About Us

Our Mission

The Phyllis J. Washington College of Education shapes professional practices that contribute to the development of human potential. We are individuals in a community of lifelong learners, guided by respect for knowledge, human dignity and ethical behavior. To advance the physical, emotional and intellectual health of a diverse society, we work together producing and disseminating knowledge as we educate learners.


Our History

Preparation of teachers began at UM in 1900 when faculty in the Department of Philosophy and Education taught courses in Theory and Practice of Education and the History of Education in a second-floor classroom of University Hall. The first students preparing to be teachers, and later administrators and counselors, earned degrees in a subject field. The university also issued a University Certificate of Qualification to Teach, valid for six years. Elementary teachers did not earn degrees at UM until 1955. 

Graduate degrees in education, the Master of Arts in education and Master of Education, were established in 1917. The Doctor of Education was the first doctoral degree offered on the Missoula campus, in 1955. Two years later, the Division of Educational Research and Service began with external funding as a means of supporting graduate education at UM. Today it is known as the Institute for Educational Research and Service.  

Education joined law, pharmacy, journalism, forestry, music, and business as professional schools in 1930. It offered undergraduate and graduate course work for teachers, administrators, and school counselors. In addition to helping students become qualified in schools, the School of Education operated a Public Service Division (known today as the Office of Career Services) that assisted educators in finding employment. 

Reorganization of UM moved programs from across campus to the School of Education. Beginning as the Department of Physical Culture in 1906, the Department of Health and Physical Education (today the Department of Health and Human Performance) moved to the School of Education in 1978. The Department of Home Economics offered its first courses in 1916 and moved to the School of Education in 1980. The faculty of home economics brought with them the Pre-School Laboratory, today known as the Learning and Belonging Preschool Laboratory. 

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Phyllis J. Washington College of Education