Scott Gelber

Professor of Education
Chair, Education Department


Phone: 508-286-3671

Fax: 508-286-3640


Ph.D., M.A., Harvard University
B.A., Columbia University


Scott Gelber is a historian whose work focuses on the development of American education during the nineteenth- and twentieth-centuries. He is the author of Grading the College: A History of Evaluating Teaching and Learning (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2020), Courtrooms and Classrooms: A Legal History of American College Access, 1860-1960 (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2015), and The University and the People: Envisioning American Higher Education in an Era of Populist Protest (University of Wisconsin Press, 2011), which won the Linda Eisenmann Prize of the History of Education Society. Gelber has published articles and essays in the American Journal of Education, American Journal of Legal History, Journal of Social History, and History of Education Quarterly, among others. His research has been supported by the National Academy of Education, the Spencer Foundation, and the Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History. Currently he is working on two research projects: an investigation of the boundaries of academic freedom for college instructors and a history of learning disabilities. Before arriving at Wheaton, Gelber taught high school in New York City and supervised student teachers at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.


“Does Academic Freedom Protect Pedagogical Autonomy?” Review of Higher Education (forthcoming)

“‘We Are Gonna Miss Too Many of Them’: Rurality, Race, & the History of Grow Your Own Teacher Programs,” American Journal of Education 129 (November 2022), 29-51.

“The History of Assessing Curricular Antiracism,” Assessment Update 33 (May/June 2021), 8-9.

Grading the College: A History of Evaluating Teaching and Learning (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2020).

“‘You Can’t Belong Anywhere Else’: Postsecondary Aspirations of Rural Students in the Postwar Era,” American Journal of Education 123 (May 2017), 393-411.

Courtrooms and Classrooms: A Legal History of American College Access, 1860-1960 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2015).

“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.

The University and the People: Envisioning American Higher Education in an Era of Populist Protest (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2011).

“‘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.

Teaching Interests

A former New York City public school teacher, Professor Gelber coordinates Wheaton’s secondary education program. Gelber advises all students who wish to earn high school or middle school teaching licenses. He offers courses in instructional methods and education policy.


  • Education & Equity in the U.S. (EDUC 250)
  • American Higher Education (EDUC 280)
  • Secondary School Curriculum (EDUC 391)
  • Seminar in Teaching Methods (EDUC 495)
  • Student Teaching Practicum (EDUC 496)
  • First Year Seminar: American Cities/American Suburbs




Doll's House 202