Snapshots of Steinhardt

History of the Deans

Dominic Brewer
Dean of the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, 2014-

Appointed as the 13th dean of the Steinhardt School in September 2014, Dominic Brewer is a labor economist specializing in the economics of education and education policy. He is the author of numerous books, articles and chapters on a broad range of education issues in both K−12 and higher education. Prior to his appointment as dean, Brewer was the Clifford H. and Betty C. Allen Professor in Urban Leadership at the University of Southern California Rossier School of Education, where he also served five years in Associate and Vice Dean roles. Prior to joining USC, he spent 11 years at the RAND Corporation, rising to vice president in 2004. He holds a PhD in Labor Economics from Cornell University..


Mary M. Brabeck
Dean of the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, 2003-2014

A respected leader in applied psychology, Mary Brabeck arrived at the Steinhardt School in 2003. Her commitment to cross-disciplinary research and collaboration attracted her to Steinhardt’s diverse programs. During her tenure, she redefined its mission as advancing knowledge, creativity, and innovation at the crossroads of human learning, culture, development, and well-being. To help fulfill that mission, she initiated challenge grants to encourage innovative faculty research and interdisciplinary curricula, and she worked with faculty and partners across NYU to launch new applied research centers and institutes, including the Institute for Human Development and Social Change, the Research Alliance for New York City Schools, and the Center for Research on Higher Education Outcomes. During her eleven years as dean, the number of full-time faculty increased by 21 percent, the number of funded research grants increased by 45 percent, and Steinhardt’s annual fund and endowment both tripled in size. A strong advocate for teacher education reform and improved standards, Brabeck was appointed chair of the board of directors of the national Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation in 2013.


Ann Marcus
Dean of the Steinhardt School of Education, 1990-2003

During Ann Marcus' leadership, the School of Education achieved national stature among professional schools for innovation and excellence in the preparation of professionals in education, nursing, health, communications, music, and art. The School also gained influence through the strength of its research and policy studies, and the depth and breadth of its commitment to the urban community. Dr. Marcus strengthened the School's culture and academic reach by creating an environment that encouraged faculty to collaborate, take risks, and enact their visions by supporting path-breaking research partnerships with communities and institutions. During Dr. Marcus' 14-year tenure, there was a marked growth in student quality and diversity, recruitment of distinguished faculty, and unprecedented support from public and private sources for research and training, including a gift from Michael and Judy Steinhardt, whose name the School now carries.


Robert A. Burnham
Dean of the School of Education, Health, Nursing & Arts Professions, 1983-1989

Robert A. Burnham came to New York University from Ohio State University-Columbus, where he had been dean of the College of Education and acting vice president for communications and development. Committed to the development of technology to aid in education, he helped organize an International Teleconference on Uses of Microcomputers in Education in 1983. Burnham encouraged faculty within SEHNAP to envision how computers and new technology could assist them in their teaching and research. In 1987 Burnham organized a program planning commission, comprised of faculty and administrators to strategize about the School's future. Burnham served as executive director of the Deans' Network, a national consortium of forty-four colleges of education deans.


Daniel E. Griffiths
Dean of the School of Education, 1965-1983

It was during the tenure of Daniel E. Griffiths (1917-1999) that the School's name was changed to the School of Education, Health, Nursing and Arts Professions (SEHNAP). This change typified Griffiths' efforts to make known the diversity of programs housed within the growing school. During his 18-year tenure, Griffiths guided the School through the social, political and economic upheaval of the 1960s, 1970s, and early 1980s. As dean, he developed a nationally visible department of educational administration, and introduced some forty programs to meet society's emerging needs. A specialist in educational research and administrative theory, Griffiths encouraged his faculty to pursue research problems in the areas of administration, teaching and learning. In 1969 he established the highly regarded scholarly journal, Education Quarterly.


Walter A. Anderson
Dean of the School of Education, 1960-1964

Walter A. Anderson (1903-1964) was among the best known and busiest educators in the nation. He joined the New York University faculty in 1947 as chair of the department of administration and supervision. Anderson became dean of the School in 1960, but his career was cut short four years later when he died suddenly of a heart attack while preparing to participate in an academic procession. Anderson was active in international affairs, serving for eight years as the administrator of the School of Education's graduate program for teachers and administrators in Puerto Rico and leading educational missions to Korea, West Africa, Iran, and Germany. An avid researcher, he was a consultant for hundreds of surveys of curriculum and teacher training in school systems throughout the world.


George D. Stoddard
Dean of the School of Education, 1956-1960

By the time George D. Stoddard (1897-1981) became dean of the School of Education in 1956, he was already one of the most recognized figures in American education. His association with the school began three years earlier when he left the presidency of the University of Illinois to chair a self-study of New York University's role in the urban community. This study laid the groundwork for curricular and administrative reorganization of the School of Education. An authority on child development, Stoddard wrote extensively about the impact of social and economic forces on a child's performance. After four years as dean, he was appointed executive vice president, and three months later, chancellor of NYU.


Ernest O. Melby
Dean of the School of Education, 1945-1956

Ernest O. Melby (1891-1987) became dean of the School of Education after serving four year as president and chancellor of the University of Montana. He brought to NYU a personal concern for teacher training and emphasized that teachers understand human relations. He modernized the curriculum to combine demonstrative competence with academic achievement, a curriculum that was soon thereafter adopted by the New York State Board of Education. Melby developed programs in community services research, and created a student personnel program, designed to develop academic and leadership potential in aspiring teachers. Melby was the author of newspaper and magazine articles, and six books on education.


E. George Payne
Dean of the School of Education, 1939-1945

Enoch George Payne (1877-1953) was one of the country's preeminent liberal thinkers, whose greatest cause was the recognition and cultivation of minority cultures within society. He devoted himself to the inclusion of Jewish and Negro culture in American education, particularly at colleges and universities. Payne began his twenty-two years of service to NYU as a professor of educational sociology. After becoming dean in 1939, Payne helped guide the School through the World War II years, when enrollment dropped by the thousands as young men and women went to war. He ensured that the School of Education contributed to the war effort on the home front by offering special training programs. During his tenure, a three-year visiting professorship in Negro education and culture were established.


John W. Withers
Dean of the School of Education, 1921-1939

Perhaps the most far-reaching developments in the history of the School of Education occurred under the leadership of John W. Withers (1869-1961). During his eighteen years as dean, the School's enrollment grew from 325 to 8,000 students, stimulated by the addition of an undergraduate division in 1922. The School of Pedagogy became the School of Education in May 1921, and with that change of name came a reorganization that produced significant innovations in the study of education. Withers supervised the construction of the 12-story Education building, which opened in 1930 on the southeast corner of Washington Square, then carefully guided the School through the Depression.


Thomas M. Balliet
Dean of the School of Pedagogy, 1904-1921

Thomas M. Balliet (1863-1942) accepted the invitation to become dean of the School of Pedagogy in 1904 after serving sixteen years as the superintendent of schools in Springfield, Massachusetts. Under Balliet's 15-year leadership, the School of Pedagogy significantly broadened its scope, adding courses in art, domestic art, music (including a department of music education) and a new emphasis on dealing with handicapped and underprivileged students. In 1910 Balliet established the first University chair of Experimental Education in the United States. In his prolific writings and his speaking engagements, Balliet provided a sense of vision for the School of Pedagogy and for the field of education.


Edward R. Shaw
Dean of the School of Pedagogy, 1894-1901

Edward R. Shaw (1856-1903) was part of the team that founded the country's first university based school of education. Appointed a lecturer in educational classics when the School of Pedagogy opened in 1890, Shaw took over the deanship of the School upon the death of Jerome Allen in 1894, and served in that post for seven years. Called an "enthusiast" by many, he possessed a fervor and strength that endeared him to students. A respected researcher in standards of school hygiene, his book on the topic was considered the "best treatise on the subject in the English language" in its time. Although Shaw resigned the deanship in 1901 when the School was restructured, he lectured there until his death in 1903 at the age of forty-eight.


Jerome Allen
Dean of the School of Pedagogy, 1890-1894

Dr. Jerome Allen (1830-1894) became the first dean of the School of Pedagogy when it officially opened on October 1, 1890. Having joined the faculty of NYU as a professor of pedagogy in 1887, he became known for lecturing in special Saturday classes to non-degree students, most of whom were New York City teachers and superintendents. Allen and his students petitioned Chancellor Henry Mitchell McCracken to establish a school of pedagogy that would have the "same privileges and powers as the schools in law and medicine." The result was NYU's School of Pedagogy, the country's first university-based teacher training program. Allen, who conducted seminars in education throughout the country, was also the editor of several education journals and the author of textbooks. He served as dean until his death in 1894.