Carl Named as New Education Dean

News Story: August 1, 2012

Dr. James “Jim” C. Carl is the new dean of Sacred Heart University’s Isabelle Farrington College of Education.

Carl is a respected scholar, author and academic leader with nearly 35 years of experience in education. He holds a bachelor’s degree in history from Union College; a teacher certification from Plymouth State University in New Hampshire; and a master’s degree and Ph.D. in educational policy studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he focused on the comparative history of education.

Carl comes to Sacred Heart from Cleveland State University where he has served as department chair of Curriculum and Foundations since July 2006. In that role, he was responsible for budgeting, scheduling, evaluating, grant writing and curriculum development, as well as resolving student and faculty concerns. He also coordinated relationships between the department and the wider university and metropolitan community and positioned the department to support future trends in K-12 education.

His area of scholarly interest is the history of urban education in the United States, China and Western Europe. He focuses on the origins of post-World War II school politics and reform, with particular interest in the urban centers of Chicago, Milwaukee, Cleveland and New Orleans. He is most interested in the interrelationships among social structures, class and ethnic conflict, state politics and ideologies in educational policy and practice, with a particular focus on educational privatization.

Carl is the author of Freedom of Choice: Vouchers in American Education, as well as numerous book chapters. He also has refereed and editor-reviewed journal articles, most recently in Social Science History and Harvard Educational Review.

Before joining Cleveland State University in 2002, Carl was an assistant professor in the Department of Education and Allied Studies at John Carroll University in Ohio. At JCU, he taught graduate and undergraduate courses in the social foundations of education as well as first-year humanities seminars. He also has experience teaching high school.

He is excited to be joining Sacred Heart and the Farrington College for several reasons, especially the University’s reputation for touching all the bases in providing students and faculty with opportunities to achieve their goals.

“Sacred Heart has such a fine reputation of putting students first. From admissions, to the undergraduate and graduate experiences, to assistance with job placements and graduate school, SHU is attentive to student needs, and this was an attractive point for me,” he said.

“Sacred Heart is also a university that values innovation. The curriculum is not static. Both the traditional and the practical equip Sacred Heart students for success in all aspects of their lives. This would not be possible without knowledgeable faculty and attentive staff. In the end, it was the University’s people – faculty, staff and students – who attracted me to the position,” he concluded.

Carl arrives at the Farrington College with short-term goals and a long range plan to help the College and its students to achieve growth.

“Initially, my objective is to maintain and extend the high-quality programs that the Farrington College of Education offers. Sacred Heart is a leader in Connecticut in preparing excellent teachers, specialists and administrators for the K-12 schools,” he said. “Longer term, I see several additional areas in which Farrington College can prepare top-notch professionals. Our graduate program in educational leadership does a great job of preparing principals and others for their first leadership opportunities. A new doctoral program in educational administration would help prepare the next generation of leaders for the superintendency. A doctoral program to prepare professionals for various aspects of higher education administration is also a possibility at this level.

He also has ideas for the master’s level. “I envisage two possibilities: Increasingly, students in K-12 schools hail from households in which English is not spoken as the first language. Programs in bilingual education and teaching English as a second language are avenues to pursue. In addition, public and private schools educate all students, including those with disabilities. Hence the field of special education is another area that I intend to cultivate,” Carl said.

He stressed the need for flexibility in a changing landscape for educators. “New teachers and graduates of other education programs face many challenges, but the biggest is that American education as we know it is in a state of flux. There are demands for increased accountability for students and teachers. Along with this centralizing measure, there are others such as the push for a common curriculum that is linked more closely to textbooks and testing. Paradoxically, there are also significant governance reforms that tend to decentralize education. Charter schools, online schooling and other forms of educational privatization come to mind. The distinctions between public and private education will continue to blur. The best educators will be the ones that can thrive in this changing environment,” Carl said.

“We are looking forward to having Jim join the faculty and Dr. Ed Hendricks in the establishment of the Urban Center for Education that has become part of Sacred Heart’s academic mission. He will also be involved in the development of new graduate programs in the College of Education and will help strengthen the area of global education,” said Provost Laura E. Niesen de Abruna. “His input will be critical to the success of our strategic plan, our mission and our goals. I am confident that his passion for international education, along with his teaching and management experience, will lead him to great success here at SHU.”