Dear Members of the TC Community,
We write to share the sad news that Dennis Mithaug, Professor Emeritus of Education at TC, passed away on December 2, 2023. Prof. Mithaug was part of the Teachers College community for over 18 years. He joined our faculty in 1991 after having served as Professor and Dean of the School of Education at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. Here at TC, Prof. Mithaug served as Chair of the Department of Special Education from 1991 to 1996 and became its director when the program was later housed within TC’s Department of Health and Behavior Studies.
Prof. Mithaug was nationally celebrated as a leading scholar in the field of special education. An active researcher and prolific author, he published numerous journal articles, instructional materials and books, and directed nearly two dozen federal- or state-funded grant projects.
Prof. Mithaug’s pioneering research, conducted with James Martin of the University of Colorado, on individuals with disabilities and their concepts of self-determination is considered among his most important contributions to his field. Together, the two researchers developed the “self-directed employment model,” in which youth and adults with disabilities actively participate in assessing their skills, choosing a job and solving on-the-job problems. Prof. Mithaug also worked with colleagues to develop a theory of learning that placed self-engagement at the center of why, how and what people learn, whether they are disabled or not.
Along with his scholarly accomplishments, Prof. Mithaug was a founding member and President of the Division for Research at the Council for Exceptional Children, the largest international professional organization dedicated to improving the success of children and youth with disabilities as well as gifted youth.
TC extends its heartfelt condolences to Prof. Mithaug’s family and loved ones in their time of mourning, and we ask that our community join in celebrating his life and his vital scholarship.
KerryAnn O’MearaProvost and Dean of the CollegeProfessor of Higher EducationTeachers College, Columbia Universityshe/her/hers
Laudan JahromiChair, Department of Health Studies & Applied Educational PsychologyProfessor of Psychology and EducationTeachers College, Columbia Universityshe/her/hers
Published Thursday, Jan 25, 2024