State of the College 2015, Teachers College
Teachers College President Susan Fuhrman
Recently, Teachers College President Susan Fuhrman delivered her State of the College address in Cowin Auditorium, declaring that “TC is better positioned both academically and operationally to flourish for decades to come as a leader in shaping programs and fields that contribute to a smarter, healthier and more equitable world.”
TC is a community of scholars advancing game-changing ideas on so many fronts. During the past year alone, we launched the world’s first education school degree program in Learning Analytics; we designed a certificate program in Sexuality Women and Gender; introduced Latina/Latino Mental Health Services program to prepare psychologists to play a role in integrating mental and physical healthcare; and developed a Creative Technologies concentration in arts education centered on a newly re-outfitted fabrication laboratory – our very own “fab lab.”
This fall, our Department of Curriculum and Teaching announced a new Doctoral Specialization for Teacher Educators with courses designed to bring greater resources and attention to professional preparation of professors of education.
Since 2007, we have recruited 71 new tenure-track professors, which represents more than one-third of our faculty. They are among the nation’s top scholars in education, health, psychology and leadership. The strength and range of their talent and expertise are unparalleled.
This fall alone, we welcomed ten new faculty members, representing a great cross section of fields – from multilingual curriculum development to understanding psychological risk factors for suicide; from adolescent literacy among marginalized populations to collective creativity mediated by digital technologies.
We also continue to enjoy strong funding support for faculty research. In Fiscal Year14, TC received $41.25 million in sponsored research and training funds, increasing from $34.4 million in Fiscal Year 07. And though the books officially close on Friday, preliminary Fiscal Year 15 figures indicate funding levels could exceed $44 million.
All of that research culminates in spectacular published work. Among the signature books this year are The Spiritual Child: The New Science of Parenting for Health and Lifelong Thriving by Lisa Miller, Professor of Psychology & Education, focusing on the culturally neglected but important need to support spiritual development –a connection to a larger universe beyond the self—in children and adolescents.
And in Redesigning America’s Community Colleges: A Clearer Path to Student Success, Thomas Bailey and co-authors from TC’s Community College Research Center argue that to increase student completion, community colleges must engage in fundamental redesign.
Faculty work is so multifaceted—thoughtful teaching and advisement of students, innovative and groundbreaking research, service to the academic community both here at TC and beyond. Each year, members of our faculty are honored for their work with membership into the highest levels of national professional societies related to their fields. This year, for example, four of our faculty joined seventeen of their peers as Fellows of the American Educational Research Association; Amy Stuart Wells joined ten of her colleagues as a member of the National Academy of Education; Carol Garber was recently elected to the National Academy of Kinesiology, bringing our total of active fellows there to three. We also boast over a dozen fellows of the American Psychology Association.
Let me turn to our amazing students, who inspire us to continually improve their TC experience. Last month we welcomed more than 1840 immensely talented new students, ready to start on their TC journey.
Our geographic reach continues to impress – we enrolled students from 45 states, DC and Puerto Rico. We’re missing Wyoming, West Virginia, South Dakota, Montana and Idaho so let’s get on that for next year!
More and more students from around the globe are choosing TC. From 2006 to 2015, international student enrollment has risen from 12.7 percent to 19.5 percent.
This year we welcomed students from 48 different countries with China, South Korea, India, Canada, Taiwan, Singapore and Brazil as the top nations.
Our students’ satisfaction rate is high; in 2014, 91 percent of the graduating student survey respondents reported that they were satisfied or very satisfied with their experiences at TC.
And TC graduates do well in the job market. Among 2014 graduates, almost 84 percent were employed within 6 months of graduation, and another 8 percent were pursuing another graduate degree or postdoc.
The diversity of our student body continues to increase. The number of U.S. students self-identifying as people of color has increased by 21 percent since 2006 to 40.7 percent of our student body.
We’re proud of our history in contributing to an academic community that looks more like America. In 1996, to address the inequities of groups in the U.S. who are historically underrepresented in the academic profession, TC established the Minority Postdoctoral Fellowship Program. It provides recent doctorate recipients the opportunity to develop a program of research and participate as an active community member in the life of a graduate research university.
So many of the advances we’ve made are the result of the great progress of the TC campaign. In 2013 we launched a $300 million campaign, “Where the Future Comes First”. This summer we reached the $200 million mark and today we are over $218 million – already making this the largest campaign for a graduate school of education in the country before we reach the $300 million goal. It’s very exciting.
Our students remain our number one fundraising priority. To date, 100 named scholarships have been created since the start of the campaign. These scholarships allow us to continue to attract the best and brightest to TC to study critically important issues. For example, the Jennings-Davis Scholarship Fund supports students with a demonstrated commitment to LGBTQ issues and the Dr. Elizabeth Helen Lawlor and Dr. Francis Xavier Lawlor Endowed Scholarship Fund supports Science Education students.
Increasing financial aid has been a top priority for me as president. Since 2006, we have come close to quadrupling total institutional financial aid to students, from $7.6 million to just over $29 million in FY 2015. Our students are determined to change the world and we strive to help them do that without crushing debt. We know we have a long way to go but at least we can say we’re making progress.
Our campaign has surpassed its original goal of $113 million for program and faculty support. We’re so fortunate to have donors as creative and innovative as the initiatives they fund. For example, this spring the Cowin Financial Literacy Project had a national roll out of its highly successful New York City-based professional development program for teachers. This project is led by Professor Anand Marri who is currently on leave serving as Vice President and Head of Outreach and Education at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. And its guiding spirit and benefactor is TC Trustee Joyce Cowin.
The most recent way TC is addressing emerging problems of populations in need through multiple disciplines is our new Resilience Center for Veterans and Families. Thanks to donors David and Maureen O’Connor, the Center will pair the newest research on human and emotional resilience with clinical training of therapists to assist veterans and their families as they transition back to civilian life. Professor George Bonanno who is doing groundbreaking research on emotional resilience and recovery from trauma and loss will work in partnership with Dr. Dinelia Rosa and the College’s Dean Hope Center for Educational & Psychological Services which will recruit and prepare top students to counsel veterans and their families.
The Center will also support research conducted by TC doctoral students whose own military experiences have shaped their scholarly interest in resilience, PTSD and the implications of both for the military and veteran communities.
Please visit two program spaces newly renovated thanks to capital support of the campaign. The Tisch Center for Food Education & Policy has a new home supported by the gift of Laurie Tisch, trustee emerita. And the International Center for Cooperation and Conflict Resolution has re-designed space thanks to Campaign Chair Marla Schaeffer.
Another forward-thinking trustee and incredibly generous donor is Camilla Smith who, with her husband George, have made possible a new Learning Theatre. The fourth floor of the Gottesman Libraries is being transformed into 10,000 square feet of reconfigurable space that allows for exploration and experimentation for new ways of understanding teaching and learning.
Alumni have been vital to this campaign. At 90,000 strong and counting, they are our best ambassadors and their preeminence in so many fields stands as a testament to TC education. This summer alumni were instrumental in the success of our Global TC Days, which included 42 events in 40 cities and brought to life the reach of TC around the world. Our alumni are living in 130 countries and we have alumni networks in 45 of those countries, with new networks in Manila and Singapore formed as a result of Global TC celebrations there.
While we look to the future the campaign is helping make possible, all of these wonderful accomplishments don’t insulate us from a world full of enormous challenges. The events in Ferguson – and killings in so many other cities -- and escalating crises in many regions of the world remind us that we are in a time of enormous turmoil and upheaval.
But TC’s history is grounded in a social justice mission and we never give up on finding answers to seemingly intractable problems. We’re not reactive – we’re prepared because acting against injustice is part of our DNA. And so is great scholarship that leads to the possibility for long-term change.
We’re at an exciting moment in our history and -- thanks to a great history and an amazing TC community -- we will continue to provide the leadership needed to address the most serious problems the world faces.
I look forward to working together through the Spring, 2018 to lay the groundwork for how we will better meet these challenges.
With so much of the world facing severe trials, Teachers College must remain strong and persevere in its mission. A recent New York Times article reported on a discovery in South Africa of a species having lived millions of years earlier than it was previously believed that any species had lived. The team leader said that practitioners in the field had assumed they were done with this work - that there were no more major discoveries to be had. “What discovering the new species tells us”, he concluded, “is that there is no substitute for exploration”.
There is no substitute for exploration and no more exciting and innovative a place to continue that exploration than Teachers College. I look forward to continue to make great discoveries together! #