Elevating Equity in Education: The Lander Center

Leaders and Scholars Advocate For Inclusive Teaching and Learning Environments

July 07, 2021
Velma Cobb
Velma Cobb

While issues on racial and social justice grow increasingly more complex in our society, Touro GSE and its Lander Center for Educational Research are leading the way to dismantle inequities in education. The Lander Center is a leader in the development of habits of mind and praxis in the creation of strong educational environments. Its work is focused on advancing inclusive teaching and learning, research and development, and developing collaborative partnerships. The Center provides unique learning opportunities on trending topics in education presented by invited guest speakers, educational leaders, scholars, practitioners, and advocates who are committed to educational equity.

“We look at conditions that inform teaching and learning undergirded by inclusion, diversity, equity, advocacy and leadership—also known as IDEAL,” said Dr. Velma Cobb, director of the Lander Center for Educational Research. “We believe all educators are leaders and require leadership development whether they serve in administrative roles or not. It requires exceptional leadership skills to manage classrooms and guide children in effective learning, as well as to inform educational change.”

Touro College named the Center in honor of Dr. Rabbi Bernard Lander who was an educational innovator, thought leader, and a tireless advocate for social justice, youth outreach, and human equality. His vision was to meet the needs of a student community that is often overlooked. He created an environment in which cultural and spiritual needs could be fulfilled in students’ educational pursuits.

“Touro’s values are rooted in the Jewish intellectual tradition focusing simultaneously on individual development and the greater good,” said Dr. Nadja Graff, vice president of Touro College Division of Graduate Studies. “Our focus has been serving diverse communities as well as the Orthodox population with exceptional educational opportunities in intellectually rigorous environments across all our schools and programs.”

The Lander Center’s programming is designed to prepare and develop faculty, pre-service and in-service teachers for culturally responsive and sustaining instruction and educational equity. The aim is long lasting, systemic reform. Through monthly professional development offerings, research dissemination, and partnership with other educational organizations, the Center promotes best practices and research on a wide range of topics, including teaching through a lens of thriving, multicultural curriculum, classroom management, reversing inequality, social and emotional learning, and transformation for social justice.

Over the past year, the center’s Talks on Teaching series has brought community members together for the advancement of IDEAL. Prior participating thought leaders include Dr. Kia Darling-Hammond, Stanford University and Director of Education Programs and Research for the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC); Dr. Tonya Walls, Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas; Dr. Cynthia Zwicky, Curriculum and Instruction Professor at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities; and Dr. Angel Acosta, doctoral student at the Teachers College at Columbia University. The Center also launched its inaugural events to commemorate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, which featured U.S. Representative Carolyn B. Maloney, New York 12th Congressional District, and Dr. Stacey Close, Associate Provost and Vice President for Equity and Diversity at Eastern Connecticut State University. For more information on participation in Talks on Teaching or the Center’s many other professional development activities, please contact landercenter@touro.edu