March 26, 2010
CONTACT: K.E. Schwab
SRU adds summer term for special education graduate students
SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - An increased demand by Slippery Rock University graduate students studying special education as well as educators seeking a master's degree or a way to expand their teacher certification has resulted in the addition of a special four-week summer program offering online special education courses.
"We have seen a steady increase in demand for course offerings in our department," said Dennis Fair, chair of SRU's special education department. "We are trying this program on an experimental basis. The plan is to add a block of special education to the traditional summer school program."
SRU traditionally offers a pre-session summer school program that allows students to take one course for up to four credits in 12 days. The regular summer Session I and II allow students to earn up to seven credits in four weeks. This year, a Summer Term in Special Education for students admitted to SRU's master's degree program in special education will provide the opportunity to earn six credits in four weeks. Summer Term will run July 28-Aug. 24.
"In the past, the University has very limited operations in August until the opening of fall semester classes near the end of the month. With this new special education online program, we will hold classes throughout August," said Eliott Baker, executive director of academic records, summer school and graduate programs.
"A number of students, including those from other universities coming home to the Slippery Rock area, elect to attend one or more of our summer sessions as a way of lightening their load during the regular semesters. Others choose summer school as a way to complete their four-year education early," Baker said.
SRU began offering a number of its special education graduate course online in 2007. The online courses offer more flexibility in scheduling to those already working as school teachers.
"This special summer session will be beneficial to our current students as well as those interested in earning a master's degree in special education," Fair said.
"This added session will also allow students to spread out their summer study in special education by allowing them to take one course each session, rather than doubling up," he said. Most classes will enroll 10-12 graduate students.
In total the department will offer 39 online classes during the four summer sessions. Courses included in the special session include "Advanced Studies of Exceptionalities," "Assessment of Mild Learning and Behavior Problems," "Positive Classroom Interventions," "Current Research in Special Education," "Instructional Strategies for Learning and Behavioral Problems," "Lifelong Learning for Exceptionalities" and "Developmental Disabilities."
Fair said the program should be attractive to those seeking dual certification or who are already teaching, but clearly see the need for expanded course work in special education areas. He said all education majors in Pennsylvania will be required to have some special education courses beginning with those graduating in 2013 if they plan to teach in the commonwealth. He said he expects those with special education backgrounds to move up higher on hiring lists as schools revamp their faculty to include more master teachers.
"Masters degrees in special education are very much in demand. Most teachers only have the basic certification and a degree and certification in special education gives them a host of competencies in dealing with students with disabilities," Fair said.
SRU's summer sessions offer more than 300 traditional classroom courses as well as 31 online liberal studies courses. Pre-session runs May 12-27; Session I, June 1-28; and Session II, June 29-July 27. Summer Term will run July 28-Aug. 24.
SRU's fall semester opens Aug. 30.
For more information call Fair at 724.738.2463.
Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania's premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.