Kathleen Carter, RD, Ph.D.

Dr. CarterDr. Carter began her career as a dietitian at a nursing home. After realizing that nutrition, exercise, and health are intertwined she earned a Master’s degree in exercise physiology. After working in the health care field for many years, Dr. Carter earned her PhD in kinesiology, allowing her to delve into the effects of nutrition and exercise on the health of underserved populations.

Statement of research focus:
The pandemic has brought to the forefront the global health disparities and inequities that exist. Dr. Carter’s research is focused on the effects of the environment and lifestyle choices on the health of underserved populations.

Teaching Philosophy
My philosophy on teaching is that all students are unique and require different approaches to assist them in their own education. It is my desire to create an atmosphere where students are met at their current level of learning and encouraged to reach their full potential. I strive to provide a safe environment where students are invited to share their ideas and take risks through authentic interaction. Through these interactions students become encouraged and empowered to use critical-thinking skills.

I believe that there are five essential elements that are conducive to learning. (1) The teacher's role is to guide and encourage. (2) Students must have experiential learning. (3) Science is always changing and students should be encouraged to question current thinking. (4) Students need the opportunity to practice skills in a safe environment. (5) Technology is a mainstay in our culture and must be incorporated into all course work.

The Teachers Role is to Guide and Encourage
In addition to the end of course student evaluations, I conduct two additional assessments to determine the level of student learning. First, I conduct a midterm survey which includes four questions; 1) What is helping your learning in this course?, 2) What is hindering your learning in this course?, 3) What would you do differently if you were teaching this course?, 4) What else do you want me to know?. This allows students to give input prior to the end of the course. Thus, allowing me to adjust classes for the students who are giving the feedback.

Once per week I do a “muddy waters” exercise. Each student writes on an index card concept(s) they do not understand that have been taught in the past week. This allows me to determine what concept(s) need to be reviewed prior advancing to the next topic(s). Also, it allows me to self-reflect on my teaching effectiveness. The anonymity of the muddy waters exercise and midterm survey allows students to express concerns without fear. Making changes because of their input lets them know I am listening and value their input.

Students Must have Experiential Learning
I have recently submitted an IRB application to assist in determining best practices for teaching exercise testing and prescription skills. This project is designed to determine whether a hands on only course or a hands on plus traditional quizzes and exams assist the students in internalizing the information and feel confident in their abilities to perform professional duties post-graduation. Upper level (primarily senior) exercise science majors are required to take EXS 4421 Exercise Testing and Prescription and EXS 4422 Exercise Testing and Prescription for Special Populations. EXS 4421 covers programming for healthy individuals while EXS 4422 covers individuals with chronic diseases. Both courses are focused on properly assessing physical fitness status, setting up appropriate exercise programs given the goals and limitations of the client, and progressing the program as the client improves. This research project will compare assessments of the final project in both courses to determine whether keeping the traditional quizzes and exams, or going to a “hands on” only approach assists students in understanding and applying the information provided in each course.

Science is always changing and students should be encouraged to question current thinking
Science is always changing. Research in both nutrition and exercise science have shown some past practices to not be as accurate as originally thought. Keeping up with the latest information is imperative and research comes from critically thinking about the present knowledge and questioning current norms.

Students Need the Opportunity to Practice Skills in a Safe Environment
Body image issues run deep in the nutrition and exercise fields. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the American College of Sports Medicine have both created committees to develop educational tools to help with these issues. Creating an environment where students feel safe not only conducting the fitness assessments, but also being the “client” for other students without fear of ridicule.

Students also need to understand it is OK to make mistakes when first learning a new skill. Feeling comfortable asking questions, feeling safe from judgement if you make a mistake are imperative to student learning.

Technology is a mainstay in our culture and must be incorporated into all course work.
Numerous technologies have been developed to assist with teaching as well as research. I am submitting a grant to purchase DartFish. DartFish is a software program which allows students to record each other in motion so they can analyze joint angles, determine movement speed, and monitor a person’s movement patterns. This will bring the concepts of biomechanics and ergonomics to life. DartFish has recently developed a cell phone app which allows students to operate the program from their cell phones.

Many of the components of the exercise science lab will serve a dual purpose, primarily for research, but also available for teaching. Students will perform submaximal stress tests, Bod Pod body composition measurements, skin fold measurements, review ECGs in real time, and determine whether a persons’ balance comes primarily from their hips or their ankles. These are concepts we currently discuss in class, but we are not able to perform.

After teaching went online after spring break 2020, I conducted classes via Zoom. Zoom appeared to be the platform of choice for my students. Immediately after the zoom session I uploaded the recording to Schoology or D2L, as well as emailed the link to all students. Students told me that, while they attended the online zoom session, they felt having the recordings to refer to when they had questions during their study time was beneficial to their learning. I am researching ways that courses can be taught face to face, yet still have a recording of the class for students to refer back to.

I held virtual office hours at various times throughout the work week, and one time on the weekend for those students who were working full time. If students requested one on one assistance with course material, or any other types of questions, these sessions were held via zoom.

Summer 2021 CSU switched to D2L learning management system (LMS). Training received and support from the Course Developer, the switch was made successfully. I have been able to assist colleagues who did not have summer experience with the LMS in adapting their courses and understanding the layout of the new course shells. Being able to assist students in navigating the new platform is an important function for instructors and builds trust with the students.




  • 2013 University of Georgia, Athens, GA
    Ph.D. – Kinesiology and Motor Behavior
  • 1990 University of Louisville, Louisville, KY
    M.S. – Exercise Physiology
  • 1984 Miami University, Oxford, OH
    B.S. – Nutrition and dietetics


Information on projects:

1. Effect of Mindfulness training on the stress levels of HBCU students. Currently in data analysis.

2. Effect of yoga on indicators of stress and anxiety of HBCU students. Begins January 2022.

3. Effect of horticulture therapy on stress and anxiety levels of HBCU students. In development.

4. Effect of a campus wide, individualized, wellness program on the health of faculty/staff. Starting January 2022.

5. Changes in inflammatory markers in relation to dietary and fitness program variations. In development.