Our History

Miami’s College of Education, Health and Society was founded in 1902 as the first professional school of Miami University and one of the first teacher education schools in Ohio. It was originally called the Ohio State Normal School. The Ohio legislature authorized its establishment "to provide proper theoretical and practical training for all students desiring to prepare themselves for the work of teaching."

The division rapidly grew in size and scope. It enrolled 90 undergraduate students in 1903, more than 200 in 1911, 735 in 1930, and 2,000 in 1960. Currently, there are about 3,300 students.

From the beginning, the division dramatically changed the character of the university. It enrolled not only the first women students, but the first students of color. In 1905, Nellie Craig, Miami’s first African American student, earned a two-year degree in teaching.

The McGuffey Laboratory School opened in 1910 and was soon housed with the teacher preparation students in the new McGuffey Hall, completed in 1917. McGuffey Hall was named to honor William Holmes McGuffey, father of the McGuffey Readers.

As the division expanded over the next few decades, it offered an increasingly systematized curriculum in elementary and secondary teacher education, home economics, special education, educational psychology, educational media, physical education, arts education and industrial technology. Faculty expanded their work outside of teaching to programs and research projects with local communities and schools, a practice that continues to this day.

From its founding, the school developed an atmosphere of student collegiality and support, with its own sororities and honorary societies, athletic teams, musical and theater groups, alumni organizations, and teacher associations. From the beginning, Miami's education students reflected upon the perennial debate about theory and practice in teacher preparation programs.

One student wrote this in 1903:

"Oh the joys of teaching! Where are our fond dreams of the ideal class-room and the ideal teacher? Just one day of practical teaching and the dreams begin to fade; a few more days and they have vanished...How fully do we realize that theory and practice are two different things? However, 'Practice makes Perfect,' so who knows but that the class of '04 may send out teachers of world-wide fame and reputation?"

In 1973, the School began offering its first non-teaching degree—a BS in Home Economics for graduates majoring in dietetics, child development, family relations, clothing and textiles, food management, and consumer sciences.

In 1977, the School changed its name to the School of Education and Allied Professions to better reflect the diversity of academic programs it then housed. In 2007, a new name—Education, Health and Society—was adopted in recognition of the current configuration of programs. The new name was selected to better represent the scope of efforts in the School’s five departments and the interrelationships among the academic disciplines. It reflects the understanding that individual human health and well-being intersects with broader social forces, just as education intersects within each of these realms.  In 2013, the School of Education, Health and Society became the College of Education, Health and Society.