Teacher Education at the University of Utah
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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 StaffordSpecial Education student Madelyn Stafford, who is visually impaired, has teamed up with Utah Museum of Fine Arts to make their website, museum tours, including their audio and braille, accessible to all. Read about her work with UMFA>>

suchey-jensonSpecial Ed announces awards at Annual Spring Reception

Dr. Nicole Suchey To Receive Department of Special Education Distinguished Alumnus Award!

At this week’s Department of Special Education Spring Reception Dr. Nicole Suchey will receive the Department’s 2016 Distinguished Alumnus Award. Dr. Suchey received her PhD from the Department, and served as a career line faculty member supervising student teachers and teaching classes for a number of years. For the last several years Dr. Suchey has served as a literacy coach for the Salt Lake City School District. The Department is proud of her many accomplishments both while at the University as a student and faculty member, and during her time working in the schools. Our congratulations and best wishes to Nicole!

Dr. Bill Jenson to Receive Department of Special Education Jeanette Misaka Distinguished Service Award!

Dr. Bill Jenson is the recipient of the Department’s 2016 Jeanette Misaka Distinguished Service Award. Dr. Jenson has had a more than 40 year career in working to provide education and supports to students with autism spectrum disorders and emotional and behavioral disorders, and their families. He has a lengthy and distinguished record of scholarly research and publications, including hundreds of scholarly research articles, book chapters, and books. Dr. Jenson has also been the recipient of many state and federal research and training grants. He has a lengthy record of supervising master’s and doctoral students who have gone on to have substantial local, state, and national influence on services for students with disabilities. Dr. Jenson has also been an integral part of the College’s program to prepare Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs). Dr. Jenson is well deserving of the Misaka Achievement Award. Our congratulations and best wishes to Dr. Jenson!

GREAT NEWS! The Department of Special Education has received an additional doctoral leadership training grant (our 2nd one in 2 years)! This new project, funded by the U.S. Office of Special Education Programs, is focused in the area of severe disabilities, and was spearheaded by Drs. John McDonnell and Matt Jameson.
Read more about this project >>

Jameson - McDonnellSpecial Education professors Jameson & McDonnell were awarded a USOE grant for the U of U Project to Alleviate Critical Educator Shortages in Severe Disabilities (ACES-SD). Read more about this grant >>

Casey GressmanCasey Gressman presented a research poster at the Utah Council for Exceptional Children Annual Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah.  Casey is majoring in Special Education and earning his license to teach students with mild to moderate disabilities and will be graduating with his Bachelor of Science degree in Spring 2016. He is currently a teaching intern in Jordan School District.  His poster titled, “Informative Writing Using SRSD for 8th Grade Students with Disabilities: A Descriptive Action Research Project” focused on providing writing strategies instruction using POW + TREE. Students showed significant gains in their writing quality, total words written, and their goal setting and other self-regulation skills. 

John McDonnell

John McDonnell receives the 2016 Ben Bruse Distinguished Service Award
The Ben Bruse Distinguished Service Award is given annually by the Utah Council for Exceptional Children to an individual in the state that has had a substantial impact on service, research, or education for children with disabilities. Dr. McDonnell was recognized for the impact that his research has had on improving educational programs for students with severe disabilities in Utah and nationally.

Congratulations to Dr. McDonnell!

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...

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).