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SPS Staff Member in the Spotlight: Dr. Elizabeth Schaper

Meet Beth Schaper, the newest member of the School of Professional Studies who began on July 1 of this year in the inaugural position of assistant dean of education. In this role, Beth will oversee the seven active M.Ed. programs that are located in the SPS (PACT, urban teaching, global education & TESOL, higher education, school counseling, school administration, and literacy) and will be responsible for leading the program approval/accreditation process with the R.I. Department of Education (RIDE). She earned her bachelor’s degree in special education from Fitchburg State, her master’s degree in school administration from Harvard University, and her doctorate in education from the University of Massachusetts.

What has been your background previous to Providence College?

I have had a 34-year long career in the field of public education where I have worked as a special education teacher, middle school principal, and superintendent of schools. My work has straddled the fields of K-12 and teacher education which has led me to see the value of partnership as a central ingredient in quality teacher preparation. I played a unique role in the partnership between the Worcester Public Schools and Clark University, serving as a professional development school coordinator while I was a teacher at Worcester’s Sullivan Middle School. This experience opened my eyes to the ways in which college and school partnerships can substantially impact outcomes for both organizations.  While working as the Superintendent of Schools in the West Boylston Public Schools, I initiated a successful partnership with Assumption College aimed at encouraging education majors to consider obtaining additional credentials in special education. This partnership was awarded an EPIC grant from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. I also have higher education teaching experience as a lecturer/adjunct faculty member at Clark University, Worcester State University, and Fitchburg State College.

What brought you to Providence College?

The position of assistant dean for education at Providence College is a dream job for me in many ways.  Professionally, I am passionate about the work of teacher education and I am eager to bring my knowledge of the field to support the efforts of the education department. Last September, as I was contemplating retiring from my work as a public school superintendent, I saw the ad for this position and felt a surge of excitement. The job description was everything I love to do and it felt like this was the perfect time to begin the next chapter of my career working in higher education. I am drawn to the challenge of strengthening the existing partnerships PC has with local schools, both public and Catholic, and I am eager to assist in responding to the unique demands we all face during this time in our history.

Personally, I fell in love with Providence College when my daughter Caroline was deciding where she would attend. She was a Friar in her heart from the moment she stepped on this campus. Her years here have been marked by so many wonderful things; personal growth, growth in faith and virtue, the formation of great friendships, and an abundance of opportunities to learn, to serve, and to lead. I am grateful that she approved of my desire to apply to work here. I am so happy to be here in Friartown engaged in work that I love.

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