Chatham Views

Five Questions with Kristin Harty


Name: Kristin Harty
Title: Chairperson/Program Director for Education
Joined Chatham: 2012
Born & Raised: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Interests: My children and their interests

  1. How did you develop an interest in the field in which you teach?

When I was a teenager, I volunteered in The John Merck Unit at Western Psychiatric Hospital.  That unit was specifically for children with dual diagnoses of an intellectual disability and mental health issue. I knew I wanted to be a teacher when I entered college, but had no idea that I could teach children with disabilities. As I was reviewing the advising sheet, one of the majors was special education! I knew then and there that I was going to be a special education teacher.

  1. What makes teaching at Chatham special for you?

My colleagues from all departments make Chatham special. They always have the students’ best interests in mind. I enjoy working with everyone and am very grateful they are willing to help me, even if I ask the same question ten times!

  1. What is your favorite thing about working with Chatham students?

They are the best part of my day! I love teaching! I enjoy getting to know students in and outside of the classroom.  I love when they drop by and ask a question or just stop and chat.

  1. What is your passion?

My passion is working to improve the lives of students with disabilities. I hope that I teach my students to treat people with disabilities with respect and to never place limitations on them.  Allow them to reach for the stars, you just might have to take a different path to get there.

  1. What one individual had the greatest impact on you and how?

My mom and dad! They are my biggest cheerleaders and they lead by example. They instilled the importance of education when I was young. My mom went to night school part time to get her BSN and we graduated together with our master’s degrees from the same university. It was very special having my mom right next to me during the commencement ceremony. My dad always said, “when you go to college“ (never if) and “once you get that degree, no one can take that away from you!” My parents’ love and support for me is what has led to my success.

Kristin Harty is an associate professor of Special Education in the Chatham University Education Department. She loves musicals where her children perform and work on stage crew and the whole family goes to see as many musicals as possible in Pittsburgh and New York.