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A Timeline of Growth and Change: Arthur E. Levine's Presidency at Teachers College

Teachers College has evolved in many ways under Arthur Levine's leadership. The changes fall into three phases: rebuilding the broad foundation of the College; expanding for impact; and focusing on what the College believes to be the single largest problem in education today: the growing gap in opportunities and outcomes between the nation's most advantaged and disadvantaged students. Through it all, there have been steady upward trends in the areas that count the most. The number of faculty has increased from 127 in 1994 to 155 today, for example, while research grant activity has more than doubled to approximately $30,840,000 as of this year, and annual giving to the college, which was averaging $6 million in 1994 was $27 million for fiscal 2005. Teachers College has been repeatedly ranked at or near the top of education schools during that period.  

Here, year by year, is a look at TC's most important accomplishments as it entered the new millennium.

1995

In July 2004, Arthur Levine becomes the ninth President in Teachers College's history, concluding the College's search for someone to "lead the College into the 21st century."  In his inaugural address, Levine -- previously President of Bradford College and chair of the Institute for Education at Harvard -- calls the College "a radical idea, transformed into an institution," and urges a return to TC's original mission of improving the lot of the disadvantaged through education. Describing a modern-day world that is "changing demographically-' changing economically-' changing globally-' changing technologically" and warning that "the greatest danger is that the country's education schools will do business as usual," he calls upon Teachers College to reject "the notion of the ivory tower-' engage in research that focuses on the real and critical issues facing education" and "create a public forum to help educate America and the world."  

During his first months on the job, Levine meets with every TC faculty member as part of an effort to bring greater coherence to the academic organization of the College. The school will subsequently consolidate its 19 academic departments and five divisions into nine departments; strengthen its faculty by adding nationally known scholars and practitioners in every area of study; reduce doctoral admissions and increase master's enrollment; and improve college services.

The Teachers College Record goes online, changing the world of academic journals by achieving a broader reach and a more rapid time to publication.

After recording budget deficits in seven of the previous 10 years, TC balances its budget, with a surplus. Fred Schnur, Vice President for Finance and Administration, and his team have duplicated that performance every year since. 

1996

The College begins a broad-scale overhaul of its physical plant. It has since replaced every roof and window in the academic facility; renovated Milbank Chapel and created the new Gottesman Libraries; opened a new residence hall and begun to refurbish common areas of Whittier and Bancroft residences; upgraded faculty apartments as they have become available; created  21 new staff offices; rehabbed and refurbished the student lounge and opened a coffee bar in Main Hall; made its front entrance handicap-accessible; and rehabbed the Grace Dodge Room for meetings and faculty functions. Work began in 2005 on building a major new conference center in Horace Mann.

TC creates the Hechinger Institute on Education and the Media, named for Fred M. Hechinger, former education editor of The New York Times and a Teachers College trustee. The Institute, under founding director and former Times national education correspondent Gene Maeroff, presents seminars for journalists in an effort to help educators and journalists better understand  each other and help the general public better understand the issues involving the coverage of education. Today the Hechinger Institute is run by former Los Angeles Times education correspondent Richard Lee Colvin.

The Center for Educational Outreach & Innovation (CEO&I) is created to extend the College's commitment to lifelong learning. CEO&I will eventually conduct over 250 programs each year in a variety of formats, including traditional classes and distance learning courses, institutes and lectures, symposia, conferences, film series and debates.

Its focus also includes encouraging fresh ideas about professional development, equipping the community for change, bringing leading practitioners to TC, bridging gaps between research and practice and between process and content, developing global partnerships and new educational alliances, and fostering public engagement with education's critical issues.  

1997

The Heritage School, an innovative high school in East Harlem, is created in collaboration with the New York City Board of Education. The vision of TC Art Education Professor Judith Burton, Heritage balances traditional academics with interdisciplinary learning in which the arts -- visual, music, dance and drama -- are critical dimensions to all programs of study.

The Institute on Education and Government debuts -- a new forum for lawmakers and their staffs to ask questions and get answer from education experts. Gaston Caperton, former Governor of West Virginia, is named director.

The National Center for the Accelerated Schools Project creates a satellite center in New York City, based at Teachers College. The Project was begun by Henry M. Levin, John and Rosa Sachs Lecturer, who will later become TC's William H. Kirkpatrick Professor of Economics and Education.

Funded by the Lowenstein Foundation, Teachers College forms a collaboration with New York City Schools District 3 to raise student achievement at four of the district's elementary schools: P.S. 87, P.S. 207, P.S. 165 and P.S. 191.

1998

The College and the Chilean Ministry of Education agree to develop a series of pre-service and in-service training programs for Chilean teachers and exchange programs with College faculty. Chilean President Eduardo Frei visits TC.

1999

Led by Vice President for Development and External affairs Joseph Brosnan, Teachers College embarks on what will become the largest and most successful capital campaign ever conducted by a school of education..

President Levine establishes the Teachers College Task Force on Diversity and Community, charged with fashioning a plan for enhancing diversity and the quality of community at TC. The committee is co-chaired by Assistant Professor Peter Coleman and Security Officer Dennis Chambers.

TC is ranked number one for the third consecutive year by the editors of U.S. News and World Report as the nation's leading graduate school of education.

2000

Teachers College eradicates its accumulated deficit of more than $4 million, years ahead of schedule. 

A new Center for Chinese Education is established, devoted to policy, research, training and dissemination on education in China, as well as to educational exchanges between the U.S. and China. Subsequently TC will also establish the Asian-American Center for Creative Educational Sciences (ACCESS), dedicated promoting cultural understanding between Asian and American educators and enhancing their professional development through technology.

President Levine establishes the new position of Assistant and Special Counsel to the President for Diversity and Community, naming TC alumna Janice Robinson to the post.  Levine subsequently calls for Teachers College to focus intensively upon creating a more diverse faculty and student body "in which there is no 'us and them.'"

A new Office of Access and Services for Individuals with Disabilities opens, with. Richard Keller as director.

TC Innovations is created, under the auspices of CEO&I, to bring to scale projects and programs -- including harnessing the power and reach of the Web -- that extend the impact of the College and its commitment to lifelong learning.

2001

The New Teacher Academy is created to counter the 50 percent attrition rate of urban teachers in the first few years of teaching.

2002

The College's credit rating is upgraded by Moody's Investors Service from A-3 to an A-1 ranking -- a leap few institutions make.

Darlyne Bailey joins TC as Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean.

John C. Hyland, a Trustee of the College, since 1988, succeeds Pat Cloherty as Co-Chair of the Trustees. A general partner of McFarland Dewey and Co., LLC, Hyland previously served on the Trustees Ad Hoc Committee on Strategic Planning and the Business and Finance Committee.

President Levine and the Board of Trustees initiate a College-wide strategic planning process that will include evaluation of  financial aid, student life, the Columbia relationship, technology, staff development and right sizing for the College. The effort eventually will culminate in a new mission for TC, focused on overcoming America's gap in educational equity.

2003

William Dodge Rueckert, a member of the Teachers College Board of Trustees since 1997, will become Co-chair of the Trustees at the October 23rd Board meeting, replacing Antonia Grumbach. Rueckert, who serves as president of Rosow & Company, Inc., a private investment firm, and president of International Golf Group, a firm that owns and manages golf courses, is the grandson of Cleveland E. Dodge, who was a TC Trustee for 67 years and whose aunt, Grace Hoadley Dodge, was one of the founders of the College. Rueckert serves as director and president of the Cleveland H. Dodge Foundation.

The College begins a major on-the-ground initiative in Afghanistan to rebuild the war-torn nation's education system and reverse years of repression under the Taliban.

Together with the Carroll and Milton Petrie Foundation, Teachers College establishes the Petrie Fellowships, which provide $50,000 scholarships to 10 outstanding students in exchange for a five-year commitment to teach in New York City schools following graduation. An additional group of students will receive smaller scholarships through the program in exchange for a one-year commitment to teach in the city.

The Cahn Fellowship Program is established. The program, which annually selects a group of top New York City principals for 18 months of group study, professional development and ongoing partnership and support, is designed as a Rhodes scholarship for school leaders, aimed at restoring dignity to the profession.

2004

The Board of Trustees approves the College's new Strategic Plan -- including the decision to focus TC around the mission of educational equity -- reflecting nearly two years of work by staff, faculty and students.

The College creates two new associate deanships. Sharon Lynn Kagan, Virginia and Leonard Marx Professor of Early Childhood and Family Policy, is named the first Associate Dean for Policy and head of the new Office of Policy and Research. Kagan is working to build the College's capacity to both educate policy scholars and influence education policy nationwide. Donald Martin is named the first Associate Dean for Enrollment and Student Services, providing TC students for the first time with a single point of contact from admissions through graduation and career services.

TC's Capital Campaign concludes, having raised $155 million. The school's endowment has nearly tripled and by mid-2005 will stand at over $170 million. The money has enabled the College to establish new scholarships for students at all levels, and to create seven new endowed teaching chairs, new opportunities for professional development and academic innovation, and a Center for Excellence in Teaching to help instructors adapt to teaching environments and work effectively with students of all kinds.

The College establishes the National Academy for Excellent Teaching, thanks to a $10.8 million grant from Gerry and Lilo Leeds. Douglas E. Wood, former Executive Director, Tennessee State Board of Education, is named to head the new organization, which seeks to radically transform professional development in schools, moving it from teacher learning to improving teachers' effect on student achievement.   

TC establishes the Maxine Greene Chair for Distinguished Contributions to Education. Nancy Lesko, Professor of Education, is the first holder of the chair. Greene is Professor Emeritus in the Arts and Humanities, and Philosopher in Residence at Lincoln Center Institute for Arts in Education.

The Elaine Brantley Award for Community and Civility is established to honor the memory of a much beloved cashier in the TC cafeteria.

The College and the Economic Policy Institute jointly publish Class and Schools, by Tisch Visiting Professor Richard Rothstein. A consideration of how socioeconomic and educational factors contribute to the education achievement gap, the book is the first product of TC's educational equity effort.

A new residence hall for TC students opens on West 121st Street

The Gottesman Libraries, home to the world's premiere collection of materials on the educating professions, are dedicated in a special ceremony featuring TC Trustee Ruth Gottesman and her husband, Sandy. The physical enhancements to the library parallel a sweeping effort by the library's director, Professor Gary Natriello, to bring its offerings fully online and more generally gear its information services to meet modern academia's growing demand for rapid access to information worldwide.

The TC Education Partnership Zone debuts -- a collaboration with the New York City Public School system that brings special focus to the achievements of elementary school students in Regions 9 and 10 in Manhattan. A key component is the TC Reading Buddies, a program through which students from the College read daily with struggling students at four neighborhood public schools.

The Say Yes to Education Foundation, which identifies kindergarten students to receive future college scholarships and provides them and their families with the supports to achieve that goal, announces a $50 million program in New York City in collaboration with Teachers College.

2005

President Levine publishes first of four reports on schools of education, outlining serious deficiencies in the preparation of public school superintendents and principals.

As a result of its strategic planning process, Teachers College formally adopts a new mission: "Teachers College is dedicated to promoting equity and excellence in education and overcoming the gap in educational access and achievement between the most and least advantaged groups in this country. Through programs of teaching, research and service, the College draws upon the expertise of a diverse community of faculty in education, psychology and health, as well as students and staff from across the country and around the world."

The College launches The Campaign for Educational Equity, a new effort to narrow the gap in educational access and achievement between America's most and least advantaged students. Michael A. Rebell, who led the successful lawsuit against New York State to bring more money into the New York City school system, is announced as the Campaign's Executive Director, with TC Trustee Laurie M. Tisch as Board Chair. The Campaign will focus on research, dissemination and demonstration projects that can serve as national models for changes in policy and practice.

TC opens new offices in the former Hotel Theresa on 125th Street, which serve as home to the TC Education Zone Partnership. The new facility establishes the College's presence in Harlem

 TC will hold its first annual Educational Equity Symposium, on "The Social Costs of Inadequate Education," in late October. Chaired by Henry M. Levin, William H. Kirkpatrick Professor Economics and Education, the Symposium will provide new data on the costs society incurs -- to the criminal justice, health care and public assistance systems, as well as in terms of reduced productivity, earnings and tax revenue -- when young people fail to graduate from high school.

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