Teacher Education at the University of Utah
You Can Make a Difference!

Special education means specially designed instruction to ensure a free and appropriate education for students regardless of the extent or type of their disability. The Department of Special Education prepares special education teacher candidates and general education teacher candidates to work with students with disabilities in the areas of mild/moderate disabilities, severe disabilities, early childhood special education, vision impairments, and students who are deaf & hard of hearing. At the graduate level, the Department of Special Education prepares tomorrow's leaders in the field at both the master's and doctoral degree levels.

The preparation of teachers and leadership personnel includes adaptation of curriculum, accommodation to meet student needs, collaboration with schools and the community, assessment of student abilities, behavioral interventions, special education policy, and legal issues.

What's Happening in SPED


Madelyn StaffordHoping other will see blindness differently...
U of U Special Education student, Madelyn Stafford, is visually impaired in a number of ways, which makes it difficult to learn at the same pace as her peers. But she is doing it, and she is changing the way it is done so other people who are blind don't have as hard a row to hoe. Stafford learned how to advocate for herself and be confident despite her disability through skills classes and accessible activities offered by the Utah Foundation for the Blind and Visually Impaired.  Her goal in her words, "I want to change what it means to be blind," she said. "I want an equal access world for everyone." Read More...


SPED teacher receives Google donationFormer U of U Special Education student and current teacher Diane Nahalewski learns that her program will be fully funded as Google and DonorsChoose.org announce funding for a project to benefit special education students at Park Lane Elementary in Sandy, as well as nearly $60,000 for similar projects to help thousands of other Salt Lake and Utah county students, Monday, Nov. 2, 2015. Congratulations Diane!!  Read more...


 Dr. Tim Riesen, former doctoral student in the Special Education Department has recently published a new book (co-authored with Dr. Bob Morgan from USU) entitled Promoting Successful Transition to Adulthood for Students with Disabilities, published by Guilford Press. Congrats to Tim and his co-author on this terrific accomplishment!


Kim Guerts

Kimberly Geurts, a master’s student in the Early Childhood Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program in the Department of Special Education, will receive the Teacher of Tomorrow Award from the Utah Chapter of the National Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD). Ms. Geurts will be recognized at the chapter’s annual upcoming conference and awards luncheon.           


 Click below for more images of the Inclusive Arts Festival!

inclusive arts fest


Chris BischkeThe Department of Special Education/Multi-University Consortium Teacher Preparation Program in Sensory Impairments has been awarded a Teacher Preparation Grant from the Office of Special Education Programs of the U.S. Department of Education. This five year project will provide $1,244,230 to support the preparation of teachers who will work with students with sensory impairments (students who are Deaf and Hard of hearing, Visual Impairments and Deafblind). The grant will be managed by principal investigator Dr. Chris Bischke. Scholars will receive $5,000 per semester for up to six semesters.  Graduate scholars may be eligible for a tuition waiver. Interested persons can contact Dr. Bischke at (chris.bischke@utah.edu).


oneill & johnstonThe Department of Special Education has been awarded a Leadership Training Grant from the Office of Special Education Programs of the U.S. Department of Education. This five year project will provide $1,226,399 to support preparation of doctoral level personnel to assume positions in higher education research and training institutions. The grant will be managed by co-principal investigators Rob O'Neill and Susan Johnston. Student participants will receive an annual $30,000 stipend and a tuition waiver. Interested persons can contact either Rob O'Neill (rob.oneill@utah.edu) or Susan Johnston (susan.johnston@utah.edu).


Interested in Obtaining a Ph.D. in Special Education?

The U of U Department of Special Education was recently awarded a Leadership Training Grant from the Office of Special Education Programs of the U.S. Department of Education.

The grant supports the preparation of doctoral personnel to assume positions in higher education research and training institutions.
Student participants will receive an annual $30,000 stipend and a tuition waiver.

For additional information, please contact either Rob O'Neill (rob.oneill@utah.edu) or Susan Johnston (susan.johnston@utah.edu).