Dale Carpenter, dean of Western Carolina University’s College of Education and Allied Professions since April 2014, will be moving from that leadership position to return to his faculty roots effective July 1, 2017.
Announcement of Carpenter’s decision to resume teaching and research in the area of special education was made by Alison Morrison-Shetlar, WCU provost.
“We are deeply appreciative of Dale’s dedication and long history of exemplary service to his college, to his university and to the Western North Carolina region that this university was founded to serve,” Morrison-Shetlar said. “He has ably served the College of Education and Allied Professions for nearly 38 years in a variety of roles, and he is known as a passionate advocate for educators and professionals in the human services and psychology.”
A member of the WCU faculty since 1979, Carpenter served as associate dean for 10 years and as interim dean for two years before accepting the dean’s position in 2014. He succeeded Perry Schoon, who left the university in 2012 to become dean of the College of Education at Illinois State University, Schoon’s alma mater.
Carpenter previously had served as director of teacher education at WCU. A professor in the college’s special education program, he has research interests in the areas of diversity, assessment, program evaluation and instructional methods for children with learning disabilities.
Carpenter said he is proud of the college’s commitment to producing educators for the region and state in spite of setbacks such as the elimination of the Teaching Fellows Program, an end to pay increases for teachers who earn master’s degrees, and stagnating salaries for teachers and school administrators.
To help alleviate a statewide shortage of teachers and principals, the college has strengthened and deepened relationships and partnerships with schools, both public and private, he said. The college also has adapted to help meet the changing needs for the preparation of pre-kindergarten through 12th-grade teachers, resulting in a rebound in enrollment numbers in programs in teacher education and related programs, including at the graduate level, he said.
“What’s not to like about serving in the role of dean of the founding college of the university? The dean becomes aware of the tremendous accomplishments of the students, staff and faculty and has an opportunity to support a lot of good work. The bonus is that the dean often shares credit for the wonderful things others are doing,” he said.
“Returning to the faculty after serving as dean allows for new leadership for the college. I continue to enjoy most everything about the role, but it isn’t about me. I look forward to returning to a role I love and to support the college moving forward with new energy and new ideas,” he said. “I will continue to do what I have been doing at Western Carolina University for 38 years – helping to prepare quality educators for these mountains and beyond.”
Morrison-Shetlar has formed a committee to conduct a national search for the college’s next dean. Doug Keskula, dean of the College of Health and Human Sciences, will chair the committee.
Carpenter earned his doctorate in special education and learning disabilities from Auburn University, master’s degree in special education and behavior disorders from Valdosta State University and bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Albany State College.
He is co-author of the 1995 book “Mainstreaming Exceptional Students: A Guide for Classroom Teachers” and has published numerous articles in scholarly journals. Carpenter has delivered more than 40 presentations to state, national and international organizations and was the 2010 recipient of WCU’s Paul A. Reid Distinguished Service Award for Faculty.
Carpenter has served as review team chair for accrediting education programs at other universities, and he oversaw the accreditation process for WCU’s education programs last year. Over the last five years, the college has increased its scholarships by more than 20 and has more than doubled the amount of scholarship dollars annually awarded to students, with many new contributions coming from alumni and current staff and faculty members.
Before joining the WCU faculty in 1979, Carpenter was a teacher and director of the Educational Program for Children in Need of Supervision for the Lee County (Alabama) Youth Development Center and an elementary school resource teacher specializing in behavior disorders and learning disabilities for the Dougherty County (Georgia) School System.
Western Carolina was founded in 1889 as a teacher’s college. One of six undergraduate colleges and schools offering academic programs at WCU, the College of Education and Allied Professions prepares educators, counselors, psychologists, recreation personnel and other human service specialists at both entry and advanced levels. The unit is home to the School of Teaching and Learning and the departments of human services and psychology. Approximately 1,300 undergraduate students are majoring in academic programs offered by the college, with more than 600 additional students pursuing advanced degrees. The college has approximately 80 full-time faculty members.
By Bill Studenc