Frederic Lister Burk worked six years as a journalist for Bay Area newspapers before beginning his teaching career, and then supported himself through graduate school at Stanford by teaching in public and private schools in the Bay Area.
Burk made SF State's entrance requirements the most rigorous in the state, with a program that stressed the importance of the "teaching personality" and practical experience. He believed so strongly in the quality of SF State's student-taught training school that he placed his own children in it.
Under Burk's leadership, SF State gained an international reputation for its "Individual Instruction" methods, which included self-paced work to meet the needs of students with differing abilities. He chose Experientia Docet -- "Experience Teaches" (Seneca) -- as the school's motto.
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