A heritage of education and the establishment of the Dreeben School of Education


Early Years

The University of the Incarnate Word has a long history in education that started nearly 150 years ago when its founders, the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word, began caring for and teaching writing and math to children left orphaned by a cholera outbreak in San Antonio. Soon after, the Sisters began training teachers for emerging schools. In 1881, the Sisters obtained a charter from the State of Texas to operate schools and confer baccalaureate degrees, and Incarnate Word College would soon be established.

Since its earliest days, teaching has played a vital role in our community and been central to our Mission. As early as 1929, Incarnate Word College began accepting graduates of hospital training programs who wanted to become teachers. In 1941, students began receiving training to teach Christian doctrine to children who could not afford a formal Catholic school education. With the passing of the Gilmer-Aiken Minimum Foundation Bill in the 1950s, teachers were required to have a bachelor's degree to pursue certification. Incarnate Word College then introduced the Bachelor of Science in Education and began encouraging students to pursue more advanced degrees. In 1958, the college received recognition by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education. The 1970s would see the Master of Education and Master of Arts in Child Care established as well as continuing education courses and an honors program.

As the University evolved over decades, its focus on education would strengthen. The Department of Education at the College of Professional Studies at Incarnate Word College would later become the Dreeben School of Education at the University of the Incarnate Word.



In 2002, for the first time in its 121-year history, the University of the Incarnate Word would name one of its five schools in honor of a person. The Dreeben School of Education was named after prominent community leader Alan W. Dreeben and his family for the contributions they have made to education, both locally and statewide.

Dr. Patricia Watkins was appointed the founding dean of the Dreeben School of Education. In 2004, Dr. Denise Staudt was named the second dean of the school and has continued to serve for over 15 years. Staudt is recognized at the local, state and national levels for her work in Teacher Education and has over 35 years of experience in the field of education.


TEA Commendation

In 2012, the UIW Teacher Network was established to provide graduates with high-quality support as they transition into the teaching profession. The University of the Incarnate Word received a commendation from the Texas Education Agency in 2015 for this innovative teacher induction program, which supports candidates after initial certification during their first three years of teaching, to improve teacher retention in the profession. The UIW Teacher Network also provides professional development and networking opportunities.


Present Day

Today, the Dreeben School of Education continues to prepare students through undergraduate, master’s and doctoral programs by developing future leaders through a value-based education that emphasizes lifelong learning.