Melinda Saunders

Dean of Curriculum and Instruction


Ms. Saunders joined the faculty and administrative team of NPRC as the College’s first Dean of Curriculum and Instruction in March 2018.

A life-long West Virginian, Ms. Saunders is excited to share her 20+ years of experience providing accessible and affordable quality education to the residents of Appalachia with those in NPRC’s service region. From 1994 through 2018, Ms. Saunders served Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College in various roles, including Professor of Mathematics, Chair of the Department of Mathematics, Division Head of University Transfer, and Chair for the School of Arts and Sciences. Under her leadership, Southern implemented a co-requisite model for delivery of developmental and college-level mathematics and English which provided a pathway for direct entry into gateway math and English courses for all students entering the open-door institution. The program resulted in opportunity for accelerated degree completion, saving students time and money. As Chair for the School of Arts and Sciences, Ms. Saunders developed the curriculum transfer agreement for the partnership between Southern and The University of Pikeville School of Optometry which awards students 90 credit hours in transfer and direct admission into the school’s professional program. Other notable recent accomplishments include presentations on models promoting rapid degree completion and success in mathematics and writing at the West Virginia Student Success Summit (2015), the West Virginia Community College Association/West Virginia Association of Developmental Educators Joint Conference (2015), and the John N. Gardner Institute Gateway Course Experience Conference (2016).

Ms. Saunders was honored with the Sava-Kostas Outstanding Faculty Award (2000) and the Joanne Jaeger-Tomblin President’s Award (2003). She was named as an Outstanding Contributor of the Year by the West Virginia Community College Association (2014). As a member of the West Virginia State Math Task Force Committee (2016-2018), Ms. Saunders worked to align mathematics curriculum to establish criteria for statewide guaranteed pre-requisite transfer of mathematics courses. She was nominated to the inaugural class of the President’s Future Leaders Academy at Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College (2009-2011) and was a member of the West Virginia Deans Academy (2017-2018).

An alumnus of Marshall University, Ms. Saunders earned a Bachelor of Arts in Education and a Master of Science in Physical Science.   She holds a permanent West Virginia Teaching License with certifications in chemistry, physics, general science, and mathematics. During her tenure at Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College, Ms. Saunders taught a variety of science and math courses, including courses in algebra, mathematics for elementary education, trigonometry, calculus, and physics.

Ms. Saunders understands the life-changing value of postsecondary education. The product of a building supplies salesman father and a homemaker mother, cracking the door as a first-generation college student helped pave the educational path for the three children she and her husband share. All three children parlayed their Bachelor’s degrees into professional careers. As a life-long learner, the eldest has earned multiple degrees, including a Master of Science in Environmental Science; the youngest daughter holds an M.D. and is a second-year pediatric resident.

Beginning her pursuit of post-secondary education as a high school dual enrollment student, Ms. Saunders completed 26 college credits during her senior year of high school. Subsequently, she completed her first year as a full-time college student at a community college. She embraces the regional approach to the delivery of educational services as it afforded her the opportunity to achieve her educational goals while living in her home community and taking care of her family. Ms. Saunders is eager to share her academic and personal philosophy of helping people achieve greater success through education with those in the NPRC community.