The history of the teacher education program at Tennessee State University

Starlene Anita Johnson Taylor, Tennessee State University


Tennessee State University is one of a few existing educational institutions in Tennessee having served several educational roles--normal school, normal college, teacher's college, and university. Since opening its doors in 1912, a primary function of the institution has been teacher preparation. Upon acquisition of university status in 1951, TSU has had the distinction of being a land-grant institution located within a metropolitan city, capable of offering a diverse academic program to community residents. The purpose of this study has been to trace the development of teacher education at Tennessee State University from 1912 to 1987. The investigation covers the establishment, growth, development, and purposes of the teacher education program at TSU. Primary data utilized in this historical study include minutes from the State Board of Education meetings, personal letters, and Federal and State legislative records. Other primary data were collected through interviews with former and present faculty members with pertinent information. Secondary data included publications, reports, and articles. Findings indicate that reasons for establishing a normal school in Nashville for the purpose of training black teachers included: (a) its central location and accessibility for black citizens desiring formal training, (b) Nashville's black political leaders' active involvement in obtaining the new institution in this city, and (c) the Nashville community's reputation for educational opportunities for blacks. Other findings suggest that in spite of the declining enrollment faced by many teacher education programs, TSU has maintained a fairly consistent enrollment. Results from a national survey further indicated that a loss of certified teachers was attributed to declining teacher salaries, dissatisfaction with working conditions of schools, and the alternative career choices of women. Recommendations include: (1) Additional investigations must be conducted to determine what type of students are attracted to the teacher education program; (2) Future research to continue tracing the progress of the teacher certification program with expanded interest in the specific specialization areas; (3) Studies to ascertain opinions of and recommendations by the teacher-training faculty regrading future educational practices; and (4) A need for oral interviews with persons who had first-hand experience with the teacher education program.

Subject Area

Curricula|Teaching|Education history|Teacher education

Recommended Citation

Starlene Anita Johnson Taylor, "The history of the teacher education program at Tennessee State University" (1988). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI9017220.