03/04/14 — University of Mount Olive plans to offer special education degree

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University of Mount Olive plans to offer special education degree

By Josh Ellerbrock
Published in News on March 4, 2014 1:46 PM

The University of Mount Olive will expand its course offerings with a new major -- special education -- starting in the fall of 2014 because of an increased need for certified special education teachers throughout North Carolina.

Dr. Craig McFadden, assistant superintendent for accountability and student services, said Wayne County Public Schools is definitely in need of more trained teachers who can work with the school system's exceptional children program, and those open positions are difficult to fill.

"There are so many opportunities for people with those backgrounds. It's a supply and demand issue," McFadden said.

"Wayne County schools could not be more pleased that the University of Mount Olive is putting in a exceptional children's teacher program," he said.

But openings aren't the only reason for the start of the new program.

"Job opportunities abound, but even more importantly, the needs of these children need to be addressed by competent, trained professionals who understand the special needs exhibited by this population," said Tommy Benson, division chairman for arts and education at UMO, in a press release.

The components of the University of Mount Olive's K-12 special education licensure program include general education, professional studies requirements and course work in English, math, science, social studies and special educational. The special education courses will include Introduction to Exceptional Children, Assessment and Evaluation, Teaching in an Inclusive Classroom and Classroom Management and Organization.

Freshmen will be required to do field experiences through their student teaching experiences.

"Throughout the program, the curriculum balances college course work with classroom experiences, reflective thinking, integrating theory and practice and maximizing learning opportunities," Benson said in a press release.

"Our mission is to transform education and thereby lives by preparing and producing education professionals knowledgeable of the content they teach, skilled in pedagogy and passionate about teaching all students," he said.

Graduates of program will be able to seek jobs as teachers, diagnosticians, clinical support personnel, consultants for IEP development and implementation, homebound instructors and other support personnel for exceptional, or special education programs.

"This is yet another way that the University can respond to its surrounding communities," Benson said. "Exceptional needs students are an under-served population, and parents and school systems want people to work with their students who have a passion for these children and who are well-versed in practice."