Elizabeth City State University: Providing Quality Affordable Education. A Legacy of 131 Years.

Karrie G. Dixon
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Students, as soon as steps outside the umbrella of schools, are bombarded with questions and dilemmas, majority of them emphasizing the million-dollar decision of choosing colleges. Education changes lives. A university with good facilities and resources to lead students in the right direction is essential.

Many families and aspiring college students today are unable to fulfill the dream of obtaining a college degree as they may be unable to afford the tuition, fees, and other additional expenses required by institutions. Competitive academic programs, stellar facilities, and quality resources are essential in meeting the demands of the 21st-century scholar. At Elizabeth City State University (ECSU), we are passionate about changing the lives of students across the state of North Carolina and beyond.

In Talks With The Chancellor

In a conversation with the Chancellor of Elizabeth City State University, Dr. Karrie G. Dixon, we asked her to share her insight on education and experience as the leader of a prominent university. As a North Carolina native who was raised in Winston-Salem, Dr. Dixon earned her degrees from institutions in the University of North Carolina System. She made it a point to enhance her leadership skills by seeking out opportunities to hone her talents. As a selected protégé from the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) Millennium Leadership Initiative, she started her higher education career as an academic enhancement instructor at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She was elected as ECSU’s 12th Chief Executive Officer and 7th Chancellor in December 2018 after serving as Interim Chancellor beginning in April 2018. Her leadership has led to transformations at ECSU, including increased student enrollment, enhanced and new innovative academic offerings, and robust philanthropic support and investments.

Choosing a College: What To Look For?

When there are a plethora of options in front of you, it can get overwhelming to choose the right institution. “What if this course is not for me?” “Where will this lead me to?” “Will this push me ahead?” All these questions start dancing in one’s mind while doing no good to the decision-making process.

The three most important considerations a student should evaluate when selecting a higher education institution are:

  • Academic offerings: Is your intended major offered?
  • Cost: What is the overall cost for a four-year degree? What scholarship and financial aid offerings are available?
  • Fit: Does the college or university offer the faculty-to-student ratio you need, provide a nurturing environment, and support services, and student activities that are balanced with a

high-quality and rigorous academic program? Is the institution situated in a community that is       right for you (for example, a small community versus a large metropolitan city)?

Elizabeth City State University – Come to Discover, Leaver to Conquer

On March 3, 1891, Hugh Cale, an African American Representative in the N.C. General Assembly from Pasquotank County drafted House Bill 383, which established a normal (teaching) school for “teaching and training teachers of the colored race to teach in common schools of North Carolina.”

The bill passed. That bill is what led to the origin of Elizabeth City State University, initially named Elizabeth City State Coloured Normal School.

Today, 131 years later, faculty and employees like Dr. Dixon are determined to build a sustainable future for this great institution.

Expanding a Commitment to Diversity

ECSU is committed to building a culture that actively encourages and creates an environment with diversity and inclusion- an environment where everyone feels included, no matter who they are, what they choose, and where they are.

The university provides training and educational opportunities that focus on inculcating awareness and cultural education. Students, in particular, are provided with holistic development through programming offered by student organizations and ECSU’s Prevention, Awareness, and Cultural Education (P.A.C.E.) Center. The university continually recruits diverse faculty, staff and students to support its mission of inclusivity.

Providing Academic Services and State-of-the-Art Facilities

Over the years, ECSU has invested in the intellectual development of students. Through the University Honors Program and other offerings in the Divisions of Academic Affairs and Student Affairs, students have access to robust co-curricular and extracurricular activities, thriving living and learning communities, enhanced living experiences and the unique culture known as Viking spirit and pride.

ECSU’s Office of Student Success and Retention provides advising, peer tutoring, service learning and other resources that assist students.

The university’s Office of International Programs offers students opportunities to pursue education abroad. Over the years, students have lived and learned in countries, such as Germany, Portugal, Spain and Costa Rica.

 In 2019, ECSU opened the STEM Complex that houses the Department of Health and Human Studies, to include Pharmaceutical Science, Social Work, Psychology, and Kinesiology and the Department of Aviation and Emergency Management including ECSU’s signature program, Aviation Science, as well as the Unmanned Aircraft Systems and Emergency Management programs. The high-tech facility features aviation laboratories, and drone and air traffic control laboratories and a flight simulator. ECSU offers the only four-year Aviation Science degree program in North Carolina.

The university’s Department of Aviation Science and Emergency Management has strategic partnerships with industry leaders, including like United Airlines, AeroX and Piedmont Flight Training, JetBlue, Delta Airlines and PSAAirlines.

The university produces private and commercial pilots, air traffic controllers, avionics specialists and aviation managers who are ready to lead in the aviation industry.

Shaping Campus Life

Extracurricular activities are key to a student’s overall growth and development. The university’s 2020-2025 strategic plan, Forging Our Future, has six key goals, including one centered on “Student Experience.” The 2020-2025 plan develops a collective future with high-quality academic programs that also align with community demands, meet employer needs, enhance the region and state, and drive economic development.

Student success not only focuses on providing a quality education and leadership development skills, but also on creating a transformational and nourishing environment that enriches a student with opportunities that support their academic curriculum.

Additionally, ECSU is committed to nurturing the mental and physical health of students. In 2020, the university was awarded funding and began implementing the “Viking Victory: Ready. Set. Go! Peer Wellness Ambassadors Leading the Race against Mental Health” initiative. The program has a priority focus on training and professional development to help proactively address mental health at ECSU.

The university continues enhancing its on-campus and off-campus living and learning experiences by ensuring student services closely align with student needs and expectations. This includes building a competitive athletic program that develops student-athletes into well-rounded leaders who bring recognition

Offering Education at an Affordable Price

Access and affordability to higher education have always been challenging for those from lower-income communities.

The University of North Carolina System’s NC Promise Tuition Program is an asset for students wishing to start or complete their four-year bachelor’s degree by providing accessible, affordable excellence. As a NC Promise campus, ECSU’s in-state tuition is $500 per semester and out-of-state tuition is $2,500 per semester.

Student fees, room and board and other student expenses are additional.

ECSU primarily serves a 21-county region in northeastern North Carolina with many of those counties being some of the most economically distressed in the state.

Ranking High Nationally

ECSU has received recognition for its quality education and the outcome it produces.

Some of the ECSU accolades include:

  • No. 1 HBCU in the nation for helping students from lower-income households achieve economic success (2022- Third Way);
  • No. 1 most affordable four-year HBCU in the U.S. (Student Loan Hero);
  • No. 4 Top Public school in the Regional South by U.S. News & World Report;
  • No. 5 for Military Friendly Schools for small public universities (Victory Media);
  • No. 1 Most Affordable Accounting Program – UniversityHQ.org; and
  • No. 1 Most Affordable Early Childhood Education Degree Program – Discover Early Childhood EDU.

Developing Students Who Lead

ECSU is committed to the well-being of its students, inside and outside the classroom. To encourage students to push their boundaries and learn something beyond just books and formulae, the University has numerous clubs, activities, organizations and on-campus events available during the academic year.

Some opportunities include:

  • The Sister2Sister Program

A special initiative for female students that provides academic, professional, cultural and social engagement opportunities. This program is introduced to students in their first year and continues until their senior year.

Expanding ECSU’s Lifelong Connection

Thanks to the university’s Career Development Center and its Student Advisory Board, ECSU provides students with numerous career development and placement opportunities. This includes internships, training programs and jobs. Career fairs are held twice each semester and feature recruiters from state, local and federal agencies and school districts to Fortune 500 companies.

To learn more about Elizabeth City State University, visit www.ecsu.edu or call 252-335-3400.

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