March 10, 1994
Vol. 13, No. 13

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    Ralph Tyler, Education

    Ralph W. Tyler (Ph.D.'27), former Professor in Education and Dean of the Social Sciences Division and one of the nation's most influential educators, died Feb. 18. Tyler, a resident for many years of Milpitas, Calif., was 91.

    Tyler was widely recognized for his contributions to curriculum development and the evaluation of all aspects of educational achievement.

    Philip Jackson, the David Lee Shillinglaw Distinguished Service Professor in Education, said, "His small book, 'Basic Principles of Curriculum and Instruction,' offered a way of thinking about curriculum reform that became known as 'the Tyler rationale' and was adopted by educators throughout the world."

    "Basic Principles of Curriculum and Instruction," published by the University of Chicago Press, was based on lectures Tyler gave in the Education Department. The book quickly became a best seller when it appeared in 1950, and it has since been reprinted in 36 editions.

    A native of Chicago, Tyler received his A.B. from Doane College in 1921, his A.M. from the University of Nebraska in 1923 and his Ph.D. from Chicago in 1927.

    He was a faculty member at the University of North Carolina and at Ohio State University before coming to Chicago. In 1938, at the age of 36, Tyler joined the University faculty as Chairman of Education.

    Tyler remained Chairman of Education until 1948, when he was named Dean of the Social Sciences Division. From 1943 to 1954, he was director of the examinations staff for the United States Armed Forces Institute. Tyler left the University in 1953, when he was named founding director of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, an independent interdisciplinary research center in Palo Alto, Calif., established by the Ford Foundation.

    He is survived by daughters Ann Fathy of San Diego and Helen Parisi of Evanston, Ill.; a son, Ralph Tyler Jr. of New York City (Manhattan); six grandchildren; one great-grandchild; and a brother, Keith Tyler, of Columbus, Ohio. Plans for a memorial service are pending.