Among her many professional accomplishments, Dorothy Strickland was the founding editor of TCP’s Language and Literacy Series. Its success and longstanding reputation in the field is a testament to her influence to this day. Her series co-editor, Celia Genishi, Professor Emerita at Teachers College, shared the following remembrance of working with Dorothy on the series.
We may remember this season as one framed by the coronavirus. Fortunately for Teachers College Press, it is also a time to appreciate a strong and positive force: Dorothy S. Strickland, Samuel DeWitt Proctor Professor of Education Emerita at Rutgers University and former co-editor of the Language and Literacy Series, which she founded. In the fall of 1990, Dorothy walked out her office door at Teachers College, Columbia University to accept a named professorship in her home state of New Jersey. In the process she made room for me as I became a mid-career academic, focusing on early childhood education and literacy. I remember thinking that I would never have the scope of Dorothy’s vision and professional influence, but she was confident that I would find a platform for my own efforts and style. A quality that I hoped to emulate was her unwillingness to compartmentalize. When she spoke and wrote, she typically addressed those who worked with young children, as well as with adults in and out of the classroom. In her straightforward, open, and practical way, she created an editorial team for the Language and Literacy Series that combined her “all-level” approach with my focus on the early childhood and elementary years. Her ideas and experience gave concrete meaning to the term “all level.” She was ahead of her time as she demonstrated how the conventional divisions that separated speaking, listening, reading, and writing were often invisible or not relevant. She was as comfortable with research and practice in “reading” as she was with the artistry of poetry and literature. Her intellectual strength and fluidity and grace as a friend and colleague will make her impact on the field lasting and unique.