2011 – 2012
Office of Admissions
Emil H. Messikomer Hall
100 W. Rosedale Avenue
West Chester, PA 19383
Revised September 2011
309 Recitation Hall
Donna Wandry, Chairperson
PROFESSORS: McGinley, Wandry
ASSISTANT PROFESSORS: Adera, Doan, Guerriero, Murphy, Verden, Williams
The Department of Special Education stands out in the southeastern Pennsylvania and the tri-state region with its extensive early practicum experiences for its students, professionally diverse faculty, a high rate of employment opportunities, a heightened sense of collegiality and volunteerism among its students, and international (Council for Exceptional Children), national (National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education), regional (Middle States Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools), and state (Pennsylvania Department of Education [PDE]) accreditations.
The faculty is committed to supporting the development of teachers who acquire the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to construct effective, high-quality educational programs for children with disabilities. The mission is to foster knowledgeable, passionate, competent, and reflective graduates who will serve as eloquent, articulate advocates for all children, families, and special education professionals. This program provides students with field placement and experience in the same block of courses where they are concurrently learning characteristics, teaching methods, application, and theory. These placements give students an opportunity to reflect and question what they observe and experience in these settings, which is vital to the success of integrating theory and practice.
The field experiences in private or public schools are designed to give students first-hand opportunities with children in high-incidence and low-incidence settings. The course work taken concurrently provides students with the theory and research necessary to become effective teachers.
The Department of Special Education offers two programs of study leading to dual certification at the PreK–8 or the 7–12 level; that is, students who want certification in special education must have a dual major in another content area. These new certification programs are for students entering as freshmen in fall 2009 or later, and for those who anticipate receiving certification after August 2013:
The B.S.Ed. – SPECIAL EDUCATION: PreK-8 will give students special education certification at the PreK-8 level and certification in early grades preparation (PreK-4) or middle grades preparation (4-8).
The B.S.Ed. – SPECIAL EDUCATION: 7–12 will give students special education certification at the 7-12 level as well as certification in a secondary content area, including biology, chemistry, earth and space science, English (literature or writing), general science, mathematics, and physics. A dual degree program also is being offered in history (a B.S.Ed. in special education and a B.A. in history with teacher certification).
The eleven available dual programs of study are generally described below in terms of course credit requirements. Required special education courses are consistent across programs and are described later in this section. General education requirement areas also are consistent across majors, include requirements in the arts, humanities, social sciences, and sciences, and are described on pages 38-44 . However, each content area may have different requirements for general and professional core courses, so students should contact individual departments for program-specific information.
Upon completion of the program, the student will qualify for a Pennsylvania Instructional I Certificate in both areas of their dual course of study, which is valid for six years of teaching.
In addition, the Department of Special Education also offers a current program for students who must receive certification prior to August 2013. No new students are being admitted into the following program:
The B.S.Ed. in SPECIAL EDUCATION prepares teachers who can provide diverse student populations with the knowledge, skills, and values considered essential for effective participation in society. It provides relevant and comprehensive education for those who desire to support the educational, emotional, and physical needs of students with disabilities in the public schools of Pennsylvania. Upon satisfactory completion of the program, the student will qualify for a Pennsylvania Instructional I Certificate, valid for six years of teaching.
In order to be eligible for graduation, an undergraduate student must satisfactorily complete the following requirements:
+ Child abuse clearance, criminal record check, FBI fingerprinting, and TB testing
* Formal admission to teacher education (FATE)
+ Child abuse clearance, criminal record check, FBI fingerprinting, and TB testing
* Formal admission to teacher education (FATE)
Students must receive a C or better in all special education and supporting courses, maintain a 2.80 GPA, and achieve a GPA of 3.0 to be eligible for certification.
Note: The following program is for students who must receive certification prior to August 2013. No new students are being admitted into this program.
EDA 302++, 350++, 360++
EDA 320++, 347++
Introductory and major courses:
EDA 104, 230 or EDA/EDR 341++, 307++,
380++, and 416++/417++
One program elective from the following:
EDA 230, 280, or 341++
** A minimum grade of C is required for these courses
++ Courses requiring prerequisites–check catalog course descriptions.
For formal admission to the special education degree program, see page 161 in the "Teaching Certification Programs" section of this catalog.
All internal and external transfer students who wish to major in special education must also declare a dual major in early grades preparation, middle grades preparation, or a 7-12 content area (as noted above in “Dual Programs of Study”). Specifically, students seeking certification at the special education PreK-8 level must simultaneously obtain an additional certification in early grades preparation (PreK-4) or middle grades preparation (4-8). Students seeking special education certification at the 7-12 level must simultaneously obtain an additional certification in a secondary content area. These students must secure the signatures from the chair of the Department of Special Education as well as the chair of the department in which the desired dual major program resides.
Students may apply for “external transfer” when transferring from another post-secondary institution. Students already admitted to West Chester University as premajors or in another major may apply for “internal transfer.” Students seeking external or internal transfer must have a minimum of 12 college-level credits. Students with 12-47 credits must also have a minimum GPA of 2.65. The required minimum cumulative GPA for students with 48-59 earned credits is 2.80. Students with 60 or more earned credits must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.80; must have achieved the following passing scores as established by the Pennsylvania Department of Education on the Praxis I PPST examinations in Reading (172), Writing (173), and Mathematics (173); and must have completed college-level studies in English composition (three credits), literature taught in English (three credits), and mathematics (six credits). External or internal transfer to the major in special education does not represent or confer formal admission to teacher education (See “Formal Admission to Teacher Education” on page 161.)
INTERNAL TRANSFER STUDENTS: Students should call the department regarding admission at the beginning of each semester for dates and details regarding internal transfer.
EXTERNAL TRANSFER STUDENTS: Transfer credit may be granted for 100- and 200- level courses if the course descriptions are equivalent and in accordance with University policy. All other required courses in the professional education and specialized preparations areas will be evaluated and approved on an individual basis.
NOTE: Students will not be accepted as internal or external transfers in the current B.S.Ed.–special education program after fall semester 2010. Students enrolled in this program must receive certification before August 2013.
In addition to the general requirements for formal admission to teacher education, B.S.Ed. candidates who are admitted to the major in special education must also complete 20 hours of preapproved, unpaid community service for agencies/organizations serving children and/or youth and/or adults with special needs and/or families (at least ten of these hours must be provided in one setting); and (2) a written reflection that has been assessed as satisfactory on how this service has influenced their development as teachers. The nature of the service must provide a direct, concrete benefit to the population(s) an agency/organization serves. The hours that candidates devote to this community service requirement may not also be used to fulfill any requirement for a credit-bearing course.
Students must apply through the Office of Field Placements and Student Teaching, FHG Library 251, for approval for student teaching placements. Prerequisites for student teaching include the following:
The application for student teaching must be filed within one full year prior to the academic semester in which student teaching is to be scheduled. Application meetings will be announced at the beginning of the fall semester each year. Students register for student teaching as they would for any other University courses.
All field placements, including student teaching, are arranged by the department. Students are not to solicit placements. While student needs are considered in assigning placements, no particular placement can be guaranteed. Transportation to and from field placements is the responsibility of the individual student.
West Chester University does not place students at religiously affiliated schools when public schools are available for a student teaching experience. In addition, the University will make every attempt to first place students into public (vs. private) schools for student teaching and related activities. Further, students will not be assigned student teaching or other related duties at nonsectarian private schools or agencies unless they specifically request such placement. Each request will be considered individually to ensure that the private entity does not receive special benefit from the arrangement that outweighs the benefit to the University and its students.
Since current trends, enforced by recent litigation, have increased the need for a general understanding of the individuals with disabilities in our culture, the department also offers a new minor in special education, which is designed to introduce students to individuals with disabilities through course work and field experiences. This new minor will be replacing the former minor, also listed below, which will not be admitting students after fall 2010. Students who desire admission to the minor in special education must have achieved the minimum cumulative GPA required for their earned credits: 2.65 for students with 12-47 credits, and 2.80 for students with 48 or more credits. Students admitted to this minor must maintain that minimum cumulative GPA in order to continue. Students who fall below the minimum cumulative GPA required are permitted to retake, in accordance with University policy, course work in the minor that contributed to their fall below the minimum required GPA. Such students will not be permitted to take additional course work in the minor until they achieve the minimum cumulative GPA.
These minors do not lead to Instructional I teacher certification by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.
EDA 103, 203, 314, 361, 421
No new students will be admitted into the following minor after fall 2010:
EDA 104, 307, and 302/350/360 (as a block)
103 Foundations of Special Education (3) This course is designed to acquaint the prospective teacher with the historical legal evolution of the field, as well as the characteristics of individuals with disabilities. Open to all teacher education majors; satisfies special education major/minor and Chapter 49.13 requirements
104 Introduction to Special Education (6) This course is designed to acquaint the prospective special education teacher with the historical and legal evolution of the field, as well as the characteristics of individuals with high- and low-incidence disabilities with a focus on mental retardation, emotional disturbance, learning disabilities, and physical and other health impairments. In addition, this course is designed to have the prospective teacher observe and reflect upon the characteristics of these students with disabilities within the context of school and clinical settings. The content will focus on issues relative to special education in a diverse society and will rely heavily on reflective teaching and learning. PREREQ: Sophomore status – minimum of 27 credits earned.
203 Field: Students with Exceptionalities (3) This course is designed to have the prospective teacher observe and reflect upon the characteristics of students with disabilities within the context of school and clinical settings. The content will focus on issues relative to special education in a diverse society and will rely heavily on reflective teaching and learning. PREREQ: EDA 103, field clearances. Open to special education majors/minors only
230 Inclusive Classrooms (3) This course prepares preservice early childhood, elementary, and special education students to teach students with disabilities effectively in general education settings. The course will be co-taught by special education and early childhood education faculty. Crosslisted course. Students may not take both courses for credit. Diverse communities course.
250 Inclusive Practices in Music Education (1) Designed to acquaint music educators with the philosophy of inclusive education and provide them with skills to accommodate students with disabilities in music classes (for music educators only).
280 Integrating the Arts (3) Fine art, music, puppetry, and dance are combined as creative processes to be adapted for use with children with disabilities. This course can be used to fulfill general education requirements.
302 Field Experience Seminar: High-Incidence (3) A weekly one-and-a-half-hour seminar and three-hour field placement with individuals with high-incidence disabilities. This course will be taken the same semester as EDA 350 and EDA 360. The goal is to experience inclusive classrooms, with culturally diverse populations, implementing best practices for teaching all children integrating theory and practice. The reading and discussions will focus on special education in a diverse society and will include reflective teaching and the reflective teaching model. COREQ: EDA 350 and 360, EDP 351, and formal admission to teacher education. PREREQ: EDA 104. Writing emphasis course
303 Special Ed: Processes/Procedure for General Educators (2) The purpose of this course is to prepare preservice students to teach students with disabilities effectively in general education settings. PREREQ: EDA 103 and formal admission to teacher education. Crosslisted course. Students may not take both courses for credit.
307 Families and Special Education (3) This course helps preservice teachers foster family-professional relationships that are meaningful, cooperative, and productive. Roles that parents have played in the education of children with disabilities will be emphasized. Involvement of families of individuals with disabilities is essential for the person’s education and well-being, and is necessary from a legal perspective. A study of the family allows the prospective teacher to know best how to work with diverse families of children with disabilities, and within family systems. PREREQ: EDA 104 and formal admission to teacher education. Writing emphasis course
314 Curriculum and Instruction for Individual Learning Differences I (3) This course is designed to prepare students to assist children with disabilities achieve skills in academics and functional life domains. Emphasis is placed on understanding and analysis of learning problems, and the design and planning of instructional interventions. Open to special education majors/minors only
320 Behavior Management (3) This course is an exploration of current practices in behavior management with emphasis on teacher-delivered systems. PREREQ: EDA 104. COREQ: EDA 347.
321 Behavior Management and Field Experience (6) This course is an exploration of current practices in behavior management with emphasis on teacher-delivered systems. It includes a field placement in a school where students will assess and develop interventions for a child with behavioral challenges. PREREQ: EDA 103 and 203, field clearances, and formal admission to teacher education. Open to special education majors only
341 Inclusion and Reading in the Content Area (3) This course is co-taught by special education and literacy faculty. It will help prepare secondary education and special education majors to teach all students effectively, including those with disabilities in general-education, content-specific settings. Practical guidelines, content literacy strategies, and adaptations will be emphasized to prepare pre-educators to meet the academic social, and affective needs of all students in the inclusive secondary classroom. PREREQ: EDF 300 or HON 312, and EDP 250. Diverse communities course
347 Low-Incidence Methods and Field (6) This course is designed to prepare students to teach children with low-incidence (severe) disabilities. It provides an understanding of assessment, curriculum, and instructional strategies unique for students with severe disabilities. It includes a three-hour field placement in a school program for students with severe disabilities. Time is devoted in the on-campus classroom for a seminar enabling students to discuss and process their field experiences. PREREQ: EDA 104. COREQ: EDA 320.
350 Methods for High-Incidence Disabilities (3) This course is designed to prepare students to assist children with high-incidence disabilities (mild disabilities) achieve skills and appropriate behaviors through their life span age of five through 21. Emphasis is placed on understanding and analysis of learning problems, and the design and implementation of instructional interventions in primary and secondary academics – reading, language arts, mathematics, other content areas, and social skills. PREREQ: EDA 104. COREQ: EDA 302 and 360; EDP 351; and formal admission to teacher education.
360 Assessment in Special Education (3) This course is designed to introduce students to instructional assessment in special education and the development of relevant education plans to meet federal regulations. PREREQ: EDA 104. COREQ: EDA 302 and 350; EDP 351; and formal admission to teacher education.
361 Assessment and Special Education (3) This course is designed to introduce students to instructional assessment in special education and the development of relevant education plans to meet federal regulations. PREREQ: EDA 103 and 203, formal admission to teacher education. COREQ: EDA 314. Open to special education majors/minors only
380 Life Transitions With Individuals With Disabilities (3) This course is a study of life-span issues for individuals with disabilities. It stresses curriculum content and instructional strategies that are sensitive to human diversity and promote career development and transition. PREREQ: EDA 104, 320, 347 or EDA 302, 350, 360, and formal admission to teacher education.
410 Independent Study (1-3) Special topics or projects initiated by the student that will enable her or him to do extensive and intensive study in an area of special education. PREREQ: Permission of chairperson. This course may be taken again for credit
413 PreK-8 Aspects of Transitions (3) This course will address support structures that serve students with disabilities as they transition from homebound to, and throughout, K-8 school-based instruction, stressing legislative foundations, interagency linkages, school partnerships, referral processes, and systems of service delivery. The teacher practitioner as change agent will be an underlying theme. PREREQ: EDA 103 and 203, formal admission to teacher education. Open to special education majors only
414 Secondary Career Development and Transition (3) This course will address support structures that serve students with disabilities as they transition from middle to high school and to adult life, stressing legislative foundations, interagency linkages, school partnerships, referral processes, and systems of service delivery. The teacher practitioner as change agent will be an underlying theme. PREREQ: EDA 103 and 203, formal admission to teacher education. Open to special education majors only
416 Student Teaching (6) Participation in teaching and all other activities in the student teaching role related to the teacher’s work. PREREQ: Formal admission to teacher education and Pennsylvania-mandated GPA, 90 semester hours including all professional education courses, and all specialized preparation courses with standards as shown above (*). Students must have completed and provided an ETS score report that they took the Praxis II test(s) in the subject area where the candidates are enrolled to achieve certification.
417 Student Teaching (6) See EDA 416 for description and requirements.
421 Curriculum and Instruction for Individual Learning Differences II and Field (6) This course is designed to support students in the research, development, and implementation of instruction for students with disabilities. Emphasis is placed on demonstration and implementation of appropriate curriculum and materials for the individual student with disabilities, with particular emphasis on life skills and academic abilities, including reading, written language, and mathematics. PREREQ: EDA 314 and 361, formal admission to teacher education. Open to special education majors/minors only
429 Communication Development and Assistive Technologies for Students with Disabilities This course will provide a broad overview of normal and atypical communication development. Importance will be given to communication disorders, characteristics of students with disabilities, and the impact of high and low level technology. PREREQ: EDA 103 and 203, formal admission to teacher education. Open to special education majors only