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Mellon Grant Attracts Top Minority Scholars

Attracting top minority scholars to our campus is one of TC's top priorities, and a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation is helping us achieve that objective.  The Mellon Visiting Minority Scholars Program at Teachers College was founded in 2003 through a $300,000 grant to the Institute for Urban and Minority Education (IUME) at TC.  The grant's goal is to bring several visiting minority scholars to the TC campus each year over the next three years.

"The ideas and perspectives of these scholars will help the College pursue its principal activities of researching the critical issues facing education, educating current and future leaders, encouraging the national debate on what is best for education, and improving educational practice, all with a view to the advancement of academic excellence and social justice," said Professor Edmund W. Gordon, Director of IUME, commenting on this remarkable program.

The grant provides $100,000 per year, as well as expenses, for several gatherings of local scholars to meet the visiting scholars. It also helps support an annual summative paper on minority education developed by the visiting scholars and selected faculty.

John Huston Stanfield, one of this academic year's Mellon Scholars, presented a colloquium at IUME called "Peer Cultures and Hierarchies of Schooling Control: Implications for Black Male Status Attainment."  Stanfield is the Chair of Indiana University Bloomington's Department of African-American and African Diaspora Studies. He previously served as Executive Director of the Morehouse Research Institute in Atlanta. Stanfield's 1993 book, A History of Race Relations Research, won the Gustavus Meyer Center 1994 Best Book Award on Racial Intolerance in North America.

Another Mellon Scholar, Ronald F. Ferguson, spoke to the TC community in a talk entitled, "Why America's Black-White School Achievement Gap Persists."  Ferguson, an economist and scholar, is Senior Research Associate at the Malcolm Wiener School of Public Policy at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government. "Fifty years after the U.S. Supreme Court outlawed forced racial segregation in schools, there continues to be test-score disparity between school-aged African-American and European-American children," Ferguson said. The black-white achievement gap persists, he says, "because current routines in homes, schools, communities and society at large are not configured to accelerate the disappearance of historic disparities."

 Ferguson stated, "All children deserve the opportunity to reach their full potential and to make whatever their distinct contributions might be to the well-being of society. The burden on leaders is to mobilize sufficient resources for this work, including attracting more talent to the teaching profession, so that progress will not be perceived as a zero sum game, in which helping some groups to excel requires denying opportunities to others."

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