The 1970s had been a decade of much curriculum innovation, special programs, services to communities and schools, creative faculty and generating of grants. Although College of Education at Western Michigan University enrollments had begun to drop in the mid-1970s, further innovation and building on the momentum begun during that period continued into the 1980s.
- March 21. The Department of Home Economics celebrates its 75th anniversary.
- The Department of Counseling and Personnel opens its state-of-the-art Center for Counseling and Psychological Services in Sangren Hall.
- The Department of Health, Physical Education and Recreation introduces its undergraduate program in exercise science, a program for non-teachers that does not require students to have education courses.
- The Department of Home Economics, still a part of the College of Applied Arts and Sciences, now renamed the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences, merges with the Department of Distributive Education and the Department of Agriculture, acquires all of the vocational education programs and all business education programs from the College of Business and is renamed the Department of Consumer Resources and Technology. The first components of this department had moved into its permanent quarters in Kohrman Hall in 1980.
- The Department of Counseling and Personnel receives accreditation from the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs, making WMU the first institution of higher learning in Michigan to be thus accredited.
- Dr. Arnold Gallegos becomes the new dean of the college, replacing Dr. John Sanberg.
- The Merze Tate Center for Research and Information Processing (later renamed the Merze Tate Center for Research and School Reform) opens in Sangren Hall to support the College of Education faculty and graduate students. It is made possible through a gift from the 1927 WMU graduate who became a distinguished diplomatic historian.
- The College of Education publishes the first issue of its newsletter, the "Network."
- The College of Education's Office of Certification, Orientation and Advisement merges with the Office of Professional Field Experiences to form the Office of Admissions, Advising and Field Placement.
- A faculty-staff lounge opens in Sangren Hall. The dean writes in the newsletter that the faculty and staff must now make it a point to leave their desks for breaks and lunch.
- The Department of Education and Professional Development, from 1985 to the present, requires all elementary education students to complete a science or math minor before they enter the teacher education program as juniors.
- The Department of Counseling and Personnel is renamed the Department of Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology. It consists of graduate programs only in counseling psychology, school counseling, counseling in community agencies and counseling in higher education.
- The Special Education Learning Laboratory is opened by the Department of Health, Physical Education and Recreation. It offers individualized, remedial and developmental programs to community children with a variety of handicapping conditions, while at the same time it is a faculty-supervised laboratory setting for undergraduate and graduate students to receive training in teaching physical education to special-needs children.
- Science Education in Middle Schools project, consisting of summer workshops, begins.
- A U.S. Department of Education grant funds the Department of Health, Physical Education and Recreation's training program in physical education for special education teachers and it becomes the first such certified program in the nation.
- The Department of Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology appoints the first permanent director of its Center for Counseling and Psychological Services.
- WMU's annual conference on guidance and counseling, the nation's oldest such continuous conference, celebrates its 50th anniversary.
- The COE's Education Technology Instructional Laboratory (computer lab) opens in Sangren Hall. Eventually there is also an enabling or adaptive technology center for Special Education students.
- The Department of Consumer Resources and Technology acquires microcomputers and Computer Aided Design software to be used to train its textile and apparel students in the state-of-the-art technology used in the industry.
- The Department of Educational Leadership launches its leadership academy to train teachers to become administrators.