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 1743 when Dr. Rev. Francis Alison established an institution to create better educated clergy.

In 1843, the school was renamed Delaware College, providing men the opportunity to receive degrees, including education. In 1914, the Women’s College opened on an adjoining campus, offering women degrees in Home Economics, Education, and Arts and Sciences.

Soon after it was established, the Women’s College began to play a role in improving the quality of teacher preparation for Delaware’s public schools. A second field of study, home economics, was designed to bring scientific information and testing procedures to the tasks of homemakers. The curriculum opened up new professions for women, such as dietitians, food testers, clothing buyers and nursery-school teachers.

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.

During the 1940s, the University of Delaware become a single co-educational entity with five schools —the School of Education, the School of Home Economics, Agriculture, Engineering and Arts and Science.

Over the years, the names have changed to reflect social norms. 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 home economics was primarily a woman’s field, in 1978, the College of Home Economics was renamed the College of Human Resources, which included the Department of Individual and Family Studies (now the Department of 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 maintained a consistent standard, training well-respected professionals in education, human development, and family studies for over two centuries.