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History of the School of Education

Duquesne University’s School of Education was founded in 1929 by Holy Ghost Father Raymond Kirk, then only 26 years old, who was later to become president of the University. In December 1929 the Pennsylvania State Council of Education approved Duquesne University as a degree-granting institution of the bachelor of science in  secondary education. Thus the School of Education officially uses 1929 as its founding date.

Since the early 1900s Duquesne had assisted the religious orders of the diocese in preparing nuns to teach in parochial schools. Many candidates at this time came to the sisterhood without a high school diploma. Since it was expected that the state would soon require this, in 1912 Father Hehir opened a summer school to afford the sisters an opportunity to finish their high school studies. The University even went so far as to recognize the motherhouses as University branches so that the professors could hold daily instructions there. This practice continued until 1930 when the Pennsylvania Department of Public Instruction ruled that these motherhouse high school courses would no longer be accredited by the state.

Official classes in education at the college level were begun by the School of Finance in 1910, when it offered extension courses to train teachers of commercial courses. By 1916 the College of Arts was offering educational instruction (pedagogy) courses in the junior and senior years. Requirements for high school teachers through the College of Arts were listed in the Duquesne University Bulletin in 1923, and an actual course leading to the degree of bachelor of arts in education appeared in 1925.

When Duquesne opened its School of Education in 1927 it offered two degrees: the bachelor of arts in education, which embraced English, Latin, Greek, history, modern languages, and music; and the bachelor of science in education, which included the fields of biology, physics, chemistry, and mathematics. The student teaching requirement was fulfilled by teaching in the University Prep School. Students were also required to select a minor field of study. Thus, the School of Education met the state requirements for state certification of public school teachers from the very beginning, even before it was officially accredited. With accreditation, student teaching was broadened to include the Pittsburgh Public School District. After lengthy negotiations in February of 1929, Father Kirk succeeded in persuading the principal of nearby Fifth Avenue High School to accept Duquesne students. The Duquesne Duke referred to it as a “most notable achievement,” and indeed it was; negotiations with other public school principals proved futile. Throughout the 1930s, Fifth Avenue High School remained the only Pittsburgh public school to accept Duquesne’s student teachers.

Along with the conventional undergraduate day classes, classes at the School of Education were scheduled in later afternoon, evening, and Saturday for those who were employed full-time. Summer courses were also offered. The Saturday and summer classes were especially well attended by the sisters who were struggling to obtain their undergraduate and graduate degrees while teaching in the parochial schools. Duquesne contributed greatly to the diocesan parochial schools by offering reduced tuition rates to nuns, brothers, and priests.

- Joseph F. Rishel"The Spirit that Gives Life"The History of Duquesne University 1878-1996



Canevin Hall, built in 1922, is the home of the School of Education. In addition to 10 regular classrooms, art, math/sciences and special education methods rooms, the facilities include Computer Laboratories, Multi-Media Center, Counseling, and Reading Clinic, several conference areas, student organizations commons area and offices for the departments, faculty, staff and dean.