Vice Provost Joseph Carter discusses journey with education

About five years ago, Vice Provost Joseph Carter was attending a concert when he felt a tap on his shoulder. He turned around puzzled to see a young man standing before him. This young man, who was a recent ASU graduate and had now entered the work force, smiled and said, “Dr. Carter, I wanted to let you know that the class I took from you was the most valuable class I took at Arizona State University.”

Carter is now the Vice Provost of the West campus and associate dean of the W. P. Carey School of Business at ASU. He has been teaching graduate and undergraduate students for more than 25 years with 22 of them at ASU.

Carter is considered one of the world’s leading experts in the area of purchasing and supply management because of his extensive list of research publications that amounts to more than 80 articles and monographs published in academic journals all over the world.

“I was inspired to first start teaching, because I wanted the chance to have an impact in an individual’s life that would be long lasting and of high value to them,” Carter said. “I knew the learning would be pervasive over many years, because education is not materialistic. A person can lose something of material value, but anything they have in their mind, in their intellect, is a lasting possession.”

In high school, Carter was trained in the ancient languages of Latin and Greek and found inspiration in the power of education and teaching through some of the philosophers he studied such as Socrates and Cicero.

Carter received an MBA at Northeastern University and continued on to receive a doctorate in operations management at Boston University.

“I was a teaching assistant as part of my MBA scholarship, and I got hands-on experience in the classroom that I really enjoyed,” Carter said. “I found the students’ hunger for knowledge to be exciting. I enjoyed the discussions we had in the classroom and working with the students in a collaborative fashion.”

Carter first started teaching as an assistant professor in supply chain management at Michigan State University in 1985.

He was then later promoted to associate professor with tenure in 1990, but he left MSU for a position as an associate professor with tenure at ASU in 1991 where he taught supply chain management in the College of Business Administration.

In 1995, he was promoted to the rank of professor with tenure and then in 2003 he was awarded an Avnet professorship in supply chain management that allowed him to further his business research and writings through an endowment funded by the Avnet Corporation.

Carter is one of about 65 professors in the University that holds either a named or chaired professorship.

“Administratively, in 1998 at ASU, I was appointed chair of the supply chain management department, and in 2006, I was appointed senior research fellow at CAPS research.” Carter said, “Then, in 2011, I was elected president of the University Senate, and in 2012, (I) was appointed Associated Dean of the W. P. Carey School of business and Vice Provost of Arizona State University.”

His assignment as Vice Provost of the West campus is to grow the student population both at the undergraduate and graduate level, Carter said.

“As the Associate Dean of the W. P. Carey School, I am committed to growing the business academic presence at West campus by adding new degrees at both the undergraduate and graduate level,” Carter said. “I feel that the West campus is a jewel in the crown of Arizona State University, and I look forward to the growth of the campus.”

Administrative assistant Veronica Mize said Carter’s presence at the West campus is very uplifting and positive. He has a passion for the West campus, she said.

“His presence on campus with students is very positive,” Mize said. “He goes out of the way to talk to them. When he’s at the cafeteria, he tries to have lunch with them. They are all positive, and they all have good things to say about him.”

Carter reached out to the West Valley business and social community in order to help with growth at the West campus, Mize said.

Elizabeth Carter, his wife, said teaching and education has always played a major part in Carter’s life.

“The presence of his passion for teaching has not changed or lessened since the first day I met him 25 years ago,” Elizabeth said. “Education is very important to him; it is a gift that he believes all people should possess, and it shows through his hard work and teaching.”

Reach the reporter at acataruz@asu.edu or follow her on Twitter @AleksCatz