GSE Dean to Head Columbia Teacher’s College

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Dr. Susan Fuhrman, dean of the Graduate School of Education (GSE), will step down in August to become the next president of Columbia Teacher’s College. She will be the school’s first woman president.

During Fuhrman’s 11-year tenure as both dean and the George and Diane Weiss Professor of Education, she helped GSE expand the diversity of its degree and certification programs, hired almost half of the current tenured faculty, and played an influential role in Penn’s involvement with West Philadelphia schools. Her leadership facilitated the creation of the Penn-Alexander School, the success of the Penn Partnership Schools program, and the expansion of research conducted by GSE’s Consortium for Policy Research in Education. She also succeeded in quadrupling the school’s research funds for education policy and developing plans for a Penn-assisted international-studies high school in West Philadelphia.

Fuhrman says she is particularly proud of the “terrific faculty, the strong link to the schools of West Philadelphia,” and the policy research in which the school has engaged both nationally and internationally. “But I don’t think we’re finished,” she says. “I see more things to accomplish,” including integrating more elementary and high schools into GSE’s Philadelphia outreach program.

Fuhrman is excited about her new position, not only because “it’s a new opportunity,” but Columbia is also “in New York, where I’m from, where I graduated.” (She earned her Ph.D. at Columbia.)

Although Fuhrman wouldn’t speculate on the possible identity of GSE’s next dean, she hopes that “they find an excellent scholar who will continue to lead the school forward, and who believes in the engagement with practice that we’ve worked so hard on.” She emphasized the importance of “working
with [GSE] students in non-traditional ways, such as implementing executive-weekend programs and reaching students where they are, because ways of learning have changed and people’s lifestyles have changed.”

—Jennifer Nath C’08

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