As one of the leading education programs in the nation, in 2014, Barnard was selected as the first higher education partner of The Academy for Teachers, a not-for-profit organization that organizes master classes, lectures, performances, and other events for New York City’s most exceptional teachers. Since that time, more than 50 leading NYC schoolteachers—nominated by peers or school administrators—have annually attended master classes at Barnard. This Friday, Barnard will host 13 teachers at a daylong master class, “Following the Dog into the World of Smell,” taught by dog-cognition expert and best-selling author Prof. Alexandra Horowitz.

The AFT sought-out the Barnard Education Program as its first institutional partner because of the alignment with the Program’s mission. Since The AFT has teamed up with Barnard, Columbia University and Princeton University have also become partner institutions.

“Our Program mission—to strengthen public education and to address issues of equity and social justice, particularly in urban schools—aligns well with the mission of the Academy,” Associate Professor of Education and Education Program Chair Maria Rivera said. “Additionally, many of our education majors and other Barnard graduates become teachers and choose to teach in New York City, which means those alumnae have the opportunity to be selected as Academy Fellows.”  

To date, 11 alumnae have become Fellows and have participated in one or more of the master classes held at Barnard or elsewhere.

At Friday’s master class, teachers will spend the morning working closely with “master” Prof. Horowitz to learn more about her field of research. The afternoon will be devoted to sharing ideas and strategies to enhance professional development.

“Because the Academy brings teachers from public, private, and charter schools together, with the private schools subsidizing the attendance of public school teachers, this model ensures equity and dissemination of best practices, regardless of what type of school the teachers come from,” Rivera explained. “The greater goal is to always honor and support New York City’s amazing educators.”

Barnard’s Education Program is guided by the principles that teaching is a moral and political act and grounded in an ethic of care, that learning is an active process requiring engagement, that all students are capable of learning, and that literacy is a civil right. Partnering with The Academy ensures that these principles are fulfilled, benefitting everyone—teachers, learners, and citizens.