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Tribute to Dr. Shirley L. Haworth

October 10, 2008

Category: Academics, Faculty, Teacher Education


Delivered by Dr. Lou Ann Kasias during the Pinning Ceremony for Students Admitted to the Teacher Education Program

Dr. HaworthMy comments tonight will be directed in tribute to Dr. Shirley Lambert Haworth, former chairperson of the Department of Teacher Education at Catawba College. Shirley, we welcome you back to Catawba College. In the audience are former faculty, staff members, and students who when told that we were paying tribute to Dr. Haworth responded that they wanted to be here to share this event with her. To those of you who worked with Shirley while she was here at the College or who were her former students, would you please stand so that our students and their family members might recognize your presence and so that Shirley is again made aware of the respect we continue to have for the influence she has had on our lives.

Tributes often begin with some biographical background, and I feel that I need to begin this tribute in a traditional manner. Dr. Haworth was born and reared in Guilford County, near High Point, North Carolina. She was one of two children of Bill and Sarah Lambert. In 1958, Shirley married William Haworth, who at the time, was studying to become an attorney. Bill Haworth has had a distinctive career as an attorney in High Point and recently retired from active practice. (Bill, please stand to be recognized.) This past summer Bill and Shirley's two sons hosted a dinner in celebration of their parents' fiftieth wedding anniversary. Both of their sons have earned doctorate degrees. Blair is a researcher and writer for the Army's Division of Military History and Dan is an Assistant Professor of Latin American Studies at the University of Houston at Clear Lake, Texas.

Dr. Haworth is presented with an honorThose of you who have come to know Shirley well may be aware that she has many talents. She knows a lot about many subjects. Ask her the name of a flower, a bird, or a bug and she will likely tell you its scientific name. She is a connoisseur of the pottery products found in an area North Carolinians refer to as Jugtown. One complete wall in her home has beautiful examples of North Carolina pottery. She is an excellent cook. Many of Shirley's friends were convinced that when she retired she would open an interior decorating business. Instead, she has basically redecorated most of her home in Jamestown. You may not know, however, that she was once a contestant in the Mrs. North Carolina competition. Shirley won the driving contest. How fitting? I learned very early that if you need direction, go to Shirley and she will steer you right.

You may think that I have digressed since I am here to recognize the teacher educator aspect of Shirley Haworth's life. However, Dr. Haworth emphasized to her staff and students the importance of educators being curious and well-rounded. Not too long after retiring, Shirley took a class in Spanish. She was planning to visit Mexico and wanted to be able to enjoy her visit to the utmost. This past year, Shirley and Bill retraced some of Lewis and Clark's trip down the Columbia River. Shirley exemplifies the importance of being a life-long learner.

Dr. Haworth's initial preparation as a teacher began at Guilford College, where she earned a degree in primary education and history. Over a period of 13 years, Dr. Haworth taught grades one through four. While employed as a public school teacher, she earned her master's from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She went on to earn her doctoral degree in Curriculum and Teaching from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. In the 1980's, she completed post-doctoral work at the University of Northern Arizona and at Ball State University.
Dr. Haworth's work in higher education began at UNC-G where she served in many capacities, including the Director of Elementary Education, Assistant Dean and Director of Undergraduate Studies and Certification, Coordinator of Field Experiences, and Coordinator of Teacher Education. I first met Shirley when I was a supervisor of a group of student teachers and Shirley was my boss. During this time she became my unofficial mentor. Whenever I encountered a situation that I felt needed the wisdom of Solomon, I sought Shirley's advice. She did not always give me a direct answer but was a good listener who allowed me to problem solve aloud. I learned to appreciate her counsel and for those situations in which a stand had to be taken and I needed support, I knew I could go to Shirley because she had the strength to be decisive when no one else would.

Later, when I was an assistant professor here at Catawba College, our department struggled with accreditation clearances for some of our undergraduate programs. In the meantime, the Board of Trustees was urging us to start a master's program in education. We again struggled and were having difficulty obtaining the initial approval from the Southern Association of Colleges and Universities. Dr. Shirley Ritchie and I called on Dr. Haworth at UNC-G for advice since she had recently been successful in leading the university's school of teacher education through an accreditation review. Dr. Haworth shared with us the volumes of reports that had been written for their visit. This allowed Dr. Ritchie and I to have better insights regarding how in-depth our reports needed to be but were not. At the end of the meeting, I inquired if Dr. Haworth knew of anyone similar to herself who might be interested in coming to Catawba to help us develop a master's program. I remember saying, "We need a Shirley Haworth."

There was a slight pause, and Shirley responded, "You said that you want someone like me. Why don't you want me?" Dr. Ritchie and I babbled a bit as we commented that we did not think that she would want to leave her position at a university to become a faculty member at our small institution. She responded, "Ask me." We did and she responded that she would strongly consider the move. Dr. Ritchie and I returned to Salisbury, almost giddy in our excitement. After some negotiations between Catawba College and Dr. Haworth, she joined our faculty.

Within a few months, Dr. Haworth had accomplished what we had failed to be able to do. We had the initial approval for the graduate program. A couple of years later, Dr. Haworth assumed the chairmanship of the department. Among the reasons that Dr. Haworth chose to join us here was she wanted the opportunity to implement her curriculum development skills in creating programs from the ground up. She accomplished this with the graduate program. When she chaired the teacher education department, we completely revised our undergraduate programs. This was done with full department participation. The programs that Dr. Haworth helped us build were not personality driven. They grew out of consensus building among the teacher education faculty. The teacher education faculty and staff spent many Friday afternoons working from 1:30 until 6:00 p. m. discussing the knowledge, skills, and dispositions we wanted our program completers to possess and the curriculum and experiences we needed to provide in order to help our students be successful. Dr. Haworth insisted that we develop a program, one that was logically sequential and blended theory with practice. Much of the program that you are experiencing was developed during her tenure here as department chair.

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  • The conceptual framework that is posted on the walls throughout this floor was conceived during her tenure here.
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  • The process of interviewing students prior to their admission to the teacher education program began while Dr. Haworth was chair of the department.
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  • Prior to moving to this building, we had no Curriculum Materials Center. When this building was designed, such a space was provided, and through some wrangling on the part of Dr. Haworth, we were given permission to hire a director of the center.
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  • The Catawba-Overton Partnership for Excellence (COPE) was Dr. Haworth's brainchild, and through the cooperation of Dr. Mary Francis Edens and her faculty at Overton School, this association was begun. COPE continues to this day as our elementary interns periodically visit and teach in Overton classes during their junior year. One reciprocal benefit from this association is that several of Overton teachers have received financial incentives toward earning their master's degrees in elementary education here at Catawba.
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  • You are studying in a nationally accredited teacher education program. This recognition was first achieved because of Dr. Haworth's leadership.
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  • Prior to the arrival of Dr. Haworth, our department struggled during accreditation visits. Because of the foundation that she helped build, our accreditation visits have been very successful. (As an aside, I have found and believe that you will find that to have stability and strength in any endeavor you need a wise and strong leader. Dr. Haworth has been retired almost ten years; yet, since her retirement, the foundation that she helped us lay contributed toward our having successfully completed two national and state accreditation cycles. The confidence in our program continues to be strong as evidenced in the number of graduate students in our graduate program; the compliments we have received from outside program reviewers; the success of our program completers who have earned various teacher -of- the-year recognitions both locally, regionally, and on a state level; and the large number of program completers who have gone on to become National Board Certified teachers.)
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While at Catawba College, Dr. Haworth brought respect to our department while she actively served on various college committees and was a dynamic Faculty Senate chair. Faculty members from throughout the college sought her professional advice.

Dr. Haworth's contributions to the field of education went beyond Catawba College. She was an active member of the Association of Teacher Education, serving on state, regional and national boards. She served on the Board of Examiners for the National Council of Accreditation for Teacher Educators. You know it as NCATE. She was the President and later the Executive Secretary of the North Carolina Association of Colleges for Teacher Education. Just last year, this latter organization, known as NCACTE, honored Dr. Haworth at a luncheon during its fall forum. They presented her with a clock that was inscribed "In appreciation of distinguished advocacy service and leadership in North Carolina teacher education."

It is fitting tonight at this Pinning Ceremony for us to recognize her many contributions to the teaching profession. The idea for having this annual ceremony came from Dr. Haworth. She felt the admission of teacher candidates into the Catawba College Teacher Education Program should be recognized as a milestone. In fact, Dr. Haworth designed the pin you will be receiving tonight.

Dr. Haworth, please come forward. The Department of Teacher Education has chosen to name the annual student teaching award in your honor. From this time forward this award will be named the Shirley L. Haworth Prospective Teacher Award. This framed recognition acknowledges your contributions and dedication to the preparation of reflective teachers.

Would you like to share a few comments with our audience?


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PhotosPHOTOS: Pinning Ceremony (Fall 2008)

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