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Teachers College, Columbia University
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The End of an Era

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A Job Well Done

President Levine greets Board Co-chair Bill Reuckert after announcing he will step down in July 2006.

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The End of an Era
In annual address, President Levine announces he'll step down in July.

Arthur Levine had much to report in his annual State of the College address on September 14, but he saved the biggest news for last: he will step down as the Colleges President on July 1, 2006. His departure will cap a 12-year run during which the College tripled its endowment; refurbished and rehabilitated its physical plant; reorganized its academic departments and strengthened its faculty and Board of Trustees; conducted the largest capital campaign ever undertaken by a graduate school of education; and adopted a new mission focused on educational equity.

I am tremendously grateful for the opportunity Ive had to lead an institution with the rich history, proud reputation and sterling record of accomplishment of Teachers College, and to work with our extraordinary faculty, staff, trustees and alumni, Levine said.  I consider myself particularly fortunate to have presided at a time when the College has committed itself to leading a crusade to combat the achievement gap."

Stating that there are no scandals brewing and that his health and the Colleges are fine, Levine explained that he has always advised presidents and would-be presidents to leave after a decade in office. He has ignored his own advice, he said, because of the momentous changes taking place at TC during the past two years, including the Colleges decision to more intensively focus its energies on working to close the nations gap in educational equity. With the foundation now in place for these changes, he said, the timing is right to begin a transition to fresh leadership.

Levine said he plans to spend a year completing his research project on the state of education schools in the United States, and then return to TC as a professor of education in fall 2007.

Im really hard on dissertations, so watch out, he warned.

Before announcing his decision to step down, Levine talked about the academic and financial strength of the College, but focused mostly on the strongest element of Teachers College, which is our character, which is our soul.  He summed it up with the phrase he has used throughout his tenure as Presidenttikkun olamtwo Hebrew words that mean to repair the world.

Amplifying that idea, he said, is TCs new mission to build educational equity, the result of a three-year strategic planning process that reaffirmed TCs commitment to leadership in combating disparities in access, expectations and outcomes in education. 

The Campaign for Educational Equity, launched in June, is the Colleges new research and action arm for its missionyet it also builds on the work of TCs longstanding Institute for Urban and Minority Education (IUME), founded by Professor Emeritus Edmund Gordon. Gordon has been named Senior Advisor to The Campaign for Educational Equity, in which capacity hell work closely with Michael Rebell, the Campaigns Executive Director, and Board Chair Laurie M. Tisch.

The Campaign will guide the College for years to come, Levine said, beginning with this falls inaugural Equity Symposium, chaired by Professor Henry Levin, which will focus on the costs society incurs when young people fail to graduate from high school, other key components include a report card developed by Tisch Visiting Professor Richard Rothstein that will rate progress toward educational equity in all 50 states; the building of an information pipeline to affect policymakersfrom the schoolhouse to the White House, Levine said; and support of faculty members working in policy under the guidance of Professor and Associate Dean Sharon Lynn Kagan, Director of the Office and Policy Research.

As for the coming year, Levine laid out a six-part agenda he wants to see accomplished before he steps down as President. In addition to implementation of The Campaign for Educational Equity, it includes  implementation of the Colleges strategic plan (including efforts to increase financial aid and explore new synergies in TCs relationship with Columbia University); physical plant improvementincluding completion of the new Cowin Conference Center and starting the refurbishment of the two upper floors of the Gottesman Libraries; studies of benefits, space and accreditation; the development of long-range financial planning; and the building of community and diversity.

Levine ended by saying that in July, he will leave as he arrivedrumpled and behind schedule.  The audience that overflowed Milbank Chapel honored him with a sustained standing ovation.

Bill Reuckert and Jack Hyland, Co-chairs of TCs Board of Trustees, followed Levine to the podium.  Crediting him with being a fresh and outspoken voice that has addressed the core challenges confronting education schools today, Rueckert added that Levine, has fulfilled the classic dictum to the good guest: that is, he has left TC in far better shape than he found it. Through his advocacy and fundraising for the College, Levines foresight and focus have put the institution on strong footing for many years to come, Rueckert noted.

Hyland said that he has no doubt that in the years to come, people will talk about the Levine era at Teachers College, but the mark of a truly great leader is that the institution he or she has led continues to thrive long after he or she has moved on. He wished Levine success, adding, Thanks to you, the best is yet to be for Teachers College.

Prior to Levines address, Academic Vice President and Dean Darlyne Bailey outlined the Colleges latest achievements and said that TC is on the road to becoming an effective multiversitya term Bailey said she defines as a community of teachers and learners in which all of us know our roles, rights, and responsibilities and believe that our College works best when we bring all of who we are through the doors.
 

Bailey congratulated TCs 27 academic programs that educate teachers and other school-based personnel for producing an umbrella statementa conceptual frameworkencompassing their philosophy and practices. The statement served as the centerpiece for the Colleges recent state-wide approval and national accreditation in that area by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). NCATE has since reported that TC met all six of its standards. Official accreditation should be received later this semester.


Next  up on the accreditation agenda, Bailey explained, will be the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, which will review the experience of the entire College over the last decade and analyze the student experience.  The evaluation team is tentatively scheduled to visit during the spring of 2006, though the process will begin this October.

Bailey also reported that a key player in the NCATE accreditation reviews, TC graduate Sasha Gribovskaya, is now Director of the Colleges new Office of Accreditation and Assessment.

Meanwhile, Bailey said, faculty chairs at TC are working together as part of an Academic Leadership Team to determine opportunities for sharing faculty talents through greater intra- and inter-departmental course offerings. Bailey said that with the establishment of the Office of Policy and Research, the quality and quantity of the Colleges research and policy offerings are being improved.

Bailey also reported that the Office of Enrollment and Students Services has restructured, better integrating its 10 departments and incorporating the Graduate Writing Center under the guidance of Associate Dean Don Martin.

Among other new structural changes, Bailey announced, the Office of Teacher Education and School-based Support Services has been reorganized and refocused under  a new leader: Professor Lin Goodwin, who was named Associate Dean during the summer.


Bailey also announced the appointment of Ann Armstrong as the Executive Director of the Center for Educational Outreach and Innovation (CEO&I). Armstrong will work to broaden the scope and reach of CEO&I and move it into new markets.

Bailey was especially enthusiastic in describing the work of the Teachers College Education Partnership Zone, which is led by Dawn Arno. The partnership includes the Reading Buddies and Math Buddies programs; alliances with other institutions within the Columbia community; and connections to civic and faith-based leaders, business people, parents, principals, teachers and others in the Harlem community. 

Bailey also proudly noted that the Colleges mission has made it possible for TC to recognize and open our doors to fellow graduate students and research faculty impacted by the Gulf Coast region disaster, not as refugees but as families and friends and colleagues.
 

She concluded her remarks by recognizing and welcoming new and visiting faculty and post-doctoral fellows. I hope that you all are as proud and as honored as I am to be part of this community, Bailey said.  TC is definitely on the move!

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