When Carole Boston Weatherford joined Fayetteville State University's faculty in 2002 as a Distinguished Visiting Professor in the Department of English, she was a seasoned publicist and the author of 15 books. The daughter of educators, she came to the University with a wealth of real-world wisdom. Now a full professor, Weatherford has 40 books that have garnered 13 national and seven statewide honors, including the Caldecott Honor Medal, the Coretta Scott King Award, the NAACP Image Award, and the North Carolina Award for Literature. Such titles as Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom, Becoming Billie Holiday, and Birmingham, 1963 mine the past for family stories, fading traditions, and forgotten struggles and span the genres of poetry, nonfiction, biography, and historical fiction.
Weatherford's teaching and literary careers intertwine to benefit her students, distinguish the University, and serve the community and the profession. Just as her award-winning books reach millions in K-12 classrooms and her presentations at schools, libraries, and conferences inspire students and teachers alike, her courses in children's and adolescent literature impact not only her students—mostly education majors—but their future students as well. Thus, her influence as a teaching writer is beyond measure.
Weatherford's teaching philosophy stresses interactive learning and that writers must be readers. She believes that every student's story is valid and that it is more important to know the right questions than all the answers. With a focus on transliteracy, she prods students to edit, revise, and adapt their writing for new and traditional media platforms.
Her accomplishments as a teacher rival her literary laurels. In the Department of English, she pioneered online course development, helped conceive and now coordinates the undergraduate and graduate writing certificate programs, and created such new courses as Issues in Professional Writing, Writing for Children, and most recently the Junior Seminar—Hip Hop: Poetry, Politics and Pop Culture. She has piloted several innovations in the Children's Literature course. For example, upon finding that online students at military outposts or from rural areas could not access quality children's literature, she provided links to more than 60 acclaimed children's titles that are available online. Her face-to-face children's literature class often incorporates a school visit—a service learning project where students present books and activities in K-5 classrooms. In Spring 2011, her class staged a multimedia readers theatre of her book Freedom on the Menu: The Greensboro Sit-ins. The performance brought more than 600 elementary school students to FSU's campus and was presented in partnership with the School of Education and the FSU Office of Community and Government Affairs. Weatherford has also collaborated with the Department of Performing and Fine Arts to on several programs marrying poetry and music.
Weatherford earned a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and holds a Master of Arts in Publications Design from the University of Baltimore. She completed her undergraduate students at the American University.