The Board of Trustees of Teachers College, Columbia University, has announced the five-year extension of Thomas R. Bailey’s presidency, effective July 1, 2023. The unanimous board approval signals a forceful endorsement for President Bailey, who has been instrumental in advancing the College as a leading academic institution and guiding its vision of creating a smarter, healthier, more equitable world since his appointment as TC’s 11th president in July 2018.
“President Bailey’s leadership over the past four years has confirmed our early confidence that his qualities as an astute leader and administrator, a prolific scholar, a gifted teacher and mentor, and a renowned changemaker in higher education make him the ideal choice to continue to lead Teachers College into the future,” said Teachers College, Columbia University, Board Chair William D. Rueckert.
“Serving as TC’s President has deepened my appreciation for our extraordinary students, faculty, staff and alumni and the commitment they have to making a difference for the communities we serve,” said President Bailey. “I am grateful for the opportunity to continue our work strengthening the College so that each member of our community is empowered to expand and deepen their impact.”
After assuming the presidency in 2018, President Bailey announced five strategic priorities for the College. These include deepening TC’s commitment to advancing equity and justice both within the College and across our broader society; optimizing the academic organization and expanding research at the College; leading in digital innovation; and enhancing and enriching the student experience. His steady and clear-eyed leadership has allowed the College to make significant progress toward these goals, even while navigating the daunting challenges of the pandemic.
President Bailey’s leadership over the past four years has confirmed our early confidence that his qualities as an astute leader and administrator, a prolific scholar, a gifted teacher and mentor, and a renowned changemaker in higher education make him the ideal choice to continue to lead Teachers College into the future.
—Teachers College, Columbia University, Board Chair William D. Rueckert
Among his many achievements has been to assemble a diverse and talented senior leadership team, including Provost, Dean and Vice President for Academic Affairs Stephanie J. Rowley, who is working with him to strengthen the College’s research infrastructure and make organizational improvements that reduce administrative burden and allow faculty to focus on excellence in teaching, research, and mentoring.
Under his leadership, the College created a new position, the Vice Dean of Research, and bolstered and reorganized the research function. President Bailey has presided over roughly $55 million in research funding each year, including major federal grants to study gun violence, portrayals of gender and race in elementary school textbooks, and online learning in higher education.
He has also focused on the student experience at TC, drawing on his research in community college reform to spearhead a pathways initiative that creates a more comprehensive, supportive and coherent student experience from enrollment to graduation and into and through professional careers as alumni. And he established the Digital Futures Institute, which centralized the College’s programs and services related to digital learning in order to promote faculty excellence in online and hybrid teaching, pursue research, forge new solutions, and expand TC’s influence in the fields of education technology and online learning at a moment when education is poised for transformation.
In line with his commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion at TC, President Bailey guided the renaming of the Institute for Urban and Minority Education in honor of the College’s eminent scholar of equity and education, Edmund W. Gordon, and the College received, in 2021, the largest New York City Council grant in TC’s history, to develop a PreK-12 Black Studies curriculum for New York City public schools. He has remained steadfastly committed to diversifying faculty and the student body. Under his tenure, TC has instituted training on inclusive hiring for faculty search committees and developed a Target of Opportunity process to recruit faculty of color. The College has also increased access to underserved students and expanded its geographic reach: TC students now hail from 51 U.S states and territories and 49 countries, and almost a quarter of newly enrolled students in 2021 are from historically underrepresented groups.
President Bailey has energetically pursued these goals all while leading the College through the unprecedented challenges of the global pandemic. His sustained attention to building TC’s online learning infrastructure in the early months of his tenure positioned the College to transition to remote teaching and learning when the pandemic forced that shift. During the many months while the College buildings were closed, President Bailey galvanized the entire community with a compassionate focus on mental health and well-being, epitomized by the TC Come Together initiative, which offered regular opportunities for the community to gather online, and the distribution of more than $2 million in federal pandemic relief funding to support students who were experiencing financial hardship.
Serving as TC’s President has deepened my appreciation for our extraordinary students, faculty, staff and alumni and the commitment they have to making a difference for the communities we serve. I am grateful for the opportunity to continue our work strengthening the College so that each member of our community is empowered to expand and deepen their impact.”
—President Thomas Bailey
Unlike many colleges and universities that have suffered fiscal hardship and enrollment declines in the wake of the pandemic, President Bailey’s sound stewardship has ensured the College has emerged with a strong financial footing, an enlarged applicant pool and steady enrollment. Student applications to TC have increased by almost 40 percent since 2018 and with strong fundraising gains this year and robust support from new and loyal donors, the institution is well-positioned to meet its fundraising goal of $37 million in FY22.
The TC community congratulates President Bailey on his reappointment and extends our thanks to him for his leadership and galvanizing vision for Teachers College.