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Dean Emeritus Allen S. Whitney's latest book tells of birth and development of School of Education, and the Professional Training of Teachers at the University.

It has been my peculiar fortune to have entered the University as a Freshman coincidental with the establishment of the Department of the Science  and Art of Teaching. It has also been my particular fortune to have retired from the service of the University coincidental with the completion of the first half  century of the Department's history. During the entire period I have been closely associated with the professional training of teachers at the University as student, employer of teachers, Junior Professor. Professor, Head of the Department of Education and Dean of the School of Education. During this long service it has been my rare privilege to have been a student and associate of President Angell, a student and associate of Professor Payne, and an  associate of Professor Hinsdale. I have served under the administrations of President Angell, President Hutchins, President Burton, and President Little. Because of this intimate record many of my colleagues have deemed it especially  fitting that I should leave a brief account of the professional training  of teachers at the University during  its half century as well as a short  sketch of the men who have been  chiefly responsible for its development. It has been a labor of love.   So far as possible I have endeavored to have every man tell his own  story..."

With these words, Allen S. Whitney, '85, Dean-Emeritus of the School of Education, prefaces his History of the Professional Training of Teachers at the  University. In a 200-page volume, he traces the development of teacher-training at the University from 1879, when the first permanent chair of university grade, devoted exclusively to teacher-training, was established at Michigan. He characterizes from first-hand information the men who were principally responsible for educational progress and illustrates from their own writings the doctrines, theories and principles of these pioneers whose efforts have culminated in the establishment of an autonomous School of Education, construction of model Elementary and High School units, and organization of research and teaching groups to provide adequately prepared teachers for the educational institutions of the State.  

The desperate struggle which was necessary to achieve the ends which have been reached can be understood most clearly from the following excerpts  found in succeeding chapters of Dean Whitney's book.

"The first marked interest in teacher-training in the  United States was manifest at Amherst College in 1826 thirteen years before the establishment of the first normal school. With remarkable foresight the Faculty presented a report to the Trustees in which they recommended a system of elections and also the follow ing significant proposal: 'But whatever may be thought of these suggestions there is one new department of great practical important which it appears should be  annexed to this college as soon as the funds will in any way permit—we mean the Science of Education. . .'

"The Trustees did not approve of the recommendations of the Faculty and consequently no department of the Science of Education was created at that date.

"The first chair established in any college or university for the professional training of teachers was at the University of New York in 1832, the year following its opening . . .but there is no evidence that the department ever functioned.

"The second successful attempt to introduce a chair of education into a college or university was made at Antioch College in 1853, under the leadership of Horace Mann...The experiment terminated and the work  abandoned sometime before the  opening of the Civil War.

"The Third successful attempt was made at the University of Iowa in 1855...The work offered in didactics was of strictly university grade, the first in any American college or university, and had a marked effect on the standards of professional training throughout the country.

''The fourth successful attempt to establish a chair in a college or university, and the first to establish a permanent chair of university grade devoted exclusively to the professional training of teachers, was made at the University of Michigan in 1879, a brief history of which will appear in later chapters.

"In the second quarter of the last century, even before Michigan was admitted as a State, the professional  preparation of teachers was a matter of grave concern. Two pioneers, John D. Pierce, and General Isaac E. Crary, both college graduates, possessed exceedingly clear vision of the intellectual and moral effects of  good schools on the citizenship of the new commonwealth. They were thoroughly conversant with the Prussian system of education and the rapidly rising normal school movements in New England and, with true missionary spirit, advocated the development of a system of schools in their adopted state with sagacity,  enthusiasm and religious devotion.

"Mr. Pierce was appointed the first Superintendent of Public Instruction, and in such official capacity was charged with the duty of formulating a system of common schools and also a plan for a university with branches.

"Notwithstanding the efforts of Superintendent Pierce, Superintendent Sawyer, and the friends of  public education, to provide professional training for the teachers of the common schools through the medium of the university branches, there is no evidence to  show that these efforts met with any success."

The agitation...had, however, made a profound  impression on the public mind. The fundamental question at issue was, through what instrumentally shall this  specific training be given.  This question received serious consideration at the hands of the Legislature of  1848.

"While the professional training of teachers was a live subject for debate during this entire session of the Legislature, no constructive legislation was enacted.   At the next session of the Legislature, the Session of 1849, the time was ripe for action and accordingly, a bill was introduced to establish a normal school. This  passed both houses with a great unanimity. This action  of the Legislature settled the general policy of professional teacher-training in the State until the rapid growth of union schools and high schools created a situation which required new legislation.

"In his official report to the Regents in 1856, and in his address on Public Education to the Legislature in 1857, President Tappan gave a statesman-like discussion of the true position of a university and its relation to our entire system of public education. He pointed out that there are three stages of human life—child hood, youth, and early manhood, and that each stage is  represented by a corresponding grade of education—primary, intermediate, and university.

"In 1858-1859, as a direct result of President Tappan's initiative, the University Catalogue announced for  the first time a teacher's course in ancient languages.

"Dr. J. M. Gregory, Superintendent of Public Instruction, 1858-1864, on assuming his duties, was deeply impressed with the necessity of obtaining a supply  of well-trained teachers for every grade of school from the lowest to the highest. Furthermore, he was insistent that the University and the colleges should cooperate in providing a supply of competent teachers, particularly for the graded and high schools, by offering specific professional courses for all students planning to enter the work of teaching.

"So strongly did Dr. Gregory feel that the University was not fulfilling its obligations as the crown of the public school system of the State, that he tendered his services to President Tappan to commence this professional instruction, offering to give to the senior class, and such others as might choose to attend, a free  course of lectures on organization, administration, and  instruction of schools.

"In 1873, just ten years after Superintendent Gregory's heroic attempt to induce the University to provide professional instruction for prospective teachers.  Superintendent Daniel B. Briggs, thoroughly in sympathy with the attitude of Dr. Gregory, earnestly appealed to the University to establish a normal department to aid in supplying the State with competent teachers. In his official report of 1874, he renewed his  plea.

"When President Angell came to the University of  Michigan the professional preparation of teachers was far from a new question to him. The subject had been  discussed for many years in Europe and in this country, as the preceding chapters indicate. He was not only cognizant of these progressive movements but he was thoroughly in accord with them.

"In his annual report of 1874 he called the attention of the Regents to the action of the Faculty in offering to the members of the graduating class who should, by examination, show special fitness to teach certain branches, a teachers' diploma signed by the President and professors in charge of the studies pursued. He further reported that several members of the graduating class had applied for the diploma and had received it.

"The action of the faculty in establishing a teachers' diploma was indicative of the general attitude of that  body towards the professional training of teachers.   They were men, for the most part, of wide learning, broad human interests, and closely in touch with public education, many of them having officially visited high schools with a view to admitting their students without formal examinations. 

"On June 25, 1879, the Regents adopted the following resolution:

" 'RESOLVED, That in accordance with the recommendation of the faculty of the Department of Literature, Science and the Arts, a chair of the Science  and the Art of Teaching be and is hereby established  in this University.'

"At the same meeting at which the Regents created  this chair they also filled it:

" 'RESOLVED, That William H. Payne, A.M., be and hereby is appointed Professor of the Science and  the Art of Teaching, to take effect from October 1,  1879.'

"This action of the Regents was epoch making. It is an historical event of which the University may justly feel proud. The creation of this new chair aroused much discussion throughout the country, favorable and unfavorable. It was cordially approved by the student body as expressed in an editorial in its weekly journal—The Chronicle. It was also cordially endorsed by an editorial in Harper's Weekly under the caption,  'Teaching How to Teach.' "

"On the other hand, this new departure provoked much controversy. The most vehement opposition came from the friends of the normal school who felt that their own domain had been entered.

"The logic of this new movement, strongly and wisely supported by President Angell and the first incumbent of the chair,  Professor Payne, gradually forced itself home. Colleges and universities, particularly those of the west, early followed the lead of the University and established similar chairs. Several of the larger universities moved rapidly forward and, in a few brief years, established separate and independent schools or colleges of education with fully equipped training schools and with the power to grant their own specific degrees."

But unfortunately, Michigan, the pioneer in this movement  for preparation of prospective teachers, began to lag, according  to Dean Whitney. Difficulty after difficulty confronted successors in the chair, and subsequently the Department and School of Education. While other large institutions progressed with great speed, intrepid leaders at Michigan were rebuffed at every turn by a hostile attitude in the faculty of the literary college, by the somewhat antipathetic attitude of President Little and other administrative officers. These are some of the charges included in Dr. Whitney's volume.

Of this struggle which culminated in the establishment in 1921 of an autonomous School of Education and in the erection since that time of the University High School and the University Elementary School, Dean Whitney speaks authoritatively and interestingly in his monograph. Included in the  volume are character sketches of prominent personalities, chapters concerning the introduction of this work into the Summer Session, the many battles waged over the issuance of teachers' certificates and teachers' diplomas, and the Bureau of Appointments. In conclusion, Dean Whitney calls the roll of the Faculty from the establishment of the Department of the Science  and Art of Teaching in 1879 to the close of the first half century in 1929, the year in which he retired from active service and became Dean Emeritus.

The Michigan Alumnus

March 12, 1932, Page 405-406, 412

The Birth and Development

of the University of Michigan

Department of Education