Students Honor Four Black Women, All Leaders in Their Field, for Receiving Promo | Teachers College Columbia University

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Students Honor Four Black Women, All Leaders in Their Fields, for Receiving Promotions from Teachers College


Four black, female Teachers College professors who have recently received promotions were honored in late February at TC's annual Black Student Network Gala. The four are Michelle Knight-Manuel, Professor of Education in the Department of Curriculum & Teaching; Felicia Mensah, Professor of Science & Education, and Erica Walker, Professor of Mathematics & Education, both in the Department of Math, Science & Technology; and Yolanda Sealey-Ruiz, Associate Professor of English Education in the Department of Arts & Humanities.


Knight-Manual, Mensah and Walker were promoted to full professor, and Sealey-Ruiz was awarded tenure with a promotion to associate professor.

“Who they are as people, as well as their accomplishments, deserve recognition,” said Black Student Network member Aaron Neal, a second-year master’s student in the Department of Biobehavioral Sciences, who organized the Gala. The event was cosponsored by TC’s Office of the Vice President for Diversity & Community Affairs.

Knight-Manuel is an authority on feminist theories, culturally relevant pedagogy, culturally grounded research methodologies, and African-American teaching practices with diverse populations. Her recent work includes a study of community organization that helps teenage girls from Nigeria, Senegal, Mali, Gambia, Mauritania, Sierra Leone, Tanzania and Liberia at several of New York City’s International High Schools. The coauthor of the book College-Ready: Preparing Black and Latina/o Youth for Higher Education – a Culturally Relevant Approach, she currently is partnering with the city of Leominster, Massachusetts to evaluate the efforts of the city’s public schools to better prepare students for success in college and beyond.


Mensah focuses on science teacher education; diversity, equity and social justice education; and urban and multicultural education. She has worked with NASA’s Endeavor Science Teaching Certificate Project, and partnered with the Columbia University Chemistry Department and TC’s Center for Technology and School Change to provide professional development for Yonkers, N.Y., elementary and middle school science teachers. Mensah received the 2012 Division K Early Career Award from the American Educational Research Association.  


Sealey-Ruiz is faculty supervisor for TC’s Racial Literacy Roundtable Series, now in its fourth year. In Fall 2011, she guest-edited “Preparing Teachers to Teach Black Students; Preparing Black Students to Become Teachers,” a special issue of the Journal of Negro Education. Her research focuses on black and Latino male students, critical English Education, culturally relevant pedagogy, and educational trajectories of African-American, adult-reentry women from the criminal justice system.


Walker is an authority on racial and gender equity in mathematics education, student persistence in advanced mathematics, and mathematics education policy. She is the author of Beyond Banneker: Black Mathematicians and the Path to Excellence; and Building Mathematics Learning Communities. She recently delivered the Etta Z. Falconer Lecture at the centennial meeting of the Mathematical Association of America.

“Each of these scholars is a leader in her field,” said Thomas James, Provost and Dean. “We are proud to recognize their accomplishments and deeply glad that Teachers College continues to advance the cause of diversity in education.” Kat Stephens-Mothudi





Published Thursday, Mar 10, 2016

CONGRATULATIONS ARE IN ORDER From left: Recently promoted TC facculty members Michelle Knight-Manuel, Felicia Mensah Moore, Yolanda Sealey Ruiz and Erica Walker, with their colleague, Christopher Emdin, at TC's Black Student Network Gala.
Michelle Knight-Manuel
Michelle Knight-Manuel, Professor of Education
Felicia Mensah
Felicia Mensah, Professor of Science & Education
Yolanda Sealey-Ruiz
Yolanda Sealey-Ruiz, Associate Professor of English Education
Erica Walker Professor
Erica Walker, Professor of Mathematics & Education