Olivet Nazarene University has received unanimous approval from the Illinois State Educator Preparation and Licensure Board (SEPLB) to begin offering a new undergraduate major in Special Education on campus beginning in spring 2015.
“Olivet is committed to providing students who are called by God to teach special education with the opportunity to pursue that calling,” said Dr. Robert Hull
, dean of the School of Education
. “We’ve had many requests for this major from prospective students, special education professionals and our local community. This major is designed to begin responding to that demand at the undergraduate level.”
Distinctives of Olivet’s special education major include preparing teacher candidates to be reflective practitioners who pursue longevity and leadership in their careers. Courses are designed to train them to provide emotional support that goes beyond mere behavior management. As part of their coursework, candidates will complete 173 hours of clinical experience in both self-contained special education classrooms and inclusion settings. Olivet students who successfully complete the requirements for this major will receive the Bachelor of Science in Special Education degree.
This major is the culmination of diligent work by faculty and staff. The process of receiving SEPLB approval began four years ago with discussions among University faculty and staff, as well as discussions with Illinois state representatives. When Professor Brian Stipp
joined Olivet’s faculty in 2013, he was asked to shepherd the writing of a curriculum for this new major.
While conducting an intense evaluation of programs offered by five other higher education institutions and input from top-rated consultants, Professor Stipp and the team listened to input from area schools. Then they began the work of course design.
“We included over 250 state and national standards in our courses,” Professor Stipp said. “We also had to adhere to State of Illinois requirements and, at the same time, maintain the spirit of the program as we envisioned it. We want our students to be prepared to carry out their vocation of caring for students with disabilities. And we want them to do that with excellence and for a long time. Ultimately, our program has been built to prepare our candidates in a way that honors the God-given dignity of their future students.”
Joining Professor Stipp in implementing and teaching the courses related to this new major is Dr. Ruth Reynolds. Both are experienced special education teachers. Professor Stipp taught students with a broad range of disabilities in grades one through eight in the Chicago Public Schools for 10 years. Dr. Reynolds brings 34 years of special education teaching experience in Bradley, Illinois.
Registration for courses related to this major will begin this October. For more information, contact the Office of Admissions at firstname.lastname@example.org
Olivet’s School of Education is currently listed among Top U.S. Colleges and Universities for Teaching Education
by the online College Database. Colleges and universities included on this list offer their students the widest range of education program options.