Our Story

In its earliest years, The Catholic University of America developed programs for the strengthening and unifying of Catholic education throughout the country. This was seen as essential to its mission. The University prepared teachers for Catholic schools through its Department of Education and Catholic Sisters College, and had a lab school for observation and practicum opportunities. Through the Catholic Education Press (a precursor to CUA Press), the Education Department published textbooks and other curricular materials for Catholic elementary and secondary schools.
In the early years of the University, women religious came to CUA to study in preparation for teaching degrees. This image shows sisters enrolled in summer studies during the 1920s. (Photo courtesy of the Archives of The Catholic University of America)
Through its Program of Affiliation (1912-1968), The Catholic University of America offered an early form of accreditation for Catholic secondary schools, colleges, seminaries, junior colleges, and normal schools (teacher-training institutes). The University understood its role as serving as the center of the Catholic educational system throughout the country.

The University also played a critical role in the formation of organizations aimed at unifying teachers and leaders across the country – organizations that still exist today.

Over the years, the University has continued to form teachers and leaders through its Department of Education. Recent efforts have aimed at reclaiming a more intentional focus on service to PK-12 Catholic schools.

In 2016, a consultant was hired by the Office of the Provost to conduct a year-long analysis of CUA’s educational programs and to identify opportunities for more direct support for PK-12 Catholic education. One of the major recommendations of this study was to found an Institute that would coordinate the delivery of a variety of programs and services aimed at strengthening leadership and instruction in Catholic schools by utilizing the diversity of expertise found across the departments and units of the University.

In response, University leaders engaged groups of educational and thought leaders to shape and refine the vision for such an Institute. Most notably, in the winter of 2020 and spring of 2021, four Catholic Education Salons were held virtually, and included invited participants from different geographic regions of the United States. An Executive Briefing of the Salons was published in the fall of 2021.

In October 2021, a Director for the Institute for the Transformation of Catholic Education (ITCE) was hired. A Board of Advisors was formed in 2021 and completed their foundational work in July of 2023. The team expanded in July 2022 to include the Director and Associate Director of Catholic School Accreditation and an Administrative Assistant.

Through the ITCE, The Catholic University of America renews its commitment to the full flourishing of our nation’s Catholic schools. We are here to serve you.