Applied Learning

Staff & Fellows

AL-Logo-transparent-01.pngThe Office of Applied Learning is supported by staff, graduate assistants, and Applied Learning Fellows who have experience and interest in engaging and promoting applied learning at UNCW through teaching, research, and service. Many of the Applied Learning Fellows began their work in applied learning at UNCW through applying for a funded project, attending the Applied Learning Summer Institute, participating in the REAL-C (Research Educators Applied Learning Collaborative), receiving COVID-19 or Hurricane Florence Applied Learning funding, or being involved in the many aspects of applied learning at UNCW.

 

 

Applied Learning Staff

Dr. James M. DeVita

Director of High Impact Pathways, Dr. James M. DeVita

James M. DeVita, Ph.D.  is an Associate Professor of Higher Education in the Watson College of Education at UNCW and currently serves as the Director of High Impact Pathways. James earned his PhD from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville in Higher Education Administration (2010). He previously served as an ETEAL Faculty Fellow (2013-2014), ETEAL Senior Fellow (2014-2018), Associate Director of Applied Learning (2018-2020), and Interim Director of Applied Learning (2020-2021). James also serves as the co-editor of the Journal of Effective Teaching in Higher Education (JETHE), and his research interests include scholarship on teaching and learning (SOTL) as well as assessment of learning outcomes and experiences of marginalized populations in higher education.

Runa L. Winters

Social Science Research Specialist, Runa L. Winters, M.S. 

Runa Winters serves as the coordinator for Applied Learning assessment efforts, maintains and administers all of the office’s internal funding opportunities such as Strategic Initiatives and Pedagogy Initiative Awards, and develops many of the reports presented by our office to senior leadership and other campus stakeholders. Runa holds a bachelor of arts degree in sociology from the University of North Carolina Asheville and graduated with a master of arts in Criminology from UNCW in 2013. Between the period of 2013 and 2019 Runa also oversaw and compiled the University’s QEP assessment and reporting materials for the most recent SACS COC accreditation cycle and she continues to enhance and improve the assessment resources and support mechanisms available to all applied learning instructors.

 Senior Fellows

Kristin W. Bolton, Ph.D.

Kristin W. Bolton, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Social Work and Graduate Program Coordinator in the School of Social Work at UNCW

Kristin currently serves in the role of Senior Fellow for Applied Learning and runs the Research Educators Applied Learning Collaborative (REAL-C). The REAL-C is a group designed for research methods instructors to engage on best practices, pedagogical innovations and ideas regarding the teaching of research methods to both graduate and undergraduate students. Previously, Dr. Bolton served as an Assistant Fellow of Applied Learning, Fellow of Applied Learning and served as an assessor of learning outcomes for projects using the UNCW model of Applied Learning. 

Jaime L. Russell, Ed.D

Jaime L. Russell, Ed.D
Director of the Office of Student Leadership and Engagement at UNCW

Jaime currently serves in the role of Senior Fellow for Applied Learning with a focus on linking Student Affairs work with Applied Learning practices.  Dr. Russell received her doctorate in Educational Leadership from the University of North Carolina Wilmington in 2016. In addition to her Applied Learning Fellowship, she serves as an instructor in the Leadership Studies Minor and serves on several campus committees, including the High Impact Practices Council and the Applied Learning and Community Engagement Advisory Board.  Dr. Russell is the UNCW campus liaison for the NC Campus Compact and is a member of their Advisory Council. 

Jeanne M. Persuit, Ph.D.

Jeanne M. Persuit, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Communication Studies and Graduate Coordinator for the M.A. Integrated Marketing Communication program.

Jeanne serves in the role of Senior Fellow for Applied Learning with a focus on strategic and integrated marketing communication. Dr. Persuit teaches courses in integrated marketing communication, public relations, advertising, and communication ethics. She also serves as the Director of Marketing & Communication for the National Drug Court Resource Center, housed at UNCW in the Social Science Applied Research Center, and funded by a $2.4 million U.S. Department of Justice grant. She is co-advisor, with Dr. Bill Bolduc, of Pier 601 Creative, a student-run integrated marketing communication agency that manages the yearly Applied Learning Instagram Contest.

Assessment Fellows

Jennifer Vanderminden, Ph.D.

Jennifer Vanderminden, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Sociology at UNCW.

Jennifer has served as an Applied Learning Assessment Fellow since Fall 2018.  She received her Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of New Hampshire. Dr. Vanderminden worked as a research scientist at the Family Research Laboratory & Crimes against Children Research Center prior to starting at University of North Carolina Wilmington in 2013. Dr. Vanderminden’s expertise is specifically on childhood victimization, disability, data analysis, research design, and the scholarship of teaching and learning. She recently co-edited a book titled Child Protection and Disability: Ethical, Methodological and Practical Challenges for Research. She is currently involved in several Applied Learning assessment projects including leading a qualitative assessment project in Summer 2020 on community engaged learning and creating quantitative measures for applied learning assessment.  

Josalin Hunter-Jones, Ph.D.

Josalin Hunter-Jones, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor in CHHS School of Social Work

Josalin joined the CHHS School of Social Work as an Assistant Professor in Fall 2018. She has education and experience in both the fields of Social Work and Public Health. Prior to coming to UNCW, she spent nine years serving as a Research Project Director at Emory University. Dr. Hunter-Jones has a number of publications and co-publications, and has presented both nationally and internationally. Her primary interests include mental/behavioral health and HIV/AIDS among racial/ethnic and sexual minority groups, and broadly, the intersection of social justice and health. Dr. Hunter-Jones serves as lead faculty mentor for UNCW's Interdiscplinary Minority Student Research Group (IMSRG) focused on diversity in research, mentoring, and teaching alongside minority students and marginalized communities. She also serves as an Assessment Fellow in the Office of Community Engagement and Applied Learning, a member of the New Hanover Resiliency Task Force, and on the Board of Directors for Seeds of Healing, Inc in Wilmington, NC. She holds a Master of Social Work from University of Missouri- Saint Louis, a Master of Public Health from Emory University, and a Ph.D. from University of Georgia. 

Undergraduate Journal Fellow

Jill Waity, Ph.D.

Jill Waity, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Sociology at UNCW.

Jill received her Ph.D. in Sociology from Indiana University. Dr. Waity’s research and teaching interests include poverty and inequality generally, with a focus on food insecurity and food access, as well as community-based research and the scholarship of teaching and learning. Her current research examines college food insecurity. She is the editor of the Undergraduate Journal of Service Learning and Community Based Research. For more information about Dr. Waity, please visit her website

Graduate Assistants 

Jeremy M. James

Jeremy M. James

Jeremy graduated from UNC-Asheville with a B.A. in Sociology. He is currently in track for his M.A. degree in Sociology here at UNC-Wilmington, with goals to continue in a PhD program. Jeremy’s research interests include education, race and ethnicity, and inequality. He is an exceptional addition to our Applied Learning team, working with both Dr. Vanderminden and Dr. Hunter-Jones on multiple applied learning projects since his arrival to our team. Jeremy is currently assisting Dr. Hunter-Jones on the IMSRG Initiative  while assisting Dr. Vanderminden on a white paper about Applied Learning and how UNCW defines it. 

Erica Spivey 

Erica Spivey 

Erica is a graduate student in the Department of Sociology and Criminology with a bachelor's degree in Interpersonal and Organizational Communication from UNC Chapel Hill. Her areas of interest are Interpersonal Relationship Abuse and victim rehabilitation with a focus on Human Trafficking and Women’s Sociological Studies. A proponent of applied learning and its benefits, Erica is excited to be a GA for the applied learning research team and hone skills to assist in moving on to a PHD program.  Specifically, she is enthusiastic about assisting multiple departments reach their goals through research exploring the benefits of applied learning and creating content for AL application and review.  Erica is working with Dr. Vanderminden and Dr. Hunter-Jones on content creation for several ongoing projects. 

Austin Warren 

Austin Warren 

Austin graduated with his B.S. in Communication and B.S. in Psychology from Western Carolina University. He is expected to receive his M.A. in Integrated Marketing Communication from UNCW in August 2021. Coming from a professional background in higher education marketing, Austin has academic interests in digital media strategy and theory-based communication design. Austin will primarily be assisting the Office of Applied Learning with communication efforts and assessment work.  

Emily Crumpler

Emily Crumpler

Emily graduated from UNCW with a B.A. in Public Criminology and a minor in Applied Behavioral Analysis. She is currently enrolled in the M.A. degree program for Sociology with goals to continue to a PhD program. Count Emily's research interests include the Sociology of Education, Social Stratification, and the School to Prison Pipeline. Emily is currently assisting Dr. Waity and Dr. Vanderminden with the Strategic Initiative Project.