Kathi Wilhite, Interim Chair, 139 Speight Building
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 and core foundation and research knowledge and skills for all teacher education students designed to prepare teachers who are reflective practitioners and leaders who 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 teachers who are knowledgeable, reflective, technologically proficient, and skilled in meeting the needs of a diverse student population. The 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 on-campus and through distance education. Special education offers many opportunities for professional development in all areas of special education. 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.
The Department of Special Education, Foundations, and Research also offers three graduate certificates in assistive technology, autism, and deaf-blindness. These certificates are designed to prepare education, related service, and health care professionals in the knowledge and skills necessary to provide effective practice, research-based instructional and related services to utilize assistive technology to enhance the functional performance of individuals with disabilities, or enhance the educational outcomes for students with autism spectrum disorders 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 for loan. The Center conducts 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 services.
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, students are prepared for the role of diagnostic/prescriptive teachers. The BS degree comprises two areas of special education that lead to initial teaching licensure in the general curriculum and the adapted curriculum. Students pursuing the special education-general curriculum license also pursue the reading license.
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