Melissa K. Jones

How Did You Join the ISLT Program at FSU?

After teaching and working in faculty development in higher education for many years, in 2017, a restructuring of my team led to my focus shifting almost entirely to supporting faculty who were designing online courses and teaching in various distance modalities. Wanting to increase my knowledge of online design, I spent a few months exploring graduate certificate programs. What I realized as I was reviewing the programs, was that so many of the names that I kept seeing in the literature were all faculty in the ISLT program. I knew their research, and the certificate program offered courses that I knew would be of great value to my work. Admittedly, I was also somewhat biased. I earned my B.A. in English in 2001 from FSU, and as someone who grew up in the Florida Panhandle, I always considered Florida State home. After completing the certificate program in 2018, I knew ISLT was where I needed to be. I began my doctorate the following year, and it is easily one of the best decisions I have ever made.  

Introduction

I began teaching writing and literature courses in higher education in 2007, and in the years since, I have served as a teaching and learning coordinator, faculty development and instructional design specialist, and an associate dean of academic affairs. In each of these positions, I have worked to build community and support learning through an intentional focus on inclusive practices and mindful interactions. I am an advocate for online learning and believe in the ability of higher education to empower learners and transform culture.  

Research Interests

My primary area of research is in how universities are working to build inclusive and equitable online learning environments, while simultaneously navigating increasingly complex institutional, social, and political systems. More specifically, I am interested in DEI initiatives that are related to LGBTQ+ communities in higher education, a group that has, historically, been especially reliant upon the creation of supportive networks and safe spaces both on and off university campuses.   

As someone who tends to be a systems thinker, I am interested in exploring the holistic experiences of underrepresented populations with the hope of bringing more evidence-informed practices to the work we do as educators and designers.  

Projects

I am currently working on my dissertation, which is a qualitative study of how large public universities in the State University System of Florida are working to support their LGBTQ+ students. In my study, I have been interviewing DEI leaders at universities throughout Florida to learn more about organizational structures, institutional initiatives, and the LGBTQ+ programming they offer.  

In addition to my dissertation, I have also been working on a project with several other researchers. We have been conducting a scoping review of the literature on adult learners and distance education. We have presented twice based on our work so far, and we have two other proposals that have been accepted for conferences this fall. Our goal is to produce the accompanying manuscripts over the next few months.  

Upcoming Presentations

  • Jones, M., & Nev├írez, C. (accepted, to be presented October 2022). Finding the balance between personalized and standardized: Humanizing professional development for faculty learners. Association for Educational Communications & Technology (AECT) International Convention. Las Vegas, NV.  
  • Jones, M. (accepted, to be presented October 2022). Supporting queer students in online learning environments: A Study of leadership practices and LGBTQ+ initiatives. Association for Educational Communications & Technology (AECT) International Convention. Las Vegas, NV. 
  • Sockman, B. R., Herman, K., James-Coles, S., Stidham, S., Tracey, M., Dickson- Deane, C., Jones, M., Tamim, S., & Blevins, S. (accepted, to be presented October 2022). Organizational leadership: Using systems thinking to lead with social justice. Association for Educational Communications & Technology (AECT) International Convention. Las Vegas, NV.  
  • Fensie, A., Rogowski, A., Bellnier, K., Stidham, S., Jones, M., Wiley, L., StPierre, L., & Alicea, M. (accepted, to be presented October 2022). The study of adult learners in distance education: A Scoping review of the literature. Association for Educational Communications & Technology (AECT) International Convention. Las Vegas, NV.  
  • Fensie, A., StPierre, T., Bellnier, K., Rogowski, A., Jones, M., Alicea, M., Wiley, L., & Stidham, S. (accepted, to be presented October 2022). Designing instruction for adult learners in distance education using evidence-based practices. Association for Educational Communications & Technology (AECT) International Convention. Las Vegas, NV. 

Website

https://www.melissakjones.com/

Social Media

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MellaKJones

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/melissa-k-jones-543b7961/ 

CV

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