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Restoring a Civic Focus to Education: TC must lead, says Fuhrman in State of the College Address

TC President Susan Fuhrman

It was billed as a speech about the state of the College, but when Susan Fuhrman took the podium in Cowin Conference Center in late November, she began by delivering an eloquent commentary on the state of society.

“I, like many of you, have simply had it,” said Teachers College’s President. “Going back to the murder of Trayvon Martin… The killings of Michael Brown, Rekia Boyd, Eric Garner, Ezell Ford, Cameron Tillman, Akai Gurley, Tamir Rice, Dennis Grigsby, Anthony Hill, Eric Harris, Sandra Bland, Shantel Davis, Darrius Stewart, Freddie Gray, Christian Taylor, Philando Castile, Walter Scott, and countless others, known and unknown. The massacres at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston and at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando. It’s been simply too much.

“We can rededicate ourselves in light of recent events—making more sure than ever that our work doesn’t remain buried in journals but is out there making a real-world difference.”

“Then came this month. The mistrial in the case against the University of Cincinnati policeman for killing Samuel DuBose, an African-American man he pulled over for missing a front license plate. The misogynist and hateful messages of Harvard’s men’s soccer team, and even, in our own backyard, Columbia’s wrestling team. And of course, the presidential election and the deep dissension it has sown in our country.”

Fuhrman’s subject over the next 45 minutes was the need for citizenship education, which she believes Teachers College is ideally positioned to meet. 

[ Click here to read the full transcript of the 2016 State of the College speech. Click here to read about the Elaine Brantley Awards for Community and Civility, given this year to Maria Czech,Custodian II in the Facilities and Operations department; Wayne Judkins, Mail Room Clerk for Residential Services; and Stephen Peverly, Professor of Psychology and Education. Click here to read about musical performances at the State of the College meeting. ]

TC Student Senate President Drew Coles (left) and members of the TC Community Choir
TC Student Senate President Drew Coles (left) and members of the TC Community Choir
The College is “the largest, oldest and best school of education in the world,” Fuhrman said, and its legacy and challenge is “to promote our social justice mission in such a way that education becomes the solution.

“We can rededicate ourselves in light of recent events—making more sure than ever that our work doesn’t remain buried in journals but is out there making a real-world difference.”

TC has “the students, the faculty and the support of a large alumni and donor community” to do exactly that, Fuhrman said, describing the College’s 1,372 newest students as “a diverse cohort” who come from 52 countries, speak dozens of languages, and range in age from 18 to 68.  Nearly half of new students identify as persons of color, she said, and their ranks also include “teachers, military veterans, nonprofit founders and NGO directors, anti-bullying activists, TV news producers, AmeriCorps members, ballet dancers and opera singers, baseball coaches, and fitness instructors…We even welcomed this year a senior executive at a global financial firm who is enrolled in our spirituality and psychology program.”

Nearly half of TC's new students identify as persons of color, Fuhrman said, and their ranks also include “teachers, military veterans, nonprofit founders and NGO directors, anti-bullying activists, TV news producers, AmeriCorps members, ballet dancers and opera singers, baseball coaches, and fitness instructors…We even welcomed this year a senior executive at a global financial firm who is enrolled in our spirituality and psychology program.”

Fuhrman praised TC’s faculty for engaging in “scholarship at the heart of our social justice mission.” Academic year 2015-16 was particularly fruitful, she said, noting that TC faculty published 175 books and refereed journal articles, received approximately 70 major awards and honors, and garnered nearly $50 million in grants and funding.  Eight faculty members were honored at the annual meeting of the American Education Research Association (AERA), with Christopher Emdin, Associate Professor of Science Education, taking home AERA’s prestigious Early Career Award for his work on culturally responsive teacher preparation.  

Fuhrman went on to cite numerous examples from this past year of “TC’s ability to forge a future of improved learning and health and more widespread equity and social justice.” The list included: 

  • A first-ever professional training institute last summer on teaching and learning in racially diverse schools, led by Amy Wells, Professor of Sociology & Education;
  • Publication by Mariana Souto-Manning, Associate Professor of Early Childhood Education, the award-winning book Multicultural Teaching in the Early Childhood Classroom, which “reimagines the potential and scope of inclusionary language and literacy curricula.”
  • Federally funded work by Carol Scheffner Hammer, Professor of Communications Sciences & Disorders, to better understand and meet the needs of parents of children with cultural or biological obstacles.  
  • Development of a new Advanced Placement course on the African diaspora, led by Ernest Morrell, Macy Professor of English, and the Institute of Urban and Minority Education (IUME), and Henry Levin, William Heard Kilpatrick Professor of Education.  
  • Work by Professors Mary Mendenhall and Susan Garnett Russell to address the massive disruption and suspension of formal education among refugees around the world.

These accomplishments and more contributed to TC’s stellar performance on its recent accreditation review by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, which gave TC “its highest possible assessment,” Fuhrman said. She praised Sasha Gribovskaya, TC’s Director for Accreditation and Assessment, the Accreditation Steering Committee, chaired by Vice Provost Bill Baldwin and Vice Dean Lin Goodwin, and the 412 other faculty members, students and staff who contributed to the accreditation effort.

TC's hallmark is its ability to forge a future of improved learning and health and more widespread equity and social justice.”

Fuhrman closed by paying special tribute to “an organization and individual that perfectly embody our commitment to social justice”: TC’s Community College Research Center (CCRC) and its founder and director, Thomas Bailey, George & Abby O’Neill Professor of Economics & Education. CCRC, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary, recently hosted an event keynoted by Second Lady and community college educator Jill Biden.

The state of Teachers College is strong, Fuhrman said, “because people like Dr. Bailey keep the TC dream alive. When we erase barriers to education, comfort, and hope for marginalized populations; when we diminish people’s fears and protect their health and their rights; when we reduce prejudice and ignorance and increase compassion and knowledge – that is when we are fulfilling the promise that TC’s founders made.” 

Published Wednesday, Dec 7, 2016

TC President Susan Fuhrman

It was billed as a speech about the state of the College, but when Susan Fuhrman took the podium in Cowin Conference Center in late November, she began by delivering an eloquent commentary on the state of society.

“I, like many of you, have simply had it,” said Teachers College’s President. “Going back to the murder of Trayvon Martin… The killings of Michael Brown, Rekia Boyd, Eric Garner, Ezell Ford, Cameron Tillman, Akai Gurley, Tamir Rice, Dennis Grigsby, Anthony Hill, Eric Harris, Sandra Bland, Shantel Davis, Darrius Stewart, Freddie Gray, Christian Taylor, Philando Castile, Walter Scott, and countless others, known and unknown. The massacres at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston and at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando. It’s been simply too much.

“We can rededicate ourselves in light of recent events—making more sure than ever that our work doesn’t remain buried in journals but is out there making a real-world difference.”

“Then came this month. The mistrial in the case against the University of Cincinnati policeman for killing Samuel DuBose, an African-American man he pulled over for missing a front license plate. The misogynist and hateful messages of Harvard’s men’s soccer team, and even, in our own backyard, Columbia’s wrestling team. And of course, the presidential election and the deep dissension it has sown in our country.”

Fuhrman’s subject over the next 45 minutes was the need for citizenship education, which she believes Teachers College is ideally positioned to meet. 

[ Click here to read the full transcript of the 2016 State of the College speech. Click here to read about the Elaine Brantley Awards for Community and Civility, given this year to Maria Czech,Custodian II in the Facilities and Operations department; Wayne Judkins, Mail Room Clerk for Residential Services; and Stephen Peverly, Professor of Psychology and Education. Click here to read about musical performances at the State of the College meeting. ]

TC Student Senate President Drew Coles (left) and members of the TC Community Choir
TC Student Senate President Drew Coles (left) and members of the TC Community Choir
The College is “the largest, oldest and best school of education in the world,” Fuhrman said, and its legacy and challenge is “to promote our social justice mission in such a way that education becomes the solution.

“We can rededicate ourselves in light of recent events—making more sure than ever that our work doesn’t remain buried in journals but is out there making a real-world difference.”

TC has “the students, the faculty and the support of a large alumni and donor community” to do exactly that, Fuhrman said, describing the College’s 1,372 newest students as “a diverse cohort” who come from 52 countries, speak dozens of languages, and range in age from 18 to 68.  Nearly half of new students identify as persons of color, she said, and their ranks also include “teachers, military veterans, nonprofit founders and NGO directors, anti-bullying activists, TV news producers, AmeriCorps members, ballet dancers and opera singers, baseball coaches, and fitness instructors…We even welcomed this year a senior executive at a global financial firm who is enrolled in our spirituality and psychology program.”

Nearly half of TC's new students identify as persons of color, Fuhrman said, and their ranks also include “teachers, military veterans, nonprofit founders and NGO directors, anti-bullying activists, TV news producers, AmeriCorps members, ballet dancers and opera singers, baseball coaches, and fitness instructors…We even welcomed this year a senior executive at a global financial firm who is enrolled in our spirituality and psychology program.”

Fuhrman praised TC’s faculty for engaging in “scholarship at the heart of our social justice mission.” Academic year 2015-16 was particularly fruitful, she said, noting that TC faculty published 175 books and refereed journal articles, received approximately 70 major awards and honors, and garnered nearly $50 million in grants and funding.  Eight faculty members were honored at the annual meeting of the American Education Research Association (AERA), with Christopher Emdin, Associate Professor of Science Education, taking home AERA’s prestigious Early Career Award for his work on culturally responsive teacher preparation.  

Fuhrman went on to cite numerous examples from this past year of “TC’s ability to forge a future of improved learning and health and more widespread equity and social justice.” The list included: 

  • A first-ever professional training institute last summer on teaching and learning in racially diverse schools, led by Amy Wells, Professor of Sociology & Education;
  • Publication by Mariana Souto-Manning, Associate Professor of Early Childhood Education, the award-winning book Multicultural Teaching in the Early Childhood Classroom, which “reimagines the potential and scope of inclusionary language and literacy curricula.”
  • Federally funded work by Carol Scheffner Hammer, Professor of Communications Sciences & Disorders, to better understand and meet the needs of parents of children with cultural or biological obstacles.  
  • Development of a new Advanced Placement course on the African diaspora, led by Ernest Morrell, Macy Professor of English, and the Institute of Urban and Minority Education (IUME), and Henry Levin, William Heard Kilpatrick Professor of Education.  
  • Work by Professors Mary Mendenhall and Susan Garnett Russell to address the massive disruption and suspension of formal education among refugees around the world.

These accomplishments and more contributed to TC’s stellar performance on its recent accreditation review by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, which gave TC “its highest possible assessment,” Fuhrman said. She praised Sasha Gribovskaya, TC’s Director for Accreditation and Assessment, the Accreditation Steering Committee, chaired by Vice Provost Bill Baldwin and Vice Dean Lin Goodwin, and the 412 other faculty members, students and staff who contributed to the accreditation effort.

TC's hallmark is its ability to forge a future of improved learning and health and more widespread equity and social justice.”

Fuhrman closed by paying special tribute to “an organization and individual that perfectly embody our commitment to social justice”: TC’s Community College Research Center (CCRC) and its founder and director, Thomas Bailey, George & Abby O’Neill Professor of Economics & Education. CCRC, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary, recently hosted an event keynoted by Second Lady and community college educator Jill Biden.

The state of Teachers College is strong, Fuhrman said, “because people like Dr. Bailey keep the TC dream alive. When we erase barriers to education, comfort, and hope for marginalized populations; when we diminish people’s fears and protect their health and their rights; when we reduce prejudice and ignorance and increase compassion and knowledge – that is when we are fulfilling the promise that TC’s founders made.” 

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