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Our History

In July 2010, the College of Education and Human Development (CEHD) was formed, combining the School of Education, the Department of Human Development and Family Studies, and their affiliated centers. Although CEHD is the newest college at the University of Delaware, our roots can be traced back to 1914 when the Women’s College opened its doors to young women seeking a college education. The Women’s College offered degrees in Home Economics, Education, and Arts and Sciences.

Soon after it was established, the College began to play a successful role in improving the quality of teacher preparation for Delaware’s public schools. It steadily gained respect and recognition and, by 1932, over 300 women had earned two-year teaching certificates, qualifying them to be primary-school teachers.

A second field of study offered, home economics, was designed to bring scientific information and testing procedures to the tasks of homemakers. The curriculum was developed to create new professions for women, such as dietitians, food testers, clothing buyers and nursery-school teachers.  Education coursework was also expanded to provide training for high school teachers and agricultural extension agents.

To offer students practical experience in their fields, the Laboratory Preschool was established in 1934. As one of the oldest continuously operating university-based preschools in the nation, the Lab Preschool has been providing quality early childhood education, teacher training and research opportunities in human development for over 75 years.

The programs that originated in our college were primarily designed to provide a useful education for future wives and mothers. However, a number of graduates were motivated to continue their education. As a result, by the 1950s, the college began offering graduate programs in education and home economics. 

In the 1970s, the field of home economics increased its emphasis on research and more men began to consider it as a career choice. To help change the perception that the disciplines within home economics were solely the domain of women, in 1978, the College of Home Economics was renamed the College of Human Resources, which included the Department of Individual and Family Studies (now Human Development and Family Studies).

Since 1997, there have been a number of reconfigurations of the college, including the College of Human Resources, Education and Public Policy; the College of Human Services, Education and Public Policy; and the College of Education, Human Development and Public Policy.

Although the names of departments, schools and colleges have changed over the years, the University of Delaware has been training well-respected professionals in education, human development, and family studies for almost a century.


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