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School of Education History Exhibit Open at Mayborn [09/17/2019]


SOE Centennial Exhibit at the Mayborn Museum

A public exhibit outlining the history of the Baylor School Education has been extended through March 2020, continuing as part of the SOE’s year-long Centennial celebration in 2019.

The exhibit is located at Baylor’s Mayborn Museum, 1300 S. University Parks Drive, in Waco, immediately to the right inside the Mayborn’s front door. The display is available for visitors to browse during regular museum hours.

“I really enjoyed diving into the rich history of the School of Education,” said Museum Studies and Curriculum & Instruction graduate student Meg Tucker, who curated the exhibit. “I am impressed by the School’s resilience and continued dedication to excellence. It was an exciting challenge to use my background in education and museum studies to help curate this exhibit. It was powerful to read about and see pictures of education students and professors working at Baylor more than one hundred years ago.”

Among other things, the exhibit features artifacts specific to SOE history along with items from partner Professional Development Schools in Waco and Midway ISDs. A World War I uniform from Fred M. Hale is also on display. Hale and his wife, Edith, were the first donors to make a gift of $1 million to the SOE.

The exhibit also features vintage photographs, including some by famed Waco photographer Fred Gildersleeve, which outline the evolution of the SOE from its creation in 1919 to where it is today. More current exhibited items include research from SOE faculty members and displays that speak to the SOE’s commitment to research, community service, study abroad, and faith.

The exhibit also focuses on the future, with displays about faculty research and the SOE’s academic centers.

“I was blown away by what the School of Education has accomplished since its inception,” Tucker said. “The School of Education’s growth is closely tied to their service to the greater Waco community. SOE has an impressive legacy, and it continues to foster positive change.”

Before Baylor University had a School of Education, and before Texas was a state, the school’s early leaders were busy laying the groundwork for public education in Texas, shaping the state’s academic future along with the BU professionals who would set early standards for educator training.

Rufus C. Burleson and William Carey Crane, both of whom would serve terms as Baylor president, believed in free schools for all Texas children. In 1871 Burleson and Crane co-founded the Texas State Teacher’s Association, and Crane was elected its first president. Crane also taught pedagogical courses while serving as president.

The first official course on pedagogy — or the study, science, and art of teaching — was offered at Baylor in 1889, a full 30 years before the formal establishment of the School of Education. Two years later the Normal Department followed, influenced and named for “normal” schools originating in France in the 17th Century. These “normal” schools were post-secondary institutions created for the sole purpose of training and developing teachers with normal “models” or “standards.” Establishment of the Pedagogy Department soon followed in 1900, under the direction of Canadian Professor Frederick Eby, a student of John Dewey’s.

By 1912 a model school was operating on campus, influenced by both European and American practices. Seven years later, in 1919, Texans embraced a mandatory attendance law, signifying a significant shift in their mindset regarding public education. Renowned educational scholars from Harvard University, Columbia University and the University of Chicago joined the Baylor faculty, bringing their expertise and influence. The establishment of Baylor’s School of Education in 1919 was right for the times.

— Story and Photographs by Becky Aydelotte

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For more than 100 years Baylor educators have carried the mission and practices of the School of Education to classrooms and beyond as teachers, superintendents, psychologists, health education professionals, academics/scholars and more. With more than 50 full-time faculty members, the school’s growing research portfolio complements its long-standing commitment to excellence in teaching and student mentoring. Baylor’s undergraduate program in teacher education has earned national distinction for innovative partnerships with local schools that provide future teachers deep clinical preparation, while graduate programs culminating in both the Ed.D. and Ph.D. prepare outstanding leaders, teachers and clinicians through an intentional blend of theory and practice.

Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 16,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.


The Mayborn Museum Complex celebrates the natural science and cultural history of Central Texas. This 143,000-square-foot building on the Baylor University campus sparkles with numerous vibrant exhibits and compelling hands-on activities for the whole family to enjoy over and over again. For more information, visit

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