Prior to the establishment of a college of education at WVU, teacher education and education administration programs had been housed in the WVU College of Arts and Sciences and were directed by Jasper Newton Deahl. Holding undergraduate degrees from George Peabody and Harvard College, and a master’s and doctorate degree from the Teachers College at Columbia University, Deahl was driven by the importance he felt education held in society and began lobbying to establish a separate College of Education within the University.
Deahl gained the support of West Virginia University President Frank Trotter (1916-1927). Trotter and Deahl believed that an independent college was necessary for the professional preparation of teachers and education administrators. A separate College of Education was created at West Virginia University on July 2, 1927, with Deahl as the founding dean.
At its inception, the College of Education was based in iconic Woodburn Hall and offered degrees in seven divisions: agricultural education; industrial education; home economics; rural education; visual education; professional teacher training; and the University High School. Established in 1925, University High School served as the “laboratory school” for the new College of Education. The students attending University High School were from the Cass, Union and Clinton school districts, which did not have a high school at the time. Deahl believed these students better represented rural West Virginia and thus provided future teachers exposure to the type of student they were likely to face in the classroom.
In the early years, according to professor emeritus Thomas J. Brennan, a decision was made “not to duplicate the extensive teacher education programs of the state colleges.” Thus, the College of Education was predominantly a two-year college. Students who wanted to become teachers took subjects in various WVU colleges before transferring to the College of Education for their final two years of professional training.
In 1947, twenty years after it was established, the College of Education extended
its program offerings beyond secondary education when it began preparing primary
school teachers. The College went on to grant its first undergraduate degree in
elementary education in 1950.
The College of Education expanded substantially in the mid-1960s, when it became known as the College of Human Resources and Education. At that time, the term “human resources” had not yet acquired its now universal reference to “personnel.” In addition to the Division of Education and the Division of Clinical Studies (which included counseling and guidance, speech pathology and audiology, special education, rehabilitation counseling and developmental reading), there were two other divisions: Home Economics and Social Work.
In 1969, the addition to Percival Hall known as Allen Hall was completed, and the College of Human Resources and Education moved from the downtown campus to its new home in Allen Hall on the Evansdale campus, where it continues to reside.
In 2012, the WVU Board of Governors approved a change of name to the College of Education
and Human Services to better represent its programs and educational goals, as well
as to avoid confusion with WVU’s own Division of Human Resources. Today, the College
of Education and Human Services (CEHS) comprises five academic departments:
- Communication Sciences and Disorders
- Counseling, Rehabilitation Counseling and Counseling Psychology
- Curriculum and Instruction/Literacy Studies
- Learning Sciences and Human Development
- Special Education
With a rich history of serving West Virginia, the mission and specific goals of CEHS continue to evolve, as do its programs. Now, over ninety years after it was established, CEHS continues to meet the changing needs of the community that it serves. The College is proud of the degree opportunities that it offers, its student body, its alumni and its dedicated faculty and staff. While recognizing its distinguished past, CEHS remains ever-focused on the future.