While the School of Education is one of Biola University's newest schools, its roots actually extend back more than half a century.
The original Department of Education sprouted up in the early 1950s at Biola College, located at Sixth and Hope streets in downtown Los Angeles. The post-World War II baby boom was creating a huge need for teachers, and Biola — which had completed a transition from a Bible institute to a Christian liberal arts college in 1949 — was looking to grow. So the venture into teacher education seemed like a natural "next step" to Dr. Wallace Emerson, chair of the Psychology Department, who first envisioned the program.
Dr. Samuel Sutherland, then president of Biola College, employed two founding full-time faculty in the education program: Mrs. Gloria Graham and Miss Betty McCoullough (later Dr. Betty Carden; pictured, left). They partnered with Cal State Los Angeles to grant California elementary teacher credentials to their graduates because Biola College's program was not yet accredited.
By 1960, a year after Biola moved from downtown Los Angeles to its current La Mirada campus, the teacher education program was able to secure its accreditation for teacher credentialing through the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing.
The department expanded during the '60s and '70s, as department chair Dr. Richard Jones initiated the addition of a single subject credential and a master's program in Christian School Administration.
In 1981, Dr. Richard Chase led the expansion of Biola College in to a university made up of three schools: the School of Arts and Sciences, Talbot School of Theology and Rosemead School of Psychology. The Department of Education made its home in the School of Arts and Sciences.
The '90s brought new beginnings. Finding its M.A. in School Administration program too narrow of a niche, the Department of Education replaced the administrative program with a new M.A. in Education. The program grew rapidly in the late '90s, mostly due to imbedding the credential within the degree and the teacher shortage caused by class-size reduction.
In 2000, Dr. June Hetzel became chair of the Education Department, marking the beginning of a span that brought many skilled faculty members and a new, diversified leadership structure to the department. During this time, the department also made major changes to its program to align the coursework with California's new State Bill 2042 credential requirements — the largest teacher education shift in decades.
In 2003, facing the growing complexity of the undergraduate and graduate programs, the department's professors began to have serious conversations with the provost of the university, Dr. Gary Miller, regarding becoming a School of Education.
In March 2007, Biola University's Board of Trustees gave its final approval to allow the department to transition to the School of Education. The School of Education enjoyed a quiet transition from a department to a school on July 1, 2007.
As Biola University's newest school, our prayer is that God uses us to transform our world by preparing teachers who will think with the mind of Christ, care for others with God's heart, and be empowered by God's Spirit to reflect His character so that the next generation will know Him (II Timothy 2:2).