Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Janis Carthon
Dr. Janis Carthon serves at Albany State University (ASU) as a Professor of Education, Director of Assessment for the School of Education, and as Project Director of the University Principal Preparation Initiative (UPPI). She was recently awarded the Georgia Educational Leadership Faculty Association (GELFA) 2022 Dr. Jimmy Stokes Distinguished Service Award.
She received a B.S. in Mathematics from Georgia Southwestern State University, a M.S. in Statistics from the University of Georgia, a M.Ed. in Secondary Education/Mathematics from Georgia Southwestern State University an Ed.D. in Curriculum, Instruction from Valdosta State University, and a Graduate Certificate in Applied Statistics from Pennsylvania State University. She has also earned a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt certification.
Dr. Carthon has been awarded the Educational Leadership Teacher of the Year, an Outstanding Performance Award from the Marine Corps Logistics Base, and a Certificate of Commendation by the Commanding General of the Marine Corps Logistics Base for her work in the area of total quality leadership and statistical process control.
She also serves on the Southwest Regional Educational Service Agency (RESA) Board of Control.
Dr. Carthon has more than 25 years of teaching and leadership experience in higher education in her professional interest areas of mathematics, statistics, research, technology, and leadership.
What is your role at Albany State University and what motivated you to learn more about that field?
Currently, I serve as a professor and Director of Assessment in the School of Education and as Project
Director of the University Principal Preparation Initiative (UPPI) sponsored by The Wallace Foundation.
When I am selected to serve in a position, I am self-motived to learn more about the field by participating in professional learning opportunities. I network with the best in the field, serve on committees, and serve on boards to become technically and tactically proficient in the job.
You are the recipient of the Georgia Educational Leadership Faculty Association (GELFA) 2022 Dr. Jimmy Stokes Distinguished Service Award. How do you feel about this honor and what were the requirements to win this award?
Recognition for my work feels great. Each Georgia Association of Educational Leaders (GAEL) affiliate selects a recipient for the award. Members of the Georgia Educational Leadership Faculty Association (GELFA), an affiliate GAEL, nominated me for the “Jimmy Stokes” GAEL Service Awards award. This award honors long-time outstanding service not only to GAEL but also to GELFA.
GELFA members and Georgia Professional Standards Commission (GaPSC) staff convene monthly and drive the agendas. The collaboration among members and GaPSC staff provides opportunities to network, learn from one another, and share resources. ASU’s program redesign status and lessons learned are shared in appropriate settings (e.g., GELFA meetings, GaPSC conferences, etc.).
Why did you choose to work at ASU?
I met people who worked at ASU and have relatives who graduated from ASU. I had worked at the Marine Corps Logistic Base (MCLB) for 13 years. I was looking for a change. When someone approached me about developing and teaching technology courses in the College of Education, I felt that this was my opportunity to work with an organization that valued education. Also, with my STEM background, I thought I could contribute to changing the landscape that I experience— being the only African American female in the room and subjected to stereotypical views—by encouraging and motivating others to consider a career in a STEM area.
Are there any special programs or initiatives you are a part of?
There are several; however, I will mention four.
- Since 2016, I served as the Project Director of ASU University Principal Preparation Program Initiative (UPPI), a 5.2 million dollars budget, sponsored by The Wallace Foundation, New York, NY.
- I have been pre-vetted by the Wallace Foundation to serve as a mentor/partner provider and participate in the Professional Learning Community for the Equity-Centered Pipeline Initiative (ECPI).
- Currently, I serve on the GaPSC’s Assessment Advisory Panel consisting of Educator Program Provider (EPP) and P12 members whose purpose is to guide assessment policy and help ensure the quality of the assessment program.
- Director of one of Georgia’s 13 Educational Technology Centers that supported 14 school systems and other education agencies in southwest Georgia.
What do you love most about being a professor at ASU?
I love teaching and networking, collaborating, and conducting research on real-world problems in my area of expertise.
Who made the biggest impact on you and who is someone you consider to be a role model?
I have had several role models. I have different role models for different stages and aspects of my life. For example, I excelled in mathematics due to two of my high school mathematics teachers who were my role models. My leadership skills and style were cultivated and shaped working at Marine Corps Logistics Base in Albany, Georgia. I was surrounded, mentored, and coached by some of the best-trained leaders (e.g., generals, colonels, retired military-civilian) this country has to offer.
Also, I engaged in exceptional leadership professional learning and on-the-job training opportunities provided by the Marine Corps, The Wallace Foundation, and the Center for Creative Leadership. Those who know me understand my leadership style (e.g., direct, structured, mission-driven, self-reflective, and self-aware).
What are obstacles you’ve had to overcome to progress as a professor and scholar?
If you review my tenure at ASU, I have served in various teaching and administrative roles such as the Interim Chair of the School of Education, UPPI Project Director, Curriculum Resource Director, Educational Leadership Coordinator, Director of one of Georgia’s 13 Educational Technology Centers, Instructional Technology Specialist, and faculty. Each time an administrative decision was made regarding my position at ASU, I accepted the opportunity and overcame many obstacles.
The quality of my work speaks for itself; however, having to rebuild my credibility and earned the mutual trust and respect of others due to changes created obstacles. In spite of the changes, I navigated some difficult and challenging situations in order to progress as a professor and scholar at ASU. Like always, I continue to remain focused and don't allow the constant and inevitable changes to derail the work. The people who know me the best are not surprised about my accomplishments or my ability to lead.
What advice would you give to students with an interest in your job?
Develop a reputation for finishing what you start (i.e., earn your degree). The quality of your work matters; your reputation is at stake. Be a life-long learner. Do self-reflections to continuously improve your ability to lead, collaborate, and communicate. Try to understand others’ values and beliefs and consider their personalities when working with them. Act as a mentor and help others to develop and advance. These people become part of your network.