Ernest O. Melby - Career


Melby began his career as a high school teacher and principal in Minnesota before serving for nine years as the superintendent of schools in Long Prairie, Black Duck and Brewster, Minnesota. He served as a schools superintendent. In 1928, he was appointed Assistant Professor of Education at Northwestern University, where he conducted prolific research on the administration of several Illinois school districts, the results of which were published in 1929 and 1930. As a result, he was rapidly promoted to associate professor and professor. In 1934, he was named Dean of the School of Education at Northwestern, a position he held until 1941 when his antagonistic relationship with University President Franklyn Bliss Snyder deteriorated to the point where Melby resigned.

Melby assumed the presidency of Montana State University, a post he held from 1941 to 1943 and from 1944 to 1945. In 1943, he was Chancellor of the University of Montana. From 1945 to 1956, Melby served as Dean of the School of Education (now Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development) at New York University.

Dr. Melby joined the faculty of the College of Education at Michigan State University in 1956 following his retirement as dean of the College of Education at New York University. Originally intending to stay for just one year, he worked for 19 years prior to his retirement from Michigan State University in 1975.

In 1975, Dr. Melby accepted a distinguished professorship at Florida Atlantic University where he founded and served as consultant to Florida Atlantic University’s Center for Community Education. Ernest O. Melby also served as special consultant to the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation.

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