Educating the world

School of Education Dean Grayson Kefauver, a specialist in comparative international education, helps to create UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Social and Cultural Organization, and becomes its U.S. chief delegate. 

Dean Grayson Kefauver, second from right, with Sen. J. William Fulbright, fourth from right, and America’s UNESCO delegation in 1944.
UNESCO Archives


Professional eminence

Prof. Alvin C. Eurich, an educational psychologist, is elected president of the American Educational Research Association. He’s the first of eight scholars to serve in this role while at Stanford. They include Nathaniel Gage, Lee Cronbach, Patrick Suppes, Lee Shulman, Larry Cuban, Elliot Eisner and most recently Arnetha Ball.

Prof. Elliot Eisner "showed me the power of thinking hard about something for a long time," remembers Chris Osmond, MA '00. "For him, the question was, 'What do the arts have to teach us about education?'"


With growing global role, more funding

Eurich helps found the Stanford Research Institute (SRI), a powerful magnet for research dollars that is divested from the university in the 1970s amid concerns over its classified defense work. In 1948, he serves as acting university president after the sudden death of Donald Tresidder. 

Hear Eurich's oral history, conducted by the Stanford Historical Society. 

Educational psychologist Alvin Eurich, shown in 1948, left Stanford to lead the Ford Foundation's education division, in which role he steered millions to such Stanford enterprises as the School Planning Lab.
Stanford University Archives


The Baby Boom

GI-Bill veterans and their families, including hundreds of would-be teachers, begin to flood the campus.

School of Education enrollment hits a record 600, fraying faculty nerves and straining resources. Dean Allen Bartky emphasizes training teachers and administrators. The school designs a five-year MA/credential for undergraduates that runs between 1951 and 1964.


Students relax outside the School of Education building.
Stanford University Archives


Cronbach’s alpha

Prof. Lee Cronbach publishes his equation to measure internal consistency in a set of psychometric test results. “Cronbach’s alpha,” as he calls it, gains wide use throughout the social sciences.

Professor Lee Cronbach in 1980.
Chuck Painter/Stanford News Service


Planning for the boom

Prof. James D. McConnell, known to his students as “Dr. Mac,” founds the School Planning Laboratory. Modular classrooms, flexible scheduling and data-driven facilities planning are all School Planning Lab innovations.

A graduate student takes light readings in the School Planning Lab's scale-model classroom.
Stanford News Service


Two-career couple

Prof. Pat Sears, an educational psychologist, and her husband, Prof. Robert Sears, come to Stanford. Their hiring strikes a blow to anti-nepotism rules that inhibit two-career academic families. 

Pat Sears’ research on intellectually gifted women strikes a blow to midcentury stereotypes by suggesting that they are happier than average. 

Profs. Pat and Robert Sears in 1980.
Jose Mercado/Stanford News Service


First endowed faculty chairs

Gifts from the Jacks family create the school’s first two (and Stanford’s 6th and 7th) endowed professorships, initially awarded to Paul Hanna and William Cowley. The Jacks gifts, totaling $10 million, are Stanford’s largest since the university’s founding.

Today, the Graduate School of Education has four Jacks faculty chairs and 18 endowed chairs in all. 

In Stanford tradition, the holder of an endowed faculty chair receives an actual inscribed chair. Charles E. Ducommun endowed a position in 1991 to improve pre-collegiate and collegiate teaching.


Steeples of excellence

Quillen becomes dean. In line with University President Wallace Sterling’s aim to build “steeples of excellence” in a world-class research university, he hires eminent discipline-based scholars and emphasizes social-science inquiry.

The campus in 1954. The trailers just south of the School of Education are for construction crews whose work will soon transform the university landscape.
Stanford News Service


STEP begins

The Stanford Teacher Education Program begins with a $900,000 gift from the Ford Foundation.

Mary Paulsen, MA ’60, teaches a lesson in Cold War civics while in STEP's inaugural cohort. She taught for decades at Palo Alto's Cubberley High School.
Stanford News Service



Professors Robert Bush and Dwight Allen develop a teacher-training strategy that allows teacher candidates to teach, get feedback, act on that feedback and be re-critiqued within a single 50-minute class period. 

Microteaching, as Allen calls it, focuses on five- to fifteen-minute portions of lesson plans. Initially, lessons are videotaped using one of the first portable video cameras. Later refinements of the technique rely on peer feedback. 

Stanford Teacher Education Program (STEP) students practice microteaching in 1968.


The road to happenstance

Prof. John D. Krumboltz, an expert in social decision making, joins the school's program in counseling psychology. He goes on to reshape the field of career development with his Happenstance Learning Theory lauding the value of exploratory actions as a way of generating beneficial unplanned events.  

To this end, he opposes a 1990s proposal to restore the "F" as a grading option at Stanford, arguing "it will discourage people from taking risks to learn new things." 

In 2004, Krumboltz co-authors a widely read distillation of his research, Luck Is No Accident: Making the Most of Happenstance in Your Life and Career.

John Krumboltz, right, watches students play a career-development simulation game in the 1970s.
Jose Mercado/Stanford News Service


CERAS is conceived

Quillen begins discussion on a national education research center at Stanford, the future CERAS.

Profs. Robert Oakford and Dwight Allen pioneer high-school flexible scheduling in 1963 on Stanford’s IBM 7090 computer.
Stanford News Service


Applied-linguistics pioneer

Internationally renowned linguist Robert L. Politzer joins the faculty. A pioneer in applying quantitative methods to language-related data, Politzer continues his contributions to the field of language learning and supervises more than 200 Stanford doctoral students.

An Austrian émigré who lost most of his family in the Holocaust, Politzer “took affirmative action long before there was such a thing,” former student Mary McGroarty, PhD ’82, wrote after Politzer’s death in 1998.

He “acted on the conviction that one could not theorize, investigate, or prescribe the language behavior adequately without including women and men, old and young, and native speakers of all varieties studied, not just as informants but as active researchers and interpreters of data and shapers of the policies related to those interpretations,” wrote McGroarty, later president of the American Association for Applied Linguistics.

Learn how Politzer influenced a kindergartner to make language his career. 


Research funding

A grant is received to fund the Center for Research and Development in Teaching.

The campus in 1965 from Hoover Tower, with the School of Education at bottom left.
Stanford University Archives


'Scholar-doers' for international development education: SIDEC

Prof. Paul Hanna founds the Stanford International Development Education Center (SIDEC) to study education as an aid to economic, political and social progress in developing countries. 

SIDEC and its successor master’s and doctoral programs in International Comparative Education (ICE) count among their alumni past presidents of Peru, the Maldives and Guatemala; the adviser of the Secretariat of Public Education in Mexico City; and ministers of education in Tanzania and Kenya as well as policy makers, researchers and education professors across the globe.

Prof. Hans Weiler, a chief architect of SIDEC and expert in the education and politics of Francophone Africa, led UNESCO’s International Institute for Educational Planning and helped reconstruct higher education in eastern Germany after the fall of the Berlin Wall.


Policy and research

H. Thomas James becomes dean. He furthers the school’s reputation in advanced training and social-science research, and his close connections with Stanford administration help secure its standing and funding within the broader university.

With such hires as Michael Kirst, a Washington policy analyst who later leads the California Board of Education, James adds a focus on policy that distinguishes the school today.

Hear Kirst's oral history, conducted by the Stanford Historical Society.

Prof. Michael Kirst, right, in 1988 with former U.S. Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare John W. Gardner, '33, MA '36.
Ed Souza/Stanford News Service


Required reading

The Peace Corps sends SIDEC researcher Prof. Robert Textor’s book Cultural Frontiers of the Peace Corps to its 10,000 global volunteers.

At SIDEC, Textor developed ethnographic futures research, a way to use the insights of cultural anthropology to study people’s ideas about the future, their values, and their concepts of change.


Federal funding

The U.S. Department of Education gives $4.2 million for the future CERAS building.

White Plaza in 1968. Stanford's dress code for women was lifted around this time.
Stanford University Archives


Taking the mic

At a university panel on response to Martin Luther King’s assassination, 70 members of Stanford’s Black Student Union take the microphone from Provost Richard Lyman. Frank Omowale Satterwhite, a doctoral candidate in higher education, reads 10 demands to boost African-American representation at Stanford.

Nine of the 10 demands are accepted with guidance from Prof. Robert Hess, an expert in urban education whose research before coming to Stanford laid the foundations for the federal Head Start program. Hess offers to guide Stanford’s initiative to increase and support African-American undergraduate enrollment. 

Joyce E. King, ’69, PhD ’74, then an undergraduate, is inspired to enter education after working in the Stanford president's office as a liaison to experimental admits, a program that was one of the 10 demands. King later became president of the American Educational Research Association.

Frank Omowale Satterwhite, PhD '77, at podium, reads the Black Student Union's 10 demands for educational and institutional reform at Stanford. Satterwhite became a leader in community development.

Building a discipline
Challenge and change