Joan Carter Named 2022 Outstanding Educator

Engineering instructor recognized by college and Minnesota State

Joan Carter, EdD, PE, Engineering faculty at Inver Hills Community College, was honored by the campus community and the Minnesota State Board of Trustees as a 2022 Outstanding Educator. The Board of Trustees Awards for Excellence acknowledge and provide system-wide recognition for consistently superior professional achievement of Minnesota State college and university teaching and service faculty.

The Board of Trustees Awards virtual ceremony, Celebrating Excellence, honored Joan and her fellow 2022 recipients April 20, 2022, from noon to 1 p.m. Everyone was invited to share in the joyful pride that board members, faculty, students, and campus administrators take in these exceptional teachers and administrative service faculty.

Minnesota State: “A licensed professional engineer, Carter helps students understand complex concepts, works to make all students feel a sense of belonging in the classroom, and has developed courses that easily transfer toward bachelor’s degrees.”

Joan was thrilled to receive statewide recognition for her work as faculty in the college’s Engineering program. “I thank President Berndt and Interim Vice President Lindstrom for this honor,” she said. “I am an Outstanding Educator because of my students. I am grateful to all of my students, especially the one who nominated me (whoever you are). I feel so lucky to have a job I love.”

“I am so proud that Joan is being recognized as one of Inver’s faculty for the 2022 Board of Trustees Award for Excellence in Teaching. She is passionate about student learning and success and brings an engineer’s concentrated attention to improving her teaching. I have heard from more than one student that Joan was the reason they came to Inver Hills.”

Michael Berndt
Inver Hills Community College
Dakota County Technical College

“Professor Carter is simply amazing; she is the best professor I have had for any class in my two years of college classes. She prioritizes the student’s learning and will go to great lengths to help us as individuals understand a concept if we are struggling. She clearly conveys the information in an engaging way, and her expertise from many years as a professional engineer is evident. She has adapted her classes to the online environment very well, and I feel like I am learning just as much if not more from her online classes than other in-person classes I have taken.”

Nomination statement from Inver Hills student

More about Joan…

Carter family: Ed, Joan, Ellen, Matt

Originally from Golden Valley, Minnesota, Joan graduated from Armstrong High School in Plymouth, Minnesota. She started teaching at Inver Hills in August 2016.

Just last February, Joan earned her Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Minnesota State University Mankato. She completed the Ed.D. program with a 4.0 GPA, developing a workshop for STEM teachers that includes a racial and gender equity module. Her dissertation title is Pathways Towards an Engineering Baccalaureate Degree–Critical Incidents and Factors Leading Students to Choose Community College: A Phenomenological Study.

Joan has an M.S. in Mathematics with an Emphasis in Education from Bemidji State University, an M.S. in Civil-Structural Engineering and a B.A. in Mathematics from the University of Colorado Boulder. She has been a licensed professional engineer in Minnesota, Iowa, and California for 25 years.

Joan’s husband, Ed, is also an engineer. “We met in graduate school in Colorado,” she said. “Our daughter, Ellen, is a teacher in St. Paul Public Schools. And our son, Matt, is a database manager at UW.”

In her free time, Joan enjoys doing anything outside, including downhill and cross-country skiing, rollerblading and ice skating, hiking, kayaking, and walking with friends. Joan and Ed reside in South St. Paul, Minnesota.

Teaching philosophy

I believe my job as a teacher is to provide a structured learning framework, a safe environment, and critical thinking material so each student is able to clearly understand what it takes for success. I truly believe each student who enters my classroom is capable and deserving of learning. Ultimately, it is up to the student to learn. I am here to support their learning and help students access their success.

Joan Carter, EdD, PE
Engineering Faculty
2022 Outstanding Educator
Inver Hills Community College

Joan Carter, EdD, PE Q & A

Kick Off 2019
What advice would you give students thinking about majoring in engineering?

Having an interest is most important, even a passing interest. Are you curious? Do you want to contribute positively to your world? Engineers are creative problem solvers. We are innovators. You can learn what you need to know, if you have interest and are willing to apply yourself. The U.S. needs more engineers. Why not you? Take the next steps to find out more.

How can studying engineering enhance learning in other disciplines?

Engineering is applied math and science. Additionally, you need good writing and communication skills. Many engineers are also artists. As an engineer, you use all of these to solve problems, create solutions, and innovate. Often when we are studying these other subjects they seem isolated. Engineering brings it all together.

Which of the four main branches of engineering—chemical, civil, electrical, or mechanical—interests you the most and why?
Joan and Tatem

My education is as a civil-structural engineer. I worked professionally, primarily designing buildings. I have always been a good coder and had an affinity toward electrical and electronics. As a teacher, I have a passion for learning and have taken to mechanical engineering, which sits in the middle of all these other branches.

I have had students go on into chemical engineering. A former student, Tatem Rios, is graduating this spring from the U of M with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering. She will start a PhD program at MIT in the fall. Our long-term plan is to have her help expand the ChemE offerings at Inver.

Three words that describe you as an engineering educator:

What unsolved mystery of engineering do you consider most worth exploring?

The world needs us doing everything we can to reverse climate change. Engineers are at the core of the solutions. This is our moon-shot. Engineers can do it but this needs to be made a priority with government and people’s support. Reminder to vote.

Why is engineering one of the best resources for sorting out humankind’s most troubling problems?

We are professional problem solvers. What better expertise to have when solving the most troublesome problems?

Where do you hope to find yourself in 20 years?


What person has influenced your life the most and why?

My daughter Ellen. She was born wise. She has taught me so much about myself and teaching.

One word that best describes your experience as an engineering educator:


Joan Carter, EdD, PE 12 Answers

Inver Hills Commencement 2019
  1. Favorite physical activity: Being outside—skiing, skating, hiking…
  2. Place you would most like to visit: Patagonia—a mountainous region in southern Chile and Argentina
  3. The most exciting thing you’ve ever done: Hang gliding in the Alps
  4. Three things you would do if you won a $1 billion lottery: I would use it to support students’ learning with: 1) Scholarships 2) Food and housing 3) Good facilities
  5. Best book you’ve read lately: Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr; The Seed Keeper by Diane Wilson; currently enjoying The Sentence by Louise Erdrich; please don’t make me pick.
  6. Time period you would explore if you could time travel: Happy to stay right here. I would like another chance to talk to my dad and grandparents who are no longer with us.
  7. One thing you most want to accomplish in life: To be a skilled engineering educator who inspires students to become engineers.
  8. Your national bird if you were your own country: The eagle!
  9. Dream occupation: The one I have right now. There is no place I would rather be!
  10. Person you would most like to meet: Emily Roebling (1843–1903), the engineer who supervised the building of the Brooklyn Bridge over a 10-year period. This is my all-time favorite structure and an engineering marvel.
  11. Skill you would most like to learn and master: Piano
  12. Most important issue or problem facing humankind: The effects of climate change and misinformation that is holding us back

More about Engineering at Inver Hills…

Engineering is creative problem-solving to improve the human condition. Using theories as well as scientific and mathematical applications, engineers imagine, design, create, and improve the world around us.

Engineers and the various engineering specialists are essential components of virtually everything we take for granted in modern civilization. You name it and you can bet engineers and engineering are involved. More engineers are needed to meet the challenges faced by the next generation.

Engineering is the backbone of civilization.
Engineering and engineers deliver the groundwork for future advancements across the board, including such sectors as transportation, water resources, urban planning, the construction industry, the environment, energy production, infrastructure, and much more.

Skill up for a powerful career.
As an engineering major at Inver Hills, you’ll acquire a full range of knowledge and skills, ranging from structural analysis to teamwork to data modeling to pressure management to problem-solving. As a bonus, the skill set you assemble is fully transferable to other career fields.

Help give humankind a bright future.
Some problems seem almost too big to handle. Think climate change with associated wildfires, flooding, and hurricanes, overpopulation with associated famine and resource depletion, pandemics with associated fatalities and economic collapse. Never mind mentioning the unknown unknowns. Engineers of all kinds are renowned for their ability to think outside any box.

Evaluate a vast catalog of career options.
Engineering majors can choose from a huge variety rewarding occupations directly related to their education. Just a sampling of intriguing careers options include aerospace engineer, ceramics engineer, geological engineer, logistics engineer, marine engineer, materials engineer, nuclear engineer, R & D engineer, security engineer, turbine engineer, and many more.

Work on the front lines of technology.
Engineering is a legacy tree with five main branches: chemical, civil, electrical, mechanical, and bioengineering. Engineers are the cornerstones of state-of-the-science projects focused on aviation, space travel, renewable energy, telecommunications, robotics, sustainability, climate, megascale construction, and much more. What will take shape as engineering’s next big thing?

Make life safer, easier, smarter, happier, and ever honorable.
As an engineering student, you’ll be making headway toward a career that can have remarkably positive effects on our day-to-day lives. Geared for innovation, engineers are engines for advancement in healthcare, technology, transport, and other key sectors of society. Ethical engineering applies a longstanding code of professional behavior that always puts people first.

Turn your love for all things engineering into a lifelong career.
Our A.S. in Engineering Fundamentals gives you the credits you need to transfer with junior-year status to an engineering baccalaureate program at the University of Minnesota, UMD, MSUM, St. Cloud State, and St. Thomas. Your education at Inver Hills will be your cable-stayed bridge to academic and career success.

Engineering Fundamentals A.S.

The Engineering Fundamentals A.S. degree program prepares you for transfer to a four-year college or university to complete a bachelor’s degree in engineering, including civil, electrical, mechanical, or other engineering disciplines. The program covers courses typically offered in first and second years of an accredited engineering curriculum in the United States.

You are strongly encouraged to become informed of the rules and requirements related to the major department at the four-year college or university where you plan to transfer. If you’re seeking to enter the engineering workforce, the program also gives you a strong foundation in engineering principles and practices. You are advised to work with academic advisors and counselors to complete a course plan.

ENGR 1000 Orientation to Engineering meets the FYE requirement for new, entering, first-time college students and/or students with fewer than 12 post-high school transfer credits. The course is especially encouraged if you’re interested in engineering as your major.

As a student in this A.S. degree program, you will complete the Engineering Core Curriculum (13–14 credits) and the General Education Curriculum (46–47 credits) for credit total of 60.

Careers in engineering are linked to a tremendous variety of subdisciplines from microfabrication to infrastructure to telecommunications to engines. As an engineering major at Inver Hills, you will develop the critical-thinking and problem-solving skills essential for rewarding careers that can help change the world for the better.

Learn more about Engineering at Inver Hills by contacting:

Joan Z. Carter, EdD, PE
Engineering Faculty

Admissions Team
College Center

Aerospace Engineers

X-59 Quiet SuperSonic Tech Aircraft • SOURCE: Lockheed Martin

Design, construct, and test aircraft.


This is a very high-wage career that pays well above the statewide median of $23.00/hour


Median: $56.93/hour
High: $65.42/hour

Seven-county Twin Cities metro

Median: $56.88/hour
High: $64.73/hour


This career is seeing very high growth compared to other careers. Growth rate in the Minnesota is 12.4 percent.

There will be a need for about 247 new Aerospace Engineers to meet market demand between 2018–2028. This includes the demand due to replacement (workers leaving the occupation or retiring) as well as growth.

Minnesota State CAREERwise Education
Kick Off 2018

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *