History from 1950-59


  • June 1. Western leases Clear Lake Camp for five years to conduct an experiment in camping education.
  • Home economics education develops a general home economics major, a minor in clothing and a minor in food.
  • Home economics education moves from East Campus to McCracken Hall.


  • Campus School adds a nursery school.
  • Audio-Visual Center established.
  • Department of Industrial Arts Education divides into Department of Industrial Technical Education and Department of Industrial Arts Education.


  • Western Michigan College of Education begins to offer course work for its own Master of Arts degree in education, now independently from the University of Michigan (had been cooperative degree with U of M since 1939). All of Western’s masters' degrees offered through the School of Education, many known as "Teaching of..."
  • Western institutes new policy allowing students in teacher education twelve off-campus credits toward a master’s degree.
  • Western prepares for national teacher shortage, as well as its overall expansion, due to the nation’s economic growth, rising birth rates and range of social problems.


Kappa Delta Pi in 1953.

Kappa Delta Pi in 1953.

  • Jan. 25. First Master of Arts awarded by Western.
  • Department of Education offers master's degree program in counselor education.
  • Master's degree program offered in teaching of home economics.
  • Master's degree program offered in teaching of industrial education.


  • The Department of Rural Life and the Department of Education coordinates the newly formed cooperative Junior College-School of Education two-year program of teacher education.


  • Western Michigan College of Education renamed Western Michigan College.


  • Western Michigan College reorganizes into five schools: School of Applied Arts and Sciences, School of Business, School of Education, School of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the School of Graduate Studies. Schools renamed colleges in 1970.
  • James Griggs becomes the first dean of the School of Education, 1956-65.
  • The School of Applied Arts and Sciences is made up of the Division of Vocational Education . Its three departments are distributive education, home economics, industrial arts. In 1957 the school adds five more departments and is renamed the School of Applied Arts and Sciences.
  • Forty percent of all undergraduates on campus and most of those off campus, are enrolled in the School of Education curricula, as are nearly all of Western's graduate students.


  • Western Michigan College is renamed Western Michigan University.
  • The School of Education now has twelve undergraduate programs in education.
  • The School of Education divides into five departments: education, librarianship, physical education for men, physical education for women, rural life and education (agriculture goes to the School of Applied Science). It also includes the Campus School, Paw Paw Schools and the Educational Services Library.
  • On Oct. 4, the Soviet Union launches Sputnik, which has major long-term impact on U.S. education. It forces American educators to better prepare its students in mathematics and science. Teachers have to be trained, new texts needed, new content defined, new approaches identified. In the decades to come this will also impact the College of Education as the Federal government makes vast amounts of grant money available and education changes in both content and method.


  • Congress passes National Defense Education Act to train and upgrade teachers of science and mathematics, as well as guidance counselors, who are expected to counsel gifted students into rigorous science and math courses.
  • School of Business continues to participate with the School of Education in the master’s program teaching of business education.
  • Department of Librarianship, which has been part of the School of Education, is transferred to the School of Graduate Studies, but the preparation of teachers to be school librarians remains in the School of Education.


  • Women's intercollegiate athletics program begins as its teams in field hockey, basketball, golf and volleyball are groomed for intercollegiate competition. Women’s intercollegiate athletics will gain increasing emphasis in the following two decades. Until 1976, men's and women's athletics remain in the Department of Physical Education for Men and Department of Physical Education for Women within the School of Education.
  • For the first time, the Department of Rural Life and Education’s four-year degree graduates outnumber its two-year curriculum graduates.