Continuing to Repair the World
Teachers College: Continuing to Repair the World
At Teachers College, Tuesday, September 11, 2001, began as any other weekday. The sudden change of events in the downtown area quickly changed the course of the day. As news spread of the attacks on the World Trade Center, members of the community worked to assist each other in finding help, a place to spend the night, or a way to get home. Many in the community, including food service, security staff, physical plant workers, and computer information services, worked longer hours to meet the needs of the College.
That evening, President Arthur Levine and other members of the senior staff toured the College and dormitories to speak to those still on campus. Two days later, when the campus re-opened, staff, faculty and students began to make their way silently back to the College. Work was already underway within the community to reach out to those who were in need, beginning with a gathering of more than 300 students, faculty and staff to share breakfast, sadness and above all, hope. Later in the day, Assistant Professor of Psychology and Education George Bonanno, an expert on coping with grief, joined Professor Barry Farber and Dinelia Rosa, the Director of the Psychology Consultation Center to discuss how students in the Clinical Psychology Program could best serve the City.
In the days following the tragedy, President Levine wrote to alumni to offer condolences to those who may have had personal losses and to share how TC was reaching out to those in need. Responses to the letter poured in from alumni, many simply thanking Levine for his thoughts and for sharing news about their alma mater during this tragic time. Others had words of praise and encouragement.
As time went on, it was determined that four alumni had been lost or killed in the events of 9/11. Nauka Kushitani (M.A. 1986), Alisha Caren Levin (M.A. 1992), and Ching Huei Wang, (Ed.M. 1981) were working in the Towers. Jean Hoadley Peterson (M.A. 1977) was on board United Airlines Flight 93 with her husband Donald.
For many people, particularly those in New York City, 9/11 made us pause to reflect on the value our lives and how we wanted to move ahead. The Teachers College community, while continually working to fulfill its mission of creating social change through education, absorbed the challenges of 9/11, adding to our responsibility of what President Levine refers to as the Hebrew expression, Tikkun Olam-"to repair the world."
Teachers College has, for more than a century, been preparing educators, psychologists, policy makers and planners for the challenges they will face, and sometimes those challenges can be unthinkable. Through support from donors for scholarships, renovation projects, new faculty, research, and technology as part of the ongoing Capital Campaign, the work of the College can continue to thrive. As of December 2001, the total amount of gifts to the Campaign reached more than $111 million toward its $140 million goal.
There are five ways that TC has historically carried out its mission:
Engaging in research on the central issues facing education;
Preparing the next generation of leaders for education;
Educating the current generation of leaders in practice and policy to meet the challenges they face;
Shaping the public debate and public policy in education; and
Improving practice in educational institutions.
These goals still form the basis of the work of the College today. Through institutes, conferences, outreach, technological advances and interaction with the international community, Teachers College continues to effect social change and work toward a better way of being in the world. Our students come from all over the United States and across the globe, and they are most likely to have completed their undergraduate degrees from 25 of the best universities in the country.
ENGAGING IN RESEARCH
Faculty-The Search for Solutions
Research projects undertaken by the members of the faculty of Teachers College help to provide better solutions to those who are working to make a difference in psychology, education, and the arts and sciences.
Meeting the Challenges
Near the time of the September tragedies, Assistant Professor Bonanno of the Department of Counseling and Clinical Psychology had just published the results of two studies that look at the experiences of those who have suffered traumatic losses. With his colleagues, Bonanno explored Trauma and Bereavement: Examining the Impact of Sudden and Violent Deaths and Self-Enhancement as a Buffer Against Extreme Adversity: Civil War in Bosnia and Traumatic Loss in the United States. (See related story.)
In the area of science education, Angela Calabrese Barton, Associate Professor of Science Education and Coordinator of the Science Education Programs, is working with colleagues to revise both the masters and doctoral programs in Science Education. The program established a new set of core course with a concentration in urban science education for those students who want it and partnerships with District 10 in the Bronx and District 3 on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. "We want our students?to have the kinds of experiences that they need-both in and outside the university classroom-to prepare them to be leaders in their areas," Calabrese Barton said.
Another initiative is the establishment of the Urban Science Education Center funded in part by a grant from the National Science Foundation. The Center will work with five low-income schools over the course of the next three years. The mission of the Center will help rebuild TC's science programs and help the schools rethink what science education might look like in urban schools. What is learned in the schools will come back to the TC teacher education programs to educate those who make policy.
The Education of Experience
In the arts, Lori Custodero, Assistant Professor of Music Education, brings her students once a week to meet with infants and toddlers at the Rita Gold Child Center at TC to see how music relates to non-verbal communication and the socializing patterns of the children. Custodero's students watch the interactions from an observation room out of sight.
Using the chant "Five Little Monkeys," Custodero was able to teach 12- to 14-month-old children a sequence of gestures related to the song before they could even talk. She believes this is what children find compelling about music-they can make order from it and non-verbally express that structure. She also observes their engagement with the music and how they initiate and sustain their interest in it-an experience known as "flow." In doing so, she is able to examine how the children challenge themselves and subsequently learn new skills.
Moving up to the secondary level, activities that were found to make a difference for older students involved School-to-Work associations such as partnerships between businesses and education. A report, entitled "School-to-Work: Making a Difference in Education" published by Institute on Education and the Economy (IEE) at TC, compiled research that examined the effects of recent School-to-Work efforts. Studies cited by the report indicated that work-based experiences such as student internships and job shadowing support academic achievement in a variety of ways, including reducing the dropout rate and increasing college enrollment. The National School-to-Work Office, which is supported by the U.S. Departments of Labor and Education, funded the research and the report. (See related story.)
Professor Jeanne Brooks-Gunn and research associates at Northwestern University and University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research looked at what non-school or achievement related factors predict success in adults. Specifically, the group focused on the tidiness or cleanliness of the childhood home and how it affected a person's entire life. The study was funded by the U.S. Department of Labor, the National Science Foundation and the Institute for Child Health and Human Development. The study, which looked at 30 years of research, found that young adults who grew up in homes rated clean to very clean completed 1.6 years of school more than those whose childhood homes were rated as not very clean to dirty. (See related story.)
Minority Postdoctoral Fellows
Each year, Teachers College recruits two Minority Postdoctoral Fellows who come to the College to pursue their research interests. This year's Fellows are Eric A. Hurley and Erica Walker.
Hurley, who came to TC from Howard University, based his research at TC on a previous study he conducted on learning contexts that reflect different cultural modes-the individual, competitive mode of the mainstream culture and the communal learning mode of most African-American children.
Walker's undergraduate experience at Birmingham-Southern College led her to notice a trend of less and less African-American students in higher level mathematics classes. She focused her dissertation on who continues taking high school math classes and why, and who discontinues taking math classes and when they are likely to stop. At TC she worked on publishing findings from her dissertation research and continued to study gender and cultural issues in mathematics education. (See related story.)
PREPARING THE NEXT GENERATION OF LEADERS
Students who attend TC today will be the educational leaders of tomorrow. TC students and alumni are frequent contributors to research projects or activities that have an impact on the community. Scholarships make it possible for them to complete their studies or work on the projects that are driving them forward toward their future role in education.
Latasha Greer, an Ed.M. candidate in Politics and Education, attends TC full time while also working at the Center for Arts Education and the Laurie Tisch Sussman Foundation. In the spring of 2001, Greer was also a student teacher at the Frederick Douglass Academy. On top of her busy schedule, she volunteers as an Internet iMentor to New York City high school students. As an iMentor, Greer was paired with a high school senior with whom she would exchange e-mail messages about topics such as career goals and college applications. Her involvement as a student mentor helped her feel more connected, she said, and allowed her to bridge her interest in public service with her role as a graduate student.
Pia Rebello Britto received her doctorate in the field of Developmental Psychology and is currently working in the Center for Young Children and Families as a research scientist. Rebello Britto was awarded the 2001 International Reading Association Outstanding Dissertation Award for her study Family Literacy Environments and Young Children's Emerging Literacy Skills. In her study, she examined the association between family literacy environments and the literary skills of low income, African-American pre-school and school-aged children. By looking at the three dimensions of family literacy-language and verbal interactions, the learning climate and the social-emotional climate-Rebello Britto got a complete picture of the home life. From that, she found that the language environment in the home was more strongly associated with how preschoolers expressed themselves verbally, and that school readiness skills were linked to the learning and social-emotional climate in the home. Portions of Rebello Brito's dissertation were published in the monograph series, New Directions in Child Development (Jossey Bass).
Jan Weatherly Valle, a doctoral student in the learning disabilities program in the Department of Curriculum and Teaching received the Walter M. Sindlinger Writing Award for her study, IDEA and collaboration: a Bakhtinian Perspective on Parent and Professional Discourse. Her research focused on the integration of parents into the special-education process, comparing and contrasting practices documented in special education literature, her own perspective as a teacher, theories of language, and a parent's experiences with a child who is language and learning disabled. (See related story.)
Since President Levine's 1999 call for an institution "in which there is no ?us and them,'" the faculty and staff have been attempting to create a working community committed to supporting diversity. As part of that effort, the members of the Faculty Executive Committee's Subcommittee on Race, Culture, and Diversity provided $3,500 stipend and six tuition credits for each of two "Diversity Fellows" each academic semester. Proposals by Professor John Broughton, in the Department of Arts and Humanities, and Professor Christine Yeh, in the Department of Counseling and Clinical Psychology, won the Subcommittee's approval.
Yeh's selection, Anvita Madan-Bahel, is a doctoral student in the Counseling Psychology Program. Madan-Bahel is an international student from Delhi, India, who is interested in working with ethnic minority populations, particularly South Asians. Through her fellowship, Madan-Bahel has helped to create and build alliances with culturally based community agencies and programs to increase the practical relevance of the course Perspectives in Cross-Cultural Counseling.
The Diversity Fellow selected by John Broughton is Jessica Hochman, a doctoral candidate in the Philosophy and Education Program in the Department of Arts and Humanities. Although she has a background in Philosophy and Gender Studies, Hochman is a long-time devotee of the educational applications of computer technologies and worked on an internship with HarlemLive, an extracurricular online publication produced by teens in Harlem. She has since begun working with Playing2Win, a community technology center in Harlem, where she is helping develop a young women's technology project that will focus on preserving oral histories of women in Harlem via photography, digital video and writing exercises."Through the Diversity Fellowship," Hochman said, "I plan to help faculty integrate the themes of youth cultures and the roles of gender and ethnicity in high technology into the Cultural Studies and Philosophy curricula in my program." She added that she would be developing a workshop on these issues for members of the TC community to be held in the summer of 2002. (See related story.)
John Dewey Scholarships
Donors to the TC Annual Fund consists make no restrictions on how their money will be used, and a portion of the Fund goes toward scholarships. Each fall, members of the Dewey Circle Network, donors who have given $1,000 or more to the Annual Fund, are invited to a dinner to thank them for their gifts. Several John Dewey Scholars are also among the guests.
This year, a cocktail reception was held instead of the dinner. Forty-one new members to the Dewey Circle Network were presented with the John Dewey Medal as a thank-you gift for their support, and Ben Adams, a Ph.D. candidate in the Clinical Psychology Program, spoke on behalf of all the Dewey scholars.
"One of the biggest risks I took when deciding to come to Teachers College was a financial one," Adams said. "You can probably imagine how grateful I felt when I was awarded a partial tuition scholarship that helps me pay for two classes each year."
Also at the event, TC Music and Education students Mary-Frances White, Victoria Young, Victor J. Lin and Samuel Bolduc treated guests to a musical program. Bolduc and Lin performed a piece called "Inspiration" that Bolduc wrote as a tribute to those who perished in the events of 9/11.
Trustee Elliot Jaffe, who served for three years as Chair of the National Campaign Committee, was presented with the John Dewey Leadership Award for his support of the Peace Corps Fellows Program before federal money was available and his continued support of minority students who are committed to teaching in New York City public schools.
Dr. Ben Wood's Gifts for Research and Fellowships
Often, a donor will create a fund specifically to fund the research of students or faculty at the college. The late Dr. Ben and Grace Wood were among the College's greatest friends and supporters. The Woods established the Elbenwood Fund for Educational Research, the Ben D. Wood Fellowship Fund, and the Institute for Learning Technologies Fund.
Ben D. Wood was a Professor of Collegiate Educational Research at Columbia University and was an early pioneer in learning technologies. He was also a key figure in the proliferation of standardized educational tests, and he was awarded the Teachers College Medal for Distinguished Service in 1969.
Each year the Ben D. Wood Fellowship Fund provides a three-year full-tuition scholarship to a new doctoral student studying technology and education. A total of 12 students have been supported to date, with the 13th fellow currently working towards a degree in Technology in Education.
The Elbenwood Fund for Educational Research was given to establish the Elbenwood Center for the Study of the Family as Educator, covering operating costs for research and outreach activities, fellowships for graduate students, and a faculty position, the Elbenwood Chair in Education, that serves as the Director of the Center. Professor Hope Jensen Leichter has held the Elbenwood Chair since the establishment of the endowment.
The gift to the Institute for Learning Technologies (ILT) Fund helps TC provide much-needed operating support for ILT to continue its research and outreach activities in local Harlem schools.
EDUCATING CURRENT LEADERS
Responding to 9/11
The Teachers College Forum, presented twice each semester, gives superintendents in the tri-state area the opportunity to discuss current educational issues with each other, TC faculty and distinguished guests. This year, the focus was on what guest speaker Barry Rosen, one of the 52 Americans held hostage in Iran from 1979-1981, called "the latest chapter in a long struggle between Muslim states and Islamists (fundamentalists) for the hearts and minds of Muslim believers." Rosen, who is now Executive Director of External Affairs at TC, tied his own terrorist experience into that of 9/11 in his discussion on "Autocracy, Democracy, and the Islamic Idiom." (See related story.)
Rosen believes that a lasting solution to the crisis of terrorism requires a strategy of economic development and cultural repair through lifting barriers to industrial and agricultural exports of the Islamic countries and by helping the secular education systems of the Middle East and South Asia.
In response to a superintendent's query about the effect of the terrorist attacks on education, Rosen said, "Don't go on with the same old curriculum. Get your students engaged in questioning-in an interdisciplinary manner-American foreign policy and its relations with the Muslim world. This is truly engaging them in critical thinking about democracy."
As part of TC's efforts to work with educators in response to the attacks, Rosen was involved in creating a Teach-In at the College with the Department of Curriculum and Teaching and the Center for Educational Outreach and Innovation, to bring dozens of scholars, political leaders, and experts on teaching and learning in a rapidly changing global environment. The day-long event was free to all educators and provided a forum for discussion and learning about how can schools effectively address a post-9/11 curriculum, civil liberties, the role of women in Islamic societies, and other crucial topics.
"This is our attempt in the tradition of TC to bring issues of great importance to educators," said Rosen. "It is one phase of working with educators to enhance their knowledge, to raise awareness, so that the classroom curriculum can be enhanced to include global issues that perhaps are not now being covered or emphasized as well as possible."
Keynote speakers at the event were Carol Bellamy, Executive Director of UNICEF, and Harold Levy, Chancellor of the New York City public school system.
More than 500 participants attended the Teach-In, which allowed more than 100 New York City and New Jersey teachers to receive New Teacher Credit for attending. (See related story.)
In an article in the Charleston Post and Courier, Stephen J. Thornton, Associate Professor of Social Studies and Education commented on how 9/11 altered the way social studies teachers approach their subjects. He noted that teachers will likely pay more attention to the role of religions in world history and more attention to civil liberties and national security issues in civics or American history.
Large-scale curriculum changes are hard to bring about, Thornton said, and the extent to which a teacher modifies a course comes down to the teacher as instructional gatekeeper for what materials students use in class. "Long-term changes will have to be incorporated by educating teachers, themselves," he added.
BookTalk Lecture Series
One way that Teachers College reaches out to current leaders in education is through lectures and conferences, and of those, one of the most popular is the BookTalk series of lectures. BookTalk is sponsored by the Office of Alumni Affairs, Center for Educational Outreach and Innovation, and TC Press.
In March 2001, Christoph Wolff, the William Powell Mason Professor of Music at Harvard University spoke about his book, Johann Sebastian Bach-The Learned Musician. He noted that a lack of documentation and notes on Bach's life made writing this book a challenge and made it necessary to work from inferences. What Wolff did know about Bach was that he was known as "Lackey Bach" before his career took off, and that teaching was one of the main activities of the last 27 years of his life. Composing and performing music were not his main source of income.
In April, 2001, Westchester Community College President and TC Distinguished Alumnus Joseph Hankin invited the BookTalk series to come to his campus to hear another Distinguished Alum, Frances O'Connell Rust, discuss her latest book, Guiding School Change: The Role and Work of Change Agents. This was the BookTalk series' first presentation in the Westchester area.
Moderated by Richard Heffner of Channel 13's "The Open Mind," the talk featured Rust and her co-author Helen Freidus presenting their understanding of what brings about change in schools and how change can be facilitated.
A climate of change, the discussion revealed, requires support for change and support for the people who support change. Recognizing that change takes time to accomplish and that people involved must be given that time along with the knowledge, support and authority to do what they have to do is crucial, said Freidus.
Rust said, however, that under the influence of the standards movement, teaching is moving in a new direction and that high-stakes testing is working against what the standards are asking for. The criterion for change in the classroom has now come to be based on whether or not the test scores will be going up.
Author Diane Ravitch opened the fall series of TC BookTalk with a discussion of her book, Left Back: A Century of Battles Over School Reform. As one of the nation's foremost historians of education and a leading education policy analyst, Ravitch critiques, in her book, various reform theories during the 20th century and traces the origins of America's debate about school standards, curricula and methods. It is, she explained, a dialog with her mentor and TC President Lawrence A. Cremin's 1962 Bancroft prize-winning book called The Transformation of the School: Progressivism in American Education, 1876-1957.
"We cannot understand where we are heading without knowing where we have been," she told the audience. "Before we attempt to reform present practices, we must try to learn why those decisions were made and to understand the consequences of past policies."
The inaugural lecture of a new series sponsored by TC Trustee Laurie Tisch Sussman featured Dr. Bernard R. Gifford, Professor in the Division of Education, Mathematics, Science, Engineering and Technology at the University of California at Berkeley. Gifford, who heads Berkeley's InterActive Media Study Group, spoke on "Closing the Chasm Between Promise and Reality: Location-Independent Learning and Teaching." He uses the term "location-independent teaching" rather than "distance learning" because he believes "that the challenge is to use technology in such a way that the quality of the instruction is not diminished as a function of location." Through using technology to bring educational opportunities to students who are not well served in conventionally organized classroom settings, Gifford believes that institutions can address shortcomings in their mission to educate and retain students. Gifford also served as the Sussman Visiting Professor for the spring semester. (See related story.)
The second annual Sussman Lecture featured Vera John-Steiner, the Presidential Professor of Linguistics and Education at the University of New Mexico, who spoke about the premise of her book Creative Collaboration, who was Sussman Visiting Professor for the fall semester.
In studies of human development, she said, the role of learning and patterns of achievement emphasize the individual and solo activities. Her book serves to challenge the idea of primacy of the individual through examples of creative partnerships and collaborations between well-known artists and scientists. (See related story.)
Virginia and Leonard Marx Lecture
For the seventh annual Virginia and Leonard Marx Lecture, Marion Wright Edelman, founder and president of the Children's Defense Fund, spoke on working together to weave a fabric of community that will build a just society for children. To bring this dream to a reality, the Children's Defense Fund joined other child advocacy networks and members of Congress to propose a comprehensive act called "The Movement to Leave No Child Behind." Above all, the Act seeks to protect all children from neglect, abuse and violence, and includes expansion of food programs and provision for comprehensive health insurance. It also focuses on affordable housing and literacy by fourth grade. (See related story.)
Larry Cuban, Professor Emeritus of Education at Stanford University, who teaches methods of teaching social studies, the history of school reform and instruction and leadership, was the 2001 Sachs Lecturer and Visiting Professor in Educational Leadership. He focused his three lectures on the question, "Why is it so hard to get good schools?"
The first lecture looked at "Why Have American Schools Become an Arm of the Economy?" and considers the creation by the business community of a version of a "good" school that undermines all the different kinds of good schools. The second lecture explored the different versions of good schools throughout history, and the final lecture delved into the idea of why good schools are so hard to achieve and the kinds of schools a democracy should have. (See related story.)
Conferences that Educate Current Leaders
Early in the spring semester, Teachers College presents two conferences each year that look closely at issues relating to race, gender, social class and disabilities. These conferences bring in experts and scholars to shed light on the most up to date
The Winter Roundtable on Cross-Cultural Psychology, under the direction of Robert T. Carter, Professor of Psychology and Education at TC, looked this year at "Dealing with Gender and Social Class in Cross-Cultural Psychology and Education." The two-day event featured presentations on various issues of oral history, male identity, Asian-American stereotypes and Latinas in higher education.
Each year, the conference features the recipient of the Janet E. Helms Award for Mentoring and Scholarship in Psychology and Education, who is presented with the award and gives a lecture on his or her work. This year's recipient, Joseph Everett Trimble, is a distinguished social psychologist and scholar whose work focuses on understanding Native American people. His remarks focused on "Restoring Our Connections: Ethnocultural Influences on Spirituality, Identity, and the Human Condition."
The Center for Outcomes and Opportunities for People with Disabilities, under the direction of Professor Linda Hickson, holds its annual two-day conference "When Worlds Collide" each spring. This year the conference looked at "Promises and Realities," focusing on topics such as how sex offenders with mental disabilities should be treated, how teachers cope with children who are mentally fragile, and Conductive Education as a possible pedagogy that can assist disabled people to learn.
The Center on Chinese Education, under the direction of Professor Mun Tsang, had a productive year, holding seminars, hosting visiting professors and sponsoring visiting scholars to China.
The inaugural seminar featured Halsey Beemer, Lead General Educator at the World Bank who spoke on "Education and Development in Western Region, China." (See related story.) Later in the year, the Center held a luncheon featuring Dr. D. Bruce Johnstone, former Chancellor of the SUNY system and Professor of Higher and Comparative Education at SUNY Buffalo. Johnstone spoke about "Responses to Worldwide Austerity in Higher Education."
The first group of Chinese Visiting Scholars came to TC in the 2000-2001 academic year, and included Professor Xizowei Wang from Central China Normal University, Professor Wenli Li from Peking University and Professor Hongyu Zhou from Central China Normal University. Details on their activities here can be found on the Center's Web site at www.tc.columbia.edu/center/coce. The second round of scholars arrived in the fall to conduct a variety of professional activities from conducting collaborative research to presenting lectures and workshops, and attending academic conferences. They are Professor Yanqing Ding from Peking University, Professor Xian-Ming Xiang from Beijing Normal University, Professor Lihoa Shang from Zhejiang University and Professor Peiya Gu from Suzhou University.
The Center sponsored three Visiting Scholars from the U.S. to China. They were Professor Mun Tsang and Professor Herve Varenne from Teachers College and Professor Chris Wheeler from Michigan State University. In academic year 2001-2002, TC faculty Kevin Dougherty, Clifford Hill, Zhaohong Han, and Mun Tsang were scheduled to visit China. Their activities abroad will also be reported on the Center's Web site.
Honoring Educational Leaders
Each year, Teachers College awards the Teachers College Medal and the Cleveland E. Dodge Medal to individuals who have improved education for others. The Teachers College Medal, normally presented at the Master's Convocation in May, is given to educators who have done extraordinary work in their field. The Dodge Medal, which is currently presented at the Teachers College Doctoral Convocation, goes to an individual who is not an educator, but who has contributed significantly to improving education in some way.
This year, one of the TC Medals was presented early to jazz legend Dave Brubeck at a master class that he presented for TC Music and Education students in March. Brubeck, whose love of jazz keeps him playing and touring into his 80s, is best known for the improvisational sound he developed with musician Paul Desmond that is now known as "West Coast" or "Cool" jazz. (See related story.)
Another musician was also honored as a medallist at the Convocation ceremony in May. Wynton Marsalis, renowned trumpet player and co-founder of the internationally recognized Jazz at Lincoln Center program, was among three educators honored that day. Marsalis was also cited for his many accomplishments, including the honor of being the first jazz composer ever to earn a Pulitzer Prize for music.
Author Frank McCourt, who gained international notoriety with the publication of his early memoir, Angela's Ashes, and his sequel, ?Tis, was also among the medallists. McCourt, who is also a Pulitzer Prize winner, in encouraging his students to write, began to pursue his own career as an author. His first professor at New York University was TC's Emeritus Professor Maxine Greene.
The third TC medallist was Milbrey Wallin McLaughlin, Director of the John Gardner Center for Youth and their Communities, a partnership between Stanford University and Bay Area communities. McLaughlin has dedicated her life to conducting vital research on public education, particularly the needs of urban and rural youths who are considered to be at risk.
The Cleveland E. Dodge Medal for Distinguished Service to Education went to Richard Robinson, CEO of Scholastic, Inc. Prior to his work at Scholastic, Robinson was a high school English teacher in Evanston, Illinois. He joined his father Maurice, who started Scholastic in 1920, in running the family business. Since taking over in 1974, Robinson's focus has been on getting more books into the hands of children than were available when he was a child. He has also led the company in television production, film and video programming, and the creation of Scholastic Software.
SHAPING THE PUBLIC DEBATE
Research that helps shape the public debate includes that of the Institute on Education and the Economy (IEE). Thomas Bailey, Director of IEE, reported that a study done on the relationship between earnings and workplace innovations revealed that high-performance work systems give workers the opportunity to use creativity, imagination and problem-solving abilities, and earn more than workers in traditional workplaces. In this study, researchers used a unique survey that provides information on workers' weekly earnings, demographic characteristics, tenure and work experience, as well as the type of organization in which they were employed. The industries that use self-directed and offline teams were apparel, steel and medical and electronic imaging industries, and relied more on workplaces innovations such as formal company training that allowed workers to be paid higher salaries. (See related story.)
Constance K. Bond, who received her Ph.D. in Politics and Education in May 2001, explored the controversial issue of "Do Teacher Salaries Matter?" in writing her dissertation. Her study says, in effect, that money does matter, and one way to spend educational dollars effectively is to significantly increase teacher salaries.
"It was very important for me that [my dissertation] have an impact on systemic reform," Bond said. She determined that there was very little research available regarding teacher salaries. Many studies include teacher salaries in the per pupil expenditure figures, and those numbers were significant in a number of studies. Prior studies also may not have used a correct salary variable, she noted.
In Bond's study, that variable turned out to be significant, particularly in light of the gap between teacher salaries and those of similarly educated professionals at the bachelor degree level. "The range of the salary gap between teachers and others with a bachelor's degree is almost $22,000 a year nationwide," she said. "The average national gap exceeds $13,000 a year. When you earn $13,000 a year less than your counterparts in other professions, it really adds up over a lifetime." That, she believes, is the key to recruiting and retaining educators in the coming decade.
In January 2001, a landmark decision was made in the State Supreme Court in Manhattan that declared New York City public school students to be deprived of a "sound, basic education." That ruling indicated the need to increase the budget for New York City's schools by 100 percent to $2 billion.
TC's Michael A. Rebell, an Adjunct Professor of Education in the Department of Education and Leadership, was Executive Director of the Campaign for Fiscal Equity (CFE), a coalition of advocacy groups representing school children, that filed the lawsuit against the State 17 years ago.
Tom Sobol, the Christian A. Johnson Outstanding Professor of Educational Practice, was New York Commissioner of Education in 1995 when the suit was originally filed, and had been named as a defendant. After changing his status to amicus curiae, allowing the plaintiffs to receive from him whatever information he had access to, he was able to then work with CFE after he left Albany. Sobol ultimately articulated the group's input to the judge who decided the case.
Henry M. Levin, William Heard Kilpatrick Professor of Economics and Education, also provided a deposition in the case, particularly focusing on the New York City drop-out rate, which in the 1990s was three times the national average. (See related story.)
Grants for New Studies
TC faculty and students continue working in areas that can affect policy decisions in health, education, psychology, and leadership. New grants that faculty will be working on include money to study the resiliency of survivors of the World Trade Center attacks and a study on self-control in smoking.
A three-year renewal of a grant from National Institutes of Health for more than $1 million was awarded to Kathleen O'Connell, the Isabel Maitland Stewart Chair of Nursing Education, to study the role of self-control, strength, and what co-principal investigator Professor George Bonanno calls "diminished agency," in resisting temptations to smoke.
Based in part on a new theory that speculates that self-control is a limited and consumable resource, similar to the strength of a muscle, the study will explore whether frequent and prolonged temptations to smoke and those accompanied by especially high cravings for a cigarette would deplete resources of self-control and lead to lapses.
The concept of diminished agency comes in through the way a person expresses his or her control over a situation. One example is negation, in which people will say, "I can't do this," or "somebody won't let me do it." As a diminished agent a person does not take responsibility for him or herself.
O'Connell believes that her research may be relevant to other conditions that require self-control, from over eating to drug abuse. "Learning to control your own behavior is critical to a number of health-promoting practices," she said. She added that the researchers hope to find methods that will provide people with ways to change their behavior and stay healthy.
Bonanno also received funding from the National Science Foundation to head up a study that will examine how survivors of the World Trade Center attack are faring as a result of their experiences on 9/11. In light of their exposure to grave danger in fleeing buildings, the experience and horror of watching people jump from buildings or others engulfed by debris, survivors are prime candidates for experiencing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
In light of Bonanno's past research (see page TK), in which he found that self-enhancing people have been shown to be better able to cope with extremely adverse conditions, this new study will explore whether those self-enhancing individuals who were directly exposed to the World Trade Center attack might cope better than other individuals who are not self-enhancing. Researchers will also look at the social cost of self-enhancement and how it relates to overall adjustment and well-being. Finally, the study will examine how survivors of the World Trade Center attacks go through and express their emotions when they talk about what they experienced on 9/11. This information will help to determine whether self-enhancing individuals process emotions differently than other individuals and, if so, whether these differences hold the key to their unusual ability to cope with extreme adversity.
Looking Toward the Future
In 2001, a number of TC people were involved in organizing and participating in a technology summit designed to explore the role of computing in education. Organizer of the event was the late Peter Comeau, who was Co-Director of Organization and Leadership. He commented on the event saying, "If the Internet is going to fulfill its potential as an educational tool, now is the time for TC to weigh in on the creation of tools, portals and institutions."
TC adjunct professor Joshua Halberstam opened the event saying, "E-learning is truly poised to transform education, but we're not there yet-not by a long shot." He added that Teachers College is a natural home to begin the conversation.
TC Professor Robert McClintock, who is the John L. and Sue Ann Weinberg Chair in Historical and Philosophical Foundations of Education and the head of the Instructional Learning Technology Center at TC, laid out a history and some of the challenges and solutions technology poses to educators.
About a dozen technology companies exhibited items from digital blackboards to hand-held computer tablets, while a huge video screen at the front of the room displayed Power Point presentations by the conference leaders. Attending the summit were educators, administrators, entrepreneurs and students from across the country. Most came looking for answers to questions that they have about the direction of education, and they found that while there are few answers, many others are asking the same questions.
Keeping the Media Informed
For four years, the Hechinger Institute on Education and the Media has been opening the doors of communication and understanding between journalists and educators. In reaching out to the nation's reporters and educators, the Institute's Director, Gene Maeroff, brings seminars to various locations throughout the country. In 2001, seminars were held in New Orleans, Atlanta, and Denver in addition to Teachers College. The weekend-long events brought together groups of reporters from higher education to K-12 writers and editorial writers to education editors and supervisors, as well as those new to the education beat.
Each year, the Institute tries to add a seminar that focuses on a topic outside the usual fare. This year, in partnership with the National Center on Public Policy and Higher Education, the Institute held a seminar on "Student Life in Higher Education" to look at the out-of-class life of college and university students. Topics included student vices, crime on campus, sororities, and the extent to which technology and the Internet have changed the everyday lives of students.
Another new topic was "What's Wrong with High Schools-and How to Fix It." Held in Denver, Colorado, this seminar looked at the ways in which the new push for accountability and standards affects students, as well as discussions on block scheduling, year-around high schools and the role of the senior year. It also addressed issues such as cheating and the low level of academic demands some high schools place on students.
Institutes and Centers
New Teacher Institute
Research shows that recruiting the best teachers, preparing them at the highest levels, and assisting them through their transition into teaching has enormous influence on children. Teachers College created the New Teacher Institute in order to help do this. It is an intensive professional development program for new or early career teachers in New York City. Through the generous support of five partner foundations, the Institute is expanding its services to support teachers across the country and into TC's neighboring community School District 5 in Harlem.
The program works to counter the negative effects of the 50 percent attrition rate of urban teachers in the first few years of teaching, said Katharine A. Unger, Director of the Institute. It also allows students to build relationships over time with well-prepared teachers.
The Institute, housed within TC's Center for Educational Outreach and Innovation, is collaborating closely with the newly established Doris Dillon Center, a center that distributes professional development programs for educators under the direction of Peter W. Cookson, its President. The Institute provides a yearlong "residency" program for participants, wherein they engage in regular sessions in their districts as well as in a virtual community. In addition to attending seminars on-site, new teachers work with district-employed school-based mentors on a day-to-day basis.
"We are convinced that after a year of ?residency' at this Institute, new teachers will be better prepared to cope with the arduous, yet rewarding, task of educating those who need the best education," said Cookson.
Teachers from the first two groups have returned to the program to help their new colleagues. One new fifth grade teacher and participant from District 32's PS 384 said, "With all the madness that can go on in public schools, new teachers need a collaborating program like this one. It allows us the opportunity to talk to and learn from each other."
Reading and Writing Project
Early in 2001, New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani announced several education proposals, including the creation of small libraries in each of the city's 21,000 elementary and middle school classrooms. Work already in progress at Professor Lucy Calkins' Reading and Writing Project would become an integral part of the resulting project, now known as "The Mayor's Classroom Library Project." Calkins was approached by Alan Levenstein, a member of President Arthur Levine's Advisory Council and retired chairman of a publicly traded advertising company, Bozell Worldwide. He offered her a grant to do whatever she thought would be the most important thing to lift up the level of education for New York City children. Calkins immediately responded, "Let's get books into classrooms."
Levenstein and Calkins began dreaming about adopting some schools and creating state-of-the-art libraries in those schools, however, though Levenstein gave the Project a substantial grant, it did not come close to covering books for every classroom. They decided to redirect the grant money into a process to make it more possible for philanthropic people to adopt schools and create libraries in those schools.
At the same time, Schools Chancellor Harold O. Levy asked the Mayor to commit $31.5 million in City money to put a high-quality library into every New York City Classroom. Deputy Schools Chancellor Judith Rizzo and Executive Director of the Division of Instructional Support Peter P. Heaney, Jr., had been asked for some suggestions on educational priorities.
"Heaney and Rizzo shared the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project's belief that we can't have standards that require children to read 25 books a year without provisioning all children with these books," said Calkins. "Recognizing the value of the initiative, the Mayor decided to support it and was happy to announce ?that students in the classroom will have books around them-books that they can touch, books that they can read.'"
Milbank Memorial Library also offers a means of improving practice-the PT3/K-12 Demonstration Laboratory. The lab was designed to provide librarians, faculty, students and staff of Teachers College with computer stations housing a variety of software programs that combine learning with fun. At an opening demonstration, representatives from the library exhibited samples of the software that is available to the lab's users. They included a music program aimed at introducing students to music composition; a database program that includes articles and graphics on history, current events and language arts; a science program that gives students a chance to experience the virtual reality of a research project-including budgeting, team work, and information presentation; and a math program designed by MIT graduates.
New at Teachers College
This year ushers in the tenure of a new Academic Vice President and Dean, Darlyne Bailey. Bailey's acceptance was announced in September, though she did not officially join the College until January 2002. She was also awarded a full professorship by the Columbia School of Social Work.
Bailey came to Teachers College after serving as Dean of the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences at Case Western Reserve University. She was Dean for seven of her 13 years at the College. She was the first African-American woman dean at Case Western Reserve University and is now the first African-American woman Vice President at Teachers College.
Known as a "bridge builder," Bailey's colleagues called her management style "inclusive" and "participatory"-a new style of leadership for an academic institution. A faculty profile of her said that "students are drawn by her energy, her sincere interest in their growth and the compelling challenge she places before them to realize potential."
Bailey received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Secondary Education from Lafayette College in 1974. She was awarded her Master of Science in Psychiatric Social Work from Columbia University in 1976. In 1981, Bailey received her Certificate of Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy from Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. In 1988, she received her Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior from Case Western Reserve University's Weatherhead School of Management.
"As Dean and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Teachers College," Bailey said, "I want to enhance this venerable institution's commitment to social justice, strengthen the public policy agenda for education and get ?the best and the brightest' out into the world to join forces with others to change the quality of the human condition. I see this as my personal mission!" (See related story.)
The hundred-year-old building that houses Teachers College is continuing to undergo a facelift, thanks to the generosity of donors to the Capital Campaign. Earlier in the year, window replacement in Horace Mann and Grace Dodge Halls began. According to Vincent Del Bagno, Director of Capital Projects, although the College is not a landmarked building, it is still considered historic and landmarkable. For that reason, the aesthetics is an important consideration in any of the renovation work being done.
Though many windows may look similar, each window is slightly different, since builders in the early 1900s created an individual window for each individual space. Therefore, the new windows had to be custom made to fit each space with the same large panes of glass as in the original windows. Reparations of the original windows were out of the question as the wood frames were deteriorated beyond repair.
"Since the windows are a significant component to the face of the building," said Del Bagno, "it took research, leg work and investigation to be responsive to the needs of the building within the cost constraints of this project."
Later in the year, Milbank Chapel was closed to begin renovations-a project that should last through the summer of 2002. "The Chapel will be renovated with as much deference to the original aesthetics as possible," said Del Bagno. "The existing wood details, painting, gilt work and stained glass will be cleaned and repaired, but with minimal disturbance."
What will be new to the design is the stage, the lighting and accessibility. The raised stage area was determined to be too small for many of the events that take place in the Chapel, so it will be lowered to allow for enlargement of the space.
Accessibility to disabled students will be improved with a new audio-visual system for the hearing impaired. Also, a lift, covered in gothic wood paneling, will be put at the east hall door to allow access to the lower level. Access to upper level seating will be made more convenient by the new lower stage.
Although the lighting fixtures will look as if they were part of the original design, they will have modern lighting capabilities. More up light to enhance gothic ceiling details will be a factor, as will ambient lighting near the seats and theatrical stage lighting.
Seats will be refurbished with fabric to match the color palette of the room.
Two years ago, the Library of the Future Seminar Committee, headed by Gary Natriello, Professor of Sociology and Education, launched a project to review the programs and services of Milbank Memorial Library. That review, undertaken by Sonja Johnson, Director of Facilities Programming and Utilization and Indiana University, and James G. Neal, Vice President for Information Services and University Librarian at Columbia, resulted this year in a report on the improvement of the TC library.
"Since TC has a high non-resident student body, there is a concentrated demand to use the library during certain hours and an increased demand for remote access from home or work," said Neal.
The report, which is available on reserve in the library, is broken down into two separate sections: The library's vision and the floor-by-floor program plan. Although the report acknowledges that there is a three-to-five year plan for the vast changes, it also looks at long-term changes and adaptability while keeping in mind the Library's priorities.
Looking also at trends in higher education, information and network technologies and scholarly communication, the report included more effective and efficient search and retrieval systems through an infrastructure that extends to all faculty, student and staff work and living areas.
The next step for the Committee is to interview and choose the architects to do the renovations. "We need to conserve the beautiful aspects that are already in the Library," said Isobel Contento, the Mary Swartz Rose Professor of Nutrition and Education and member of the Committee.
Another consideration is the technology, said Hope Leichter, the Elbenwood Professor of Education. "It's easy to have a vision of more and more new technologies," she said. "However, technology isn't always predictable. It's not just about where technology will allow us to go, but it's about the people and where they want to go."
If renovations are done well, Neal said, and the funding is in place for further expansion, TC's Milbank Library, which has one of the largest collections of educational resources available, will be one of the best education libraries in the nation. (See related story.)
Through renovations, research, and reaching out to the community-locally and worldwide-Teachers College continues to fulfill its mission into the new century. In a world that is changing drastically by the minute, the work that we are doing will help to repair that world through education. There is no more effective way to make it happen.previous page