Kansas State Normal School conferred degrees on its first two graduates in 1867. More than 150,000 of its students have since entered careers in education and other professional fields. The school’s name eventually changed to Emporia State University (ESU) in 1977.
Since its founding as the state’s first school for training teachers in 1863, Emporia State University has enjoyed a storied history of educating teachers. The ESU school of education is known as The Teachers College. Since then, its many accolades have led to the city of Emporia adopting the nickname “Teacher Town, USA,” according to Arthur Levine in “Educating School Teachers.”
How Emporia State University Became a Top Teacher-Preparation Program Provider
Joseph Hill was ESU’s first president to graduate from Kansas State Normal School. He wanted to increase education standards and the number of students completing full degrees instead of teacher certificates. In attaining that goal, the school grew the scholarship of its faculty.
When Robert E. Glennen stepped into the role of president, the school had been struggling with declining enrollment and state support. He turned it around by 1996, leading the school to earn standing as a leader in teacher education on a national level.
What makes ESU different is that students do not enter teacher education until their junior year, though they begin with an introduction to teaching during their sophomore year. It requires tutoring in the local schools to experience firsthand what it is like to be a teacher working with children.
Teacher education applicants must show proof of 100 hours of supervised work with children after which they apply to enter the teacher education program.
This requirement aligns with the school’s three admissions processes: general, Teacher College in junior year and Teacher College senior year program. The senior year program requires submitting recommendations. Throughout the four-year education, students must take and pass teaching exams like Praxis I.
Preparing Graduates for Teaching Roles
In 2013, best-selling author James Patterson established the Patterson Scholars Program at the Teachers College. Patterson wanted to see more scholarships for teacher education in schools and selected ESU’s program.
To ensure its students learn how to effectively use technology to teach, ESU launched Hornet Connected Learning in 2014. This is a one-to-one tablet and Chromebook-based learning initiative.
Emporia State’s teacher preparation program has earned many honors, including the prestigious 2015 National Association for Professional Development Schools Award for Exemplary Professional Development School Achievement.
In 2011, Todd May of the U.S. Department of Education identified ESU as an example of an institution that is successful in preparing graduates for teaching roles. “Graduates of the Teachers College are highly sought-after by school districts because of their depth of knowledge and thoroughness of training and the experience they bring to the classroom,” May writes.
Helping the Teaching Profession Get Its Due
President Robert E. Glennen also played a significant part in the founding of the National Teachers Hall of Fame (NTHF) located on the campus. The NTHF devotes itself to recognizing teacher achievements, preserving and promoting education and inspiring others to enter teaching.
Almost every education organization endorses the NTHF, which has also received a commendation from former U.S. President Bill Clinton.