Faculty honored for authorship, promoting student affordability

The process of authoring or editing a book was rewarded, along with faculty use of free course materials to benefit student affordability, during an awards ceremony Wednesday at the East Carolina University main campus library.

Seventy-eight faculty members were recognized at the ECU Main Campus Faculty Author Book and Affordable Textbooks Awards, including multiple-year participants of the Alternate Textbook Program and an author who is a former ECU chancellor.

Steve Ballard stands with Provost Robin Coger, left, and Anne Ticknor upon receiving his faculty author book award.

Steve Ballard’s publication of “Great Leaders are Great People: A Practical Guide to Public Service and Everyday Leadership” was his first as a solo author. He published as a co-author decades ago.

“I’ve been taking notes on this topic for a long time, so it was just a matter of getting the time to put it down on paper and getting it reviewed by people you trust. It’s a long process,” said Ballard, who served as ECU’s chancellor from 2004-16 and now teaches leadership in the Honors College and directs the Truist Center for Leadership Development.

“A primary motivation was that there are just very few decent books on public service,” he said. “The ones that are out there pretty much focus on what I call top-dog leadership, like a governor or president, but not the everyday leadership. I wanted to focus on the impact people have doing a good job on a daily basis. That might be a dean, school principals and superintendents, and any number of thousands of people, really.”

The annual authors ceremony recognizes faculty, based on main campus, who have contributed to the prestige of ECU through the creation and dissemination of scholarly monographs. This ceremony represented authors and editors of monographs published between July 1, 2021, and June 30, 2022.

A full list of authors is available from the library. Library director Jan Lewis lauded the depth in topics.

“Recipients represent seven colleges on main campus,” Lewis said. “Some are sole authors, while others co-authored with ECU colleagues or co-edited works with colleagues from around the country and the world. Their works include novels, a chapbook, textbooks, a compendium of environmental toxicology methods, scholarly analyses of topics ranging from Spanish science fiction to Turkish political culture, to the 2020 U.S. election. They also include research advancing best practices in areas such as international faculty support, clinical social work and equity-driven professional learning for educators.

“The themes that resound through ECU’s mission are reflected in their work: leadership, innovation, service, sustainability, equity, diversity and inclusion.”

The Alternative Textbook Program is an initiative for faculty interested in replacing traditional textbooks with open textbooks, library subscription materials or other free materials. Faculty collaborate with an assigned librarian and receive a stipend to support the transition to free course materials.

Faculty representatives included three-time participant Christopher Oakley from the Department of History, Department of Economics professor and interim chair Nicholas Rupp — who saved a potential cost of $31,000 for students per semester — and ECU faculty chair Anne Ticknor.

“I’m very glad we are making the time to recognize faculty tonight,” said Ticknor, professor in the College of Education. “I know that perseverance, hard work, dedication and support are integral to the success of these achievements. … What I often tell faculty who are considering applying for the Alternative Textbook Program is about the close collaboration with our expert librarians. Their skills in researching, locating and organizing resources that fit with the application goals enable faculty to be supported in their work as instructors.”

The program was launched in 2016 and has included more than 70 faculty participants since its inception. Jeanne Hoover, head of scholarly communication, serves as program leader.

“This type of event doesn’t happen at every university,” Provost Robin Coger said. “To be here today to celebrate what we are celebrating is really a great opportunity.”

The joint ceremony was sponsored by the Friends of Joyner Library.

“It’s very nice to see a lot of people here who I watched grow up and to see old friends,” Ballard said. “That is always nice.”

Faculty who participated in the Alternative Textbook Program at the ECU Main Campus Faculty Author Book and Affordable Textbooks Awards.