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Award-winning excellence: Ingrid Carter

Teaching Excellence Award winner talks Peace Corps, rapport-building and twins.

By Doug McPherson

June 17, 2019

Ingrid CarterCongratulations to Ingrid Carter, Ph.D., the third winner of the 2019 Faculty Senate Teaching Excellence Award at Metropolitan State University of Denver.

The associate professor in the Department of Elementary Education and Literacy fell in love with elementary education following a volunteer stint with the Peace Corps. She went on to teach second- and third-graders in a bilingual classroom before receiving her doctorate in curriculum and instruction, with a focus on science education. In addition to her work in the classroom, Carter also serves as the graduate-programs coordinator for the School of Education and conducts research in elementary preservice teacher education in science and mathematics.

The Early Bird spoke with Carter about her teaching style, professional highlights and other tidbits. Attention, please, class is in session.

In your Teaching Excellence Award presentation, nominators noted your ability to build an “authentic rapport” with your students. What’s your best advice to other MSU Denver instructors on developing relationships with students?

The School of Education students are hardworking, caring and energetic. I believe the authentic rapport I have with them is developed through my love and passion for teaching and working with teachers. I am truly happy when I am teaching, and when I teach, I just simply be myself. I think this is what demonstrates my authenticity.

You’ve had a great deal of research published. How has being a researcher helped you as an instructor?  

My research focuses primarily on elementary preservice teacher education in science and mathematics. As a graduate student, I worked with amazing mentors and peers, many with whom I continue to work on research about innovative practices with preservice teachers. This research has informed my teaching, and when possible, I incorporate the knowledge I gain about these practices into my courses.

What sparked your interest in teaching, and what would you be doing if you weren’t an educator?

I first became interested in teaching as an undergraduate student in environmental studies at the University of California Santa Cruz. I found that teaching is a powerful career for me regardless of whether I am teaching elementary or college students. If I weren’t teaching, I can see myself loving work as a field scientist or a park ranger.

You’ve been a Roadrunner since 2014. What’s been the highlight so far? What accomplishment makes you most proud?

Obtaining tenure was definitely a highlight, but the Teaching Excellence Award makes me the most proud of what I have accomplished. As a competitive award, it is such an honor to be selected when there are so many wonderful teachers at MSU Denver. Furthermore, about 2½ years ago my husband and I became parents of twins, and it has meant so much to me to receive this award amid the beauty, wonder and challenge of being a working mother.

What experiences help fuel your continued passion for teaching?

The moment my classes begin, I feel so invigorated and happy to be working with my students.

In my science and health-methods course, I enjoy facilitating learning about hands-on, minds-on inquiry teaching and seeing my students further develop and deepen their understandings of teaching. It is such a joy when my students tell me that their attitudes about science have changed and that they feel motivated to ensure science is taught in their elementary classroom.

Topics: Award, Excellence, Faculty Senate

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