Teachers College, Columbia University

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Teachers College, Columbia University
Type Private graduate school of education, health, and psychology
Established1887;135 years ago (1887)
Endowment $512.7 million (2021) [1]
President Thomas R. Bailey
Provost Stephanie J. Rowley
Location, ,
United States
Website tc.columbia.edu
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

Russell Hall Columbia University - Teachers College (48170433667).jpg
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 Teachers College of Columbia University - panoramio.jpg
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

John Dewey John Dewey cph.3a51565.jpg
John Dewey

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]


Nicholas Murray Butler The Americana; a universal reference library, comprising the arts and sciences, literature, history, biography, geography, commerce, etc., of the world (1908) (14781510111).jpg
Nicholas Murray Butler
1. Nicholas M. Butler 1889–1891 [22]
2.Walter L. Hervey1893–1897 [22]
3.James Earl Russell1898–1926 [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. Timpane1984–1994 [22]
9.Arthur E. Levine1994–2006 [22]
10. Susan Fuhrman 2006–2018 [23]
11.Thomas R. Bailey2018–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 Major General Dwight Eisenhower, 1942 TR207.jpg
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 Margaret Mead NYWTS.jpg
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

  • 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

Butler Library Butler Library Columbia University.jpg
Butler Library

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]

Low Memorial Library Low Memorial Library Columbia University NYC retouched.jpg
Low Memorial Library

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 Whittier Hall, Morningside Heights, NYC.jpg
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

Current faculty

Arthur M. Langer Prof. Arthur Langer.jpg
Arthur M. Langer
Dr. Ruth Westheimer Ruth Westheimer (10877).jpg
Dr. Ruth Westheimer

Past faculty

Margaret Mead Margaret Mead (1901-1978).jpg
Margaret Mead
Donna Shalala Donna Shalala, official portrait, 116th Congress.jpg
Donna Shalala

Notable alumni

Mary Antin Mary Antin 1915.jpg
Mary Antin
Shirley Chisholm Shirley Chisholm.jpg
Shirley Chisholm
Norman Cousins Norman Cousins.jpg
Norman Cousins
Art Garfunkel ArtGarfunkelPall230717-17 (cropped).jpg
Art Garfunkel
Martin Haberman MartinHaberman.jpg
Martin Haberman
Lee Huan Li Huan Yuan Chang .jpg
Lee Huan
John King Jr. John B. King official portrait.jpg
John King Jr.
Anita Pollitzer Anita Pollitzer 156004v (cropped).jpg
Anita Pollitzer
Diane Ravitch DianeRavitchLOC.jpg
Diane Ravitch
Robert Sherman RobertSherman.jpg
Robert Sherman
Merryl Tisch Merryl Tisch at Shema Kolainu legislative breakfast.jpg
Merryl Tisch

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Coordinates: 40°48′36″N73°57′40″W / 40.8101°N 73.96107°W / 40.8101; -73.96107