President Thomas Bailey has announced that the College’s Institute for Urban and Minority Education (IUME) has been renamed the Edmund W. Gordon Institute for Urban and Minority Education, in honor of the College’s lauded racial equity and education scholar who founded the Institute in 1974.
“Through his revolutionary scholarship, advocacy and direct action, Dr. Gordon has taught and led by example over the past eight decades,” President Bailey said during the opening of this week’s centennial conference honoring Gordon’s life and work on the eve of his 100th birthday.
A scholar with “monumental impact on our society and our lives,” Gordon (Ed.D. ’57) is TC’s Richard March Hoe Professor Emeritus of Psychology & Education. He helped create the federal Head Start Program; has championed a holistic, “supplementary education” approach that laid the groundwork for efforts such as the Harlem Children’s Zone; and, from 2011-13, chaired a commission of the Educational Testing Service that called for re-envisioning standardized testing.
With the creation of IUME, Gordon championed the first and one of the most influential organizations devoted to empowering Black communities and other marginalized groups through advocacy, demonstration, evaluation, information dissemination, research and technical assistance. Today, under the leadership of Erica Walker, Clifford Brewster Upton Professor of Mathematical Education, IUME continues to amplify the voices of people of color and advance social justice — with notable recent projects including the development of an Advancement Placement course on the African Diaspora, the Black Education Research Collective and more.
“There is no better time to discuss the profound impact of Dr. Gordon’s work, and the renaming of IUME will serve as a lasting testament to his commitment to bettering the lives of so many through education writ broadly,” said Walker, who became director of the Institute in 2018. “IUME’s rich dedication to interdisciplinary problem solving through research and practice, and commitment to exploring how to enhance human potential, remain critical to future progress in equity. I'm delighted to be charged with leading the Gordon Institute into the future, and I'm thrilled that Dr. Gordon continues to advise, mentor, and inspire us all.”
Walker is part of a distinguished group of speakers from more than 20 institutions across the United States who are discussing Gordon’s legacy and impact during this week’s two-day conference. Key speakers at the conference include Linda Darling-Hammond, Director of The Learning Policy Institute, and leader of the Obama and Biden education policy transition teams; Freeman Hrabowski, President of the University of Maryland-Baltimore County, the nation's top producer of African American undergraduates who go on to complete an M.D./Ph.D; Robert Sternberg, developer of the Sternberg Test of Mental Ability (STOMA) and the triarchic theory of intelligence; and Michael Nettles, Senior Vice President of the Policy Evaluation & Research Center and Edmund W. Gordon Chair for Policy Evaluation and Research at ETS.
Watch the conference, and provide critical resources for the scholars dedicated to broadening opportunity and helping underserved young people soar by supporting TC’s Edmund W. Gordon Scholarship Fund.
Read Gordon’s interview with The Washington Post, in which he discussed child development, pandemic recovery, the racial achievement gap, and his mentor W.E.B. Du Bois.