Outstanding Alumni Awards at Teachers College
Recently, Teachers College honored five alumni with awards for service to education. The Early Career Award was given to Sharon Ryan (Ed.D., Early Childhood Education, 1998), a faculty member at Rutgers Graduate School of Education, and to Michael Lowry (M.A., Educational Administration, 2005), a science teacher at the McCallie School in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The Distinguished Alumni Award was given to folk singer and feminist sex educator Leah Schaefer (Ed.D., Family and Community Education, 1964); Fordham University professor and trauma-therapy specialist Anie Kalayjian (Ed.D., Nursing Education, 1986); and Susan Fuhrman (Ph.D., Political Science and Education, 1977), President of Teachers College.
Ryan was a classroom teacher in Australia before moving to the U.S. and attending TC. After graduation, began working at Rutgers, investigating preschool restructuring in poor districts. She has taken the lead in creating new standards for early childhood teacher certification and studying other key variables of early childhood education reform.
Lowry, a graduate of TC’s Klingenstein Leadership Academy, gives students at The McCallie School a hands-on grounding in education, letting them determine the scope of their own projects and presentations and with selecting the texts and videos from which they will learn. Lowry has won grants and other support from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Science Foundation, the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation and the Fulbright Association. He has also been honored with the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science Teaching and National Board Certification in science.
Before coming to TC, Schaefer was a jazz and folk singer who recorded with the Wayfarers, the Barries and as a solo artist. She achieved a different sort of fame when she adapted her TC dissertation into a book titled Women and Sex (Pantheon Books, 1973). A compendium of some 30 firsthand stories that anticipated the women’s movement by several years, it was one of the very first books that enabled the public to hear the voices of women discussing their sexuality. Schaefer also was a founding member of the Society for the Scientific Study of Sex, among the first national organizations dedicated to sex education and research, and later served as its president. Schaefer also did pioneering research on transsexualism, and her ideas became the basis for Holistic Psychotherapy, the treatment approach encouraging gender dysphoric people to focus on the self in its entirety, rather than simply on the gender aspects of their lives.
Kalayjian, an expert on the psychological impact of trauma, has treated and studied survivors of manmade disasters—the Gulf War, the war in Vietnam, the Holocaust, the Armenian genocide, the World Trade Center attacks—as well as survivors of natural disasters. She wrote about these experiences in the landmark publication Management Disaster and Mass Trauma: Global Perspectives in Post-Disaster Mental Health (Vista Publishing, 1995)—a practical guide for others in her field. Kalayjian has taught at Fordham, Columbia, Pace, Hunter College and other institutions.
Throughout her career, Susan Fuhrman, new President of Teachers College has developed a reputation as an education leader and scholar who acts upon the basis of evidence rather than ideology. As an education scholar at Rutgers in the 1980s, she helped form the Consortium for Policy Research in Education—the nation’s first federally funded education policy center. Fuhrman then served as Dean of the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania, leading an effort to bring the university into partnership with neighboring low-income communities in West Philadelphia. As the tenth president of Teachers College—and the first woman to lead the nation’s premiere school of education—she is working to replicate those efforts on a broader scale in New York City and more generally to position the institution as an education partner to the world.#