Dear Friends and Colleagues:
While I have worked in education for many years, in coming to Teachers College, I feel as excited as a new student on the first day of class.
That’s not just because of TC’s storied name and history, nor even because of its location in the midst of one of the most vibrant neighborhoods in one of the greatest cities in the world.
What really excites me is that Teachers College is a place where people discover passions rather than merely pursuing credentials or acclaim, where great ideas converge and become bigger and more far-reaching.
That certainly describes my experiences as a researcher and academic leader.
My doctoral training was in Developmental Psychology. But when I arrived at the University of Michigan, I immediately joined the Combined Program in Education and Psychology, an interdisciplinary program where scholars apply psychological frameworks to educational issues. My work on children’s identity development was greatly enriched by my connections to students and faculty in higher education, social foundations of education, and math education. I developed a deeper understanding of classroom practice, pedagogy, and policy, which in turn shaped my work on children’s motivation and self-concepts.
I had always believed that rigorous research and other scholarship are needed to address the world’s most pressing problems. But as I interacted with scholars who were experts in these different realms, I formed a new appreciation for interdisciplinary research, even as I learned that interdisciplinary work is hard and requires the ongoing development and refinement of new tools.
Ultimately, I became an academic leader precisely so that I could improve efforts to develop those tools and to bring great minds together.
TC offers me a fantastic opportunity to build on that work. The College is renowned for its focus on the connection between education and well-being. TC faculty work across an impressive breadth of disciplines, but they all endeavor to support the lifelong education of the whole person through interdisciplinary research and training. And perhaps most gratifying of all, Teachers College is committed to conducting outstanding applied research, working to improve lives through partnerships with local schools, government officials and community agencies.
Because I know that diversity and excellence go hand in hand, I see the diversity of TC faculty, students, and staff – and New York City’s unsurpassed diversity – as a tremendous asset. As Provost, I look forward to working with all of you toward building an ever more inclusive climate, where everyone feels respected and valued, and where transparency leads to equity.
A final note: TC’s most valued asset is its students. I have heard from many alumni who credit TC with shaping their core values, critical training experiences, and intellectual awakening. As I begin my own “first day of class,” I look forward to learning from and learning with the amazing student body at TC, and to developing programs that will position them – and the College – to do their best and achieve great things in service to our professions and the public good.
Stephanie J. Rowley
Provost, Dean and Vice President for Academic Affairs
Teachers College, Columbia University