Technology Department History

Technology History

Origins to the Present - A Long and Distinguished history

The Technology Department is the current form of a department and program that has been part of San Jose State University for over 100 years, for most of that time as a teacher education program for Industrial Technology Education. In the late 1800s this field was known as Manual Arts. In the early 1900s the name was changed to Industrial Arts. The IA program was closed in 1998 as part of a university-wide restructuring, and since that time Industrial Technology Education teachers would earn their credential by completing a degree in Industrial Technology and completing specified courses in the Department of Education. For most of the 1900s, San JoseState University offered the state's largest and best known teacher credential program in Industrial Arts education.

The Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Technology was started in the early 1960s as a BS in Business and Industry. This was part of a nationwide trend for programs offering the Industrial Arts degree, and in 1967 San Jose State University became one of the first three universities in the country to earn accreditation for its new Industrial Technology degree, under the new National Association for Industrial Technology accreditation guidelines. In 1980, the department boasted over 300 Industrial Arts majors and about 50 Industrial Technology majors. By 1988, there were over 800 Industrial Technology majors. However, due to the influence of Proposition 13 and declining budgets in the schools, the IA credential program had fewer than 50 majors.

In 1998, the Department of Technology joined the College of Engineering and began a period of joint operations under a single chair with the Department of Aviation. In 2001 the two departments combined into the Department of Aviation and Technology.

Program Support

Howard H. Gerrish was an educator in the true spirit of the word. Professor Emeritus,Gerrish taught electricity and electronics at SJSU beginning in 1961 in the Industrial Arts program. During his tenure, he mentored and inspired generations of teachers-to-be and technologists destined for industry. Now the Howard H. Gerrish Memorial Endowment continues his educational legacy. Established in 2008, the endowment supports the Technology programs in the College of Engineering. The gift of $420,000 will be used "to promote the Technology programs, upgrade equipment and facilities, and increase student enrollment," said Seth Bates, chair of the Aviation and Technology Department. "This gift is special to the college because it has been given by one of our very own faculty. We are grateful to the Gerrish family for their generosity in continuing to support the program and its students," said Belle Wei, Don Beall Dean of Engineering.

Yet Gerrish’s contributions to education go beyond the university level. During his 24 years teaching in the CSU system, Gerrish was instrumental in developing the technology curriculum, especially in the fields of electricity and electronics, for middle and high school students. His mostpopular textbook isElectricity and Electronics, first published in 1964 and now in its 10th edition. It is used in electricity and electronics high school programs throughout the U.S. Altogether Gerrish published eleven textbooks during his career, nine of them with Goodheart-Willcox.

John Flanagan, President & CEO of Goodheart-Willcox, said that Gerrish "inspired and launched the careers of hundreds of enthusiastic students. His legacy lives on in his generous donations to support technical and technology education both at the university level and at the professional association level."

Roy Brixen, a former student of Gerrish and currenly technology professor at College of San Mateo, said, "Howard ran the class as a master teacher, demonstrating ‘how to do it’ to a bunch of young apprentices." Gerrish was born in 1910 in Lisbon, Maine. He was a captain in the U.S. army during WWII. He graduated from the University of Michigan in 1946 and earned his master’s from Wayne State University in 1953. He retired from teaching in 1972. Gerrish was married to Virtue Gerrish. They were ardent supporters of education and sponsored several scholarships through the International Technology Education Association.

For more information about giving to the Department of Aviation and Technology or specifically to one of our programs, contact Department Chair Dr. Fred Barez at or 408 924-4298, or Sela Gaglia, Director of Development for the College of Engineering, at or (408) 924-7033.