Human Services Faculty
Ph.D., Iowa State University – Human Development and Family Studies with a Gerontology minor
Melinda primarily teaches courses related to developmental psychology and gerontology. Melinda is passionate about gerontology and wants to create more positive views surrounding older adulthood and aging. Some of her favorite course requirements include service learning activities at Maple Crest Manor and Assisted Living in Fayette. In addition, she also enjoys the creativity she has seen when students work on a “Designing a Toy” project in Developmental Psychology: Birth to Adolescence where they design and discuss a new developmentally appropriate toy for a child.
Her research interests include older adult technology use, caregiving, centenarians and longevity, gerontology education, and death and dying. Most recently, Melinda worked with a Sandra Meder (2015 alumnus) on a research grant project titled “Caregiving in the 21st century: Exploring dementia caregiver’s technology use.” The grant was funded from the R.J. McElroy Student/Faculty Research Program Fund. Interviews with caregivers caring for a loved one with dementia were conducted throughout the state of Iowa in order to find out more about how technology may aid in the caregiving experience. Findings from the study were presented at the Gerontological Society of America.
Ph.D., Iowa State University – Human Development and Family Studies
Dr. Shelby A. Kaura has a Ph.D. in Human Development and Family Studies; M.S. in Human Development and Family Studies with an emphasis on Marriage and Family Therapy; and B.S. in Psychology, all from Iowa State University. Prior to UIU, she completed a three-year Postdoctoral Fellowship at Iowa State where she was an Adjunct Faculty member teaching undergraduate courses in HDFS and a Research Scientist at the Institute for Social and Behavioral Research. She was Project Manager for Welfare, Children, and Families: A Three-City Study, a federally funded multimillion dollar longitudinal study of the impact of welfare reform on children and families. She was also Principle Investigator of a study on violence and abuse among college dating couples.
Currently she is an Associate Professor of Human Services and the Chair of the Human Services Program. She has been with Upper Iowa University since November of 2007 and her office is located at the Des Moines Center. She advises both human services and psychology students and teaches courses in support of both majors, in addition to a few courses in sociology and criminal justice. In particular, she teaches the following courses:
- Social Welfare Policies and Programs
- Marriage and the Family
- Skills and Strategies in the Helping Profession
- Issues and Ethics in the Helping Profession
- General and Abnormal Psychology
- Social Gerontology
- Methods in Human Services I
- Senior Project (required for center and online students)
- Internship and Special Project Supervisor for psychology and criminal justice
She also teaches two online graduate courses in support of the M.Ed. Higher Education Administration Emphasis.