Cal Lutheran Alumni

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Influencing the Future

Former Dean to Receive Honorary Alumni Award

For Dr. Carol Bartell, former dean of the Graduate School of Education and faculty emerita at California Lutheran University, living a purpose-filled life is a goal that resonates strongly with her. In her work in education, she feels she has been able to influence the future—not only the future of education students, but also the children taught by those students. Bartell will be recognized with the Honorary Alumni Award at Cal Lutheran’s Graduate Commencement on May 12.

Drawn to Cal Lutheran partly because she was Lutheran, and partly for the opportunity to serve as dean of the Graduate School of Education, Bartell was dean from 1995 to 2003, and again from 2008 to 2010, when she was invited back to campus to lead the university’s School of Education accreditation efforts. While at Cal Lutheran, one of her most gratifying accomplishments was planning and fundraising for the $6.5 million Spies-Bornemann Center for Education and Technology.  

“When I started at Cal Lutheran, the College of Education was in the Benson House, and I knew we could not possibly demonstrate the university’s commitment to education and achieve national accreditation with those cramped quarters,” she recalls. Working with then Vice Presidents Dennis Gillette and George Engdahl and others, Bartell became involved in fundraising for a new, state-of-the art building, even suggesting the idea of bricks with donor names. The new technology-equipped building also helped in getting a later $1.2 million grant from the federal government to prepare teachers to use technology in the classroom. 

Once the new facility was built, Bartell worked hard to help the Graduate School of Education achieve its first national accreditation from the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and later led successful re-accreditation efforts from both NCATE and the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing. While the state commission’s approval was important, it was the national accreditation that gave Cal Lutheran a real mark of distinction. Now, graduates who seek employment outside of California can demonstrate that they have completed a high-quality, standards-based program and that their performance has been assessed.

Bartell is understandably proud of having initiated the university’s first doctoral program in Educational Leadership and Higher Education Leadership, which has graduated 168 students since it began. She helped start and contributed to a fellowship for students in that program, as well as a scholarship for future teachers. 

Apart from her 10 years at Cal Lutheran, Bartell has been a faculty member at five other universities, serving as dean at three Cal State schools. A former classroom teacher and supervisor in pre-kindergarten through grade 12 schools in six states, she also worked for the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing in Sacramento. A prolific author, her work focuses on the preparation, induction and mentoring of high quality teachers and administrators. She is the author of Cultivating High-Quality Teaching through Induction and Mentoring (Corwin Press).  Bartell holds an Ed.D. in Educational Administration with a specialization in policy research from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, a master’s in early childhood development from the University of Michigan, and an undergraduate degree in music and elementary education from Concordia University in Chicago.

In her retirement, Bartell has focused on her interests in music and the arts, especially bringing arts to the schools. To that end, she works with the New West Symphony, and she is also a board member and education director for Kingsmen Shakespeare Company. Bartell also maintains her connections to Cal Lutheran as a member of the Community Leaders’ Association, where she reviews scholarship applications.  A strong supporter of the Cal Lutheran music program, she and husband Ted attend many performances and events on campus. They are the parents of three children and grandparents of five (aged 2 to 21). Bartell is also very active in her church, Ascension Lutheran.

Bartell believes that education is a career that enables people to have a positive impact.  “Everyone wants to think they have a career that makes a difference. Working in education is influencing the future,” she says. And for alumni, it’s important to “stay connected to your university and continue your membership as part of that community.” 

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