About the School of Education

Syracuse University School of Education advances the future of teaching and learning through inclusive, equitable, and antiracist research and practice.

Led by internationally recognized faculty who are dedicated to student-centered instruction and cutting-edge research, the School advances knowledge and expertise to promote dynamic, effective, and engaging learning experiences for all.

By supporting a welcoming learning community that fosters collaboration and promotes human thriving, the School mentors and nurtures the next generation of educators, scholars, and leaders who will have meaningful and sustained impact in their communities.


By leveraging its historic legacy as a global leader in inclusive and equitable education, the School of Education aspires to be the pre-eminent institution for scholarship and instruction across its three signatures: inclusive and antiracist pedagogy and practice, digital learning technologies, and experiential learning that harnesses relationships across campus, community, and beyond.

The impact of this work will enhance the School’s global reputation for producing impactful research and for attracting and preparing equity-minded and transformative teachers, counselors, and other professionals who support student success across diverse learning contexts.

Academic Strategic Plan 2023: Toward an Equitable and Sustainable Future

Read the plan in full

Topline Commitments

  1. The School of Education will coalesce intentionally around three signatures—inclusive and antiracist pedagogy and practice, digital pedagogy and practice, and experiential pedagogy and practice—as areas of distinction.
  2. SOE will adopt a “one school” perspective and organizational structure to improve equity, promote efficiency and interdisciplinarity, and strengthen community and belonging.
  3. SOE will promote its three centers—Center for Academic Achievement and Student Development, Center on Disability and Inclusion, and Center for Experiential Pedagogy and Practice—as hubs of connection and collaboration for faculty, staff, and students engaging in ambitious, impactful, and grant-funded research.
  4. SOE will enroll and retain more students in efficiently run programs to allow us to make values-driven choices.
  5. SOE will center attention to diversity, inclusion, equity, and accessibility in all aspects of our enterprise.


Two photos depicting trainee teachers observing a classroom, one from 1930s and the other from 2020s.The School of Education was founded in 1906 as the Margaret Olivia Slocum Teachers’ College, with a primary focus on training teachers. Several decades later, with increased student enrollment and an expanded purview, Dean Harry Ganders (1930-1953) led an effort to reframe the organization as the “All-University” School of Education.

Since that time, SOE has made notable contributions to the campus, Central New York, and the field of education, and is a pioneer on many fronts:

  • Understood to be the first teachers’ college to offer student teaching in public schools.
  • Among the oldest literacy and special education programs in the United States.
  • The first university to offer a full range of degrees for teachers of special education.
  • A leader in the right to education, deinstitutionalization, communication rights, and school inclusion movements.
  • The first graduate disability studies program.
  • The first joint degree in law and disability studies.
  • The first fully integrated inclusive education program offered at a research university.



The SU Board of Trustees approves a plan to inaugurate a Teachers College on January 16, naming Dr. Jacob Richard Street as the first Dean. The Teachers College’s first home is Yates Castle (aka Renwick Castle) on Irving Avenue.

Following gifts totaling more than $160,000, the Teachers College is named for benefactor Margaret Olivia Slocum, the wife of financier Russell Sage.

The Hospital of the Good Shepherd (now Huntington Hall) is purchased by Syracuse University. Among the 20 oldest hospitals in the United States, it was the first in the nation to offer nursing education, along with Johns Hopkins, in 1885.

Dean Mark E. Penney tenure begins.

The tenure of Dean Albert S. Hurst sees “the beginning of student practice teaching, outside the city at first, in small schools such as Warners … [then with] willing cooperation from the city system” (Thorpe, The Story of Renwick Castle). It is believed that the Teachers College was the first of its kind to provide its students with practice teaching in public schools.

Among milestones in the tenure of Dean Harry S. Ganders were the establishment of the Alpha Delta Iota Chapter of Phi Delta Kappa, School Board Institute, Bureau of School Services, and Teachers Placement Bureau.

The Student Dean Program is inaugurated by Dean of Women Eugenie A. Leonard, to train women to become educational leaders. It is led by Dean Eunice Hilton from 1935 to 1959. The program later becomes co-educational and evolves into SOE’s Higher Education program.

The All-University School of Education is established, incorporating the Teachers College, instituting dual professorships, and serving the University at large with both educational opportunities for faculty and staff and training in higher education administration.

Progenitor to the Counseling and Human Services program, the Department of Guidance is established.

The School of Education moves to Slocum Hall.


SOE’s Department of Education for Exceptional Children is established, a pioneering special education program that also saw Syracuse become the first university to offer a full range of degrees—undergraduate through doctoral—for teachers of special education.

The Bureau of School Service is created, administering off-campus courses and direct services to school systems.

Under Professor James W. Brown, the Audio-Visual Center is formed, progenitor to the Instructional Design, Development, and Evaluation program.

Consolidating SOE’s several literacy programs, the Reading and Language Arts program is formed, one of the oldest programs in the nation dedicated to literacy education.

Dean Virgil M. Rogers tenure begins.

The University opens the Hoople Center for Special Education Building on Irving Avenue, one of five such facilities on a university campus in the nation.

SOE is first accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education.

Acting Dean Robert C. Stewart tenure begins.

Dean David R. Krathwohl tenure begins.

After University Hospital of the Good Shepherd patients are transferred to Upstate Medical University, the hospital building is converted to academic and administration use and re-named Huntington Hall.

Professor Burton Blatt’s groundbreaking book Christmas in Purgatory: A Photographic Essay on Mental Retardation is published, described as “a classic photo essay of legally sanctioned human abuse in state institutions.” Professor Blatt joins the School of Education faculty in 1969.

Professor Peter Knoblock co-founds Syracuse’s Jowonio School, a leader in inclusive schooling. Starting as a higher grades alternative before becoming a pre-school in 1977, the school maintains a close relationship with SOE.


The Center on Human Policy is founded by Dean Burton Blatt in response to widespread discrimination against people with disabilities in society. Blatt testifies in the landmark Pennsylvania Association for Retarded Children (PARC) v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania case, the first right-to-education suit in the nation.

The Central New York School Study Council (aka The Study Council) is formed.

Syracuse University Project Advance begins, as a project of the Center for Instructional Development, training high school teachers as SU adjunct professors to offer advanced placement SU classes in their schools.

The Gebbie Speech, Language, and Hearing Clinic opens in the Hoople Building on Irving Avenue.

The School of Education completes its move to Huntington Hall.

Professor Douglas Biklen and the College of Law’s Professor Richard Ellison sue Syracuse City School District to admit children with disabilities.

Dean Burton Blatt tenure begins.

Professor Don Ely launches the ERIC Clearinghouse on Information Resources at Syracuse University, one of 16 federally funded clearinghouses serving K-12 education.

The Association of Teacher Educators recognizes SOE as a “Distinguished Program for Teacher Education.”

The Office of Professional Development begins, led by Deena Newman and later by Scott Shablak.

The Area of Instructional Technology becomes the Department of Instructional Design, Development, and Evaluation.

With assistance from SOE, Edward Smith Elementary School in the Syracuse City School District begins to fully include children with autism into its classrooms, a national first.

The Center on Human Policy begins a National Institute of Education-funded study on “exemplary mainstreamed classes” with 25 Syracuse-area programs chosen for study.

Columbus “Ted” Grace G’99, G’02, creates Syracuse’s first African American pre-school, along with his wife, Jackie—the Grace Children’s Academy. Later an SOE literacy professor, Grace passes suddenly at home in 2004. Corcoran High School in the Syracuse City School District memorializes him with its Ted Grace Reading Grove (2009).

SOE’s first six-credit study abroad trip to Italy takes place, to study mainstreaming and inclusive education in that nation, organized by Carol Berrigan.

Interim Dean Harold Herber tenure begins.

Dean Joan Burstyn tenure begins.

Phyllis Ganders Seibel and Joan Ganders Glassey endow the Harry S. and Elva K. Ganders Lecture Series, in memory of their parents.

Professor Roger Hiemstra receives $3.7 million from The Kellogg Foundation to store adult and continuing education resources on modern technologies and to make them available globally (aka The Kellogg Project).

Master’s programs in School Counseling and Student Affairs Counseling and the doctoral program in Counselor Education receive CACREP national accreditation.

The Department of Cultural Foundations of Education is formed.

The first national documentary on school inclusion—Regular Lives—is aired on PBS, produced by Professor Douglas Biklen. It wins numerous awards, including a Blue Ribbon from the American Film Institute.

Interim Dean Philip Doughty tenure begins.

Dean Steven T. Bossert tenure begins.

Students are admitted into the Inclusive Elementary and Special Education program for the first time, making Syracuse, according to Program Director Luanna Meyer, the “only college in the country to combine elementary and special education programs.”


The Facilitated Communication Institute opens, to study and promote communication by people with autism and other developmental disabilities.

The Counselor Education and Rehabilitation Counseling departments merge to form the Department of Counseling and Human Services.

SOE establishes a graduate Disability Studies program, the first in the nation.

‘Cuse in Kenya begins with a memorandum of understanding between SU and Kenyatta University, where Professor (Later Dean) Joanna Masingila was a Fulbright Scholar.

The Cultural Foundations of Education department begins the federally funded Syracuse University Violence Prevention Project. Principal investigators are Professor Joan Burstyn (Dean, 1985-1989) and Professor Steven J. Taylor.

The SOE Board of Visitors convenes for the first time.

Furthering its work on rehabilitation, under Professor Steven J. Taylor the Center on Human Policy receives a five-year, $2 million National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation grant to promote supported living and choice nationwide.

SOE is awarded a $1.4 million federal grant for “Content in Action: Preparing Today’s and Tomorrow’s Teachers to Use Technology,” led by professors John Tillotson and Patricia Tinto.

The Education Living Learning Community is launched, providing education undergraduates with a campus affinity and student success support group. In 2024, the ELLC is renamed The HIVE (Home for Inclusive and Visionary Educators).

Interim Dean Corinne R. Smith tenure begins.

Interim Dean Emily Robertson tenure begins.

Dean Louise C. Wilkinson tenure begins.

New York State approves SU’s joint degree program in law (J.D.) and education (M.S.) in Disability Studies, the first such program in the nation.

Growing from a Meredith Professorship project by Professor Gerald Mager, Bridge to the City, an immersive teacher preparation field experience program in New York City, is launched.

CNN broadcasts the documentary Autism is a World, co-produced by Professor Douglas Biklen. It is nominated for an Academy Award.

Dean Douglas P. Biklen tenure begins.

SOE announces the launch of the Holocaust and Genocide Initiative, including the Spector/Warren Fellowship for Future Educators, led by Professor Alan Goldberg.

Professor Benjamin Dotger receives a Spencer Foundation grant to design a “standardized parent” conferencing model for training teachers, the beginning of the clinical simulations teaching model for pre-service teachers and other professionals.

Professor Gretchen Lopez begins the Intergroup Dialogue Program, a social justice initiative that facilitates communication across social, cultural, and power differences, part of the national Multi-University Intergroup Dialogue Research Project.

Several federal- and state-funded student development programs are re-located to SOE: GEAR-UP, Science and Technology Entry Program (STEP), TRIO Student Support Services (SSS), and the Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP).

The Syracuse chapter of Say Yes to Education is created, designed to help urban youth find college success. Funded by Say Yes to Education Inc., it is the largest educational and economic development program of its kind in the nation.

Reading and Language Arts Professor Marcelle Haddix launches Writing Our Lives, a literacy, writing, and arts program for Syracuse area youth.

SOE establishes the Lawrence B. Taishoff Center for Inclusive Higher Education to promote the participation of students with intellectual and developmental disabilities in postsecondary education, funded by the Taishoff Family Foundation.


601 Tully opens, a center for co-production of culture in Syracuse Near Westside Neighborhood.

SOE signs its first Memorandum of Understanding with East China Normal University in Shanghai, China. The agreement includes academic collaboration on instructional design topics, hosting of ECNU students, and co-hosting of conferences.

A Huntington Hall renovation re-establishes the building’s main entrance on Marshall Street, iron gates are removed, and in May, the Sharon H. Jacquet ’72 Education Commons is dedicated.

SOE receives a $1 million gift from the Himan Brown Charitable Trust to support study abroad.

Led by Professor Beth Myers, InclusiveU launches—the largest and most inclusive program in the US—an initiative of the Taishoff Center that brings students of all ages with intellectual and developmental disabilities who want to experience college life in a fully inclusive setting to Syracuse University.

Interim Dean Joanna O. Masingila tenure begins.

Dean Joanna O. Masingila tenure begins.

The Center for Academic Achievement and Student Development (CAASD) is established, to unify several federally and state-funded student development and success programs.

The Lender Center for Social Justice is opened, with a gift from Marvin ’63 and Helaine Gold Lender ’65, originally co-directed by SOE’s Professor Marcelle Haddix and Professor Kendall Phillips of the College of Visual and Performing Arts.

SOE, the Institute for Veterans and Military Families, and US Army collaborate to bring an online instructional design master’s degree program to the US Army Sergeants Major Academy at Ft. Bliss, CO.

The Syracuse chapter of the AACTE Holmes Scholars Program is created. Orange Holmes Scholars are first- or second- year doctoral students interested in teacher, leader,
or counselor education.

Led by Professor Christy Ashby, the Center on Disability and Inclusion is formed, housing SOE’s disability and inclusion centers and initiatives, including the Taishoff Center for Inclusive Higher Education, InclusiveU, Center on Human Policy, Inclusion and Communication Initiatives, Mid-State Partnership, and Pre-Employment Transition Services.

Interim Dean Kelly Chandler-Olcott tenure begins.

Intelligence++—an interdisciplinary initiative focused on inclusive entrepreneurship, design, and community—is created as a collaboration among InclusiveU, Blackstone LaunchPad at Syracuse Libraries, and College of Visual and Performing Arts School of Design.

A Ben ’84 and Marcia Baldanza ’86 gift to SOE and the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs launches the Baldanza Fund for Excellence in Education, which encourages diverse teacher recruitment and retention in Syracuse area schools.

In March 2022, the Center for Experiential Pedagogy and Practice is founded, led by Professor Benjamin Dotger. CEPP engages in research and design initiatives to advance experiential teaching, learning, and professional development for educators and other professionals.

In October 2022, School of Education Assembly voting members agree to de-departmentalize, part of a comprehensive “One School” re-design that focuses on three signature area of scholarship: Inclusive and Antiracist Pedagogy and Practice, Digital Pedagogy and Practice, and Experiential Pedagogy and Practice. This effort is catalyzed with a call to action by the Faculty for Racial Justice and Equity (FREE) collective.

Under Principal Investigator Julia M. White, SOE is awarded a $1.14 million US Department of Education grant for Project IMPRESS (Interdisciplinary Master’s Preparation of Urban and Rural Educators in Special Education and School Counseling) to recruit professionals for high-needs school districts.

Dean Kelly Chandler-Olcott tenure begins.

The Board of Visitors is re-named the SOE Advisory Board.

The Himan Brown Fellowship program becomes the Corinne R. Smith Study Abroad Program Fund, thanks to a gift from Lynn H. Smith, Professor Smith’s husband.

SOE is awarded a $3.7 million grant from the US Department of Education Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services to prepare up to 14 doctoral-level special education professors and educational leaders.

SOE joins a $25M USAID-funded project led by not-for-profit development group Creative, focused on developing inclusive and equitable early grade education in Uzbekistan.