Associate Professor Carol Weaver, who has inspired more than 600 graduate students in the College of Education for more than two decades, will receive the Distinguished Teaching Award as part of Seattle University's 2013 Alumni Awards celebration on April 16.
Honored alongside Weaver will be Gordon McHenry, '79 (Alumnus of the Year); Deborah Limb '88 (Professional Achievement Award); Maureen Benoliel, '71, (University Service Award); Rick Friedhoff, '67, (Community Service Award); and Santa Maria Rivera, '08, (Outstanding Recent Alumnus).
Weaver, who retired from the classroom this past fall and will fully retire at the end of the academic year after 23 years in the Adult Education and Training (AEDT) program, is adored by her students.
"Carol's selection of what was important, buttressed by discussion and feedback, helped us immediately become better educators, and suggested a design for lifelong learning that has worked for me professionally and personally ever since," said Shash Woods, pre-college instructor at Highline Community College and one of the first graduates of the AEDT program.
Included in Weaver's legion of admirers are many colleagues.
"Carol Weaver is one of the most talented academics I've had the fortune of working with in my career," says Bob Hughes, interim dean of the College of Education and AEDT program chair. "She is the very definition of 'student-centered.' And she knows more about teaching, course design and content delivery than anyone I've met. She's a wonderful colleague whom I'll miss tremendously when she fully retires."
A master teacher and mentor within the College of Education and throughout the university, Weaver has been widely sought out for advice and counsel. This includes her work with the university's Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL), peer-coaching programs, the Teaching and Learning task force and the New Faculty Institute.
"Carol has been a fantastic supporter, advocate and instigator of faculty development on campus to improve student learning by encouraging faculty to take more thoughtful, research-based approaches to their pedagogy," says David Green, director of CETL.
Weaver's passion for teaching was inspired by numerous teachers, but it was her home economics instructor who opened doors that would lead her to a rewarding career in adult education. Her teacher encouraged her to get involved in Future Homemakers of America (FHA), a statewide leadership program that helped Weaver earn college scholarships and also helped to frame her career path. She would eventually work for the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction as the state coordinator of FHA, giving her the opportunity to work with home economics students and teachers across the state.
"This youth organization made a difference in my life," says Weaver. "In my state position with FHA, I got to see good teachers and good programs, and I knew that the best way I could influence what was happening in schools was to influence what was happening with teachers."
She pursued a doctorate at The Ohio State University and came back to teach home economics teacher preparation at her undergraduate alma mater, Washington State University. In the early 1980s, she planned training conferences for Supreme Court justices, judges and court personnel.
Weaver was selected as the first full-time faculty member in the Adult Education and Training program at Seattle University in 1989. She continued to support judicial education program development at the national level and in 2005 received the Warren E. Burger Award for Excellence in Court Administration from the National Center for State Courts. For the past few years, Weaver has been redesigning curriculum with Hughes to meet the needs of students and instructors in the changing field of adult education.
While Weaver said she has had a lot of fun teaching, she admits it takes tenacity and hard work. "Learning has made such a difference in my own life that I really operate on the sense that learning can make a difference in other peoples' lives as well. Teaching isn't something you do casually, and I don't want my students to take it casually. It's very intentional. It takes planning and hard work."
Weaver says she is looking forward to spending her retirement enjoying other outlets for creativity, including sewing and outdoor activities.