Q&A with Dr. Melinda Carver, Graduate Education Program Professor

Meet Dr. Melinda Carver, a full professor in Saint Leo University’s graduate education program who brings decades of experience to her students.

Tags: Benefits of Online Classes Center for Online Learning College of Education and Social Services Doctor of Education Doctorate in Education Education Education Programs Elementary Education Online Doctorate in Education Online Learning Saint Leo Faculty Secondary Education
12 September 2022 - By Greg Lindberg
A head shot of Dr. Melinda “Lin” Carver, a full professor of graduate studies in education at Saint Leo University, smiling and wearing a necklace with a pendant hanging down and thin-rimmed eyeglasses; Carver is a Caucasian woman with long blond hair wearing a blue dress with bright-colored flowers on it; she teaches in the online graduate education program tracks for Saint Leo

Dr. Melinda “Lin” Carver has a wealth of experience teaching for many years in K-12 schools and at the college level. A full professor of graduate studies in education, she came to Saint Leo University in 2010 to teach in the university’s graduate education program. She also serves as the Director of program approval for the College of Education and Social Services and the program administrator of the master’s in reading education program.

We recently caught up with Dr. Carver to learn more about her background in teaching, why she is so passionate about educating others, the benefits of attending Saint Leo, and her research and published works.

Q: Where are you from originally and where do you live now?

A: I grew up in the Philadelphia, PA area. I currently reside in Northport, FL.

Q: Can you tell us about your family?

A: I am married with three adult children. My oldest and youngest, a son and a daughter, both serve in the U.S. Army. My middle child, a son, is a software engineer.

Q: What is your educational background?

A: I earned a BA in Christian education from Wheaton College in Illinois. I have a Master of Education (M.Ed.) in developmental reading K-12 from The College of New Jersey and a Ph.D. in reading curriculum and instruction from Walden University.

Q: Can you give us an overview of your career working in K-12 schools?

A: I worked in K-12 schools for over 30 years up north and then here in Florida in the Pinellas and Pasco County school districts. I taught every grade from kindergarten through 12th grade. My main subjects were reading, English, and language arts, but I also taught math.

I also worked as a reading specialist, math specialist, reading coach, and director.

Q: When and where did you start teaching at the college level?

A: In the mid-2000s, I started out as an online adjunct professor of education with Walden University, Concordia University, and the University of Central Florida teaching graduate education program courses.

Q: How did you wind up teaching at Saint Leo University?

A: I was working as a reading specialist in the Pasco County district at the time. At a district meeting, my supervisor asked if I would be interested in an opportunity with Saint Leo. I told her that the idea had not really crossed my mind.

When they told me they were looking for someone with a strong reading education background, I thought more about it and decided to give it a shot. I had enjoyed my adjunct roles with some other universities, and this would be a full-time position. Plus, I had completed my doctoral degree online and had taught some other online courses, so I was very comfortable learning and teaching in this setting.

Q: In which specific Saint Leo education degree programs do you teach?

A: I currently teach in the following graduate education programs:

Q: Which classes have you taught for Saint Leo?

A: I’ve taught a variety of courses, some of which include:

  • Power of Teacher Leader Innovation
  • Technology Innovation and Diffusion
  • Teacher Inquiry for School and Student Growth
  • Leadership in the Development of Reading Programs
  • Current Theories and Practices in Reading
  • Emergent Literacy

Q: How would you describe the demographics of the students you teach in these graduate education programs?

A: Some have graduated with their bachelor’s degree very recently. Others have been out for a while and are going back to school after many years. Some don’t even make me feel old!

Typically, the master’s students are K-12 teachers who are looking to bolster their skills and move up to leadership roles in education.

The students in the Education Specialist and Doctor of Education programs are generally more experienced and may be looking to pursue a career in administration.

Q: How beneficial is the technology used in the graduate education program?

A: I really like howe we use the Mursion technology with avatars through simulated experiences.

You can arrange a number of different roles and scenarios students can practice. These are valuable experiences students can learn from and take with them in their careers.

The avatars are very receptive to the students practicing specific scenarios, and they start to give them more pushback toward the end of the program so the students know what to expect when they graduate.

This technology is a nice perk to the online environment of our program.

Q: From your perspective, what are the biggest selling points of the graduate education program at Saint Leo?

A: When students compare this program to larger universities, we really emphasize the availability of faculty to work with students. This personal connection we have with our students is very strong, even though they are learning in an online environment. They are developing relationships with their instructors and fellow students in their cohort. These connections can benefit them in their careers in so many ways.

Q: What do you enjoy most about teaching?

A: For me, it’s the students. You get to interact so much with them and work closely with them to help them work through any challenges. Being able to help them reach their goals and see them reach a successful conclusion at the end of a class is so rewarding to me.

Q: Why would you recommend students pursue a career in education?

A: I would say you will enjoy the interaction with others each day. You don’t always have to fall in love with a certain academic subject. At the end of the day, it’s the relationships you develop with your students.

Plus, there is an ever-increasing need for teachers with significant shortages in many areas across the country. This means there are so many opportunities out there.

Q: What other research and work have you done outside of teaching?

A: I have had the opportunity to contribute to six published books. I co-authored two editions of a book with Lauren Pantoja, an adjunct instructor for Saint Leo University. The series is called Reading Basics for All Teachers: Supporting All Learners. We also collaborated on Teaching Syllable Patterns: Shortcut to Fluency and Comprehension for Striving Adolescent Readers.

I have also co-authored two books with Dr. Holly Atkins, chair of our undergraduate education program. These include Leading in the Digital Environment and Preparing to Lead in a Digital Environment: What All Educators Need to Know.

Plus, I co-wrote Coaching: Making a Difference for K-12 Teachers and Students with Judith Orth.

I am currently working on another book with a working title of Literacy Development Through the Stages: Integrating Reading and Writing.

In addition, I have written articles for publications and presented my work at various conferences in the education space.