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PhD, Washington University, St. Louis; MA, University of Iowa; BA, Baylor University

Author of: Speaking Up: Some Guidelines for Improving Advocacy Skills (1990); When Others Care for Your Child (co-editor; 1987); Marketing and Child Care Programs: Why and How (co-editor; 1985); Infant Education: A Guide to Helping Handicapped Children in the First Three Years (co-editor; 1977); Review of Child Development Research, Volume 3 (co-editor; 1973)

Dr. Bettye M. Caldwell (1924–2016), retired professor of child and family studies, was a champion for children’s care and a pioneer in early childhood education. Most recently Distinguished Professor Emerita at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR) and Professor Emerita at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Caldwell worked for more than five decades in comprehensive early childhood development programming, primarily serving low-income, preschool-age children and their families. She is credited with changing the way parents and policymakers understood early childhood development.

After earning a doctorate at Washington University in St. Louis, Caldwell served on the faculty or staff at several universities: Northwestern University, Washington University, Syracuse University, and SUNY Upstate. During the early 1960s at Syracuse, Caldwell served as a Research Associate for Upstate Medical Center.

There, she collaborated with Syracuse University researcher Julius Richmond to study the importance of mother–infant interaction on the cognitive development of children in poverty. Together, they formed the Children’s Center in Syracuse, the first early intervention program in the country. This effort is credited with laying the groundwork for the national Head Start program.

After relocating to Little Rock, Arkansas, in the late 1960s, she established the Kramer project, an initiative that established a day care center associated with Kramer elementary school, of which she served as principal. Later, she held professorships at the University of Arkansas–Fayetteville and UALR. She also served as Director of UALR’s Children’s Center and was a Professor at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.

Among her many honors and positions, she was selected in 1978 as one of 10 Ladies’ Home Journal Women of the Year. Caldwell served as President of the National Association for the Education of Young Children and board member of the American Educational Research Association. In 2011, UALR dedicated a classroom in her honor.

Caldwell was published in hundreds of journals and presented at numerous conferences and meetings. She was invited to the KDP Laureate Chapter in 1978.
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