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Sylvia Y. Cain

Associate Professor of Education

Sylvia Y. Cain


B.S - Florida State University, 1998 - Mass Communications
M.S. - Florida State University, 2000 - Elementary Education
Ph.D. - Emory University, 2007 - Educational Studies


Dr. Sylvia Y. Cain (formerly Taylor) joined the Tift College of Education faculty at Mercer University in the fall of 2007. She has primarily served as an instructor and academic advisor for graduate and undergraduate students attending the Henry, Douglas, and Atlanta campuses. Currently, she serves as the academic advisor to all Elementary Education/Special Education undergraduate students who attend the Atlanta campus. Prior to Mercer University, Dr. Cain served as a University Supervisor and Coordinator for the Emory University Partnership Advisory Council. Dr. Cain has also provided professional development to teachers in the areas of language arts and literacy. She is a former elementary school teacher in Orange County Public Schools in Orlando, Florida. 


As a basic philosophy, Dr. Cain believes the distinction between the teacher and the learner is fluid rather than concrete. She believes that professors should always grow, evolve, and learn from those they seek to educate. With those guiding principles, in 2011, Dr. Cain received the Mercer University, Tift College of Education, Cathryn Futral Excellence in Teaching Award. In addition to teaching courses such as EDUC 625: Culturally and Educationally Responsive Pedagogy, EDUC 428: Teaching Social Studies for Early Childhood Education, and EDUC 378: Children’s Literature Across the Curriculum, she also played an integral role in program and course development. She has the distinction of being instrumental in the development of the Mercer University Master’s of Early Childhood Education (M.Ed.) online program.


Dr. Cain’s research interests include: multicultural education, social studies education, language arts and literacy education, effective mentor practices, and urban schools/equity issues. In 2007, her dissertation entitled: Academic Resilience in African American Students: A Study of Recovery from Proximal Risk, received the Distinguished Dissertation in Teacher Education Award, from the Georgia Association of Teacher Educators (GATE).


Taylor, S. (2012). Using cultural narratives to positively transform pre-service teachers’ attitudes towards diversity appreciation. Education, 2(2), 1-5.

Taylor, S. Y. (2007). Academic resilience in African American students: A study of recovery from proximal risk. (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from ProQuest Dissertations and Theses. (Accession Order No. AAT3264107)

Williams, S. Y. (2001). A new teacher’s perspective. Phi Kappa Phi Journal National Forum, 81(4), 28-29.


Dr. Cain’s service to Mercer University, the Tift College of Education, and her local community is extensive. At Mercer University, from 2007 to 2019, she served as a chapter counselor for the Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society in Education. The Upsilon Theta Chapter, which serves Regional Academic Center students recently celebrated 25 years of honoring deserving students. In addition to academic advising, committee service, and program development, Dr. Cain has also coordinated program assessment for Elementary Education M.Ed. and Ed.S. graduate programs at Mercer University. In her local community, Dr. Cain has volunteered in several elementary school literacy programs, such as Read Across America and Promoting Incredible Readers.