As President of Teachers College, Columbia University, it’s my pleasure to welcome you to the nation’s first and largest graduate school of education—a place whose founding vision was to bring educational opportunities to all members of society, and whose faculty and students, time and again during more than a century of leadership, have demonstrated the power of ideas to change the world across the disciplines of education, health and psychology.
Our legacy is the work of a long list of thinkers and doers that includes James Russell and John Dewey; Lawrence Cremin and Maxine Greene; Edmund Gordon and Isabel Maitland Stewart; Mary Swartz Rose and Morton Deutsch; Arthur Wesley Dow and William Heard Kilpatrick.
These are people who created fields of inquiry. At Teachers College today, our work is about living up to their legacy by ensuring that we not only build knowledge, but enhance its impact by engaging directly with the policymakers and practitioners who will put it to use. Because of our preeminence, it is both our privilege and our obligation to focus our coursework and our research on the questions of the day in each of the fields we serve. To that end, we favor no ideology or single methodology, but instead seek answers that meet the genuine needs of teachers and other practitioners, and the children they ultimately serve.
Whether you plan to teach, conduct research, serve as an administrator, or pursue a career as a practitioner in health or psychology – or even if you are already active in one of these fields – at Teachers College, you are undertaking a journey that will change your life and the lives of others by unlocking the wonders of human potential.
As you explore this catalogue, I urge you to remember that the education you will receive at Teachers College is as much about the people you will meet – your professors and your fellow students – as it is about the knowledge you will find in books. So as you join with us in our work, open your hearts as well as your minds. Then will you truly be able to say that you have learned everything you needed to know at Teachers College.
Teachers College, Columbia University
Students and colleagues, my warmest welcome as you embark on your journey into the fields of education, psychology and health disciplines. I know that this will be an adventure that extends far beyond the classroom. You join a committed, energetic community of educators, deeply engaged in the work of connecting human lives with opportunities to learn. Thank you for choosing this path in your own life.
I hope you enjoy your studies at Teachers College. This is a place where you can delve into the possibilities of education and its allied fields, not only as a tradition or a profession but as a way of being in the world. We see education and life as vitally interconnected. This means that you – your roots as a person, your vision as an advocate of human development, your drive to change the world – matter to us greatly as we develop our programs, degrees, and services.
So who are we as an academic community? We are many things, in fact, and must be, because we believe in freedom of inquiry and rigorous peer-reviewed research and teaching at the highest levels. But let me add that we stand especially for the value of inquiry-based teaching and learning. We strive to cultivate self-discovery and life-enhancing experiences for learners at all levels and ages. Working from within one of the world’s greatest research universities, we make good use of the knowledge generated from science, social sciences, humanities and the arts to expand human capacity to learn and create. We also believe strongly in conducting our work in authentic partnership with the communities around us, because what we do at Teachers College is first and foremost about helping real people in the real world.
New York City is an exceptional place to study the fields we represent at Teachers College. Let me be blunt about this because it is so important. This place is not quite like any other, and you need to come here and work with us to realize the potential. Our working environment, in every dimension, reflects both the problems and opportunities of this civilization in their most intense and concentrated form. If you can engage the human prospect here, joining us as educators to imagine and create what might be possible to achieve with such magnificent human complexity, your work and ours will be of national and global significance.
Teachers College is diverse and we are proud of it. Along with the human diversity of our faculty and students, we are also a big-hearted place in our understanding of education and human development. Equity and opportunity are at the heart of everything we do. I use the term “education” as it has always been understood at TC, in its broadest sense, to include all the disciplines we embrace, from the preparation of classroom teachers, early childhood specialists, counselors and school psychologists, music and arts educators, to nursing educators, nutritionists, higher and adult education, and much more. Indeed, we are interested in all the fields of learning that bear on the well-being of students, families, schools and communities.
Above all, Teachers College is a place where these disciplines talk with one another. We are a community that welcomes difference, a place that fosters dialogue and respectful interplay among diverse and sometimes divergent points of view. You can find your intellectual home here and here is your launching pad for a productive career in education and related fields. Let’s get to work!
Vice President for Academic Affairs, Provost and Dean of the College
Teachers College, Columbia University