Background and history

The Faculty of Education is a non-departmentalized academic unit that provides programming to more than 1300 students enrolled across eight undergraduate degree programs, three graduate diploma programs, seven Master of Education graduate programs, and one doctoral program. 

The core purpose of the Faculty is to provide excellent teaching, research and service to others as we prepare teachers, instructors, counsellors and educational leaders, not only for the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, but also for national and international communities. Where Memorial University is the only university within the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, the Faculty has a special responsibility to prepare teachers and other educational professionals for the province. Collaborating with the provincial Department of Education, provincial school districts, the Newfoundland and Labrador Teachers’ Association, and other education community partners and stakeholders has led to the successes the Faculty has experienced.

During the 2021-2022 academic year the Faculty celebrated 100 years of teacher education in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. The Faculty’s story began with the founding of the Newfoundland Normal School for teacher training, which officially opened in the fall of 1921 with a full-time teaching staff of six professors supporting an initial cohort of 55 students. In 1934 it became fully integrated with Memorial University College and in 1950 became one of the founding academic units of Memorial University.

For more than 100 years the Faculty and its alumni have had a profound impact on the evolution of the social, cultural, political, economic, artistic, and educational fabric of the province. More than 30,000 students have graduated from the Faculty to date with undergraduate and graduate diplomas and degrees. Some of the key milestones in its history include the graduation of the inaugural Bachelor of Arts in Education graduates (1950), the launching of the Bachelor of Education program (1965), the establishment of a Masters of Education program (1968), and the introduction of a Doctor of Philosophy degree (Education) in 2004.

To officially commemorate its 100-year anniversary, the Faculty held a year-long celebration and actively engaged with current and former members of its community through various events and commemorative projects. A special program featuring conversations with teachers, titled Teacher Tales on Tuesdays, was a webcast showcase of education stories from the past that featured guest educators. A public Dialogue Series presentation of the history of the Faculty was delivered at a special evening event and an education panel addressing past, current and emerging educational issues was held with community stakeholders and partners. A culminating education conference hosted in September 2022, Celebrating a Century of Teacher Education in Newfoundland and Labrador, included guest speakers, presenters, and panelists coming together to discuss and share past and current education topics. Attendees included teachers, educational leaders, former politicians, bureaucrats, school district leaders, Indigenous educators, students, and members of the Faculty’s academic and administrative staff.