The initial focus of the Texas College of Mines and Metallurgy was to teach the science of mining and metallurgy. Within a few years of its opening in 1914, TCM began to offer courses that prepared teachers to fill an important regional need. By 1936, a collection of courses that lead to a teaching certificate had developed into an education major. During the next three decades, teacher preparation grew at what had become Texas Western College in 1949. Campus leaders moved the education program to the original Burges Hall during the 1963-64 academic year. Around that time, education majors made up approximately 10 percent of the campus’ student population. The college was renamed The University of Texas at El Paso in 1967, and four years later saw the College of Education move into its new nine-story Education Building on the north end of the center of campus. Through the years, the building’s classrooms, laboratories and offices have served generations of Miners.
The College of Education consists of three departments – Educational Psychology and Special Services, Educational Leadership and Foundations, and Teacher Education, which has two divisions: Bilingual Education, Literacy/Biliteracy and Sociocultural Studies (BELSS), and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Education. These departments employ more than 60 tenured and tenure-track faculty members and enroll more than 1,800 undergraduates and 1,200 graduate students.
Working cooperatively with the University’s other colleges and local school districts, the College is involved in externally funded instruction, demonstration and research projects totaling more than $15 million.
UTEP's College of Education has a history of progressive efforts to enhance teacher education. In the 1970s and ‘80s, the College implemented the Triple T project, multiple cycles of the Teacher Corps program, and the Bilingual Education Training Opportunities program for minority teachers. Another major effort to move away from traditional teacher preparation was the establishment of a field-oriented, three-semester block program (ELTEP and STEP) where student cohorts spent half of the semester in the field and were governed by a team of faculty and cooperating teachers. In 1985, the UTEP Alternative Certification Program was initiated with 16 interns; today it has more than 100 interns. It serves as an excellent example of the College of Education's responsiveness to local and regional need through its field-based educator preparation programs.