Why choose a Special Education program at UAlbany?

Research Universities graduate more effective teachers.

We are a research university, meaning our focus is different than a college. A research university is an institution for higher learning with teaching and research facilities and both graduate and professional schools. A prime difference between a research university and a college is that we give a very high priority to research while engaging students in undergraduate through doctoral studies. Our faculty are both teachers and researchers who conduct, present, and publish high quality research. The benefit of a research university for our students is that, on average, teachers who graduated from research universities have students who make greater gains in reading and math achievement than do teachers who graduate from schools that offer only master’s degrees (Levine, 2006). The bottom line is that if you want to be a highly effective teacher who is fluent in the latest, research based teaching methods, consider UAlbany.

 

Indicators of a Quality Teacher Education program.

Arthur Levine and the Education Schools Project (2006) recently developed nine criteria for judging teacher education programs. Using their criteria, here is what we offer:

    Purpose
    We offer distinct programs/certification in special education/literacy, special education, elementary education and inclusion. Each program has a clear and distinctive purpose, so that you can choose the program that best meets your needs. We offer programs suitable for individuals with no teaching background, and for those who hold initial certification in general childhood education or special education.

    Curricular Coherence and Quality
    We carefully plan the content and sequence of courses and field experiences within each program. We regularly revise our courses and field experiences based on feedback from students and student performance in field settings. We carefully monitor the quality of the field sites we use.

    Curricular Balance
    All of our courses integrate theory and practice. This comes as second nature to our faculty, because as researchers, we develop theory and insight about best practices.

Faculty Composition

    At the heart of our program is our Faculty. We have a vast amount of practical teaching experience to help us situate theory into classroom applications. In addition, we are world-class scholars who are active researchers and practitioners with a wealth of theoretical and practical knowledge. We have received national, state, and local grants to fund our research efforts and we present our research at local, state, regional, national and international conferences. We have also authored books and routinely publish empirical and practical articles in high-quality peer-reviewed journals. Furthermore, we have conducted many national, regional and local workshops. Finally, all of us are involved with key special education organizations.

Admissions

We carefully monitor what it takes to be successful in our program. We select students based on these criteria; we continually update our admissions procedures so that we select individuals likely to become highly effective teachers. Admission is competitive in all of the programs.

Degrees

When students graduate from our program, they have more than special education certification. Our graduates have specialized knowledge in inclusion, literacy instruction or working with students with emotional and behavior disorders. This specialized knowledge distinguishes our graduates.

 

Research

We conduct research on effective instruction in reading, writing, and mathematics. We do research on best practices for students with learning, emotional and multiple disabilities. Our research is funded by nationally competitive grants, and published in the leading special education journals. We share this new knowledge in our methods courses.

 

Financial Support for the Program

We regularly offer stipends during your internship semester (depending on availability). Our students are regularly awarded School of Education scholarships. The University has shown its commitment to our programs by regularly adding clinical and research faculty in special education as the program expands.

 

Assessment

We regularly monitor what is working, and what needs to be improved. Our programs are constantly changing—so that it can be the best it can be for our students. Our programs are accredited by the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC) until 2021.