Institute for Urban and Minority Education
Teachers College, Columbia University
Teachers College
Columbia University

Skip to navigation menu

Skip to main content


A Historic Evening at the Inaugural Edmund Gordon Lecture

On October 10th, IUME, in co-sponsorship with the Program in History and Education, hosted Professor Charles M. Payne who delivered the Inaugural Edmund Gordon Address at Teachers College in honor of IUME Founder and legendary figure Dr. Edmund Gordon. The address entitled, “Whatever Happened to the Negro Question? Educational Discourse and the Lost Question of Race”, drew a standing-room-only audience of nearly 200 to Milbank Chapel and helped illustrate how historical understanding is crucial for thinking about contemporary school improvement. In his address, Dr. Payne presented a broad critique of the educational community’s modern perceptions and attitudes towards school achievement, poverty, and race.

Click here to view the lecture on the IUME YouTube channel and here for pictures.

Introducing the "Educating Harlem" Lecture Series

In collaboration with the Program in History and Education at Teachers College as well as the Center on History and Education, IUME is excited to announce its participation in the new "Educating Harlem" lecture series, which is part of a larger initiative to better explore the forces that shaped education in Harlem.

On March 27th, the first "Educating Harlem" lecture took place at Teachers College in front of a packed room in Russell Hall, where Dr. Martha Biondi -- Professor of Education at Northwestern University -- spoke about her research on youth revolutions at City College in the 1960s. Our next speaker will be Dr. Khalil Muhammad, who is currently the Director of the Schomburg Center for Research and Black Culture. For more information about the Education Harlem initiative, click here.

Subcribe to the new IUME Newsletter!

In October, IUME redesigned its monthly newsletter in a way that not only increases dissemination, but most importantly, better shares all the events and news with the world. The newsletter is available in PDF format, but also available via hard copy at the IUME office at Teachers College. Make sure to subscribe to the newsletter and e-mail list on the bottom right-hand side of this IUME homepage.

For more information and to download/view past IUME newsletters, click here.

Learn More About IUME's Literacy Teachers Initiative (LTI) Project

 IUME was excited to announce the launch of the Literacy Teachers Initiative (LTI) Project in spring, 2012. Since then, we have partnered with dynamic elementary and middle school teachers from Harlem and Brooklyn in an effort to collaboratively work toward finding increased pedagogical methods for students. The LTI Project is led by Dr. Jodene Morrell of Teachers College. We have grown in number and ideas each year, received competitive research grants, presented at Teachers College and state, national, and international conferences, and written for publication.

Check out our LTI page for more information and check out the biographies of the Teacher Fellows here!

Learn More about the Youth Historians in Harlem Program!

The Youth Historians in Harlem (YHH) project, sponsored by IUME, is a new critical approach to teaching history in urban schools in Harlem, focusing on empowering minority youth through their own cultural experiences, involving students in the practice of "doing" history through guided projects, programs, and participatory action research. YHH seeks to increase students' interest in history through innovative and engaging pedagogical approaches that help them become historians, researching the rich historical past of ‘their’ Harlem community. While YHIH seeks to advance the historical knowledge of education in Harlem, above all, our project seeks to make history relevant to urban students and help increase academic achievement. To learn more about this exciting project, visit the official website here.

Getting Real III Public Videoconference Series Recap

This past fall over the span of 16 weeks, IUME partnered with the University of Wisconsin-Madison and New York University Hip-Hop Education Center to launch an innovative online seminar series called Getting Real III. Seminal scholars and leaders in the growing field of Hip-Hop studies focused their attention on how Hip-Hop culture, culturally relevant pedagogy and youth participatory action research can successfully be used to close the education gap in America's public schools.

This online public videoconference series was highly successful. The final four lectures were at Teachers College, and can be viewed in full HERE -- so check them out! The TC speakers featured Professor Chris Emdin, Professor Ernest Morrell, Jen Johnson, and Sam Seidel with Dave "TC" Ellis. (Original lineup here.)

Recapping the Final IUME Colloquia of 2012 on "Ill Literacies"

IUME's last Colloquia at the Gordon Campus was spearheaded by two dynamic scholars--Crystal Belle and Jamila Lyiscott--who are both Research Fellows at IUME and Ph.D. students in English Education. Both Crystal and Jamila, versed in spoken word and literacy experts in the making, discussed critical issues in literacy as it applies to democracy and freedom inside schools. We had a full house at the Gordon Campus, and it was a wonderful way to reflect on 2012 with critical discussion and passionate performances from both Crystal and Jamila.

The Colloquium is viewable in full on our YouTube channel and also don't forget to view our photo gallery, too! (For original information and details, click here.)


Subscribe to our IUME YouTube Channel!

Have you visited the official IUME YouTube page recently? Want to learn more about IUME? Make sure to stop by our YouTube page here and watch a few of our videos and subscribe!. Not only do we keep a collection of IUME events and Colloquia, but our video team prepares short clips on critical research. The most recent Beyond Bullying presentation is now available, as is our December Colloquium and other great clips that should be shared!

In our increasingly digital and mutlimodal era, we believe strongly in collaborative educational content, so make sure to check back often and subscribe to your channel.


Upcoming Events


Announcements > A Recap of the National Bullying Summit with Director Morrell

A Recap of the National Bullying Summit with Director Morrell

On January 14th, 2013, the Institute for Urban and Minority Education partnered with education publishing firm Zaner-Bloser to sponsor a national summit on bullying in schools, entitled "Beyond Bullying." It was a resounding success, with hundreds gathering to discuss this vital topic in schools across the country, seeking to find solutions to negate bullying in schools and promote student wellness. The TC Media Press recently published an article about this event, featuring commentary by IUME Director Ernest Morrell. You can re-direct toward the original article here or read below.




Using Schools to Stop School Bullying

At a national bullying summit held at Teachers College, educators learned that anti-bullying efforts must be embedded in teaching

By Patricia Lamiell


Kirk Smalley, a Perkins, Oklahoma construction worker, was on the job on May 13, 2010 when his phone rang at 2:39 p.m. It was his wife, Laura, screaming uncontrollably. Their son Ty had been sent home from middle school for fighting with at a chronic bully who had picked on him before. But instead of doing his household chores and homework, as his mother had told him to do, Ty, 11, had hanged himself in the couple’s bedroom. In response to Ty’s death, 68 high school students in Oklahoma City, none of whom even knew Ty, created Stand for the Silent (SFS), an international campaign to stop bullying. Smalley serves as a spokesman for the group. He has traveled to 605 schools and as far as Australia to hear about children who committed suicide as a result of being bullied online or in school.

Smalley told his powerful story on January 14 to a rapt audience of about 275 educators in TC’s Cowin Conference Center for  “Beyond Bullying: Safe Schools, Successful Students.” The full-day event, co-sponsored by the academic publishing firm Zaner-Bloser, and TC’s Institute for Urban and Minority Education (IUME), sought to equip educators with effective strategies, for use in their daily instruction, for teaching children to respect themselves and one another, to reach out to intervene when they see bullying, and to stop in-school and online bullying before it happens.

“Nowadays,” Smalley told the audience, “more than reading and writing and arithmetic, I think it’s time we all learned respect for others, tolerance of our differences. You guys out in the trenches, you’ve got to be the ones to go up to that kid and offer a hand of friendship. You can be someone’s hero. You can literally save someone’s life.”

Schoolhouse bullying – ranging from verbal taunting to physical assault – has been a problem since schools were invented, but the advent of cell phones, texting and the Internet have made it more common. In to a poll released last month by Zaner-Bloser, bullying was cited as a top-five concern by 46 percent of middle-school principals 29 percent of elementary principals and 35 percent of high school principals.

While bullying doesn’t always lead to suicide, it often manifests in higher absentee rates and lower grades and test scores. Victims may suffer from lowered self-esteem well into adulthood.

Teachers are well aware of the problem, but many say that with the workload already on their plates, they cannot assume responsibility for teaching basic social skills and civility. Yet conference speakers repeatedly argued that a programmatic approach called “Social-Emotional-Learning,” or SEL, can and must be embedded in daily instruction and become central to a school culture in which bullying is unacceptable.

“This is not adding to the plate, this is the plate,” Ed Dunkelblau, a TC graduate and Director of the Institute for Emotionally Intelligent Learning. Dunkelblau was one of a half-dozen conference speakers that morning who said good SEL programs also provide structure and a process through which students can work out conflicts and misunderstandings. 

“Our job is not only to understand bullying and to stop it, but to reach out to everyone in the school, adult and child alike, and help build the skills that allow them to create a culture and a climate where everyone is safe, everyone will learn,” Dunkelblau said.

Buy-in from the entire school community is critical, said Marc Brackett, Deputy Director of the Health, Emotion, and Behavior Laboratory at Yale – which means that Social-Emotional Learning should be taught to everyone, including parents for use at home.

Sonya Whitaker, Superintendent of Fairmont School District 89 in Lockport, Illinois, agreed, saying schools in her district brought parents in and “taught them explicitly what they could do at home” to promote social intelligence. The effort resulted in a 47 percent reduction in disciplinary infractions.

The benefits of SEL are not just emotional. Dunkelblau and others pointed to research suggesting that thorough integration of SEL into a school’s curriculum and culture can lower absentee rates, raise test scores and graduation rates, improve the social climate and “ultimately rebuild confidence in public education,” said Sheldon Berman, Superintendent of Schools in Eugene, Oregon, adding that “the social-emotional curriculum is as important as the academic curriculum.” Still to get those results, anti-bullying programs require policy support in the form of professional development for teachers, curriculum planning, teacher and student leadership development, administrative mandate and supports, school board support, and recognition of success.

Several school districts represented at the conference offered dramatic examples to support Berman’s contention. Eric Gordon, Chief Executive of the Cleveland, Ohio Public School District, said that, using a research-based program, Cleveland has turned its in-school suspension rooms into planning centers to improve intervention and support. School leaders  have instituted “Not On Our Watch” teams of faculty and students who call out bullying when they see it, and student support teams to intervene if necessary. Gordon said that, according to a recent study, the city has improved learning conditions. Social competence and attentiveness are improving, incident reports, including reports of violence, have decreased, and out-of-school suspensions have fallen as well, Gordon said. 

 Gale Reeves, Superintendent of New York City’s Community School District 5, said in her district, much of the bullying in her district focuses on students’ appearance. So P.S. 154 sought and received a grant to promote total wellness for students and teachers that is aimed at slowing obesity rates. Suspensions have declined there by more than 60 percent, Reeves said. Middle School 186 focuses on leadership development, relationship and communication skills, “so that students know to seek help not only from adults but from each other,” Reeves said.

Other speakers focused on specific academic programs – all aligned with national core curriculum standards – that draw from and, in turn, support Social-Emotional Learning. In this regard, helping students develop their own voice is critical. Catherine Snow and Bob Selman, both professors of education at Harvard, described the “Readers Theatre” technique, in which students write and act out plays about socially challenging topics like bullying. The approach promotes civic engagement as well as literacy development, prompting students to flesh out their own thoughts on an issue, in part by seeing things from others’ points of view.  

IUME’s Director, Ernest Morrell, amplified the idea that using literacy instruction can develop social-emotional skills in young students, particularly those in schools that serve largely minority populations who are often disinterested and feel disconnected from school. For children to be invested in school and in learning to read and write, they must value themselves and come to believe they have something valuable to say, that school is a safe place to say it, and that they have secure attachments to other people and some social awareness, Morrell said. Reading and writing can help reinforce those beliefs. “Helping kids understand and like themselves is a precursor to understanding others. We can do these things in the common core curriculum, in social students, science and math class.”   

By subjecting SEL programs to the rigors of academic research, academics and teachers can discover what works and demystify the process of implementing it in their schools. They can begin to view bullying not as a sad fact of contemporary life, but as a social problem that can be addressed with education. “You’re not born to hate,” Smalley likes to tell audiences. “You have to be taught.”


Return to Top