Jul 18, 2024  
2024-2025 Undergraduate Catalog 
2024-2025 Undergraduate Catalog

Department of Special Education, Foundations and Research

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Christopher Rivera, Acting 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 on-campus and via 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, or the A-level licensure in special education - adapted 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 department offers a disability studies minor for non-teacher education majors. This eighteen 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 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, and positive behavior strategies. Additional competencies are developed in elective areas, focusing on individuals with mild/moderate disabilities, individuals with significant intellectual disabilities, individuals with autism, and assistive technology.

The Department of Special Education, Foundations and Research also offers three graduate certificates. Certificates in 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 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 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. 

More information is available on the department website





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