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Teachers College's relationship with Columbia University


jc14
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Hi guys,

I was wondering if anyone here had some good information on this topic. I've read a lot of things online, and seem to always get mixed opinions. What exactly is TC's relationship with Columbia? Some say it's just an affiliate, and is actually really not all that closely linked with the school. Other's say that it is essentially the Graduate School of Education for Columbia University.

The former would say that a degree from TC =/= a degree from Columbia, and the latter would say that a degree from TC is a degree from Columbia University.

I have also read officially that a "diploma itself is from Columbia University as well." However, it seems like TC students don't have all of the resources a Columbia graduate student would have.


Anyone have any thoughts/facts? I'm a little more worried because I won't be going directly into teaching or anything like that - and so my field might not be as familiar with an education program like TC. If it's relevant at all, I'm going to TC for Applied Stats, and want to get into data analytics/science/quantitative research in different fields of Education (either non-profits, universities, etc.). I'm wondering if the TC degree will be equivalent to a Columbia degree; and while it comes off snobby (I certainly did NOT choose my school just based on names), I think it's an important question especially when you're paying $60k in loans and are passing on other big name schools. 

 

 


TLDR - Is a degree from TC ==== a degree from Columbia University?

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Straight from Wikipedia, and relevant to several things you wrote:

 

Relationship with Columbia University[edit]

Teachers College holds its own corporate status separate from Columbia University, including an independent board of trustees, budget, endowment, and multiple admissions standards; however, as noted in Columbia University's Faculty Handbook, the College is an official faculty of the University, serving as the University's Department of Education.[9] Teachers College faculty hold Columbia University appointments; its President is a dean of the University; and all students receive their degrees from Columbia University. As with the other Faculties of the University, Teachers College Ph.D. degrees are specifically conferred by Columbia University's Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.[10][11]

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@galliardsghost thanks for the reference! any idea why it specifically says "Ph.D degrees are specifically conferred..." 

What about Masters degrees? And would anyone here know why they have an independent board/endowment/etc. Is this just a common thing?

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No, I'm pretty sure the masters are conferred by TC (specifically the "trustees of Columbia University").  

Many years ago, TC used to be a freestanding school.  That's why it is semi-autonomous.  

I think of it as being analogous to Barnard.  Barnard is a liberal arts college in its own right, but it is also the women's college of Columbia University.  No matter the field, if one knows Columbia, one also knows Barnard and TC.  They're under the Columbia University umbrella.   

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For what it's worth, I worked with someone who graduated with a PhD from Teachers College. She always used to say, "A degree from Columbia takes you places.." I've never heard anyone say, "Oh, it's just Teachers College." Whether it is formally or completely linked with Columbia University or not, Teachers College has had a 100+ year presence in the education world, and certainly has a reputation that far exceeds most other graduate schools of education--I think that's the thing to keep in mind more than the 'Columbia connection' or relationship.

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The affiliation between TC and Columbia is complicated and is at least in part an artifact of political and legal and historical quirks that no one cares about at this point.  It is an arrangement that highly unique in post-secondary education.

 

They are the ed school affiliated with Columbia.  They will always be the ed school affiliated with Columbia.  "Teachers College, Columbia University" is the accepted convention as to how to represent the name of the institution.

 

As to hiring committees: opinions about the quality of TC vary widely, but I would argue that has little to do with TC's relationship to Columbia.  There are other schools in the Columbia universe that have equally up-and-down reps (SIPA, Arts)...regardless of the legal structures of their relationships.

Edited by hesadork
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  • 4 weeks later...
  • 4 weeks later...

perhaps I can provide some insight on whether the degree is viewed as the same. I highly disagree with hesadork. I have been on hiring committees and have seen a few people with degrees from TC. Having a degree from Teacher's College is not (emphasis added) the same as a degree from Columbia University. It is viewed as its own institution with some affiliation to Columbia University. But let's face it, it is  easier to get into TC than into other colleges of Columbia. 

 

Having a degree from Teacher's College IS (emphasis added) the same as a degree from Columbia University, even though it has a separate board of trustees, endowment, dean(president) than Columbia. TC is viewed as the graduate school of education at Columbia. Acceptance rates aren't a determiner of whether a school is part of a university. HGSE has higher acceptance rate compared to other schools at Harvard, that doesn't make it any less a part of Harvard University.

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It's not that I'm obsessed with prestige, I work in tech and specifically mentioning TC often confuses people. I'm not arguing that TC is an affiliate school of Columbia, it absolutely is without a doubt. I'm trying to address the original question: "Is a degree from TC ==== a degree from Columbia University?". The answer to which is Yes.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I appreciate all of the responses.

Again, I did not want to give an impression that I was trying to hide behind Columbia's prestige - or hoping to an Ivy League bumper sticker on my car. My point is simple, though:

We pay a lot of money for these degrees. I did not apply just to go to an Ivy League, but I did apply/pay for the education, as well as the opportunity. It's tough when you got into a handful of other schools - and when choosing between a handful of great programs, you begin to really consider prestige. In my decision-making process, I certainly considered the prestige of Columbia University. 

And again, many people say it's okay because TC is highly regarded in education. However, I am not going into teaching, I will be doing an Applied Statistics program, hoping to get into data science/big data in the education field - but for companies (e.g. Udemy, Khan Academy, or even companies like SumAll.org)

I don't want to be disingenuous on my resumes - but at the same time, part of the reason I put all the time and money into this degree is for more opportunities. I hope this doesn't come off as snobby/pretentious/ignorant.

I am also planning on taking a handful of courses from the Columbia University Data Science program, and so I suppose that carries some weight. But it seems like all in all - we can argue about the affiliation of TC and Columbia; and TC degrees being "conferred" by Columbia - but in the end, the most honest way to put the degree is: Teachers College, Columbia University?

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I am also planning on taking a handful of courses from the Columbia University Data Science program, and so I suppose that carries some weight. But it seems like all in all - we can argue about the affiliation of TC and Columbia; and TC degrees being "conferred" by Columbia - but in the end, the most honest way to put the degree is: Teachers College, Columbia University?

 

We're in similar positions.  I won't become a teacher either.  A number of people in my program plan to work in tech/private industry.  

 

Almost all people who go into the classroom/administration (in NYC private schools, at least) tend to have: Teachers College, Columbia University.  However, as someone who won't be in the school system, I plan on having: Columbia University (Teachers College).  I've seen innumerable Barnard alumnae do this.  It's honest, but places the emphasis on the name that is known universally.  Outside of ed., a number of people don't know what TC is (even in the Tri-state area).  Even the department chair of Math, Science and Tech (a scientist, who is still an active biologist/researcher) refers to it as: Columbia University- Teachers College.  As a scientist, who does not intend to be a teacher or an administrator, the Teachers College, Columbia University label is not normative (and it definitely is not a must).  

 

Short answer: For people outside of ed, Teachers College should be included, but it's 100% okay not to list it first the way teachers do.   

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  • 6 months later...
On 2015-06-24 at 11:27 AM, Edugy said:

Every M.A., M.S., and PhD degree are conferred by Columbia. I literally have no idea where MAC2809 is getting their information from.

Hello! So, nowhere on the diploma does it say Teacher's College or TC? I've just been admitted and I'm just wondering what my diploma will look like for my MS degree. Thanks for your input!

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--> Your Diploma will say from Columbia University not TC. Your degree is from Columbia. 

--> I disagree with MAC2809, there are no right or wrong way to say where you received your degree. It is not incorrect to say you graduated from Columbia university (a TC student is also a Columbia student). You are not obligated to say TC. I personally like to state "Teachers College Columbia University" on my resume because I'm very proud to have attended TC (it's a great school). You are not being disingenuous for stating "M.S. Applied Statistic Columbia University December 2017" on your resume. 

--I've interacted with other graduated students from Columbia University (SIPA, School of Journalism, Law School, Engineering, Business school) on many occasions and have yet to be treated less than because I attend TC. In their eyes, I'm a columbia student, not TC. I'm not sure where this notion of inferior originated from. 

--The issue with TC as an affiliation really boils down to the financial aspect. There are less financial resources for TC students compared to Columbia students.  For example, students from other Columbia's school automatically receive 40 pages of free printing while students at TC receive 20 pages (of course there's a loophope but I won't mention it here). Another example, Doctoral programs from Columbia are fully funded while at TC, we would label that as a "miracle". In terms of Education, you will be taught by the best professors and be surrounded by highly motivated, intellectual individuals (this is something that is similar across Columbia University (affiliate or not)).

--In the applied stats program, you are allowed to take Stats classes outside of the department (as long as your advisor approve...which is always a yes). I know students who have taken the required stats classes at the school of public health or the department of stats. I know other students from other columbia's school, that have taken stats classes at TC. 

--The Applied stat program is geared toward those who are interested in education as well as social science (i.e. Psychology, etc) in the sense you will be using educational or psychological datasets for your analysis. In general, statistic is very adaptable; I don't think it matters which dataset you have more experience analyzing, as long as you know how to analyze (which requires an understanding of statistical theories/proof etc).  

--The program offers two types of classes (one geared toward non-majors and the other for majors (heavily statistical/requires calculus))

My resource: Graduating from applied stat at TC this spring. 

 

 

Edited by naomi6
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  • 6 months later...

Naomi is completely right.

 

If you graduate from TC, your degree will say Columbia--not TC. As such, you are allowed to use whatever combination you would like. (Some people use "Teachers College, Columbia University" because that is how TC refers it itself, but you're not wrong to list your education as Columbia.) As people have mentioned, TC used to be on its own. Now, it has a very complicated relationship as an affiliate of Columbia. You'll still see TC listed as Columbia's school of education both in pamphlets and on Columbia's own website. PLUS, you graduate with all of the other Columbia graduates. 

 

I would add that sometimes Columbia limits events to just Columbia College (undergrads) and their school of arts and science. Be prepared to get excluded from some things.

 

 

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  • 1 year later...
  • 1 year later...

My Master of Arts looks identical to my husband's. I went to Teachers College, he went to the Engineering school. However... he gets Alumni emails from Columbia University. I do not. He can access the Columbia library database. I cannot. In the system, TC grads are not considered Columbia grads and you will feel like a second class citizen of the university among other alumni for your entire life. If I could go back, I would have chosen another MA degree within the rest of the university. TC is a good school, but for the alumni privilege it's completely worthless. Hope you chose wisely.

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Can someone, please, without any neurotypical bashing give me an idea of the application process post-submission ? I have skimmed through the site endlessly trying to find out what this 'Video Essay' will entail but the lack or transparency is almost scary ! I get that admissions committees would want the questions to obviously remain confidential, but is it true that applicants only have 10 seconds to think of an answer ? 

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  • 1 year later...

Someone wrote on another site, and this is so true though (from official Columbia website):

"I found out today that although "Columbia University" is included in the name of the School, Teachers College is an affiliate school, and does not have the same status as a Columbia graduate school. Researching further, on Columbia Alumni Association website, it is stated clearly that "Please note that we cannot provide alumni online access to certificate holders, alumni of affiliate schools, current students, faculty, or staff." , or "Unfortunately, this business card service is currently unavailable to alumni of Barnard College, Teachers College, and the Jewish Theological Seminary," or in Alumni Access Page, "Please note we are currently not permitted to offer access to alumni of affiliate schools (Teachers College, Barnard College, Union Theological Seminary, Jewish Theological Seminary, and affiliate programs)." This clearly means that Teachers College are not Columbia alumni. That explains why Teachers College students do not receive Columbia ID cards. Yet, the School lied to students by saying that it is the Columbia School, when even on Columbia's website, Teachers College is listed as an "affiliate school," and not a "Columbia graduate school" as many others. I wonder what happens if current students and Alumni sue the School for defrauding them by lying about what they do not have to sell."

 

Can someone explain this? If not, TC is really just a Columbia school on papers so the tuition can keep raking in to the Trustees and high-level employees at the detriment of ill-informed students.

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As a current student, I can say that much of that information is blatantly misinterpreted/misunderstood. TC is 100 percent an affiliate school of Columbia University similarly to Barnard College. There is no denying that, but the relationship is certainly very unique/odd. First, TC serves as the graduate school of education for Columbia University. The University officially grants degrees to anyone who completes a TC program due to TC's inability to confer its own degrees under the current affiliation agreement (See:https://secretary.columbia.edu/files/secretary/university_charters_and_statutes/University Charters and Statutes_June2017.pdf). This has not changed since 1892. Essentially, the affiliation agreement represents a desire for both institutions to share their resources and incorporate their students under one University. What many outsiders get confused about is why TC remained an affiliate school after all these years. TC wants to retain full academic control over its programs. In addition, they also want to retain control over the salaries/tenures of their faculty. With this in mind, Columbia University essentially allows TC to exist as a graduate school of the university that holds financial independence from university as a whole. They confer degrees for TC graduates because they are Columbia students as well. This is also the same for Barnard graduates (but that relationship seems to ignite more controversy among petty undergraduates). Another vital piece of information to note is that the faculty of TC is the faculty of education within Columbia University. This identifies it as an actual department/school of Columbia University. Affiliate schools such as Union Theological Seminary and the jewish Theological Seminary are not official faculties of the University. The only reason why they classified as affiliate schools is because they offer dual-degree programs and share libraries with the University (Their degrees outside of the dual-degree programs are not conferred by the University). Barnard has a similar degree conferral statue with the UNiversity which classifies them as CU alumni as well, but that relationship requires a whole separate post. Second, the status of TC graduates as Columbia alumni was also something I wanted answers to before I enrolled. I reached out to the Columbia Alumni Association personally, and I was told that all affiliate schools of the University have not opted in to UNI based services with the CAA. This is because they want their students to become registered with their alumni associations first before request alumni access with the CAA. Once TC students are registered as alumni with TC's Alumni Association, you can fill out a form with the CAA and be granted an active alumni association email which provides you with their services. This notion that TC students are not Columbia alumni is entirely false. In fact, here is evidence to prove this point: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AMcBR3T9jXc. Adam Vane is a TC graduate and is a Columbia University alumni. Every alumni within Columbia University is represented with their name, school, and graduation year next to it to represent their affiliation to CU (ex. Adam Vane, TC'01 or John Doe, SEAS'12). In conclusion, TC graduates are Columbia Alumni without a doubt, it just requires an extra step to gain access the CAA specifically. The relationship is absolutely confusing without a doubt. However as a current student, I literally have never been treated differently based on the school I go to within Columbia. In fact, I have access to everything a Columbia College (undergraduate school) student would have! I was able to enroll in the Columbia health insurance plan and dining plac. I was also able to access every single building across the Morningside campus (including Barnard). Our TC IDs are Columbia IDs as well. They have dual access, and are administered by the University. There is a ton of misinformation out there about TC's relationship with CU, but ask any enrolled student across all of Columbia's schools and it is not a debate. TC students are Columbia students/alumni, it is just a complicated legal relationship in order to remain a financially independent school/college of the University. 

 

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They may have told you half-truths. After all, they are Columbia employees, and they are told to protect their business partners so the bank keeps rolling in for the Schools. Or they may just do not know or understand the relationship, just as anyone unfamiliar with it.
 
Note that the upper executive administration knows about this intricate relationship and should have done something about it to simplify the paperwork for students or graduates. The fact that Columbia does not make an effort to do that, and asks that you file extra paperwork in order to prove your eligibility for the Columbia Alumni Association, instead of automatically admitting you to the database when you graduate, is also a red flag.
 
Section 3 of Columbia Alumni Association Bylaws also says that: " Degree holders from the Affiliate Schools of the University (i.e. Barnard College, Teachers College, Jewish Theological Seminary and Union Theological Seminary) (“Affiliate Schools”) may apply to CAA as an individual alumnus/ae for affiliate membership in the CAA with limited rights and privileges."(https://alumni.columbia.edu/content/columbia-alumni-association-bylaws). Check it out and see how strange it is, that as Columbia Alumni, you have "limited rights and privileges" compared to fully integrated Columbia schools.
 
 TC students, as seen on Columbia website, also do not have a Columbia email (columbia.edu, and not tc.columbia.edu, or tc.edu). It is also another red flag, because other schools, such as the Columbia Law School, have both the unique email (law.columbia.edu) and the common (columbia.edu) email account. That allows you to have access to contact with everyone in the university.
 
So you may be an affiliate and take classes at Columbia, but you are not a Columbia student because of the separate legal status between the University and TC.
 
This may be a separate topic, but some people also withdrew from TC after attending this school and witnessed how low quality this School is as an independent institution:
 
 
 
       
Could you perhaps share your experience with us? Perhaps if you and other current students could test for yourselves if TC is really a Columbia school, that will really help us all from being misled, both for the quality of education here and for the name which is sold.
 
 
Edited by Anonym
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  • 3 months later...

Lots of opinions here. Bottom line, Columbia considers Teacher's College one of its colleges, much like Oxford considers Hertford College one of its colleges. 

A graduate of Teachers is thus more broadly also a graduate of Columbia. For those who think it would be more prestigious to graduate from Columbia, know that 

1) Your diploma from Teachers  will also be signed by the President of Columbia

2) If you want to pursue a degree in some aspect of higher education at Columbia, you will need to do it at Teachers. It is their college of education.

3) If you think that employers will regard Teachers with less esteem than Columbia, it would mean that they don't understand items 1 and 2 and they

    don't know much about the history of higher education in the U.S. in which Teachers College played the preeminent role for over a century. 

 

 

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  • 3 months later...

People, it's really not that complicated. Look at the attached Venn Diagram.

Always go to the original source. It takes seconds to confirm TC is a school of Columbia University and its graduates receive Columbia degrees. TC's "president" is the rank of a dean in the University. The term "affiliate" refers to the legal/financial/administrative indepence and implies nothing about whether a school is part of the University.

Untitled.png

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  • 1 month later...

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