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

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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

Last year, IUME was excited to announce the launch of the Literacy Teachers Initiative (LTI), which partners with dynamic teachers from the community in an effort to collaboratively work toward finding increased pedagogical methods for students. LTI is led by Dr. Jodene Morrell of Teachers College and in partnership with Community School District 5 of the New York City Department of Education. The nine inaugural Teacher Fellows conducted their research and will present their findings this fall, and with the addition of three new Teachers Fellows, the program has successfully expanded in its second year.

Check out our LTI page for more information and check out the biographies of the Teacher Fellows here! (In addition, click here for details of the fall presentations by the teachers.)


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 > Dr. Ernest Morrell Appointed New IUME Director

Dr. Ernest Morrell Appointed New IUME Director

A New Leader at IUME 

Ernest Morrell will lead TC's signature urban institute into a new era

Dr. morrel top picTeachers College has appointed Ernest Morrell as the new director of its Institute for Urban and Minority Education (IUME). Morrell previously was on the faculty in the Urban Schooling Division of the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA). He has assumed a tenured full professorship at TC and the directorship of IUME offices, succeeding the Institute's founding director, Edmund W. Gordon.

"His appointment is an important event for TC, and we are fortunate to be bringing such a talented leader to our academic community," said Provost and Dean Thomas James.

Morrell has made his mark in higher and secondary education in Los Angeles and beyond. At UCLA, he has done research and teaching in the fields of literacy, critical pedagogy, cultural studies, urban education and ethnic studies. As Associate Director of UCLA's Institute for Democracy, Education, and Access (IDEA), he has worked with high school students in Los Angeles on in-school and out-of-school literacy instruction, cultural studies, and civic involvement. Through IDEA he has taken busloads of teenage students to the state capital, Sacramento, to lobby for more state support of education. 

Morrell's interest in urban minority education was a natural progression from a childhood spent mostly in Oakland, California, where his mother taught school and his father was a preacher. Morrell earned his bachelor's degree in English at the University of California at Santa Barbara, and returned to Oakland to teach high school English and coach. While earning a doctorate in language, literacy and culture at neighboring Berkeley, he developed a scholarly interest in school reform and community engagement in education. Since then, he has worked to discover what teaching methods work for urban and minority students -- and, he said in a recent interview, "what would this effective pedagogy look like in context? What would make it more possible, what do teachers, schools of education, and policymakers need to do?"  

These are questions that IUME has been asking since its creation in 1973. The Institute's founding premise was that, in order to succeed on par with their wealthier peers, urban minority children need excellent teaching and extra, out-of-school supports to compensate for deficiencies in their environment. An important mandate at IUME was to research how race, gender, language, and social and economic class affected learners, and then use the research to powerfully influence curriculum, pedagogy and student assessment. During the 1980s, IUME was the largest research and development unit of Teachers College, taking in substantial federal and private dollars. More important, it was TC's face in Harlem.

Professor Edmund W. Gordon, Founder and Director Emeritus of IUME expressed enthusiasm for the appointment. 

"Professor Ernest Morrell is an excellent choice for appointment as the next Director of IUME," Dr. Gordon said. "I have known Dr. Morrell since he served as a post- doctoral fellow in a program that I directed some ten years ago. Ernest showed great promise at that time. He has gone on to distinguish himself as a teacher, as a scholar and as an activist. His research interests complement the IUME mission. Morrell is a smart, gentle and powerful presence. Teachers College is fortunate to be able to attract him from UCLA."

Gordon moved to Yale in 1979, opening the director's seat to a series of scholars including Dorothy Strickland, Joseph Grannis, Francisco Rivera-Batiz and Erwin Flaxman. As the institute grew, it began offering technical assistance to schools and districts that were responding to legal desegregation mandates, or helping them reduce bias in the curriculum, testing, classroom and school organization, and interpersonal relations. As a TC-based institute, IUME also prepared TC students to teach in urban settings.

Gordon returned as director in 2001 having established himself as one of the first academics to focus on the achievement gap between students of color and immigrants, and their higher-achieving European or Asian-American peers, and on the impact of out-of-school, supplementary instruction and learning.

With offices on 125th Street in Harlem, the institute to this day has the same central goal:  to understand and uncouple the relationship between a person's assigned social group and education outcomes. IUME continues to conduct scholarly research into identifying the characteristics and life conditions of high academic achievers among ethnic and minority students. It also provides direct school and community service such as after-school programs as well as technical assistance to schools -- support which is still badly needed in Harlem and in poor neighborhoods across the country.

Dr. morrel pic bottomDr. morrell action pic bottom"We are in a moment where we are battling for control of the discourse of education," Morrell said, "where many different people are speaking about education from many standpoints, many using the language of failure of students, families, teachers and schools, and it's dispiriting. Education research has the opportunity to speak back, he said, but it needs to speak more powerfully and spotlight examples of classroom or school-wide practices that are working or show promise.

"We have tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of teachers in America who are highly effective every day, and we don't go inside their classrooms and figure out what they're doing. I think we need to do that."

Morrell hopes to put his own stamp on IUME by taking it beyond Harlem, and by assembling a national organization of young people who will "storm Washington" and advocate for themselves and their own education.

Morrell said his philosophy, developed while he worked with Jeannie Oakes, director of education and scholarship at the Ford Foundation and a former director of IDEA, fits well at UCLA, at TC, and at universities and education schools in between.

"How does a university research institution fulfill its mission of conducting research while also engaging the community in the process of advocating for social change?" he asked rhetorically.

As in the past, IUME seems likely to point the way.

To hear Professor Morrell speak out his future plans for IUME,  click here.
To read more about Professor Morrell from the Teachers College Department of Arts & Humanities blog, click here.
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