Words from the Department Chair

Thank you for visiting our website.

We are delighted that you took some time to take a look at us today. We sincerely hope that you have enough time to carefully explore the rich array of information and resources provided here. Moreover, we hope you see yourself gravitating toward a path of pursuing your graduate and professional education goals through one of our outstanding programs: Adult Learning and Leadership, Education Leadership, Higher and Postsecondary Education, Executive Nurse preparation, and Social-Organizational Psychology.

You may find yourself curious about why or how an institution called Teachers College comes to have a Department of Organization & Leadership. Well, the truth is that Teachers College has a “diversity of disciplines” represented here and a rich history as well. Teachers College is also a learning organization and that means it is a community open to learning how to expand and improve on that history to create more inclusive organizations that strive to be more equitable. We would love for you to consider becoming a part of that exciting future where Organization & Leadership continues to lead at Teachers College, Columbia University.

Historically, the Department of Organization & Leadership promoted a vision that sought to realize broader opportunities for faculty and students with different disciplinary orientations to collectively focus on organizations as learning institutions, broadly defined, in both formal and informal settings, and across the lifespan. We have built mightily on that vision to recruit and prepare excellent students from diverse backgrounds. Indeed, today, while the department now encompasses 30 full-time faculty and nearly 100 adjunct faculty who bring a depth of professional practice experience to our programs, our programs still reflect, in various ways and with varying emphases, that founding focus.

Our MA, EdM, EdD, PhD degree programs are unique.

  • We link leadership and learning. Our faculty and students lead by helping others to learn, and by keeping their own continual learning at the center of how they lead.‌
  • We keep one foot in research and the other foot in practice. Some faculty and students conduct research and then apply it to practice. Others start with a deep understanding of practice, and then carry out research to improve that practice from the inside. Still others invent new ways to link these two activities. Our dual attention to research and practice guides our students’ experiences in and out of the classroom.
  • We recognize the value of organizations that strive to be equitable. Our faculty seek to create equitable organizations and communities comprised of diverse individuals who will bring unique insights, questions, and interests to the collective endeavor. We prepare our students to develop and support equitable organizations.
  • We understand that the organizations and communities we serve must promote the common good. Our faculty and students conceive of leadership as an ethical imperative to act in ways that support our essential humanity, regardless of whether the organizations we serve are schools or colleges, hospitals, businesses, non-profit organizations, branches of the military, or government agencies.

On behalf of our focused faculty, excellent students, and attentive staff, thank you for visiting our website - we sincerely hope that in exploring all we have to offer that you will seriously consider studying with us here at Teachers College, Columbia University within the Department of Organization & Leadership.


With best wishes,

Caryn Block
Professor Caryn Block

Professor of Psychology and Education
Department Chair

Sonya Douglass
Professor Sonya Douglass

Professor of Education Leadership
Vice Chair

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