Jan. 4, 1996
Vol. 15, No. 8

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    Obituary: Francis Chase, Education

    Francis S. Chase (Ph.D.'51), the founding Dean of the Graduate School of Education, died Dec. 3 at the Traymore Nursing Center in Dallas, Texas. He was 96.

    Chase led efforts to revitalize education during the 1950s and established the master of arts in teaching program at the University as a way of improving teacher preparation.

    Born in White Stone, Va., he received his B.S. in 1927 and M.S. in 1931 from the University of Virginia. He was a school administrator in Virginia as well as executive secretary of the Virginia Education Association and editor of the Virginia Journal of Education from 1939 to 1945.

    He then came to the University as Director of the Rural Editorial Service, a program sponsored by the Kellogg Foundation to improve the quality of journals published by education organizations in the United States, Canada and several European countries. He became Lecturer in Education in 1948, and in 1950 he founded the Midwest Administration Center at the University for the study of educational administration. During these years, he also studied in the Department of Education at Chicago, and in 1951, when he received his Ph.D., he was named Professor in Education.

    Chase was appointed Chairman of Education in 1954, and in 1958 he was named the first Dean of the Graduate School of Education. The school was established at a time of great national interest in elementary and secondary education, brought on by the Soviet launching of the Sputnik satellite.

    Through the master of arts in teaching program initiated by Chase, students with bachelor's degrees were given two further years of training, which included internships with gifted teachers, as preparation for their work in the classroom. It was one of the first programs of its kind in the country.

    "What was important about this new approach was that it gave students plenty of opportunity for graduate study in the disciplines they were preparing to teach," said Kenneth Rehage, Professor Emeritus in Education. "Frank liked to call them 'teacher-scholars.' He wanted them to be knowledgeable in their disciplines.

    "During the second year of the program, the M.A.T. students worked as interns for the whole year. This was in place of the one semester of practice teaching teachers typically received at the time," Rehage added. Although the Graduate School of Education was merged with the Department of Education in 1975, the University continues to offer the M.A.T. degree.

    In 1957, Chase established the University's Pakistan Project with support from the Ford Foundation. The purpose of the project was to improve education through teacher-training programs at extension centers in what was then East and West Pakistan. The project also improved facilities for students at university campuses, said Rehage, who later directed the project until its conclusion in 1972. A number of influential leaders in education in Pakistan were trained at the University during the program, Rehage said.

    Published broadly, Chase was the author of The Forty-Eight State School Systems (1949) and Education Faces New Demands (1956), and he was co-editor of The High School in a New Era (1959).

    He served as Chairman of Education and Dean of the Graduate School of Education until 1964, when he stepped down from his administrative responsibilities to pursue research and teaching. He retired from the faculty in 1968.

    After retiring, Chase was a consultant on educational projects and a visiting professor at several universities. He moved to Texas in 1973 and in 1974 became a consultant for the Dallas Independent School District, conducting studies of curriculum, including one on enhancing educational opportunities for minority students.

    He was a member of the National Academy of Education.

    He is survived by his wife, Alma Renfro; sons Frank and James and daughters Suzanne Winters, Trudy Herolz, Sally Feinberg and Sealy Hutchings; 10 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.