Office of Alumni Relations

President's Medal of Excellence | Distinguished Alumni Awards | Early Career Awards | Morton Deutsch Awards for Social Justice

President's Medal of Excellence Recipients

Cynthia Bissett Germanotta
See Keynote Speaker Section.

Phyllis L. Kossoff
(M.A.) is a teacher, business owner, advocate and philanthropist who helped found the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (CFF) after her daughter, Stephanie, was diagnosed, raising public awareness, assisting in creating diagnostic and treatment centers and winning state aid for inpatient and outpatient care. Advances facilitated by CFF have increased the average life span with CF from 5 to over 40 years of age. Phyllis is a member of TC’s President’s Advisory Council, Grace Dodge Society and former member of the Alumni Council. The Phyllis and Burton Kossoff Scholarship Fund supports students in TC’s Department of Human Development, while The Phyllis L. Kossoff Lecture on Education and Policy has been delivered by leaders such as Arne Duncan, Merryl Tisch and Carmen Fariña at TC.An alumna of Hunter College and a member of the Delta Phi Epsilon Sorority, Phyllis holds a Certificate of Appreciation from the City of New York and received the Spirit of American Award at the Cystic Fibrosis Volunteer Leadership Conference in 2016. She has established scholarships and lectures at Barnard and Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital, Baruch and Hunter.

Distinguished Alumni and Early Career Award Recipients

Distinguished Alumni Awards

Pam Allyn | M.A. 1988, Deaf/Elementary Education

Pam Allyn, literacy expert, author and activist, is Executive Director of LitWorld, a non-profit she founded in 2008 to cultivate global literacy leaders through transformational literacy experiences that build connection, understanding, resilience and strength. She also founded LitLife, a national educational organization specializing in professional development for preK-12 literacy teachers. She has authored 26 acclaimed books for educators and families, including her most recent book with Dr. Ernest Morrell, Every Child a Super Reader: 7 Strengths to Open a World of Possible (Scholastic, 2015). Known for her work with our nation’s most at-risk children, Allyn leads teachers, families, and communities to adopt the best practices for literacy instruction in schools and homes across the U.S. and internationally. Pam’s work reaches over 25 countries through year-round literacy-based empowerment programs. Over 100 countries celebrate World Read Aloud Day, a special day created by Pam and her colleagues, which honors the power and value of the read aloud.   

Dr. Arthur Chickering |
Ph.D. 1958, Applied Educational Psychology: Schooling and Reading

Dr. Arthur Chickering is one of the leading researchers in student development theory. His ideas and research have helped higher education administrators understand the developmental progress of their students and acted as a foundation for other student development theories that have since been detailed following his first influential publication in 1969, Education and Identity. He introduced the seven vector theory of students’ development in college, a departure from stages and phases of progression toward maturation, autonomy, and identity-formation. Chickering has been an esteemed teacher- scholar, coordinator of assessment, and senior administrator in higher education for well over 40 years. As founding Vice President of Academic Affairs of SUNY-Empire State College, he is credited with playing a pivotal role in developing Empire State College.



Dr. Madeline Heilman | Ph.D. 1972, Social Psychology

Dr. Madeline Heilman is currently a Professor of Psychology at NYU and is one of the leading authorities on gender bias in the workplace. Heilman was a student of Morton Deutsch and built on this foundation of social justice research training that she received at TC and applied it to a population that had received little attention at the time she began her work. Heilman’s work has been cited in major media publications such as the New York Times and has been featured on television shows such as “Good Morning America.” Heilman’s work is the foundation for much of the unconscious bias training that is currently being utilized by corporations in their diversity efforts.


Dr. Tian Ming Sheu |
Ed.D. 1993, Educational Administration

In August 2016, Dr. Tian Ming Sheu was appointed President of the National Academy for Educational Research (NAER) in Taiwan, which serves primarily as a national research institute, responsible for long-term, integrated and systematic research, for developing government policies. He will be leading educational reform in Taiwan, with particular focus on underserved populations. Sheu maintains his title as Professor of Educational Policy and Administration, at National Taiwan Normal University where he has taught since 2006. He has previously served as Chair, Department of Education; Director, Graduate Institute of Educational Policy and Administration; Director, Graduate Institute of Curriculum & Instruction; Director, Center for Educational Research and Evaluation, NTNU in 2010, and Dean of the College of Education in 2013.


Early Career Awards

David Flink | M.A. 2008, Disability Studies in Education

David Flink David Flink (M.A. '08)is the Founder and Chief Empowerment Officer of Eye to Eye, the only national mentoring movement run for and by people with LD/ADHD. David holds a master’s degree in disability studies in education from Columbia University and bachelor’s degrees with honors in education and psychology from Brown University.David sits on three national nonprofit boards: Hunt Alternatives, Generation Citizen, and CAST. He was awarded a Prime Movers Fellowship sponsored by the Hunt Alternatives Fund, is an Ashoka Fellow, and received the GQ Gentleman’s Fund Leader Award. He regularly speaks to audiences ranging from students and educators to social entrepreneurs, policymakers, and corporate leaders. He is the author of Thinking Differently, in which he enlarges our understanding of learning and offers new, powerful strategies for teaching, parenting, and supporting kids with learning and attention issues. For more information about David, his book, and Eye to Eye, visit and


Leticia Lyle | M.A. 2011, Elementary Inclusive Education

Leticia Lyle has specialized in Social and Emotional Teaching and Learning. Director of Curriculum and Teacher Development at Somos Educação, Leticia has successfully founded three organizations focused on social and emotional competencies development and research: Instituto Vila Educação, a nonprofit responsible for the adaptation and implementation of a nationwide SEL program in public elementary schools; Mindset Education, a consulting group focused on helping bring 21st century education to the core of institutions and AfterSchool Educação, an experimental, project and competency based afterschool program and preschool. Recipient of a prestigious Lemann Fellowship for her contributions to Brazilian Public Education, Leticia is also a Post Graduate Studies Course Coordinator at Instituto Singularidades, an university in Brazil focused solely on Teaching and Learning, with the challenge of developing models for preparing teachers to teach in our complex world.


Morton Deutsch Awards for Social Justice

Derald Wing Sue is a pioneer in the field of multicultural psychology, multicultural education, microaggression theory, psychology of racial dialogues, multicultural counseling and therapy, and the psychology of racism/antiracism. He is Professor of Psychology and Education in the Department of Counseling and Clinical Psychology at Teachers College and the School of Social Work, Columbia University.  He received his Ph.D. from the University of Oregon, and served as a training faculty member with the Institute for Management Studies and the Columbia University Executive Training Programs. His current research involves the relationship of microaggressions and difficult dialogues on race.  



Hadia A. Sheerazi, recipient of the Morton Deutsch Award for Outstanding Graduate Student Paper,
 is pursuing a dual master's of science in sustainability management and conflict resolution at Columbia University. She serves as an Ambassador for Girl Rising, ONE Campaign, and Half the Sky, is a Climate Reality Leader, youth expert in the Commonwealth Youth Climate Change Network, and was a delegate in UN ECOSOC Youth Forums, World Bank Youth Summits, and the UN Youth Assembly. She was named a “Global Champion for Women’s Economic” Empowerment” by UN Women’s EmpowerWomen team and is an SDSN Youth Local Pathways Fellow. Hadia’s research and advocacy is focused on climate change, sustainability, gender, DRR, and peace and security.