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The State of the College: Good Enough to Sing About

Even just a quick read-through of President Susan Fuhrman’s 2015 State of the College Address is likely to make TC community members feel like celebrating.

Last week, Fuhrman’s live Cowin Center audience did just that, first breaking into cheers and applause when she cited key accomplishments (the 241 publications in recent months by faculty; TC’s rapidly expanding base of students who self-identify as “of color” or who hail from other nations) and then standing, swaying and clapping their hands when the event turned into a surprise musical tour de force. The afternoon concluded with the presentation of TC's Elaine Brantley Awards for Community and Civility.

More broadly, Fuhrman recapped a year that included:

  • Breakthrough research by faculty and students, with the College receiving some $41.25 million in sponsored research and training funds during fiscal year 2014. The work of three TC faculty members – Peter Coleman, Professor of Psychology & Education; Kimberly Noble, Associate Professor of Neuroscience & Education; and Joey Lee, Research Assistant Professor – was featured in the weekly science journal Nature. Several other faculty members – including Lisa Miller, Professor of Psychology & Education; Thomas Bailey, the George & Abby O’Neill Professor of Economics & Education; and Ernest Morrell, Macy Professor of Education – published major books in their fields. Some 50 professors – roughly 30 percent of TC’s faculty – received career or lifetime honors. “This incredible record of peer recognition re-affirms what we already know: When it comes to excellence, innovation, and impact in the academy, TC faculty are in a class of their own,” Fuhrman said.
  • New programs in a range of academic disciplines, including the world’s first Master’s degree program in Learning Analytics, a certificate program in Sexuality Women and Gender, and another in Latina/Latino Mental Health Services.
  • And the continuing success of TC’s historic $300 million campaign, Where the Future Comes First. The Campaign’s current total – $218 million – is already the largest amount ever raised by a graduate school of education.

“Today, TC is better positioned both academically and operationally to flourish for decades to come as a leader in shaping programs and fields that contribute to a smarter, healthier and more equitable world,” Fuhrman said.

The President also described a campus being transformed to incorporate the most advanced technologies, with work underway to build 22 smart classrooms and a 10,000 square-foot Learning Theatre, funded by a major gift from TC Trustee Camilla Smith (M.A. ’72) and her husband, George, in the College’s Gottesman Libraries that will function as a reconfigurable space for exploring new ideas and directions in teaching and learning. 

Fuhrman praised the College for its efforts to address issues raised by some of the more somber moments the nation faced during the past year. “The events in Ferguson – and killings in so many other cities – and escalating crises in many regions of the world remind us that we are in a time of enormous turmoil and upheaval,” she said. "But TC’s history is grounded in a social justice mission, and we never give up on finding answers to seemingly intractable problems. We’re not reactive – we’re prepared because acting against injustice is part of our DNA.”

Fuhrman concluded her address by outlining plans for making TC more innovative and nimble in the exploration of new ideas and the use of data and new technologies. Her plans include the continued expansion of the Provost’s Investment Fund, which has backed more than 200 faculty proposals and projects since 2008, and a new TC Rapid Prototyping Fund that will speed up the gestation process of incubating and testing out new ideas and concepts.

“We’re at an exciting moment in our history and – thanks to a great history and an amazing TC community – we will continue to provide the leadership needed to address the most serious problems the world faces,” Fuhrman said.

Following the President’s address, the music kicked in, beginning with rousing New Orleans–style entertainment by a jazz quartet made up of TC students Tim Sullivan on saxophone, Adam Platt on piano, Jeff Koch on bass and Dustin Kaufman on drums. Midway through their performance, as Sullivan was singing some lyrics about TC adapted to “When the Saints Go Marching In,” there was a commotion in the crowd as Lisa Daehlin, Academic Secretary in the Department of International & Transcultural Studies and an accomplished opera singer, stood and “interrupted” the proceedings. In stunning voice, Daehlin delivered a verse of her own. Seconds later, four members of TC's Development and External Affairs staff – Susan Scherman, Director of the TC Fund; Mark Lee, TC Fund Assistant Director; Urania Mylonas, Assistant Director of Stewardship & Donor Relations; and James Gardner, Associate Vice President of External Affairs – surprised the crowd (and, seemingly, the band) with an adaptation of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.” A sample: 

It’s not too late, the time is now
In this place we can shine, changing real lives all the time
So goodbye everybody, we’ve got to go!
At TC there are answers we will find!


They were followed by Christopher Emdin, Associate Professor of Science Education, and Ian Levy (M.A. ’13), a current TC doctoral student in health education who is also a high school counselor and hip-hop artist, who rapped their own original tribute to TC as the band played Jay-Z’s “Empire State of Mind.” Among the lyrics:

So we sit In an institution
Where we are producing
 research 
 with a goal to heal hurt
 where the first see the
 last and the last see the first
 and the work
 we produce
will transform the earth

After the music had concluded, there was one more feel-good moment: Janice Robinson, Vice President for Community Affairs & Diversity, presented The Elaine Brantley Memorial Award for Community and Civility to David Estrella, Director of Admission, and Josephine Takeall, Senior Accounts Representative. The Brantley Award recognizes employees who make TC a better place to work and learn and who inspire others to be kind to one another. The recipients are nominated and recommended by their co-workers or other community members both within and outside of their departments.

The award is named for Elaine Brantley, who worked for 24 years as a cashier in the TC cafeteria.

“The Brantley award is our most significant College community award; it recognizes colleagues for contributions beyond their job responsibilities, through their uplifting manner of communicating with and support of others,” said Robinson. “For twelve years it has kept Elaine Brantley’s memory alive and encourages a positive spirit at TC.”

At this year’s event, the College also honored Bria Elaine Foster, Brantley’s eight-year-old granddaughter, who, with her mother Eboné Foster, has attended Brantley Award presentations for the past several years. Bria received a backpack with her name embroidered on it and filled with the book Tar Beach, by Faith Ringgold, a 96 box of Crayola Crayons, 30 Crayola Twistables colored pencils, three coloring books and a 12-pack of rubber inspirational bracelets, each with an inspirational word (hope, dream, believe) printed on it.  —Mindy Liss

Published Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2015

The State of the College: Good Enough to Sing About

Even just a quick read-through of President Susan Fuhrman’s 2015 State of the College Address is likely to make TC community members feel like celebrating.

Last week, Fuhrman’s live Cowin Center audience did just that, first breaking into cheers and applause when she cited key accomplishments (the 241 publications in recent months by faculty; TC’s rapidly expanding base of students who self-identify as “of color” or who hail from other nations) and then standing, swaying and clapping their hands when the event turned into a surprise musical tour de force. The afternoon concluded with the presentation of TC's Elaine Brantley Awards for Community and Civility.

More broadly, Fuhrman recapped a year that included:

  • Breakthrough research by faculty and students, with the College receiving some $41.25 million in sponsored research and training funds during fiscal year 2014. The work of three TC faculty members – Peter Coleman, Professor of Psychology & Education; Kimberly Noble, Associate Professor of Neuroscience & Education; and Joey Lee, Research Assistant Professor – was featured in the weekly science journal Nature. Several other faculty members – including Lisa Miller, Professor of Psychology & Education; Thomas Bailey, the George & Abby O’Neill Professor of Economics & Education; and Ernest Morrell, Macy Professor of Education – published major books in their fields. Some 50 professors – roughly 30 percent of TC’s faculty – received career or lifetime honors. “This incredible record of peer recognition re-affirms what we already know: When it comes to excellence, innovation, and impact in the academy, TC faculty are in a class of their own,” Fuhrman said.
  • New programs in a range of academic disciplines, including the world’s first Master’s degree program in Learning Analytics, a certificate program in Sexuality Women and Gender, and another in Latina/Latino Mental Health Services.
  • And the continuing success of TC’s historic $300 million campaign, Where the Future Comes First. The Campaign’s current total – $218 million – is already the largest amount ever raised by a graduate school of education.

“Today, TC is better positioned both academically and operationally to flourish for decades to come as a leader in shaping programs and fields that contribute to a smarter, healthier and more equitable world,” Fuhrman said.

The President also described a campus being transformed to incorporate the most advanced technologies, with work underway to build 22 smart classrooms and a 10,000 square-foot Learning Theatre, funded by a major gift from TC Trustee Camilla Smith (M.A. ’72) and her husband, George, in the College’s Gottesman Libraries that will function as a reconfigurable space for exploring new ideas and directions in teaching and learning. 

Fuhrman praised the College for its efforts to address issues raised by some of the more somber moments the nation faced during the past year. “The events in Ferguson – and killings in so many other cities – and escalating crises in many regions of the world remind us that we are in a time of enormous turmoil and upheaval,” she said. "But TC’s history is grounded in a social justice mission, and we never give up on finding answers to seemingly intractable problems. We’re not reactive – we’re prepared because acting against injustice is part of our DNA.”

Fuhrman concluded her address by outlining plans for making TC more innovative and nimble in the exploration of new ideas and the use of data and new technologies. Her plans include the continued expansion of the Provost’s Investment Fund, which has backed more than 200 faculty proposals and projects since 2008, and a new TC Rapid Prototyping Fund that will speed up the gestation process of incubating and testing out new ideas and concepts.

“We’re at an exciting moment in our history and – thanks to a great history and an amazing TC community – we will continue to provide the leadership needed to address the most serious problems the world faces,” Fuhrman said.

Following the President’s address, the music kicked in, beginning with rousing New Orleans–style entertainment by a jazz quartet made up of TC students Tim Sullivan on saxophone, Adam Platt on piano, Jeff Koch on bass and Dustin Kaufman on drums. Midway through their performance, as Sullivan was singing some lyrics about TC adapted to “When the Saints Go Marching In,” there was a commotion in the crowd as Lisa Daehlin, Academic Secretary in the Department of International & Transcultural Studies and an accomplished opera singer, stood and “interrupted” the proceedings. In stunning voice, Daehlin delivered a verse of her own. Seconds later, four members of TC's Development and External Affairs staff – Susan Scherman, Director of the TC Fund; Mark Lee, TC Fund Assistant Director; Urania Mylonas, Assistant Director of Stewardship & Donor Relations; and James Gardner, Associate Vice President of External Affairs – surprised the crowd (and, seemingly, the band) with an adaptation of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.” A sample: 

It’s not too late, the time is now
In this place we can shine, changing real lives all the time
So goodbye everybody, we’ve got to go!
At TC there are answers we will find!


They were followed by Christopher Emdin, Associate Professor of Science Education, and Ian Levy (M.A. ’13), a current TC doctoral student in health education who is also a high school counselor and hip-hop artist, who rapped their own original tribute to TC as the band played Jay-Z’s “Empire State of Mind.” Among the lyrics:

So we sit In an institution
Where we are producing
 research 
 with a goal to heal hurt
 where the first see the
 last and the last see the first
 and the work
 we produce
will transform the earth

After the music had concluded, there was one more feel-good moment: Janice Robinson, Vice President for Community Affairs & Diversity, presented The Elaine Brantley Memorial Award for Community and Civility to David Estrella, Director of Admission, and Josephine Takeall, Senior Accounts Representative. The Brantley Award recognizes employees who make TC a better place to work and learn and who inspire others to be kind to one another. The recipients are nominated and recommended by their co-workers or other community members both within and outside of their departments.

The award is named for Elaine Brantley, who worked for 24 years as a cashier in the TC cafeteria.

“The Brantley award is our most significant College community award; it recognizes colleagues for contributions beyond their job responsibilities, through their uplifting manner of communicating with and support of others,” said Robinson. “For twelve years it has kept Elaine Brantley’s memory alive and encourages a positive spirit at TC.”

At this year’s event, the College also honored Bria Elaine Foster, Brantley’s eight-year-old granddaughter, who, with her mother Eboné Foster, has attended Brantley Award presentations for the past several years. Bria received a backpack with her name embroidered on it and filled with the book Tar Beach, by Faith Ringgold, a 96 box of Crayola Crayons, 30 Crayola Twistables colored pencils, three coloring books and a 12-pack of rubber inspirational bracelets, each with an inspirational word (hope, dream, believe) printed on it.  —Mindy Liss

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