Catherine (Cath) White SFHEA, CGeog was a passionate educator within the Division of Geography and Environmental Management at Northumbria University, where she taught until her recent retirement.
Cath was a long-standing Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) and supporter of the Higher Education Research Group (HERG), including helping with its recent transition to become the Geography and Education Research Group. During her time on the HERG committee she organised the annual postgraduate essay competition, which focused on reflections on teaching practice.
Cath taught in secondary schools for a decade before her own transition to teaching in higher education at Northumbria University. She received three different Masters degrees, exploring spaces of consumption, open air street markets in the North East and one in academic practice. Cath’s research into the student experience, from podcast assignments to fieldwork and student transitions into higher education, revealed her willingness to listen deeply to students’ experiences and perspectives, and to enhance their educational experience over the course of their learning. She had a passion for the discipline and its intersections with pedagogy. In 2021, Cath received the Taylor and Francis Award from the Society for sustained contributions to geography teaching.
Cath worked tirelessly to support teachers, students and academics in the Tyne and Wear branch of the Geographical Association (which she chaired for eight years). Her strong passion for geographical education and a track record of engaging with local schools and teachers was evidenced by organising eight local GA branch conferences. Cath organised talks for A Level students, and workshops to bring teachers together to share practice. She received an outstanding service award at the GA Conference in 2021. She shared her enthusiasm for teaching to inspire the next generation of geographers and teachers, actively encouraging students to join the profession through her Geography and Education module and the Society's geography Ambassadors scheme. She has spoken extensively within the GEES, the GA and RGS-IBG communities on student fieldwork and embracing new technologies for undergraduate assessment. Her softly spoken words captivated many an audience, highlighting possibilities that were achievable by all.
Above all, Cath was a caring person who enjoyed engaging with colleagues and students alike. Extremely well known and respected throughout the local Geographical community, she was a compassionate educator who will be sorely missed.
Written by Helen Walkington, Jenny Hill and Lynda Yorke on behalf of the Geography and Education Research Group.
Catherine (Cath) White
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