Howarth relishes time with students


Curtis Almeter

Michael Howarth sits at his desk Wednesday. Howarth took over as honors program director at Southern in January of this year.

Michael Howarth has spent virtually his whole life in classrooms.

His role at Missouri Southern, however, has shifted this semester.

Howarth was hired at the beginning of the calendar year as the new director of the University’s Honors Program.

“Been really great so far,” he said. “Everybody’s been very supportive and helpful, not just in this department but across campus as well. I’ve worked with the honors students before, doing enhancements and independent studies, so I was familiar with the program, which I think helped coming in.”

Howarth has been at Southern for four years now, after getting his PhD in children’s literature at the University of Louisiana, his masters from the University of Alaska in Anchorage. He was a double major in English and secondary education at James Madison University, where he also obtained a minor in film studies.

All that added up to 12 years of college, Howarth said, all for the purpose of staying in the classroom, albeit in a different role than student.

“This was the best offer, in terms of location was a big factor for me, the classes that I would be able to teach, the faculty I met that I really liked, all that factored into this decision,” he said.

Howarth says he doesn’t have any specifically outlined goals for the program, but credits its former director Michael Garoutte and the way he operated it, saying he’d like to continue many of Garoutte’s policies and ideas.

One of the things Howarth would like to see become more prominent in the Honors Program is studying abroad, he said. Originally from Massachusetts, Howarth has traveled the country, and farther, for the sake of academia, and sees the benefit travel can have on academics.

“Students here are great,” he says. “I love working with them, not just in classes, but I do a lot of independent studies with students and help them with senior thesis projects and all that. But, I mean, if you’re going to be a teacher, you have to like being in the classroom, you know, you have to really get excited every day about going in there and teaching and having discussions and talking to students and kind of helping them, because, someone did that for me, which is the reason why I’m here.”