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Editorial Note. —Michigan was almost the first University in the United States to establish a Department of Education and her Department has had a long and honorable history, dating from the days of Professor William E. Payne, who was the first Professor of the Science and Art of Teaching, and his successor Professor Burke E.  Hinsdale. The following outline of the history of the Department was taken from the Bulletin of the University.

The Department of Education of the University of Michigan was created by the Board of Regents in June,  1879, as the Chair of the Science and Art of Teaching. Dr. J. M. Gregory,  state superintendent of public instruction, about the year 1860 gave a brief course of pedagogical lectures, two a week, to the senior class of this University, and several more or less sporadic attempts to give similar instruction were made by other colleges, particularly in the West, but the establishment of this chair was the first in any American college devoted exclusively to the training of teachers.

The credit for this innovation is due to the foresight and wisdom of President James B. Angell, who clearly recognized the responsibility of the University as head of the public school system to provide society with teachers. In his capacity as President he was called upon to certify to the competency of students to teach in high schools and to supervise and administer school systems, and he early felt their need of more definite and positive instruction along pedagogic lines in order better to equip them for such important work. He therefore called the attention of the Board of Regents to the matter in his annual report for 1874.

"It cannot be doubted that some instruction in Pedagogics would be very helpful to our senior class. Many of them are called directly from the University to the management of large schools, some of them to the superintendency of the schools of a town. The whole work of organizing schools, the management of primary and grammar schools, the art of teaching and governing schools, —of all this it is desirable that they know something before they go to their new duties. Experience alone can thoroughly train them. But some familiar lectures on these topics would be of essential service to them."

Four years later he again brought the subject forward and urged its adoption.

"I venture to repeat a suggestion I made in a previous report, that it would be of essential service to the cause of education in the state if a course of lectures on Pedagogies could be given by some competent man. A large proportion of our students en-gage in teaching after graduation. Some adequate exposition of the science and art of teaching, some methodical discussion of the organization and superintendence of schools would be most helpful. Our new system would easily yield a place for such instruction. Perhaps for a time at least a non-resident lecturer occupying a part of the year, might meet the wants of our students, and might afford us an opportunity to test the value of such a course as is here suggested."

This appeal supported by a recommendation of the Faculty had the de-sir Teaching was established as above stated. The objects of this chair, as announced in an official circular sent out in August following, and as published in each annual catalogue since that date, were: (1) To fit University students for higher positions in the public school service; (2) To promote the study of educational science; (3) To teach the History of Education and of educational systems and do-trines; (4) To secure for teaching the rights, prerogatives, and advantages of a profession; (5) To give more perfect unity to our state educational system by bringing the secondary schools into closer relations with the University.

But to create a chair was one thing and to maintain it in the face of a hostile criticism was quite another. This departure aroused vehement opposition, particularly from the colleges of the conservative East and from normal schools, which felt their own domain had been entered. The logic of the movement, however, gradually forced itself home to such an extent that a quarter of a century later saw chairs established in practically all the colleges and universities of the country, and in several complete and independent schools of education. The misconceptions of the normal schools were clearly set forth by President Angell in his annual report for 1879.

"We desire it to be most clearly understood that we have no intention of invading the territory of our neighbors of the normal school. The line between their work and ours is very distinct. We wish simply to aid our undergraduates, who come here for collegiate study, to prepare themselves for the work of teaching, which they are certain to undertake, whether we have this new chair or not. If our effort to give specific instruction of this kind and of a high order is successful,  it will tend to aid the normal school by strengthening in the minds of our graduates and of the public the conviction that there is indeed a philosophy,  a science of education, which we are aiming to teach to such of our students as intend to become teachers, while the normal school is also teaching it to every one of its hundreds of pupils in the manner most helpful to them. We earnestly desire to cooperate with and to aid in every proper way all the other educational institutions in the State. There is work enough and more than enough for all to do. The prosperity of each conduces to the prosperity of all the rest."

The new professorship was filled by the appointment of William H. Payne.   Of this appointment B. A. Hinsdale, in his History of the University of Michigan, fittingly says:

"The Board of Regents made a happy choice in selecting its first professor of Education. William H.  Payne, who was called to the new chair, was recommended for the position by his studies of the general subject, his contributions to educational literature, his experience as editor of an educational journal, and his varied and successful work as a practical teacher and superintendent of schools.  Neither too radical nor too conservative, he pursued a course that steadily and surely commanded the confidence of teachers, educators and enlightened citizens of the state."

Professor Payne offered only two courses the first year, "one practical,  embracing school supervision, grading, courses of study, examinations, the art of instructing and governing, school architecture, school hygiene, school law, etc., two lectures each week;" and "one historical, philosophical and critical, two hours per week." The work was gradually expanded until seven distinct courses embracing twenty-one hours instruction were offered.

In February 1888, Professor Payne withdrew from the University to accept the Chancellorship of the University of Tennessee, and the Presidency of the Peabody Normal School. He was succeeded by B. A. Hinsdale, who brought to the chair a national reputation for breadth and accuracy of scholarship, clearness and sanity of judgment, and variety and richness of experience as professor and president of Hiram College, superintendent of the schools of Cleveland, and author and lecturer, particularly on historical topics. Never a doctrinaire, he had clearest apprehensions of realities and unsparingly punctured all fads and shams with unanswerable logic tempered with keenest humor. His influence on education in this state and country was immeasurable. He died November, 1900, at Atlanta, Ga.,  where he had gone in search of health.  In his annual report for 1901, President Angell says:

"A more devoted and laborious teacher has never held a place in our Faculty. Having a strong natural bent for history as well as for pedagogy, his instruction naturally laid great emphasis on the history and development of educational ideas and systems. By his ample learning, his weight of personality, and his warm sympathy with students, he made a deep impression on his classes. By his marvellous industry he found time to produce a volume of high merit on a historical and educational subject nearly every year of his connection with us. Few scholars are so well read in American history as he was. He was scrupulously faithful in the discharge of all University duties which fell to him outside of his strictly professional work."

During Professor Hinsdale's administration the department was enlarged by the appointment of a junior professor, who was also to serve as inspector of schools. The number of hours of instruction was increased to twenty-five.

On the death of Professor Hinsdale,  Professor Payne was recalled to his old chair and served with characteristic fidelity until his death in June 1907.

The title  "Science and Art of Teaching" lapsed in 1907 and since that date the department has been designated "Education." The teaching staff now numbers five men, including an inspector of high schools, and the courses of instruction offered exceed sixty hours.

In his annual report to the Board of Regents for 1909, his last official report, President Angell, ever mindful of the supreme importance of efficient teaching and the moral obligation of the University to provide teachers and school managers for the higher positions in the State, called attention to the great need of expanding the department of Education in such a manner as to equip intending teachers more practically for their important duties. This report was made just thirty-five years after he first advocated the establishment of a chair for the training of teachers, a span of years covering almost his entire remarkable career as President.

"Now it happens of course that a good number of those who are graduating and desiring to teach, have had no experience in teaching. It is impossible to give assurance that these persons, however excellent their scholarship, will certainly succeed in teaching. Experience in handling classes furnishes the only sure test of ability to teach. Therefore as long ago as the time of Dr. Hinsdale, he considered very carefully the problem of finding opportunity for our students who are looking forward to teaching to have actual practice in some school.   His successor, Professor Whitney, has given much study to the same problem. Apparently it must be solved in one of two ways, either by the establishment of a practice school at the expense of the University or the State,  or by making some arrangement with the school authorities of this city by which classes in some of the schools can be placed in the hands of the students from time to time under the supervision of competent teachers. Last December the Literary Faculty made some recommendations to you, suggesting the last named plan, provided the city authorities were disposed to agree to it. Both plans have been tried elsewhere. If we had the necessary means for carrying out the first plan, it would probably be the freer from difficulties in administration. But if that is not feasible here, it seems important to see if the other cannot be undertaken. There can be no doubt that the adoption of either plan would enable us to give our teachers a better training and so to discharge more satisfactorily the duty, which we have undertaken of furnishing the schools with competent teachers. There can be no doubt that the school authorities in the state would greatly appreciate such an effort on our part."

A step in this direction has now been taken. The Board of Regents and the Board of Education of the city of Ann Arbor have entered into a contract whereby students in Education are given opportunity for systematic observation of expert teaching of their major subjects. As the high school is only one block from the University Campus, is thoroughly equipped, and possesses a strong and efficient corps of teachers much practical benefit is anticipated from such relationship.

The Michigan Alumnus

May 1912, page 373-376

History of the University of Michigan

Department of Education