Your journey at TC doesn’t end with a degree. Once you graduate, you join a more than 90,000-strong alumni community. We talked to Jeffrey Putman (M.A., Ed.M, and Ed.D. ’11 Higher and Postsecondary Education), an active member of the Alumni Association, on what he does to give back and what it means to him. Putman was involved in the association from the time he finished his first master’s degree. It has allowed him to stay connected with the College after graduation and is something he’s still heavily involved in.
“I served two full terms on the Alumni Council, which is the group that heads the Alumni Association, including serving as the first elected president of the association,” Putnam says. The Alumni Association helps connect current students and graduates in their geographic area or field of study. In cooperation with TC NEXT, association members sit on career panels, perform mock interviews, organize networking events, and attend national conferences. “My favorite events have been the ones we’ve done for the Higher Education programs. For me, it’s satisfying to help students in my program get their first or second professional jobs.”
TC was always a part of Jeffrey Putman’s legacy. “My father earned two degrees from Teachers College before working as a teacher for over 40 years. He was a student worker in the Registrar’s office, where he met my mother, the Registrar’s secretary,” he says. Long after his parents moved on, Putnam returned to TC as a student in 1996, earning three degrees culminating in an Ed.D. in 2011.
Students wishing to connect to alumni have several resources at TC. In addition to the Alumni Association, the Office of Alumni Experience frequently hosts events, including the weekly virtual lounge. “We’ve done virtual programming to make sure that alums who can’t come back to campus or be a part of group meetings are also able to be reconnected,” Putnam says.
After spending 14 years pursuing degrees at Teachers College, there are bound to be things to grow attached to. “I miss being a part of a like-minded group focused on helping and supporting students and figuring out the answers to problems and the best way to solve them with a social justice focus,” Putnam says. Being involved with alumni allows him to stay connected with that community.
“Choosing to go to TC is a commitment to a type of lifestyle and the work you’re doing after you finish your degree. To get there, you have a very supportive community in your fellow students and the faculty, who help you get to the point where you can become the professional you want to be.” And as Putnam’s postgraduate TC connection attests, that supportive community will be there long after you graduate.