President Levine and Interim Dean Vinz Discuss the State of the College-Before and After September 11
Milbank Chapel was filled to capacity on October 4 with community members gathered to hear the State of the College Address presented by President Arthur Levine and Interim Dean Ruth Vinz. The State of the College Address was originally scheduled for September 12, the day after the attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
The President extended his condolences to those who experienced losses in the last two weeks and expressed a sense of pride in belonging to a community that has shown warmth, caring, and supportiveness during that time.
Before Levine presented his remarks, Vinz announced the names of the new and visiting professors and the minority postdoctoral fellows who joined the community this fall. Visiting professors included Vera John-Steiner, who is the Sussman Visiting Professor of Education in the Department of Curriculum and Teaching. John-Steiner will speak on December 3 regarding her work on creative collaboration.
The other visiting professor, Larry Cuban, is the Julius and Rosa Sachs Lecturer. He will give three lectures in October and November (see story on Larry Cuban).
Erica Walker, Mathematics Science and Technology, and Eric Hurley of Human Development are this year's minority postdoctoral fellows. An in-depth article on their work will appear in the next issue of Inside TC.
When Levine returned to the podium he said that he would be giving two talks on the state of the College-one reflecting TC before September 11th and one that would reflect the College after September 11th.
"Before September 11th, I would have told you the state of the College is strong," he said.
He noted that before the tragedy, he would have told the community that we have the largest faculty we have had in more than six years. He would have said that we are doing well in the Capital Campaign, having raised $105 million of the $140 million goal. That money has allowed for scholarship and faculty support, the addition of six professorial chairs and capital improvements to Grace Dodge Hall, to roofs, windows, and classrooms. Milbank Chapel is next to be restored, followed by Horace Mann Auditorium and the Library.
Levine would have spoken to his audience about TC Innovations, a technological vehicle for bringing "what we do at TC to school districts all over the country." He would have told them about "My TC," a new part of the TC Web site that lets users customize the information they want to receive. The distance-learning program, he said, is increasing its number of courses.
He added that while our community has been talking a lot about diversity, we still don't have the results we want. "The rhetoric is larger than what we managed to achieve," he said.
"This is a year we wanted to build on these things," Levine said. The new Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean, Darlyne Bailey, arrives in January; plans are to add 12 new faculty members to the community; more steps need to be taken in efforts toward diversity, he said.
In addition, Levine talked about the budgeting process. In the past, he said, budgets have been prepared on a year-to-year basis. This year, he explained, the community needs to look at long-range priorities to determine what the best investments are. From there, a strategic plan can be developed.
"All those are still our plans and dreams," he said. "But September 11th changes all of that." An already troubled economy is now in more trouble, he added. Perceptions of New York City as a place that people want to come may affect us. The decline of the stock market has shrunk our endowment. As the downtown area is being rebuilt, will TC still be able to think about its own plans to add to the physical plant.
He went on to say that we are fortunate to be in an academic setting where we can engage in research, and ask any question without political and social interference. "Our job is to guard against those who deny history, dismiss signs and who undermine democracy," he said. "We do this," Levine explained, "by applying the knowledge we have to the problems of our world."
When Vinz returned to the podium, she explained that what we carry from the history of the College can help shape the meaning of what we create as a result of what we all do here as a community.
She gave an example involving William Heard Kilpatrick at the end of World War I on the campus of Teachers College. Students were celebrating, some were singing patriotic songs, and Professor Kilpatrick was asked to address the crowd. He told them that while the war had begun as a conflict between nations, it had ended as "a war against war that would enthrone a new type of universal justice. We have to bring a new democracy and this depends on us as teachers."
Vinz told those gathered in Milbank Chapel, "The winds whisper war again. The day of November 11, 1918, now haunts my visions of September 11, 2001. And Kilpatrick is still standing on the steps of the College, reminding us that universal justice and a new democracy will depend on us as educators in every venue where our work and passion touches schools, community programs, counseling centers and refugee camps-touching people and their touch on us."
The final item on the day's agenda was the presentation of outstanding teaching awards to faculty who received unusually high commendations in evaluations by their students in the 2000-2001 academic year.
OUTSTANDING TEACHING AWARD RECIPIENTS
Valerie Bang-Jensen, former lecturer in Curriculum and Teaching
Jeanne Bitterman, lecturer in Organization and Leadership
Madonna Constantine, Associate Professor in the Counseling and Clinical Psychology Department
Maria Grigos, instructor in Biobehavioral Studies
Maria Hartman of Health and Behavior Studies
Jay Heubert, Associate Professor of Education and Law
Brooke Jackson, instructor in English Education in Arts and Humanities
Pearl Kane, Associate Professor of Education and Director of the Klingenstein Center
Janet Miller, Professor of English Education
Barbara Principe, adjunct Assistant Professor in Psychology and Education
Renee Schillinger, instructor in English Education
Keith Sheppard, Assistant Professor of Science Education
Tom Sobol, the Christian A .Johnson Professor of Outstanding Educational Practice
Ruth Stern, instructor in English Education
Heather Subik, instructor in English Education
Graeme Sullivan, Associate Professor of Art Education
Fran Vavrus, Assistant Professor in the Department of International and Transcultural Studies
Leslie Williams, Professor of Education in Curriculum and Teaching
Christine Yeh, Assistant Professor of Psychology and Education in the Department of Counseling and Clinical Psychology