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Arts & Humanities
Teachers College, Columbia University
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Arts & Humanities

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About > Our Mission

Our Mission

The Department of Arts and Humanities is dedicated to the study of a variety of academic and professional disciplines in an educational context. The Department’s mission is two-fold: To promote proficiency in specific fields and to explore the purposes, practices, and processes of education both within—and across—disciplines.

Within the Department, individual programs preserve their own disciplinary rigor while expanding modes of inquiry, discovery, and creation across disciplines and diverse societies and cultures. The Department is committed to understanding culture as a broad and varied process—a fundamental human activity involving various modes of thinking and expression through which meaning is constructed and historically transmitted.

The Department views the study of education as broad and vital. Here, intellectual and creative ideas and practices extend beyond the traditional concerns of schooling. Thus, each program shares a concern with the learner’s construction of knowledge, the art and methods of teaching, the realities of the contemporary classroom, the relationship of schools to their communities, and the underlying philosophies of school reform.

In each of the programs that prepare teachers for positions in schools and universities, there is a commitment to the education of reflective practitioners, the integration of theory and improvement of learning, as well as research and practice in the students’ chosen fields of study.

Faculty share the view that informed, imaginative and critical thinking enables scholars and educators to actively shape cultural concepts of learning through education. With this in mind, the programs—both separately and together—offer students the skills and knowledge needed to thrive and assume leadership in today’s changing cultural and educational environment.