New York City’s Touro College and University System is dedicated to accommodating students from all backgrounds and circumstances. So why, wondered Jeffrey Fisher, didn’t Touro have a continuing education program?
“We have a lot of degree programs, including many offered at night for the convenience of people who work, but we weren’t maximizing our capacity to cater to those who want to take courses during the day,” says Fisher (M.A. ’16), who has worked for more than a decade at Touro as Special Programs Administrator and Teaching Assistant.
In 2012, to address that need, Fisher enrolled as a part-time master’s degree student in TC’s Adult Learning & Leadership program. He studied with Victoria Marsick (his adviser), Arthur Langer, Lyle Yorks and Jeanne Bitterman, and even took a course on somatics, which emphasizes internal physical perception and experience. For his thesis project, he began work on creating a course at Touro on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) that would include readings, lectures and visits to the Exchange floor.
The biggest takeaway from my work at TC was the importance of informal, experiential learning in engaging students...Even in law school, which uses the Socratic Method, the focus was on books, not on real life.
“The biggest takeaway from my work at TC was the importance of informal, experiential learning in engaging students,” Fisher says. “Before, I hadn’t seen these as valid methods compared with the formal education of reading books and being tested on them, because that was pretty much how I’d been educated. Even in law school, which uses the Socratic Method, the focus was on books, not on real life.”
Fisher’s program on the NYSE has proven so engaging that he now offers it annually, including through the Touro Graduate School of Business. Meanwhile, Fisher remains closely connected with TC, serving on the College’s 21st Century Leaders Committee and contributing to the TC Fund. And his parents recently established the Arlene and Daniel Fisher Family Scholarship to support students in TC’s Adult Learning & Leadership Program. Jeffrey and his sister, Sharon, serve on the board of the Arlene and Daniel Fisher Foundation.
“I joined the committee back in 2013 to work on the 125th Anniversary Gala celebration at the Apollo Theater,” he says. “That was such an exciting time. But there’s always something exciting going on at TC, right down to the guest lectures they have seemingly almost every week. I still remember the talk that Pasi Sahlberg gave on his book, Finnish Lessons, and how special it was to hear about an entire country getting catapulted from the bottom third to the top 20 percent in education.”
Fisher also draws on his TC experience in the consulting work he does with Genesis International Advisers LLC, which serves many nonprofits and academic institutions.
“I’m doing everything I can right now with my TC degree,” he says. “It’s the graduate school of business today, but perhaps the whole Touro system tomorrow. There’s so much more we can do.”