The Society was originally called the Society of College Teachers of Education and was founded in 1902 in Chicago. Founding members gathered together in conjunction with a meeting of the Department of Superintendence of the National Education Association. The first chairman of the organization was Charles DeGarmo of Cornell University, who also served in 1908. The second chairman was John Dewey of the University of Chicago, who served from 1903 to 1905. Early in its history, membership was restricted to those who taught education courses in universities and colleges. The original aim of the society was to provide a forum for examining the organization and content of courses in education (pedagogy).
At the time, there were probably fewer than a dozen universities that offered education courses, and fewer still that had formed departments of education in the United States. Early society members were affiliated with Teachers College Columbia University, Cornell University, Brown University, The University of Chicago, and normal schools,colleges and universities in California, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, Texas, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. Dues were $2.00 annually until 1949, when they were raised to $3.50. In 1910 there were 115 members; in 1913 there were 131 members. In 1923 there were 207 members; 551 in 1940 and 350 in 1950 and 427 in 1967. The word “national” was added to the name of the society in the 1910’s and 1920’s. Yearbooks and other publications used the name “National Society of College Teachers of Education” (NSCTE) until 1969, when members voted to change the name of the association to The Society of Professors of Education (SPE).
Historical information about the Society is below and can also be found in the Library.
Society of Professors of Education Documents
SPE Papers and Books (The SPE Review, occasional papers, monographs)
A Brief History of the Society of Professors of Education
(Professing Education 4 (2): 2-6)