Teachers College Contributions to Education
The Teachers College Contributions to Education series represents the years 1905-1951, and it includes 974 studies, predominantly doctoral dissertations and research monographs, reflective of a wide number of subjects.
Writes Robert J. Schaefer, Dean of Teachers College, "The Contributions to Education impressively details the intellectual history of Teachers College at Columbia University, but more significantly, they trace the development of the educational professions at large. Considered in its entirety, the series presents a microcosm of professional scholarship and educational thought from the turn of the century through the early 1950's. There are scarcely any aspects of education, irrespective of how broadly or narrowly the field be defined, which are not reflected in the nearly one thousand volumes which constitute the series. The richness and diversity of these studies parallel the breadth, variety, and enduring strength of Teachers College as an institution.
To make such an assertion is not to divulge in chauvanistic arrogance nor in promotional rhetoric. The basic historical fact, whatever judgement one might make of the quality if its influence, is that Teachers College was the first school of education in which the resources of students and faculty were developed to encompass the full range of educational studies. The reasons for this early preeminence are not difficult to discover. In the first place the College was founded not simply as a training school for teachers but as an institution dedicated to the analysis of educational processes and policies from the broadest possible perspectives. Secondly, while an integral part of Columbia University and thus with easy access to the resources of a great university, Teachers College retained its fiscal independence. What this fiscal separation did was to permit the College to spend its total income on its own mission, with no control or restraint by the University. At a time when other schools of education were forced by central university adminsitrations to subsidize everything from Sanskrit to medicine, Teachers College subsidized nothing but itself.
Moreover, James Earl Russell decisively seized the opportunity thus presented during his thirty years as Dean. Given the broad mission originally envisaged for the College and the possibilites offered by financial independence, Russell deliberately pursued a policy of diversity. Within a decade and a half he recruited a group of distinguished educators including Edward L. Thorndike, Paul Monroe, John A. MacVannel, George D. Strayer, Frank McMurray, Julius Sachs, David Eugene Smith, Gonzalez Lodge, Henry Johnson, Arthur Wesley Dow, Patty Smith Hill, and M. Adelaide Nutting. But even more important for the future of the College were the breadth and balance of the faculty. There were humanists and scientists. scholars and artists, theorists and activists. To all Russell afforded encouragement and free rein.
It was hardly accidental that such a faculty, impressive in size, quality, and catholicity of view, attracted students capable of producing these Contributions to Education. They came from every state in the union and from all regions of the world. While the vast majority of these studies are doctoral dissertations, in accordance with the pragmatic flexibility characteristic of the institution, research monographs by members of the faculty were occasionally included. There are, for example, several studies by Edward L. Thorndike not published elsewhere; an early inquiry in the psychology of reading by Arthur I. Gates; and several explorations in guidance by Ruth M. Strang. In addition, there are works by student authors who later became widely known through their publications and their contributions as members of the College faculty.
The fact that the bulk of the series are doctoral dissertations should not obscure either their contemporary or historical significance. The authors, after all, were both personally and professionally mature, and their studies met the doubly demanding standards of the Ph.D. and of inclusion in a distinguished series. As a sometime historian, a constant student of education, and the current Dean of Teachers College, I am most pleased that the Contributions to Education are to be reissued. The present generation of education students merits the right to examine them anew."
-- Catalog, AMS Press, 1971
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