The Master of Science in Special Education is designed for people teaching exceptional children, whether new to the profession or already having experience. The Special Education master's provides:
- courses and internships for initial teacher certification in teaching students with mild to severe disabilities,
- coursework in various specialty areas such as teaching students who are gifted and talented and students on the autism spectrum, and
- preparation to collaborate effectively in school-wide, multi-tiered systems of support, e.g., Response to Intervention (RTI).
Current general education teachers, specialty area professionals such as occupational therapists, special education teachers, paraeducators, and people with a bachelor's degree seeking a new teaching career in special education are among those for whom the program is intended.
The interdisciplinary nature of the Special Education Program provides experiences in several disciplines. With courses that look beyond just understanding, students apply learning through projects and assignments that are practical and connected to the learner’s professional field.
The Special Education Program follows the guidelines it teaches. Universal Design and differentiated instruction are embedded in the courses and the Professional Portfolio requirement. Courses offered are blended or offered completely online. For student convenience, courses which meet face-to-face are in the evenings or on weekends.
Special Education currently offers one undergraduate core course in Ethical Inquiry, Social Responsibility, and Citizenship; ADS 300: Ethics and Youth with Exceptionalities.
Special Education Core Values:
- Educators interact with others based on a belief in the infinite possibilities of and for human growth and development; all youth have the potential to learn and express knowledge through their unique styles of acquiring and demonstrating knowledge.
- Educators are responsible for supporting and guiding each student on his/her journey from potentials to performances through personally meaningful, respectful, and accessible pathways.
- Educators create learning opportunities that honor and enhance the gifts and talents of each individual and make possible the contributions of each student to self and to society.
- Educators create learning environments where every child feels welcome and accepted for their unique attributes, including her/his cultural background, strengths, and weaknesses.
- Educators always use person-first language and thinking; everyone is valued and viewed as a whole person, not strictly by a label or one characteristic.
- Educators use multiple assessments and evaluations when measuring students’ successes and abilities and in understanding their needs.
- Educators are collaborative, respectful, and supportive with all educators they come in direct and indirect contact with, including parents, maintenance workers, and administrative assistants.
- Educators base all of their behaviors on the belief that each individual has intrinsic and global value to the evolution of human kind.