History and Mission


Purdue’s College of Education is dedicated to launching the future through the discovery and development of human potential.

That’s a lofty vision, yet one that equitable access to education can make possible. Through our research, scholarship and teacher preparation, we work to effect positive change and transform the lives of learners of all ages and ability in a variety on contexts both formal and informal.

For nearly 110 years, we have seen that vision become reality – and realize that even as much is accomplished, there remains much to do. The CoE Strategic Plan 2016-2020 details specific goals and outcomes as we continue to take a leadership role in education.

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In 1907, the Indiana legislature adopted a teacher-training law. Purdue University stood ready to lead the effort.

“In view of the rapidly increasing interest in industrial training in the public schools, the lack of teachers for such work, and recent legislation in Indiana affecting the qualifications of such teachers,” acting Purdue president Winthrop E. Stone told the Board of Trustees in 1907, “it is recommended that provision be made for the preparation of such teachers at Purdue University. . . .”

The board agreed, and the department of Education at Purdue was born.

In 1908, George L. Roberts was appointed the sole faculty member and department head of Education in the School of Science. He introduced the first five courses in 1909 and the first bachelor’s degree followed in 1910. By 1918, the curricula included 21 classes. By 1920, the faculty had grown to seven. The department first offered graduate courses in 1929 with the first master’s degree awarded in 1930 and the first doctoral degree in 1939.

In 1989, Education stepped into its own, bidding farewell to its home of 26 years—the School of Humanities, Social Sciences and Education—to become the School of Education.

Purdue University President Steven C. Beering noted, “Creating a separate School of Education underscored Purdue University’s long-standing commitment to the education of teachers—those dedicated men and women who have a profound impact on the young people of today, the leaders of tomorrow.”

The old Education Building was razed in 1990 and replaced two years later with a building that housed the administrative offices of both Education and Liberal Arts. The building was later named in honor of Purdue’s ninth president, Steven C. Beering.

In 2005, in alignment with a new university policy, the School of Education became the College of Education.

These deans have lead the College of Education since 1989:

  • Robert Kane (1989-1991)
  • Marilyn Haring (1991 – 2001)
  • Jerry Peters, interim dean (2001-2003)
  • George Hynd (2003 – 2007)
  • Kevin Kelly, interim dean (2007-2009)
  • Maryann Santos (2009 – 2018)
  • Nancy Marchand-Martella (2018-present)