Throughout its history, WSU’s College of Education has grown and changed to meet the challenges of preparing education professionals for an increasingly complex and specialized world. The college has expanded to include not only the preparation of teachers and education leaders, but counselors, educational psychologists, sport managers and professionals in human performance studies. New methods of pedagogy are continuously explored and analyzed – leading to academic innovation in
learning and living.
As the highest point overlooking the city of Wichita, the center of which sat in the wide river valley, four miles to the southwest, Fairmount Hill was chosen for the location of the educational institution that would be known over the years as Fairmount Institute, Fairmount College, Wichita University and eventually, Wichita State University.
The education and preparation of teachers had been an emphasis of Fairmount Institute and took an even greater role in its successor, Fairmount College, in 1895. The pedagogy section of Fairmount College offered the following classes: history of education, philosophy of education, school administration, and medieval and modern theories of education. A department of education was added to Fairmount College in 1911, headed by Professor Wilfred G. Binnewies.
Begun as a private educational endeavor by the Congregational Church in the 1880s, and after a long financial struggle to stay afloat, on April 24, 1926, Wichita voters overwhelmingly approved a plan to take on the college as a municipal university – the first of its kind west of the Mississippi. The new institution was called Wichita University.
John D. Findlayson, president of Fairmount College since September 1922, was the first president of Wichita University (but resigned the post in February, 1927). In the fall of 1926, Wichita University began with 569 students and four colleges: education, fine arts, commerce and industry, and liberal arts. During that first year, the College of Education had two professors and fewer than two dozen students. O.L. Troxel was dean of the College of Education and served in that capacity until 1929.
From the beginning, Fairmount College, and then Wichita University, was an urban institution. Many students commuted from town via electric streetcars and were sometimes called upon to help the driver remount the car when it jumped the track. The university was also promoted as an egalitarian institution, its early founders envisioning a place of higher learning for all citizens of the burgeoning prairie town. Perhaps due to Fairmount’s initial vision as a “women’s college,” women constituted a substantial portion of the student body as well as faculty and staff.
The first president of Fairmount College, Nathan Morrison wrote, “Fairmount College is for all races, as well as all creeds and both sexes. We must never go back on that principle no matter what may befall…” By 1929, WU had 26 African American students and boasted at least six foreign students.
The concept of the Wichita community as a laboratory for university students also began early on. It was observed that cooperative efforts between classes and businesses provided mutual benefits, providing on-site learning for students and innovative ideas and a well-trained workforce for growing businesses. This symbiotic relationship between the university and community has greatly expanded over time and has become a tremendous asset to both entities.
In 1926, the courses of study and instructors in the College of Education were:
Public school art – Elizabeth Sprague
Biology – Hazel Elizabeth Branch
Education – Leslie Eichelberger
Home economics – Grace Wilkie
Philosophy – Arthur Hoare
Physical education – Irene Tihen and Leonard Umnus
Psychology – W.H. Mikesell
Public school music – Sarah W. Neidhardt
Sociology – Ross Sanderson
Speech and dramatic expression – George Wilner
In 1927, biology and home economics courses were discontinued. Zoology was added and was taught by Hazel Branch. In 1929, athletics for men was added.
Leslie B. Sipple became the second dean of the College of Education in 1929.
In 1930, education majors could choose an area of emphasis. These emphases were: art, botany, business administration, chemistry, economics, English, expression, geology, geography, German, history, journalism, mathematics, music, philosophy, psychology, Spanish, speech, and zoology.
Instructors in 1930 were:
Art – Clayton H. Staples
Athletic coaching for men – Harry Goerger
Botany – Clinton C. McDonald
Business administration – S. W. Wright
Chemistry – Worth Fletcher
Economics – Ralph B. Crum
Education – Leslie Sipple
English – Ralph B. Crum
Expression – George Wilner
Geology – Walter C. Folley
German – Kurt A. Sepmeier
History – John Rydjord
Journalism – Walter C. Folley
Mathematics – Arthur J. Hoare
Music – Francis Diers
Philosophy – W.H. Mikesell
Physical Education for Women – Gladys Taggert
Psychology – W.H. Mikesell
Spanish – Samuel A. Wofsy
Speech – George Wilner
Zoology – Hazel Elizabeth Branch
New majors were offered in 1932 and 1933 including commerce under S.W. Wright, Latin under the direction of Viola McKinney Beebee, modern language under Jacquetta Mae Downing, German under Kurt Sepmeier, Spanish under Samuel Wofsy, and social sciences under Glenn A. Bakkum.
In 1939, the College of Education offered a Bachelor of Science degree in public school music. Also beginning that year, students were offered a logopedics major by working with the Institute of Logopedics, under the direction of Martin Palmer.
In his centennial history of Wichita State University, “Uncloistered Halls,” Craig Miner writes, “No doubt the special university program of the thirties of greatest lasting significance was the Institute of Logopedics.”
The Institute of Logopedics grew out of an effort in the 1930s by Wichita University President Harold Waldstein Foght to set up a school for disabled children in the children’s ward of Wesley Hospital. The program was supervised by Mrs. C.A. Mahin, an assistant professor of education. Nine public school teachers donated their time to teach the children. In working with children at the hospital, it became apparent that there was a great need for research and development of methodology in speech therapy. In 1934, Mrs. E.M. Brown of Salina donated $2,000 to establish the Flo Brown Memorial Lab, named for her daughter, at Wichita University.
Demand for speech therapy services surged (from a case load of 50 in 1934 to over 100,000 by 1944), and in 1936, A.A. Hyde, owner of Wichita’s Mentholatum Company made a $10,000 donation to the lab. In 1937, the state of Kansas began providing annual funding to the program. In 1940, the lab adopted the name Institute of Logopedics (combining the Greek words for “word” and “child”). In 1949, a residential campus was built for the Institute of Logopedics a few blocks west of the Wichita University campus. The first director of the Institute, Dr. Martin Palmer, developed the now non-profit organization (1945) into a national and international leader in the research and treatment of speech and hearing disorders.
In 1993, the Institute changed its name to Heartspring and shortly after, began a capital campaign to raise $12 million for a new campus. The facility was completed and the organization moved to its new campus on east 29th Street in April 1998. Heartspring is known as a worldwide center for children with special needs. It operates a residential and day school for children with autism, Asperger's Syndrome, speech and language impairments, visual impairments, deaf/hard of hearing, cerebral palsy, challenging behaviors and for those with multiple disabilities.
By 2008, Heartspring’s World Reach program extended its mission to countries around the world and worked with program partners in Croatia, Myanmar, Romania, Malawi, and The People’s Republic of China.
A Ph.D. program within the Institute of Logopedics began in 1959 – the first doctoral program to be developed at Wichita University. A specialist program in educational administration was created in 1962 – again the first post-master’s specialist program to be offered at the institution.
A religious education minor was offered in 1940. A master of arts degree in education was offered in 1941. In 1950 an industrial arts major was offered under William Nagal. A major in special education became available in 1951.
Jackson O. Powell was dean of the College of Education from 1951 to 1967.
Majors offered in 1952:
English language and literature
Speech and dramatic art
New majors added during Powell’s tenure:
Air science – Peter DeGroot
Educational psychology – Gordon Hanson
History and philosophy education – Lambertus Hekhuis
Industrial education – Jewell E. Moore
Library science – Downing P. O’Hara
Military science (ROTC) – John J. Beeson
Student personnel and guidance – Jackson O. Powell
In 1956, Dean Jackson Powell approached WU President Harry F. Corbin with the idea of building an education center. The College of Education’s administrative offices were in Jardine Hall and classes were held in a variety of buildings across the campus. The college had no real “home.” Powell envisioned a facility that would reflect and enhance the innovative nature of the college’s education programs. His idea was to construct two separate but complementary buildings: one to house faculty and administrative offices, classrooms and meeting rooms for undergraduate and graduate students; the other was to be an educational laboratory – an elementary school in which the latest educational research and methodology could be put into practice, measured, observed and analyzed.
Powell and Corbin discussed the idea that such an innovative educational laboratory would require an innovative architect to provide the design. They chose to approach renowned American architect, Frank Lloyd Wright. Late in 1956, Powell wrote a letter to Wright telling him of the proposed project. Correspondence continued between Powell and the architect and in July 1957, Corbin and Powell went to visit Wright at his office.
Wright sent his designs for the two buildings in April, 1958. The building to house the administrative offices was based on a design for the Telegraph and Post Building in Baghdad, Iraq, that Wright had designed earlier, but was never built. The other building, to house the educational laboratory, was round, with a triangular appendage on one side – a unique cone shape.
Frank Lloyd Wright died April 9, 1959. Correspondence and negotiations continued between Corbin and Wright’s representatives for several years. Funding was secured for only one of the buildings – the administrative building – in the amount of $950,000 which included furnishings designed by the Frank Lloyd Wright studio. Mrs. Wright (Olgivana) chose the color scheme of terra cotta and turquoise for the interior of the building. Mrs. Wright was also on hand for the dedication of the building on June 28, 1964.
A proposal to add Wichita University to the state system became a legislative issue in 1961. University president Harry F. Corbin fought a long battle with legislators who were opposed to the idea of Wichita University being added to the regents system. On May 4, 1963, Wichita voters overwhelmingly approved a referendum to deed the municipal university, debt free, to the state of Kansas. After much debate and defense of the need for post-secondary education in south central Kansas, Wichita University became Wichita State University on July 1, 1964.
The change to the state system brought more state and federal funding, lowered costs to the institution (mostly due to state purchase contracts), lowered tuition and greatly increased enrollment. Whereas Wichita residents who were undergraduates paid $12.50 per credit hour and graduate students paid $15 per credit hour at Wichita University, under the new system, any Kansas resident, regardless of graduate status paid $6 per credit hour.
There were few changes to the curriculum within the College of Education when the university entered the state system. One was the addition of an Administration and Curriculum major, and courses offered in speech pathology, audiology and deaf education, all under the direction of Clarence Simon. Political science (under Hugo Wall) and aerospace studies were added in 1965.
Bill J. Fullerton was dean of the College of Education from 1967 to 1968.
Biology was added as an area of emphasis in 1968. Speech and dramatic art, botany, bacteriology, teacher education, zoology and home economics were all dropped.
Leonard M. Chaffee served as dean of the college for twenty years, from 1968 to 1988.
The following courses were added in 1969:
American studies (previously American Civilization) – Ross McLaury Taylor
Business education – Margaret Jantze
Natural and biological sciences – George Sweet
Physical sciences – Gerald D. Loper, Jr.
Political studies – John H. Millett
Social studies – Amy G. Gerling
Speech – Leslie Blake.
A Foundations of Education Division was added, directed by Harold L. Stauffer.
New majors offered in 1972 were industrial education under George Duerksen and sociology under Amy G. Gerling.
Two new departments were formed: Instructional Services and Personnel Services.
In 1973, new advanced degrees offered were: master of education, master of science education and a specialist in education.
In 1974, the majors were:
English language and literature
Natural sciences (biological and physical)
In Dean Chaffee’s report, “The College of Education looks to the future: A response for the 1980s,” dated August, 1978 it is stated that, “In recent years, the College has been confronted with declining enrollments in its undergraduate teacher preparation programs. It is not unique in that regard since all colleges of education have been faced with the reality of a temporary surplus of teachers.”
Psychology was added in 1984. A speech/theatre combination was added in 1985.
The Department of Industrial Education was changed in name to the Department of Industrial Technology in 1988. Also that year, the classical languages emphasis was changed in name to Latin.
Robert L. McCroskey was appointed interim dean from 1988 to 1989.
Maurine A. Fry became dean in 1989 and served until 1993.
In 1989, the majors were:
English language and literature
Foreign languages (French, German, Latin and Spanish)
Sciences (biology, chemistry, biological and physical natural sciences,
Social studies comprehensive
Social studies core (economics, geography, history, political science,
sociology and anthropology)
Speech communication (rhetoric, communication and theatre)
In 1990, under the tenure of Dean Fry, the Department of Instructional Services’ name was changed to the Department of Curriculum and Instruction. The other five departments were: Counseling, Educational and School Psychology, Communicative Disorders and Sciences, Educational Administration and Supervision, Health, Physical Education and Recreation and Industrial Technology.
The Military Science program (ROTC) was withdrawn from the university as of July 1, 1991.
In 1992, a doctoral degree in Educational Administration was approved.
The 1990s brought the realization that baby boomers were nearing retirement age, and an impending teacher shortage – especially in science and mathematics – would become a critical issue in education. That, combined with massive work force reduction in the area’s aerospace industries, displacing employees with science, engineering and mathematics backgrounds, created a need to develop alternative pathways to teacher licensure.
An alternative licensure program now known as “Transition to Teaching” began within the College of Education in 1992. Under the auspices of the Kansas Department of Education, an agreement was made between the Peace Corps Fellows USA Program and Wichita State University to begin the approved innovative program. Modeled after a similar alternative licensure program developed at Columbia University in 1985, the funding was provided by DeWitt-Wallace Reader’s Digest Fund. By 1996, the program received KSDE approval to expand, allowing non-Peace Corps candidates to enter the program.
In 2001, through a partnership with the Wichita School District, the program received funding from grant monies through the U.S. Department of Education. Additional funding was provided by Raytheon Aircraft and the City of Wichita to retrain laid-off aircraft workers.
In 2003, WSU worked with other Kansas institutions through KSDE to establish the infrastructure for a statewide, online, non-traditional teacher preparation program.
In 2005, the U.S. Department of Education cited WSU’s Transition to Teaching along with five other alternative licensure programs across the country as examples of model innovations in education.
In 2006, WSU collaborated with Fort Hays State University to form the WSU/FHSU Partnership Model to deliver the online Transition to Teaching program. Collaboration with the Wichita Public Schools led to the formation of the WSU/WPS Partnership Model which received more than $1.5 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Education.
In 2007, Project KNOTtT (Kansas, Nebraska, Ohio and Texas Transition to Teaching) received $6.8 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Education. This national, collaborative project includes three strategic strands: (1) building an online learning community to support management of online resources and e-tutorials; (2) developing e-content coaching and program mentoring; and (3) connecting national resources to identify effective characteristics of non-traditional teacher preparation programs through quality indicators.
WSU has partnered with 45 school districts in Kansas to prepare highly qualified teachers through alternative pathways. The number of candidates participating in the program continues to increase based on current demands.
James L. Carroll was dean of the college from 1993 to 1997. The departments within the College of Education were reorganized to include:
Communicative Disorders and Sciences (speech pathology, audiology)
Counseling, Educational and School Psychology
Curriculum and Instruction
Administration, Counseling, Educational and School Psychology (ACES)
Health, Physical Education and Recreation
The Department of Industrial Technology was dropped after fall semester, 1994 and in 1995, the Department of Health, Physical Education and Recreation was changed in name to the Department of Health and Physical Education.
In keeping with the University's philosophy of outreach to the community, the College of Education recognized that it had a unique opportunity to contribute to preventative health care in Wichita. Using a fitness class as a foundation, the Center for Physical Activity and Aging (CPAA) was established in 1996. The purpose of the Center for Physical Activity and Aging (CPAA) is to examine the interrelationships between exercise and aging via research, education, and service. Currently the CPAA offers a variety of land and water based fitness classes for older adults in addition to providing wellness services (i.e., bone density assessment) and performing research for the benefit of the older adult populations.
Jon M. Engelhardt was dean of the college from 1997 to July, 2007.
In 1999, the Department of Health and Physical Education changed in name to the Department of Kinesiology and Sport Studies.
• Global Learning
Also in 1999, the need for globally savvy employees was a topic of discussion among WSU officials and Boeing executives, resulting in the Boeing Distinguished Professor of Global Learning. First located within the College of Engineering, after reevaluation of the goals and purposes, the professoriate was moved to the College of Education and in 2001, Glyn Rimmington, professor in the Educational Leadership program was selected for the position.
The Global Learning vision is to provide all students with at least one global learning experience during their program.
The Global Learning mission is to combine Global Reach, through modern communication technologies, and Global Perspectives, through interaction with learners and faculty of diverse cultures, to produce the Global Graduate.
The Global Learning values are honor, respect, curiosity and critical self-reflection about the many cultures of this world with a view to peace, prosperity and collaboration for mutual benefit.
• Center for Research & Evaluation Services
Established in 2002, the Center for Research & Evaluation Services (CRES) is an organization made up of individuals in and outside the College of Education at Wichita State University who have both interest and expertise in research and evaluation methods. The Center’s primary purpose is consistent with a component of Wichita State University’s mission to do “research…designed to advance the University’s goals of providing high quality instruction, make original contributions to knowledge and human understanding, and serve as an agent of community service.”
To provide leadership, coordination and support to College of Education faculty in identifying, obtaining, administering, and publicizing results of externally funded research and evaluation grant and contract activities that benefit the College’s faculty, staff, students, and other alumni/community members.
• Increase internal and external grant and contract support for all forms of research and evaluation activities.
• Increase internal and external grant and contract support to meet College training, professional development, and equipment needs.
• Advance the practice and use of research and evaluation methodologies.
In 2005, the Department of Communicative Disorders and Sciences moved to the College of Health Professions.
In 2005, the partnership, Preparing Educators Together, was established between WSU College of Education and Cowley County Community College. This partnership allowed students to complete WSU coursework at a Cowley College campus. The PET partnership has grown to include Butler County Community College, as well. A combination of face-to-face and interactive distance learning provides a way for students in Mulvane, Arkansas City and Andover to earn their education degrees.
The Urban Teacher Preparation Program (UTPP) provides the opportunity for students to complete their final four semesters in a WSU education program, commit to teaching in the Wichita public school district and receive forgivable loans that pay their tuition.
The Grow Your Own Teacher program (GYOT) is an effort by the Wichita public school district to increase diversity in the teaching staff of Wichita public schools. It includes seminars, work experiences, mentor support, job placement assistance and financial support in the form of a forgivable loan. WSU also provides funds for books and supplies.
In 2007, the Department of Kinesiology and Sport Studies was divided into two separate departments of sport management and human performance studies.
As of 2008, WSU’s College of Education offered the following programs and majors:
• Early Childhood Unified
• Foreign Language
• Physical Education
Middle School / Middle Level
• Foreign Language
• History Comprehensive
• Physical Education
High School / Secondary
• Earth and Space Science
• Foreign Language
• History / Government
• Physical Education
• Speech and Theater
and School Psychology
• Educational Psychology
• School Psychology
• Educational Leadership
• District Leadership
• Building Leadership Human Performance Studies
• Athletic Training
• Exercise Science
• Sport Management
• Graduate Technology Certificate
• Literacy Certificate
• National Board of Teaching Standards Certificate
• Play Therapy Program
• Library Media Specialist
• Reading Specialist
• Special Education
• Alternative Licensure
• Curriculum & Instruction
• Special Education
Shirley Lefever-Davis became Interim Dean in July 2013 and Dean of the College in October 2014.
College of Education Accreditations
The College of Education at Wichita State University is accredited by the National Council for accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), 2010 Massachusetts Ave., NW, Suite 500, Washington, DC 20036; phone (202) 466-7496. This accreditation covers initial teacher preparation programs and advanced educator preparation programs. NCATE is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation to accredit programs for the preparation of teachers and other professional school personnel.
The WSU College of Education’s School Psychology program has full approval from the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP), 4340 E. West Highway, Suite 402, Bethesda, MD 20814; phone (301) 657-0270. NASP represents school psychology and supports school psychologists to enhance the learning and mental health of all children and youth.
The WSU College of Education’s Sport Management Department is accredited by the Commission on Sport Management Accreditation, endorsed by the National Association for Sports and Physical Education and the North American Society for Sport Management.
In 2008, the WSU College of Education’s Department of Human Performance Studies received accreditation of its Athletic Training program through the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education. The mission of the CAATE is to provide comprehensive accreditation services to institutions that offer athletic training degree programs and verify that all CAATE-accredited programs meet the acceptable educational standards for professional (entry-level) athletic training education.
Compiled from WSU Course catalogs and documents in the College of Education and Ablah Library archives by Patrice Hein, 2009.