Dear Members of the Teachers College Community,
I am saddened to report the passing of Jane A. Monroe (Ed.D. ’80), who served Teachers College with distinction for more than 30 years as Associate Professor of Statistics & Education and as Chair of the Department of Human Development before retiring in 2010.
The leitmotif to Professor Monroe’s career was service to students. As a mathematics major in college, she passed up a lucrative job offer at Mobil in order to pursue a career in teaching. She frequently described her first teaching position, in a small and very poor town outside of Denver, as the best job she ever had. Much of her focus there was teaching arithmetic and consumer math, which empowered students to do real-world activities such as evaluating insurance policies, writing checks, shopping and comparing prices.
Professor Monroe also put her students first during her time at Teachers College. Generations of TC graduates in the social sciences and other fields were able to complete their degrees because Jane Monroe helped them to learn, understand and apply statistics to their work. During one particular year, she estimated that she worked on no fewer than 100 dissertations, assisting their authors with design and statistical analysis. Indeed, as she liked to recall, she did so much of that work while still an instructor that, at the announcement of her appointment as an Assistant Professor, she received a standing ovation.
As TC moves to the forefront of digital teaching and research, it is worth recalling that Professor Monroe also played a key role in preparing the College for the arrival of the computer age. She introduced the use of mechanical calculators for processing and analyzing large data sets at TC, and subsequently, for translating data for analysis by computer.
Professor Monroe was also an avid traveler who taught at what was then Teachers College’s branch campus in Japan. She served with an international team of education experts who worked with Afghanistan’s Ministry of Education to develop the capacity to write elementary curriculum and textbooks. She also was an accomplished amateur athlete who competed in baseball against boys during her own school years and, as a junior-high school teacher, promoted girls’ athletics during the pre-Title IX days.
Finally, Professor Monroe was deeply devoted to the College and her faculty colleagues. A beloved mentor, she welcomed generations of new faculty, and was staunchly supportive of them as they learned “the ropes.” She always could be counted on to offer a fair, clear-eyed view of the issues of the day — and how they bore on the well-being of TC’s faculty, students, and staff. She definitely was a welcoming and supportive colleague to me after I arrived at TC.
In notifying us of Jane Monroe’s passing, her niece poignantly observed that her aunt was, without a doubt “three standard deviations above the mean.” She will be greatly missed.
President, Teachers College