2017 Distinguished Alumni Award Recipients | Teachers College Columbia University

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Alumni Awards

2017 Distinguished Alumni & Early Career Award Honorees

Distinguished Alumni Award

Pam Allyn | M.A. 1988, Deaf/Elementary Education

Pam Allyn, literacy expert, author and activist, is Executive Director of LitWorld, a non-profit she founded in 2008 to cultivate global literacy leaders through transformational literacy experiences that build connection, understanding, resilience and strength. She also founded LitLife, a national educational organization specializing in professional development for preK-12 literacy teachers. She has authored 26 acclaimed books for educators and families, including her most recent book with Dr. Ernest Morrell, Every Child a Super Reader: 7 Strengths to Open a World of Possible (Scholastic, 2015). Known for her work with our nation’s most at-risk children, Allyn leads teachers, families, and communities to adopt the best practices for literacy instruction in schools and homes across the U.S. and internationally. Pam’s work reaches over 25 countries through year-round literacy-based empowerment programs. Over 100 countries celebrate World Read Aloud Day, a special day created by Pam and her colleagues, which honors the power and value of the read aloud.   

Dr. Arthur Chickering |
Ph.D. 1958, Applied Educational Psychology: Schooling and Reading

Dr. Arthur Chickering is one of the leading researchers in student development theory. His ideas and research have helped higher education administrators understand the developmental progress of their students and acted as a foundation for other student development theories that have since been detailed following his first influential publication in 1969, Education and Identity. He introduced the seven vector theory of students’ development in college, a departure from stages and phases of progression toward maturation, autonomy, and identity-formation. Chickering has been an esteemed teacher- scholar, coordinator of assessment, and senior administrator in higher education for well over 40 years. As founding Vice President of Academic Affairs of SUNY-Empire State College, he is credited with playing a pivotal role in developing Empire State College.


Dr. Madeline Heilman | Ph.D. 1972, Social Psychology

Dr. Madeline Heilman is currently a Professor of Psychology at NYU and is one of the leading authorities on gender bias in the workplace. Heilman was a student of Morton Deutsch and built on this foundation of social justice research training that she received at TC and applied it to a population that had received little attention at the time she began her work. Heilman’s work has been cited in major media publications such as the New York Times and has been featured on television shows such as “Good Morning America.” Heilman’s work is the foundation for much of the unconscious bias training that is currently being utilized by corporations in their diversity efforts.


Dr. Tian Ming Sheu | Ed.D. 1993, Educational Administration

In August 2016, Dr. Tian Ming Sheu was appointed President of the National Academy for Educational Research (NAER) in Taiwan, which serves primarily as a national research institute, responsible for long-term, integrated and systematic research, for developing government policies. He will be leading educational reform in Taiwan, with particular focus on underserved populations. Sheu maintains his title as Professor of Educational Policy and Administration, at National Taiwan Normal University where he has taught since 2006. He has previously served as Chair, Department of Education; Director, Graduate Institute of Educational Policy and Administration; Director, Graduate Institute of Curriculum & Instruction; Director, Center for Educational Research and Evaluation, NTNU in 2010, and Dean of the College of Education in 2013.

Early Career Award

David Flink | M.A. 2008, Disability Studies in Education

David Flink is a social movement leader on the front lines of the emergent learning rights movement. Flink is Founder and Chief Empowerment Office of Eye to Eye, the only national mentoring movement run for and by people with LD/ADHD. Eye to Eye empowers young people with LD by giving them a mentor in school who shares that experience. It also sends them as Diplomats across the country to share their LD/ADHD stories and strategies for success and supports them as alumni as they make the transition from college to the workplace and beyond. Flink was awarded a Prime Movers Fellowship sponsored by the Hunt Alternatives Fund and was elected to the prestigious Ashoka Fellowship. In addition, he is an IF Hummingbird Foundation (formerly The Iscol Family Foundation, Inc.) Visionary and an Advisor for The Adversity 2 Advocacy (A2A) Alliance and Story Shares. He sits on 4 national nonprofit boards: Hunt Alternatives, Generation Citizen, Dyslexic Advantage, and CAST.


Leticia Lyle | M.A. 2011, Elementary Inclusive Education

Leticia has a Masters from the Curriculum and Teaching Department at Teachers College and has specialized in Social and Emotional Teaching and Learning. Director of Curriculum and Teacher Development at Somos Educação, Leticia has successfully founded three organizations focused on social and emotional competencies development and research: Instituto Vila Educação, a nonprofit responsible for the adaptation and implementation of a nationwide SEL program in public elementary schools; Mindset Education, a consulting group focused on helping bring 21st century education to the core of institutions and AfterSchool Educação, an experimental, project and competency based afterschool program and preschool. Recipient of a prestigious Lemann Fellowship for her contributions to Brazilian Public Education, Leticia is also a Post Graduate Studies Course Coordinator at Instituto Singularidades, a university in Brazil focused solely on Teaching and Learning, with the challenge of developing models for preparing teachers to teach in our complex world.