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Mission & History

College of Education’s Mission

The mission of the College of Education is to prepare exemplary practitioners and scholars; to generate, use and disseminate knowledge about teaching, learning and human development; and to collaborate with others to solve critical educational and human problems in a diverse global community.


College of Education History Highlights

2012
The College improves 18 places to 24th in the U.S. News and World Report’s rankings of America’s Best Graduate Education Schools. UF’s College of Education is Florida’s highest ranking education school, is No. 1 among public education colleges in the Southeastern Conference and is UF’s highest ranked graduate school in any discipline. The College also has four academic programs ranked in the Top 20 nationally: special education (4th), student counseling/personnel services (9th), elementary education (18th) and curriculum and instruction (19th).

The U.S. Department of Education awards a grant worth $25 million over five years to UF special education scholars Mary Brownell, Erica McCray and Paul Sindelar to establish a center supporting the development of effective teachers serving students with disabilities. The new Collaboration for Educator Development and Accountability and Reform, also known as the CEDAR Center, will open in January 2013.

The Florida Department of Education awards $2 million to the College to create STEM-Teacher Induction and Professional Support, also known as STEM-TIPS, a statewide professional development support system for new science and math teachers in their first two years on the job.  The “teacher induction” effort is aimed at reversing the lack of support that historically drives nearly one-third of new science and math teachers from the classroom by their third year of teaching.

P.K. Yonge Developmental Research School, the College’s laboratory school since 1934, opens the doors to its new, technology-enhanced elementary wing, with a “learning community” set-up described by experts as  “a model for how 21st century school facilities should be built.”

UF’s historic, five-year Florida Tomorrow capital campaign concludes, with generous alumni and supporters contributing nearly $30 million to the College of Education—the College’s most successful fundraising campaign ever.

COE 1965 graduate Delores Lastinger, a leading Northeast Florida civic leader, philanthropist and former high school teacher, is recognized as a 2012 University of Florida Distinguished Alumna.

2011
The college’s Lastinger Center for Learning receives $6 million in federal education stimulus funds to expand its revolutionary Florida Master Teacher Initiative, offering a new degree track in early childhood education and teacher leadership as part of the job-embedded professional development and advanced degree program for early-learning teachers in Miami-Dade schools.

North Carolina Gov. Beverly (call me “Bev”) Perdue, a genuine coal miner’s daughter and holder of two UF education degrees, receives UF’s 2011 Distinguished Alumna Award.

The College’s job-embedded Teacher Leadership for School Improvement (TLSI) graduate degree program wins the Association of Teacher Educators’ coveted 2011 Distinguished Program in Teacher Education Award. The national honor recognizes outstanding teacher preparation programs that are developed and administered through collaboration between local school districts and university-based teacher education programs.

P.K. Yonge laboratory school Director Lynda Hayes and COE science education Professor Rose Pringle receive $5 million from the National Science Foundation to transform how science is taught in Florida’s middle schools. The effort further strengthens collaborative activities between the College and its longtime laboratory school.

Glenn E. Good, an education and counseling scholar and an associate dean at the University of Missouri College of Education, is named the 13th dean of the UF College of Education. He succeeds Catherine Emihovich, who steps down after nine years at the helm to resume teaching and research on the UF education faculty.

Operation of the college’s UF Alliance program is transferred to UF’s division of student affairs for improved coordination with the growing Florida Opportunity Scholars program.

2010
The College of Education leads UF’s drive to establish the University of Florida Center for Excellence in Early Childhood Studies. With a $1 million gift from UF education alumna Anita Zucker, the center becomes a research, training and model demonstration site where top UF scholars—in fields as diverse as education, medicine, law, public health and the life sciences—collaborate with local, state and national partners to advance the science and practice of early childhood development and early learning.

The College is granted full, continued accreditation of its educator preparation programs by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). Examiners cite exceptional strengths in faculty teaching and research, high-quality students, statewide outreach and school –improvement partnerships, and diversity efforts in faculty and student recruitment.

2008
The College enrolls the first class of 33 students in its UFTeach program, a new alternative teacher-certification program that recruits top UF science and math majors and prepares them to become teachers in those vital subject areas. COE associate dean Tom Dana iSpecial activities commemorate the 50th anniversary of the College’s enrollment in 1958 of UF’s first black female student, Daphne Duval.

2007
A shared $10 million grant teams the College’s Lastinger Center for Learning with Miami-Dade Public Schools and a prominent Miami foundation in an all-out school-readiness effort to prepare all Florida preschoolers for success by the time they enter the classroom. 

2006
A yearlong celebration marks the Centennial Anniversary of the College’s 1906 founding, including a lecture series, Back-to-College Weekend events, Scholarship of Engagement Banquet, lecture and panel discussion featuring noted New York Times columnist David Brooks, hosting a national conference in St. Petersburg on “Closing the Achievement Gap Through Partnerships” and a time capsule burial ceremony in the Norman Hall courtyard.

Bolstered by a $1.5 million grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the College of Education teams with 50 UF academic departments in 10 colleges in a collaborative effort to close the critical gap in science education, starting with UF’s own student body. The Science for Life initiative has yielded a new interdisciplinary science-teaching laboratory, undergraduate opportunities for authentic research experiences and several innovative new courses.

UF creates the $1.5 million David Lawrence Jr. Endowed Professorship in Early Childhood Studies at the COE. A year later, the College appoints renowned scholar Patricia Snyder to the post.

2005
Retired COE emeritus professor of educational leadership, William Hedges and wife Robbie commit $1.9 million for research to help marginal students learn and succeed.

The Office of Educational Research is established to improve the College’s research infrastructure and heighten support and development of sponsored, collaborative research by education faculty.

2004
The College of Education offers its first online master’s degree program for teachers in curriculum and instruction, with a specialization in educational technology, using the latest distance learning technologies.

2002
Catherine Emihovich starts her nine-year tenure as UF’s 12th education dean, immediately linking the College’s innovative outreach initiatives under the rubric of the Scholarship of Engagement, an education model first promoted by noted educator Ernest Boyer. The SOE principle connects academic scholarship to the practical concerns of educators and work that contribute to the public good.

Bolstered by a $2 million donation (the largest single gift in COE history) from UF alumni Allen and Delores Lastinger, plus matching state funds, the College establishes the Lastinger Center for Learning. The Center partners with educational organizations across the state and beyond to bring UF’s research-tested methods and intellectual resources to the frontlines of public education.

2000
The UF Alliance program is formed, linking the College of Education with urban schools around the state to explore new solutions to urban education issues.

1999
Allen and Delores Lastinger, UF alumni, contribute the largest gift to the college to date to establish the Lastinger Center for Learning, which develops projects to help at-risk children in grades K-5.

1998
A gift to the college provides funding for the Irving and Rose Fien Endowed Professorship in Elementary and Special Education.

1996
The Florida legislature establishes the Florida Fund for Minority Teachers, with headquarters at the College of Education, to attract promising minority and underrepresented students into teacher preparation programs at UF and throughout Florida.

1995
Focused on the changing demographics in public schools and the movement to include students with disabilities in general education classes, a movement begins to consolidate UF’s teacher education programs in elementary and special education into a formal Unified Elementary Program. The new, unified ProTeach program would produce graduates eligible for elementary certification with an endorsement in English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) and with expertise in special education, or graduates with dual certification in special education and elementary education and the ESOL endorsement.

1985
Alumna Therese Knecht, who received both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from UF’s College of Education, is selected National Teacher of the Year and would later serve as special adviser to the U.S. Secretary of Education from 1993-2001.

1984
A pioneer in the establishment of a required, five-year teacher education program, the College launches its groundbreaking ProTeach (professional teacher) master’s program, with a heightened emphasis on education research and hands-on classroom and field experiences.

1975
In a national survey of laboratory school administrators, P.K. Yonge School at UF is voted the nation’s best laboratory school

1966
A yearlong institute hosted by the college culminates a three-year effort to create a middle-school system in Florida to help educators handle a child’s formative years in a transitional setting.  The College would become recognized as the hub of middle school education in the country, and UF education professor William Alexander as the “father of the middle school.”

1958
In a decade of growth for both the College and P.K. Yonge, the laboratory school moves to its own new campus on a 37-acre plot near the university. P.K. Also this year, the college, a leader in desegregation in the South, enrolls its first black student.

1957
The old P.K. Yonge School building is renamed Norman Hall in honor of former education dean James W. Norman and officially becomes the College of Education’s academic hall.

Also in 1957, UF education professor James Wattenbarger takes leave to develop and direct Florida’s community college system, based on a model he designed for his doctoral dissertation at UF. He would help guide the state junior college system for 10 years until returning to the College in 1968 to head the newly formed Institute of Higher Education.

1954
The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Accreditation (NCATE), in its founding year, grants accreditation to UF’s programs for teacher education.

1948
Alice McCartha earns a Ph.D. degree in education, the first woman to receive a doctorate from UF.

1947
The Florida Legislature makes both state universities (UF and Florida State University) coeducational, necessitating a broader program of teacher education.

1934
College moves into its new P.K. Yonge Laboratory School, located on the southeast corner of the UF campus. The K-12 ”experimental” school was created to test, develop and disseminate the best methods of teaching and provide practical teaching experience for undergraduates in the College of Education.

1931
The UF Teachers College and Normal School is renamed the College of Education.

1913
College’s first “permanent” home, Peabody Hall, is built in the center of campus.

1912
The Normal School is restructured as the UF Teachers College and Normal School, with John Thackston as its first dean.

1906
First education classes are held by the UF Normal School, which was the predecessor of the College of Education.

1905
Florida legislature consolidates higher education for teacher preparation into two schools – the University of Florida for men and the Florida State College for Women.