Associate Professor of Education
Associate Professor of History (By Courtesy)
Ph.D., M.A., Harvard University
B.A., Columbia University
Scott Gelber specializes in the history of American higher education. His first book, The University and the People: Envisioning American Higher Education in an Era of Populist Protest (University of Wisconsin Press, 2011), argued that the core principles of public higher education evolved out of a taut relationship between grassroots activism and professorial expertise during the late nineteenth century. The book was supported by grants from the Spencer Foundation and the Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History. In 2012, it won the Linda Eisenmann Prize of the History of Education Society. Gelber's second book is titled Courtrooms and Classrooms: A Legal History of American College Access, 1860-1960 (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2015). Focusing on admissions, expulsion, and tuition litigation, the book reveals that early judicial scrutiny of college access was more intense than previously indicated. The project contributes to current debates over the “privatization” of American higher education by demonstrating that the legal privileges granted to colleges have been contingent on their perceived service to the public interest. This research was supported by a National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation postdoctoral fellowship. Professor Gelber is currently working on a book-length project about the history of evaluation in American higher education.
A former New York City public school teacher, Professor Gelber coordinates Wheaton's secondary education program. He advises high school licensure candidates and offers courses in secondary school instructional methods as well as the history, politics, and philosophy of education.
- Schooling in America (ED 250)
- Secondary School Curriculum (ED 391)
- American Higher Education (ED 398)
- Seminar in Teaching Methods (ED 495)
- Student Teaching Practicum (ED 496)
- First Year Seminar: American Cities/American Suburbs
“‘You Can’t Belong Anywhere Else’: Postsecondary Aspirations of Rural Students in the Postwar Era,” American Journal of Education (forthcoming).
"Expulsion Litigation and the Limits of In Loco Parentis, 1860-1960,” Teachers College Record 116 (December 2014), 1-16.
"Child Support Litigation and the 'Necessity' of American Higher Education, 1926-71,” American Journal of Legal History 54 (January 2014), 39-72.
“The Populist Vision for Land Grant Universities, 1880-1900,” Perspectives on the History of Higher Education 30 (2013), 165-94.
"'City Blood is No Better Than Country Blood': The Populist Movement and Admissions Policies at Public Colleges and Universities," History of Education Quarterly 51 (August 2011), 273-95.
“The Crux and the Magic: The Political History of Boston Magnet Schools, 1968-1989,” Equity and Excellence in Education 41 (November 2008), 453-66.
"Pathways in the Past: Historical Perspectives on Access to Higher Education," Teachers College Record 109 (October 2007), 2252-2286.
"A Hard-Boiled Order: The Reeducation of Disabled World War I Veterans in New York City," Journal of Social History 39 (Fall 2005), 161-180.