Dorinda Carter Andrews named TE department chair
Dorinda Carter Andrews, associate dean and renowned Michigan State University scholar, will become the chairperson of the department of teacher education on May 16. She will assume the leadership role from Professor Margaret Crocco, who is retiring after five years as chair.
Carter Andrews is the first African American woman to lead the department in its history.
"I am grateful and humbled to have been selected for this position," she said. "MSU has long been a leader in teacher education, and I look forward to helping continue the momentum."
Carter Andrews is a former industrial engineer, high school math teacher and kindergarten teacher, with experience in suburban, urban, charter and independent schools. Broadly, she examines issues of racial justice in P-20 learning environments, urban teacher education and critical race praxis (theory-informed practice centering race) with in-service educators.
"I became interested in the schooling experiences of black students because of my own experiences as a high-performing black student attending predominantly white schools for most of my life," she said.
Her research goals are to help educators and administrators create culturally responsive, equitable and just learning environments for minoritized youth, informed by students' voices about their schooling. Additionally, Carter Andrews wants youth voice to be more central in decision-making about their education. Her scholarship examines social justice issues by illuminating voices of youth and adults who have been historically and traditionally marginalized in schools and society. Most recently, her research has focused on black girls' racialized and gendered experiences in schools and humanizing pedagogy in teacher education.
On the whole, she hopes her research can contribute to helping teacher education programs become more humanizing and community-centered spaces that efficiently develop asset-, quality- and social justice-oriented teachers.
"I represent a lot of kids in our school systems who have big hopes and big dreams, and who are oftentimes squelched by actors in the system," she said in a recent talk. "As educators, we always have to remain committed to a sense of humanity, longing for the best in young people and ourselves. That's at the core of how we develop faculty, staff and students."
And that's exactly where her goals for the department of teacher education begin.
The passion Carter Andrews has for teaching, growth and equity is outlined in her vision for the department, titled “Making the Road by Walking It.”
"We can see a way forward and not know where it is going to end, but still be hopeful about the journey," she said of the inspiration.
Among some of her core goals, Carter Andrews believes in:
- Maintaining a more equitable and inclusive learning and work environment,
- Building a community-engaged approach to teacher education across all levels,
- Considering an intentional focus on faculty, staff and student support,
- Diversifying enrollment across programs and
- Establishing a more visible presence in teacher education policy discussions
The goals are rooted in MSU's land-grant mission—educating all people, regardless of social status.
"We need to be respectful and responsive to diverse ideas and perspectives," she says. Part of that includes shaping curriculum to be inclusive, and broadening the settings to which undergraduates are introduced, including urban, suburban and rural schools and communities.
It also includes cultivating and enhancing relationships to create a "culture of trust" that enhances all levels of the department, from relationships and curricula to equity and outreach.
Carter Andrews is preparing for her new role by first listening to others, and utilizing her professional history to help guide the way.
In the college, she previously served on and chaired faculty search committees, and was chair of the departmental Faculty Advisory Coordinating Committee, which developed the TE Core Principles in 2018.
In 2016, Carter Andrews was selected as the first assistant dean for Equity Outreach Initiatives, with a goal of introducing professional development opportunities to educators, administrators and policymakers. She currently is the college's first associate dean for Equity and Inclusion, a role that focuses on enhancing culture and climate for faculty and staff.
At MSU, she has been part of the Women's Advisory Committee to the President, a core faculty member for and on the executive committee of the African American and African Studies Program, and a diversity consultant and board member for the MSU Academic Advancement Network, among other roles.
Her leadership continues locally — such as serving as a member of the East Lansing Educational Foundation for the past five years. She has presented two TEDx Talks, Consciousness Gap and Teach Kids to be Eagles, and is currently a co-editor of the Journal of Teacher Education.