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Greetings from TC's President


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Susan Fuhrman

September, 2009

Dear TC Alumni,

Fall is a particularly resonant time at Teachers College, a time of renewed energy and fresh possibility. It is with great pride—speaking as both TC’s president and an alumna—that I tell you about a number of exciting developments on campus and throughout the wider Teachers College community.

This September, holding our tuition to the lowest percentage increase in 25 years, we welcomed our largest incoming class in the past 30 years and also one of our most diverse. These are sure signs that even in today’s troubled economic climate a Teachers College education is as relevant as ever—and perhaps more so. Today’s most intractable global challenges—illiteracy, poverty, disease, conflict, the environment—are so complex and interrelated that their solutions require the multiple perspectives that TC can bring to bear on them. As the only graduate school in the nation to bridge the fields of education, psychology and health, TC is uniquely positioned to tackle this magnitude of need.

We are, as we have been through the decades, a key player in the urgent discussions on how to improve education, health and well-being in the broadest context. Our faculty and alumni are pioneering, developing and carrying out fundamental improvements in education and healthcare policy. TC’s Community College Research Center (CCRC), directed by Thomas Bailey, has received a $5 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to study and recommend the most productive investments in community colleges. Those institutions enroll a high proportion of young adults from low-income families and are an important component of President Obama’s education policy.

TC also is a leader in helping people achieve excellence in the workplace. January will mark the beginning of a new executive coaching program created jointly by TC’s Department of Organization and Leadership and Columbia Business School. Framing coaching as a process of learning, development, and human performance, the eight-month program will focus on individual and organizational change, growth, renewal, and performance. Throughout the entire process each participant is matched with a coach supervisor.

At the highest levels of government, our alumni ranks include Kevin Jennings (M.A. ’94), recently named Assistant U.S. Deputy Secretary of Education for Safe & Drug Free Schools; David Johns (M.A. ’06), Senior Policy Advisor to the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee chair, focusing on early childhood education, workforce investment and initiatives on women and families; Maryellen McGuire (Ph.D. ’02, M.Phil. ’02, M.A. ’98), Education Advisor to the White House Council on Domestic Policy; and Merryl Tisch (Ed.D. ’05), Chancellor of the New York State Board of Regents.

As you know from your time here, TC is so well equipped to bring innovation to bear on real-world issues because we connect theory and practice. TC scholars are working with UNICEF to help more than 40 of the world’s poorest countries set early childhood learning standards. Scholars are also studying the achievements of the nation’s small group of inter-districts—geographic regions that span city and suburbs—whose racial balance remains protected by Supreme Court decrees. Other faculty members are developing a curriculum on jazz and democracy based on a Kennedy Center conversation between Wynton Marsalis and Sandra Day O’Connor, and creating a financial literacy curriculum centering on the concept of the national debt.


In my own experience as a student, my advisor, Donna Shalala, who later served as Secretary of Health and Human Services in the Clinton Administration, helped connect me to real-world projects, including working for the Connecticut legislature. Today, as President of TC, I am proud to see all the ways our faculty, students and alumni are working to change the world for the better.


I invite you to visit to read more stories about our faculty members and their important work in myriad areas of human development, as well as stories of our alumni, who are leading lights in so many fields. You can also read about our inspiring students, such as an Iraq war veteran who lost a leg in battle and wants to return to his hometown as a teacher, an Ohio native who started a PAC to help save his economically hard-hit region, and the first deaf individual to be certified as both hearing-impaired and mainstream teacher. I’m sure you will recognize their talent, dedication and ingenuity from your own student days. 


TC has been busy on the international front as well, launching major teacher development programs in Jordan, collaborating on a high school leadership development program in India, and working with the President of the Dominican Republic on a model for small schools in that country. We continue to forge promising partnerships—in our neighborhood and around the world—and I will update you in the near future on these and other developments.

Teachers College is at its best when we work in partnership: groundbreaking thinkers crossing disciplines to create ideas that have impact; global exchanges that build bridges of learning and change; the College working in a new kind of partnership with public schools. Together, we have extraordinary power to transform how people learn and live.

Best wishes,


Dr. Susan Fuhrman
Teachers College

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