Since 1895, the College of Education and Human Ecology has played an important role in education and human development at The Ohio State University. We’ve helped improve education at all levels in the United States and around the world. We’ve driven innovation in exercise and nutrition. We’ve prepared workforces for evolving economies for generations.
Our more than 125-year history has forged bold paths that have advanced students, children and communities. As we lay new initiatives for the future, we are committed to creating impactful change in early childhood, urban, rural and STEAM education, health and economic vitality, and global engagement. Learn more about our storied history and the people who have helped build the college into the higher education institution it is today.
Deans throughout history
Professor Boyd H. Bode was a faculty member from 1921 to 1944. He was devoted to making education more progressive and one of the founders of American pragmatism. Bode had a vision for education and democracy and was an integral part of what was known as the “Ohio School of Democracy.”
Edgar Dale was a faculty member from 1929 to 1970. He is internationally known for his use of audio-visual materials in classroom instruction and his contributions to research in teaching vocabulary and readability testing. Dale is most famous for creating the “cone of experience,” a visual of the relationship between how information is presented and the expected outcomes for how people remember.
H. Gordon Hullfish served as a faculty member from 1924 to 1962. He was a leader in the progressive education movement and a part of the “Ohio School for Democracy” where he stood up for democratic principles in relation to education. Hullfish was instrumental to how we understand the relationship between thought and action in a professional space.
Martha L. King was a faculty member from 1959 to 1982. King was well known for her study and development of informal classrooms and was part of developing the Educational Programs in Informal Classrooms (EPIC). She was a recipient of the highest award from the National Council for Research in the Teaching of English and the Hall of Fame award from the International Reading Association. She also has a center in Ramseyer Hall named after her.
Ralph W. Tyler served as a faculty member from 1929 to 1938. Tyler is known as the father of instructional (or behavioral) objectives and promoted the concept that learning objectives should be clearly stated and include measurable outcomes. He also published a book with four questions that continues to help build curriculums today.
Laura Zirbes was an elementary education faculty member from 1928 to 1954. She helped found the University School, a K-12 school founded by Ohio State located in Ramseyer Hall, to serve as a lab for teaching. She was a leader in developing child-centered learning and was considered one of the most important inventors of progressive institutional practices.
Charlotte Huck was a faculty member from 1955 until 1988 when she retired. Huck used storybooks to teach language arts and reading. She also developed the first graduate program in children’s literature in the nation throughout her time here. In 2014, the National Council of Teachers of English created the Charlotte Huck Award for Outstanding Fiction for Children to honor her legacy.
Professor Emerita Gay Su Pinnell taught at Ohio State from 1983 to 2002. In 1984, Pinnell and Professor Charlotte Huck founded Reading Recovery, a program designed to help advance literacy in young children. Pinnell also helped create Literacy Collaborative, a program that helps educate teachers on the best ways to improve reading, writing and language skills in elementary and middle-level children.
Professor Emerita Rudine Sims Bishop taught at Ohio State from 1986 to 2002. Known as the “mother of multicultural children’s literature,” her research heavily focused on representation in children’s books. Bishop was inducted into the Reading Hall of Fame, received the International Reading Association’s Arbuthnot Award and received the Coretta Scott King-Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement.
Donald K. Mathews was a faculty member from 1958 to 1984. In 1959, Mathews launched the first lab at Ohio State dedicated to exercise physiology research. Mathews was crucial to the start of research and instruction at the university. Mathews and Edward L. Fox published a book that was used for more than two decades for teaching undergraduates the fundamentals of exercise physiology.
Professor Emeritus Robert L. Bartels taught at Ohio State from 1959 until his retirement in 1989 and was the head swimming coach from 1963 to 1967. In 1975, he created the Faculty-Staff Fitness program which designed exercise routines based on the individual’s needs for faculty and staff members. In 1980, Bartels helped establish the Cardiac Rehabilitation Program in partnership with the Department of Health, Physical Education and Recreation and the Student Health Center.
Edward L. Fox was a researcher and professor from 1968 to 1983. He researched many aspects of exercise physiology, and he was the first in his field to include women in exercise studies. Fox also helped create the Cardiac Rehabilitation Program with Professor Emeritus Robert L. Bartels, the Department of Health, Physical Education and Recreation and the Student Health Center.
Faith R. Lanman (Gorrell) was the head of the department from 1920 to 1945. Lanman is credited with being an innovator in teaching childcare. She established a small Nursery School, a lab which was one of the first of its kind. From new courses and a mentorship program between students and faculty, to creating more “real-world” experiences through labs and student employment at local business, Lanman created a better awareness and interest in the college.
Gladys Branegan (Chalkley) was appointed sixth head and director in 1946 and retired in 1955. Under her leadership, the college changed their structural organization to have seven departments, developed a stronger faculty and graduate program, improved their facilities and built relationships at local, state and national levels.
Dorothy D. Scott was promoted from assistant director to seventh head and director in July 1955 and remained in this position until her retirement in 1968. Under her leadership, the college created new methods of instruction, such as using audio-visual techniques, developed a new curriculum with “basic” classes for first and second year students and specialized classes for third and fourth year students and started new programs.
Lois A. Lund was the eighth head and director of the School of Home Economics from 1969 to 1973. Lund was the director during Ohio State’s 100th anniversary and the college’s 75th anniversary, which brought lots of change and new aspirations. In Lund’s four years, most of the college’s focus was on planning, both in the future of the college and the future of home economics.
Professor Emerita Francille M. Firebaugh was the ninth head and director from 1974 to 1982. Under her leadership, the college changed from having divisions to having departments, and some of the programs offered at the time were journalism, restaurant management, consumer services and real estate. Firebaugh, along with Professor Emerita Ruth Dean, spearheaded Family Resource Management through looking at the family as a social system that uses resources to meet goals.