The special education faculty at Indiana University South Bend is committed to preparing highly effective teachers to serve students with disabilities and families in the community. In order to be an effective special education teacher, students must understand the foundations of special education, serve as advocates for students and families, implement sound assessment and instructional practices, use technology to enhance learning, and participate in reflective activities. To this end, Indiana University South Bend has several programs in which individuals can earn a degree in special education.
At the undergraduate level, students can earn a Bachelor of Science in Education with a major in Special Education. This degree is designed to prepare individuals seeking initial licensure in mild interventions (P-12) and for careers teaching children with disabilities in the public schools. The professional education sequence of educational programs include coursework in professional education and pedagogy, which included a curriculum based on practice experience, and a curriculum based on scientifically-based reading instruction, differentiation of instruction and teaching methods, cultural competency, instructional technology, classroom and behavioral management, curriculum development, and the psychology of child development. Additionally, students majoring in Elementary Education or Secondary Education can complete a series of courses that will also license them in mild interventions.
At the graduate level, students can earn a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) with a major in Special Education. The MAT is for individuals who have already earned a Baccalaureate degree but who are interested in becoming licensed as special education teachers in mild interventions (P-12). For individuals with a special education degree, the Master of Science in Education with a major in Special Education is designed for students seeking an advanced degree in special education in mild interventions (P-12) or intense interventions (P-12). The MS is designed to strengthen an individual’s competencies in special education and prepare them for positions of leadership in area schools and agencies working with individuals with disabilities.
The course sequence for mild interventions is designed to prepare future special education teachers to work with students from high incidence disability categories including learning disabilities, mild mental disabilities, and emotional disabilities. Students completing the sequence at the graduate level for the intense interventions license will be prepared to work with students from a variety of low incidence categories.
Both the undergraduate and graduate programs emphasize the knowledge, dispositions, and skills required of special education teachers, and incorporates the performance standards of the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC), the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), the Interstate New Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (INTASC), and Indiana’s developmental standards. The special education programs are performance-based, and students’ progress in acquiring knowledge, demonstrating skills, and exhibiting appropriate dispositions are assessed throughout their teacher education programs.