College of Education and Human Development
In late 1800s, people in northwest Ohio were starting to seek out better quality education and educators for their children. There were publicly-supported normal schools in Oxford (Miami) and Athens (Ohio), but the people in northern portions of the state believed that they were overdue for some state attention.
On May 19, 1910, Governor Judson Harmon signed a bill sponsored by Representative John Lowry of Henry County. It provided for two things: 1) the normal school system in Ohio be extended with the creation of two normal schools, one in northwest Ohio and the other in northeast Ohio; and 2) the Governor would appoint a five-person committee with full authority to select suitable locations.
Questions to be considered by the committee included: 1) population data within a 25-mile radius; 2) railroad and other transportation facilities; 3) the moral atmosphere of the community; 4) the health situation in the community and 4) the suitability of sites offered.
Bowling Green offered four possible location: 1) the tract of land east of the city, including the city park; 2) north of town, east of Main Street and north of Poe Road; 3) south of Gypsy Lane Road and west of Main Street and 4) the present site of Wood County Hospital.
The commission announced four finalist locations: Bowling Green, Fremont, Napoleon and Van Wert.
Napoleon, the home of John Lowry, was eliminated because it featured a large number of saloons whereas Bowling Green was, at the time, dry. Fremont went by the wayside, mainly because of certain stipulations imposed by the President Rutherford B. Hayes Memorial Commission.
In a vote on November 10, 1910, Bowling Green was chosen as the official site in northwest Ohio, winning a 3-2 vote over Van Wert. Kent was selected as the site in northeast Ohio. The commission also selected the tract of land in BG, including the city park, as the site. The committee said that the transportation facilities, the central location, and the fact that the city was dry served as large contributing factors to Bowling Green’s victory.
The two normal schools were unique as they were the first in Ohio that were not affiliated with other institutions, and they were the first public institutions for teacher preparation.
Originally it was intended that Bowling Green and Kent would be two-year schools for training elementary teachers, however, those expectations were soon surpassed. Each grew to become a four-year college, officially recognized by state legislature in 1929, with each achieving university standing in 1935.
Bowling Green trustees were hopeful that classes would start in 1912, however, due to numerous delays, classes didn’t until September, 1914. With a faculty consisting of 10 members – including President Homer Williams and four critic teachers for the elementary training school – the first published catalog identified 15 departments.
Many buildings were completed and opened from 1915 through 1921. They included: North Dorm – now Williams Hall – as a dorm for women; the Administration Building – now University Hall – which contained a library, gymnasium, classrooms and more. Also, the Science Building – now Mosely Hall – and the Training School Building – now Hanna Hall – opened.
In 1915-16, BG men began participating in intercollegiate basketball as the "Bowling Green Normals." By 1920, baseball, football and tennis had also been added to the slate.
The Normal College curriculum reflected a commitment to meet local needs. By a wide margin, BG students were young women who sought two-year diplomas allowing them to teach grades 1-8 anywhere in Ohio.
The school also offered a one-year professional course to certify those who were already college graduates, one-year diplomas for rural teachers, and a two-year diploma for those who wished to teach special subjects, including: agriculture, industrial arts, home economies and music.
Most importantly, BG offered a four-year degree leading to the Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Education despite the fact that no legislation permission had been given for the institution to grant degrees. It was President Williams’ philosophy to act as if the school already was what it aspired to be.
A major part of the Normal School was that of practice teaching. The Training School was completed in 1921 and allowed children in grades 1-6 to learn in one of the most up-to-date buildings for elementary pupils. The Training School allowed children to explore opportunities in cooking, sewing, music, gardening and nature study.
The majority of BG students pursued a two-year elementary diploma, however, many returned in the summer to earn the four-year B.S. in Education. When more opportunities in school administration and special high school subjects emerged, the enrollment of male students increased steadily.
By 1929, the College boasted 105 acres, seven college buildings, a heating plant, the president’s house, a small group of farm buildings and enrollment stood at more than 900.
Also in 1929, the Emmons-Hanna Bill officially changed the name of the school to Bowling Green State College and empowered BG to officially offer four-year programs leading to bachelor’s degrees, despite the fact that Bowling Green had already granted 253 such degrees.
With the passage of the Emmons-Hanna Bill, President Williams appointed Clyde Hissong as Dean of Education. In addition to overseeing teacher preparation, Hissong supervised an appointment service for graduates that produced a better than 90 percent placement rate. In 1930, President Williams wrote that the main purpose of the College was to, “train teachers and to afford opportunities for liberal training in the arts and sciences.”
In 1932, the school had been fully accredited by the American Association of Teachers Colleges, admitted to the Ohio College Association and been placed on the regular college list of the North Central Association.
While the Great Depression affected enrollment at BG, it wasn’t severe. The real threat to the College came in 1933, when a legislative scheme by the Ohio State Senate Welfare Commission attempted to turn BG into a mental institution. Outraged citizens mounted a strong campaign and when the Senate Committee met again the measure was easily defeated, 14-5.
In May, 1935, six years after changing from Normal to College, BGSC became BGSU. The change in name and status brought many new functions. The College of Education and College of Liberal Arts were officially sanctioned, the College of Business Administration was created and, as a full-fledged university, BGSU was afforded the power to award master’s degrees. By 1936, master’s degree programs were in place not only in education, but also in English, history, social science and mathematics.
With a teacher shortage during World War II, BGSU was one of 240 college and universities selected to serve as a V-5 and V-12 training center. The naval V-5 program to train flight instructors was started in 1942, and in 1943 the V-12 training program for naval officers was enacted. Cadets enrolled in regular college courses, as well as specialized naval training.
A reading center was created within the College of Education in 1942, but was not firmly established until 1946, when Martha Gesling Weber became its director and offered diagnostic services to area schools. The center was one of the first in Ohio.
Following World War II, enrollment at Bowling Green skyrocketed. By 1950, the number of students had eclipsed 4,000.
Upon President Frank Prout’s retirement in 1951, Ralph W. McDonald was appointed the fourth president in school history. McDonald had served seven years as the Executive Secretary of the Department of Higher Education of the National Education Association and also had strong interests in teacher education. He was the first University president from outside of Ohio and he was deeply interested in national movements to raise standards of teacher education and certification.
Also in 1951, the reorganization of the three colleges took place to more closely conform to the traditional groups of departments. Following reconfiguration, the College of Education included Departments of Education, Graphic Arts, Health and Physical Education, Home Economics, Industrial Arts and Library Science.
With continued teacher shortages in the early ‘50s, the Master of Education (M.Ed.) and the Master of Science (M.S.) in Education became available to deal with the demand for more specialized preparation in education and further increased enrollment in the College.
The decision to close the campus school came in 1956, and plans were made to open a new facility in town. On April 8, 1958, the 210 students and six faculty members moved to the new facility, Crim Elementary School.
In 1959, the Board of Trustees voted to change the name of the Laboratory School to Hanna Hall in honor of Myrna Reese Hanna, the co-author of the 1929 bill which changed the status of Bowling Green from a normal school to a state college.
The 1960s saw the development of specialized programs in specialized programs in special education, school psychology, guidance and counseling and vocational rehabilitation counseling.
In 1961, the College of Education gained its first school when the Department of Music became the School of Music.
In 1964, the Master of Arts (M.A.) and M.Ed. options were offered in Guidance and Counseling. At about the same time, the development of the College Student Personnel program began. Five years later, College Student Personnel became a new department in the College of Education. Students pursuing the program were trained for a variety of college administrative positions in areas such as student affairs, admissions, residence life, financial aid and development.
Enrollment in the College of Education was the largest of any at BGSU in 1951 with 1,773 students. Ten years later, that number had ballooned to more than 3,000 students, and by 1965, the College enrolled 5,470 students and was ranked the 16th largest producer of teachers in the entire nation.
On a snowy day in 1966, ground was broken on the west end of what had once been the campus football stadium. The building opened in the spring of 1968 and was dedicated on May 17, 1969. The new building contained 22 general classrooms, 79 faculty offices and a large auditorium lecture hall, among other things.
The Department of Industrial Arts helped meet the large demand for high school teachers trained in this specialized field. In 1971, the department became known as Industrial Education and Technology.
In 1971, David G. Elsass assumed leadership of the College, the first graduate of the College to become its chief administrator. He would preside over one of the College’s most significant period of development and change.
In addition to offering new courses and more opportunities for field experiences, College faculty reviewed and revised virtually every major program of study in teacher education and set a standard of excellence among Ohio teacher education institutions.
The new programs were successfully implemented by the state’s deadline of July, 1980 and, in 1982, a state evaluation team conducted an on-site review of BGSU’s redesigned programs, giving the College one of the highest ratings of any teacher-education institution in the state.
Also in 1982, the Ohio Department of Education evaluated Bowling Green’s implementation of the new state standards and gave it exceptionally high marks. An independent study of more than 900 United States institutions in 1983 ranked BGSU’s student teaching program among the top eleven, while the American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education ranked BG as the third largest in the country in bachelor’s degrees awarded to persons eligible for teacher certification (724).
In the same year, a national assessment published in the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators Journal ranked BG’s College Student Personnel program among the top five in the country.
While celebrating BGSU’s 75th anniversary in 1985, the Board of Trustees formally approved a request by the College that its name be changed to the College of Education and Allied Professions. This action was a reflection of the heritage of the College.
The name changed again 12 years later to what it is today, the College of Education and Human Development, and now consists of five schools and the Department of Higher Education and Student Affairs.