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Baylor School of Education Establishes University’s First Embedded Global Classroom [03/03/2017]


Baylor School of Education Dean Dr. Michael McLendon (left) with Janette and Don Carpenter

Baylor University School of Education has received a gift from Don, BBA ’81, and Janette Carpenter to establish the Carpenter Embedded Global Classroom, Baylor University’s first fully funded study-abroad embedded classroom.

Through the Carpenter Embedded Global Classroom, School of Education students will participate firsthand in comparative education experiences in locations around the globe at no additional charge to the student.

As school districts throughout Texas and the United States increasingly seek teachers with a broad cultural competency, the Carpenter Embedded Classroom will empower students to meet those needs.

“The School of Education is grateful for this generous and insightful investment in the lives of Baylor students by the Carpenter family,” said Michael K. McLendon, Ph.D., dean of the School of Education. “Their decision to support this expansion of social, economic and policy perspectives for Baylor students through cross-cultural learning serves to highlight the value of this family as a true partner of Baylor University in pursuing its mission of educating men and women for worldwide service.”

The endowment enables the School of Education to embed foreign travel experiences directly into select classes, providing students with the chance to interact with students around the globe and immerse themselves in different educational cultures.

Carpenter Global Classroom experiences will be designed and selected with a goal of empowering students with both an enhanced understanding of education in other countries and a broader perspective of the uniqueness of the American educational system. Participating students will not have to pay transportation, lodging or other travel expenses.

This spring, the inaugural Carpenter Embedded Classroom experience will take place March 4-12, 2017, (Spring Break) in Queretaro, Mexico, as a part of the School of Education’s semester-long “Social Issues in Education” class, taught by Tony Talbert, Ph.D., School of Education professor, assistant department chair and coordinator of the School of Education’s Secondary Education Program.

Students will examine local and global educational structures in a historical and contemporary context, develop an understanding of culturally relevant and affirming pedagogies in all contexts, and explore how race, class, gender, sexuality, language, privilege, faith, worldview and other differences affect schools and communities.

“As a teacher, you are often put into environments where you are serving students from different cultural backgrounds, or who are impoverished and disadvantaged for reasons not of their own making,” Don Carpenter said. “We wanted to extend these opportunities to Baylor students, because in so doing, you build empathy. As an educator, you give students the tools they need to learn and develop to their full potential. Through experiences in global classrooms, Baylor students can develop understanding and empathy to help them as they teach and influence students of their own throughout their careers.”

Queretaro is a world-heritage colonial city located northwest of Mexico City and is a safe travel destination for Americans. The School of Education students and faculty will travel as a group, flying directly from Dallas/Ft. Worth International Airport to Queretaro.

Baylor’s partner in Queretaro is Monterrey Tec University, one of the most prestigious universities in Latin America.  The March trip represents the first of many such partnerships that will open other opportunities to Baylor students throughout the Americas and around the globe.

“We are very grateful to the Carpenters for this generous and visionary gift to the School of Education,” said L. Gregory Jones, Ph.D., Baylor executive vice president and provost. “Education and educators in the 21st century need to be globally conscious, and this gift will offer a transformational opportunity for our students. This is tremendously exciting for Baylor and for our School of Education.”

Baylor University has explored the concept of a global embedded classroom as a tangible expression of the University mission, “to educate men and women for worldwide service by integrating academic excellence and Christian commitment within a caring community.” The generosity of the Carpenter family, whose longtime support has benefitted many Baylor education students, enabled the School of Education to take a leadership role in pioneering Baylor’s first endowed embedded classroom.

“This study-abroad experience will allow future teachers to see education through a different cultural lens, opening their eyes to realities of our own educational system — its uniqueness, strengths and flaws — by viewing it while imbedded in a deeply comparative learning experience,” McLendon said. “Such cultural encounters will make students more thoughtful and analytical and may well transform the way they see their craft as educators and increase their impact in the diverse U.S. educational system.”

Don and Janette Carpenter are longtime supporters of Baylor University with a passion for the School of Education. Don joined the faculty of Baylor’s Hankamer School of Business as a clinical assistant professor of accounting and business law last year after a 15-year career as the vice president and chief accounting officer with Waste Management, Inc., in Houston, Texas. Janette was a homemaker and volunteer in Spring, Texas, before moving to Waco.

Don and Janette’s two children, Paige, BSEd ’11, MSEd ’12, and Evan, BSEd ’12, attended the Baylor School of Education. Their children’s experience so impressed Don and Janette that it stirred an interest in supporting future School of Education students and endeavors.

“We were impressed that, in our children’s first semesters in the School of Education, they were in classrooms interacting with students and teachers,” Janette Carpenter said. “There is an overall commitment to excellence in the School of Education that makes a difference.”

Spurred by a desire to help students attend the School of Education who might otherwise be unable financially, the Carpenters established the Carpenter Family Endowed Scholarship in 2012. The Carpenters said the financial realities for many School of Education students, who know they will not receive large salaries when they graduate, helped them realize that they could help other students have the same School of Education experience as their children.

When the opportunity to provide students with international experiences through the embedded global classroom was presented to the Carpenters, Don and Janette found it a perfect fit.  As a family, they have traveled to dozens of countries with their children, visiting every continent but Antarctica, and introducing their children to a vast array of cultures around the world. Recognizing the transformative growth that can take place in a student with a sensitivity and understanding of other cultures, they gave generously to present similar opportunities to School of Education students.

“We are delighted to be able to share in what the School of Education is doing through the Carpenter Embedded Global Classroom,” Don Carpenter said. “I hope these opportunities help students see many different ways they can be of service, in their own community and around the world. We traveled with our own children because it broadens their idea of what is possible and helps build an empathy for people in general.”

—Story by Derek Smith

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Founded in 1919, Baylor School of Education ranks among the nation’s top 20 education schools located at private universities. The School’s research portfolio complements its long-standing commitment to excellence in teaching and student mentoring. Baylor’s undergraduate program in teacher education has earned national distinction for innovative partnerships with local schools that provide future teachers deep clinical preparation, while graduate programs culminating in both the Ed.D. and Ph.D. prepare outstanding leaders, teachers and clinicians through an intentional blend of theory and practice.

Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 16,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.

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