Liz Willen Named Interim Director of Hechinger Institute | Teachers College Columbia University

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Liz Willen Named Interim Director of Hechinger Institute

The Associate Director of the Institute and Associate Editor of the Hechinger Report has taken on the role as Richard Colvin departs.
Vice President and Provost Thomas James announced that Liz Willen has been named Interim Director of the Hechinger Institute for Education and the Media at Teachers College.  Having served as Associate Director of the Institute since 2006 as well as Associate Editor of the Hechinger Report, Liz takes on this role as Richard Colvin, the Institute’s Director since 2003, starts his new job as Executive Director of Education Sector, an independent think tank in Washington, DC. A search committee, which James is chairing, is at work to find the next Director for the Hechinger Institute.
Liz Willen brings deep experience as a journalist to her new role as Interim Director.  Before joining the Hechinger Institute, she was a senior writer focused on higher education at Bloomberg Markets magazine. Willen spent the bulk of her career covering the New York City public school system for Newsday. She has won numerous prizes for education coverage and shared the 2005 George Polk Award for health reporting with two Bloomberg colleagues. A graduate of Tufts University and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, she is an active New York City public school parent.
Working closely with Liz to guide the organization is Janet Ellis, Business Manager.  Together they form the senior management team of the Hechinger Institute, reporting directly to the Provost. Prior to joining the staff of the Institute, Jan Ellis worked for 15 years with senior executives and clients at Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley in the Financial Industries Group. She also performed for many years as a professional singer in concert and opera productions around the world.
James said, “I know I speak for our whole academic community at Teachers College as I extend my heartfelt thanks to Richard Colvin for the wonderful leadership he has offered in shaping and transforming the contributions of the Hechinger Institute. I am thankful, too, for the leadership that Liz Willen will now provide as Interim Director and the collaborative role that Jan Ellis is playing as Business Manager. We are well positioned to move forward with the creative work of this Institute. For more information on the Hechinger Institute, see

Published Tuesday, Apr. 12, 2011


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