Van Til, William


William Van Til (January 8, 1911- May 24, 2006) was an educator committed to progressive and democratic educational ideals with a focus on the notion of "the student as an individual." Van Til committed most of his life's work to the belief that individual differences must be recognized and accounted for by educators in to foster the creation of healthy, functioning individuals. He stated, "An education which takes into account the individual, his society, and his values--an education which builds upon the soundest possible scholarship derivative from psychological, social, and philosophical foundations--is imperative in developing a curriculum appropriate for twentieth-century man." Born in Corona, New York, Van Til received his bachelor's and master's degrees from Columbia College and his doctorate degree from Ohio State University. Van Til began his teaching career at the New York State Training School for Boys. He then served as an instructor in the College of Education at Ohio State University, becoming an assistant professor in 1936. In 1943, he served as writer for the Consumer Education Study in Washington, DC, leaving in 1944 to become Director of Learning Materials at the Bureau for Intercultural Education, an independent agency that worked to better ethnic, racial, and religious relations. During Van Til's three-year tenure as director, he also was a professor of social studies education at the University of Illinois. For ten years, he was chairman of the Division of Curriculum and Teaching at the George Peabody College for Teachers. He then was professor and chair of the Department of Secondary Education, New York University, from 1957 through 1967. From 1967 until his retirement, Van Til taught social foundations and curriculum at Indiana State University where he was the Lotus D. Coffman Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Education. In addition to his contributions to American education, Van Til served on educational panels in Puerto Rico, Iran, and the Virgin Islands. (Kappa Delta Pi Web Site, retrieved March 12, 2008)

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