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Bidding Adieu

Four professors and a member of the Board of Trustees retire
There were a handful of retirement parties at Teachers College in May, as TC bid a fond farewell to four longtime professors and a member of the Board of Trustees. Their combined service to TC totals more than 120 years. Those retiring were faculty members Leslie Beebe, Dennis Mithaug, Frances Schoonmaker and Robert Taylor, and TC Trustee Enid “Dinny” Morse.
Leslie Beebe
Professor of Linguistics and Education
Department of Arts and Humanities
Professor Beebe has been an internationally renowned scholar in the field of applied linguistics for more than 30 years. Beebe joined the TC faculty in 1975 as a professor of linguistics and education and served as Director of both the Teaching English as a Second Language (TESOL) Program and the Applied Linguistics Program. She also played a key role in founding the first off-campus program at the College, the TESOL M.A. in Tokyo. She published extensively over the years in the areas of sociolinguistics, second language acquisition and discourse analysis, and taught and lectured at universities in Japan, Thailand, France, Spain, Iran, Mexico and Canada. Beebe co-authored two books, Issues in English in the Cross-Cultural Era (with TC colleague John Fanselow) and Cross Talk: Understanding Misunderstanding Between Japanese and Americans in English (with TC alumna Tomoko Takahashi), and co-edited Issues in Second Language Acquisition: Multiple Perspectives. In addition to her scholarly work, she served as President of the American Association for Applied Linguistics in 1990–1991 and was a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Intercultural Pragmatics.

Dennis E. Mithaug
Professor of Education
Department of Health and Human Behavior
Dennis Mithaug served Teachers College for 18 years. He joined the faculty in 1991 after having been Professor and Dean of the School of Education at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. A leading scholar in the field of special education, Mithaug published numerous journal articles, instructional materials and books, and directed nearly two dozen federal- or state-funded grant projects. He did pioneering research with colleague James Martin of the University of Colorado on individuals with disabilities and their concepts of self-determination. The two developed the Self-Directed Employment model in which youth and adults with disabilities actively participate in assessing their skills, choosing a job and solving on-the-job problems. Mithaug and his colleagues also developed a theory of learning that placed self-engagement at the center of why, how and what people learn, whether they are disabled or not. He was a founding member and President of the Division for Research at the Council for Exceptional Children. At TC, Mithaug served as Chair of the Department of Special Education from 1991 to 1996 and later became its Director when it became a program in the Department of Health and Human Behavior.

Enid W. Morse
Teachers College Board of Trustees
Enid “Dinny” Morse joined the Board of Trustees in 1988. Over the years, she served as the panel’s Co-chair and on the search committee that recommended Arthur Levine for the presidency of Teachers College in 1995. A generous TC benefactor, she and her husband established the Enid and Lester Morse Endowed Professorship in Teacher Education in 2002. “My husband and I care a great deal about the work of the College,” she said at the time. “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.” In addition to the endowed chair, which is held by Professor Ruth Vinz, the funding established the Morse Center for the Professional Education of Teachers, which has supported various TC projects, including the Student Press Initiative. In honor of Enid Morse, her children later established the Enid W. Morse Fellowship for Teaching in the Arts to assist students interested in teaching music, visual arts or dance. Morse has also served on the boards of a number of organizations such as Prep-for-Prep, a leadership program for minority students, and the Cooper-Hewitt National Museum of Design.

Frances Schoonmaker
Professor of Education
Department of Curriculum and Teaching
Frances Schoonmaker has been a mainstay in teacher preparation at TC for more than 25 years. From 1983 to 2001, she served as Director of the Preservice Program in Elementary Education. Through the years, she taught courses in curriculum theory and development, school supervision and teacher education. A noted scholar in the field of teacher education, her research focused on teacher development, including the history of curriculum, supervision and teaching, as well as moral and spiritual values in education. She is the author of “Growing Up” Teaching: From Personal Knowledge to Professional Practice, which followed a teacher’s career development from preparation through her eighth year of teaching. She also edited the Poetry for Young People series that featured the poetry of Carl Sandburg, Emily Dickinson and others. Schoonmaker taught and consulted internationally, particularly in China, where she was Visiting Professor at Nanjing Normal University in 1998. She also served in the mid-2000s as the head of the teacher education initiative for the Teachers College/UNICEF Afghanistan Project, working with Afghans to design standards and curricula for teacher education.

Robert Taylor
Associate Professor of Computing in Education
Department of Mathematics, Science and Technology
Robert Taylor founded the Computing in Education Program at TC in 1976, one of the first such graduate programs in the world. Taylor arrived at the College as a doctoral student in 1967, and wrote his dissertation on mathematics teaching in Uganda using a computer program he created known as SNOBOL. It is believed to be the first study to employ the computer to analyze actual classroom dialogue. He also edited in 1980 one of the earliest books in the field, The Computer in the School: Tutor, Tool, Tutee, which is now considered a classic. In the 1980s, he co-founded TC’s Department of Communication, Computing and Technology in Education and later served as its Chair for six years. Over the years, he worked with numerous public and private schools and educational organizations, including the Baghdad office of the United Nations and the ministries of education in Tunisia, Poland and the former Czechoslovakia. He is also an accomplished artist and vocalist, and has drawn some 5,000 sketches and watercolors that feature a number of his TC colleagues.

Published Monday, Jun. 22, 2009