In 2009, teacher education at Oregon State University celebrated one hundred years of teacher preparation. Over the past hundred years, the more than 15,000 graduates of our programs have gone on to work as teachers, counselors, school administrators, and faculty in colleges and universities.
The beginnings of teacher education at Oregon State University were closely connected to the role of land grant universities in the preparation of agricultural and industrial education teachers. In 1909, teacher education was part of the Department of Industrial Pedagogy, with teacher preparation programs in the fields of agriculture, domestic science and art, and manual training. Following the enactment of the Smith-Hughes Act in 1917, the Oregon State Board of Vocational Education designated Oregon State University (then Oregon Agricultural College) as the state institution responsible for the preparation of teachers of vocational subjects. In 1918, in accordance with the Act, the School of Vocational Education was established and Edwin Ressler was appointed as dean. The School of Vocational Education had six departments: agricultural education, commercial education, education, home economics education, industrial education, and psychology. Ressler served as dean until 1926; in 1927, James Ralph Jewell was appointed as dean.
In 1932, the School of Vocational Education became the School of Education with teacher preparation programs in biology and physical sciences, agriculture, mathematics, home economics, industrial arts, secretarial science, and educational and vocational guidance. In 1942, a department of science education was established; in 1950, physical education was added; and in 1951, a cooperative elementary education program (in cooperation with colleges in Monmouth, Ashland, and LaGrande) was added. In 1952, Franklin R. Zeran was appointed dean of the School of Education and in the following year, the State Board of Education approved a four year degree in elementary education which began in September, 1954.
In 1960, Oregon State University teacher education programs were accredited by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). A doctorate in philosophy in education was offered in 1962. In 1965, a department of elementary education was established. In 1967, Dean Zeran retired and in 1968, Keith Goldhammer was appointed as dean and served until 1972. Stanley Williamson, a professor of science education, served as acting dean from 1972 until 1975, when Sylvia Tucker was appointed as dean. Dean Tucker retired in 1981 and was succeeded by Robert Barr, who provided leadership for the merger of education programs at Oregon State University and Western Oregon University (then Western Oregon College of Education), which became the largest school of education and the state and region but, due to logistical challenges, ended in July, 1989. Following the end of the merged OSU-WOSC School of Education, the OSU School of Education was designated as the College of Education. Dean Barr resigned in November of 1989 and was replaced by Wayne Haverson, Associate Dean of Education. In July of 1990, Wayne Haverson was appointed Acting Dean of the College of Education.
In 1991, following the passage of a state property tax limitation which resulted in substantial reduction in state funding for higher education, the Colleges of Education and Home Economics were merged. Following the merger, Wayne Haverson was appointed Director of the School of Education, an academic unit within the merged College of Home Economics and Education. At the end of the 1991-1992 academic year, all undergraduate education programs were closed and in the fall of 1992, new graduate MAT programs were offered in the areas of agriculture education, business, elementary education, English education, health education, home economics education, marketing education, mathematics education, music education, physical education, science education, and technology education. From 1990 through 1992, the structure of the teacher education unit was reconfigured. All faculty were required to reapply for positions in either the newly merged College of Home Economics and Education or one of the other participating campus units. Because of the reduction in program size and budget, some faculty (including tenure-track) lost their positions, some retired early, and some received appointments in other colleges. Under Director Haverson’s leadership, the School of Education developed effective web-based and distance programs, and strengthened programs related to diversity.
In February of 2001, OSU Provost, Tim White, appointed an Education Design Group to advise the University leadership on the future vision and design for Education as a professional field of study at the University. Headed by George Copa, Interim Dean of Education, the group included 39 members, about equally divided between those inside and outside of the University, including representation from all OSU units with education programs and all major constituency groups. Major recommendations of the design group included the creation of a College of Education with the charge of creating a new approach to teacher education that engages all of the university and meets the needs of Oregon schools.
Following the release of the Education Design Group Report, the School of Education was reestablished as a free standing academic unit and Sam Stern was appointed as Dean in March of 2002. At that time, 4-H Youth Development Education became a part of the new School of Education and shortly afterwards, the College Student Services Administration graduate program and then the Science and Math Investigative Learning Experiences (SMILE) program also joined the School. Building on the recommendations of the Education Design Group, a new university-wide teacher education program, the Education Double Degree, was developed and implemented in fall of 2003. In the spring of 2005, the School was designated as the College of Education with the unanimous support of the University Faculty Senate and action by the Provost and President of OSU and the Chancellor and State Board of Higher Education.
In 2009, one hundred years after the beginnings of teacher education at Oregon State University, both the “home base” for OSU education programs (the College of Education) and the engagement of the larger university have been strengthened, resulting in increasing impact on teaching and learning in and out of schools.
OSU teacher education programs now serve about 1,800 students, about 1,500 undergraduates (Education Double Degree students), and about 300 graduate students. Much of the university is involved in teacher education through the growth of the Education Double Degree whereby all students are completing two degrees concurrently, one in an OSU degree area and a second in education. Collaborations with the 4-H Youth Development Education program, SMILE, and the Western Center are increasing impact and coherence of in and out-of-school learning. Substantive partnerships with schools, including the Immersion Program, Mid-Valley Partnership, and recent Beaverton-OSU Grow-Your-Own Project, are creating more sustainable impact. After a hundred years of teacher education, Oregon State University is well positioned for even greater impact in the century to come.