Teachers College is the first and largest graduate school of education in the States. The College is committed to a vision of education writ large, encompassing four core areas of expertise: health, education, leadership, and psychology. Initially created as a “kitchen garden” school by the philanthropist Grace Hoadley Dodge in 1880, the program taught cooking, sewing, hygiene, and other practical arts to poor, immigrant women. By 1887, with the help of the Columbia University philosopher Nicholas Murray Butler, and with a site at West 120th Street donated by the industrialist George Vanderbilt, Dodge’s kitchen garden school had evolved into an institution devoted to teacher education.
The establishment of Teachers College reflected the collective consciousness of the era’s leading scholars, practitioners, philanthropists, social reformers, and public-minded citizens to meet the challenges the world faces. Industrialization and technology were creating both enormous wealth and deep economic divisions and uncertainty. A vast new influx of people was pouring into U.S. cities from rural areas and from other nations around the world. Communities were grappling with complex new problems of health, race relations, education and crime. TC Luminaries such as psychologist and education philosopher John Dewey, education philosopher Maxine Greene, and psychologist and urban education authority Edmund Gordon dedicated their research and practice into marrying humanitarian concerns with a broad-based scientific approach to human development.
The mission of Teachers College is to provide solutions and 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, while also promoting cutting-edge curricula and pedagogy in media studies and instructional technology, including video and art. In addition, the College prepares leaders to develop and administer psychological and health care programs in schools, hospitals and community agencies, and also houses a wide range of applied psychology degrees.