Celebrating 125 Years

Historical Timeline


Deans/Department Heads of the School/Department of Education

1885, Department of Normal Instruction is established; becomes Department of Education in 1907
NOTE: During this period, faculty provided leadership but there was no formal department head.

Nelson B. HenryProfessor of the Science and Art of Teaching, 1885-87
Edwin A. AldermanProfessor of the History and Philosophy of Education, 1893-96
Horace Williams Professor of Philosophy; Interim Professor in the Department of Normal Instruction, 1896-98
M.C.S. NobleProfessor of Pedagogy, 1898-
Nathan W. WalkerProfessor of School Organization, 1905-
Harry Woodburn ChaseProfessor of the Philosophy of Education, 1910-

1913, Department of Education becomes School of Education

M.C.S. NobleDean, 1913-21
Nathan W. WalkerActing Dean, 1921-32

1932, School of Education becomes a department in the College of Arts and Sciences

Nathan W. WalkerHead, 1932-35
M.R. TrabueHead, 1935-37
Arnold K. KingActing Head, 1937-38
Harl R. DouglassHead, 1938-40
W. Carson RyanHead, 1940-48

1948, School of Education is reestablished

Guy B. PhillipsDean, 1948-53
H. Arnold PerryDean, 1953-64
John C. OttsActing Dean, 1965-66
Norton L. BeachDean, 1967-73, 1974-76
Neal TracyActing Dean, 1973-74
Ira J. GordonDean, 1977-78
William C. SelfActing Dean, 1978-80; Dean, 1980-82
James L. PaulActing Dean, 1982-83
Frank BrownDean, 1983-90
Donald J. StedmanDean, 1990-96
William I. BurkeInterim Dean, 1996-98
Madeleine R. GrumetDean, 1998-2003
Fenwick EnglishInterim Dean, 2003
Thomas James Dean, 2003-07
Jill FitzgeraldInterim Dean, 2007-08
G. Williamson McDiarmidDean, 2009-present


Alton Ballance (A.B.Ed. ’79), an alumnus of the School of Education and a Fellow with the North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching, gathered and wrote much of the content of this time line. Graduate student Sarah Bell provided assistance. Professors Emeritus/a William I. Burke, Bobbie Boyd Lubker and Dixie Lee Spiegel reviewed a draft of the document and provided helpful comments. Current and former staff of the School of Education’s Office of External Relations contributed to the development of the time line. These contributors included Linda Baucom, Wendy Gratz Borman, Alec Grossman, Michael Hobbs, Karen Hutchinson and Laurie Norman.

Every effort has been made to capture highlights of the history of the School of Education and present them accurately. If an error or omission has occurred, please notify the School’s director of communications at soe@unc.edu or (919) 962-8687.