ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. (Feb. 15, 2024) – Elizabeth City State University (ECSU) has entered a partnership with the University of Tennessee (UT) that gives students in the Department of Natural Sciences an avenue to a graduate certificate or doctorate in Health Sciences.

Representatives from the UT Health Science Center  (UTHSC) toured ECSU for two days meeting students, visiting facilities, and allowing students to apply for their program. According to the memorandum of understanding signed by Chancellor Karrie G. Dixon and Anthony Ferrara, senior vice chancellor at UTHSC, an overarching goal of the agreement is to work to enhance the competitiveness of underrepresented minority students at UTHSC.

“We are excited by this partnership with UT Health Science Center and the opportunities this brings to our students who wish to pursue advanced degrees. Further, we look forward to forging faculty research collaborations between the two institutions,” said Kuldeep Rawat, ECSU dean of the School of Science, Health and Technology, which has under its umbrella the Department of Natural Sciences.

ECSU currently offers a Master of Science in Biology, with tracks in Biological Sciences and Biology Education. Brian Wayne, graduate program recruiter at ECSU said the memorandum is a recruitment tool that bodes well for the university and strengthens post graduate options.

“I am grateful for (UTHSC Dean) Dr. Donald Thomason and his team for entrusting our students and staff with this opportunity,” Wayne said. “And that’s not only for potential applicants, but current students who desire to obtain their Ph.D. or graduate certificate.”

Graduate Program Coordinator Hirendranath Banerjee agrees and says this positions ECSU students for a “top-tier” option for their doctoral work and could help develop scientific collaborations and opportunities to write joint proposals for federal grants.

“Both institutions are excited about what this will produce,” Banerjee said.

In October 2023, ECSU joined forces with Wake Tech in an Aviation and Public Safety Educational Partnership, a similar memorandum of agreement. That partnership is also an opportunity to create pathways for students, whereby Wake Tech matriculants can transfer to ECSU after finishing at the community college. ECSU is also part of several community college articulation agreements with colleges throughout the state.