Welcome from the Department Chairperson
The Department of Special Education at Illinois State University is one of the largest and most respected special education programs in the country. We offer programs at the undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral levels. Our undergraduate teacher candidates can receive initial certification in Learning and Behavior Specialist, Deaf and Hard of Hearing, and Low Vision and Blindness. The Learning and Behavior Specialist program now has a TEACH AHEAD 3.5 year sequence!
In the Department of Special Education, we value extensive and diverse hands-on experiences for our teacher candidates. Prior to student teaching, our candidates spend more than 600 hours in two semesters of clinical experience in diverse settings serving learners with a range of disabilities. We take pride in offering our teacher candidate not only a first-class education, but opportunities for student involvement including research with faculty and specialized opportunities with discipline-specific registered student organizations.
Our student-driven, faculty-mentored organizations include Best Buddies, Braille Redbirds, Deaf Redbirds, Student Council for Exceptional Children (SCEC), Students Supporting Individuals with Disabilities (SSID), and Students United for Integrating Technology in Education (SUITE). The rigorous coursework, extensive clinical work, and diverse extracurricular activities prepares our candidates with a skill set that extends beyond that of a traditional, first-year teacher.
Similarly, we prepare our master’s and doctoral students to become educational leaders and assume advanced roles in their schools and communities. Our new master’s programs are designed to meet the needs of both new and experienced special education teachers.
Teachers newly entering the field of special education begin with two semesters of induction and mentoring coursework that assists them in developing foundational competencies in special education. The culminating capstone experience is an individualized clinical experience that allows the entering teacher to demonstrate core competencies as they relate to their current caseloads and classroom.
Master’s of Science program candidates, who are experienced special education teachers, are in a program designed to develop their abilities to serve as teacher leaders in their districts and to conduct action research. Multiple capstone options are available for these candidates, all providing an opportunity for them to demonstrate their advanced special education competencies and to plan for their continued professional growth after completing the program. Advanced certificates are available in multiple areas including an LBS II Behavior Intervention Specialist, LBS II Curriculum Adaptation Specialist, LBS II Transition Specialist and LBSII Multiple Disabilities Specialist .
The Doctoral Program in Special Education offers a Doctorate of Education (Ed.D.) Our Ed.D. program is unique in that it requires students to take as many research courses as most Ph.D. programs. The program includes a curriculum that can be completed in part- or full-time format. Plans of study are highly individualized once candidates meet core requirements. While working on their doctorates, students may also complete the requirements for the Director of Special Education (DOSE) Program. The program is currently offered on campus and for off-campus cohorts.
Thank you for your interest in the programs offered by the Department of Special Education at Illinois State University.
Stacey Jones Bock, Ph.D.
Chairperson, Department of Special Education