In the late nineteenth century, during his tenure as the first Chancellor of Emory University, Methodist Bishop Warren Candler envisioned a "Teachers' College" for Emory. Events dictated otherwise. Wars, economic depressions, competing demands for limited funds, the expansion of state colleges and universities (with the specific mandate to train teachers), and the prohibitive tuition costs of private education worked against the development of Candler's vision.
Nonetheless, by the mid-twentieth century, a small Division of Teacher Education was flourishing within Emory's Graduate School. Although Emory College remained a sanctuary for the training of men, the Graduate School matriculated women, primarily teachers in the Division of Teacher Education. After World War II and the baby boom, the Graduate School reaped a harvest from the federal government and from private philanthropic foundations in support of such teacher training reforms as the Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT). The MAT Program provided support for students and faculty in the Division as well as in other departments of the Graduate School. From this teacher education program came many of the leaders in Atlanta area schools.
With the end of de jure segregation, the faculty of the Division of Teacher Education (later renamed the Division of Educational Studies) provided leadership in response to the changing sociocultural context of education. The faculty became engaged in inservice outreach programs for experienced teachers in the districts in which they worked. These innovative programs placed Emory at the forefront of educational change in the state. For example, under the leadership of John Goodlad, the Division initiated the Atlanta Area Teacher Education Service (AATES), a consortium of school districts and higher education institutions in Atlanta, to provide graduate education for inservice teachers. The AATES flourished for the better part of twenty years, until competing area educational service agencies and local school district staff development centers were funded. In addition, the Division sponsored a series of inservice education programs funded by the Ford Foundation, the National Science Foundation, and the U.S. Office of Education.
Other innovative programs initiated by the Division of Educational Studies include the creation within Emory College of an Educational Studies major that did not lead to teacher certification. This signaled that the College faculty recognized the importance of the study of education as a legitimate part of the liberal arts. The major received national attention from the American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education when the Division Director was invited to present a paper on the major at the association's national convention in 1973. Although the number of majors has varied, in the last decade the number of declared majors has increased, providing evidence of interest in the study of education beyond professional preparation.
Another curriculum innovation that drew national attention and recognition was the Intern-Extern program in which preservice candidates were matched with experienced inservice classroom supervisors who were enrolled in the Division's instructional supervisor preparation program. Additionally, the Center for Urban Learning/Teaching and Urban Research in Education and Schools (CULTURES) operated in the 1990s to enhance the success of elementary and middle schools in educating culturally diverse students by providing professional development for Atlanta area teachers.
The Division continues to be a leader in developing community relations and partnerships with local schools. These partnerships with public elementary, middle, and secondary schools with substantial African American and immigrant enrollments include the Emory University Partnership Advisory Committee (EUPAC), Elementary Science Education Partners (ESEP), the Challenge & Champions (C & C) Program, and the Community Outreach Partnerships Center (COPC). EUPAC provides tutoring, health care, pastoral counseling, and staff development to two elementary schools, one middle school, and one high school. The goal of ESEP is to enhance elementary science teaching in metro Atlanta's public schools through inquiry-based instruction. The goal of the C & C Program is to provide a summer enrichment curriculum to a diverse group of local-area rising 6th-8th graders that teaches academic skills and content, independent learning skills, physical education skills, social problem-solving behaviors, and habits that will promote health and fitness. COPC is a joint effort between Emory University and local community organizers who work with local agencies and school leaders in one of Atlanta's high poverty neighborhoods to create affordable housing, preserve community assets, strengthen families, and support excellence in local public schools.