About Us

Skip to content Skip to main navigation
Teachers College, Columbia University
Printer-friendly Version
Teachers College, Columbia University Logo
Secondary Banner

The Provost and Dean of the College

The Office of

A Message from the Provost

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, professionals in 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!

Thomas James
Teachers College, Columbia University