Chairperson: Dr. Kimberly Weber
The department offers one degree and one minor:
Bachelor of Education in Special Education
Minor in Special Education
The Department of Special Education offers a major and minor in Special Education that emphasizes learning experiences in applied settings. Public, private schools, as well as a variety of non-school settings, provide students the opportunity to combine academic training with practical experience. Candidates who earn the Bachelor of Education degree with a major in Special Education are prepared to work with individuals having mild to severe disabilities, such as learning disabilities, pervasive developmental disabilities, and behavior disorders. Majors seeking teacher certification take courses that focus on developing skills needed to function in a variety of classroom settings including but not limited to resource, self-contained, and inclusionary. The Special Education Department also prepares candidates who plan to work in non-school settings like clinics, workshops, homes, etc. Courses for those seeking Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst (BCaBA) certification are also an option. The Special Education degree is a great starting point for those seeking advanced degrees in behavior analysis, occupational therapy, speech and language, counseling, or school psychology.
State of Washington teaching requirements indicate that certification in Special Education (SpEd) and Early Childhood Special Education (ECSpEd) are stand-alone endorsements. Although not required, many candidates choose to add a second endorsement. Special Education students often add elementary, reading, early childhood special education, and/or ELL endorsements among others. These two departmental endorsements (SpEd and ECSpEd) may be earned through completion of the B.Ed. The Special Education endorsement permits teaching special needs students preschool through twelfth grade. The Early Childhood Special Education endorsement permits teaching special needs student’s birth through third grade. Students seeking teacher certification complete courses beyond what is required for the major in order to meet program completion requirements. It is best to meet with your Special Education advisor to make sure you are taking the necessary coursework. All students majoring in special education who wish to become endorsed to teach special education in the State of Washington must:
1. Complete required coursework in line with the Special Education Major with a grade of C or better, including but not limited to EDSE 320, EDSE 306 and EDSE 406 in-school practicum courses, and EDSE 480 EdTPA and Teacher Development Seminar.
2. Has taken the basic skill assessment in each of the following categories: Reading, Writing, and Math in either the WEST B, SAT, or ACT prior to being admitted to the certification program. Those who have not completed this requirement are prohibited from student teaching.
3. Complete an application for and obtain acceptance into the teacher certification program.
4. Obtain and maintain WSP/FBI clearance throughout all field experiences including student teaching.
5. Create and maintain an eCertification PreResidency Clearance Account throughout the program.
6. Take the West-E/NES exam in Special Education or another endorsement area prior to student teaching.
7. Receive a C or better for all courses required for certification.
The Early Childhood Special Education endorsement prepares candidates to serve young children with disabilities from birth through early school years (3rd grade). Candidates who wish to become endorsed in Early Childhood Special Education must complete all of the requirements above as well as the following:
1. Complete the series of four courses specifically addressing critical issues, background, and pedagogy for early development, methodology, physical development, and communication (EDSE 350, EDSE 351, EDSE 352, and EDSE 353) with a grade of C or better.
2. Complete student teaching in an Early Childhood Special Education classroom.
All Gonzaga University students may enroll in EDSE 150, 155, 225, 306, 307, 320, 335, 340, 344, 346, 406, or 407. All other upper division courses require official acceptance into the major or minor in special education. Acceptance and continuance in the major or minor are dependent on an overall Gonzaga GPA of at least a 3.00; a 3.00 average or higher in EDSE 150, 320; a minimum of 3.00 in EDSE 320; a pass and positive evaluations in EDSE 306, 307, 406, or 407; recommendation by the advisor; and approval by the faculty in the Department of Special Education.
In addition to their major and minor areas of study, all undergraduate students follow a common program designed to complete their education in those areas that the University considers essential for a Catholic, Jesuit, liberal, and humanistic education. The University Core Curriculum consists of forty-five credits of course work, with additional designation requirements that can be met through core, major, or elective courses.
The University Core Curriculum is a four-year program, organized around one overarching question, which is progressively addressed through yearly themes and questions. Hence, core courses are best taken within the year for which they are designated. First year core courses encourage intellectual engagement and provide a broad foundation of fundamental skills. Second and third year courses examine central issues and questions in philosophy and religious studies. The fourth year course, the Core Integration Seminar, offers a culminating core experience. Taken at any time throughout the four years, broadening courses intersect with the core themes and extend students’ appreciation for the humanities, arts, and social and behavioral sciences. Finally, the designation requirements (writing enriched, global studies, and social justice) reflect important values and reinforce students’ knowledge and competencies.
Overarching Core Question: As students of a Catholic, Jesuit, and Humanistic University, how do we educate ourselves to become women and men for a more just and humane global community?
Year 1 Theme and Question: Understanding and Creating: How do we pursue knowledge and cultivate understanding?
- The First-Year Seminar (DEPT 193, 3 credits): The First-Year Seminar (FYS), taken in the fall or spring of the first year, is designed to promote an intellectual shift in students as they transition to college academic life. Each small seminar is organized around an engaging topic, which students explore from multiple perspectives. The FYS is offered by many departments across the University (click here [PDF] for list of FYS courses).
- Writing (ENGL 101, 3 credits) and Reasoning (PHIL 101, 3 credits): The Writing and Reasoning courses are designed to help students develop the foundational skills of critical reading, thinking, analysis, and writing. They may be taken as linked sections. Writing (ENGL 101) carries one of the three required writing-enriched designations (see below).
- Communication & Speech (COMM 100, 3 credits): This course introduces students to interpersonal and small group communication and requires the application of critical thinking, reasoning, and research skills necessary to organize, write, and present several speeches.
- Scientific Inquiry (BIOL 104/104L, CHEM 104/104L, or PHYS 104/104L, 3 credits): This course explores the scientific process in the natural world through evidence-based logic and includes significant laboratory experience. Students pursuing majors that require science courses will satisfy this requirement through their major.
- Mathematics (above Math 100, 3 credits): Mathematics courses promote thinking according to the modes of the discipline—abstractly, symbolically, logically, and computationally. One course in mathematics, above Math 100, including any math course required for a major or minor, will fulfill this requirement. MATH 100 (College Algebra) and courses without the MATH prefix do not fulfill this requirement.
Year 2 Theme and Question: Being and Becoming: Who are we and what does it mean to be human?
- Philosophy of Human Nature (PHIL 201, 3 credits): This course provides students with a philosophical study of key figures, theories, and intellectual traditions that contribute to understanding the human condition; the meaning and dignity of human life; and the human relationship to ultimate reality.
- Christianity and Catholic Traditions (RELI, 3 credits). Religious Studies core courses approved for this requirement explore diverse topics including Christian scriptures, history, theology, and practices as well as major contributions from the Catholic intellectual and theological traditions (click here [PDF] for a list of approved courses) .
Year 3 Theme and Question: Caring and Doing: What principles characterize a well lived life?
- Ethics (PHIL 301 or RELI, 3 credits): The Ethics courses are designed to help students develop their moral imagination by exploring and explaining the reasons humans should care about the needs and interests of others. This requirement is satisfied by an approved ethics course in either Philosophy (PHIL 301) or Religious Studies (click here [PDF] for a list of approved courses).
- World/Comparative Religion (RELI, 3 credits): Religious Studies courses approved for this core requirement draw attention to the diversity that exists within and among traditions and encourage students to bring critical, analytical thinking to bear on the traditions and questions considered. These courses carries one of the required two global-studies designations (see below) (click here [PDF] for a list of approved courses).
Year 4 Theme and Question: Imagining the Possible: What is our role in the world?”
- Core Integration Seminar (DEPT 432, 3 credits). The Core Integration Seminar (CIS) offers students a culminating core experience in which they integrate the principles of Jesuit education, prior components of the core, and their disciplinary expertise. Some CIS courses may also count toward a student’s major or minor. The CIS is offered by several departments across the University (click here [PDF] for list of CIS courses).
The Broadening Courses
- Fine Arts & Design (VART, MUSC, THEA, 3 credits): Arts courses explore multiple ways the human experience can be expressed through creativity, including across different cultures and societies. One approved course in fine arts, music, theatre, or dance will fulfill this requirement (click here [PDF] for a list of approved courses).
- History (HIST, 3 credits): History courses are intended to develop students’ awareness of the historical context of both the individual and the collective human experience. One course in History (HIST 101, HIST 102, HIST 112, HIST 201, HIST 202) will fulfill this requirement.
- Literature (3 credits): Literature courses foster reflection on how literature engages with a range of human experience. One approved course in Literature (offered by English, Classics, or Modern Languages) will fulfill this requirement (click here [PDF] for a list of approved courses).
- Social & Behavioral Sciences (3 credits): Courses in the social and behavioral sciences engage students in studying human behavior, social systems, and social issues. One approved course offered by Criminal Justice, Economics, Political Science, Psychology, Sociology, or Women and Gender Studies will fulfill this requirement (click here [PDF] for a list of approved courses).
Designations are embedded within already existing core, major, minor, and elective courses. Students are encouraged to meet designation requirements within elective courses as their schedule allows; however, with careful planning students should be able to complete most of the designation requirements within other core, major, or minor courses.
- Writing Enriched (WE; 3 courses meeting this designation): Courses carrying the WE designation are designed to promote the humanistic and Jesuit pedagogical ideal of clear, effective communication. In addition to the required core course, Writing (ENGL 101), which carries one of the WE designations, students must take two other WE-designated courses (click here [PDF] for a list of approved courses).
- Global-Studies (GS; 2 courses meeting this designation): Courses carrying the GS designation are designed to challenge students to perceive and understand human diversity by exploring diversity within a context of constantly changing global systems. In addition to the required core course, World/Comparative Religion (RELI 300-level), which carries one of the GS designations, students must take one other GS-designated course (click here [PDF] for a list of approved courses).
- Social-Justice (SJ; 1 course meeting this designation): Courses carrying the SJ designation are designed to introduce students to one or more social justice concerns. Students must take one course that meets the SJ designation (click here [PDF] for a list of approved courses).
Major-specific adaptations to the University Core Curriculum
All Gonzaga students, regardless of their major, will complete the University Core Curriculum requirements. However some Gonzaga students will satisfy certain core requirements through major-specific programs or courses. Any major-specific adaptations to the core are described with the requirements for the majors to which they apply.