From the President: The More Things Change . . . | Teachers College Columbia University

Skip to content Skip to main navigation
TC Today - Spring / Summer 2015

TC Today - Spring / Summer 2015

Skip to content Skip to content

President's Letter

As faces and fields change at TC, we're still asking the right questions

Change is continual in any institution. But periodically there comes a moment — a tipping point in the number of new faces in the hallway; a profusion of unfamiliar names on office doors — when long-timers think: This is not the same place it used to be.

That moment has arrived at Teachers College where, since 2007, we have recruited 50 new tenure-track professors — about one-third of our current faculty. As they arrive they force us to question: How do we move new ideas forward and advance the lifecycle of TC itself? How do new colleagues who look at the world in new ways join us in a community that is “still TC?”

You’ll find our answers in this issue of TC Today. We introduce a cross section of new faculty members who are challenging basic assumptions in their fields and sometimes creating new fields entirely. They include the hearing daughter of two deaf parents who uses “visual phonics” and other alternative forms of literacy to reach special-needs children; a learning theorist who explores technology’s influence on students’ perceptions of nature; a neuroscientist who is revealing how poverty shapes the brain; and others whose work ranges from engaging teens through multicultural literature to helping children with autism succeed in school. Several earned their degrees at TC, and all teach here because they feel a connection to our work, past and present. And stay tuned: in the fall, we’ll showcase our growing expertise in learning analytics and other areas of quantitative analysis.

Nor is it only our faculty that’s changing. Since 2007, 13 new Trustees have joined our Board. Here you’ll meet the two newest: Andrés Alonso, a well-known education leader; and Reveta Bowers, a TC Klingenstein Center alumna who has devoted her career to leading one of the nation’s top independent schools. We introduce three new senior members of our administration: Steven Goss (Ph.D. ’07), first-ever Vice Provost of Digital Learning, who will work with faculty to leverage technology in ways that will sustain and enhance the college’s intellectual future; Naveed Husain, our new Chief Information Officer, who is building a 21st-century technology infrastructure; and Katie Conway (Ed.D. ’12, M.E. ’07, M.A. ’06), my new Chief of Staff and Secretary of the College. And we bid farewell to Scott Fahey, Katie’s predecessor, who rendered invaluable service to me and to President Arthur Levine before me.

Our students and alumni are also taking us into new realms. In this issue, you’ll meet Alaa and Dalal Alhomaizi, Kuwaiti twin sisters who are establishing psychology as an acknowledged and respected discipline in their home country; Basil Smikle, a Ph.D. student in Politics and Education who is Executive Director of New York’s Democratic Party; and donors who are shaping new programs in areas ranging from movement sciences to psychological services for returning military veterans. They typify the creativity and generosity that have carried us to the two-thirds mark in our historic $300 million campaign. Clearly TC is not the place we were five years ago, nor even five months ago. But to quote Professor Hope Leichter: “What’s important is to keep raising questions about fundamental premises — and to think beyond disciplines to identify the questions that are pertinent to a given focus of research.”

Published Tuesday, May. 12, 2015

President's Letter

Change is continual in any institution. But periodically there comes a moment — a tipping point in the number of new faces in the hallway; a profusion of unfamiliar names on office doors — when long-timers think: This is not the same place it used to be.

That moment has arrived at Teachers College where, since 2007, we have recruited 50 new tenure-track professors — about one-third of our current faculty. As they arrive they force us to question: How do we move new ideas forward and advance the lifecycle of TC itself? How do new colleagues who look at the world in new ways join us in a community that is “still TC?”

You’ll find our answers in this issue of TC Today. We introduce a cross section of new faculty members who are challenging basic assumptions in their fields and sometimes creating new fields entirely. They include the hearing daughter of two deaf parents who uses “visual phonics” and other alternative forms of literacy to reach special-needs children; a learning theorist who explores technology’s influence on students’ perceptions of nature; a neuroscientist who is revealing how poverty shapes the brain; and others whose work ranges from engaging teens through multicultural literature to helping children with autism succeed in school. Several earned their degrees at TC, and all teach here because they feel a connection to our work, past and present. And stay tuned: in the fall, we’ll showcase our growing expertise in learning analytics and other areas of quantitative analysis.

Nor is it only our faculty that’s changing. Since 2007, 13 new Trustees have joined our Board. Here you’ll meet the two newest: Andrés Alonso, a well-known education leader; and Reveta Bowers, a TC Klingenstein Center alumna who has devoted her career to leading one of the nation’s top independent schools. We introduce three new senior members of our administration: Steven Goss (Ph.D. ’07), first-ever Vice Provost of Digital Learning, who will work with faculty to leverage technology in ways that will sustain and enhance the college’s intellectual future; Naveed Husain, our new Chief Information Officer, who is building a 21st-century technology infrastructure; and Katie Conway (Ed.D. ’12, M.E. ’07, M.A. ’06), my new Chief of Staff and Secretary of the College. And we bid farewell to Scott Fahey, Katie’s predecessor, who rendered invaluable service to me and to President Arthur Levine before me.

Our students and alumni are also taking us into new realms. In this issue, you’ll meet Alaa and Dalal Alhomaizi, Kuwaiti twin sisters who are establishing psychology as an acknowledged and respected discipline in their home country; Basil Smikle, a Ph.D. student in Politics and Education who is Executive Director of New York’s Democratic Party; and donors who are shaping new programs in areas ranging from movement sciences to psychological services for returning military veterans. They typify the creativity and generosity that have carried us to the two-thirds mark in our historic $300 million campaign. Clearly TC is not the place we were five years ago, nor even five months ago. But to quote Professor Hope Leichter: “What’s important is to keep raising questions about fundamental premises — and to think beyond disciplines to identify the questions that are pertinent to a given focus of research.”

How This Gift Connects The Dots
 
Scholarships & Fellowships
 
Faculty & Programs
 
Campus & Technology
 
Financial Flexibility
 
Engage TC Alumni & Friends
 

Comment on this article:

Please use the form below to let us know your thoughts on this article.