Teachers College has always upheld the core principles of equity and inclusion, global citizenship, and the deployment of teaching and research to advance human development and well-being. Equally important, we have reaffirmed those principles in applying them to the challenges that each new era brings. In this issue of TC Today, you’ll find powerful stories of how, during these challenging times, our faculty, administration and alumni are doing just that.
Why, for example, do human beings instinctively “other” other people? How can we prevent othering in our society and our own thinking? How can we learn to embrace difference rather than fear it? These are longstanding questions, but they resonate especially powerfully right now in the midst of the Black Lives Matter movement, the global refugee crisis and the backlash against immigrants. Few have offered more profound answers than TC psychologist Derald Wing Sue, the focus of this issue’s cover story, who recently received the American Psychological Association’s Award for Outstanding Lifetime Contributions to Psychology for his work on racial microaggressions. In shedding light on how these everyday slights and indignities reflect and reinforce our society’s power inequities, Dr. Sue has sought to understand the lived realities of all human beings — a quest that should be part of everyone’s work at Teachers College.
Our era has also given a new and perhaps unprecedented urgency to the phrase “global citizenship.” TC has always focused on the wider world and how nations can best live with an learn from one another. Yet as we confront a growing climate emergency, “global citizenship” demands the kind of higher-order innovative thinking and proactive cooperation modeled by alumna Annie Feighery, this issue’s “TC Hero.” With her husband, John, Annie created mWater, a nonprofit that has brought cheap and effective water-monitoring technology to 167 countries around the world. By using a new business model that favors “investors” over “donors,” mWater more effectively serves the communities and families whose lives depend on access to clean water. With her adroit social entrepreneurship and expertise in networking with all relevant stakeholders, Annie Feighery shows us all ways to translate great ideas into maximum impact.
How do we bring the best minds together across disciplines? And how do we partner with others on the frontlines? I am excited about all the progress that we are making here at Teachers College.
Of course, every college of education — and every learning institution worth its salt — embraces a mission of building a better world. The devil, however, is in the details. How do we mentor faculty and students to obtain funding and acquire essential skills — and how do we tailor support to disciplines with vastly different funding infrastructures? How do we bring the best minds together across disciplines? And how do we partner with administrators, teachers, health practitioners and others on the front lines? TC’s new Provost, Stephanie Rowley, profiled in this issue, has devoted her career to these concerns. Dr. Rowley possesses a formidable combination of intelligence, knowledge of different disciplines and understanding of the research funding landscape, and she is also genuinely and passionately concerned for the well-being of others. As one of her own mentors attests, that quality inspires colleagues to join her in developing and fulfilling a shared vision for building a stronger institution. Dr. Rowley’s arrival has given me great hope that, together, we can empower TC to do its very best.
And so, too, do the six new faculty members who arrived at the College this fall, adding to the scores of leading-edge scholars who have joined us during the past decade-plus. With expertise ranging from dance education to the preparation of mathematics teachers to the assessment of learning disabilities, our newest additions immeasurably broaden and enrich our teaching and research enterprise.
Our great institution is always a work in progress. I am excited about all the progress that we are making here at Teachers College and look forward to telling you more about it soon.