Erica N. Walker, Professor of Mathematics & Education, has been named the new Director of Teachers College’s Institute for Urban & Minority Education (IUME), effective Jan. 1, 2018.
Walker, a former public high school mathematics teacher who earned her doctorate from Harvard University in administration, planning and social policy, is an authority on the social and cultural factors and educational policies and practices that facilitate math engagement, learning and performance, especially for underserved students.
She is the author of two books, "Building Mathematics Learning Communities: Improving Outcomes in Urban High Schools" (Teachers College Press, 2012) and "Beyond Banneker: Black Mathematicians and the Paths to Excellence" (SUNY Press, 2014).
In 2015, she delivered the prestigious Etta Z. Falconer Lecture in Washington, D.C., to mark the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Mathematical Association of America.
Walker also will continue to serve as Chair of the College’s Department of Math, Science & Technology.
“I’m greatly honored to have the opportunity to lead IUME, which is such a central part of Teachers College and was one of the very first university initiatives of its kind to address issues in urban education and advocate for underserved people," said Walker.
Walker’s association with IUME dates back to her arrival at Teachers College in 2001 as a Minority Postdoctoral Fellow. She was soon named a Research Fellow at the Institute and subsequently a Faculty Fellow.
“I’m greatly honored to have the opportunity to lead IUME, which is such a central part of Teachers College and was one of the very first university initiatives of its kind to address issues in urban education and advocate for underserved people,” she said.
Walker offered particular praise for IUME’s use of cities as “text” and as rich sites for developing human potential.
“IUME has always had a strong combination of faculty, students and staff whose interest in educational opportunity and equity extends beyond the classroom,” she said. “And that’s appropriate, because TC is the home of John Dewey, and the belief that life itself is education is a key idea, central to the College’s mission. How we see cities as landscapes for learning and as contested sites of democracy and power is central to educational questions today.”
Last year, Walker delivered IUME’s fourth annual Edmund W. Gordon Lecture, in which she argued that more students might identify as “math people” if schools leveraged their informal introductions to the subject by “sponsors” of all rank and station. She is anxious to continue building IUME as a site of inquiry and advocacy.