The State Normal and Industrial School (now UNCG) was opened in 1892 to primarily serve as a training facility for teachers in North Carolina public schools. The Normal opened a practice and observation school in 1893 under the direction of Philander P. Claxton to ensure students were well versed in practice teaching. Nearly all of the earliest graduates from the institution pursued a teaching career.
From 1892 to 1912, teacher education courses were offered by the Department of Pedagogy. From 1912 to 1920, this department was known as the Department of Education. After a college-wide reorganization, the School of Education was born in 1920. John H. Cook was named the first dean of the School of Education.
Another reorganization in 1932, however, changed the name to Department of Education. Cook continued his leadership as department head, a role he held until his death in 1941. On Cook’s death, Franklin McNutt took over department head responsibilities until resigning in 1946.
In 1949, the department once again became a school, and Charles E. Prall was hired as the new dean.
Department Heads of the Department of Education (or Department of Pedagogy):
- Charles Duncan McIver (1892-1894)
- Philander P. Claxton (1985-1902)
- Julius I. Foust (1902-1907)
- Junius Matheson (1907-1914)
- Charles H. Elliott (1914-1915)
- John A. Lesh (1915-1918)
- John H. Cook (1918-1941, position was a deanship from 1920-1932)
- Franklin McNutt (1941-1946)
- Committee led by Carl W. McCartha (1946-1947)
- Dennis Cooke (1947-1949)