Riviera campus 1917

Mission & History

Don & Marilyn Gevirtz and Chancellor Yang

Mission & History

Research and Practice for Excellence and Equity in Education

The Gevirtz Graduate School of Education’s mission is:

(1) To conduct scholarly inquiry into education, especially into educational responses to the challenges posed by individual, economic, linguistic, and cultural diversity in our multicultural society;

(2) To educate scholar researchers and scholar practitioners to address educational opportunities and challenges arising from diversity;

(3) To develop and maintain exemplary programs that serve as models for teaching, research, and service.

The Gevirtz School’s research and instructional programs are committed to provide the best possible balance between the equally valued goals of equity and excellence in education in a manner consistent with our democratic society.

In carrying out its research mission, the School supports diverse methods of inquiry on a wide range of issues as they relate to multiple domains of development (academic, social, affective), teaching, schooling, and institutional leadership. While our primary mission is to apply this inquiry to the improvement of pre-collegiate public education, we note that the educational process starts at infancy and continues across the lifespan and that families and the community at large influence issues of education.

Our mission derives from the overall mission of the University of California, which is to conduct research to address major challenges confronting the State, as well as to provide outstanding education for its students.

Along with the entire University of California, the Gevirtz School is dedicated to bringing the benefits of higher education to all of its students. To that end, it is the Gevirtz School’s policy to provide a fair and open academic environment: one in which all students are encouraged to realize their potential, and one that is free from practices, whether intentional or not, that may affirm or reinforce stereotypes based on personal characteristics such as race or gender.

Over a Century of Education and Growth

The Gevirtz Graduate School of Education has its roots in professional work. Santa Barbara State Normal School of Manual Arts and Home Economics was officially established in 1909 as a successor to institutions that traced their roots to the early 1890s. In 1917 the school added a program to prepare elementary school teachers, changing its name to Santa Barbara State Normal School. In the 1920s the school changed its name again, this time to Santa Barbara State Teachers College, and initiated a four-year general education program for teachers, conferring its first Bachelor of Arts degree in 1927. In succeeding years the programs of the college expanded rapidly, the curriculum became more comprehensive, and enrollments included larger numbers of students who did not wish to pursue careers in teaching. These events led to designation of the school as Santa Barbara State College in 1935.

The College took its place as a campus of the University of California in 1944. Within a decade, the University outgrew its facilities on the Riviera and moved to its present site, which had been a military base during World War II.

The School of Education was founded as a separate unit in 1961, followed by conversion to graduate-level status in 1967. 

In 2000 Ambassador Don L. and Mrs. Marilyn E. Gevirtz, longtime UC Santa Barbara supporters, made a $10 million commitment to support the excellence and visibility of the Graduate School of Education. To honor their generosity and dedication to promoting research and developing programs in education, the campus designated the School as The Gevirtz Graduate School of Education.

In 2006, the Counseling, Clinical and School Psychology Program was recognized as a full-fledged department. The new department had been in the Department of Education in the Gevirtz Graduate School since 1970. It has been accredited by the American Psychology Association to provide combined-integrated training in the specialty areas of counseling, clinical, and school psychology since 1990. 

The School celebrated its Centennial in 2008-2009 with a series of events including the Gevirtz Centennial Lecture, delivered by Marian Wright Edelman.