Institute for Urban and Minority Education

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Teachers College, Columbia University
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Welcome to IUME!

Erica N. Walker, Professor of Mathematics & EducationIn 2001, when I arrived at Teachers College as a Minority Postdoctoral Fellow, my academic career began with the incredible opportunity to work on several research projects with the founding director of IUME, Dr. Edmund Gordon. It was a serendipitous moment—the Institute had just celebrated its 25th anniversary, and Dr. Gordon had returned to direct the Institute he founded. Over the course of its history, Dr. Gordon and subsequent directors had overseen IUME’s growth from a clearinghouse of information to a nationally known hub of powerful research dedicated to improving the lives of marginalized people here in Harlem and beyond.

Now, seventeen years later, after continued work with IUME as a research affiliate and faculty fellow, returning to IUME as its new Director feels like a wonderful “full circle” moment for me. It is an extraordinary honor to lead an Institute that not only has deep personal meaning, but, most importantly, has made a tangible, positive difference in the lives of countless people. As a longtime faculty member in the Department of Mathematics, Science, and Technology at the College, I have watched IUME continue to grow in scope, substance, and reach—I have witnessed the Institute build on the legacy of its founder while simultaneously producing cutting-edge research in urban education. During the last seven years under my predecessor, Dr. Ernest Morrell, IUME re-established itself as a vibrant and productive institute on campus.

I’m proud to say that in 2018 and beyond, we will continue to build on this momentum. Throughout the spring semester, IUME is in a planning phase to develop a collaborative strategy for moving forward on an integrated research, programming, and dissemination agenda. In the spirit of our commitment to Harlem and its vibrant history as a space for creativity, vision, and action, we’ve already hosted several salons to brainstorm about IUME’s work and to develop plans for its future. I have been encouraged by the enthusiasm and interest of the broader TC community (students, staff, faculty, and administration) as well as IUME’s staff, affiliates, and friends who are meeting with me to hone our vision for this important work.

When Dr. Gordon founded IUME, it was one of the only university-based research institutes dedicated to exploring the intersection of urban education and the lives of people of color. Forty-five years ago, there was a dire need to establish an institute that would focus on marginalized peoples, and IUME’s existence (and subsequent work) broke new ground in educational research. Our main goal has been and will continue to be to build upon that tradition: reimagining research, practice, and policy around current and emergent issues related to the education and development of underserved populations. How can IUME best—and innovatively—produce, use, and disseminate research to enhance the lives of millions of brilliant young people?

I hope you’ll join me in seeking the answers to this question and others as we embark on our new journey in IUME together. IUME has always been a multi-faceted space for innovation and interdisciplinary inquiry; and it has had a significant impact on the lives and careers of many. And, please - watch this space for information about current projects and initiatives to come; I’m looking forward to sharing news about all of IUME’s good work. Welcome!

Erica N. Walker
Professor of Mathematics Education
Director, Institute for Urban and Minority Education

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Contact Us

Director: Erica Walker, Ph.D.

Phone: (212) 678-6659