College of Education and Human Sciences celebrates 100 years

UW-Eau Claire started out as a teacher school; the legacy continues today


Photo by Elizabeth Gosling

Chancellor James C. Schmidt tells a story about his family and his decision to come to Eau Claire.

Story by Elizabeth Gosling, Staff Writer

UW-Eau Claire opened its doors 100 years ago originally as a teacher’s university. Now, the college of Education and Human Sciences boasts its centennial celebration with 100 years of graduates, faculty and staff.

To celebrate this milestone, the college hosted a Storytelling festival on Friday night at Dakota Ballroom in Davies Student Center. In front of a full crowd, 11 speakers shared stories that ranged from folklore to contemporary topics relating to the university.

Carmen Manning, dean of the College of Education and Human Sciences, welcomed attendees and said the occasion was a good fit for their centennial celebration.

“Part of what we do, as the College of Education and Human Sciences, the kinds of professions our students do; teaching, social work, and speech language pathology, it’s about telling stories,” Manning said.

According to the university’s website, the mission of the college is to combine integrity, collaboration and social justice. Manning said serving others has always been part of the college, from its inception down through the decades.

According to the UW System website, Eau Claire was the final school to be added to the UW system in the origins of the organization. The home of the Blugolds started as a teacher preparation school, and it continues to this day in the form of the College of Education and Human Sciences.

Manning said the college strives for connections with the community, especially in the fields of education, health and social work.

“As a college, we continue that tradition with our teacher education programs and augment that with social work, kinesiology, and speech language pathology,” Manning said.

Rob Reid, senior lecturer in the education studies department and emcee of the event, said stories fit in with the college’s centennial celebration. He said they are a medium in which we can share our stories with each other.

“It is a way for the community to hear who we are. It is a way of thinking of our identity,” Reid said.

Reid said the storytelling event can reveal the differences and similarities through the sharing of stories.

Although the university has held storytelling events before, Manning said it is a key piece in the college’s centennial celebration and the event reflects on the progress the college has made during its century-long existence and where it will go in the future.

“Stories are at the essence of humanness,” Manning said. “They are how we connect with people.”

Reid said the college is reevaluating its values and mission as an academic institution in light of changing times and needs.

“We are replanning our mission because of the nature of the profession,” Reid said. “Not only in the state, but in the country right now, fewer people are going into the teaching profession.”