Skip to Main Content
Excellence and Expertise

Denise Taliaferro Baszile honored with Benjamin Harrison Medallion

She is an internationally renowned scholar in the field of education, particularly the area of curriculum studies.

Denise Taliaferro Baszile
Excellence and Expertise

Denise Taliaferro Baszile honored with Benjamin Harrison Medallion

By Margo Kissell, university news and communications

Denise Taliaferro Baszile, professor of Educational Leadership and associate dean of diversity and student experience in the College of Education, Health, and Society, has been honored with the 2022 Benjamin Harrison Medallion. 

Named for America’s 23rd president who graduated from Miami University in 1852, the medallion is Miami’s most prestigious career faculty honor and recognizes contributions to the education of the nation.

"I am honored and really grateful that my colleagues in the field and at Miami think so highly of me and my scholarly work and service to our profession," she said. "I accept the medallion on behalf of all of us at Miami — students, faculty, and staff — who do the work day in and day out to imagine and to create a diverse, vibrant, and intellectually engaging campus." 

Taliaferro Baszile is an internationally renowned scholar in the field of education, particularly the area of curriculum studies. 

“Her highest standards of teaching and advancement of student learning are demonstrated through her work in helping to create, design, and contribute to a celebrated, nationally-recognized doctoral program,” a nominator wrote.

Her academic scholarship brings together concepts from curriculum, Black feminist thought, and critical race theory to connect concepts of teaching, education, and movement building.

“She has an uncanny way of bringing in heavy, contested, and controversial topics such as critical race theorizing and social justice education in such approachable ways that welcome student dialogue, engagement, and deliberation,” the nominator wrote.

Taliaferro Baszile is known for the ways she challenges students to think critically and welcomes dissent in her classes, another nominator wrote. “Her reading and writing assignments compel students to grapple with ideas, arguments, and nuance that they possibly have never engaged before.”

Revolutionizing curriculum studies 

William Pinar, Tetsuo Aoki Professor in Curriculum Studies at the University of British Columbia, who was an external nominator, attributes her national and international renown to a 2016 essay “Critical Race/Feminist Currere” published in The Sage Guide to Curriculum in Education

“In what qualifies as an intellectual earthquake event, Baszile revolutionized currere (the root of curriculum) studies by showing how race and gender intersect in self-study in education. It is an essay of exceptional significance…”

Another external nominator, William Schubert, professor emeritus of curriculum and instruction at the University of Illinois at Chicago, said that same piece “is emblematic of Dr. Taliaferro Baszile’s corpus of work, which deals uniquely and insightfully with feminist and African American educational issues.”

Moreover, she “draws upon diverse literary sources such as poetry, fiction, philosophy, political theory, music, and theatre. Her books, articles, and chapters all advance this original contribution to story, counter-story, and theoretical interpretative analysis,” Schubert added.

Research and service to Miami 

Taliaferro Baszile’s research “pushes those who engage with it to ask curriculum questions about worthiness and intentionality while astutely focusing on who is silenced, marginalized, ignored, and written out of the dominant ideas in curriculum,” a nominator wrote. 

“The results of such questions in her scholarship are profound: People, ideas, and ways of thinking that have been relegated to the margins are instead centered, thrust into the spotlight, challenging common assumptions and provoking change. Her work pushes ideas that have often not been a part of mainstream conversations and increasingly, and importantly, now have a proverbial seat at the table.”

A service-driven faculty member, Taliaferro Baszile “consistently takes on a heavy lift with administrative roles and leadership, and our institution is the better for it,” a nominator wrote.

She has chaired or co-chaired more than 20 dissertation committees and served on scores of others. “Not only does she formally advise doctoral students in official capacities,” a nominator wrote, but “she also serves as an informal advisor and mentor to innumerable students, particularly African American undergraduate and graduate students.”

Taliaferro Baszile served as interim dean of the College of Education, Health & Society (EHS) from Jan. 1-May 31, 2021. She has been the associate dean of diversity and student experience since 2015 and previously held positions as director of diversity initiatives for EHS from 2011-2015 and director of graduate studies for the department of educational leadership from 2009-2011.

Taliaferro Baszile joined Miami in 2002. She earned her doctorate from Louisiana State University.

Service to the profession

Taliaferro Baszile has served in leadership positions in several professional organizations, including as vice president of Division B (Curriculum Studies) of the American Educational Research Association, president of the American Educational Studies Association and co-chair of the steering committee of Education Deans for Justice and Equity. 

She has also served as director of communication for the Critical Race Studies in Education Association. 

She is co-editor of the Journal of Curriculum Theorizing and currently serves on the editorial board of the journal Educational Studies and has served on the editorial board of the journal, Urban Review.

She was awarded a Miami University Interdisciplinary Innovation Grant to support the culturally relevant college readiness initiative, Dream Keepers. 

She has also received external funding, including a recent Duke Energy Grant to support African American students’ participation in Miami’s Summer Scholars Program as part of the EHS effort with the Miami University TEACh program — a pipeline program to increase the number of teachers of color in local schools. 

In 2021, Taliaferro Baszile was honored with the Arc Award for her notable contributions to the field of curriculum and pedagogy from the Curriculum and Pedagogy Conference and Journal. That same year she received the Derrick Bell Legacy Award for her significant contributions to the field of Critical Race Studies from the Critical Race Studies in Education Association. In 2020, she received the Mary Anne Raywid Award for her distinguished scholarship in education from the Society of Professors of Education.

Among other service roles in the community, she previously chaired the Booker T. Washington Advisory Board in Hamilton, and she was honored with the 2014 YWCA Hamilton Outstanding Woman of Achievement Award in the Volunteer Service category.