Date Event
1946 Extension Division of the University of North Carolina and Fayetteville State Teachers College form the College Center in Wilmington with classes held at New Hanover and Williston High Schools.
1955 Wilmington College offers first teacher education courses in pre-professional programs in elementary and secondary.
1961 Wilmington College moves to present campus consisting of Alderman, Hoggard, and James Halls with Education housed in Hoggard Hall.

Department of Education and Psychology is formed at Wilmington College with Dr. Harold Hulon as department chair.

Wilmington College offers first courses in teacher education degree program in elementary education and licensure in secondary education.

1964 Department of Education begins offering courses for in-service teachers.
1965 First graduates of teacher education program.

Wilmington College becomes the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.

Department of Education and Psychology temporarily housed in Kenan Hall.

1970 Department of Education and Psychology moves to new Arnold Kimsey King Hall.
1971 Child Study Center opens in King Hall.
1973 Psychology becomes a separate department.
1974 Curriculum Materials Center established in King Hall, but later moves to Randall Library.
1976 Dr. Roy E. Harkin becomes chair of Department of Education.

UNCW initiates graduate study in Elementary Education and Educational Administration and Supervision.

UNCW adds Special Education and Middle Grades undergraduate programs.

Extension efforts begin in Brunswick County .


University reorganizes into the College of Arts and Sciences, School of Business Administration, and School of Education.

UNCW names Dr. Roy E. Harkin Dean of School of Education.

First graduates of the master’s degree program.

Grant approved to establish the UNCW/Pender County Teacher Corps.


UNCW forms Graduate School.

School of Education establishes Departments of Curricular Studies and Educational Design and Management.


Social and Behavioral Sciences Building opens and Psychology department moves from King Hall.

National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) gives approval of UNCW's teacher education unit.


School of Education initiates Master’s degree in Special Education.

Computer technology comes to King Hall with the installation of VAX terminals and microcomputers.


School of Education offers Master’s degree in Reading Education.

Department of Curricular Studies establishes Education Lab in King Hall.

1987 Teaching Fellows program begins.
1989 Master of Arts in Teaching added.
1990 Model clinical Project established with Brunswick, Duplin, and New Hanover County school systems.

Dr. Robert E. Tyndall becomes Interim Dean.

Reading Recovery program begins.


School of Education initiates first off-campus degree program in connection with Coastal Carolina Community College and Camp Lejeune with program in Elementary Education.

Teaching Fellows and School of Education offer first international experience for students with trip to Australia.


UNCW names Dr. Robert E. Tyndall Dean.

Razor Walker Awards established.


School of Education renamed Donald R. Watson School of Education.

Watson Distinguished Professorship established.

Distance Education Initiative begins.

School of Education adds M.Ed. in Middle Grades Education.


Professional Development System established with signing of district level agreements with eight school districts in the region.

Classroom Technology Assistance Plan developed.

1996 Birth-Kindergarten undergraduate degree program begins.
1997 Home Grown Scholarship program for minority recruitment begins.
1998 School of Education adds M.Ed. in Secondary Education and a M.S. in Instructional Technology.
1999 Dr. Andrew E. Hayes serves as Interim Dean.

Dr. Cathy L. Barlow becomes Dean of Watson School of Education.

School of Education receives the Preparing Tomorrow’s Teachers to use Technology (PT3) grant.


Ground breaking held for building to house the Watson School of Education, a regional educational resource center, and the North Carolina Teacher Legacy Hall.

NC Department of Public Instruction names WSE Teacher Education program exemplary.


WSE initiates Teacher in Residence program.

WSE signs agreement with Osaka Kyoiku University of Japan to begin administrative, faculty, and student exchanges; efforts continue in England; expansion sought in South Africa.

Coalition for Transition to Teaching (CT3) Grant awarded.


UNCW anticipates opening of new building.

Principal in Residence and Superintendent in Residence Programs initiated.

2005 Grand Opening of new education building and NC Teachers Legacy Hall.

Watson School of Education NCATE Re-Accreditation.

Watson School of Education reorganized to include four departments: Early Childhood and Special Education; Educational Leadership; Elementary, Middle Level and Literacy Education; and Instructional Technology, Foundations and Secondary Education.


Ed.D. in Educational Leadership and Administration established.

2009 Dr. Cathy Barlow named Interim Provost of UNCW; Dr. Karen Wetherill named Interim Dean of the Watson School of Education.

First cohort of Ed.D. students graduate.

WSE celebrates 5 years in the Education Building, 30 years as School of Education, and 55 years of courses at UNCW.

2011 Dr. Kenneth Teitelbaum becomes the Dean of the Watson School of Education.
2012 Watson School of Education renamed to the Watson College of Education.

Watson College of Education reorganizes the Associate Dean Offices: Associate Dean for  Academic and Student Affairs and Associate Dean for Teacher Education and Outreach.

Watson College of Education signs agreement with Galen University in Belize to establish a Masters of Education in Secondary Education in order to collaborate in the provision of a full time Masters degree with a dual award.

2015 Dr. Van O. Dempsey III becomes the Dean of the Watson College of Education.

History Timeline information researched by Dr. Eleanor Wright and Jeanne L. Barnes

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