Five questions for Carole Basile

Carole Basile is dean of the College of Education at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. UMSL’s College of Education is the largest preparer of educators in the state of Missouri. The college is focused on becoming an education innovation hub in part by creating a tripartite relationship between practitioners, researchers, and education innovators. The College partners with national programs, such as Teach for America, Teaching Channel, New Leaders and others, and also partners locally with school districts, charter schools (the College sponsors eight schools), independent schools, youth-serving organizations, and business partners to transform structures, systems, and cultures in education.

What was your first role working in education?
 As we think about educators in a broad sense – all of those who impact and influence children and youth – I am reminded that my first job was as a camp counselor for many years in high school and college working with kids all kinds of settings: the beginning of my experiential and environmental education roots.

What is one pivotal moment in your career in educator preparation that left a positive impact on you or others?
 My experience and exposure to “partner schools” and my experiences with organizations such as the National Network for Educational Renewal and the National Commission for Teaching and America’s Future. These were organizations and teacher educators who understood that the model of teacher education needed to change radically and that partnerships among universities, schools, and communities were integral to change.

Why did you decide to join Deans for Impact?
Deans for Impact gives me a like-minded group of deans to work with as thought partners, mentors, and colleagues. It is my hope that the combined wisdom of this group can drive new and exciting ideas and models in teacher education, increase the professionalism of the field, and decrease the animosity towards teacher education that has become prevalent.

What most excites you about the opportunity to transform the field of educator preparation in the years ahead?
The reputation of teacher education and teacher educators is critically important if schools are going to succeed for children. I’m excited by the possibility that professional creativity could be alive and well and that together we could transform the “take all your classes–student teaching” model of teacher education. It’s time to think differently about our work and focus on students and student learning!

What is one surprising thing that everyone should know about the program you lead?
We are using design principles and change management strategies, benchmarking other sectors, to reinvent teacher education–studio schools, inquiry into my practice (IMP) laboratories, clinical coaching galleries, community experiences, merged special education and TESOL, grand seminars.  Experiences, not courses, are key to our work. We also adhere to a clear focus on developmental growth of educators and fostering professional creativity.

Editor’s Note: This post is part of an ongoing series featuring Q&As with all the member deans of Deans for Impact.

Carole Basile

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