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Recognizing the Work of Younger Faculty

The Strage Prize spotlights originality, innovation and viability in the work of TC's younger faculty members. Lalitha Vasudevan, Assistant Professor of Technology and Education, is the 2010 winner.


“To whatever one devotes one’s time and effort, do it with passion. By doing so, your life will be enriched and the lives of those around you.”

That’s Alberta Strage’s advice to community members at Teachers College, an institution that Strage (M.A., 1962) knows well. Alberta Strage serves a membership role on President Susan Fuhrman’s Advisory Council and on the College’s first International Advisory Committee. Alberta G. and Henry M. Strage hosted a dinner in honor of Susan Fuhrman for TC’s London alumni at their home in December of 2009.

Of all the Strages’ contributions to TC, however, the one that may best exemplify the spirit of those words may be the Strage Junior Faculty Prize, established in 2009 to recognize junior faculty achievement. The $2,500 Prize is annually awarded to tenure track junior faculty for a piece of published work from the previous calendar year. Winning submissions are chosen by a College review committee led by Gary Natriello, the Ruth L. Gottesman Professor of Educational Research, for their originality, innovation and viability. The Strage Prize supports the production of a web video program, created by TC’s Gottesman Libraries’ EdLab division, highlighting and documenting the work of the Strage Prize recipient.

The winner of the 2010 Strage Prize was Lalitha Vasudevan, Assistant Professor of Technology and Education, for her paper “Performing New Geographies of Literacy, Teaching and Learning.” The paper, published in the July 2009 issue of the journal English Education, explores the ways in which new teaching and learning geographies were crafted by adolescents and adults in programs that offer alternatives to incarceration. The participants employed multimodal literacy practices that include traditional writing, oral storytelling, cell phones and painting.

The video about Vasudevan’s work—created by EdLab staff members Erin Murphy and Luke Malone is featured on the Gottesman Libraries Web site at http://gottesman.pressible.org/garynatriello/strage-prize-2010 and has been made available for embedding on other Web sites.

“Video has always been a significant feature of my work, both as a subject that I write about and as a means for communicating my ideas—I’ve used video as clips in my publications, and it’s good also to be able to send to potential funders,” Vasudevan says. “It’s a fascinating medium, not only because it provides a space for expression, but also because of the ways people can transform themselves within that space.

“So it’s particularly compelling for me to receive recognition in this format, which sometimes gets marginalized in academic work. It provides a different kind of visibility and accessibility than, say, an academic symposium might, and thus it potentially engages multiple new audiences for my work.

“For TC to say, we’re supporting junior faculty and doing it through this medium shows real prescience and forward thinking.”

To read Vasudevan’s paper, visit http://bit.ly/emG052. Check out Vasudevan’s Web site at http://elemveee.wordpress.com/.

To read an article about Vasudevan’s work in TC Today magazine, visit www.tc.columbia.edu/news/7739.

Published Monday, Dec. 20, 2010

Recognizing the Work of Younger Faculty



“To whatever one devotes one’s time and effort, do it with passion. By doing so, your life will be enriched and the lives of those around you.”

That’s Alberta Strage’s advice to community members at Teachers College, an institution that Strage (M.A., 1962) knows well. Alberta Strage serves a membership role on President Susan Fuhrman’s Advisory Council and on the College’s first International Advisory Committee. Alberta G. and Henry M. Strage hosted a dinner in honor of Susan Fuhrman for TC’s London alumni at their home in December of 2009.

Of all the Strages’ contributions to TC, however, the one that may best exemplify the spirit of those words may be the Strage Junior Faculty Prize, established in 2009 to recognize junior faculty achievement. The $2,500 Prize is annually awarded to tenure track junior faculty for a piece of published work from the previous calendar year. Winning submissions are chosen by a College review committee led by Gary Natriello, the Ruth L. Gottesman Professor of Educational Research, for their originality, innovation and viability. The Strage Prize supports the production of a web video program, created by TC’s Gottesman Libraries’ EdLab division, highlighting and documenting the work of the Strage Prize recipient.

The winner of the 2010 Strage Prize was Lalitha Vasudevan, Assistant Professor of Technology and Education, for her paper “Performing New Geographies of Literacy, Teaching and Learning.” The paper, published in the July 2009 issue of the journal English Education, explores the ways in which new teaching and learning geographies were crafted by adolescents and adults in programs that offer alternatives to incarceration. The participants employed multimodal literacy practices that include traditional writing, oral storytelling, cell phones and painting.

The video about Vasudevan’s work—created by EdLab staff members Erin Murphy and Luke Malone is featured on the Gottesman Libraries Web site at http://gottesman.pressible.org/garynatriello/strage-prize-2010 and has been made available for embedding on other Web sites.

“Video has always been a significant feature of my work, both as a subject that I write about and as a means for communicating my ideas—I’ve used video as clips in my publications, and it’s good also to be able to send to potential funders,” Vasudevan says. “It’s a fascinating medium, not only because it provides a space for expression, but also because of the ways people can transform themselves within that space.

“So it’s particularly compelling for me to receive recognition in this format, which sometimes gets marginalized in academic work. It provides a different kind of visibility and accessibility than, say, an academic symposium might, and thus it potentially engages multiple new audiences for my work.

“For TC to say, we’re supporting junior faculty and doing it through this medium shows real prescience and forward thinking.”

To read Vasudevan’s paper, visit http://bit.ly/emG052. Check out Vasudevan’s Web site at http://elemveee.wordpress.com/.

To read an article about Vasudevan’s work in TC Today magazine, visit www.tc.columbia.edu/news/7739.

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