African Education

Liaison: Professor S. Garnett Russell


The concentration in African Education reflects the growing demand within schools and other public agencies for persons knowledgeable about the diverse institutions and historical processes that have shaped the African continent and its educational systems. There is also an unprecedented need for educators and policy makers who understand the fundamental changes in African education stemming from decentralization, democratization, and privatization, as well as religious and political movements on the continent. The concentration provides students with a foundation in African Studies through courses on cultural and social relations in African communities, demographic changes on the continent, and comparative studies of education in specific African countries. Those who select this concentration will be prepared for further academic studies as well as for professional careers in teaching, policy-making, and international development. Students are encouraged to consult with the concentration liaison or faculty advisor to select courses from other departments at Teachers College as well as from other programs at Columbia University. The George Clement Bond Center for African Education hosts events and provides opportunities for students interested in education in the African context. For more information go to: To be added to the CAE mailing list, email:

Relevant courses:

ITSF 4160: Human Rights in Africa (Fall 2020)

Family & Community Education

Liaison: Professor Hope Jensen Leichter


Teachers College continues its long history of groundbreaking work on Family and Community Education through the concentration in Family and Community Education in the ITS Department. In all societies, individuals learn from many others in their social networks, e.g. parents, siblings, grandparents, peers, religious leaders, as well as teachers and other professionals.  What is more, education takes place through many institutions, e.g. families, day-care centers, businesses, the media, museums, libraries, community agencies, religious institutions, as well as the schools.  Since the configurations of these educational networks and institutions are subject to change—sometimes drastic changes such as those associated with new technological enterprises—studies in Family and Community Education examine the changing linkages among educative institutions in the community.


Fundamental changes in education also stem from the extensive transnational migration and immigration taking place in many areas of the world today.  Given increasing geographic mobility, together with new forms of communication, an understanding of the connections between local and global cultures and the resources families and communities bring from one area to another is essential for educators and policy makers. Thus, another focus of the concentration is studies of family migration, immigration, and education. Courses examine basic processes of education within families, for example, the social construction of family memories, the mediation of television and other forms of technology by families, as well as the changing configurations of education in community settings, for example, linkages among museums, families. and schools.  Frameworks for these courses are interdisciplinary, drawing upon concepts from the social sciences and the humanities.


Relevant courses:

ITSF 5023: The Family as Educator (Fall 2020)

ITSF 5026: The Family and Television (Spring 2021)

ITSF 5120: Education in Community Settings: Museums (Spring 2021)

ITSF 6520: Families and Communities as Educators (Fall 2020 & Spring 2021)

International Humanitarian Issues

Liaisons: Professors Mary Mendenhall and S. Garnett Russell


The International Humanitarian Issues (IHI) concentration is an interdisciplinary specialization within the Program in International Educational Development. It is designed for students interested in conducting research on humanitarian issues or in providing humanitarian assistance in regions experiencing conflict, post-conflict recovery, or natural disasters. Through courses offered at Teachers College, the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA), the Earth Institute, and the Mailman School of Public Health, students will examine the social, political, environmental, and economic dimensions of humanitarian emergencies and the impact of these emergencies on the education sector. Coursework in these different schools and programs will allow students to explore from an interdisciplinary perspective the role of formal and non-formal education in periods of conflict and crisis, and to consider the limitations of education in resolving different kinds of humanitarian emergencies. Students in the IHI concentration will plan an appropriate course of study with their advisors. In addition, master’s and doctoral students are advised to take foreign language and area studies classes to help them obtain familiarity with cultural, historical, and linguistic contexts in which they plan to work. All students are strongly encouraged to complete an internship with an organization involved in humanitarian issues.


Relevant courses:

ITSF 4005 Education in Emergencies and Reconstruction (Fall 2020)

ITSF 4093: Curriculum & Pedagogy in International Contexts (Fall 2020)

ITSF 4160: Human Rights in Africa (Fall 2020)

International Policy and Planning

Liaisons: Professors Oren Pizmony-Levy and Gita Steiner-Khamsi


The International Policy and Planning (IPP) concentration is interdisciplinary and applies a cross-national and comparative lens for understanding educational reform at the different levels of an educational system, that is, early childhood education, school (primary, lower secondary, upper secondary), teacher education, vocational-technical education, and higher education. In addition, the IPP concentration is attuned to non-formal education systems and programs, such as social movements and community organizations. Courses are taught with attention to multiple paradigms and worldviews to prepare future scholars and policy analysts to engage in the work of educational reform, formation, and study. Faculty who teach international policy and planning courses are experts on theories of policy change (e.g. globalization studies, neo-institutionalism, cross-national policy borrowing/lending, transfer of “best practices,” etc.) education reform.


Importantly, faculty members have rich experience in carrying out analytical work in international policy and planning using diverse techniques and methods: sector reviews, policy analysis, international large-scale assessments (e.g. TIMSS, PIRLS, and PISA), public opinion, monitoring and evaluation, as well as strategic planning in international educational development. Students in this concentration learn about the craft of policy-making and analysis, build a strong foundation in theory and debates, and learn empirical methods and analysis. Upon completion of the program, students are equipped with the knowledge to analyze education change in the context of political, economic, and social processes. Equally important, they are able to apply skills that are necessary for developing evidence-based sector reviews, design, monitoring, and evaluating projects in culturally sensitive and context-specific ways, and using participatory methods for sector planning in international educational development. 


Relevant courses:

ITSF 4038:  Monitoring & Evaluation in IED (Spring 2021)

ITSF 4101: Introduction to Quantitative Analysis (Spring 2021)

ITSF 5006: Comparative Policy Studies (Fall 2020)

ITSF 5031: Education and Sustainable Development (Spring 2020)

ITSF 5509: Comparative Education Policy Studies & Globalization: Theories (Fall 2020)

Languages, Literacies and Cultures

Liaisons: Professors Carol Benson and Nicholas Limerick


This interdisciplinary concentration encourages students to analyze relationships between linguistic and educational practices in an increasingly globalized and technical world. Courses in this concentration address themes of individual and societal multilingualism, multiliteracies, and multiculturalism in a range of contexts, including management of diverse languages, the education of immigrant groups, and revitalization in situations of language endangerment/loss. Students may study the role of family, community, school, and/or national-level policy in promoting and valorizing non-dominant languages and cultures. Others may consider how to plan for and teach additional regional, national, or international linguistic varieties. Research methods include participant observation, discourse analysis, comparative policy studies, assessment of student achievement and literacies competencies, and classroom-based observation. Courses are designed to help students develop a critical, comparative perspective regarding questions of power, identity, Indigeneity, and interculturalism in economically developing as well as developed countries. Associated fields include linguistic human rights, language policy, language-in-education policy and practice, languages and literacies, pedagogy and assessment. More recent paradigms include multimodal communication, such as understandings of how visual and digital literacies influence communication and teaching.


Relevant courses:

ITSF 4013: Literacy & International Development (Spring 2021)

ITSF 4025: Languages, Societies & Schools (Fall 2020)

ITSF 4060: Latinxs in Urban Schools (Spring 2021)

ITSF 5050: Language, Cultural Politics, & Education (Fall 2020)

Latin American and Latinx Education

Liaison:  Professor Regina Cortina


Latin American and Latinx Education is an interdisciplinary concentration focused on education across the Americas. Responding to the importance of the Latin American and Caribbean region as well as the growing numbers of immigrants from that region to the United States, this concentration provides students with a foundation in Latin American/Latinx studies through courses that consider topics, such as the impact of economic processes on education in the region; language policy in schools; the social, cultural, and political dimensions of education, ethnicity, and academic achievement; gender and social change; educational access and quality; teacher preparation and curricular development; patterns of migration within and between countries in the Western hemisphere; intercultural education; and the impact of international and bilateral educational policies and institutions on educational policy and practice in the region. Students are also encouraged to pursue relevant coursework at the School of International and Public Affairs, the Mailman School of Public Health, and other Columbia-affiliated institutions to examine the variety of linguistic, cultural, social, political, and economic processes that shape education across the Americas.


*For additional information visit the Latinx and Latin American Faculty Working Group at  To join the mailing listserv, please email


Relevant courses:

ITSF 4060: Latinxs in Urban Schools (Spring 2021)

ITSF 5008: Gender, Education, & International Development (Fall 2020)

ITSF 5500: Education Across the Americas (Fall 2020)


Peace and Human Rights Education

Liaisons: Professors S. Garnett Russell and Felisa Tibbitts


The Peace and Human Rights Education is an interdisciplinary concentration that applies a cross-national and critical perspective to the roles that education can play in promoting justice, sustainable peace, and human dignity. This concentration is primarily concerned with addressing direct structural and cultural violence through pedagogy, curriculum, and policies, in both formal and non-formal contexts. As such, all national environments are relevant but especially those that are challenged through conflict, structural oppression, or fragile democracies. Through this concentration, students gain a conceptual understanding of peace and human rights.  Peace and Human Rights Education courses also address policies and practices of actors, ranging from inter-governmental organizations to community-based educators. 


Students are encouraged to follow a program that will prepare them to purse the objectives of peace and human rights in whatever area of education they choose to focus. Students in this concentration often work on practical skills of curriculum design and program development, and other classes in the department allow the student to easily link with thematic or geographical areas of interest.  Peaceand human rights-related classes are also offered within the wider Columbia University community through, for example, AC4/Earth Institute, SIPA, and the Institute for the Study of Human Rights. This concentration is associated with the Peace Education Network (PEN) at Teachers College, which facilitates students applying the praxis of peace and human rights education.  To join the TCPeace listserv, please e-mail Professor Tibbitts:


Relevant courses:

ITSF 4093: Curriculum & Pedagogy in International Contexts (Fall 2020)

ITSF 4160: Human Rights in Africa (Fall 2020)

ITSF 4613: Human and Social Dimensions of Peace (Spring 2021)

ITSF 5029: Education, Conflict & Peacebuilding (Spring 2021)


Department of International and Transcultural Studies


Anthropology has a long and distinguished history of contributing directly to the major issues facing all educators.  Throughout its history, the discipline has offered powerful alternatives.  Anthropologists have participated in the shaping of policy and reform at all levels, from the most general to the most local. The anthropology concentration offers a disciplinary approach to analyzing the entry of matters of social class, ethnicity, language, race, gender, and other factors into issues of educational achievement, of health disparity, disability, among other concerns. It also helps students understand the ways of knowing specific to the discipline, how to apply them to practical issues, and participate in the continuing evolution of the field, including better methods for application.


Department of Education, Policy & Social Analysis (EPSA)


Economics is a powerful tool for scholars and educational practitioners who wish to develop a better understanding of educational institutions and decisions. The concentration in Economics and Education allows students in the program to develop an array of skills in the application of economic concepts and theory, in cost-benefit analysis and other evaluative procedures, and in the statistical treatment of mass data.


Department of Arts and Humanities


The History and Education concentration addresses important educational questions, first, by examining the ideas, individuals, and institutions of the past to determine their influence on their own times; and, second, by bringing historical knowledge and perspective to bear on current educational issues. Courses cover a range of topics including the educational history of urban areas, women, immigrants, and African-Americans. Students acquire a deep understanding of education in historical perspective through a comparative lens.


Department of Arts and Humanities

The concentration in Philosophy and Education offers students a unique opportunity to develop their humanistic and critical thinking about comparative education. Coursework allows educators to broaden and deepen their understanding of the processes and aims of education through inquiry into the fields of aesthetics, ethics and moral philosophy, and epistemology and the philosophy of science. Study of a variety of historical and conceptual frameworks enables students to develop theoretical perspectives on education and to effectively critique arguments in contemporary educational debates.

Political Science

Department of Education, Policy & Social Analysis (EPSA)


How do societies handle conflicting visions of what schools should be doing? What changes in political and governance processes might facilitate better decision-making and policy implementation? The Politics and Education concentration serves students who wish to study the ways in which governance institutions, political ideologies, and competing interests influence the content, form, and functioning of schooling. Students study in-depth the ways power and politics affect and are affected by such issues as reform and innovation, privatization and school choice, race and ethnicity, poverty and inequality, and more.


Department of Education, Policy & Social Analysis (EPSA)


The Sociology and Education concentration examines basic issues in education from a sociological perspective. Training and hands-on experience in evaluation methods and both quantitative and qualitative research methods are central to the program. The curriculum emphasizes issues in urban education, including the social organization of urban schools and school systems, and the success or failure in serving educationally disadvantaged populations.

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