category: Faculty Emeriti - In Memory Of

Patricia Woodward Partin

Professor Emerita of Psychology and Counseling

Patricia Woodward Partin

Patricia Woodward Partin (1938-2012) was born in Albemarle, N.C., to J. Floyd and Pauline Willis Woodward. Her mother was a teacher for 40 years, and her father was a superintendent in the Wilkes County school system. She had one sister, Gail.

Partin graduated from Wilkes 
Central High School and went
 on to earn her Bachelor of
 Arts degree in history and 
education from Wake Forest University in 1960. Her first position was teaching social studies to middle and high school students in Princess Anne County Public Schools in Virginia Beach, Va., from 1960-65. She then became a resident advisor at Duke University for two years before serving as a counselor at Carroll Junior High School in Raleigh, N.C., while she was working toward her master’s degree in guidance and counseling at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, which she completed in 1968. She held counseling positions at J.W. Ligon Junior High School, Raleigh, from 1971-76; Millbrook High School, Raleigh, from 1976-78; and Duke University School of Nursing, Durham, from 1978-80.

From 1980-88 she was an assistant professor in counselor education at North Dakota State University, Fargo, N.D., and completed her doctorate in counseling psychology from Duke in 1984.

In 1988, Dr. Partin relished getting back to the South and some warmer weather when she came to Gardner-Webb University, where she served as the coordinator of the school counseling graduate program until 2003. She continued as professor of psychology and counseling until her retirement in 2006, after which she was named faculty emerita.

Partin was very active in professional organizations during her career and was known throughout the state and region, perhaps even nationally, for her knowledge and expertise in the area of counseling. To mention just a few of her affiliations, she served as president of the N.C. School Counselor Association, president of the North Dakota Association for Counseling and Development, member of the Executive Council of the N.C. Counseling Association more than once, member of several executive boards as well as editorial boards, and member of various other counseling and psychology organizations. Partin also made numerous presentations, not only in North Carolina but throughout the nation. Finally, she was instrumental in helping launch the School of Psychology and Counseling at Gardner-Webb and then completing the accreditation process of the Council on Accreditation of Counseling and Related Programs (CACREP).

Partin received many awards for her service over the years in both North Carolina and North Dakota. Several of them came from the N.C. Counseling Association, including the Ella Stephens Barrett Award for leadership in counseling in 2005. In 1988 she received an award for outstanding service to the North Dakota Association for Counseling and Development.

When asked about her favorite part of teaching, Partin replied that she “enjoyed the students, watching them change and grow.” Obviously students enjoyed her too, because even after they graduated, they would continue to come by, call, or email asking for her advice after they were in full-time positions. As to why she left teaching and went into counseling, she said that she “went into it because students would come to me with problems, and I did not know how to help them.”

Partin loved being part of the Department of Psychology and Counseling, which grew into the School of Psychological Science and Counselor Education, because she was lucky enough to be a full-time faculty member during a wonderful time of growth and expansion of that particular school as well as the University. She considered Gardner-Webb University’s faculty and staff a second family and continued to have close ties to the University during her retirement. Until her death in 2012, Partin continued to engage in counseling education; she enjoyed reading and research, and communicating and keeping up with the world digitally through the web.

Source: Personal interview—Dr. Darlene Gravett

Updated: August 2014

Updated: Noel T. Manning II, December 2022

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