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Professor Judith Berman Brandenburg Dies at 61: First Woman Dean at Teachers College


Judith Berman Brandenburg

Judith Berman Brandenburg

Judith Berman Brandenburg, Professor of Psychology and Education in the Department of Counseling and Clinical Psychology, and the first woman to hold the position of Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty (1985-1994) at Teachers College, died on Sunday morning, January 26th. She was 61 years old.

Much of her professional and personal life was dedicated to equity issues and to assuring access and excellence in education.

At Teachers College, Professor Brandenburg initiated sexual harassment grievance procedures, and a faculty seminar on the Scholarship of Women and Gender.

As Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean, Brandenburg initiated grant programs for untenured faculty, students, and a research fellowship program. During her tenure she sought to emphasize minority student recruitment and developed the Minority Fellows Program. At the same time, women faculty increased from 32 percent to 50 percent and faculty of color increased from 5 percent to 12 percent.

In a letter to the faculty, written in May of 1994, Professor Brandenburg expressed her personal reflections on years of service as Academic Vice President and Dean, and pointed to a signal accomplishment. She wrote, "I am proud that the seminar on Scholarship on Women and Gender (initiated nine years ago) appears to be the longest running faculty seminar in recent history."

Commenting on Ms. Shannon Faulkner, who was the first woman to enter The Citadel military academy and resign under a grueling initiation, Professor Brandenburg told The New York Times (8/25/95) that, "those of us who have been ‘the first woman' in a position can attest to the incredible pressures and loneliness that accompany the rewards of this experience."

In her book Confronting Sexual Harassment---What Schools and Colleges Can Do (Teachers College Press, 1997), Brandenburg described how schools and individual practitioners can confront sexual harassment within their own communities and how schools can become models that educate students to deal with sexual harassment in the larger social setting.

In a review of the work, Judith Walzer, the Provost of the New School for Social Research, wrote, "Judith Berman Brandenburg has written an authoritative, comprehensive guide to dealing with the issue of sexual harassment. Meticulous in its attention to legal requirements, psychological and social dynamics, and the complexities of responses to this problem, the book excels in being both reasonable and practical."

Brandenburg was also the author of the monograph, Harassment: A Challenge to Schools of Education (American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, 1995).

When she was Associate Dean at Yale College, Yale University (1977-1985), Brandenburg played a leading role in establishing the Women's Studies Program and chaired a committee that developed grievance procedures for sexual harassment complaints.

While at Yale Brandenburg wrote "Sexual Harassment in the University: Guidelines for Establishing a Grievance Procedure" (SIGNS: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, November 21, 1982). The National Endowment for the Humanities also funded her program for "Strengthening Women's Studies at Yale."

Prior to Yale, Brandenburg was Assistant Professor and Psychologist in the Counseling Center at Queens College of CUNY (1968- 1976), where she initiated programs for older women ("Women Involved in New Goals") and open admissions students. At Queens College, Brandenburg was named "Favorite Teacher of the Year" in 1975.

Earlier in her career, Brandenburg was a Biology teacher at Roslyn High School in Long Island, New York (1962-1965).

Brandenburg was a trustee at Cornell University, her alma mater from 1994-1999. She graduated Cornell University in 1961 with a B.S, an M.A T. (Master's of Arts in Teaching) from Harvard University (1962) and a Ph.D. with honors from New York University (1971).

Brandenburg was a member of the New York State Council of University Deans, an organization of all public and private institutions of higher education in New York State with doctoral programs in education. Brandenbug was also a member of Project UNITE (the Urban Network to Improve Teacher Education and a member of the Holmes Group, which was committed to the development of an agenda for the reform of and improvement in teacher education.

Brandenburg received the "Award for Creative Leadership and significant Service" in 1993 from the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education. She was named Educator of the Year (1985-86) by the Columbia University chapter of Phi Delta Kappa, an international association for professional educators.

Professor Brandenburg lived in New York City and Amagansett, New York. She is survived by her husband Lane H. Brandenburg, her brother Judge Richard M.Berman, and the Brandenburgs' two sons, David (32) and Neal (28). Lane Brandenburg called Judith "a devoted scholar and a devoted wife and mother."

Private family funeral services are being held tomorrow (Tuesday, January 28th) at Cedar Lawn Cemetery in East Hampton, New York. The College will be holding a memorial service for Professor Brandenburg in the near future.previous page