2011 TC Pressroom
Teachers College, Columbia University
Teachers College Columbia University

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New Faces on the Faculty

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New Faces on the Faculty

Joey Lee says, "I'm very interested in identity and culture, and how we can design and leverage interactive technologies to impact self-concept and learning, or to promote social change.

New Faces on the Faculty

Olga Hubard says, "I am passionate about how art can help us be more attuned to the nuances of life, how it can help us experience the seemingly ordinary in fresh ways.”

New Faces on the Faculty

Michael Kieffer says, "I am also fascinated by the complexities of language and literacy, and about the intriguing ways in which different skills and contexts can play into the processes of language learning and reading development.”

New Faces on the Faculty

Jessica Singer-Dudek says, "I believe good teachers should view a child's educational struggles in the manner that B. F. Skinner did: "The (student) is always right,” and it is up to the teacher to figure out the problem and apply scientific tactics to remedy it.”

New Faces on the Faculty

Yolanda Sealey-Ruiz says, "I am passionate about teaching educators ways to tap into the rich culture, language and worldviews their students bring with them to the classroom.”

Olga Hubard
Assistant Professor of Art Education
 
What is the academic path that led you to TC?
 
For the last six years, I have been an assistant professor on a term appointment at TC, so this is a smooth transition for me. Before that, I was Head of Education at the Noguchi Museum, a wonderful garden museum in Queens dedicated to the work of Japanese American artist Isamu Noguchi. Prior to Noguchi, I worked as a museum educator for MoMA (the Museum of Modern Art), as a teaching artist in the New York City public schools, and as Museum Education Coordinator at the Heritage School.
 
What will you be teaching?
 
I’ll be teaching a few different courses related to museum education. I’ll also teach a course that takes a critical look at various art histories, a master’s research seminar and painting.
 
What are you academic passions?
 
I am passionate about how art can help us be more attuned to the nuances of life, how it can help us experience the seemingly ordinary in fresh ways. I particularly enjoy opening artistic windows for people who have limited experience with art, and to prove those who have decided that “they are not artistic” wrong. The collective learning that happens when everyone in a group has the opportunity to develop an artistic voice is magical for me. I am convinced that everybody, regardless of background or age, has the potential—and the right—to engage with the world through art. Unfortunately, the common myth that only naturally gifted people can participate in artistic creation often gets in the way. Another misconception is that art is not worthy enough as a way of knowing. I am committed to fighting these myths. In my view, an excellent, highly democratic art education is the best weapon.
 
 
Michael Kieffer
 
Assistant Professor of Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)
 
What is the academic path that led you to TC?
 
I taught English as a second language for several years at a middle school in Long Beach, California. Although I loved teaching, I also became frustrated by the lack of instructional tools available to leverage my students’ unique strengths and to address their challenges. I started my doctoral work at the Harvard Graduate School of Education determined to address this problem by conducting empirical research on second-language literacy development and translating research findings into useable knowledge for educators. While at Harvard, I worked with a wonderful team of colleagues on a sequence of studies investigating second-language vocabulary and reading comprehension in an urban school district. I was also lucky to work as a coordinator for the Advisory Council on Advancing Adolescent Literacy to the Carnegie Corporation of New York, a group of prominent researchers, policy-makers, and educators that has sought to raise awareness about the large number of students who achieve basic literacy skills but struggle with the advanced reading and writing demands of middle and high school.
 
What will you be teaching?
 
I’ll be teaching two core courses for students in the K-12 TESOL Certification Program, one on TESOL methods for grades 7-12 and a newly revived course on methods for teaching math, science, and social studies to second-language learners. I’ll also be designing a new course for TC on second-language literacy development and instruction that will draw on the exciting research in this growing field.
 
What are your academic passions?
 
As a former teacher, I am passionate about improving instruction for students from linguistically diverse backgrounds. I hope that my teaching and research can help teachers provide more students with the education they deserve. As a researcher, I am also fascinated by the complexities of language and literacy, and about the intriguing ways in which different skills and contexts can play into the processes of language learning and reading development.
 
 
Joey Lee
 
Assistant Professor of Communication, Computing and Technology in Education
 
What is the academic path that led you to TC?
 
I received my Ph.D. from Pennsylvania State University in Information Sciences and Technology. Prior to that, I worked as a software engineer for IBM at the Research Triangle Park in North Carolina.
 
What will you be teaching?
 
I’ll be teaching Video Games and Education and Intro to Flash-Based Media.
 
What are your academic passions?
 
I’m very interested in identity and culture, and how we can design and leverage interactive technologies such as Serious Games to impact self-concept and learning, or to promote social change (e.g., the Games for Change movement). I’ve taught a number of courses with high school students in which rich, firsthand experiences within video games and collaborative virtual environments helped them gain valuable insights into themselves and other cultures—among other positive outcomes. These kinds of experiences can be powerful in terms of shifting identities and changing perceptions, and I find that when a student becomes engaged in his or her own learning, it’s extremely rewarding for me as a designer and educator.
 
 
Yolanda Sealey-Ruiz
 
Assistant Professor of English Education
 
What is the academic path that led you to TC?
 
Before coming to Teachers College, I was a Research Associate with New York University’s Metropolitan Center for Urban Education. In this position, I led studies on the achievement gap for school districts in New York and New Jersey. I also provided professional development to districts around the state of New York on the topics of race and class in schools, and disproportionality in special education. During my time at NYU, while finishing my degree in English Education, I taught the master’s level courses: Inquires in Teaching and Learning, The Study of Teaching, and Language Acquisition in Multicultural and Multilingual Contexts. I am fortunate to be entering my 17th year of teaching, having held positions as Instructor of Letters at the College of New Rochelle, School of New Resources, and Assistant Professor of Composition and Rhetoric at Kingsborough Community College. I started my teaching career as a high school English teacher in 1993.
 
What will you be teaching?
 
I will be teaching The Teaching of Writing, and Writing Non-Fiction at the master’s level, and Teaching English in Diverse Social/Cultural Contexts, which is taken by masters and doctoral students.
 
What are your academic passions?
 
My academic passions live in the fields of English Education and Adult Education. I see my teaching and research as opportunities to enhance the learning that happens in classrooms for adult reentry students and youth, particularly youth who attend urban public high schools. I am passionate about teaching educators ways to tap into the rich culture, language and worldviews their students bring with them to the classroom. For example, I guide teachers in creating learning activities, responsive curriculum, and appropriate assessments which hold their students to high academic standards while reflecting their interests and life experiences. I believe this leads to a richer learning experience for teachers and their students.
 
 
Jessica Singer-Dudek
 
Assistant Professor of Education and Psychology
 
What will you be teaching?
 
I’ve been a full-time lecturer in the program in Teaching as Applied Behavior Analysis at TC for two years now. I teach core masters level courses for majors in the Program in Applied Behavior Analysis devoted to the interpretation, adaptation and implementation of New York state curricular standards for grades pre-K through sixth grade, theories and methods of behaviorally based scientific instruction, and research-based tactics for improving performance, enhancing existing behaviors, teaching new behaviors, and inducing new developmental capabilities.
 
What is the academic path that led you to TC?
 
In a way, I never left. As a graduate of the M.A. and Ph.D. programs in Teaching as Applied Behavior Analysis, I’ve continually served as a mentor to many masters and doctoral students in the program in my capacity as a Senior Behavior Analyst Consultant to various CABASor Comprehensive Application of Behavior Analysis to Schooling model schools. (CABAS is a method to teach children of all abilities, but it is most widely acclaimed for its success with children with autism.)
 
What are your academic passions?
 
I believe that the best teaching practices involve the use of research-based procedures—not the latest fads. It’s my hope that I can shape the next generation of effective teachers who will investigate and solve problems using the science of behavior, instead of accepting demands to use bad curricula or conform to practices that are not informed by research and student data. The hard part is identifying what impedes a child’s progress, such as missing capabilities or developmental repertoires, and designing instruction to actually induce those missing capabilities, or fill in the gaps so that the child can go on and learn subsequent skills. Instead of excusing missing repertories by blaming the presence of a disability, native language, or socioeconomic status, I believe good teachers should view a child’s educational struggles in the manner that B. F. Skinner did: “The (student) is always right,” and it is up to the teacher to figure out the problem and apply scientific tactics to remedy it. I hope that I can instill this passion for research and inquiry in my students. 
 
In the next issue, meet more new faculty: Randall Allsup, Adriana Abdenur, Judith Scott-Clayton, Marc Hill and Mariana Souto-Manning. 
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