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Division of Academic Affairs
Graduate Catalog 2012-13


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College of Education


Department of Special Education, Foundations and Research


Alana M. Zambone, 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 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.

Certificate in Assistive Technology

The certificate in assistive technology will equip students with specific skills and knowledge in assistive technology. The overall objective of the program is to prepare educational and/or health care professionals in the knowledge and skills needed to utilize assistive technology for the enhancement of a student and/or client’s functional performance. Specifically, candidates who successfully complete the certification will have a broad-based knowledge of assistive technology, the ability to assess assistive technology needs with clients/students and plan implementation based upon that assessment, the ability to work with a collaborative team to implement assistive technology, and the knowledge and skills to effectively manage resources for procurement of assistive technology.

Applicants seeking admission must be graduate students or education or health care professionals working in their respective fields. Professionals can enroll as non-degree seeking students. Admission is based on completion of the certificate application and approval by the program coordinator.

The certificate program requires 12 s.h. of graduate-level course work in assistive technology, emphasizing practical application and collaborative team work. Required courses include SPED/OCCT 6701, 6702, 6703, and an elective.

Certificate in Autism

The certificate in autism will provide teachers and other school personnel with knowledge and skills necessary to work with students with autism and autism spectrum disorder. The overall objective of the program is to prepare classroom general and special educators and/or other school personnel to provide best practice, research based instructional and related services to this growing school population. Specifically, candidates who successfully complete the certificate will have a broad-based knowledge of the characteristics of students with autism and autism spectrum disorder, strategies for classroom instruction, skills in developing and implementing communication systems, and strategies for collaborating with and supporting families.

Applicants seeking admission must be graduate students or education professionals working in their respective fields. Professionals can enroll as non-degree seeking students. Admission is based on completion of the ECU certificate application and approval by the program coordinator.

The certificate program requires 12 s.h. of graduate-level course work with completion of the following courses: SPED 6800, 6801, 6802, and 6803.

Certificate in Deaf-Blindness

The certificate in deaf-blindness will provide teachers and other school personnel with knowledge and skills necessary to work with students with deaf-blindness and additional impairments. The overall objective of the program is to prepare classroom special educators and/or other school personnel to provide best practice, research based instructional and related services. Specifically, candidates who successfully complete the certificate will have a broad-based knowledge of the characteristics of students with deaf-blindness, strategies for classroom instruction, skills in developing and implementing communication systems, and strategies for collaborating with and supporting families.

Applicants seeking admission must be graduate students or education professionals working in their respective fields. Professionals can enroll as non-degree seeking students. Admission is based on completion of the ECU certificate application and approval by the program coordinator.

The certificate program requires 15 s.h. of graduate-level course work with completion of the following courses: SPED 6810, 6811, 6812, 6813, and 6814.