TC Professor Emerita Frances Connor (Ed.D. ’53, M.A. ’48), whose efforts during the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s to win schooling for children with disabilities helped lay the groundwork for the present-day inclusive education movement, died in March at age 95
Connor served as President of the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) and was a member of the five-person committee that helped shut down the Willowbrook State School on Staten Island. The closing of the school, famously decried by Senator Robert Kennedy as a “snake pit,” helped lead to the passage of the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act of 1980. Connor’s work also helped bring about passage in 1975 of the Education for All Handicapped Children Act, since reenacted as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
At Teachers College, where she was Richard March Hoe Professor of Education, Connor served as Chair of what was then TC’s Department of Special Education, leading a group of pioneering faculty members that included Ignacy Goldberg, Leonard Blackman and Herbert Rusalem in establishing the College as a top destination for students in the field and as a national research hub. Blackman, whom she hired to lead research, wrote a proposal for the federal funding to build Thorndike Hall, and Connor ensured its success in Washington. To support the Frances Connor Endowed Scholarship Fund, visit http://bit.ly/1QLV1M1 or call 212-678-3679.
Roger A. Myers
Roger A. Myers who championed the development of the field of counseling psychology and played a major role in shaping its standards for professional education, training and credentialing, died in September at age 85.
Myers, who retired in 1995 as Richard March Hoe Professor of Psychology & Education, directed the College’s programs in Counseling and Personnel Psychology. He chaired what was then the Department of Psychology and directed the Division of Psychology & Education.
Myers served as President of Division 17 of the American Psychological Association (APA), which represents counseling psychology, and served on the editorial boards of The Journal of Counseling Psychology and the Journal of College Student Personnel. He was among the first counseling psychologists to serve as an APA accreditation site visitor and eventually chaired the APA Committee on Accreditation. He also chaired the committee that constructs the licensing examination in psychology in all 50 U.S. states and the 10 provinces of Canada.
Counseling psychology emerged after World War II, addressing issues such as the reintegration of veterans, the rehabilitation of the physically disabled and guidance in schools, which many clinical psychologists
Winthrop Adkins (Ph.D. ’63, M.A. ’59), Professor Emeritus of Psychology & Education, who created a career development program used by people around the world, passed away in July at age 82. n In the late 1970s, Adkins drew on the theories of John Dewey, Donald Super and others to develop the Adkins Life Skills/Career Development Program. His premise: unemployed and undereducated people must develop effective psychosocial skills along with their academic and vocational abilities. Through small-group dynamics and carefully designed multimedia learning activities, the Adkins program helps people learn about themselves and the world of work; set personal goals; identify, get and keep jobs; and develop long-term careers.
“Psychosocial skills weren’t being treated as an area of learning,” Adkins said in 2009, adding that the people he sought to help “often have to deal with emotional issues and change the way they think, feel and act about themselves and their opportunities.”
Implemented by nearly 2,000 agencies in more than 40 states, including prisons, homeless shelters, drug rehabilitation centers, welfare-to-work programs, economic-opportunity centers and community colleges, the Adkins Life Skills/Career Development Program also has been adapted abroad for use in settings ranging from European Union nations to community colleges in India.
Practicing What He Preached
Thomas Sobol set the standard for living a moral, fully engaged life
Thomas Sobol (Ed.D. ’69), New York State Commissioner of Education from 1987-1995 and then director of TC’s Superintendents Work Conference and doctoral Inquiry Program for Public School Leaders, died in early September.
In teaching ethics and education law, Sobol — TC’s first Christian A. Johnson Professor of Outstanding Educational Practice — challenged students with real-life moral dilemmas. As Commissioner, he himself had led authorship of “A New Compact for Learning,” one of the first efforts by a state to set precise K–12 learning standards. When plaintiffs used the document to sue the state for more funding for New York City schools, Sobol — a defendant — publicly took their side.
“Becoming moral in my view is the opposite of restraint and detachment,” Sobol said in accepting TC’s 2006 Medal for Distinguished Service. “It requires passionate engagement [and] stepping into all of life’s confusion and heartbreak and messiness.” Read a profile of Sobol at http://bit.ly/1W0Et4i.
Ronald S. Tikofsky
Ronald S. Tikofsky, a longtime Adjunct Professor of Speech Pathology at Teachers College, passed away this summer. Tikofsky was an expert in aphasia and acquired language disorders who received the Gold Medal of the American College of Nuclear Medicine for his pioneering brain imaging studies of speech and language. He was also an accomplished jazz clarinetist.
Tikofsky was Associate Professor of Clinical Radiology at College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University and had served as President of the American College of Nuclear Medicine and President of the Society of Nuclear Medicine’s Brain Imaging Council. He co-edited the book Functional Cerebral SPECT and PET Imaging, which detailed progress in the field of functional brain imaging, and authored hundreds of papers in peer-reviewed journals.
Early in his career, at the University of Michigan, Tikofsky created one of the first aphasia rehabilitation programs in a university clinic. The program included cooperative arrangements with the Departments of Neurology and Physical Medicine and offered speech, physical and occupational therapy.
Patricia McGovern Sweeting (Ph.D. ’79, M.A. ’71), longtime Director of TC’s Speech and Hearing Center — now the Edward D. Mysak Clinic for Communication Disorders — passed away in early September. Sweeting graduated from the College of New Rochelle in 1956 and later served the institution for many years as a board member and adjunct professor. She studied speech/language pathology at Teachers College and subsequently became Director of the Mt. St. Ursula Speech and Hearing Center in the Bronx. She returned to Teachers College in 1988 and became Director of the Speech and Hearing Center, also teaching courses in voice and diagnostic methods.
In 2003, the New York State Speech-Language-Hearing Association awarded Sweeting its Distinguished Achievement Award, recognizing her years of service to clients and their families and her mentorship of generations of clinicians. Sweeting retired from TC in 2005 as Associate Professor of Practice, but continued to supervise in the graduate program of Mercy College in Dobbs Ferry, New York, in voice and fluency for several more years.
Richard E. Cheney
Richard E. Cheney (M.A. ’61), a prominent former public relations executive who late in life became a practicing psychoanalyst, died in September. Cheney served as a lieutenant in World War II in the minesweeper fleet. He became director of mine craft public relations, supervising enlisted correspondents in their coverage of mine craft activities for U.S. newspapers. He accompanied a group of photographers and reporters who covered the aftermath of the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
He later created an investor relations department for Mobil before joining the public relations firm Hill & Knowlton, where he helped many companies ward off takeovers. In particular, he advised John and Clint Murchison in the proxy fight for Alleghany Corporation, which controlled the country’s then-largest holding company for mutual funds and the New York Central and Missouri Pacific railroads. He eventually rose to become the firm’s chairman.
Later, Cheney studied psychoanalysis at night at Teachers College and the Center for Modern Psychoanalytic Studies. He set up his own office in New York City, where he treated patients
Ruth O. Goldman
Ruth O. Goldman (M.A. ’63), former teacher, guidance counselor and Secretary of the Board of Directors of the United Nations of New York, died in March.
Goldman earned a master’s degree in Public Law & Government from Columbia, but, told by her father that she would never marry if she became a lawyer, pursued an education career instead. She studied Guidance & Student Personnel Administration at TC and in 1960 took a job teaching both social studies and English at Scarsdale Jr. High School. During the 1970s, she became a guidance counselor for BOCES Vocational School in Valhalla, New York, and was later a counselor for Yonkers Secondary School.
With her husband, Peter, Goldman traveled throughout Europe and the Mideast and served on the UN’s New York board, including as its Secretary in 1982. She was also a member of both Kappa Delta Pi, the international honor society in education, and Pi Lambda Theta, for U.S. educators. Goldman's bequest to TC has been designated for scholarship.
Published Thursday, Nov 5, 2015