provost for Academic Success, as ECU Lab School Advisory Council Chairman. Dr. Mark A. L’Esperance, ECU Professor of Elementary Education and Middle Grades Education, was appointed the 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