Denise Taliaferro Baszile has been selected to serve as the next dean of Wayne State University’s College of Education. Following a competitive national search and a deeply consultative process, the Wayne State University Board of Governors approved the appointment, which was announced by Provost Mark Kornbluh. Taliaferro Baszile will begin her new role July 1, 2023.
Taliaferro Baszile comes to Wayne State from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, where she currently serves as associate dean for diversity and student services in the College of Education, Health, and Society. In her roles at Miami University, she has spearheaded the integration and implementation of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives within the university’s hiring and admissions processes to increase diversity among both faculty and students. In her 21 years at Miami University, Taliaferro Baszile has also held a wide variety of leadership positions, including interim dean of the College of Education, Health, and Society; chair of the Community Justice and Wellbeing Collaborative and the Diversity Task Force; and co-chair of the Boldly Creative Community Engagement Initiative. She contributed to the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Strategic Planning subcommittee, serving as co-chair from 2019 to 2020 and as chair from 2009 to 2010.
Taliaferro Baszile is a professor of curriculum and cultural studies, and she teaches curriculum theory, Black feminist theory and critical race theory, among other subjects. Her research focuses on the intersectionality of race and gender in education and curriculum, with an emphasis in inclusion and equity.
A proud Detroit native, Taliaferro Baszile views her new role as an exciting opportunity to return home. She was drawn to Wayne State because of its diverse culture, research opportunities and connections with the city.
“I’m thrilled to be joining Wayne State,” she said. “I view education as the starting point for a more just, peaceful and equitable society, and I look forward to doing that important work with this impressive community that shares many of my values.”
“Wayne State is exceptionally fortunate to have hired Taliaferro Baszile as its next dean of education,” said Wayne State University Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Mark Kornbluh. “She is an inspiring and accomplished leader who shares the core values of our university community and is deeply committed to Detroit and our region. The students, faculty and staff of the College of Education have so much to gain from her leadership.”
Taliaferro Baszile has extensive experience supporting graduate students as the director of graduate studies, having overseen the admissions processes for Ph.D. and master’s programs while collaborating with students to organize an annual graduate student conference. Throughout her career, Taliaferro Baszile has been passionate about working with diverse student groups and examining technical aspects of education to better understand how institutions can educate and serve equitably.
“Teaching is intellectually rigorous, spiritually demanding and powerfully creative work. On any given day, something a teacher says might change a life,” she said. “I tell all of my students not to let schooling hold their education hostage. School has a purpose, certainly, but education is so much more: learning about yourself, learning how to engage in society, learning to view everything as an opportunity.”
Prior to coming to Miami University, Taliaferro Baszile held a faculty position at Colgate University. Although she has taught in some capacity since her time as undergraduate student, Taliaferro Baszile also has experience in broadcast journalism, having worked in both the Los Angeles and Detroit media markets.
She is an accomplished scholar and author whose work has been published in Curriculum Inquiry, Educational Studies, the International Journal of Curriculum and Social Justice, Qualitative Inquiry, the Journal of Curriculum and Pedagogy, Gender and Education, and more. With Kirsten T. Edwards Williams and Nichole A. Guillory, she is the co-editor of two books: Black Women Theorizing Curriculum Studies in Colour and Curves (2020) and Race, Gender, and Curriculum Theorizing: Working in Womanish Ways (2016). She serves on the editorial board of Educational Studies and is a co-editor of the Journal of Curriculum Theorizing.
Taliaferro Baszile recently earned Miami University’s highest honor, the Benjamin Harrison Medallion, for her extraordinary contributions to teaching, research and service. She was the 2021 Arc Award recipient for her contributions to the field of curriculum and pedagogy, and the 2021 recipient of the Critical Race Studies in Education Association’s Derrick Bell Legacy Award. In addition to grants funded by Miami University, Baszile has received funding from Duke Energy and the Ohio Department of Education as the co-PI for the TEACh Cincinnati project, which addresses teacher shortages in Ohio. She is a member of numerous professional organizations, including Education Deans for Justice and Equity, the American Educational Studies Association, the American Educational Research Association, and the Critical Race Studies in Education Association, among other affiliations.
Taliaferro Baszile holds a Ph.D. and master’s in curriculum and instruction from Louisiana State University, and she completed her undergraduate degree in communication studies at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Taliaferro Baszile succeeds Boris Baltes, who has served as interim dean since 2022.