Special Education

Graduates are qualified to teach in a variety of areas

Degree Programs

At the undergraduate level, the special education program area provides both pre-licensure options and licensure programs through the interdisciplinary studies degree (IDS). Students seeking to teach in special education major in IDS and select one of the following specialty area options:

Concentration in Special Education

The 15 credit hour concentration in special education for IDS majors who are seeking elementary license provides the future teacher with highly marketable skills in supporting learners of all abilities in elementary classroom settings and working collaboratively with special education colleagues. An elementary education major who has a concentration in special education may participate in the collaborative co-placement model during early field experience. 

Minor in Special Education

The 18 credit hour minor in special education provides an opportunity to acquire professional knowledge related to understanding and assisting individuals with disabilities. It includes a focus on educationally relevant disability law and policy, characteristics and etiology of disabilities, and special education programming and services.

Anthony Friedman talks about the pride he feels being a Radford Highlander. He shares the opportunities he’s had to have an impact as a Resident Assistant and in the future as a special educator.

Frequently Asked Questions

WHAT PERSONAL CHARACTERISTICS ARE REQUIRED FOR THE FIELD OF SPECIAL EDUCATION?

  • Good communication skills
  • Skills in problem solving and analysis
  • Self-awareness and self-confidence
  • Initiative, reliability, and persistence
  • Ability to work alone and as part of a collaborative team

IS THERE AN INTRODUCTORY COURSE IN SPECIAL EDUCATION?

Students begin their special education courses by enrolling in EDSP 361: Current Trends in Education for Exceptional Individuals or EDSP 360: Introduction to Early Childhood Special Education. These classes provide an overview of the characteristics and needs of students with disabilities.

WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS FOR ENTERING THE SPECIAL EDUCATION PROGRAM?

Students may declare Special Education as a major at any time. Coursework typically begins at the sophomore level. Prior to entering field experiences, students must be admitted to the Teacher Education Program (TEP). Entry into the TEP requires a grade point average of 2.50 to 2.75, depending on the program, and passing scores on Praxis Core Mathamatics and Virginia Communication and Literacy exams.

WHAT EXPERIENTIAL OPPORTUNITIES DOES RADFORD UNIVERSITY’S SPECIAL EDUCATION PROGRAM HAVE TO OFFER?

Students are placed in classrooms for at least two semesters while taking their professional special education classes during their junior, senior or graduate year. Students in the four-year licensure options complete a field experience in the fall and full-time student teaching during the spring in their senior year. Students in the five-year program complete field experiences in the fall and spring semesters of their senior year and half-time internships in the fall and spring of their graduate year.

WHAT ADDITIONAL STUDY WILL ENHANCE MY CAREER OPPORTUNITIES IN THE FIELD OF SPECIAL EDUCATION?

Employers may recommend additional courses for endorsement in other areas of special education in order to meet state requirements for serving students in general classroom settings. Radford University offers graduate programs in: Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Early Childhood Special Education, General Curriculum, Adapted Curriculum, Visual Impairment, and a certificate program in Autism Studies.

WHERE CAN I OBTAIN MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE FIELD OF SPECIAL EDUCATION?

Meet the Professors

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Dr. Debora Bays Wilbon

Professor
Contact for Special Education, General and Adapted Curriculum, K-12
1st grade teacher and K-6 special education teacher
Office: Peters Hall C162
Phone: 540-831-5190
Email: dbays@radford.edu

Enabling future and current teachers to advocate for and to provide the highest quality instruction for their students is what makes my teaching rewarding.

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Dr. Elizabeth Altieri

Professor
Contact for Graduate Program for Special Education
Special educator from early childhood to adult services
Office: Peters Hall C156
Phone: 540-831-5590
Email: ealtieri@radford.edu

I love inspiring young people to become collaborative educators, strong advocates, and future leaders.­­­

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Dr. Brooke Blanks

Associate Professor
K-12 special education teacher and reading specialist
Office: Peters Hall C154
Phone: 540-831-7161
Email: ablanks@radford.edu

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Dr. Leslie Daniel

Associate Professor
Contact for the Certificate of Autism Studies Special Education
Middle School Special Education teacher
Office: Peters Hall C155
Phone: 540-831-7194
Email: ldaniel10@radford.edu

The best thing about thing about teaching is making a huge difference in the lives of children, because we’ve taught their teachers. 

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Dr. Karen Douglas 

Associate Professor
High School Special Education teacher
Office: Peters Hall C170
Phone: 831-5313
Email: kdouglas13@radford.edu

Teaching is empowering others with knowledge, skills, and confidence.

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Mary Evans 

Instructor
Special Education Eeacher, K-12
Office: Peters Hall C154
Phone: 540-831-7161
Email: mlcoyle@radford.edu

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Dr. Whitney Idol

Assistant Professor
Special education teacher and Crisis Intervention Specialist
Office: Peters Hall A044
Phone: 831-7650
Email: widol@radford.edu

Passion is contagious, and has the power start great things for the greater good.

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Dr. Darren Minarik 

Associate Professor
High School Social Studies teacher and technical assistance coordinator
Office: Peters Hall A007
Phone: 540-831-7660
Email: dminarik@radford.edu

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Dr. Brenda-Jean Tyler 

Associate Professor
K to 12 special education teacher
Office: Peters Hall C158
Phone: 540-831-5868
Email: bjtyler@radford.edu

I enjoy working with students and helping them reach their goals.

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Jessica Morris 

Instructor
Special Education Coordinator
Office: Peters Hall A028
Phone: 540-831-5244
Email:  jmorris@radford.edu

I believe that teachers have the power to reach all students and empowering preservice teachers with this knowledge is something I enjoy.