The History of the College of EHHS

The College of Education, Health and Human Services’ roots date back to the beginning of Kent State University. KSU was originally founded in 1910 as Kent State Normal School to train high school graduates in pedagogy and curriculum to become future teachers. A grassroots campaign to grow it into a liberal arts college started in 1929. In March 1929 the Emmons-Hanna legislation changed Kent from a normal school to a college, authorizing courses leading to a B.S. in education and giving trustees authority - at the faculty's recommendation - to confer honorary degrees of the sort given by "colleges of liberal arts in the United States." The institution became known as Kent State University in 1935.

In August 1946, University President George Bowman appointed Robert I. White as dean of education. A former high school teacher and principal, White was teaching graduate courses at the University of Chicago. He held a somewhat Platonic view of what a university should be. Hence, he remade the College of Education by measuring every aspect of the curriculum by rigorous "standards." White created a Student Qualification for Professional Standards program to produce high-quality teachers; however, it frustrated generations of education majors. Primary requirements included "adequate intelligence," a "strong academic record," a "desirable teaching personality," and understanding of how children learn, skill in using teaching resources and techniques, and an ability to "use and write English properly." A C average or higher in Freshman English and passing a special English composition test was required. Moreover, students with certain irreparable health or speech defects that could inhibit effective teaching would be "withdrawn" from the college. In 1958, White became vice president of Academic Affairs.

Twenty of the school's departments were subsequently arranged into three collegial divisions: the College of Education; the College of Business; and the College of Liberal Arts. With respect to the College of Education, Leebrick removed one of its bedrock courses, psychology, and corralled its 12 faculty members into three divisions - kindergarten primary, elementary and secondary. 

The College of Education gained its own home in 1966 and its central location was formally named White Hall in 1985 after former Kent State president and dean of the College of Education, Robert I. White.

At the end of the '70s, an array of centers of excellence were created, including education professor Gerald H. Read's Center for the Study of Socialist Education (later renamed the Gerald H. Read Center for International and Intercultural Education) and the Child Development Center for teaching and research in early childhood education, among others.

As the College of Arts and Sciences grew throughout the 1950’s, the schools of Architecture, Art, Economics, Industrial Arts, Journalism, and Music and Speech merged to form the College of Fine and Professional Arts (F&PA) in 1959. The School of Exercise, Leisure and Sport was founded in 1994 and by 1998, merged with the College of F&PA to, according to former associate dean of the College of F&PA Gary Neiman, “create a home within Fine and Professional Arts for Health and Human Services.”

The College of Fine and Professional Arts, which in 2005 housed the schools of Exercise, Leisure and Sport; Family and Consumer Studies; and Speech Pathology and Audiology, merged with the College of Education in 2005 to form the College and Graduate School of Education, Health and Human Services, now known as the College of EHHS.

White Hall now stands as the headquarters of EHHS, with Nixson Hall, the MACC Annex, and the Speech and Hearing Clinic all housing varieties of EHHS schools, offices and classes. The College of Education, Health and Human Services continues to grow and expand, and looks forward to future renovations of the buildings that house its rich history.

EHHS Dean Timeline

  • Dean John L. Blair, 1932-1945
  • Dean Robert I White, 1946-1957
  • Dean Clayton M. Schindler, 1958-1971
  • Dean Robert J. Alfonso, 1971-1980
  • Dean Richard Hawthorne, 1980-1986
  • Dean Joanne Rand Schwartz, 1986-2002
  • Dean David A. England, 2002-2007
  • Dean Daniel F. Mahony, 2008-2015
  • Dean James C. Hannon, 2017- present