Learning Technology

Q&A: Assistant Director of Learning Technology Initiatives

Getting to know Melissa Ellegood

Wednesday, August 16, 2023

Melissa Ellegood joined the Center in June as our Assistant Director of Learning Technology Initiatives. The position was left vacant after her predecessor, Matt Burgess, took over the University's transition to Canvas as ITS' Learning Technology Services Director. Melissa shares more about her journey to UVA, what her experience has been like so far, and her goals for this position.

Q: Share a little about your background and experience. What has your career path looked like?

My career path into education was a bit different than most. I graduated from Christopher Newport University with a business degree in 2010. At the time, finding a job was difficult, to say the least, I was offered a teaching assistant position at Stony Point Elementary and loved it! From there, I found Arizona Teaching Fellows, which was an alternative route to becoming a teacher. I found myself the next summer in Yuma, AZ teaching high school special education.

From there, my career evolved into leading the district in using Canvas becoming a data and technology coach. Around that time, I met my husband Jae, who is also in the education field. I was so fascinated by educational technology that I pursued a master's degree in it from Arizona State University. Soon after graduating, I became the director of Learning Technologies/Learning Management. Then the world shut down and I led the district through teaching at home because of COVID-19. I pursued a second master's degree in Educational Leadership and became an assistant principal around the same time my husband and I decided it was time to come home because we had a little human on the way.

Q: What excited you most about the Assistant Director of Learning Technology Initiatives position?

There are many things that excite me about the position. The CTE team has a wide range of expertise and diverse set of skills for me to be able to lean on and learn from in this position. I am learning all about higher education, which has always been of interest to me as well as a goal to work at the post secondary level. UVA thus far has been great.

Q: How has your first month or two on the job been? What have you been up to? Any highlights or unexpected challenges?

Learning...a lot of learning has taken place for me over the last few months. I have been learning all about the Learning Tech website, the request process, our budget for learning technologies as well as the UVA environment itself.

Q: What do you hope to accomplish in your first year?

I would love to have a process in place for piloting learning technologies that is easy, but ensures we are accessible, inclusive, and safe. I would also like to work with a few different committees on developing a rubric to help us assess different learning technologies.

Q: Coming from K-12, how has the transition to higher ed been? What do you think of UVA so far?

It has been a pretty smooth transition--very different in some ways and in others it is very similar. They say good teaching is good teaching and I am learning many of the strategies used in K-12 are also used in higher ed. I have really enjoyed UVA so far and feel very grateful to be working in this position. My mom has worked for UVA for 43 years so in a way it is very familiar to me, but also very different.

Q: What do you like to do for fun?

By far, my favorite activity is playing with my fourteen month old son, Emerson. I love hanging out with my family and friends. We seem to travel often, which I have always enjoyed, [and make sure to check] out a winery or brewery in the area.

Melissa Ellegood's headshot'

Melissa Ellegood

she/her Assistant Director of Learning Technology Initiatives