For Dr. Charles H. Wolfgang, retirement has not meant taking it easy.
After more than 30 years as a nationally recognized author and professor of early childhood education, Wolfgang has opened a new chapter in his career as an associate professor in Troy University’s College of Education. Here, in addition to sharing his expertise with TROY’s students, he is helping TROY professors get their own research published.
Wolfgang retired last year from Florida State University, but he soon found that he was not quite ready to leave the classroom behind.
“I was not ready to quit teaching,” Wolfgang said. “I found myself wanting to get back in the classroom. I’m not done yet. I still love teaching.”
At FSU, Wolfgang had been working primarily with students at the doctoral level. He wanted to get back to working with undergraduate students in a smaller setting and found the right environment at TROY’s Dothan Campus. He joined the faculty there last August.
In addition to teaching, Wolfgang — the author of numerous book on early child education topics — has started a writing group to help TROY’s education faculty members get their own research published, sometimes for the first time.
“This University has always been good at preparing teachers ... and what [the faculty members] know can be of interest nationally,” Wolfgang said.
Wolfgang began his education career at Ohio State University in 1973 where he served as a professor of early and middle childhood education. He joined FSU’s faculty in 1986.
While at FSU, he received the Fay Kirtland Distinguished Professor of Early Childhood Education award.
Throughout his career, Wolfgang has balanced time spent at the university level with hands-on classroom experience. He has been a teacher and principal at several schools in the U.S. and Europe; and in 1986, he founded a pre-school center in downtown Tallahassee called the School for Young Children.
From his experience operating the School for Young Children, Wolfgang authored a book that has been used widely in early childhood education methods courses.
Practical classroom experience is vital for success as a professor, Wolfgang said.
“I feel professors have to keep themselves in the classroom or else you become dated,” he said.
Wolfgang is also the author of “Solving Discipline Problems: Strategies for Classroom Teachers,” which was selected as a top 10 academic education book by the College Division of the American Library Association the year it was published. It is currently being used as a textbook at more than 120 universities or colleges.
Wolfgang considers himself retired from publishing his own work.
“My publishing is in helping other professors to be published,” he said.
But he has not completely given up education research. While at TROY, Wolfgang is directing a survey of 60 student teachers to identify common problems they encountered in their first classroom experiences. He hopes to expand the project to all four of TROY’s Alabama campuses.
Wolfgang describes his coming to TROY as a chance to give back.
“By helping another generation, that brings joy to me,” he said.
Clower is a university relations coordinator.