2003 Outstanding Faculty Staff Award
Harold Woodard ’78
Start with a childhood spent on a farm and a fascination with history, throw in an insistent high school guidance counselor, add a love of undergraduate teaching and academic counseling, stir in a little Sam Cooke and Tae Kwon Do and you’ll have the recipe for Harold Woodard, Carolina’s associate dean for student academic counseling.
A native of Sharpsburg, Harold almost didn’t come to Carolina. He already had been accepted at N.C. Central University—he’d even received his room assignment.
“At the time, I knew only four other African-Americans who had attended UNC,” Harold recalled. “I had a black high school guidance counselor—quite a rare occurrence during that period when our school system had just been desegregated—who insisted that I just had to attend Carolina because of its extensive resources and outstanding reputation as a major center of learning. My sixth grade teacher, whose son was then a freshman at Carolina, joined my guidance counselor in advocating for UNC. I guess they wore me down.”
Harold would earn both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees, along with a graduate minor in African history. His academic interests led him to write a master’s thesis on Floyd McKissick, Sr. ’51, noted attorney, civil rights leader and entrepreneur, and to conduct extensive research on Princeville, a North Carolina community which has received national attention as the oldest incorporated, black-governed town in the United States. Founded by slaves, Princeville was devastated by floods in the aftermath of Hurricane Floyd.
Throughout his 25 years at Carolina he has risen from graduate assistant in the Office of Student Counseling to his current appointment as associate dean. Much of Harold’s work has been in the academic trenches, working with students at both pre-college and college levels. He has held been an instructor of reading in UNC’s Learning Center, a curriculum specialist for Upward Bound, and a lecturer in the Department of African/Afro-American Studies. Senior positions have included director of a Summer Study Abroad program to Togo, West Africa; the assistantship to the position he now holds; and assistant dean in the General College. Harold’s current duties include serving his second year as chair of the Black Faculty/Staff Caucus at UNC, as well as serving on the advisory boards of the Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History, Upward Bound Program, the APPLES Service Learning Program, and the board of directors of the Carolina Union.
One of Harold’s current academic aims is to write the dissertation that will complete the requirements for a PhD in history.
He knows that Carolina can be an intimidating place to students who lack assertiveness and a strong sense of identity. “On the other hand,” he points out, “it is also a place that can be exhilarating for those who are intellectually curious and undaunted by people and ideas that are different from anything they have ever experienced. At its best, it is a place where dreams may be born, aspirations nurtured, and spirituality awakened.”
Harold Woodard’s goal has been to make a positive difference in the lives of others. He is this year’s recipient of the Outstanding Black Faculty Award .