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A Time For Renewal

Teachers College is more than the institutional framework that its name signifies. It is, more so, a collective human endeavor with a profound educational purpose. Given its humanity, Teachers College, like every living organism, periodically needs to transform and renew itself.

The renewal process is at the heart of the five-year $140 million campaign launched by Teachers College to ensure its resources in people, programs and facilities match its reputation as one of the best professional schools of education in the country.

The Challenge of Change

Beyond setting dollar amounts for its goals, campaign planning required Teachers College to examine critically its own policies and programs and determine how best it can focus its strengths on what arguably are among the most difficult challenges ever facing education.

"Teachers College," said President Arthur Levine, "with its legacy of overcoming seemingly intractable education problems, its outstanding faculty, the exceptional students it attracts, the imagination and energy it now displays, will play a critical role in defining the future of education, and thus the nation."

Change is the trigger that has set the forces of renewal into motion at Teachers College. "The whole world, our whole society has changed," noted President Levine. "Our institutions were built for one society, and now we live in another society. To realize the potential of a changed society, the institutions fundamental to its workings must be rebuilt."

He continued, "As for Teachers College, our priority is to rebuild education for the good of the people. Tikkun olam, which means to repair the world in Hebrew, are the watchwords that define our commitment as stewards of change."

A Monumental Goal

To provide Teachers College with the institutional capacity to meet new challenges, it has established what is the largest fundraising goal ever set for a professional school of education and double what other schools of education have sought to raise.

The $140 million goal not only serves to remake Teachers College's physical environment for learning but also provides the intellectual capital to transform how and where the best learning takes place. Teachers College has defined the standards of education for over a century, and is now embarking on a campaign that will carry its work into the next century.

The $140 million has the following objectives: Scholarships $28.5 Million

A principal priority of the campaign, scholarships are for students at all levels_ from recent college graduates coming directly to Teachers College through mid-career teachers returning for master's degrees to teachers and administrators seeking their doctorates.

In a profession likely to provide moderate financial benefits, Teachers College does not want talented people to avoid education careers because of the prospect of debt in the tens of thousands of dollars. To avoid those drawbacks, the campaign focuses on support for these scholarships:

$11 million for Doctoral Student Research Fellowships to allow candidates nearing completion of Ed.D. and Ph.D. programs to work full-time with faculty researchers.

$9 million for Urban Teachers Corps Scholarships, designed for teachers already at work in city schools to pursue a master's degree.

$8.5 million in Masters Student Professional Assistantships to ease the financial burden on students just beginning their post-graduate careers.
Scholarship support often represents the pivotal resource to allow the best qualified students to pursue a career in education rather than abandon that dream for lack of funds. Angel Alexander is such an example. A double major in biology and African-American Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, she changed career directions from medicine to education after encountering the outdated science projects and textbooks as a volunteer in a high school biology class in Philadelphia. It was a scholarship that enabled Angel to enroll at Teachers College where she prepared to make a difference in the science education of youngsters.

Rebuilding Facilities $29.45 Million

Maintenance of Teachers College buildings has long been less than adequate, partly because so many academic priorities took precedence and partly, too, because raising funds for maintenance and repair can be a humbling task. But now faculty and administration have agreed to improve the College's physical plant with these projects:

  • $15 million to renovate and modernize classrooms.
  • $6 million for critical plant repairs.
  • $5 million for the Milbank Memorial Library.
  • $3.45 million to refurbish the dramatic Horace Mann Auditorium.

"We don't need to make this place gorgeous," President Levine says. "We need a repair job to make it serviceable, to make it functional, so that we can provide for the people who are going to lead the world of education, our students, and the people who already lead it, our faculty."

Support for an Outstanding Faculty $12 Million

Great teachers and researchers have been a tradition at Teachers College. To sustain this tradition, the campaign seeks to underwrite endowed chairs and generally enhance the professional, teaching and research interests of faculty. The campaign objectives include funds for:

  • An Endowed Chair in Teacher Education to provide the support to prepare teachers-in-training for the creative, intellectual and practical problems of the 21st century classroom.
  • An Endowed Chair in Policy and Education to spearhead an interdisciplinary program in educational policy and research the correlation between governmental policy and education.
  • Professional development and increased opportunities for faculty to attend conferences, prepare papers for disciplinary gatherings, improve teaching skills and build alliances with scholars at other institutions.
  • A Center for Excellence in Teaching to help instructors develop capabilities for teaching in various settings and communicate effectively with students at all levels.
  • A Faculty Research Development Fund to provide research opportunities for all faculty members.

There is no mistaking the impact that a dedicated teacher can have on a student. For Bill Cosby, recalling the relationship his late son, Ennis, a Teachers College student, had with faculty members, it was their human qualities. "I met three or four of his professors and what stands out is that they are human beings who have something to give and give it in a way that prepares graduates of Teachers College better than any place I have ever seen to help children learn, and learn better."

Student Life $5.45 Million

Given the non-traditional character of the student body--with a median age of 31, 75 percent part-time and only 20 percent living within commuting distance-- Teachers College recognizes the need to reconcile competing demands of jobs, family and time with the academic responsibilities of graduate study.
Against that background, the campaign adopted plans to:

  • Create new student life programs_nutrition counseling, exercise facilities, a fitness center and a skills center to help with writing, career planning, alumni networking and stress and time management.
  • A child care center that offers programs for the children of full-time students and faculty during the day and an after-school drop-off program keyed to participants in evening classes.

"Our responsibility," comments Associate Dean William J. Baldwin, "is to help students integrate these competing demands so they can meet their academic goals. We envision a place where students can gain assistance for the basic skills required to be successful, a place where they can develop habits of healthy living, a place where they can exchange ideas and information with each other and with faculty members."

Academic Programs $7 Million

Under the direction of department chairs, faculty members have identified key interdepartmental initiatives to further the connection between educational theory and practice. To establish that connection, the campaign focuses on these two new interdisciplinary centers plus the need to fund departmental research and classroom instruction.

  • $3.5 million for a Center for School and Community Health to help coordinate school-based health and education initiatives and design programs to address anti-social, illiteracy and drop-out problems of youth, encourage parental education and promote psychological counseling and crisis intervention for children in need.
  • $2 million for the Center for Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis to evaluate academic programs across the country to determine what makes education better, under what circumstances and for which children.
  • $1.5 million for new equipment and course development, including support for interdisciplinary activities-based research, computer facilities to integrate technology into the training of reading teachers and modern laboratory facilities for students preparing to teach biology at high school and college levels.

"Educators have a role in addressing the health and social problems that inhibit young people's learning and ability to stay in school," says Charles E. Basch, Associate Professor of Health Education and Chair of the Department of Health and Behavior Studies. "Schools can effectively educate youngsters about the benefits of nutrition and fitness and the perils of violence, teen-age pregnancy and street drugs. Schools can house clinics and after-school programs and can serve as links to community-based agencies that provide intervention and counseling. It takes cooperation between schools, families and communities to help students fulfill their learning potential."

Technology and Learning $9.6 Million

A Task Force on Technology and the Future outlined clearly-defined objectives to give the faculty the resources to incorporate technology into their teaching and research.

A total of $9.6 million has been designated to advance those objectives with funds to invest in new equipment, "wired" facilities, product development, online teaching programs and a distance education program. Of that amount, $4 million is to electronically upgrade Milbank Library, equip classrooms with state-of-the art computers and video equipment, and support faculty to integrate technology in their courses.

Another $2.1 million is earmarked for infrastructure improvements. Two million dollars is proposed for the early infrastructure for distance education, including a specially-equipped classroom and video conferencing facilities and $1.5 million for the development of online courses.

"Teachers College is committed to initiating ways that technology can be used to improve education. What sets us apart is a distinctive point of view about its role. Most digital information projects start with technology. We start with ideas," observes Robert O. McClintock, co-director of the Institute for Learning Technologies.

President's Innovation Fund $8 Million

These funds are to support the activities of Teachers College Ventures, a nonprofit agency designed to expand the capabilities of Teachers College beyond its campus across the country and around the world. TC Ventures will provide funds to underwrite state-of-the-art equipment to power distance learning programs and turn out educational products and services that, when sold, can build a revenue stream for the entire College.

President Levine sees Teachers College Ventures as both an extension and necessity of the school's mission. Publishing houses, venture capitalists and other organizations outside the field of education already are engaged in the professional development of teachers. "There are all kinds of providers out there saying they can teach the world about education," President Levine notes, "but nobody can do it better than Teachers College."

Ongoing Support $40 Million

Of the $40 million raised for ongoing priorities, $6.9 million will be raised for unrestricted purposes in the TC Fund. Teachers College relies on annual gifts, particularly unrestricted gifts, to help pay for operating expenditures and underwrite innovative academic programs. Money raised through the Teachers College Fund each year equals an additional $22 million in endowment, enhancing the overall College experience and ensuring the institution's financial stability.

These gifts, along with other unrestricted giving, provide the president and department chairs much needed financial flexibility, allowing them to create cutting edge programs, recruit talented students and faculty, and pursue important research projects.

"Everyone knows," added President Levine. "The government, the business community, scholars, the public all agree that education is the defining factor in the future of the nation and the world. I tell people this is the moment, this is the time. We are in the biggest revolution we've seen in education since the 1960s. There is great urgency now."

Friends of Education

Teachers College is counting on all its friends, or, perhaps more appropriately, friends of education. As planning for the campaign began, Trustee Elliot Jaffe stepped forward to lead the campaign. As President Levine recalls: "He didn't go to school here. He simply believes in education. And we are the one best hope for tomorrow. We're looking at the hard questions. We're trying to develop intelligent solutions to solve the problems. That is worth investing in."

Summary of Fundraising goals

$28.5 million for shcolarships

$29.45 million for rebuilding the Mornighside Heights physical plant

$12 million to attract and retain outstanding faculty

$5.45 million for improvements in the quality of student life

$7 million for academic programs

$9.6 million for technological improvements and distance learning

$8 million for the President's Innovation Fund to support Teachers College Ventures

$40 million for operation expenses from funds expected in annual giving over the five-year period of the campaign

$140 million total

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