AUSTIN, Texas—Dr. Elizabeth Carrow-Woolfolk, (MA ’50), who has improved the lives of thousands of children around the world through her work in understanding and treating language disorders, has been named University of Texas College of Communication Outstanding Alumnus for 2005-06.
“Betty, who headed the speech pathology and audiology program here at The University of Texas at Austin from 1973-74, has dedicated her career, not only to enhancing the lives of children with language disorders, but to educating society about how children learn to speak and read,” said Dr. Roderick P. Hart, dean of the College of Communication. “She has left an indelible mark.”
For more than 50 years, Carrow-Woolfolk has been a pioneer in the study of child language development, bilingualism, pre-reading, and language theory and assessment. Using her own theoretical approach, she developed several widely used assessment instruments, including the Comprehensive Assessment of Spoken Language, the Oral and Written Language Survey and the Test for Auditory Comprehension of Language, all of which continue to be used around the world.
In 1955, she founded the Harry Jersig Speech and Hearing Center in San Antonio’s Our Lady of the Lake University’s Communication and Learning Disorders Program, securing funding for and overseeing construction of one of the first free-standing university speech and language clinics in the country, and later becoming vice president for development at the university. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, she went on to head speech pathology services at Houston’s Methodist, St. Luke’s Episcopal and Texas Children’s hospitals.
She has written more than a dozen books about reading and language theory, including:“Learning to Read” (1994), “Language Theory: Assessment and Intervention” (1988) and “An Integrative Approach to Language Disorders in Children” (1981).
A member of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) since 1965, Carrow-Woolfolk’s involvement in the professional organization included serving as a member of the house of state delegates, chair of the committee on clinical standards, a member of both the publications board and the committee on terminal education, as well as editor of the “Journal of Speech and Hearing Disorders.” She also served as president of the Texas Speech-Language-Hearing Association (TSHA) and editor of its publication “Texas Communicologist.”
Carrow-Woolfolk earned her bachelor’s degree at Our Lady of the Lake College (now University) in San Antonio, her master’s degree at The University of Texas at Austin and her doctor’s degree at Northwestern University. She became a classroom teacher upon earning her bachelor’s degree and was a university professor for 23 years.
“I appreciate the honor the College of Communication at The University of Texas is giving me,” said Carrow-Woolfolk.“Itreasure having been a student of language all my life and being rewarded for having shared my passion with others.”
Currently, Carrow-Woolfolk is engaged in revising the Oral and Written Language Survey language test she developed, writing a book about Mexican history and promoting her 2004 book, “Pioneers, Patriots and Planters,” a 200-year, historic narrative of a Woolfolk family’s migration to become first settlers of the early southern states.
The Outstanding Alumnus Award is annually given to a College of Communication graduate who has made outstanding contributions not only to their profession, but also to society as a whole. Past recipients include Lady Bird Johnson and Wall Street Journal publisher Karen Elliot House.
Carrow-Woolfolk, who has been married to Robert M. Woolfolk for 31 years, will be honored at a reception in Austin on Nov. 3.