The College of Education traces its roots back to the first teacher-training institution in Illinois. Founded in 1869 in Englewood, Illinois, as the Cook County Normal School, the college came under the control of the Chicago Board of Education in 1896, when it was called Chicago Teachers College.
In 1949, a branch of Chicago Teachers College was established on the North Side of Chicago. Chicago Teachers College (North Side) occupied its present location in 1961. In 1965, the name of the school was changed again to Illinois Teachers' College Chicago North, and control was transferred from the Chicago Board of Education to the Board of Governors of State Colleges and Universities.
In 1966, the Center for Inner City Studies was established as a branch on the South Side. It was renamed the Jacob Curruthers Center for Inner City Studies in January, 2005.
In 1967, the college was renamed yet again to Northeastern Illinois State College.
In 1971, the College became Northeastern Illinois University, which was given a mandate by the Illinois Legislature "to offer such courses of instruction as shall best serve to qualify teachers for the schools of the State; and to offer such other courses of instruction, conduct such research and offer such public services as are prescribed by the Board of Governors of State Colleges and Universities or its successor."
Finally, in January of 1996, the Board of Governors was disbanded, and each institution under its control, including Northeastern Illinois University, established its own Board of Trustees.