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A Brief History

Growth and change has characterized the School of Education (now the School of Education & Human Development) since formally being established in 1973 as part of the Auraria experiment (i.e., three institutions sharing one urban campus). Headed by Associate Dean Thomas Barlow, the Denver program was not independent, but reported to Boulder’s School of Education and Dean (as did the Colorado Springs School of Education, also initially headed by Dr. Barlow.) Since the mid-1960s, the Denver Center had offered courses in teacher education and counseling and was sometimes referred to as UCLA (the University of Colorado between Larimer and Arapahoe, two parallel streets a block apart that marked the north and south borders of the one-block “campus”). In 1970, the roster of tenured and tenure-track faculty at Denver numbered six. Faculty offices originally were located on the sixth floor of the Tower Building which once housed the offices of Denver's tramway system; this building has since been renovated into a small boutique hotel, the Hotel Teatro.

Paced but steady growth occurred in the 1970’s, and toward the end of the decade the School of Education faculty moved to St. Cajetan’s rectory.  A spirited summer retreat in the late 1970’s led the Denver faculty and Associate Dean Richard Wiley to declare semi-independence from Boulder with a new name—the Graduate School of Education. A few months later, the Regents indicated no approval for that self-proclaimed independence and name change and returned the Denver School of Education to its status quo.

Nevertheless, autonomy did occur in the mid-1980’s with the establishment of a Coordinating Dean who was to direct an articulated system of the three School of Education programs on three separate campuses. The first Coordinating Dean was the Denver-based dean, William Grady. Also, early in the 1980’s, the School of Education was re-located--first back to the tramway Tower office building (on the second floor this time around), and then to the second floor of the Dravo Building at 14th and Larimer Streets (currently the CU Denver Building).

Up until 1985 the faculty was composed of about 14 professors who prepared new teachers, special educators, school psychologists, reading teachers, and bilingual teachers. In the latter 1980s, the size of the faculty increased markedly through aggressive expansion, marked by the hiring of 10 faculty in the span of two years. The counseling program, the principal preparation program, and a PhD program in educational leadership were moved from Boulder to Denver in 1987.  Moving out of the undergraduate arena in 1986 (given Colorado’s elimination of undergraduate degrees in education), the School’s programs, principally at the master's level, grew larger and their visibility in the community increased. In 1988, the School of Education moved to the fourth and fifth floors of the new North Classroom Building that became its home for the next 20 years.

In 1993, G. Thomas Bellamy was hired and began an nine-year period as Dean.  Key components of his Deanship involved the active creation of many partnerships involving initial teacher preparation as well as advanced degree programs.  During Dean Bellamy’s tenure, several significant initiatives included the establishment of the Center for Collaborative Educational Leadership (CCEL) that housed funded projects in rented space separate from the rest of the School, Associate Dean Rhodes’ focus on partner school development for initial teacher preparation, the advent of a Colorado Department of Education approved Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) within the SOE for professional development, and active participation in national organizations.  These initiatives and others created a sustainable foundation for continued growth in academic programs and research initiatives.

Dean Lynn K. Rhodes led the School from 2001 until 2011. Under her leadership, the School offered a score of licensure and endorsement programs, as well as 13 degree programs, including two Educational Specialist degree programs as well as both a PhD and an EdD.  Work with undergraduates interested in teaching has resumed on a coordinated basis with the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Early in the new century, the School of Education voted to become the School of Education & Human Development (SEHD) in recognition of its substantive program in counseling psychology and counselor education.  The School also hosts a number of grant-funded Centers as well as the Research Center which is designed to support faculty research, grant writing and publication and the Evaluation Center which is designed to provide evaluation services to community organizations.  Midway through the first decade of the new century, the Downtown Denver Campus consolidated with the Health Sciences Center Campus to first become the University of Colorado at Denver and Health Sciences Center and then the University of Colorado Denver, a Research I University.  The SEHD has adopted mission and vision statements that emphasize diversity, equity and social justice in its personnel preparation, teaching, research and outreach to the community.

Early in 2008, the SEHD moved to the sixth, seventh, and eleventh floors of the Lawrence Street Center which was purchased by the university so that it could have sole use of the facility. The move has effectively combining in one place the full SEHD faculty and grant-funded personnel. By 2010, the SEHD was comprised of 51 faculty members, including 37 tenured and tenure-track, 12 clinical teaching, and 2 research faculty. 

Rebecca Kantor became Dean of the School in 2012. Kantor brings a robust career as an early childhood teacher, researcher, professor of teacher education, education policy reformer and public university administrator to her role. She most recently worked at Ohio State University for 29 years years. She joined the School of Education & Human Development at a time of intense attention to education preparation and school reform.

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