Students who participate in study-abroad programs find the immersive experiences enhance their creative problem solving, adaptability, communication and listening skills—advantages that will serve them throughout their careers.
Baylor’s strategic vision, Pro Futuris encourages the university to increase and expand the scope of study-abroad opportunities for students, particularly by easing financial burdens. One concept—an embedded classroom in which students in similar degree programs work with their professors in international settings—is now in place.
The Carpenter Embedded Global Classroom, Baylor’s first fully funded study-abroad embedded classroom, launched this spring with 13 students in Baylor’s School of Education (SOE).
The program’s benefactors, Don, BBA ’81, and Janette Carpenter, chose to establish an embedded classroom program to help students 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 Global Classroom empowers students to meet those needs.
Carpenter Embedded Global Classroom experiences are designed and selected with a goal of empowering students with an enhanced understanding of education in other countries and a broader perspective of the American educational system. Transportation, lodging or other travel expenses for the study-abroad trip are covered as part of the class.
The inaugural Carpenter Embedded Classroom experience was a part of Baylor’s semester-long Social Issues in Education course taught by Dr. Tony Talbert, MA ’91, professor and coordinator of the Secondary Education Program. The study-abroad portion of the class took place March 4-12 (spring break) in Querétaro, Mexico.
Throughout the spring semester, students examined local and global educational structures in historical and contemporary contexts, developed an understanding of culturally relevant and affirming teaching methods in all contexts, and explored 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.”
Querétaro is a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Centre colonial city located northwest of Mexico City.
Baylor’s partner in Querétaro is Monterrey Tec University, one of Latin America’s most prestigious universities. The March trip represented the first of many such partnerships that will open other opportunities to Baylor students throughout the Americas and around the globe.
The university has explored the concept of a global embedded classroom as a tangible expression of the Baylor mission. The generosity of the Carpenter family allows the Baylor SOE to take a leadership role in pioneering the university’s first endowed embedded classroom.
“The School of Education is grateful for this generous and insightful investment in the lives of Baylor students by the Carpenter family,” Dr. Michael K. McLendon, BA ’91, dean of Baylor SOE, said.
“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 embedded in a deeply comparative learning experience. 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 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. Janette was a community volunteer in Spring, Texas, before moving to Waco.
The Baylor experiences of the couple’s children, Paige, BSEd ’11, MSEd ’12, and Evan, BSEd ’12, impressed Don and Janette and stirred their interest in supporting future Baylor 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.”