Teachers College, Columbia University

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"Teachers College" redirects here. For schools that train high school students to become teachers, see Normal school. For overall teacher training at the university level, see School of education.
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, New York, USA
Campus Urban
Website www.tc.columbia.edu
Teachers College Logo.png

Teachers College, Columbia University is a graduate school of education, health and psychology in New York City that serves as Columbia University's Department of Education.[2] Founded in 1887, it has been a Faculty of Columbia University since its affiliation in 1898.[3] Consistently achieving top rankings, Teachers College purports to be the oldest and largest graduate school of education in the United States.[4]

True to its vision of "education writ large," 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.[5] Less than one-third of students are preparing to become teachers.[6] 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 2016, Teachers College was ranked #7 among all graduate schools of education by U.S. News & World Report.[7] However, Teachers College has achieved the #1 ranking in the past.


Teachers College buildings on 120th St., looking northwest
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Teachers College was founded in 1880 by the philanthropist Grace Hoadley Dodge and philosopher Nicholas Murray Butler to provide schooling for the teachers of the poor children of New York City. 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 1898 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.[8]

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.[9]

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.[10]

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.[11][12]


According to its president,[13] 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, originally 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

Relationship with Columbia University[edit]

Teachers College holds its own corporate status separate from Columbia University, including an independent board of trustees, budget, endowment, and multiple admissions standards.

According to Columbia University's Faculty Handbook, "the basic organizing units of the University are its 20 Faculties and 78 departments of instruction. The Faculties are commonly referred to as schools or colleges, depending upon historical circumstances." While "two affiliated institutions – Barnard College and Teachers College – are also Faculties of the University," the Faculty of Teachers College serves as the University’s Department of Education in a manner analogous to the University's other graduate-professional Faculties.[2][2] Although Barnard offers an education major to all Columbia undergraduates irrespective of school affiliation, Teachers College is the only institution at Columbia that offers graduate degrees in the field. Teachers College and Columbia Law School do not adhere to the University's standard tenure review process[14] and maintain their own online library catalogs, which are respectively named Educat and Pegasus.[15][16]

As with Barnard, Teachers College faculty hold Columbia University appointments; its president is a dean of the University; and all degrees are conferred by Columbia University and its Board of Trustees. Additionally, the "Organization and Governance of the University" chapter in the Columbia University Faculty Handbook states, "Faculty constitute a majority of the representatives in the [University] Senate. There are 42 tenured and 15 nontenured representatives from Columbia proper. In addition, the faculty of Barnard College and Teachers College are represented by two senators each, who may be either tenured or nontenured, while those at Union Theological Seminary are represented by one."[2] Moreover, the "Benefits and Family Services" chapter in the Columbia University Faculty Handbook outlines the services the University offers its faculty and officers of research: "Barnard College and Teachers College have their own benefits programs; their faculty do not participate in the Columbia programs described in this chapter of the Handbook."[17] Students at both institutions may cross-register for courses and have access to Columbia's student organizations, libraries, and facilities.[18][19]

At the inauguration of Teachers College president Susan Fuhrman in 2007, Columbia University president Lee Bollinger "likened the relationship between TC and the University to 'a kind of marriage,' stating the most important burden of the two institutions is how to make knowledge accessible to as many young people as possible."[20]

As with the other Faculties of the University, Teachers College Ph.D. degrees are specifically conferred by Columbia University's Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.[21][22]

Graduate students at Teachers College are generally ineligible to serve as a student officer of instruction or research at the University. As the "Student Officers of Instruction and Research" chapter in the Columbia University Faculty Handbook states, "With certain exceptions for undergraduate and special students as described below, these students must be enrolled as degree candidates in a graduate program of the University other than Teachers College. While students at Teachers College may in unusual circumstances be offered teaching assignments, they are appointed as associates rather than as student officers of instruction."[23]


In 2016, Teachers College was ranked #7 among all graduate schools of education by U.S. News & World Report.[7]

In 2010, Teachers College peaked at #2 in the annual U.S. News & World Report ranking of graduate schools of education, behind Vanderbilt University.

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.[24] 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.[25]

Lowell Hall and Seth Low Hall have faculty housing units.[26]


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.[27]

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[28]
2. Walter L. Hervey 1893–1897[28]
3. James Earl Russell 1898–1926[28]
4. William Fletcher Russell 1927–1954[28]
5. Hollis L. Caswell 1954–1962[28]
6. John Henry Fischer 1962–1974[28]
7. Lawrence A. Cremin 1974–1984[28]
8. Philip M. Timpane 1984–1994[28]
9. Arthur E. Levine 1994–2006[28]
10. Susan Fuhrman 2006–Present[29]


Current faculty[edit]

Past faculty[edit]



  1. ^ Nacubo.org
  2. ^ a b c d http://www.columbia.edu/cu/vpaa/handbook/organization.html
  3. ^ http://www.columbia.edu/content/history.html
  4. ^ http://grad-schools.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-education-schools
  5. ^ http://www.tc.columbia.edu/abouttc/
  6. ^ http://www.tc.columbia.edu/abouttc/at-a-glance/
  7. ^ a b http://grad-schools.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-education-schools/edu-rankings?int=997208
  8. ^ 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. doi:10.2307/368780. JSTOR 368780. 
  9. ^ The New York Times edition of January 19, 1953, page 27
  10. ^ George W. Lucero (2012). Begin with the Child, the Story of New College, manuscript dissertation, Illinois State University, Normal, Illinois.
  11. ^ Waggoner, Walter H. (May 7, 1982). "Dr. Howard F. Fehr: Author Helped Start System of New Math". The New York Times. 
  12. ^ Fehr, Howard F. (January 1974). "The Secondary School Mathematics Curriculum Improvement Study: A Unified Mathematics Program". The Mathematics Teacher. 67 (1): 25–33. 
  13. ^ President Fuhrman Outlines the State of the College | TC Media Center. Tc.columbia.edu (November 6, 2009). Retrieved on September 7, 2013.
  14. ^ http://www.columbia.edu/cu/vpaa/docs/tenframe.html
  15. ^ http://pegasus.law.columbia.edu/
  16. ^ http://educat.tc.columbia.edu/
  17. ^ http://www.columbia.edu/cu/vpaa/handbook/benefits.html
  18. ^ http://www.tc.columbia.edu/administration/registrar/index.asp?Id=Registration+Tools&Info=Cross-Registration+for+TC+Students
  19. ^ http://www.tc.columbia.edu/student-handbook/academic-resources/library-resources/
  20. ^ http://spectatorarchive.library.columbia.edu/cgi-bin/columbia?a=d&d=cs20070201-01.2.5&srpos=1&e=-------en-20--1--txt-txIN-%22a+kind+of+marriage%22-----
  21. ^ Organization and Governance of the University. Columbia.edu. Retrieved on September 7, 2013.
  22. ^ University Senate. Columbia.edu (December 12, 2003). Retrieved on September 7, 2013.
  23. ^ http://www.columbia.edu/cu/vpaa/handbook/studentofficers.html
  24. ^ "Housing Options Single Housing." Teachers College, Columbia University. Retrieved on April 23, 2012.
  25. ^ "Housing Options Family Housing." Teachers College, Columbia University. Retrieved on April 23, 2012.
  26. ^ "Housing Options Faculty Housing." Teachers College, Columbia University. Retrieved on April 23, 2012.
  27. ^ "Welcome". CICE. Retrieved 20 December 2013. 
  28. ^ a b c d e f g h i [1]
  29. ^ [2]
  30. ^ "Dr. Ruth Westheimer Sex Therapist, Author and Media Personality". Teachers College, Columbia University. Columbia University. Retrieved 4 June 2015. 
  31. ^ "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. 
  32. ^ 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