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TC's Tom James to Receive Kurt Hahn Award for Lifetime Service

TC Provost and Dean Tom James
TC Provost and Dean Tom James
Teachers College Provost and Dean Tom James will receive the 2016 Kurt Hahn Award, given by the wilderness adventure organization Outward Bound. Named in honor of Outward Bound’s Founder, the Kurt Hahn Award is presented annually to a person who exemplifies outstanding service to Outward Bound’s mission to change lives through challenge and discovery and create a more resilient and compassionate world, and who has made a contribution through his or her life’s work on behalf of others while demonstrating Hahn’s ideals and values.

Outward Bound, which Hahn founded in 1941, is an international, non-profit, independent educational organization with approximately 40 schools around the world. It serves some 200,000 participants per year.

James was praised for giving “special meaning and power to the work of Outward Bound by connecting it to its roots and to its animating values.”

The German-born Hahn served as private secretary to Prince Max Von Baden, Germany’s last Imperial Chancellor, and founded Salem School in 1919. An outspoken critic of Nazism, he left Germany in 1933, settled in Scotland, and founded the famed Gordonstoun School, as well as the United World Colleges and a worldwide network of schools now known as Round Square International. As an educator, Hahn believed in the fundamental integrity and decency of young people and sought to prevent their corruption by society.

James, a historian of education best known for his work on the schooling of Japanese-Americans who were interned during World War II, assumed his current role at TC in 2007. As Provost, he has created an investment fund that has seeded innovative new faculty work, much of which has developed into successful programs and initiatives. He has also led the hiring of scores of new faculty members, with more than 40 percent of TC's current full-time, tenure-track faculty hired on his watch.

Outward Bound Founder Kurt Hahn
Outward Bound Founder Kurt Hahn
James has been involved with Outward Bound for 40 years, from his days as an editor and researcher in Colorado to his current role as a Board member. Along the way, he helped to conceive multiple Outward Bound programs in the United States, including the New York City Outward Bound Center and Expeditionary Learning. In its citation, Outward Bound’s Kurt Hahn Award Committee called James “a living embodiment of the values of Kurt Hahn” and “the first eminent scholar in America to take Outward Bound seriously as a form of education.” James, who in 1980 authored the book Education at the Edge: The Colorado Outward Bound School, “has been characterized as Outward Bound's leading and most eloquent chronicler of its teaching and learning approach,” the committee wrote.

Invoking the words of Hahn, the Award Committee called James “a person of great dignity and decency, who in his own quiet way consistently exhibits ‘... an enterprising curiosity, an undefeatable spirit, tenacity in pursuit, sensible self-denial and, above all, compassion.’”

Noting that he is at work on a book about Hahn, the Committee praised James for giving “special meaning and power to the work of Outward Bound by connecting it to its roots and to its animating values,” adding that “through his own example, and the way he lives his life, [James] embodies those values.” Invoking the words of Hahn, the Committee called James “a person of great dignity and decency, who in his own quiet way consistently exhibits ‘... an enterprising curiosity, an undefeatable spirit, tenacity in pursuit, sensible self-denial and, above all, compassion.’”

James will receive the award on October 18 at Outward Bound's National Benefit Dinner in New York City.

Read the full text of the award committee’s citation to Tom James.

Read James’ essay “The Only Mountain Worth Climbing:An Historical and Philosophical Exploration of Outward Bound and Its Link to Education”

Hear James discuss Expeditionary Learning in a radio documentary presented by American RadioWorks and American Public Media

Read a 2007 profile of James from TC Today magazine.

Read James’ personal essay on his experience as a child attending the University of Chicago’s Laboratory School, founded by John Dewey.

Published Wednesday, Oct 12, 2016

TC Provost and Dean Tom James
TC Provost and Dean Tom James
Teachers College Provost and Dean Tom James will receive the 2016 Kurt Hahn Award, given by the wilderness adventure organization Outward Bound. Named in honor of Outward Bound’s Founder, the Kurt Hahn Award is presented annually to a person who exemplifies outstanding service to Outward Bound’s mission to change lives through challenge and discovery and create a more resilient and compassionate world, and who has made a contribution through his or her life’s work on behalf of others while demonstrating Hahn’s ideals and values.

Outward Bound, which Hahn founded in 1941, is an international, non-profit, independent educational organization with approximately 40 schools around the world. It serves some 200,000 participants per year.

James was praised for giving “special meaning and power to the work of Outward Bound by connecting it to its roots and to its animating values.”

The German-born Hahn served as private secretary to Prince Max Von Baden, Germany’s last Imperial Chancellor, and founded Salem School in 1919. An outspoken critic of Nazism, he left Germany in 1933, settled in Scotland, and founded the famed Gordonstoun School, as well as the United World Colleges and a worldwide network of schools now known as Round Square International. As an educator, Hahn believed in the fundamental integrity and decency of young people and sought to prevent their corruption by society.

James, a historian of education best known for his work on the schooling of Japanese-Americans who were interned during World War II, assumed his current role at TC in 2007. As Provost, he has created an investment fund that has seeded innovative new faculty work, much of which has developed into successful programs and initiatives. He has also led the hiring of scores of new faculty members, with more than 40 percent of TC's current full-time, tenure-track faculty hired on his watch.

Outward Bound Founder Kurt Hahn
Outward Bound Founder Kurt Hahn
James has been involved with Outward Bound for 40 years, from his days as an editor and researcher in Colorado to his current role as a Board member. Along the way, he helped to conceive multiple Outward Bound programs in the United States, including the New York City Outward Bound Center and Expeditionary Learning. In its citation, Outward Bound’s Kurt Hahn Award Committee called James “a living embodiment of the values of Kurt Hahn” and “the first eminent scholar in America to take Outward Bound seriously as a form of education.” James, who in 1980 authored the book Education at the Edge: The Colorado Outward Bound School, “has been characterized as Outward Bound's leading and most eloquent chronicler of its teaching and learning approach,” the committee wrote.

Invoking the words of Hahn, the Award Committee called James “a person of great dignity and decency, who in his own quiet way consistently exhibits ‘... an enterprising curiosity, an undefeatable spirit, tenacity in pursuit, sensible self-denial and, above all, compassion.’”

Noting that he is at work on a book about Hahn, the Committee praised James for giving “special meaning and power to the work of Outward Bound by connecting it to its roots and to its animating values,” adding that “through his own example, and the way he lives his life, [James] embodies those values.” Invoking the words of Hahn, the Committee called James “a person of great dignity and decency, who in his own quiet way consistently exhibits ‘... an enterprising curiosity, an undefeatable spirit, tenacity in pursuit, sensible self-denial and, above all, compassion.’”

James will receive the award on October 18 at Outward Bound's National Benefit Dinner in New York City.

Read the full text of the award committee’s citation to Tom James.

Read James’ essay “The Only Mountain Worth Climbing:An Historical and Philosophical Exploration of Outward Bound and Its Link to Education”

Hear James discuss Expeditionary Learning in a radio documentary presented by American RadioWorks and American Public Media

Read a 2007 profile of James from TC Today magazine.

Read James’ personal essay on his experience as a child attending the University of Chicago’s Laboratory School, founded by John Dewey.

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