What is your current job title and responsibilities?
Lecturer – College of Education, School of Teaching, Learning, and Leadership
Graduate teaching: research methods, teacher leadership, and curriculum theory, evaluation, and policy
Undergraduate teaching: teacher preparation and methods
Coordinator of the following programs: Holmes Scholars, Teacher Leadership Masters, and TEACH Grants
What is your history at UCF? (past job titles, responsibilities)
I earned my Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from the College of Education in 2001. My work in the College began as a Research Associate and Instructor. In 2003, I became Director of the Office of Clinical Experiences where I coordinated internship placements for pre-service teachers. In 2008, I returned to full time teaching and assumed responsibilities for coordinating the Teacher Leadership program as well as facilitating awarding of TEACH Grants to undergraduates and graduates in education.
What is your favorite UCF memory?
There are 2. In May 2001, I received my Ph.D. from the University of Central Florida. At commencement, my late father, Dr. LeRoy T. Walker, President-Emeritus of the United States Olympic Committee, and Chancellor Emeritus of North Carolina Central University (Durham, NC) was also awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Public Service. My father hooded me as I received my doctorate. It was a day that I shall never forget. For my family, that makes 3 generations that have received degrees from UCF: my father, my daughter (Ph.D. in Exceptional Education), and me. In February 2001, I received the Order of Pegasus as part of the inaugural group that was awarded this highest honor the university gives.
If you could change one thing at UCF, what would it be? ($ and time no object)
I would want to fund (either totally or partially) travel opportunities abroad so that our students would have exposure to other cultures and their histories to better understand their place – and the importance of it – in the world culture.
What is one piece of advice you would like to share with your colleagues?
I would remind my colleagues of the importance of mentoring and demonstrating ultimate care and concern for our students. More importantly, I would ask that they remember that but for the students, we would NOT be where we are. We must give our very best each and every day.
What is your favorite restaurant or food?
My favorite restaurant is Cutter’s in Seattle, Washington. They make the BEST salmon fettucine ever.
What is your favorite book or movie or song?
My favorite song is “Both Sides Now” by Joni Mitchell. Favorite book: “The Complete Works of Edgar Allen Poe.”
What is your dream vacation spot?
Because of its rich history and exquisite food, the South of France.
What is your favorite sport to watch or participate?
My favorite sport to watch is football.
If UCF was going to name something in your honor, what would you like it to be?
My passion is working with and for students. A fitting award would be “The Dr. Carolyn Walker Hopp Award for Excellence in Mentoring.”
If you could have lunch with anyone at UCF, who would you choose and why?
I would like to have lunch and extended conversation with Provost Tony Waldrop, who knew my father.
Who at UCF would you like to thank for your success?
There are so many. Dean Sandra Robinson (College of Education) who has always supported my work and championed me throughout, and my colleagues in the College of Education who have supported my leadership efforts and have fostered a sense of community and collaboration in which I have grown and prospered.
Name and describe a teacher from you past who truly inspired you.
Growing up in the south in the 50s and 60s was both a challenge and an inspiration. I was inspired by many of my teachers, but Miss Betty Foster, my 3rd grade teacher, was my true inspiration. She stood over 6’ tall with a booming voice whose mantra was “excellence is the only option.” She believed in her mantra, and she believed in all of us. The most important thing I learned from her was that as long as you pursued excellence in all that you did, nothing could stand in your way. She and my parents were right about that.
What undergraduate class/program inspired you the most and why?
At Spelman College in Atlanta, GA, I was a French and English literature double major. Some of the greatest writers of our time were coming into prominence in the late sixties – Nikki Giovanni, Alice Walker, and Alex Haley, who spoke at my graduation about the little book he was writing, titled “Roots.” It was reading and studying great works of literature – past, present, and future, that inspired me to want to know more about the world.