Jul 14, 2024  
2023 - 2024 Undergraduate Catalog 
2023 - 2024 Undergraduate Catalog

General Information

History of the University of North Carolina

In North Carolina, the 16 public universities that grant baccalaureate degrees are part of the University of North Carolina system. The multi-campus state university system also includes the NC School of Science and Mathematics, the nation’s first public residential high school for gifted students. Chartered by the North Carolina General Assembly in 1789, the University of North Carolina was the first public university in the United States to open its doors and the only one to graduate students in the eighteenth century. The first class was admitted in Chapel Hill in 1795. For the next 136 years, the only campus of the University of North Carolina was at Chapel Hill.

Additional institutions of higher education, diverse in origin and purpose, began to win sponsorship from the General Assembly beginning as early as 1877. Five were historically black institutions, and another was founded to educate American Indians. Some began as high schools. Several were created to prepare teachers for the public schools. Others had a technological emphasis. One is a training school for performing artists.

The 1931 session of the General Assembly redefined the University of North Carolina to include three state-supported institutions: the campus at Chapel Hill (now the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill), North Carolina State College (now North Carolina State University at Raleigh), and Woman’s College (now the University of North Carolina at Greensboro). The new multi-campus University operated with one board of trustees and one president. By 1969, three additional campuses had joined the University through legislative action: the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, the University of North Carolina at Asheville, and the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.

In 1971 legislation was passed bringing into the University of North Carolina the state’s 10 remaining public senior institutions, each of which had until then been legally separate: Appalachian State University, East Carolina University, Elizabeth City State University, Fayetteville State University, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, North Carolina Central University, the North Carolina School of the Arts (now the University of North Carolina School of the Arts), Pembroke State University (now the University of North Carolina at Pembroke), Western Carolina University, and Winston-Salem State University. In 1985 the NC School of Science and Mathematics was declared an affiliated school of the University; in July 2007 NCSSM by legislative action became a constituent institution of the University of North Carolina. All the schools and universities welcome students of both sexes and all races.

The UNC Board of Governors is the policy-making body legally charged with “the general determination, control, supervision, management, and governance of all affairs of the constituent institutions.” It elects the president, who administers the University. The 32 voting members of the Board of Governors are elected by the General Assembly for four-year terms. Former board chairmen and board members who are former governors of North Carolina may continue to serve for limited periods as non-voting members emeriti. The president of the UNC Association of Student Governments or that student’s designee is also a non-voting member.

Each of the UNC campuses is headed by a chancellor who is chosen by the Board of Governors on the president’s nomination and is responsible to the president. Each university has a board of trustees consisting of eight members elected by the Board of Governors, four appointed by the governor, and the president of the student body, who serves ex officio. (The UNC School of the Arts has two additional ex officio members; and the NC School of Science and Mathematics has a 27-member board as required by law.) Each board of trustees holds extensive powers over academic and other operations of its campus on delegation from the Board of Governors.

In addition to its teaching role, the University of North Carolina has a long-standing commitment to public service. The UNC Center for Public Television, the UNC Health Care System, the cooperative extension and research services, nine area health education centers, and myriad other University programs and facilities reap social and economic benefits for the state and its people.

University Mission

As a constituent institution of The University of North Carolina, Elizabeth City State University offers baccalaureate, professional, and master’s degrees for a diverse student body. Our mission is to promote economic, social, and environmental progress for the people of northeastern North Carolina, the state, and the nation.

We achieve our commitment to the highest quality education by maintaining a rigorous focus on academic excellence through liberal arts programs and using innovative and flexible technology-based instruction models to enhance our signature areas: integrating technology with education, improving human health and wellness, and advancing the natural and aviation sciences.

Through teaching, research, and community engagement, the institution’s rich heritage and its current multicultural student-centered focus provide a firm foundation for its endeavors. It serves the needs and aspirations of individuals and society; producing graduates for leadership roles and life-long learning.

Historic Location

Located in the historic Albemarle area near the mouth of the Pasquotank River, Elizabeth City State University offers students the opportunity to receive an excellent education while enjoying a wide variety of recreational and cultural amenities. Favored by a mild climate and proximity to the world-renowned Outer Banks recreation area, ECSU can supply ingredients that help make student living and learning both exciting and fulfilling. In addition, the University offers students a variety of social programs, cultural programs, religious and musical organizations, honor societies, and clubs. Fraternities and sororities are also available to students as well as a variety of athletic teams and events.

Students may also wish to take advantage of the historical sites in the greater Albemarle and southeast Virginia areas. Williamsburg, Jamestown, Roanoke Island, Yorktown, several antebellum plantations, and beaches and waterways are among sites within an easy drive from the campus.

United States Highways 17 and 158 make the city and the University easily accessible by automobile and bus routes from all points. Hotels and motels are available to accommodate overnight visitors and ECSU is just over an hour’s drive from the Norfolk (Virginia) International Airport.

ECSU is situated on 114 acres, which represent the campus proper. Another 68 acres comprise the former farm on Weeksville Road (N.C. 34); a 639-acre tract in Currituck County helps preserve the nation’s diminishing wetlands and provides for educational research; and 35 acres serve residential or expansion purposes. There are also small sites in Utah and Virginia, used, respectively, for geological instruction and institutional enhancement.

Growth and Development

Elizabeth City State University has been a coeducational, undergraduate, public, and state-assisted institution since its inception on March 3, 1891, when House Bill 383 was ratified. The bill to establish the institution was introduced in the N.C. General Assembly by HUGH CALE (1835-1910), a black representative from Pasquotank County.

By law, the institution was initially created as a normal school for the specific purpose of “teaching and training teachers of the colored race to teach in the common schools of North Carolina.” It was named Elizabeth City State Colored Normal School and began operation in the Rooks Turner Building on January 4, 1892, with a budget of $900, two faculty members, and 23 students.

During ensuing years, the institution survived a statewide effort to consolidate normal schools. Local citizens of both races were of immense help in this effort. The first Summer Session was in 1900 and on September 9, 1912, the institution moved to its current location.

Between 1891 and 1928, curricula and resources were expanded under the yeoman leadership of PETER WEDDERICK MOORE. Nine different academic programs - ranging from grade school to a “post-graduate” curriculum - marked Principal Moore’s incumbency. The Normal curriculum had primary and grammar tracks. Enrollment increased from 23 to 355, and the faculty from two to 15 members by the time Dr. Moore retired on July 1, 1928. His designation of President-Emeritus is believed to be the first such honor in the state.

Under the leadership of the second president, JOHN HENRY BIAS, the institution was elevated from a two-year normal to a four-year teachers’ college in 1937. President Bias served from July 1, 1928, until his death on July 15, 1939. During his tenure the name was officially changed, by an act of the legislature, to Elizabeth City State Teachers’ College, effective March 30, 1939. A second purpose was given to the school: the training of elementary school principals for rural and city schools. The first Bachelor of Science degrees were awarded to 26 graduates by President Bias on May 19, 1939. The sole major was Elementary Education, with primary and grammar tracks; the Secondary School Department was discontinued in 1931.

Serving from November 18, 1939, until he resigned on December 31, 1945, the third president, HAROLD LEONARD TRIGG, laid plans for physical expansion and concentrated his efforts on aiding students through the National Youth Administration at the College. He also strengthened the Elementary Education major. While Dr. Bias had the onerous task of maintaining the institution during the Depression, Dr. Trigg faced the rigors of World War II which buffeted the fledgling teachers’ college.

SIDNEY DAVID WILLIAMS, who became the fourth president, served from January 1, 1946, until he retired on August 31, 1958. During his administration, the Association of Colleges and Schools (an organization of historically black institutions) recognized Elizabeth City State Teachers College as an “A”-rated institution in 1957, and improvements occurred in the curricula and physical plant. Dr. Williams was designated the second President-Emeritus of the institution by the Board of Trustees on September 16, 1969. President-Emeritus Williams (born 1892) died January 21, 1974.

The college experienced significant growth and development during the administration of WALTER NATHANIEL RIDLEY, the fifth president, September 1, 1958-June 1968. Curricular offerings were expanded between 1959 and 1963 from the two-track Elementary Education major to 13 additional degree-granting programs, providing 17 degree granting tracks. Students also earned certificates in five vocational-technical programs for a total of 22 curricular options. Ten departments of instruction came into existence serving students pursuing both teacher-training and, for the first time, non-teaching programs.

The College was elevated from the “approved” list to full membership in the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) in December 1961. Its accreditation has been reaffirmed by this regional agency since that time.

The school’s name was changed from “State Teachers College” to Elizabeth City State College by a 1963 legislative act. In honor of his contributions to the institution, Dr. Ridley became the school’s third President-Emeritus on March 3, 1988. President-Emeritus Ridley died September 26, 1996.

MARION DENNIS THORPE, served as the sixth president (July 1, 1968 - June 30, 1972) and became the first chancellor of the institution (1972-1983), when the University was made one of the 16 institutions of The University of North Carolina.

Dr. Thorpe’s administration was marked by vigorous efforts to improve the institution academically and physically. Increased UNC System funding allowed employment of additional experienced faculty members with doctorates, doubling the faculty size. Special programs for freshmen and increased emphasis on inter-institutional cooperation also marked his administration. Various offices and components were established, such as a Planning Division and offices covering Development, Institutional Research, the Archives and Records Center (then one of few historically black colleges with such), and Living-Learning Centers in student residence halls.

Other hallmarks of Dr. Thorpe’s administration included: Trustee approval of recommendations for the school’s first professors emeriti; completion of several buildings - including a 200-student residential complex; three new academic departments; 14 new degree-granting programs; six additional or variant program tracks; and an ROTC program. A Faculty Council was established; computer capability grew significantly; library holdings and usage increased; long-range and affirmative action plans were revised; a PABX telephone system was installed; a National Youth Sports Program was initiated; and the institution’s history was written. Major fund-raising programs also highlighted Dr. Thorpe’s tenure, including incorporation of the ECSU Foundation (1971).

Dr. Thorpe broadcasted the institution’s message worldwide. Just as President Ridley made a round the- world educational tour, Chancellor Thorpe made a Far East educational tour and sent the University Choir to Europe and the Bahamas. A sculpture, entitled “Life, Liberty, Pursuit of Happiness,” was presented to the citizens of Elizabeth City. Dr. Thorpe served the second longest term as chief executive and was the second to die while actively in office - April 28, 1983. Two posthumous honors came that year: a Joint Legislative Resolution (June 27), believed to be a first of its genre; and an LLD 5 (October 28), granted by his alma mater, North Carolina Central University.

Following extensive service to the institution, successively as Assistant Academic Dean/Administration; Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty; and, from May 1, 1983, Acting Chancellor, JIMMY RAYMOND JENKINS, ‘65, became the first alumnus to be named chief executive officer of Elizabeth City State University on October 14, 1983. Prior to his elevation as second Chancellor, Dr. Jenkins was instrumental in establishing several institutional improvements. These include a Health Careers center, a Division of General Studies (1977), the institution’s designation as a Bicentennial Campus (1976), inaugurating a faculty extravaganza for student scholarships named “Scholarcade,” and beginning the Extended Day Program.

Chancellor Jenkins’ administration fostered numerous other institutional improvements, including seven new academic majors and eight degree-granting variants of existing programs. Other important innovations included community service efforts, attention to campus beautification and aesthetic improvements, establishment of an Airway Science concentration, and formation of an Office of Sponsored Programs, Contracts & Grants.

Additional accomplishments of the Jenkins Administration included the completion of a science complex housing the only planetarium in this part of the state, the erection of a computing laboratory, and construction of the Commuter Center. A 200-bed residence hall was constructed on a newly acquired tract of land long sought by the University, and plans were initiated for constructing a fine arts building on another section of this land. Dr. Jenkins’ staff was the first to occupy the newly finished M. D. Thorpe Administration Building named in honor of his immediate predecessor.

Having brought total alumni to just under 12,000 graduates while enriching his alma mater through the establishment of a Music Recording Studio, Teleconferencing Center, on-campus U.S. Postal Station, and accreditation with plaudits from SACS and NCATE, Dr. Jenkins resigned effective August 31, 1995. A grateful Board of Trustees named him ECSU’s first Chancellor-Emeritus, December 19, 1995.

September 1, 1995, MICKEY LYNN BURNIM- was appointed to serve as Interim Chancellor and on July 1, 1996, he became the eigth chief executive officer and third chancellor of the institution upon election by the UNC Board of Governors. Dr. Burnim quickly demonstrated his ability and interest in moving ECSU forward, giving special attention to developing a comprehensive strategic plan; enhancing faculty and staff governance; initiating new business, civic and educational partnerships; establishing the University’s first two endowed professorships; providing leadership for the establishment of the University’s first three master’s degree programs in elementary education, biology, and mathematics; and implementing several new baccalaureate degree programs, including marine environmental science, social work, communication studies, graphic design, aviation science, and pharmaceutical science. In Fall 2005, under his leadership, the University implemented a joint pharmacy program in partnership with the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Dr. Burnim has also led the development of a campus computer network, and he established strong fiscal integrity.

To improve operational efficiency, Dr. Burnim is credited for having reorganized the University into four schools: Arts and Humanities; Business and Economics; Education and Psychology; and Mathematics, Science, and Technology. Additionally, he directed the development of a comprehensive enrollment management and marketing plan, which, in Fall 2005, yielded for the third consecutive year the highest enrollment in ECSU’s history. In 2001, he began the oversight of the largest construction and renovation project ($46.3 million) ever undertaken at ECSU, including the construction of a physical education/fieldhouse facility, a student center, and a new residence hall. In 2004, the University opened its first privatized student housing facility, Viking Village.

Under the leadership of Chancellor Burnim, national validation of ECSU’s exemplary status was received from U.S. News and World Report, which ranked ECSU among its peers as #No.1 in the category of Top Public Comprehensive Colleges in the south in 2004 and ranked the University #No.3 in 1991, 2001, 2002, and 2005. In addition, the University was nationally recognized for its high student graduation rate by the Education Trust in 2004 and 2005, and by the NCAA Foundation and USA Today in 2001 and 2002.

In 1997, 2003, and 2005, accreditation of the teacher education program was reaffirmed by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). In 2001-2002, ECSU’s university-wide accreditation was reaffirmed by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). Additionally, the Department of Technology received accreditation from the National Association of Industrial Technology (NAIT) in 2001, 2003, and 2005, and the ECSU Laboratory School received accreditation from the National Association for the Education of Young Children in 2003.

On September 1, 2006, WILLIE JAMES GILCHRIST- was appointed to serve as Interim Chancellor. Immediately upon his appointment, Dr. Gilchrist focused on priority initiatives such as enhancement of master’s degree programs and online distance learning; increasing grant and research options for faculty; and expanding opportunities within the University’s aviation science, music industries, teacher education, and pharmacy (UNC-Chapel Hill/ECSU Pharmacy Partnership) programs. On March 15, 2007, Dr. Gilchrist, ‘73, became the second alumnus to be named the chief executive officer of Elizabeth City State University. In the Fall of 2010, ECSU began its third year with Chancellor Willie J. Gilchrist as the ninth chief executive officer. While committed to offering students an outstanding education through 36 degree programs, Dr. Gilchrist identified two signature programs at ECSU. Those programs were selected based on the state’s shortage of professionals available for current jobs or the expansion of new jobs in those areas. The signature programs include Aviation Science and the UNC-Chapel Hill/ECSU Pharmacy Partnership program.

Students can earn a Bachelor of Science in Aviation Science at ECSU, the state’s only four-year degree program. Students can choose from four minors that will prepare them for an assortment of new jobs in aviation and avionics.

In July 2004, the NC General Assembly allotted $428 million to construct facilities for the Pharmacy Complex which opened in the Fall of 2010. The UNC-Chapel Hill/ECSU Pharmacy Partnership prepares students for careers as practicing pharmacists or pharmaceutical scientists. Increasing the number of pharmacists working in northeastern North Carolina is an important objective of this program. The new Pharmacy Complex, a three-story, 52,895 gross square foot building, opened for classes in September 2010. In the Fall of 2011, a new director for the Drug Information Center was hired. The Drug Information Center provides accurate and unbiased health information to health care professionals and the public in northeastern North Carolina and surrounding areas.

Due to a shortage of teachers across the state, Dr. Gilchrist also placed strong emphasis on ECSU’s teacher education program. As current teachers retire and the state’s population of school-age youths grows, additional teachers will be needed. The University offers a Bachelor of Science degree in education and two master’s degrees that will prepare skilled teachers and administrators to dutifully serve in state schools. Under the leadership of Dr. Gilchrist, the University exhibited several signs of growth.

Since Dr. Gilchrist’s interim appointment as chancellor in 2006, student enrollment increased from 2,681 to 3,307 students in the Fall of 2010. The University’s performance as a public institution granting undergraduate degrees drew praise from a publication highly recognized among those ranking academic institutions. The U.S. News and World Report’s 2012 Edition of Best Colleges rankings listed ECSU second in the Top Public Schools Regional Colleges (South) category. The Best Colleges report listed ECSU as #14 among the nation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities – three notches higher than 2011’s rank. The Top Public Schools Regional Colleges (South) is one of four regions considered for this category. Other public colleges and universities are categorized by their location in the North, the Midwest and the West. The Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) were compared only with one another for these rankings. In order to be on the list, a school must be designated currently by the U.S. Department of Education as an HBCU.

The University’s accreditation was reaffirmed at the annual meeting of SACS (Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges) in Orlando, Florida on December 6, 2011. SACS requires that all schools are reaffirmed every 10 years. This reaffirmation of accreditation declares that the degrees ECSU awards are coming from an institution that is financially stable and has academically-qualified faculty and administrators and approved academic programs. Thus, the academic programs are sound and thorough and provide a solid education for ECSU graduates. In essence, the University is carrying out its mission.

To better serve the growing student body, faculty and staff, as well as guests from the community, more than 700 parking spaces were added to the campus. Under Dr. Gilchrist’s administration, the University purchased two 56-passenger buses that comfortably transport students, coaches, staff and faculty to destinations across the northeast and southeast. In addition, ECSU owns one 12-passenger van; a handicap accessible shuttle; one 25-passenger bus, and two Cessna Skyhawks (single engine airplanes) purchased for the purpose of training pilots enrolled in the Aviation Science program. Recent facility upgrades include the renovations of E.V. Wilkins Academic Computer Center, H.L. Trigg and Lane Halls, the G.R. Little Library, the Mickey L. Burnim Fine Arts Center, the auditorium of Moore Hall, and the lobby of the K. E. White Graduate and Continuing Education Center.

Construction of the Willie and Jacqueline Gilchrist Education and Psychology Complex began in July 2010 and was completed in December 2011. The $18.7 million facility contains 53 faculty offices, 14 classrooms, 2 computer labs, 2 virtual classrooms, and a Global Education Center on the first floor. Construction of a new three-story residence hall began in May 2011. Viking Tower, a 210-bed residence hall was completed in August of 2012.

After Chancellor Gilchrist’s retirement, CHARLES L. BECTON, a former NC Court of Appeals judge, was named interim chancellor on July 1, 2013 and served through October 17, 2014. He was the first African American male to serve as president of the North Carolina Bar Association. He has prior experience as an interim chancellor at North Carolina Central University.

During the 2013-14 school year, ECSU faced and weathered a series of perfect storms, one falling incredibly on the heels of the preceding one. Under the leadership of Interim Chancellor Becton, ECSU responded to its challenges and focused on several key areas of importance: safety, enrollment, rightsizing the institution, student success, affordability, campus growth, and outstanding educational programs. 2013-14 notable achievements included: National rankings: #1 Top Public Schools (Regional Colleges/South) and #6 HBCUs for its 79.8% freshmen retention rates- US News and World Report; #1 among 350 baccalaureate colleges and universities nationwide- Washington Monthly’s College Rankings; and #3 among public HBCU green initiatives.

Under his leadership, ECSU: opened a Veterans Center on campus and an Office of Transfer Advising and Resources (OTAS, designed to assist and support transfer students as they transition to ECSU; received a clean financial audit for the 3rd year in a row; received grants totaling $11,512,544 from various agencies, received a $500,000 private gift to endow an Aviation Science professorship and scholarship in Education; received $150,000 from The Thurgood Marshall College Fund to provide scholarships for eligible students; established E-Mentoring Program to aid students in transition into college life and to give students access to professional networks for future career development; opened a new finance lab, partnered with Follett Higher Education Group, which now operates the newly remodeled Campus Stone that boasts nearly 2,000 square feet of retail space, and became a Weather Ready Nation Ambassador and can partner with the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration to help improve


the nation’s readiness, responsiveness, and overall resilience against extreme weather, water, and climate events. In addition, a previously unnamed Antarctic Bay was named the Elizabeth City Sate University Bay as a result of the work of five of our students, working at our Center of Excellence in Remote Sensing Education and Research (CERSER).

On October 1, 2014, STACEY FRANKLIN JONES was appointed tenth chief executive officer and fifth Chancellor of Elizabeth City State University becoming the institution’s first woman ever to serve as chief chancellor. Her vision for ECSU initiated a new Path to Prominence, Phase One: The most affordable academic success university in NC, Phase Two: A Community of Scholars in NC, Phase Three: Interdisciplinary Science University in NC.

Under Dr. Jones leadership, ECSU accomplished numerous notable achievements: ECSU’s newly formed chapter of Women in Aviation International (WAI) reached a milestone when they attained official, provisional chapter status; The Golden LEAF Foundation awarded ECSU a $1.1 million grant to strengthen aviation education and workforce development in northeastern North Carolina; The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) awarded ECSU a $956,250 grant to assist in its mission to provide aviation technology and research to support counter-poaching efforts in Kenya; and ECSU’s bachelor’s degree program in engineering technology was accredited by the Engineering Technology Accreditation Commission (ETAC) of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) Inc. ECSU continued to be highly recognized among those ranking academic institution: The Best Value Schools website for “The 100 Most Affordable Small Colleges in America” ranked ECSU #1, U.S. News and World Report ranked ECSU #2 among Top Public Schools (Regional Colleges in the South), and #6 among Historically Black Colleges where freshmen are most likely to return, and Washington Monthly ranked ECSU among the Best Bang for the Buck institutions. In addition, ECSU was a proud member of the 2015 Military Friendly School Association. After serving eighteen months, Stacey Franklin Jones resigned on December 31, 2015 as chancellor of Elizabeth City State University.

On January 26, 2016, THOMAS E.H. CONWAY, Jr. became Elizabeth City State University’s eleventh chief executive officer and sixth chancellor. Dr. Conway made strides toward expanding the value of the university by requesting and receiving approval for five new academic programs, establishing bilateral agreements with North Carolina community colleges, and having the first enrollment increase in seven years in conjunction with the largest freshman class in five years up to that point.

Dr. Conway also oversaw investments in ECSU totaling more than $24 million which, along with an eventual loan from the USDA, served as major investments in not only the university, but also the regional economy. Along with System President Margaret Spellings, Dr. Conway led ECSU’s first working group designed to build the university’s strengths for future generations, He co-chaired a second working group with Chancellor Karrie Dixon prior to his retirement.

Dr. Conway had a great passion for building a stronger relationship between the surrounding community and the university. He was also a strong believer in the University’s role as a leader in the economic sustainability of the region, leading him to launch a series of university-led town hall meetings to that end, and launching InnovatEC, a university project designed to spur economic growth and entrepreneurship in the region.

During the 2017-2018 school year, under Dr. Conway’s leadership, ECSU launched a new university brand, introducing a new logo and tagline. The new tagline “Come to discover, Leave to conquer”, spoke to the institution’s legacy of introducing well prepared and accomplished young men and women into the world.

During Dr. Conway’s times as chancellor, he oversaw the implementation of the North Carolina General Assembly authorized N.C. Promise Tuition Program at ECSU. Along with UNC Pembroke and Western Carolina University, ECSU would launch the tuition- reducing program in the fall of 2018.

Chancellor Thomas Conway retired from Elizabeth City State University January 16, 2018, as the university’s top officer after a 45-year career with the University of North Carolina System.

On December 14, 2018, KARRIE G. DIXON was named twelfth Chief Executive Officer and seventh Chancellor of Elizabeth City State University. Dr. Dixon was appointed Chancellor after serving in The University of North Carolina System Office for 10 years.

Upon her arrival, Dr. Dixon quickly demonstrated her ability and interest in forging the University forward, giving special attention to increasing ECSU’s enrollment. In 2018, first-year enrollment increased by 20%, total undergraduate enrollment increased by 19% and transfer enrollment increased by 57%. Since 2018 enrollment has climbed nearly 40%, in part because the North Carolina General Assembly authorized a special tuition-reducing program called NC Promise. She has worked vigorously to improve the institution academically, financially, and physically. Under her leadership, The UNC Board of Governors appropriated $2.3M for repair & renovations for campus improvements, ECSU received a USDA loan, the university increased its fleet from 2 to 12 aircrafts for ECSU’s signature aviation program. Also contributing has been establishment of new degree programs: Digital Media, Unmanned Aircraft System and online programs-Interdisciplinary Studies, Homeland Security, and a Master of Education in Elementary Education.

Under Dr. Dixon’s leadership, 2018 had the highest yield in grant awards since 2012. Over $4 million in competitive grants were awarded. ECSU was awarded $350,000 by the National Endowment for the Humanities Grant for Research and Cultural Center and $500,000 NASA/BWF grant for funding outreach of STEM education. In 2019, Dr. Dixon launched her vision, “ECSU is Rising” and a new faculty and staff campaign, A.C.E.- Accountability, Commitment, and Excellence to encourage faculty and staff to work together for the future sustainability of the university. In 2020, Dr. Dixon launched a five-year strategic plan, “Forging Our Future.” Beginning March 2020, Dr. Dixon guided ECSU through the COVID-19 pandemic, working with her senior leadership team and ECSU staff and faculty to provide students with quality education through off-campus learning protocol. Beginning in fall 2021, Dr. Dixon led Elizabeth City State University through a return to campus effort that included safety and health protocols. During that time, the university continued to grow under Dr. Dixon’s leadership.

Dr. Dixon continues to receive numerous accolades that demonstrate her leadership. She has been named the Ten Most Dominant HBCU Leaders of 2020 and awarded The Old North State Award by North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper.

For more information on the development of the University, see: www.ecsu.edu.