Why education innovation matters


Carole Basile

Carole Basile is dean of ASU's Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College.

Educators and education systems confront many challenges: recruiting and retaining good teachers; infusing professional creativity into classrooms; developing teachers, leaders and institutions with the capability to identify and solve the right problems.

To address those challenges, we need to bring people and ideas together in ever more meaningful ways. We need to think again about what a college of education can be.

That conviction sits at the heart of how we at Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College view our role in Campaign ASU 2020.

How can we look at challenges in education issues in fresh ways? How can we develop and design new systems in schools and youth-serving organizations? We need to bring together the best ideas and practices from all sectors — education, business, government and nonprofit — to build an Education Innovation Engine.

Our college can play a catalytic role in developing teachers, leaders and institutions with the capability to identify and solve the right problems.

Aligning our college’s campaign goals with those of the university, we add our lens of “creative intrapreneurship” to ensure the next generation of educators has the skills and tools needed to change education systems, structures and cultures.

ASU goal: Ensure access and excellence

Our approach: Creative talent scholarships

The supply-and-demand dynamic for educators is a stubborn challenge shaped by long-standing paradigms of what it means to be a teacher. We want to rethink that paradigm by establishing a scholarship program that both rewards and catalyzes creative intrapreneurs who focus on education innovation as a means to improve student outcomes and experience. We will raise money for more undergraduate and graduate scholarships. With a lower debt burden, our graduates are more likely to stay in the education profession. We don’t just need more teachers. We need a new kind of effective teacher. Scholarship support helps us pursue both those goals.

ASU goal: Champion student success

Our approach: Develop transformative leaders for education

Education leaders today need to draw upon points of view from people and sectors beyond education if they are going to radically improve education systems to work for the kids of today. Working in teams, we will provide master’s and doctoral students experiences and opportunities that are necessary to cultivate educators who excel at driving change, navigating uncertainty and executing new ideas. These are the qualities that allow committed people not just to envision change but also to lead and implement change that improves lives, schools and communities.

ASU goal: Elevate the academic enterprise

Our approach: Increase the number of cross-disciplinary endowed faculty

Faculty research fuels innovation in our own curricula and in the education systems and organizations with which we partner. We aim to attract world-class faculty who embody creative intrapreneurship by crossing traditional academic disciplinary boundaries to generate knowledge that impacts individual lives, organizations and entire fields of inquiry. Our goal is to double the number of endowed faculty at Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College.

ASU goal: Fuel discovery, creativity and innovation

Our approach: Education Innovation Engine

Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College is committed to bringing people and ideas together with an emphasis on creativity and intrapreneurship. The Education Innovation Engine will bring together the best minds from education, government and the private sector to look at issues in fresh ways and to develop and design new systems in schools and youth-serving organizations. We are building a laboratory for developing solutions to the “wicked problems” in education.

ASU goal: Enrich our communities

Our approach: Educators as community impact builders

We will apply our spirit of creative intrapreneurship to take a leadership role in integrating and engaging community resources in order to improve education outcomes. We will work with local leaders to identify the most pressing issues and develop new solutions to stubborn problems in education. Philanthropy will function as venture capital that will provide ongoing seed funding for communities to implement homegrown solutions.

What these five broad initiatives add up to is ultimately simple: We seek to develop a renewable resourcefulness in individual educators, in schools, in school districts and in communities. 

That’s what we’re raising money for. Why does it matter?

Because education is critical to the economic and civic health of society.