Travel back in time with Milestones
Author: Jillian Daley
Posted: July 9, 2020
Here’s a pop quiz on College of Education (COE) history:

1. In what year did Portland State University (then Vanport Extension Center) start its Education Department, which was destined to morph into the COE?

2. Which COE professor was awarded an international honor in 2015?

3. In 1980, which Portland State University school or college opened the first new building in 10 years?

Answer key:

1. The year was 1948.

2. In 2015, the Association for Middle Level Education, an international organization, awarded Professor Emerita Micki Caskey its highest honor, the John H. Lounsbury Award for Distinguished Service.

3. Forty years ago, the COE (School of Education at the time) opened the first freshly constructed building in 10 years at PSU!

What all of these facts have in common is that they are major moments in COE history: milestones. Indeed, these crucial facts come from the Milestones document, a chronicling of COE affairs that the COE History Preservation and Celebration Committee launched in 2006.

Milestones, which was updated recently, acts as a detailed timeline, opening with the origins of the COE and concluding with present-day happenings. It provides: 

  • a list of new faculty each academic year; 
  • administrative updates, such as who the deans and chairs are each academic year; 
  • grant awards; 
  • student updates, including awards and scholarships; 
  • alumni updates, including awards and honors; 
  • programmatic updates, such as accreditations and new program creations; and 
  • a record of major events, such as the opening of a new building or the first time education courses were offered at PSU.
In 2020 came a major event to mark in Milestones: the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and associated quarantine on the COE. The quarantine has called for measures including offering online-only classes in Spring and Summer terms, with in-person, hybrid and online options being offered come September.

“During this stay-home time, I decided to update the Milestones,” said Professor Emerita Cheryl Livneh, who manages Milestones, “so I thought it might be a good time to remind people that the document exists.”

Livneh stands as a crucial force for Milestones. Steve Brannan, COE History Preservation and Celebration Committee co-chair, is the one who drafted Milestones in 2006. But the project was in danger of faltering about a decade later. So Caskey, then associate dean for academic affairs, asked Livneh, then associate dean for outreach, to serve as the historian of Milestones in 2015, the same year Livneh retired from the University. Livneh’s historian role had a journaling aspect to it, as she strove to stay apace with current events.

“It’s much easier to document history as it happens,” explained Caskey, who retired in June 2020. “As historians will tell you, it’s a minefield going through directories and bulletins.”

The position is not a major time investment for Livneh, she stated, but the work is detailed and complex. Each department previously updated its own history in a separate document, all of which Livneh combined into one refined document. She noted that there were contradictions among the departmental documents about events and occurrences that she had to address.

“Cheryl really took on a mammoth job,” Caskey said.

Although Livneh has been retired for five years now, she continues to volunteer her time to maintain Milestones. Four years ago, she asked an editor to review the document, and as noted above, during the quarantine, Livneh has been revamping Milestones, checking for accuracy and missing details. 

Livneh intends to relinquish the task to COE staff and faculty someday, but for now, she lovingly maintains this important chronology. Updates to the document come from: the COE Blog, information sent to Livneh or research she does on her own.

“She just kept doing Milestones because she had so much knowledge about the COE, so much passion and has known so many people over the years,” Caskey said of Livneh. “Milestones is a labor of love, and, certainly, she created something that allowed the COE to track its own milestones.”

Have an update or a question about Milestones? Email Livneh at

To share stories on the College of Education, email Jillian Daley at


Photo 1: Professor Emerita Cheryl Livneh manages Milestones. PSU File Photo

Photo 2: Physical milestones mark one’s place in the road. Submitted photo

Photo 3: Both leaders in the COE, Professor Emerita Micki Caskey asked Professor Emerita Cheryl Livneh to revive Milestones as the new historian in 2015. Livneh was retired at the time, and Caskey retired in 2020. PSU File Photo