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TC Today - Spring / Summer 2015

TC Today - Spring / Summer 2015

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In Memoriam

Barbara Barnum, Charlotte Cremin (M.A. '75), Irene Dalis, Jack Mezirow, Douglas Williams

TRIGGERING CHANGE

Transforming Adult Learning Jack Mezirow redefined a field and helped millions rediscover themselves

MezirowTeachers College emeritus professor Jack Mezirow, a former international com­munity development consultant whose paradigm-changing theory of adult learning was partly inspired by watching his wife return to graduate school in middle age, died in September 2014 at age 91.

At a time when adult learning focused pri­marily on the mastery of basic skills, Mezirow’s theory of transformative learning addressed what its author described as “a critical dimen­sion of learning in adulthood that enables us to recognize and reassess the structure of assumptions and expectations which frame our thinking, feeling and acting.” The theory has triggered change on fronts ranging from social activism to graduate and adult education, to human resources development. It also was the basis for AEGIS (Adult Education Guided Intensive Study), the unique doctoral program in adult learning founded by Mezirow at TC in 1982 and since replicated worldwide.

Mezirow's own transformative mo­ment came in the early 1970s when his wife, Edee, enrolled at Sarah Lawrence College to complete her undergraduate education. Edee Mezirow (who passed away in July 2014) went on to serve as Director of Development for both the Alvin Ailey and Martha Graham dance companies and New York City’s project to renovate Times Square. Inspired by her experience, her husband undertook a massive study of women returning to community col­leges, determining that most had undergone “a personal transformation” that culminated in “building competence and self-confidence in new roles and relationships.”

First published in 1978, Mezirow’s theory met with instant acclaim and subsequent ongoing criticism — a fate that suited its author just fine.  “Jack always said you’ve got to have disciples who extend your ideas and critics who attack them, so the theory continues to evolve,” recalled Lyle Yorks (Ed.D. ’95), current Director of the AEGIS program.

“There was a feeling in some quarters that adult education was being bought out by capitalism,” said Victoria Marsick, Professor of Education and Co-Director of TC’s J.M. Huber Institute, who helped Mezirow gather data for his study of college reentry. “But Jack was very much a social activist, and he took a stand that adults need to put forward social justice.”

Mezirow’s many books, which include Transformative Learning in Practice (2009, with

Edward Taylor) and Fostering Critical Reflec­tion in Adulthood (1990), continue to be widely read. Yet perhaps the ultimate confirmation of his wide-ranging impact was expressed during a panel discussion on his work at TC’s Academic Festival in April 2015.

“We look at the power of perspective transformation when someone gets a terminal diagnosis,” said Gwendolyn Kaltoft (Ed.D. ’90), Director of Quality/Compliance at Yolo Hospice in Davis, California. “Because they’re being asked to let go and make the ultimate transformation into some unknown space.”

JOE LEVINE

Mezirow’s theory addressed, “a critical dimension of learning in adult­hood that enables  us to recognize and reassess the structure of assumptions and expectations which frame our thinking, feeling  and acting.”

The Jack & Edee Mezirow Fund

The Professor Jack & Edee Mezirow Endowed Scholarship in the Adult Learning and Leadership/Adult Education Guided Intensive Study (AEGIS) program has been provided by the estates of both Jack and Edee Mezirow and their son, Andy. It initially targets creating a $50,000 fund for scholarship assistance for students in need. To make a gift write to: Teachers College, 525 West 120th Street, Box 306, New York, NY 10027,  Attn: Jack & Edee Mezirow Fund, or visit tc.edu/MezirowFund

 

 

CreminCharlotte Cremin (M.A. ’75), the wife of the late education historian and Teachers College President Lawrence Cremin (Ph.D. ’49) and the daughter of 40-year faculty member Robert Bruce Raup (Ph.D. ’26), died in November at 81.

A self-described “irreverent spirit,” Charlotte Cremin sought to “destarchify” an institution that was both counter-cultural and tradition-bound. She taught middle-school mathematics when “faculty wife” was still a ubiquitous term, yet also embraced and redefined the role of presidential help-mate.

“Charlotte knew her own mind and followed her own dictates,” said Ellen Condliffe Lagemann (Ph.D. ’78, M.A. ’68), Levy Institute Research Professor at Bard College. “Yet she did not think of herself as a feminist. She wanted to be called ‘Mrs.’ rather than ‘Ms.’ She loved being a wife and mother and was extremely proud of her children, Jody and David.”

Typically, the Cremin children greeted guests at formal dinners, and their mother prepared a course or dessert — including bûche de Noël, a rolled-up Yule log that took a week in the making. “After dinner, Larry often played the piano,” Lagemann said.

Charlotte Cremin grew up in the College’s Seth Low apartments and attended TC’s Horace Mann and Horace Mann-Lincoln schools. Amid a family of academics, she spoke of “bumping along” as a Barnard music major in the wake of “two rather brilliant older sisters.” Nevertheless, she was a lifelong crossword puzzle enthusiast who held her own in national competitions. She earned a TC master’s degree and taught for years at Dalton, a prestigious New York City private school.

Through it all, she assiduously preserved her own identity. As a TC student, “I made a deal with the Math Depart­ment — please don’t ever mention my last name; that way I can fall on my face anonymously,” she recalled. “At commencement I ran into a couple of people and said, ‘I’d like you to meet my husband,’ and they sort of went, ‘Oh.’” — JOE LEVINE

 

 

ADVOCATE FOR THE ARTS

Irene Dalis

DalisMezzo-soprano Irene Dalis, a Metropolitan Opera star who later focused on advancing young singers’ careers, died in December at 89.

The daughter of Italian immigrants, Dalis planned to teach. While earning her TC master’s degree, however, she studied with mezzo-soprano Edyth Walker and then in Italy on a Fulbright scholarship. In 1953 she debuted as Princess Eboli in Verdi’s “Don Carlo” in Oldenburg, Germany. In 1957, she reprised the role in a Met debut The New York Times called “one of the most exciting of the season.”

Dalis subsequently performed with the biggest stars of her era. She founded Opera San José in 1984 to give young performers a chance to sing in leading roles

 

 

 

FORMER TC TRUSTEE

Douglas Williams

WilliamsDouglas Williams, former Vice Chair of TC’s Board of Trustees, died in October at 96. A longtime business leader associated with Goodbody & Co. and Legg Mason Wood Walker, and a U.S. Army 1st Lieutenant during World War II, Williams served for 25 years as a TC Trustee, receiving the College’s John Dewey Medal in 1996. He chaired the Board’s planning commit­tee, repeatedly calling for higher fundraising goals and, with his wife, Priscilla, supported a professorship and TC’s library.

 

 

 

 

NURSING EDUCATOR

Barbara Barnum

BarnumNurse educator Barbara Stevens Barnum, who served as Director of TC’s Division of Health Services, Sciences and Education and Professor of Nursing at Columbia School of Nursing, died in October at age 77.

Barnum held nursing direc­torships at the University of Illinois and the University of Chicago and also taught at New York University. Her books include The Nurse as Executive (1980) and Spirituality in Nursing: The Challenges of Complexity (2010). Later in her career she explored the concept of past life regression, wrote fiction on the paranormal and lectured on brain physiology.

Published Wednesday, Jun. 10, 2015

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In Memoriam

TRIGGERING CHANGE

Transforming Adult Learning Jack Mezirow redefined a field and helped millions rediscover themselves

MezirowTeachers College emeritus professor Jack Mezirow, a former international com­munity development consultant whose paradigm-changing theory of adult learning was partly inspired by watching his wife return to graduate school in middle age, died in September 2014 at age 91.

At a time when adult learning focused pri­marily on the mastery of basic skills, Mezirow’s theory of transformative learning addressed what its author described as “a critical dimen­sion of learning in adulthood that enables us to recognize and reassess the structure of assumptions and expectations which frame our thinking, feeling and acting.” The theory has triggered change on fronts ranging from social activism to graduate and adult education, to human resources development. It also was the basis for AEGIS (Adult Education Guided Intensive Study), the unique doctoral program in adult learning founded by Mezirow at TC in 1982 and since replicated worldwide.

Mezirow's own transformative mo­ment came in the early 1970s when his wife, Edee, enrolled at Sarah Lawrence College to complete her undergraduate education. Edee Mezirow (who passed away in July 2014) went on to serve as Director of Development for both the Alvin Ailey and Martha Graham dance companies and New York City’s project to renovate Times Square. Inspired by her experience, her husband undertook a massive study of women returning to community col­leges, determining that most had undergone “a personal transformation” that culminated in “building competence and self-confidence in new roles and relationships.”

First published in 1978, Mezirow’s theory met with instant acclaim and subsequent ongoing criticism — a fate that suited its author just fine.  “Jack always said you’ve got to have disciples who extend your ideas and critics who attack them, so the theory continues to evolve,” recalled Lyle Yorks (Ed.D. ’95), current Director of the AEGIS program.

“There was a feeling in some quarters that adult education was being bought out by capitalism,” said Victoria Marsick, Professor of Education and Co-Director of TC’s J.M. Huber Institute, who helped Mezirow gather data for his study of college reentry. “But Jack was very much a social activist, and he took a stand that adults need to put forward social justice.”

Mezirow’s many books, which include Transformative Learning in Practice (2009, with

Edward Taylor) and Fostering Critical Reflec­tion in Adulthood (1990), continue to be widely read. Yet perhaps the ultimate confirmation of his wide-ranging impact was expressed during a panel discussion on his work at TC’s Academic Festival in April 2015.

“We look at the power of perspective transformation when someone gets a terminal diagnosis,” said Gwendolyn Kaltoft (Ed.D. ’90), Director of Quality/Compliance at Yolo Hospice in Davis, California. “Because they’re being asked to let go and make the ultimate transformation into some unknown space.”

JOE LEVINE

Mezirow’s theory addressed, “a critical dimension of learning in adult­hood that enables  us to recognize and reassess the structure of assumptions and expectations which frame our thinking, feeling  and acting.”

The Jack & Edee Mezirow Fund

The Professor Jack & Edee Mezirow Endowed Scholarship in the Adult Learning and Leadership/Adult Education Guided Intensive Study (AEGIS) program has been provided by the estates of both Jack and Edee Mezirow and their son, Andy. It initially targets creating a $50,000 fund for scholarship assistance for students in need. To make a gift write to: Teachers College, 525 West 120th Street, Box 306, New York, NY 10027,  Attn: Jack & Edee Mezirow Fund, or visit tc.edu/MezirowFund

 

 

CreminCharlotte Cremin (M.A. ’75), the wife of the late education historian and Teachers College President Lawrence Cremin (Ph.D. ’49) and the daughter of 40-year faculty member Robert Bruce Raup (Ph.D. ’26), died in November at 81.

A self-described “irreverent spirit,” Charlotte Cremin sought to “destarchify” an institution that was both counter-cultural and tradition-bound. She taught middle-school mathematics when “faculty wife” was still a ubiquitous term, yet also embraced and redefined the role of presidential help-mate.

“Charlotte knew her own mind and followed her own dictates,” said Ellen Condliffe Lagemann (Ph.D. ’78, M.A. ’68), Levy Institute Research Professor at Bard College. “Yet she did not think of herself as a feminist. She wanted to be called ‘Mrs.’ rather than ‘Ms.’ She loved being a wife and mother and was extremely proud of her children, Jody and David.”

Typically, the Cremin children greeted guests at formal dinners, and their mother prepared a course or dessert — including bûche de Noël, a rolled-up Yule log that took a week in the making. “After dinner, Larry often played the piano,” Lagemann said.

Charlotte Cremin grew up in the College’s Seth Low apartments and attended TC’s Horace Mann and Horace Mann-Lincoln schools. Amid a family of academics, she spoke of “bumping along” as a Barnard music major in the wake of “two rather brilliant older sisters.” Nevertheless, she was a lifelong crossword puzzle enthusiast who held her own in national competitions. She earned a TC master’s degree and taught for years at Dalton, a prestigious New York City private school.

Through it all, she assiduously preserved her own identity. As a TC student, “I made a deal with the Math Depart­ment — please don’t ever mention my last name; that way I can fall on my face anonymously,” she recalled. “At commencement I ran into a couple of people and said, ‘I’d like you to meet my husband,’ and they sort of went, ‘Oh.’” — JOE LEVINE

 

 

ADVOCATE FOR THE ARTS

Irene Dalis

DalisMezzo-soprano Irene Dalis, a Metropolitan Opera star who later focused on advancing young singers’ careers, died in December at 89.

The daughter of Italian immigrants, Dalis planned to teach. While earning her TC master’s degree, however, she studied with mezzo-soprano Edyth Walker and then in Italy on a Fulbright scholarship. In 1953 she debuted as Princess Eboli in Verdi’s “Don Carlo” in Oldenburg, Germany. In 1957, she reprised the role in a Met debut The New York Times called “one of the most exciting of the season.”

Dalis subsequently performed with the biggest stars of her era. She founded Opera San José in 1984 to give young performers a chance to sing in leading roles

 

 

 

FORMER TC TRUSTEE

Douglas Williams

WilliamsDouglas Williams, former Vice Chair of TC’s Board of Trustees, died in October at 96. A longtime business leader associated with Goodbody & Co. and Legg Mason Wood Walker, and a U.S. Army 1st Lieutenant during World War II, Williams served for 25 years as a TC Trustee, receiving the College’s John Dewey Medal in 1996. He chaired the Board’s planning commit­tee, repeatedly calling for higher fundraising goals and, with his wife, Priscilla, supported a professorship and TC’s library.

 

 

 

 

NURSING EDUCATOR

Barbara Barnum

BarnumNurse educator Barbara Stevens Barnum, who served as Director of TC’s Division of Health Services, Sciences and Education and Professor of Nursing at Columbia School of Nursing, died in October at age 77.

Barnum held nursing direc­torships at the University of Illinois and the University of Chicago and also taught at New York University. Her books include The Nurse as Executive (1980) and Spirituality in Nursing: The Challenges of Complexity (2010). Later in her career she explored the concept of past life regression, wrote fiction on the paranormal and lectured on brain physiology.

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