Melinda Saunders, Division Head of University Transfer of Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College was recognized as an Outstanding Contributor to Community College Education. Saunders received the award during the 2014 annual conference of the West Virginia Community College Association and the West Virginia Association for Development Education recently held at the historic Blennerhassett Hotel in downtown Parkersburg, West Virginia.
Saunders has been a full time employee since 1994 when she began her career as a member of the faculty. She served as the Chair of the Department of Mathematics and recently assumed the post of Division Head of University Transfer. As Department Chair of Mathematics, she managed adjunct, full-time, and dual credit faculty; monitored and revised mathematics curriculum; maintained responsibility for schedule development for mathematics on all campuses and conducted performance evaluations. As a faculty member, she has taught algebra; trigonometry; Calculus I, II, and III; linear algebra, differential equations; physics-calculus and algebra-based and developmental mathematics. But she doesn’t limit herself to academics; she has been known to assist new faculty find housing and provided “house calls” to a student with mobility issues. Over the years, she has served on the Curriculum and Instruction Committee, the Teaching and Learning Committee, and several Ad Hoc Committees for enrollment and retention.
Saunders is the first to volunteer to take on extra projects that Southern needs done. In the past year, she has led the faculty in the revision of two major transfer degrees at Southern to make sure they serve the needs of students more effectively. She has, together with the Chair of Transitional Studies, helped the College to implement a new developmental math model, which is already proving to help many students progress more effectively in their academic programs. She has led college-wide faculty professional development activities and has agreed to take on the challenge in the next year of leading a college taskforce in revising the ways that classes are scheduled at Southern to provide students with more effective program scheduling models.
She has a true passion for educating and shares that with the community. She is a member of a volunteer teaching partnership with the third and fourth grade classrooms at Man Elementary and Buffalo Elementary. She also conducts fall ACT prep workshops at Chapmanville Regional High School.
Saunders speaks of her work in education with great enthusiasm and tells her students to choose a career that they love, “If they do this, they will never feel like they just have a job. I have been fortunate to have found such a career at Southern. My success in serving the college and its constituents has come due to the love I have for teaching and learning.”
Embracing the college mission is evident in her daily life at Southern. Her passion is expressed in a recent statement, “My greatest accomplishment at the college has been providing students with a quality education and helping them achieve their goals The “ah-ha” in a students’ eyes when they conquer a topic that to them previously seemed impossible to understand gives me great moments of joy. “