Dean Prudence L. Carter awarded Berkeley Citation

photo of Dean Prudence L. Carter
Eddie Richardson/Courtesy
Professor and Dean Prudence L. Carter has been awarded the Berkeley Citation in recognition of her contributions to higher education. Her work in the Graduate School of Education imparted representation and insight to students, faculty and the Berkeley community.

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Prudence L. Carter, E.H. and Mary E. Pardee professor and dean of the Graduate School of Education, or GSE, received the Berkeley Citation from Chancellor Carol Christ and Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost A. Paul Alivisatos.

Carter accepted the award at a June 10 virtual event featuring Christ and Alivisatos, who were joined by members of the GSE faculty. The Berkeley Citation is awarded to individuals or organizations whose achievements exceed the “standards of excellence” in their fields, according to a GSE press release.

“Change in higher education is not easy,” said Zeus Leonardo, who serves as the school’s associate dean with Carter. “In the time that Dean Carter has been with us, she has shown that change is possible.”

Carter facilitated a redesign of doctoral programs and a consolidation of teacher education programs, the press release adds. Carter added that she also helped recruit six professors who serve as the “next generation” of faculty on campus.

She additionally oversaw the GSE’s move from Tolman Hall, which housed the school for more than 50 years, to Berkeley Way West in 2018.

“One of the things that I made very clear is that UC Berkeley, as a public mission university, had to have stronger relationships with its community and neighbors,” Carter said. “The research and teaching had to really matter to practice and policy in local school districts.”

As a result, Carter established a formal partnership with the Oakland Unified School District, which includes an advisory board featuring campus representatives and district officials. The group has worked to co-construct and find ways to investigate research problems, according to Carter, who expressed pride for the initiative.

Leonardo added that Carter worked to integrate and centralize the admissions process in the school. After transitioning to a “cluster model,” the GSE was able to establish more coherence, according to Leonardo.

After serving as the school’s dean for five years, Carter will be stepping down July 1 with plans to return to Brown University, her alma mater, as a sociology professor.

“I don’t mind going back to the classroom because I feel like it’s one of the most powerful positions one can have to impart knowledge to the next generation of change agents,” Carter said.

Carter said she has plans to work on a book project and expressed how she missed teaching and writing, which led her to return.

Especially as a woman of color, Carter added that she prioritized “opening the door” for historically marginalized students. She remembered teaching in fall 2020 and being the first Black professor for many of her students.

“I have never done work for recognition,” Carter said. “I want to be the professor that was not there when I was an undergraduate.”

Contact Mimia Ousilas at [email protected], and follow her on Twitter at @mimiaousilas.