The East Carolina University Teaching Resources Center aims to have an array of resources available for visitors to explore.
Those visitors might come as eager youngsters from the Nancy W. Darden Child Development Center, students in the Innovation Early College High School at ECU, or budding teachers in the ECU College of Education. Local educators also spend quality time in the ECU TRC.
As the Col. Richard M. and Betty Debnam Hunt Teaching Resources Center has recently added a few new staff members — led by Charlene Loope as head of the TRC — versatility and technology are at the forefront. Loope, a former reference librarian at the University of South Carolina who most recently served as head of middle school at Norfolk (Virginia) Collegiate School, is excited to be back in a university setting and ready to interact with ECU faculty members, students and area educators.
“I feel strongly about this being a collection that is an applied collection and that we can really help those pre-service teachers and also teachers that are currently in service,” Loope said. “We have that outreach component to area educators to really collaborate with them. I think that is when the best lessons and units are designed … when we are able to collaborate. That is the joy in teaching — to be able to collaborate and work together to design great lessons for students, whether they are in college or kindergarten.”
Vatoyia Gardner, an education reference librarian, and technology coordinator Jessica Deel also were recently hired in the TRC.
Academic Library Services Director Jan Lewis cited numerous examples of how university representatives use the TRC, including quiet spaces for study sessions, in-class instruction, utilizing teacher guides and dormitory resident advisers making die cuts for decorations. Children of all ages are welcome to explore the center.
“The Teaching Resources Center is a vibrant, welcoming area within our library,” Lewis said. “The TRC staff has fostered an environment that encourages exploration, collaboration and extended independent study. For me personally, the TRC is a convenient alternative to the public library for grabbing a handful of books to read with my granddaughter on the weekends. She loves visiting the TRC and exploring topics like stars or volcanoes, in addition to ‘Little Bear’ and ‘The Poky Little Puppy.’ The library and the TRC welcome all faculty, staff and students with children in their lives to use our TRC, check out books and read them.”
The TRC is located on the second floor of the main campus library. Collections include scholastic textbooks and resource guides, young adult fiction that can feature attractive reads for ECU students, and multifunctional options for birth through kindergarten and elementary school children to enjoy.
Deel, Gardner and Loope all have technology backgrounds from previous roles. They hope to expand upon the center’s technology-based resources and continue to develop the Ann Rhem Schwarzmann Production Center, which has a lamination station and equipment to create buttons, posters and more items.
“We have a production center because we have wonderful equipment that produces things that teachers need and will use in their classrooms,” Loope said. “The maker space (aspect) is more about things that teachers and students can use to create things. So we are looking at instructional technology, educational technology items to give teachers experience with those. We will be collaborating, obviously, with any faculty members who are bringing their students over to see how we might be able to incorporate some of that into some of our own instructional design when we have teachers here.”
Through computer stations, the production center, various seating arrangements and tables, and a classroom, the ECU Teaching Resources Center strives to be as useful as possible for students and teachers.
“A primary focus is we’re thinking of ways the Teaching Resources Center can be optimally beneficial to students,” Loope said. “In libraries, we often do instruction to big groups. Sometimes — really the meaningful times, whether I was at an academic library, public library or certainly in school libraries — are when you sit down one-on-one with a student who might not really know where to start. To help walk them through and help them see how to manage all of the wealth of information and resources and be successful, then they come back and you form relationships. That’s the best part about being back in this kind of environment.”
ECU’s 2021 homecoming festivities included a formal dedication of the Col. Richard M. and Betty Debnam Hunt Teaching Resources Center. The late Betty Debnam Hunt, a former teacher and journalist, created and edited The Mini Page, a nationally syndicated educational newspaper focused on elementary education.
“Betty Debnam Hunt fell in love with ECU, the library and the Teaching Resources Center and their missions many years ago,” Lewis said of Hunt, a Raleigh native who first published The Mini Page in 1969. “She was one of our most generous and engaged supporters. As the founding editor of The Mini Page, Mrs. Hunt was committed to literacy, reading and making education fun. We are honored to carry on her legacy through the technology, continuing professional education and teaching materials offered in the Col. Richard M. and Betty Debnam Hunt Teaching Resources Center.”