Sep 16, 2019  
2012-2013 Graduate Catalog 

Special and Early Education

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Interim Chair: Connie Fox

Graduate Faculty

Erika Blood, assistant professor, Ph.D., University of Washington
Jeffrey Chan, assistant professor, Ph.D., University of Texas at Austin
Lynette K. Chandler, professor, Ph.D., University of Kansas
Gregory Conderman, professor, Ed.D., University of Northern Colorado
Maylan Dunn-Kenney, associate professor, Ph.D., University of Oklahoma
Paula Hartman, assistant professor, Ph.D., The University of Texas at Austin
Laura Hedin, assistant professor, Ph.D., University of Illinois
Jesse Johnson, associate professor, Ed.D., Northern Illinois University
Sarah Johnston-Rodriguez, associate professor, Ph.D., University of Wisconsin, Madison
Myoungwhon Jung, assistant professor, Ph.D., Indiana University
La Vonne I. Neal, professor, Ph.D., University of Texas, Austin
William Penrod, associate professor, Ed.D., University of Louisville
Toni Van Laarhoven, associate professor, Ed.D., Northern Illinois University

The Department of Special and Early Education offers the M.S.Ed. degree in early childhood education and special education. State of Illinois approved programs leading to certification are offered in early childhood education and special education. Viewing teaching both as an art and science, learning as a reciprocal process, and service as a responsibility, the faculty provides curriculum and instruction grounded in theory, research, and best practice.

Master of Science in Education
Early childhood education
Special education

Doctor of Education

Students interested in doctoral level studies in special education may elect a cognate in special education while pursuing the doctorate in educational psychology. (See Department of Leadership, Educational Psychology and Foundations.)


The Department of Special and Early Education seeks to select the best-qualified applicants for admission to its programs. When the number of applicants to any program exceeds its capacity, even qualified applicants may be denied admission and encouraged to reapply at a later date.

Applicants must provide at least two letters of recommendation from professors, employers, or supervisors which provide supportive evidence of an applicant’s professional qualifications. Except for applicants for the M.S.Ed. program in special education, applicants may submit MAT scores in lieu of GRE scores.

Decisions about admission to programs in the department are ordinarily made at least once each term. To be assured of consideration, completed applications containing all required data (application forms, official transcripts, GRE or MAT scores, and letters of recommendation) must be received by the Graduate School no later than June 1 for admission for the fall term, November 1 for admission for the spring term, and April 1 for admission for the summer session.

Any applicant who is denied admission to a program may submit to the department chair a written request for reconsideration by the admissions committee that includes information not previously submitted. Final decisions of admissions committees may be appealed to the department’s Academic Appeals Committee. Appeals to this committee must be in writing and must explain the basis for the appeal.


A student is assigned an adviser when admitted to a department degree or certification program and develops a program of study in consultation with the adviser. Courses with the designator TLRN may be counted toward the major in any of the department’s degree programs with adviser approval.


Students must remain in good academic standing in the Graduate School, maintain high ethical standards, and demonstrate evidence of functional competency in fulfilling the professional roles required by the discipline.

Doctoral students must pass a candidacy examination which requires an ability to deal with more than individual course content. Satisfactory completion of comprehensive examinations requires analysis, synthesis, and integration of the content within a discipline. Doctoral students must also develop, complete, and defend an acceptable dissertation following the guidelines of the Graduate School and the program in which they are enrolled.


The Department of Special and Early Education offers internships in early childhood education and special education. For further information and internship possibilities, see course descriptions and consult with an adviser.

Student-at-Large, Study-Abroad, and Transfer Credit

Student-at-large, study-abroad, and transfer hours in combination may not exceed 15 semester hours for students pursuing the M.S.Ed. degree in early childhood education or special education. The limit on student-at-large hours may be waived in special circumstances with the approval of the department chair.

Deficiency Study/Field Work

In cases in which a student’s background in the chosen specialty is limited, the individual may be required to fulfill deficiency requirements. Generally, deficiency course work is required of an individual seeking a doctorate whose master’s course work was in another specialty area or field. Supervised field work is sometimes required in a given program of study, especially when, in the adviser’s judgment, it is necessary to prepare the student in a chosen specialty.

Special Education Certificates of Graduate Study

The special education certificates of graduate study are designed for educators currently holding Learning Behavior Specialist I certification who are seeking additional competencies. Completion of a certificate of graduate study in one of the following areas prepares one to apply for Illinois Learning Behavior Specialist II certification as an assistive technology specialist, a behavior specialist, a curriculum adaptation specialist, or a multiple disabilities specialist.

Certification and Endorsement at the Graduate Level

The M.S.Ed. program in early childhood education with certification is designed for students pursuing the Early Childhood Illinois Type 04 Certification requirements to teach children from birth through grade 3 in Illinois public schools. Students may elect course work to fulfill special education approval requirements for teaching children with disabilities, birth through age six.

Middle grades endorsement requirements for the state of Illinois may be fulfilled by taking courses at the graduate level. Students who wish to take these courses should contact the Department of Leadership, Educational Psychology and Foundations for further information.

See “Teacher Certification Information.”

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