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TC Campus News

Keeping up with people, events and other news from Teachers College
Keeping up with people, events and other news from Teachers College

TC Honors Sugata Mitra

TC’s Klingenstein Center for Independent School Leadership has presented its annual Klingenstein Leadership Award to Sugata Mitra, Chief Scientist Emeritus at NIIT (the Indian information technology giant) and Professor of Educational Technology at the School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences at Newcastle University in the United Kingdom.

Mitra is the originator of the “Hole in the Wall” experiment, a computer project that has increased learning among children in some of the world’s poorest slums. His efforts served as the inspiration for the book that went on to become the Oscar-winning film Slum-dog Millionaire.

Klingenstein Center Director Pearl Rock Kane called Mitra “an inventor, researcher, polymath, philosopher, humanitarian and catalyst for education reform.”

New Hope for Teaching Math
A new report, “Learning Trajectories in Mathematics: A Foundation for Standards, Curriculum, Assessment, and Instruction,” co-authored by Teachers College-based researchers, details current work in one of the most promising areas for improving K–12 mathematics education.

Learning trajectories are sequences of learning experiences hypothesized and designed to build a deep and increasingly sophisticated understanding of core concepts and practices within various disciplines. They are based on empirical evidence of how students’ understanding actually develops in response to instruction and where it might break down. The report was released by the Center on Continuous Instructional Improvement (CCII), a TC-based arm of the Consortium for Policy Research in Education.

The report, which discusses the relationship between trajectories and the Common Core Standards (which nearly every state in the union is now participating in developing) can be viewed and downloaded at

Pondering Nature and Nurture
A new Health, Behavior and Society Colloquium Series at TC is bringing together faculty and students from across the College, other units of Columbia University and elsewhere. Their research interests include the biological, behavioral and social bases of healthy human development, health-related education and behavioral and
social intervention.

“Our intent with this series is to catalyze interdisciplinary interest in what takes place at the intersection of genes, behavior and social circumstances, which we now know interact to affect health,” says Deputy Provost John Allegrante.

The inaugural colloquium, “Biological Embedding of Adverse Childhood Experiences,” held in January, featured Andrea Danese, M.D., Ph.D., of the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College, London. Danese, who is working with Allegrante and others at TC, summarized research on how depression, anxiety and even non-physical abuse in childhood can cause cellular changes that can lead to physical ailments in adulthood.

At the second colloquium, “Discovering Depression Endophenotypes in Cardiovascular Disease,” held in February, Karina Davidson, Professor of Medicine and Psychiatry at the Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons, discussed recent research suggesting that patients who are newly depressed following a cardiac event are significantly more likely to die within four years than cardiac patients who are not depressed.

TC Gets Greener
TC has undertaken a coordinated environmental sustainability plan that includes boosting the rate of recycling at the College from 35 percent of all waste recycled to 50 percent over the next two years, and from 50 percent to 75 percent over the next five years. The effort commits the College to demonstrating institutional practices that promote sustainability, including measures to increase efficiency and use of renewable resources, and to decrease production of waste and hazardous materials; encouraging environmental inquiry and institutional learning throughout the College community; and establishing indicators for sustainability that will enable monitoring, reporting and continuous improvement.

Bravo, Peace Corps Fellows
The Teachers College Peace Corps Fellows Program, which prepares returning Peace Corps Volunteers for teaching in high-needs New York City schools, was honored with a proclamation from Mayor Michael Bloomberg at its 25th anniversary in April 2011. The proclamation also praised TC Trustee Elliot Jaffe and his wife, Roslyn, for their longstanding support of the program.

The festivities, held on TC’s campus, also marked the 50th anniversary of the national Peace Corps Program, and included remarks by Aaron Williams, Peace Corps Director. TC’s Teachers for East Africa program, through which, during the early 1960s, the College prepared teachers to serve in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, was the precursor to the Peace Corps.

Fuhrman Leads Hill Briefing
TC President Susan Fuhrman moderated a Congressional briefing in February about the payoffs of long-term investment in education research. The briefing was cosponsored by the Education Deans Alliance, the National Academy of Education (NAEd) and the American Educational Research Association (AERA). It was attended by Congressional staff people, policymakers and officials from the U.S. Department of Education.

Fuhrman, President of the NAEd and past Vice President of the Educational Policy and Politics division of AERA, moderated a panel of internationally regarded education researchers who discussed the significance of their work and the payoffs of having sustained funding from a single source for long-term education research.

Four TC Faculty Honored by AERA
María Torres-Guzmán, Professor of Bilingual Education, has received the American Educational Research Association (AERA) Bilingual Education SIG Lifetime Achievement Award. Torres-Guzmán was recognized for her “long-standing excellence in scholarship related to bilingual education,” her “commitment and service to schools and educators,” and her “mentoring and encouragement of young and emerging scholars.” TC faculty members David Hansen, Henry Levin and Anna Neumann were among 31 scholars named AERA Fellows in recognition of their exceptional scientific or scholarly contributions to education research or significant contributions to the field through the development of research opportunities and settings.

Hechinger Report Takes Honors
Less than a year after its launch, The Hechinger Report, produced by TC’s Hechinger Institute on Education and the Media, was among the winners of the Education Writers Association’s 2010 National Awards for Education Reporting. The Hechinger Report is a nonprofit, non-partisan news organization focused on covering national and regional education news. The Report’s staff writers, editors and freelance writers won second prize in the “Best Reporting (Small Market)” category. The Report was also recognized in two categories for providing financial and journalism assistance to ambitious education journalism projects addressing national issues at the local and regional levels.

Published Thursday, May. 19, 2011