Dr. Brenda Y. Cartwright is an Associate Professor in the Department of Kinesiology & Rehabilitation Science at the University of Hawai`i at Manoa.  Her research interests include diversity issues in rehabilitation and ethical decision-making in counseling.  She has published in several refereed journals; presented at local, regional, national and international conferences and meetings, and served in leadership positions in various national and state professional organizations.  She is the recipient of several prestigious honors and awards.  Dr. Cartwright earned her terminal degree in Rehabilitation Counseling Leadership from The George Washington University.  She is a certified rehabilitation counselor (CRC), a national certified counselor (NCC), and a licensed mental health counselor in Hawai`i.  


Dr. Cartwright brings a distinctive and broad-based perspective to the classroom, including one-quarter century of work experience as a practitioner in both public and private rehabilitation settings.  In addition, she has teaching experience in special education at the secondary level, and in college/university settings at graduate and undergraduate levels. Dr. Cartwright is able to share experiences that go beyond nuts-and-bolts transference of facts and theory offered in textbooks.


  Dr. Cartwright believes the role of an educator is to be a facilitator.   Her role is to guide students in making connections with each other and with the content of the courses that she teaches.  In her view, teaching is not instructing or imparting knowledge to students as if their minds were waiting simply to be filled with information.  Rather, teaching is empowering students to take responsibility for their own learning; cultivating curiosity to explore and search for alternative perspectives; and providing opportunities for developing relationships, clarifying values, and igniting action.


  While her teaching objectives vary depending on the course level and content, her instructional philosophy serves to guide her practice.  Three philosophical principles guide her teaching: (1) a cooperative relationship between educator and student is essential; (2) a commitment to and respect for diversity is requisite; and (3) enthusiasm and dedication to valuing inquiry and research must be apparent to both my students and colleagues.  A brief description of these principles follows.


A cooperative relationship – Dr. Cartwright believes educators are responsible for building a positive professional relationship with students.  With this in mind, she believes it is very important for educators to demonstrate a high level of respect for students.  She believes educators must convey genuine belief that all students have something to contribute, and that students can bring new insights to a subject or raise questions about a subject that have not yet been considered.  The cooperative relationship formed with her students serves as a foundation for structuring course learning activities.


Commitment to and respect for diversity - Commitment to diversity epitomizes the basic philosophical tenets of rehabilitation.  These principles include the value and worth of all individuals, a belief in human dignity and the right of all individuals to participate fully in society.  Her work experiences in the field of rehabilitation have led her to believe that educators must be committed to recognizing and understanding the diversity of learning styles and student experiences.  Educators may then use this understanding to create an inclusive course of study that intentionally addresses issues of diversity.  These issues include differing worldviews, cultural and racial differences, and marginalized group concerns.  Learning about the students she teaches and listening to their experiences help her reconsider ways of making course content relevant.


Enthusiasm and dedication to valuing inquiry and research – Dr. Cartwright believes that educators must be on the cutting edge of recent scholarship in order to continually expand their understanding of the knowledge base of the courses they teach, as well as help students share their value about inquiry.  She believes it is an educator’s responsibility to encourage students to discover the excitement that can be found in research by involving them in research activities (e.g., collaborating on research projects, presenting at conferences and co-authoring publications in professional journals). 


Dr. Cartwright integrates these principles in the different dimensions of scholarship (i.e., teaching, research and service) in preparing graduate students for careers in the field of rehabilitation, with a primary focus on the provision of quality services to individuals with disabilities.  Further, in designing her course syllabi and evaluation criteria, she strives to optimize student engagement and success.


Curriculum Vitae