East Carolina University
Professor of Occupational Therapy and Assistant Dean, College of Allied Health Sciences
Director of Public Service and Community Relations
Beth Velde's scholarship in engagement has taken the form of books, chapters, journal articles, and presentations, including insights from working in the community. One representative example is "Who Sits at the Head of the Table? A Reflection on Community, Student, Faculty Partnerships" in Service-Learning in Occupational Therapy: Philosophy and Practice.
Dr. Velde has supported community engagement in all facets of her career: as a faculty member, an administrator, and a practitioner in her field of occupational therapy. In her role as professor of occupational therapy, she has planned and executed strategies that extend the efforts of her department and the College of Allied Health Sciences to the community. Examples include organizing and presenting symposia, serving as liaison to community organizations, and building university-wide support for engagement as well as inspiring and mentoring students who participate in engagement activities in health fields.
Dr. Velde, who now serves as the Director of Public Service and Community Relations for ECU, also founded the ECU Engagement and Outreach Scholars Academy with an eye to building engagement and fostering scholarship on the subject among the entire university community. This has been a notable success — and a potential model for other institutions — growing to encompass undergraduate and graduate academies, as well as military engagement academy.
For more than 16 years, Dr. Valde has established successful community partnerships with area non-profits, including Concerned Citizens of Tillery and the Caswell Center. Through this work she has created service-learning opportunities for students and improved outcomes for clients of these organizations including adults with development disabilities and communities facing environmental and economic challenges.