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Columbia Spectator Staff

Continuing its yearlong trend of reaching out to institutions around the globe, Teachers College has entered into a partnership with Bahçe?ehir University in Istanbul, Turkey. break According to a TC press release, TC President Susan Furhman and Enver Yücel, chairman of the Bahçe?ehir board of trustees, signed a memorandum of understanding on February 5 to "foster a wide-ranging collaboration that includes assisting the Turkish institution in establishing a school of education and launching a center for education and economic development." The agreement commits the two schools to a five-year engagement. In the past year, TC has arranged collaborative efforts in India, Jordan, Bhutan, the Dominican Republic, and Korea. Bahçe?ehir is part of an educational group that operates about 45 nursery, primary, and high schools, university exam tutoring centers, and one of the largest educational publishing houses in Turkey, according to the press release. This effort is led by Francisco Rivera-Batiz, a professor at TC and an affiliate professor at the School of International and Public Affairs. Rivera-Batiz, who is currently on sabbatical in Spain, wrote in an e-mail that "This collaboration involves faculty and student exchanges but also the creation of a joint research Center for Education and Economic Development ... as well as assistance by TC faculty in the creation of a School of Education at Bahçe?ehir University." A document regarding the purpose of the initiative states that, "The cooperation between Bahçe?ehir University and Teachers College, Columbia University, is intended to provide a framework within which both institutions can encourage and support mutually beneficial academic exchanges." In addition, the "Rationale" section of the document describes the increased need for professionals in the 21st century to have global knowledge, so to "advance this cause, both Bahçe?ehir University and Teachers College are committed to internationalization and international cooperation as part of their respective institutional goals." According to this document, the origins of the collaboration between TC and Bahçe?ehir date back to Yücel's 2007 visit to TC, when he looked for "opportunities of academic exchange." Rivera-Batiz will coordinate the Center for Education and Economic Development—which will exist under the Economics and Education program in the department of international and transcultural studies at TC—with involvement from faculty throughout the college, according to a description of the center that he provided. In his e-mail, he described the center as "a new and unique research center in the world." Research topics included in the document focus on links between economic and educational forces, such as how income affects educational equity and how education influences labor-market outcomes. Other TC faculty involved in the initiative include Portia Williams, director of international affairs, and professor Madhabi Chatterji, who is helping to develop an evaluation for K-12 schools.

Turkey Teachers College International Graduate Schools