A founding department
Jane and Leland Stanford open their “university of high degree” on their Palo Alto stock farm. The emerging academic field of education is one of its departments, exemplifying the founders’ vision of practical and progressive schooling.
The prescient Mrs. Barnes
Historian and education theorist Mary Sheldon Barnes, wife of founding Education Prof. Earl Barnes, becomes Stanford’s first fulltime female faculty member. When university president David Starr Jordan hears Mrs. Barnes give a talk in Palo Alto, he is so impressed that he hires her on the spot as an assistant professor. Before her death in 1898, Mary Barnes pioneers the teaching of history using primary sources.
Popular from the start
Practice teaching joins the curriculum. The department has 50 majors, and 20 percent of the Stanford student body takes coursework in the department.
Ellwood P. Cubberley arrives
Cubberley, a former school superintendent with an avocation for science, becomes department chair. Under his leadership, Stanford forges a tradition of data-driven research balanced with theory and practical training.
Focus on leaders
The department has 60 majors, straining capacity and forcing a change in rules: Future teachers must major in the subject they wish to teach, while only experienced teachers or future administrators may major in education.
Creating a textbook corpus
Because the emerging research field of education has few textbooks, Cubberley in 1911 begins writing and editing his own. The first of his Riverside Textbooks in Education is published in 1914. The series sells 3 million copies in three decades and ultimately pays for Stanford’s first School of Education building.
Embracing the new: Junior high
Frank Alson Scofield, '13, MA '14, becomes founding principal of Oregon's first junior high school.
In a paper in the New England Journal of Education, published while he was still at Stanford, Scofield praises the junior high school movement, then less than five years old, as remedying "that feeling of bigness which is terrifying to the freshman" when "the home-like atmosphere of the grammar school is supplanted with the general feeling of hurry and competition that characterizes high schools and colleges."
J. Harold Williams, '13, receives Stanford’s first PhD in education. He goes on to become a dean at UCLA and provost of UC Santa Barbara.
Terman and intelligence
Prof. Lewis Terman publishes his revision of French psychologist Alfred Binet’s intelligence test. In an era that prizes efficiency, the Stanford-Binet test brings Terman -- and Stanford -- worldwide acclaim as a way to allocate social and educational resources.
Terman rejects criticism that the test is socially conditioned. His seemingly succinct “IQ,” or intelligence quotient, becomes a household word. The pitfalls of tracking individuals on this basis require decades to acknowledge and remedy.
The Education Department has 100 majors.
The School of Education is born
Stanford trustees elevate the Education Department to a School of Education with Cubberley as founding dean. They aim to create a training institution of high standing comparable to schools of law and medicine. Undergrads enter in their junior year after two years of discipline-based coursework.
Teachers stream in
new School of Education dominates course offerings in Stanford’s first
campus-wide summer session. Many teachers and administrators enroll for career
development, establishing a pattern that will continue for decades.
The IQ era
Maud Amanda Merrill, PhD ’23, comes to Stanford. As longtime collaborator and author of a later revision of the Stanford-Binet intelligence test, she trains thousands of people to administer the test.
Terman’s gifted children
Terman launches his path-breaking longitudinal study of gifted children, solidifying Stanford’s reputation as a leader in educational psychology.
Among his subjects are Fred Terman, his son and future university provost, and future faculty members Lee Cronbach and Robert Sears, who go on to direct the decades-long study after Terman’s retirement.
Women in education
Students form a chapter of Pi Lambda Theta, national
women’s education honor society.
The school has 509 students: 432 in graduate status and 77 undergraduate majors.
The hall that textbooks built
Cubberley retires. He and his wife, Helen, give Stanford the invested proceeds from his many books – some $367,000 – for a School of Education building and the Cubberley Lecture Series, which continues today.
Hanna and his house
Paul Hanna arrives at Stanford in fall 1935 as an associate professor of elementary education. He immediately commissions his hero Frank Lloyd Wright to build him a radical new home on campus, planned on a hexagonal grid. The Hanna House raises eyebrows for its audacity. So does Hanna, who eventually proves his worth to Stanford as a networker as well as an educator.
Disciplinary research focus
Historian of education Isaac James Quillen joins the faculty. As dean starting in 1954, he will bring world-caliber social scientists to the School of Education and raise its reputation for research.
New branches of study
Prof. Rex Harlow, PhD '37, teaches the first U.S. class in
higher education organization and management.
Harlow later made his mark in the field of public relations, founding journals and professional organizations, writing textbooks and Stanford curricula, creating a code of ethics and in many other ways elevating the field.
Cubberley's building opens. The massive structure expands Stanford’s classroom capacity by 15 percent and, as the Depression lingers, sends a message as to the status and impact of the School of Education at Stanford.
Hanna in Washington
Hanna becomes Stanford’s Director of University Services. He employs his bent for rainmaking to negotiate for Stanford federal contracts for wartime training. His Washington experience sparks his interest in postwar international development, which in turn helps shift the focus of the school toward global concerns.