TCNJ welcomes Salika Lawrence, who joins the School of Education as the inaugural Campbell Endowed Chair of Urban Education. She began her new post on August 15, 2019.
As chair, Lawrence will develop programming related to urban education, mentor students in the urban education programs, develop and sustain strategic partnerships with teachers and administrators in local urban districts, and collaborate with faculty peers and partners in local districts.
“The endowed chair in urban education shows TCNJ’s commitment to preparing teachers to work in urban areas and to partnering with urban districts to make sure they’re places where our alumni want to work and want to stay,” says Suzanne McCotter, dean of TCNJ’s School of Education.
McCotter says that New Jersey is in need of more special education and bilingual teachers, more teachers of color, and more teachers in urban areas. “Urban centers often have the hardest time attracting and retaining talented teachers,” she says.
Lawrence’s professional interests in urban education and sociology of education make her uniquely suited for the position of Campbell Endowed Chair of Urban Education, having published articles about teaching to engage diverse learners, pre-service teachers’ use of multicultural literature, and standardized testing as a barrier to certification of minority teaching candidates.
“This position provides a platform that can help build capacity and leverage resources to support local schools and communities,” says Lawrence. “I am humbled and grateful for the opportunity to use this platform to serve urban educators and represent TCNJ.”
Lawrence earned a PhD in education with a specialization in language, literacy, and learning from Fordham University in 2007. Before pursuing her career as a college professor, Lawrence worked as a middle and high school teacher and literacy coach with the New York City Department of Education. Most recently, she served as an associate professor of literacy and teacher education at City University of New York, Medgar Evers College.
The chairship was made possible by a $2 million gift from Joan Padula Campbell ’56 and her husband Robert. “When an institution brings in better faculty, it attracts other high-caliber faculty, and in turn, it creates better students,” said Robert in a 2017 interview with TCNJ Magazine. “Quality begets quality.”
— Sarah Voorhees ’20