Don and Janette Carpenter with Dean Michael McLendon

Don and Janette Carpenter:
A Global Reach

School of Education donors Don, BBA ’81, and Janette Carpenter have been helping future teachers through an endowed scholarship for several years, but a gift in 2017 helped expand the reach of the School through a gift to global programs.

Through the Carpenter Embedded Global Classroom, Baylor University’s first fully funded study-abroad embedded classroom, School of Education students participate firsthand in comparative education experiences in locations around the globe at no additional charge to the student.

The Carpenters are longtime supporters of Baylor University, now living in Waco. Don joined the faculty of Baylor’s Hankamer School of Business as a clinical assistant professor of accounting and business law in 2016 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.

All in the Family

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

In 2012, the couple established the Carpenter Family Endowed Scholarship to help students who are not able financially to attend Baylor, knowing that, as teachers, they cannot expect large salaries after they graduate.

“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 said. “There is an overall commitment to excellence in the School of Education that makes a difference.”

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.

Expanding Perspectives

“As a teacher, you are often put into environments where you are serving students from different cultural backgrounds or students who are impoverished and disadvantaged for reasons not of their own making,” Don 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.”

“We are delighted to be able to share in what the School of Education is doing,” Don said. “I hope these global 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.”

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 are 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.

Global Program Launch

In spring of 2017, the inaugural Carpenter Embedded Classroom experience took students during Spring Break to Queretaro, Mexico, as a part of the School of Education’s “Social Issues in Education” class, taught by Tony Talbert, Ph.D., School of Education professor.

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

Baylor University implemented 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.

— by Derek Smith