Celebrating Fifty Years

College of Education
College of Education
College of Education located in the William D. Carlson Education building

Spurred by the vision of William D. Carlson, the first dean of Nevada Southern, the School of Education was established in 1957. A decade later it became the College of Education under Founding Dean Anthony Saville, offering programs in elementary, secondary, and vocational education and administration. In 1964, the first graduating class of 25 received bachelor's degrees; three years later, nine students received the first master's degrees; and in 1977, five students received doctoral degrees. By 1981, the college had received full accreditation from the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education.

Expanding Facilities

The college moved into its own building, later named for Carlson, in 1972, which provided much-needed space for offices, seminar rooms, and a lecture hall. An adjoining auditorium was named for one of the college's first professors, Holbert Hendrix. In 1998, Paradise Elementary School, part of the Clark County School District, moved into a new building on campus as a Professional Development School, giving education majors direct training with real teachers and economically disadvantaged students. Two years later, the William G. Bennett Professional Development Center opened next door for training purposes in conjunction with the elementary school.

Model Early Childhood Education

In the late 1970s the Consolidated Students of the University of Nevada Preschool, enrolling about 30 children of students, faculty, staff, and the general public, moved to the College of Education. In the early 1980s, professor Nasim Dil received a grant that funded the Model Demonstration Developmental Learning Center, which greatly enhanced the preschool's services to children with special needs. Thanks to generous donations from the Bennett family, in 2003 the preschool moved to the state-of-the-art Lynn Bennett Early Childhood Education Center, which now enrolls more than 200 children. As one of its primary goals, the center supports research conducted by UNLV faculty and their students.

Exponential Growth

Over the past 40 years, the college has grown exponentially. Currently, about 2,000 students are enrolled in the undergraduate program and 800 students at the graduate level. The College of Education awards almost 40 percent of all the master's and doctoral degrees given annually at UNLV. Graduates have gone on to pursue successful careers as professors, administrators, superintendents, and deans.

In addition to a bachelor's in elementary and secondary education and human services counseling, the college currently offers many master's, specialist, and doctoral programs through its departments of curriculum and instruction, educational leadership, educational psychology, special education, sports education leadership, and counselor education. The counseling programs are accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs.

Faculty Grants

Over the years, College of Education faculty have obtained many grants for programs to support the community, such as:

  • Teacher Corps, which trained urban teachers from 1971 to 1982.
  • Inclusion programs in special education and summer institutes for math and sciences.
  • The Accelerated Schools Center, established at the college in 1991, which is designed to improve schooling for children in at-risk situations.
  • The YouthFirst program, which trains parents and coaches in how to create a positive environment for youngsters participating in sports.
  • The Gayle A. Zeiter Literacy Development Center, where education students, under the direction of a professor, tutor children from kindergarten through eighth grade.
  • The Center for Mathematics and Science Education, which is a collaborative venture with the College of Sciences and math and science personnel in the Clark County School District aimed at improving science and math teaching.

In 2004, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security awarded a grant of more than $2 million to Professor Sterling Saddler, Center for Workforce Development and Research, to train frontline supervisors at hotels, security corporations, event centers, and arenas. Professors Tom Pierce and Jeff Gelfer recently received a four-year grant of $26 million from the Department of Health and Human Services Welfare Division for the Nevada Childcare Initiative to assist low-income families with childcare.

Looking Ahead

In the fall of 2007, M. Christopher Brown II, a professor at Pennsylvania State University, will become dean. He will pursue new initiatives in support of the college's mission: to create an intellectual environment that promotes quality instruction, significant research, and professional service, with a focus on preparing professionals for diverse educational settings.


1967 - Anthony Saville
1978 - Richard Kunkle
1984 - Dale Andersen
1996 - John Readence
1998 - Teresa Jordan, interim
1999 - Gene Hall
2004 - Thomas Pierce, interim
2005 - Jane McCarthy, interim
2007 - M. Christopher Brown II