Teaching the Whole Student

Educator Sees Importance of Supporting Success in Many Ways

Charity Cayton, PhD
Associate Professor, College of Education
East Carolina University
Greenville, North Carolina

Department: Mathematics Education, Science Education and Instructional Technology (MSITE)

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When Charity Cayton introduced herself at a departmental meeting in 2013 as the newest faculty member in East Carolina University’s College of Education, she summed up her excitement with an exclamation: “I am so thankful to be here. This is my dream job!”

Starting her dream job was a homecoming in many ways. A first-generation college student, she enjoyed an experience as an ECU undergraduate student that included being a North Carolina Teaching Fellows participant and being honored with a university award recognizing her academic achievement, service and leadership qualities.

Today, she holds bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in math education — with her bachelor’s and master’s from ECU.

She recalls the balance of earning her master’s while teaching full-time.

“I paced myself to earn my MAEd over the course of four years,” she says. “ECU COE has always been outstanding at serving their students, especially practicing teachers.”

While earning her doctoral degree at North Carolina State University, she still felt a strong connection to ECU leading her to return as a faculty member.

Encouraging student success is important to Cayton. In her teaching and her advising of undergraduates and members of ECU’s Gamma Student Chapter of the North Carolina Council of Teachers of Mathematics, she strives to support in a multitude of ways.

“I attend to not only academics but overall student well-being,” she says. “With my advisees, I get to know them and help them navigate the successes and challenges of their classes and life.

“With regard to my scholarship of teaching, I leverage grant work and research — related to teaching with technology, classroom discourse and co-planning/co-teaching — to continually improve the courses I teach.

“This supports student success by providing them with opportunities to learn and use research-based best practices in their courses, clinical experiences and thinking about the profession of mathematics education at the state level.”