Teachers College, Columbia University

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Teachers College, Columbia University
Type Private
Established 1887
Endowment US$200 million[1]
President Susan Fuhrman
Provost Thomas James
Students 5,299
Location New York City, New York, United States
Campus Urban
Website www.tc.columbia.edu
Teachers College Logo.png

Teachers College, Columbia University is the graduate school of education, health and psychology in New York City at Columbia University.[2][3] Founded in 1887, it has been a Faculty of Columbia University since its affiliation in 1898.[4] Teachers College is also an academic department of the university and its Ph.D. degrees are conferred by the Columbia Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.[5] Teachers College is the oldest and largest graduate school of education in the United States.[6]

The school offers Master of Arts (M.A.), Master of Education (Ed.M.), Master of Science (M.S.), Doctor of Education (Ed.D.), and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degrees in over sixty programs of study in four core areas of expertise: health, education, leadership, and psychology.[7] Despite the College's name, less than one-third of students are preparing to become teachers.[8] Graduates go on to pursue careers in psychology, social and behavioral sciences, health and health promotion, educational policy, technology, international and comparative education, as well as education and educational leadership.

In 2018, Teachers College was ranked #7 among all graduate schools of education by U.S. News & World Report.[9] In 2002, 1998, and 1997, Teachers College peaked at #1 in the annual U.S. News & World Report ranking of graduate schools of education. In 2016, the QS World University Rankings by Subject rated Columbia University as #13 in Education.[10]

Teachers College alumni and faculty have held prominent positions in academia, government, music, non-profit, healthcare, and social science research. In general, Teachers College has over 90,000 alumni in more than 30 countries.[11][12] Notable alumni and former faculty include John Dewey, Carl Rogers, Georgia O'Keeffe, Edward Thorndike, Maxine Greene, William Heard Kilpatrick, Donna Shalala, William Schuman (an American composer and former president of the Juilliard School), Lee Huan (Premier of the Republic of China), Shirley Chisholm (first black woman elected to the United States Congress), Mary Adelaide Nutting (the world's first professor of nursing), Zhang Boling (founder of Nankai University), Hamden L. Forkner (founder of FBLA-PBL), E. Gordon Gee (president of West Virginia University and former president of Brown University, Ohio State University, and Vanderbilt University), and Chester Earl Merrow (a U.S. Representative from New Hampshire).


Teachers College buildings on 120th St., looking northwest
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In the 1880s, the Kitchen Education Association was founded by philanthropist Grace Hoadley Dodge, the daughter of a very wealthy businessman William Dodge. The association's focus was to replace miniature kitchen utensils for other toys that were age appropriate for kindergarten-aged girls.[13] In 1884, the KEA was rebranded to the Industrial Education Association, in the spirit of widening its mission to boys and parents as well. In 1887, William Vanderbilt Jr. offered a substantial financial sum, and with the support of Dodge, appointed philosopher Nicholas Murray Butler as new president of the IEA.[13] The IEA decided to provide schooling for the teachers of the poor children of New York City. Thus, in 1887-88, the IEA employed six instructors and enrolled thirty-six juniors in its inaugural class as well as eighty-six special students.[13] In order to reflect the broadening mission of education beyond the original philanthropic intent set forth by Dodge, the IEA changed its name to the New York School for the Training of Teachers.[13] In 1892, the school's name was again changed to Teachers College.[13]

The curriculum combined a humanitarian concern to help others with a scientific approach to human development. Beginning as a school to prepare home economists and manual art teachers for the children of the poor, the College affiliated with Columbia University in 1893 as the University's Graduate School of Education. Unlike normal schools, after 1893 Teachers College required all students to have a high school diploma. Its professional teacher education was considered the equivalent of the junior and senior years of college. Many early students who lacked preparation for the advanced coursework first took introductory liberal arts classes, often at Barnard College.[14]

Grace Dodge Hall. Chemistry Laboratory With Students. (Ca. 1910). Gottesman Libraries at Teachers College, Columbia University.

The founders early recognized that professional teachers need reliable knowledge about the conditions under which children learn most effectively. As a result, the College's program from the start included such fundamental subjects as educational psychology and educational sociology. The founders also insisted that education must be combined with clear ideas about ethics and the nature of a good society; consequently programs were developed in the history of education and in comparative education. As the number of school children increased during the twentieth century, the problems of managing the schools became ever more complex. The college took on the challenge and instituted programs of study in areas of administration, economics, and politics. Other programs developed in such emerging fields as clinical and counseling psychology, organizational psychology, developmental psychology, cognitive psychology, curriculum development, instructional technology, media studies and school health care.

The area of developmental psychology (mentioned earlier,) has specially received numerous accolades. Teachers College was also associated with philosopher John Dewey who taught at the facility.[15]

From 1932 to 1939, Teachers College was home to the experimental New College for the Education of Teachers, a progressive undergraduate college. Founded by Richard Thomas Alexander, the College used the same facilities as Teachers College at the Morningside Heights campus; additionally, the College had learning communities established in North Carolina, Georgia, and abroad in foreign study groups. Using innovative ideas such as extended foreign study, community-based active research, and authentic assessment, a portfolio-based undergraduate learning curriculum was developed which rejected traditional summative grades or the accumulation of credits in favor of experiential education as the basis of degree completion. The college was closed due to a combination of growing financial deficits and student activism in 1939.[16]

Professor Mary Swartz Rose (1874-1941), who established the nation’s first nutrition education lab, is seen here measuring children at the Morningside Nutrition and Homemaking Center at Teachers College. (ca. 1919-1920)

Teachers College has played a role in curriculum reform efforts, such as during the "New Math" movement of the 1960s with its Secondary School Mathematics Curriculum Improvement Study program.[17][18]

In the 1970s, all Teachers College diplomas were conferred by Columbia University.[13] Additionally, many of TC's departments ran joint Ph.D programs with the University including psychology, history, and anthropology and operated "as if they were a single department located on both sides of 120th street. TC students took courses at Columbia and vice versa."[13]


According to its president,[19] Teachers College, Columbia University provides solutions to the difficult problems of urban education, reaffirming its original mission in providing a new kind of education for those left most in need by society or circumstance. The college continues its collaborative research with urban and suburban school systems that strengthen teaching in such fundamental areas as reading, writing, science, mathematics, and the arts; prepares leaders to develop and administer psychological and health care programs in schools, hospitals and community agencies; and advances technology for the classroom, developing new teaching software and keeping teachers abreast of new developments. Teachers College also houses a wide range of applied psychology degrees, including one of the nation's leading programs in Organizational Psychology.

It also houses the programs in Anthropology (Anthropology and Education, and Applied Anthropology—the latter with the Anthropology Department of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Columbia, founded by Franz Boas). It was foundational in the development of the field of Anthropology and Education. By the 1930s, Teachers College had begun to offer courses in anthropology as part of the foundations of education. By 1948 Margaret Mead started what would be a long association with Teachers College where she taught until the early 1970s. In 1953 Solon Kimball joined the faculty. In 1954 nine professors (including Mead and Solon Kimball) came together to discuss the topic. In the 1960s, these people formed the Council on Anthropology and Education within the American Anthropological Association, and it is still considered as the leading organization in the field.

Teachers College also operates the Community English Program, a year-round English-Language school open to all English-Language learners in the New York City area. Classes are taught by Teachers College students who are pursuing graduate degrees in the field of ESL instruction.

While the name Teachers College reflects a dedication to producing quality teachers, less than one-third of Teachers College students are at any one time preparing to become teachers. With more than sixty programs of study, graduates go on to pursue careers in psychology, social and behavioral sciences, health and health promotion, educational policy, technology, international and comparative education, as well as education and educational leadership. Students are candidates for Masters of Arts (M.A.), Master of Education (Ed.M.), Master of Science (M.S.), Doctor of Education (Ed.D.), and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degrees.

The student experience at Teachers College is governed by a student senate, headed by the Senate President, followed by the Vice-President, Parliamentarian, Communications Officer, and Treasurer. Two Senators, a Master's candidate, & a PhD candidate, are elected each year to represent each academic department at Teachers College to advocate on behalf of current students and Alumni.[citation needed] The TC Senate meets bi-weekly to determine what issues need to be investigated.

Academic departments[edit]

  • Arts & Humanities
  • Biobehavioral Sciences
  • Counseling & Clinical Psychology
  • Curriculum & Teaching
  • Education Policy & Social Analysis
  • Health & Behavioral Studies
  • Human Development
  • International & Transcultural Studies
  • Mathematics, Science & Technology
  • Organization & Leadership


In 2018, Teachers College was ranked #7 among all graduate schools of education by U.S. News & World Report.[9]

The school is widely regarded as a top-five education school in the nation for a wide array of concentrations including #3 in curriculum & instruction, #3 in elementary teacher education, #4 in secondary teacher education, #5 in educational administration & supervision, and #6 in educational policy.[9]

In 2002, 1998, and 1997, Teachers College peaked at #1 in the annual U.S. News & World Report ranking of graduate schools of education.

In 2016, the QS World University Rankings by Subject rated Columbia University as #13 in Education.[10]

Relationship with Columbia University[edit]

Although Teachers College serves as Columbia University's graduate and professional school of education by virtue of its designation as the University's Faculty of Education, the College holds its own corporate status separate from Columbia University, including an independent administrative structure, board of trustees and endowment.[20][21]

Teachers College graduates are considered alumni of Columbia University and they are eligible to attend events held by the Columbia Alumni Association and be nominated to receive the alumni medal.[22][23][24][25]

Student, faculty, and guest housing[edit]

The university has three residence halls for single students. They are 517 West 121st, Grant Hall, and Whittier Hall.[26] The university has three residence halls for family housing. They are Bancroft Hall, Grant Hall, and Sarasota Hall. One bedroom apartments are available for childless students and students who each have one child. Two and three bedroom apartments are available for students who each have more than one child.[27]

Lowell Hall and Seth Low Hall have faculty housing units.[28]


Teachers College Record has been published by the school continuously since 1900. In 1997 a group of doctoral students from Teachers College established the journal Current Issues in Comparative Education (CICE), a leading open-access online academic journal.[29]

Teachers College Press, founded in 1904, is the national and international book publishing arm of Teachers College and is dedicated to deepening the understanding and improving the practice of education.

Teacher's college also publishes the Hechinger Report.


President Tenure
1. Nicholas M. Butler 1889–1891[30]
2. Walter L. Hervey 1893–1897[30]
3. James Earl Russell 1898–1926[30]
4. William Fletcher Russell 1927–1954[30]
5. Hollis L. Caswell 1954–1962[30]
6. John Henry Fischer 1962–1974[30]
7. Lawrence A. Cremin 1974–1984[30]
8. Philip M. Timpane 1984–1994[30]
9. Arthur E. Levine 1994–2006[30]
10. Susan Fuhrman 2006–Present[31]


Current faculty[edit]

Past faculty[edit]



  1. ^ "Part One" (PDF). Nacubo.org. Retrieved 2017-03-18. 
  2. ^ 4 years ago (2013-01-11). "What is the relationship between Teachers College and Columbia University? on Vimeo". Vimeo.com. Retrieved 2017-03-18. 
  3. ^ "Organization and Governance of the University". Columbia.edu. Retrieved 2017-03-18. 
  4. ^ "History | Columbia University in the City of New York". Columbia.edu. Retrieved 2017-03-18. 
  5. ^ http://www.columbia.edu/cu/vpaa/handbook/organization.html
  6. ^ "2018 Best Education Schools". Grad-schools.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com. Retrieved 2017-03-18. 
  7. ^ "About TC | Teachers College Columbia University". Tc.columbia.edu. Retrieved 2017-03-18. 
  8. ^ "At a Glance | Teachers College Columbia University". Tc.columbia.edu. Retrieved 2017-03-18. 
  9. ^ a b c "Best Education Schools". Grad-schools.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com. Retrieved 2017-03-18. 
  10. ^ a b https://www.topuniversities.com/university-rankings/university-subject-rankings/2016/education-training
  11. ^ "TC Office of Alumni Relations | Teachers College Columbia University". Tc.columbia.edu. Retrieved 2017-03-18. 
  12. ^ "International Alumni Network | Teachers College Columbia University". Tc.columbia.edu. Retrieved 2017-03-18. 
  13. ^ a b c d e f g https://books.google.com/books?id=bdBXMiac6l0C&pg=PA572&lpg=PA572&dq=%22teachers+college%22+columbia+barnard&source=bl&ots=u45wLSCdhE&sig=U5TNfasoPFVUXFDvWM7-mn9f5pM&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjQ-NHs4ZXTAhXBXRQKHdzEB1s4ChDoAQgZMAA#v=onepage&q=%22teachers%20college%22%20&f=false
  14. ^ Weneck, B. (1991). "Social and Cultural Stratification in Women's Higher Education: Barnard College and Teachers College, 1898-1912". History of Education Quarterly. 31 (1): 1–25. JSTOR 368780. doi:10.2307/368780. 
  15. ^ The New York Times edition of January 19, 1953, page 27
  16. ^ George W. Lucero (2012). Begin with the Child, the Story of New College, manuscript dissertation, Illinois State University, Normal, Illinois.
  17. ^ Waggoner, Walter H. (May 7, 1982). "Dr. Howard F. Fehr: Author Helped Start System of New Math". The New York Times. 
  18. ^ Fehr, Howard F. (January 1974). "The Secondary School Mathematics Curriculum Improvement Study: A Unified Mathematics Program". The Mathematics Teacher. 67 (1): 25–33. 
  19. ^ President Fuhrman Outlines the State of the College | TC Media Center. Tc.columbia.edu (November 6, 2009). Retrieved on September 7, 2013.
  20. ^ http://www.columbia.edu/cu/vpaa/handbook/organization.html
  21. ^ http://www.tc.columbia.edu/human-development/faqs/
  22. ^ https://alumni.columbia.edu/sites/dev.alumni.columbia.edu/files/list_of_past_alumni_medalists_1933_2016.pdf
  23. ^ https://alumni.columbia.edu/get-involved/alumni-medal
  24. ^ https://alumni.columbia.edu/alumni-directory
  25. ^ http://c250.columbia.edu/c250_celebrates/remarkable_columbians/thomas_kean.html
  26. ^ "Housing Options Single Housing." Teachers College, Columbia University. Retrieved on April 23, 2012.
  27. ^ "Housing Options Family Housing." Teachers College, Columbia University. Retrieved on April 23, 2012.
  28. ^ "Housing Options Faculty Housing." Teachers College, Columbia University. Retrieved on April 23, 2012.
  29. ^ "Welcome". CICE. Retrieved 20 December 2013. 
  30. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Making History | Teachers College Columbia University". Tc.columbia.edu. Retrieved 2017-03-18. 
  31. ^ "Teachers College Data | Teachers College Columbia University". Tc.columbia.edu. Retrieved 2017-03-18. 
  32. ^ "Dr. Ruth Westheimer Sex Therapist, Author and Media Personality". Teachers College, Columbia University. Columbia University. Retrieved 4 June 2015. 
  33. ^ "Jack Mezirow, Who Transformed the Field of Adult Learning, Dies at 91". TC Media Center. Teachers College, Columbia University. October 11, 2014. Retrieved July 9, 2015. 
  34. ^ Trenton, Patricia; D'Emilio, Sandra. Independent Spirits: Women Painters of the American West, 1890-1945. University of California Press. pp. 126–130. ISBN 978-0520202030. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°48′36″N 73°57′40″W / 40.8101°N 73.96107°W / 40.8101; -73.96107