Teachers College, Columbia University

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Teachers College, Columbia University
TypePrivate graduate school of education, health, and psychology
Established1887; 135 years ago (1887)
Endowment$512.7 million (2021)[1]
PresidentThomas R. Bailey
ProvostStephanie J. Rowley
Location, ,
United States
Teachers College Logo.png

Teachers College, Columbia University (TC), is the graduate school of education, health, and psychology of Columbia University,[2][3] a private research university in New York City. Founded in 1887, it has served as one of the official faculties and the Department of Education of Columbia University since 1898 and is consistently ranked among the top 10 graduate schools of education in the United States (currently 7th as of 2022).[4][5] It is the oldest and largest graduate school of education in the United States.[6] Although it was founded as an independent institution and retains some independence, it has been associated with Columbia University since shortly after its founding and merger with the university.

Teachers College alumni and faculty have held prominent positions in academia, government, music, non-profit, healthcare, and social science research just to name a few. Overall, Teachers College has over 90,000 alumni in more than 30 countries.[7][8] Notable alumni and former faculty include John Dewey, Art Garfunkel, Dr. Ruth Westheimer (Dr. Ruth), Carl Rogers, Margaret Mead, Bill Campbell, Georgia O'Keeffe, Edward Thorndike, Rollo May, Donna Shalala, Albert Ellis, William Schuman (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), Hafizullah Amin (leader of Afghanistan), Hamden L. Forkner (founder of Future Business Leaders of America), and E. Gordon Gee (has held more university presidencies than any other American including Brown University and Vanderbilt University).


Founding and early history[edit]

Russell Hall

In 1880, the Kitchen Education Association (KEA) was founded by philanthropist Grace Hoadley Dodge, the daughter of 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.[9][10] In 1884, the KEA was rebranded to the Industrial Education Association (IEA), in the spirit of widening its mission to boys and parents. Three years later, it moved to the former Union Theological Seminary building on University Place, as well as founded a coeducational private school called the Horace Mann School.[11]

In 1887 William Vanderbilt Jr. offered a substantial financial sum to the IEA.[10] With the support of Dodge, Vanderbilt appointed Nicholas Murray Butler, the future longest-serving president of Columbia University and Nobel Peace Prize recipient, as new president of the IEA.[10][12] The IEA decided to provide schooling for the teachers of the poor children of New York City. Thus, in 1887–1888, it employed six instructors and enrolled 36 juniors in its inaugural class as well as 86 special students.[10] 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,[10][11] and received its temporary charter from the New York State Board of Regents.[11]

Teachers College buildings on Broadway and 120th St., looking northwest

By October 1890, the school's trustees were looking for a new campus, as the University Place campus was considered too small. After discussion with Columbia University president Seth Low, the trustees settled on a site in Morningside Heights, near where Columbia's campus was being built.[13] In 1892, the name of the New York School for the Training of Teachers was again changed to Teachers College.[10] The next year, Teachers College and Columbia University were merged (affiliated) with each other, and the trustees acquired land for the new college campus in Morningside Heights.[14] The buildings for the campus of the college were designed by William Appleton Potter.[14][15] The first structure in the original complex, Main Hall, was completed in late 1894; the last, Milbank Memorial Hall, was finished three years later.[16]

The curriculum combined a humanitarian concern to help others with a scientific approach to human development. The college was affiliated with Columbia University in 1898 as the university's Graduate School of Education.[4][14] A new building for Horace Mann was erected in 1899,[17] followed by the Frederick Ferris Thompson Memorial Hall in 1902–1904.[18] Additionally, a four-wing dormitory building, called Whittier Hall, was built in 1900–1901.[19] Enrollment increased quickly: the graduating class of 1911 contained 686 students, as opposed to the 26 students in the first graduating class.[20]

Expansion of scope[edit]

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.

Teachers College, Columbia University, was also associated with philosopher and public intellectual John Dewey, who served as president of the American Psychological Association and the American Philosophical Association, and was a professor at the facility from 1904 until his retirement in 1930.[21]


President Tenure
1. Nicholas M. Butler 1889–1891[22]
2. Walter L. Hervey 1893–1897[22]
3. James Earl Russell 1898–1926[22]
4. William Fletcher Russell 1927–1954[22]
5. Hollis L. Caswell 1954–1962[22]
6. John Henry Fischer 1962–1974[22]
7. Lawrence A. Cremin 1974–1984[22]
8. Philip M. Timpane 1984–1994[22]
9. Arthur E. Levine 1994–2006[22]
10. Susan Fuhrman 2006–2018[23]
11. Thomas R. Bailey 2018–present[22]


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 (PhD) degrees in over sixty programs of study. Despite the college's name, less than one-third of students are preparing to become teachers. Graduates pursue careers, for example, in the social sciences, health and health promotion, educational policy, technology, international and comparative education, as well as educational leadership.

According to Teachers College former president Susan Fuhrman,[24] the college 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, businesses, hospitals and community agencies; and advances technology for the classroom, developing new teaching software and keeping teachers abreast of new developments.

Dwight D. Eisenhower, 13th President of Columbia University

Teachers College also houses a wide range of applied psychology degrees, including one of the nation's leading programs in organizational psychology. Every year captains from the United States Military Academy at West Point are selected for the Eisenhower Leader Development Program (ELDP) and complete the Organizational Psychology M.A. program to become tactical officers (TAC) at West Point.[25][26]

The college also houses the programs in anthropology. 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.

Margaret Mead, became President of the American Anthropological Association in 1960

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, and 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


For 2023, U.S. News & World Report ranked Teachers College, Columbia University, No. 7 among all graduate schools of education in the United States.[27]

In 2008, 2002, 1998, 1997, and 1996 Teachers College, Columbia University, was ranked at No. 1 by the publication.

Teachers College, Columbia University, was ranked #2 in Curriculum and Instruction in 2023 according to U.S. News & World Report.[27]

Admissions are highly selective.

Relationship with Columbia University[edit]

Teachers College graduates are awarded Columbia University degrees.[28] Teachers College is statutorily prohibited from conferring its own degrees.[28] Although the college houses PhD programs, these degrees are conferred by Columbia University's Graduate School of Arts and Sciences in a manner analogous to the PhD programs of the university's other professional schools.[29][30]

Teachers College's graduating class participates in the Columbia University Commencement ceremony.[31][32][33] TC graduates are Columbia University alumni, may attend Columbia Alumni Association events, retain their @columbia.edu email for life, and are eligible for nomination of the alumni medal and membership to the Columbia University Club of New York.[34][35][36][32][33]

Teachers College serves as Columbia University's graduate and professional school of education by virtue of its designation as the university's Faculty and Department of Education.[4] However, the college holds its own corporate status, including an independent administrative structure, board of trustees, and endowment.[37] Graduates receive Columbia University diplomas.

While Teachers College faculty appointments are approved by Teachers College's board of trustees at the discretion of the president of Columbia University, "Columbia University [has] no responsibility for salaries, tenure, or retirement allowances" of officers of Teachers College.[28]

Teachers College shares academic and institutional resources with greater Columbia University including courses of instruction (Teachers College students may take courses at any other Columbia University graduate school and vice versa),[38][39] libraries, health service systems, research centers, classrooms, special event facilities and the Dodge Fitness Center.

The Ivy League will allow Columbia fourth-year senior student-athletes, who may have lost playing time due to COVID-19-related cancellations in their final year of eligibility, to continue playing their varsity sport for the 2021–22 season if they are accepted to and enroll at Teachers College.

The Columbia University Senate includes faculty and student representatives from Teachers College who serve two-year terms; all senators are accorded full voting privileges regarding matters impacting the entire University.[40][41] The president of Teachers College is a dean in the university's governance structure.[28]


Whittier Hall

The college has three residence halls for single students. They are 517 West 121st, Grant Hall, and Whittier Hall.[42] The college 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 have one child. Two and three-bedroom apartments are available for students who have more than one child.[43] Lowell Hall and Seth Low Hall have faculty housing units.[44]


The Teachers College Record has been published by the college 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.[45]

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. Teachers College also publishes The Hechinger Report, a non-profit, non-partisan education news outlet focused on inequality and innovation in education that launched in May 2010.

Notable faculty[edit]

Current faculty[edit]

Past faculty[edit]

Notable alumni[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ As of August 31, 2021. Annual Report (Report). TC. August 31, 2021. Retrieved April 18, 2022.
  2. ^ "What is the relationship between Teachers College and Columbia University? on Vimeo". Vimeo.com. January 1, 2013. Retrieved March 18, 2017.
  3. ^ "Organization and Governance of the University". Columbia.edu. Retrieved March 18, 2017.
  4. ^ a b c "Organization and Governance of the University". www.columbia.edu.
  5. ^ "History – Columbia University in the City of New York". www.columbia.edu.
  6. ^ "2018 Best Education Schools". Grad-schools.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com. Retrieved March 18, 2017.
  7. ^ "TC Office of Alumni Relations | Teachers College Columbia University". Tc.columbia.edu. Retrieved March 18, 2017.
  8. ^ "International Alumni Network | Teachers College Columbia University". Tc.columbia.edu. Retrieved March 18, 2017.
  9. ^ Dolkart 1998, p. 224.
  10. ^ a b c d e f McCaughey, Robert (October 22, 2003). Stand, Columbia: A History of Columbia University. Columbia University Press. ISBN 9780231503556 – via Google Books.
  11. ^ a b c Dolkart 1998, p. 225.
  12. ^ Dolkart 1998, p. 226.
  13. ^ Dolkart 1998, p. 227.
  14. ^ a b c Dolkart 1998, p. 228.
  15. ^ Marter, J.M. (2011). The Grove Encyclopedia of American Art. Oxford University Press. p. 3–PA171. ISBN 978-0-19-533579-8. Retrieved December 23, 2019.
  16. ^ Dolkart 1998, pp. 231–232.
  17. ^ Dolkart 1998, pp. 233–234.
  18. ^ Dolkart 1998, pp. 235–236.
  19. ^ Dolkart 1998, pp. 237–238.
  20. ^ Dolkart 1998, p. 241.
  21. ^ The New York Times edition of January 19, 1953, page 27
  22. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Making History | Teachers College Columbia University". Tc.columbia.edu. Retrieved March 18, 2017.
  23. ^ "Teachers College Data | Teachers College Columbia University". Tc.columbia.edu. Retrieved March 18, 2017.
  24. ^ President Fuhrman Outlines the State of the College | TC Media Center. Tc.columbia.edu (November 6, 2009). Retrieved on September 7, 2013.
  25. ^ "ELDP". O & D. Teachers College, Columbia University. Retrieved June 27, 2020.
  26. ^ "About Us". Resilience Center for Veterans and Families. Teachers College, Columbia University. Retrieved April 23, 2019.
  27. ^ a b "Best Education Schools". Grad-schools.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com. Retrieved March 18, 2017.
  28. ^ a b c d "Charters and Statutes" (PDF). secretary.columbia.edu/files. 2017.
  29. ^ "Education".
  30. ^ "Business". gsas.columbia.edu.
  31. ^ "Degree Requirements – Teachers College Columbia University". Teachers College – Columbia University.
  32. ^ a b "Thomas Howard Kean". c250.columbia.edu.
  33. ^ a b "Georgia O'Keeffe". c250.columbia.edu.
  34. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on December 21, 2016. Retrieved September 8, 2017.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  35. ^ "Alumni Medal | Columbia Alumni Association". Alumni.columbia.edu. October 1, 2016. Retrieved September 27, 2018.
  36. ^ "Alumni Community | Columbia Alumni Association". Alumni.columbia.edu. October 1, 2016. Retrieved September 27, 2018.
  37. ^ "Teachers College – Columbia University". Teachers College – Columbia University.
  38. ^ "Teachers College – Columbia University". Teachers College – Columbia University.
  39. ^ "Columbia University Charters and Statutes" (PDF). Page 97 S244 Courses of instruction.
  40. ^ "Elections packet" (PDF). senate.columbia.edu. 2017.
  41. ^ "Elections". senate.columbia.edu.
  42. ^ "Housing Options Single Housing Archived January 30, 2012, at the Wayback Machine." Teachers College, Columbia University. Retrieved on April 23, 2012.
  43. ^ "Housing Options Family Housing Archived January 30, 2012, at the Wayback Machine." Teachers College, Columbia University. Retrieved on April 23, 2012.
  44. ^ "Housing Options Faculty Housing Archived January 30, 2012, at the Wayback Machine." Teachers College, Columbia University. Retrieved on April 23, 2012.
  45. ^ "Welcome". CICE. Retrieved December 20, 2013.
  46. ^ "Dr. Ruth Westheimer Sex Therapist, Author and Media Personality". Teachers College, Columbia University. Columbia University. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  47. ^ "ITS Faculty Member Dr. Ruth's honorary doctorate | News | International & Transcultural Studies | Teachers College, Columbia University". Teachers College - Columbia University.
  48. ^ "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.
  49. ^ Trenton, Patricia; D'Emilio, Sandra (1995). Independent Spirits: Women Painters of the American West, 1890–1945. University of California Press. pp. 126–130. ISBN 978-0520202030.
  50. ^ "J. Paul Leonard, TC Educator, India Expert, Is Dead at Age 93". Columbia University Record. Vol. 20, no. 22. March 31, 1995. ISSN 0747-4504. Retrieved August 4, 2022.
  51. ^ Encyclopedia of New Jersey. Lurie, Maxine N., 1940–, Mappen, Marc. New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press. 2004. ISBN 0813533252. OCLC 57590112.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: others (link)

External links[edit]

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