2011 Year in Review | Teachers College Columbia University

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2011 Year in Review

Covering the period of September 1, 2010 through August 31, 2011

(Covering the period of September 1, 2010 through August 31, 2011)


The College welcomes more than 1,900 new students, the largest incoming class in its history, continuing its steady growth in applications and enrollment over the past several years. TC sees an increase of about 15 percent in applications to its teacher education and certification programs.

U.S. Under Secretary of Education Martha Kanter keynotes a two-day conference sponsored by the National Center for Postsecondary Research, led by Thomas R. Bailey, George and Abby O’Neill Professor of Economics and Education. The conference focuses on the failure of remedial courses offered at many community colleges to help entering students improve literacy and other basic skills.

The College unveils its revamped Edward D. Mysak Clinic for Communication Disorders. The Center, which serves some 60 clients weekly from neighboring communities, now features teleconferencing units for online work with children in other countries. 


In her annual State of the College address, TC President Susan Fuhrman proclaims the 2010–11 school year TC’s “Year of Research”—a time when the College will take significant steps forward in its quest to rethink and reinvent education across the human lifespan.

TC’s online master’s degree program in Computing and Education is rated the nation’s best online graduate education degree program by GetEducated.com, a consumer group that publishes online college rankings and university ratings.

Nearly 200 experts from around the world gather at TC’s first Roundtable in Second Language Studies, focusing on Chinese second language acquisition. Students Yayun Anny Sun, K. Philip Choong, Hye Won Shin and Shaoyan Qi organized the conference, directed by ZhaoHong Han, Associate Professor of Language and Education.

The Department of Arts and Humanities launches a new Website for teachers that explores the relationships between jazz and democracy. “Let Freedom Swing: Conversations on Jazz and Democracy” is a collection of videos and a study guide designed by TC for use in social studies, history and humanities classes, based on interviews with retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and musician and educator Wynton Marsalis.

The Social-Organizational Psychology program holds its inaugural Exchange, a twice-yearly salon and networking event aimed at bringing together faculty, students, alumni and friends of the program.
The Nutrition Education program partners with the New York City chapter of Edible Schoolyard to develop curricula in a range of subjects to support both garden- and classroom-based learning.  Edible Schoolyard NYC is directed by current TC nutrition student Christiane Baker.

The Office of School and Community Partnerships co-sponsors “The Ultimate Block Party,” an event in New York City’s Central Park organized by Play for Tomorrow, a national consortium of educators concerned about the dwindling role of play.


In the first of his two Sachs Lectures, University of California-Berkeley sociologist Samuel Lucas cites findings from the 2008 General Social Survey, an initiative of the National Opinion Research Center, suggesting that students are virtually guaranteed to be exposed to a prejudiced teacher at some point in their elementary and high school educations. In his second lecture, in March 2011, Lucas argues that education reform must deal with structures and attitudes that reproduce inequality and breed resistance to change.

More than 180 teachers, graduate students, faculty and school administrators attend “Philosophy in Schools,” a conference hosted in TC’s Milbank Chapel by the Columbia University Philosophy Outreach Program. Co-founded and co-directed by TC Philosophy and Education students, the program brings the ideas of Aristotle, Kant, Nietzsche and others to students in New York City public and private schools.

“Spirituality and Healing: A Revolution of Consciousness,” a conference chaired by Lisa Miller, TC Associate Professor of Psychology and Education, brings together experts in the fields of medicine, engineering, psychology and spirituality to discuss their work studying the effects of mental and spiritual activity on the body and the physical environment. 


Ernest Morrell is named the new director of TC’s Institute for Urban and Minority Education (IUME), succeeding founding director Edmund W. Gordon. Morrell, an authority in the fields of literacy, critical pedagogy, cultural studies, urban education and ethnic studies, has since been elected Vice President of the National Council of Teachers of English.

TC’s Center for Food and Environment concludes “The Kids Cook Monday,” a series of evenings in which elementary school students from Harlem-area schools and their parents visit TC’s Earth Friends Lab to cook healthy meals.


TC’s Office of the Provost launches a new Health, Behavior and Society Colloquium Series bringing together faculty and students from across Columbia University whose research interests include the biological, behavioral and social bases of human development. The inaugural colloquium explores how physical and psychological abuse in childhood can cause cellular changes that can lead to physical ailments in adulthood.

Youth Rising, a TC program to help the staff of Covenant House New York address the psychological, psychiatric and educational needs of New York City’s more than 12,000 homeless youth, receives a two-year $170,000 grant from the Goldman Sachs Foundation. Youth Rising was created by faculty member Lisa Miller. 


President Fuhrman moderates a Congressional briefing on Capitol Hill about the payoffs of long-term investment in education research. The briefing is co-sponsored by the Education Deans Alliance, the National Academy of Education (NAEd) and the American Educational Research Association. Fuhrman is NAEd President.

“Bi- and Multilingualism in Young Children,” a panel featuring Celia Genishi, Professor of Education, Mariana Souto-Manning, Associate Professor of Education, and Maria Torres-Guzman, Professor of Bilingual Education, debunks myths such as the notion that multilingualism leads to language delays.

MARCH 2011

More than 100 alumni of TC’s International Center for Cooperation and Conflict Resolution (ICCCR) gather to hear talks by United Nations Ombudsman Johnston Barkat (the first student ever to receive a certificate from ICCCR) and ICCCR Director Peter Coleman, Associate Professor of Psychology and Education. 

APRIL 2011

TC’s third annual Academic Festival, “Learn to Live Well: Bringing Education to the Table,” draws more than 900 alumni and friends, as well as a throng of newly admitted students.  The events include the Phyllis L. Kossoff Policy Lecture, delivered by New York City’s newly appointed public schools chancellor, Dennis Walcott, and a keynote address by the health guru and media personality Ian Smith (MA ’93), recipient of the College’s President’s
Medal for Excellence.

TC’s Department of Arts and Humanities hosts “Creativity, Imagination and Innovation,” a symposium featuring a panel of experts on creativity that includes Robert Sternberg, Provost and Senior Vice President at Oklahoma State University; R. Keith Sawyer, Associate Professor of Psychology at Washington University; and keynote speaker Steven Berlin Johnson, the popular science author.

MAY 2011

At TC’s commencement exercises in the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, graduates are exhorted to create new and better solutions to learning challenges and fight a rising tide of inequality in American society. The three recipients of TC’s Medal for Distinguished Service are former New York Times columnist Bob Herbert; Baltimore public schools chief Andres Alonso; and Stanford University education scholar (and former TC faculty member) Linda Darling-Hammond.

“When Worlds Collide: Facing the Challenges of Special Education in the New Millennium,” a conference on current research in intellectual disabilities, features TC’s 2011 Blackman Lecture, delivered by psychologist Elisabeth Dykens of Peabody College, Vanderbilt University. Len Blackman, TC Professor Emeritus of Education and Psychology, reads from his book, The Psychle of My Life: A Memoir (Fall Court Press, 2009). 

Game Show NYC—The Art of Learning Through Games,” an exhibit at Macy Gallery curated by doctoral students Nick Sousanis and Suzanne Choo together with Joey Lee, Assistant Professor of Communication, Computing and Technology in Education, features a range of interactive games, from crossword puzzles to less traditional fare.

At Scratch Day at TC, students, parents, teachers and researchers gather to learn new uses for Scratch, a visually oriented programming language aimed at young people. Prior to the event, TC hosted the inaugural Scratch Educators Meetup, which included Mitchel Resnick, Academic Head of MIT’s Media Arts and Sciences program.

JUNE 2011

A TC delegation that includes President Fuhrman, Provost Tom James and several faculty members visits Taipei, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Beijing, meeting with alumni and prospective students. The trip culminates in the announcement of a new John Dewey Scholarship that will enable TC to enroll future generations of education scholars and leaders from Asia, regardless of means. 

TC hosts a 90th birthday celebration for Edmund W. Gordon, Richard March Hoe Emeritus Professor of Psychology and Education, and founder of the College’s Institute for Urban and Minority Education. Gordon, called the preeminent African-American psychologist of his generation, receives proclamations from New York City Councilman Robert Jackson and State Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee, as well as a Presidential Citation from the American Psychological Association.

The American College of Sports Medicine releases new exercise guidelines developed by a committee led by Carol Ewing Garber, Associate Professor of Movement Sciences (and ACSM Fellow). For the first time, the guidelines recognize that a little exercise is better than none and suggest minimizing inactivity.

More than 500 teachers, principals and paraprofessionals from schools across New York City gather for “Expanding Mindsets, Transforming Practices,” a full day of professional development workshops offered through the city’s partnership with the TC Inclusive Classrooms Project (TCICP). The project supports research, teaching and service to create organizational structures and curricular opportunities for students of all abilities.

JULY 2011

TC’s Student Press Initiative (SPI) holds its annual Summer Institute, providing educators with an intensive, four-day clinic in how to implement SPI’s project-based curricular model in which students publish and publicly read from or perform their own work.

A new research body, the Center for Analysis of Postsecondary Education and Employment (CAPSEE), housed and led by TC’s Community College Research Center (CCRC), will examine long-term employment and earning outcomes for students attending a variety of postsecondary institutions both statewide and nationally. CAPSEE is funded by a grant of nearly $10 million from the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences.

TC reconvenes its prestigious Superintendents Work Conference, an annual gathering for school leadership from across the nation to respond to shifting policy and budget demands. The 68th annual iteration of the conference is themed “Pursuing Equity and Excellence: Courageous Conversations on Education Design and Innovation.”


Together with leaders of the Chicago Community Trust, the Healthy Schools Campaign and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Charles Basch, TC’s Richard March Hoe Professor of Health Education, meets with U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to discuss the connection between health disparities and the minority achievement gap and propose ways that schools can promote student health and wellness.

Research Highlights

Faculty members Jeanne Brooks-Gunn and Herbert Ginsburg are elected to the National Academy of Education (NAEd) for their “pioneering efforts in education research and policy development.” Brooks-Gunn’s research  focuses on designing and evaluating interventions and policies aimed at enhancing the wellbeing of children living in poverty.  Ginsburg is a leading researcher on development of mathematical thinking and assessment of cognitive function.

Brooks-Gunn will co-direct an ongoing study of the effect of affordable housing on low-income families. Teachers College and the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City are awarded $1 million by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation to fund the work. 

New analysis of data on more than 1,200 mothers, conducted by Brooks-Gunn and colleagues, finds a “strong and significant” interaction between certain genetic markers and post-partum depression. The finding supports the broader hypothesis that people are genetically inclined to be “more or less reactive to the environment.” The study is reported in “The Role of Mother’s Genes and Environment in Postpartum Depression,” a paper published on May 17 by the National Academy of Sciences. 

“Identifying Young, Potentially Gifted, Economically Disadvantaged Students,” a paper published in 1994 in the journal Gifted Child Quarterly by TC faculty members James Borland and Lisa Wright, is noted for having been cited more than any other publication in that journal during the past 54 years. 

A study based on a survey of thousands of new parents finds that while parenthood is definitely a life-changing event, having a baby has minimal long-term effect on parents’ sense of wellbeing. Published in The Journal of Family Psychology, the research was led by TC psychologist George Bonanno.

Georgia Malandraki, Assistant Professor in the Program of Speech and Language Pathology in TC’s Department of Biobehavioral Sciences, receives the 2011 Early Career Contributions in Research Award of the American Speech Language and Hearing Association. A certified Speech and Language Pathologist, Malandraki researches human brain recovery and plasticity as it relates to swallowing function. 

Some 175 TC faculty and students attend the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association in New Orleans, themed “Inciting the Social Imagination: Education Research for the Public Good.” Faculty members David Hansen, Henry Levin and Anna Neumann are named 2011 AERA Fellows, and Maria Torres-Guzman receives the AERA Bilingual Education SIG Lifetime Achievement Award. Mariana Souto-Manning receives AERA’s 2011 Division K Innovations in Research on Diversity in Teacher Education Award. 

Lalitha Vasudevan, Assistant Professor of Technology and Education, receives TC’s 2010 Strage Junior Faculty Prize for her paper “Performing New Geographies of Literacy, Teaching and Learning,” published in the July 2009 issue of the journal English Education. The $2,500 prize was established at TC in 2009 by alumna Alberta Strage (a member of President Susan Fuhrman’s Advisory Council) and her husband, Henry M. Strage

The Association for Science Teacher Education and the National Science Teachers Association select a paper published in The Journal of Science Teacher Education by O. Roger Anderson, Professor of Natural Science, and Julie Contino, an Ed.D. student in Secondary Science Education, as one of the top 10 papers published in
science education in 2010.

Faculty member Carol Ewing Garber is elected Vice President of the American College of Sports Medicine, the foremost international scientific organization in that field.  

The May 2011 issue of The Counseling Psychologist includes a 42-page profile of Derald Wing Sue, Professor of Psychology and Education, detailing “the personal and professional accomplishments of one of psychology’s most accomplished and prolific scholars… a contemporary figure considered by many to be a cultural icon.” Sue, the recent author of Microaggressions in Everyday Life: Race, Gender and Sexual Orientation (John Wiley and Sons), is a leading expert on multiculturalism and discrimination issues.

Barry Farber, Professor of Psychology and Education, is named Editor of the Journal of Clinical Psychology: In Session, a quarterly branch of the monthly Journal of Clinical Psychology.

Carolyn Riehl, Associate Professor of Education, is recognized as an Outstanding Reviewer for the American Educational Research Journal, Section on Social and Institutional Analysis, for 2010.

Policy Highlights

Sharon Lynn Kagan, TC’s Virginia and Leonard Marx Professor of Early Childhood and Family Policy, and TC doctoral student Kate Tarrant publish their co-edited volume, Transitions for Young Children: Creating Connections Across Early Childhood Systems (Brookes, 2010),  a collection of essays by U.S. and international policy experts.

The Center on Continuous Instructional Improvement, a TC-based arm of the Consortium for Policy Research in Education, releases the report “Learning Trajectories in Mathematics: A Foundation for Standards, Curriculum, Assessment, and Instruction.”

Speaking in TC’s Milbank Chapel, Geoffrey Whitty, Director of the Institute of Education (IOE) at the University of London, calls for education officials in England and the United States to step up their sharing of research and policy reform ideas. Cross-cultural innovation in education is the theme of a subsequent panel discussion that includes Whitty, TC President Susan Fuhrman and Rona Kiley, Founder of the U.K.’s Teach First and former CEO of the Academy Sponsors Trust. 

In a presentation titled “Sharing Responsibilities for Public Education—Where Public Meets Private: The New Education Landscape,” Tisch Lecturer Priscilla Wohlstetter, Professor of Educational Policy at the University of Southern California’s Rossier School of Education, offers convincing evidence that public education can be improved by collaborations such as the Harlem Children’s Zone, which bring together government, for-profit and non-profit entities. 

Michael Rebell, Professor of Education Law and Adjunct Professor at Columbia Law School, is one of 28 education advocates, civil rights leaders, scholars, lawyers and corporate leaders appointed by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to the U.S. Department of Education’s Equity and Excellence Commission.

Environmental Initiatives

TC continues its commitment to reducing its overall carbon footprint. Accomplishments in 2011 include:

• Reactivating many public water fountains and installing bottle fillers to help reduce dependence on bottled water. 

• Replacing or retrofitting more than 7,000 inefficient light fixtures and light bulbs in order to reduce kilowatt hours of electricity consumed. 
• Implementing a single-stream recycling program to help boost TC’s rate of recycling from 35 percent of all waste recycled to 50 percent by August 2012, and from 50 percent to 75 percent by 2017.

TC broadly commits to three guiding principles of sustainability:

• Demonstrating institutional practices that promote sustainability, including measures both to increase efficiency and use of renewable resources and to decrease production of waste and hazardous materials.

• Encouraging environmental inquiry and institutional learning throughout the College community.

• Establishing indicators for sustainability that will enable monitoring, reporting and continuous improvement.

Diversity & Community Affairs

TC’s Vice President’s Office for Diversity and Community Affairs enhances its community-building initiative with three facilitated “Critical Conversations about Privilege: Leveling Hierarchies.” Its other efforts include:

A daylong conference, “From Pre-K to Post-Doc: Race and Privilege in Education”—issues that are often avoided in hopes of achieving “color-blindness.” 

“The Hibakusha Speak,” a conversation with three survivors of the Hiroshima atomic bomb (co-sponsored with the Peace Education Network).

Constitution Day programming that includes screening the controversial documentary film Waiting for “Superman” before its national release. Faculty member Aaron Pallas introduces the film, which is discussed by faculty members Barbara Wallace, Erica Walker, Michael Rebell, Jeffrey Henig and Yolanda Sealey-Ruiz. A second Constitution Day event, for local public school students, features Christopher Lowell as “Ben Franklin Live!”

A book discussion with psychologist Claude Steele, author of Whistling Vivaldi and Other Clues to How Stereotypes Affect Us; and book talks, cosponsored with TC’s Center for African Education, with Uzodinma Iweala, author of Beasts of No Nation, and Matt Meyer and Elavie Ndura-Ouedraogo, authors of Seeds Bearing Fruit: Pan-African Peace Action for the 21st Century.

Screenings of Beyond the Bricks—A New Era of Education, a documentary about black males in public high schools, and the award-winning documentary To Be Heard, about the teaching and learning of spoken-word poetry in urban classrooms.    

Full implementation of the new college-wide Professional Staff Evaluation Process, fulfilling the goal of developing a consistent college-wide performance review process with full compliance by all full-time professional staff, effective July 2011.

Awarding of $15,870 in grants to fund 18 student-, faculty- and staff-sponsored initiatives as part of the Vice President’s Diversity and Community Initiatives (DCI) Grant Fund, and $7,500 in grants as part of the Vice President’s Grant for Student Research in Diversity.

The third annual Community Cook-Off and Tasting Celebration. 


TC enjoys a strong year in all areas of fundraising, with a total of $26.2 million raised in new commitments—a 30 percent increase over the prior year. Strategic programmatic enhancements in Government Relations, Donor Relations/Stewardship,  External Affairs and Alumni Relations effectively set the stage for ongoing campaign planning work and for celebration of the 125th anniversary of the College’s founding.

Fundraising from individuals reaches $8.9 million, a 10 percent increase, while the TC Fund achieves its goal of $2 million, the largest annual fund campaign in the College’s history (surpassing the record set only last year). The Fund reaches this mark on the strength of a 28 percent increase in leadership giving from members of the John Dewey Circle.

Giving from Foundations and Corporations grew by nearly 50 percent, with new grants from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, supporting TC’s Community College Research Center (CCRC); the Lumina Foundation for Education, for CCRC and TC’s Hechinger Institute on Education and the Media; and the JP Morgan Chase Foundation, for the new Teachers College Community School.

New Faculty

TC increases its diversity with its new faculty hires for Fall 2011:

Associate Professor of Physical Education (Biobehavioral Sciences)
Assistant Professor of Counseling Psychology (Counseling and Clinical Psychology)

Assistant Professor of History and Education (Arts and Humanities)

Assistant Professor of Speech and Language Pathology (Biobehavioral Sciences)

Associate Professor of Bilingual/Bicultural Education(Arts and Humanities)

Professor of Education and Director, Institute for Urban and Minority Education (Arts and Humanities)

Assistant Professor of Social Studies and Education (Arts and Humanities)

Assistant Professor of Applied Statistics (Human Development)

Professor of Practice of Educational Leadership (Organization and Leadership)

Visiting Professor of Practice of Educational Leadership (Organization and Leadership)

Postdoctoral Fellow, Institute for Urban and Minority Education (Curriculum and Teaching)

Enrollment Services
In Fall 2011, TC welcomes its largest, most diverse and most selective incoming class in the post-World War II era. In all, applications have risen by 27 percent since 2006.

Among our 2011 highlights:

• A six percent increase in applications at the College over FY10.  TC received over 6,500 applications,
the largest and most diverse applicant pool in its history

• More than 1,850 new students enrolled in the Summer/Fall, a slight percentage increase over FY10

• An overall yield rate of 53 percent, 2 percent higher than in 2010. Master’s yield increased from 50 percent in 2010 to 52 percent in 2011, while doctoral yield increased from 45 percent to 54 percent

• Fifteen percent of enrolled students are from outside the United States. In terms of self-reported ethnicity/race of enrolled students, 9.3 percent are African American, 11.6 percent are Asian American and 9.1 percent are Hispanic

Published Friday, Apr. 13, 2012


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