Vinz is Honored With The Enid and Lester Morse Chair in Teacher Education
The Enid and Lester Morse Endowed Professorship in Teacher Education has been awarded to Ruth Vinz, former Chair of the Department of Arts and Humanities, Interim Dean during the Fall academic year 2001-2002, and Professor of English Education.
The Morse Chair is intended to strengthen the capacity of Teachers College for the initial and continuing professional education of teachers. Enid Morse, when interviewed about the chair, said, "My husband and I care a great deal about the work of the College. We share the belief that every child in our country deserves a quality education. I've always felt that teacher education programs have the broadest impact for children in the public schools." Morse believes the endowed professorship "will provide an umbrella for teacher education programs across the departments of the College and will advocate partnerships with City schools." She sees it serving other purposes too.
"In terms of research," Morse said, "it will be vital to see what works and what doesn't. I also envision collaboration with the teachers who are in the schools, with new teachers who are starting out, and with our students. In some ways, the endowed chair can encourage collaborating and convene conferences sponsored by the College to encourage conversations about partnerships. This may catapult us into a leadership position in terms of what a school of education can and should be doing."
"I also look forward to an activist Teachers College, creating and cooperating with local schools. Most of all I want the chair to serve young teachers and the teachers who are working hard in the field. Many of them have not been recognized, and I believe the work of the endowed chair will assist them in more central work with our faculty."
Finally, Morse said, "We are very excited about the chair. It has tremendous potential, and we are very pleased to honor Professor Vinz."
Professor Vinz spoke to Inside TC about the meaning and the opportunities of the chair at Teachers College. "I am grateful to Enid and Lester Morse for their desire to support both research and activism associated with Teachers College taking responsibility for creating partnerships with public schools and districts. Through such partnerships, we have the opportunity to coordinate efforts intended to shape, articulate, and enhance the professional education of teachers along their career continuum and to support change in the deep structures of schooling that often prohibit such change."
Vinz went on to say: "As I remember my history lessons, the notion of the 'endowed' chair was constituted at Bologna, in the remarkable spirit of Renaissance Italy.
Endowments were given by patrons to support independent thinking and intellectual work. The impulse in the university endowment of named chairs is another version of the spirit of endowments in the arts. The purpose: To commission beautiful art. Art, in this case, is a metaphor for a commitment to the intellectual and activist work in teacher education that we are trying to define."
Vinz looks forward to an exciting agenda. "The Center associated with this chair has the potential to serve as a convening place for teacher educators at the College and across the nation, a place that coordinates many of their interrelated research agendas, projects, partnerships, and initiatives. The Center gives us the opportunity to examine the professional education of teachers through sustained work that is seamless in research, practice, and programmatic considerations. I hope the Center will help Teachers College faculty take part in leading the national discussions on future research priorities and initiatives that will inform our understanding of the professional education of teachers and the qualities of university/school partnerships that support thoughtful and effective collaborations. The responsibility to define this work with integrity and careful deliberation weighs heavy, but I look forward to the challenge and opportunity."
Published Monday, Feb. 3, 2003