School of Education History


School of Education

Cal Poly was first envisioned as a teachers college in 1894. By 1901, Cal Poly became a polytechnic school, with the unique mission of practical application of knowledge, which later evolved into the current “learn-by-doing” philosophy. 

A curriculum in Agriculture Education, first offered in 1933, was developed when Cal Poly became the coordinating center of the state’s Bureau of Agriculture. During the 1940s, Cal Poly began offering secondary teaching credentials in Agriculture, Health, and Physical Education, followed by English, Math, Science, and Social Studies. Elementary Education was added in 1956 (coincident with the admission of women to Cal Poly), and programs for Counseling, Supervision/Administration, and Special Education were added in the 1970s.

In the early years, teacher education was a department located in different schools and colleges on campus. Teacher education was reorganized as the University Center for Teacher Education in 1990, renamed the College of Education in 2004, and became the School of Education (SOE) housed in the College of Science and Mathematics in July 2009.

Example of an image that is floated to the right side

Throughout these changes, teacher education has been a shared responsibility of the university. This whole-campus approach is reflected in the makeup of the SOE faculty, which includes professional education faculty housed in the SOE and content education faculty housed in other Cal Poly colleges. In addition, the SOE collaborates with local public schools, community colleges, other universities, and education agencies on the goals, curriculum, and clinical experiences for its programs.

Today students can attain teaching credentials in Administrative Services, Agricultural Specialist, Multiple Subject (elementary), and Single Subject (Agriculture, English, Mathematics, Science, Social Science or World Languages), and Special Education (mild/moderate). SOE candidates can also attain Master of Arts in Education degrees specializing in Educational Administration and Special Education, both of which can be completed alone or in tandem with affiliated credentials, as well as an MA only in Counseling and Guidance (emphasis in higher education) and Curriculum and Instruction.

As teacher education completes its eighth decade at Cal Poly, programs are placing greater emphasis on the polytechnic applications. As part of the College of Science and Mathematics, the SOE shares a commitment to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and the preparation of math, science, and technology-grounded teachers, administrators, and other educators. The School of Education is focused on meeting the demands of today’s society and economy by preparing qualified, competent, and caring professionals to serve as administrators, counselors, and teachers. All programs share a commitment to professionalism, ethical practice, and shaping change through inquiry, innovation, and social justice.

Related Content

School of Education
California Polytechnic State University
San Luis Obispo, CA 93407