Teachers College, Columbia University and China have collaborated to advance the theory and practice of education for over a century. Beginning in 1910, a remarkable group of Chinese students came to study at Teachers College, including Kuo Ping-Wen, the first Chinese doctoral student and Founder of Southeast University; Jiang Menglin, Minister of Education and President of Peking University; Zhang Boling, Founder of Nankai University; and, most famously, Tao Wenjun, who founded the Morning Village Normal School in Nanjing, and changed his own name to Tao Xingzhi, meaning “doing then knowing” — a direct reference to Dewey’s thought. Drawn in by the world-renowned educators like John Dewey and Paul Monroe, this notable group of Chinese pioneers adapted progressive educational ideas to Chinese conditions and initiated new educational ideas that laid the foundation for the country’s phenomenal performance in education today. The strong historic connections and cooperation among the Teachers College faculty and the leading Chinese educators have been reinvigorated in recent years, as evidenced by the work of the Center on Chinese Education at Teachers College, Columbia University.
Founded in 2000 by Professor Mun C. Tsang, the Center on Chinese Education (CoCE) is aimed at contributing to a better understanding of education in China and to the educational exchange between the United States and China. Over the past twenty years, the Center has hosted hundreds of visiting professors, researchers and exchange doctoral students from prestigious Chinese universities including Peking University, Beijing Normal University, Tsinghua University, Sun Yat-Sen University, Central and East China Normal Universities. Professor Tsang and the CoCE research team have collaborated with the Chinese scholars to conduct important research projects on Chinese education finance reforms, education equity issues, education for children of migrants and ethnic minorities, early childhood education, higher education and technology innovation, etc. Professor Tsang raised over one million funds for more than 5,100 female students from the improvised regions in Yunnan province. The Center also provided scholarships for rural students to attend teacher’s colleges and to become teachers in their hometowns. Since 2005, the Center on Chinese Education has organized a series of high-quality training programs for more than 300 government officials, university presidents and k-12 educators from the Ministry of Education, the provincial governments of Guangdong, Sichuan, Hebei and Inner Mongolia. These programs also provide great opportunities for American educators to communicate and collaborate with the Chinese counterparts. Through its work in educational research, training and exchanges, the Center on Chinese Education has played an important role in strengthening the historic ties between Teachers College and China. 

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Center on Chinese Education. The Center and its long-term Chinese partners plan to celebrate this important milestone via a hybrid gathering in New York and Beijing on Friday, Dec. 18, 2020 EST. (Dec. 19 Beijing Time). The event includes virtual and in-person speeches and panel discussions attended by distinguished Chinese and American education leaders to celebrate the work of Professor Mun Tsang and the Center. As a special part of the ceremony, “Mun C. Tsang Chinese Education Endowment Fund” will be launched in honor of Professor Tsang’s contribution to the promotion of the U.S.-China educational exchange and collaboration.