in glass houses…" runs the old proverb. For Teachers College, with its
new mission to boost educational opportunities, expectations and
outcomes for poor, mostly non-white students, that translates as,
"Before you set out to change the world, it's best to have your own
house in order."
"Our passionate commitment to educational equity and closing the achievement gap makes it imperative for TC to walk its own talk," says Darlyne Bailey, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the College. "As we've gone through the strategic planning process for the equity initiative, the faculty has very smartly said that we need to hold ourselves to the same standards."
On the most immediate level, that means making sure that the ethnic and gender makeup of the school's staff, faculty members and students reflects the world TC serves. There has been significant progress on that front since 1999, when President Arthur Levine convened a task force charged with improving the college's handling of diversity and multiculturalism issues. TC has since boosted the number of minority full-time faculty members by 65 percent, during a period when the overall faculty size has grown by just 25 percent. Minorities now make up 17 percent of tenured faculty and 30 percent of non-tenured faculty, compared with 13 percent and 24 percent in 1999. Meanwhile, TC is a leader among U.S. institutions of higher learning-other than historically black colleges and universities-in terms of the number of doctoral degrees it awards to African Americans.
there's still room for improvement-for example, at present the College
has just one untenured black male faculty member. And while
Asian-American enrollment has climbed steadily during the past decade,
the number of African-American students has declined during the past
two years, as other institutions have enhanced their financial aid
packages. Still, the overall trend has been in the right direction.
in the time I've been here, I have seen the faculty search committees
reinvigorate their efforts to find good multicultural candidates," says
Bailey, who heads the College's Affirmative Action Committee. Bailey
and Randy Glazer, TC's Executive Director of Human Resources, have also
been evaluating the use of outside consultants with a track record on
this issue to help create a more diverse pool of faculty applicants.
"Our short-term goal is that next year, all of the faculty searches
will bring an even greater yield in terms of diversity, and all will
conclude with at least two people of color as finalists for
consideration," Bailey says.
outgrowth of the 1999 task force was the creation of the Office of
Diversity and Community, headed by Janice Robinson and reporting
directly to Levine. The office has a variety of functions (see "An
Advocate for Multiculturalism" on page 1), but one particularly
important focus has been its contribution to increasing student
diversity. Last year, it worked closely with the Coalition of
Latino/Latina Scholars to create a recruitment day at TC focused on
Latino and Latina students. Now the event is part of the Admissions
Office's regular recruitment calendar. Robinson's office also proposed
a recruitment program targeting historically black colleges and
universities, and implemented it with TC's Admissions Office. "Given
TC's historic importance to African-American education, it's important
that we revitalize this connection," Robinson says.
other working groups-the Committee for Community and Diversity (CCD)
and the Diversity Action Planning committee (DAP)-are tackling
diversity issues at TC, while the Faculty Executive Committee (FEC)
also has a sub-committee devoted to race, culture and diversity.
key goal of CCD, which is the only standing body in the college whose
constituents include staff, faculty and students, "is to foster the
goals and ideals of the report submitted by the 1999 task force," says
Mark Noizumi, Vice President of the Student Senate, and a long-standing
CCD member. Among its various activities, the committee gives out
grants and awards to students doing research on diversity issues.
Noizumi is particularly proud of CCD's creation of the Elaine Brantley
Memorial Award for Community and Civility, which was developed to honor
the memory of a long-time TC employee who epitomized those values.
CCD continues to review and update the findings of the 1999 diversity task force. Meanwhile, it brings people together to improve life in the TC community. "We had an evening workshop on housing, and people didn't leave until after midnight," reports Sophia Pertuz, a staff representative to CCD. "We actually had to tell people to go home."previous page