This fall, the education department received a grant from the Ohio Deans Compact on Exceptional Children. This grant will be instrumental in creating a dual licensure program that Assistant Professor of Special Education at the Mount, Dr. Kate Doyle says will “[result] in graduates who are prepared and ready to meet the instructional needs of all students in inclusive settings, including students with disabilities.”
Applying for a More Inclusive Future
Like many grant applications, the Ohio Deans Compact on Exceptional Children sought applicants whose programs would enhance the lives of the program’s recipients. Dr. Kate Doyle, along with Dr. Laura Saylor, Dean of Education and Harrison Collier, Undergraduate Chair & Director of Accreditation, Assessment, and Clinical Experiences, submitted the rigorous application and worked diligently to meet the grant’s requirements.
According to Dr. Doyle, “Proposals [had to] implement sustainable improvements in Ohio’s personal preparation system…and contribute to the effectiveness of a professional learning system.” In addition, the “applicants had to address the ways in which relevant knowledge, skills, and dispositions would be infused into general education coursework.” The goal of the program established through the grant is to prepare education graduates assisting all students in the classroom.
The grant amounts to over $200,000, which will be utilized over the course of two years. With the grant, the Mount’s education department will implement a program that offers dual licensure for early childhood and K-12 special education, making the Mount the first university within this region to provide such a licensure.
Implementing the Program
According to IDEAdata.org, of the nation’s 5.8 million students with disabilities, ages 6-21, almost 95% spend part or all of their time in a general education classroom, while 61% spend at least 80% of the school day in general education classrooms. Implementing a program that empowers teachers with a dual licensure in early childhood and K-12 special education will not only benefit the future teachers within the program, but will also provide an inclusive learning environment for students with disabilities.
In the proposed program, Dr. Doyle says that they will be building off the existing Early Childhood and Intervention Specialist teacher preparation programs at the Mount. These will become “a merged (i.e. dual licensure) program leading to licensure in Early Childhood and Mild/Moderate education.”
A dual licensure program, such as the proposed, will enable Mount students to incorporate more knowledge into their future classroom curriculums and better serve the diverse abilities of their students. It will also serve a model for other schools, in addition to preparing Mount graduates to take on the challenges of the industry.
To learn more about the Mount’s undergraduate education programs, visit the department page.