Alumna Profile: Melissa Medina

Melissa Medina (née Shadrick) (Ed.M.’96, Ed.D.’06) is a pharmacy educator with no educational background in pharmacy. Part of Medina’s job is teaching pharmacists how to teach college students.

“I’m not a pharmacist,” explains Medina, “but I understand the lingo because I worked in the medical profession.”

A faculty member at the University of Oklahoma, Medina has quite the lengthy title: Presidential Professor, Assistant Dean of Assessment and Evaluation, and Director of Preparing Future Faculty in the Department of Pharmacy: Clinical Administrative Sciences. Medina’s unique position allows her to not only teach her own courses, but to teach pharmacists how to communicate their expertise in a classroom setting.

“All health professionals, such as pharmacists, go to school to learn their specific field,” says Medina, “but they aren’t trained to teach.”

When Medina arrived at the University of Oklahoma in 2000, she had the passion to teach, a passion that developed at Rutgers.

As an undergraduate student at Rutgers, Medina studied psychology and took notice of the education psychology program offered at the Graduate School of Education (GSE). Once Medina earned her master’s, she started teaching education psychology courses at the GSE and loved every minute of it. She saw the opportunity to expand her knowledge, and immediately enrolled in a doctorate program at the GSE.

Love led Medina to Oklahoma before her doctorate program was complete as she and her husband, also a Rutgers alum, relocated to the mid-west when he took a job at the University of Oklahoma’s College of Pharmacy.

The dean at the college needed to fill a specific position, and Medina’s passion for teaching and background in educational psychology made her a perfect fit. Medina became the director of instructional delivery and assessment, as well as teaching clinical communication courses. Her main responsibility was helping faculty incorporate active learning into their teaching and refine their educational assessments.

“They didn’t need me to be a pharmacist,” states Medina, “they needed me to be an educator.”

Medina’s position at the university was brand new, and one of only a few in the country. Though she was employed at Oklahoma and more than 2,000 miles from Rutgers, Medina received encouragement from GSE faculty to complete her doctoral work.

“The biggest gift I received from the GSE,” declares Medina, “was finding good mentors.”

Medina credits former GSE dean Dr. Richard De Lisi and current faculty member Dr. Angela O’Donnell for helping her complete her doctorate.

After earning her Ed.D., Medina became assistant dean for assessment and evaluation at the University of Oklahoma’s College of Pharmacy. Her dissertation in case-based and problem-based learning helped expand her career to  also work with faculty assessment in the fields of medicine, nursing, public health, allied health, and more.

When Medina reflects on her career, she recognizes the unique position she has at the University of Oklahoma and how it became possible because of what she learned from the GSE.


Learn more about GSE’s education doctorate program by clicking here.