Guili Zhang, Chair
The mission of the Department of Special Education, Foundations, and Research is to prepare and develop professionals in special education, draw from multiple disciplines to provide core course work for all teacher education programs in the historical, philosophical, and conceptual foundations of education, and provide practitioners in graduate teacher education programs with courses that enable them to analyze and perform research. The department faculty is committed to delivering comprehensive programs and rich clinical experiences in special education, as well as core foundation and research knowledge and skills for all teacher education candidates. Our goal is to prepare teachers who are reflective practitioners and leaders who will provide effective professional service to the community, the state, and the nation.
The special education, foundation, and research programs are committed to the preparation of educators and other professionals who are knowledgeable, reflective, technologically proficient, and skilled in meeting the needs of a diverse learner population. These programs place an emphasis on service through faculty participation in the improvement of the public schools and assistance in the development and creation of educational policy for North Carolina, as well as support for scholarship and research/creative activity.
The special education program offers an exciting array of undergraduate, graduate, and licensure-only special education programs via on-campus and distance education coursework. It offers many opportunities for professional development in a variety of areas in working with children and adults with disabilities. The bachelor of science (BS) in special education leads to a combination of the North Carolina A-level special education-general curriculum and A-level reading licensure, or the A-level licensure in special education-adaptive curriculum. The master of arts in education (MAEd) in special education leads to North Carolina M-level licensure in special education – learning disabilities, emotional and behavior disorders, intellectual disabilities, or low incidence disabilities. The master of arts in teaching (MAT) in special education leads to North Carolina A-level licensure in special education-general curriculum.
Most recently, a disability studies minor was approved for non-teacher education majors. This 18 semester hour minor is designed to prepare a variety of professionals to interact with and provide services/supports to children and adults with disabilities. These professionals will work in a variety of disciplines including (but not limited to) allied health sciences, criminal justice, human development, psychology, recreation and leisure, rehabilitation, and sociology. All students who complete this minor will demonstrate and apply knowledge of characteristics of individuals with a wide range of disabilities, current issues and trends in disability, positive behavior strategies, and assistive technology. Additional competencies will be developed in elective areas, focusing on individuals with mild/moderate disabilities, individuals with significant intellectual disabilities, and individuals with autism.
The Department of Special Education, Foundations, and Research also offers four graduate certificates in assistive technology, autism, behavior, and deaf-blindness. These certificates are designed to prepare education, related service, and health care professionals with the knowledge and skills necessary to provide effective practice, research-based instructional and related services, utilize assistive technology to enhance the functional performance of individuals with disabilities, or enhance the educational, behavioral, and/or communication outcomes for children and adults with autism spectrum disorders, challenging behavior or deaf-blindness.
The Irene Howell Assistive Technology Center
The Irene Howell Assistive Technology Center operates as a resource, demonstration, research, and training center for faculty and students across the university. The Center prepares faculty and students to serve individuals in need of assistive technology services and devices through education, research and direct service (in support of research or training). The Irene Howell Assistive Technology Center houses an array of devices, software, and other resources that are available for exploration and/or loan during an assistive technology evaluation or for use in practicum and internship settings. The Center conducts trainings and research on the efficacy of various devices for different populations of individuals with special needs in partnership with faculty and students across colleges and departments, and professionals from schools and community agencies and related services organizations.
Bachelor of Science Degrees in Special Education
The bachelor of science degree (BS) in special education prepares and develops professionals in special education who are committed to accomplishing the following as teachers of children with disabilities: the development of each student’s maximum individual potential through the acquisition of skills, values, and attitudes in the academic, social, communicative, vocational, and motoric domains. To this end, candidates are prepared for the role of diagnostic/prescriptive teachers. The BS degree comprises two areas of special education that lead to K-12 teaching licensure in the general curriculum and the adapted curriculum. Candidates pursuing the special education-general curriculum license also pursue the K-12 reading license.
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