Apr 19, 2024  
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog 
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog

Department of Special Education, Foundations and Research

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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 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 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 Department of Special Education, Foundations, and Research also offers five graduate certificates. Certificates in autism, behavior, and deaf-blindness 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, or enhance the educational, behavioral, and/or communication outcomes for children and adults with autism spectrum disorder, challenging behavior, or deaf-blindness. The certificate in racial equity studies provides professionals with the racial literacy needed to analyze racism at the instructional and structural levels, develop practice, and engage in antiracist methodologies with which to address racism and interrelated forms of oppression, and become leaders on racial equity. The certificate in educational research, evaluation, measurement, and statistics is designed for researchers, practitioners, and evaluators within the field of education wanting to sharpen their knowledge, skills, and abilities, in the methods and activities of educational research, measurement, and evaluation.

Information about the Department of Special Education, Foundations and Research is available on the departmental website

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.

Information about the Irene Howell Assistive Technology Center is available on the center’s website




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