As the sun sets on another remarkable day, I am transported back in time. Two and a half decades ago, I completed my studies and humbly exited the building doors of the first and highest-ranking graduate school of education in the United States – my alma mater – TC Columbia University. Just a few days ago, I set foot onto the iconic grounds of TC Columbia, eager to explore the realms of knowledge and kickstart my journey into the field of higher education.
Each step I took was a poignant reminder of the milestones I’ve achieved and the memories I’ve made. In the warm glow of nostalgia, every corner whispered tales of my younger self brimming with aspirations and enthusiasm. This year marks the silver jubilee of that transformative phase in my life.
But this return to my alma mater wasn’t merely an exercise in reminiscing. Instead, it served a profound purpose. I was honored to lecture to and engage with a dynamic group of doctoral students. These brilliant minds, hailing from varied professional backgrounds and diverse nations, embody the future of education. Their passion and thirst for knowledge resonated deeply within my core.
Our collective endeavor for the semester is ambitious and involves an in-depth research project focusing on 2-year colleges across the United States. Higher education today stands at a crossroads with intricate and intense challenges. Our research aims to uncover solutions, delve into best practices, and present actionable strategies that can lead the way forward. The genesis of this mission is Generations College, an institution close to my heart and central to our exploratory narrative.
The path I embarked upon 25 years ago at Columbia was not just about acquiring knowledge but about fostering an unquenchable curiosity and a drive to make a tangible difference in the world. Today, as I pen these reflections, I am grateful for the journey and hopeful for the countless student and institutional success stories waiting to be written.