New Faculty Profile: Ansley Erickson ☆

After teaching at Syracuse University for the past year, Dr. Ansley Erickson is returning to NYC, where she lived and worked for 11 years. It’s a move that feels like coming home. A Columbia graduate, she is pleased to be joining TC’s Arts & Humanities faculty. “I am excited about the tremendous intellectual resources available at TC, in faculty, in students and in partner institutions.”

With a background in non-profit school reform and professional development, as well as teaching History and Humanities at two small NYC high schools, Dr. Erickson will teach a variety of courses and seminars in the History and Education program. Among them are The History of Education in the United States, a foundations course that students take from all over the college, Federal Education Policy in the 20th Century, aimed at helping students think about the historical roots of the current emphasis on the federal role in schooling, and more specialized seminars that draw on Dr. Erickson’s areas of expertise.

Dr. Erickson studies History in part because it allows us to see how ideas, politics, social movements, economic change and many other factors have come into interaction with one another. “I hope that students will leave my classes both with a sense of what historical developments have shaped American schooling, but also with a broader curiosity about what has, and what could, make change in schooling and beyond.”

Her research explores inequality in schools, and she is currently working on a book about how schools have been central venues for the construction of metropolitan inequality in the US since World War II. “My first book will focus on Nashville, Tennessee, which differs in many ways from New York.  Yet the core question of how the pursuit of economic growth may foster further inequality by race and class, and how schools have figured in that process, is one that applies to many cities.”

Dr. Erickson looks forward to meeting new colleagues and students, and thinking broadly about how historical inquiry can be of use to people engaged in a wide range of research and policy efforts. She also hopes to take advantage of New York’s great parks and museums with her two young daughters, and also enjoys running, swimming, and practicing yoga.