New UW Oshkosh Special Education degree to launch at UW-S
Program to be shared with UW-Washington County, UW-Fond du Lac and UW-Manitowoc
Southeastern Wisconsin residents will now have a new degree option at UW-Sheboygan and several nearby UW Colleges campuses as a result of a new agreement with the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh to launch a regional bachelor’s degree collaboration in Special Education in this part of the state.
The new Special Education degree will be a cross categorical degree and will offer licensure for teaching Special Education in grades K-12. The program, which will launch in Fall 2012, will offer junior and senior-level courses taught locally at Riverview Middle School in Plymouth by UW Oshkosh instructors. Freshman and sophomore level courses will be available at all the participating UW Colleges campuses, including UW-Sheboygan, UW-Manitowoc, UW-Fond du Lac and UW-Washington County.
The purpose of the new degree partnership is an effort to help area school districts meet the demand for special education teachers that has been reported by area superintendents, said Dr. Al Hardersen, UW-Sheboygan Dean and CEO. Students already enrolled in the collaborative degree program in Early Childhood Education (PreK-6), which began in 2006 at UW-Sheboygan, will have access to both degree programs to further enhance their skills and allow for career advancement opportunities.
“Thanks to the College of Education and Human Services, our campus has been able to offer students a bachelor’s degree opportunity through UW Oshkosh in Elementary Education,” Hardersen said. “The Special Education bachelor’s degree provides a wonderful opportunity not only for UW-Sheboygan students, but it also is available to the residents of Washington, Fond du Lac, Ozaukee and Manitowoc counties.”
Area residents seeking new career directions, as well as those already working in Education, may find this new degree a viable option for them, Hardersen added, while the area school districts will find it helpful as they search for local applicants for open positions.
“UW Oshkosh has committed to providing high quality baccalaureate education to the residents of our community,” Hardersen said. “This means that those who complete the degrees that we share, such as Special Education, will be very competitive in the job market. Having this program available for the region provides our local schools with an opportunity to grow their own teachers.”
As students complete their studies at UW-Sheboygan or any of the partnering UW College campuses and obtain their Associate of Arts and Sciences degree, they will transition into UW Oshkosh junior and senior level courses.
The Plymouth School District’s Riverview Middle School has been identified as a partner for the degree’s junior and senior level courses. The middle school location will offer participating students direct observation experiences and a convenient commute, since the school is located approximately 25 miles from both Fond du Lac and West Bend and 30 miles from Manitowoc and only 11 miles from Sheboygan.
The Sheboygan Area School District will continue to offer access to a “lab school” for students enrolled in the Early Children degree program, while the Plymouth School District will handle lab access for students in the Special Education degree program. Placements for student teaching experiences will be made in the students’ local school district area as much as possible.
Onsite advising for all students participating in the program will be offered on all four UW Colleges campuses, as well as at Plymouth’s Riverview Middle School. All students enrolled in the program will have access to UW Oshkosh’s library, technology and other academic support systems, as well as at the UW Colleges campuses.
In additional, UW Extension’s Instructional Communication systems may be utilized in the future to further enhance and maximize course delivery within the partnership and in future endeavors. These distance education technologies could make enrollment even easier for students since courses could be accessed by students on the closest UW Colleges partner campus or UW-Extension office in their Distance Education classroom. Courses would be broadcast via DE technology from the host site to the campuses.
The Plymouth School District is very excited about the opportunity house the new Special Education degree program, according to Clark Reinke, Plymouth School District Superintendent.
“We are interested because we need to be involved in the preparation of future teachers, and special education is an area we need to be involved with because it provides professional development opportunities for our practicing teachers and it helps our students,” Reinke said. “The better we prepare these teachers in the long run the better teachers they will be in our classrooms.”
This new partnership is a unique collaboration and one that will benefit all campuses and districts involved, according to Dr. Fred Yeo, Dean of the College of Education and Human Services at UW Oshkosh.
“We believe that local education is the concern of all of us and (UW Oshkosh) can play a larger role in bringing our expertise, experience and resources to the table to help school districts improve their teacher corps. The students in the K-12 districts that we help support today will often become the college students, new teachers and veteran administrators of tomorrow,” Yeo said.
A formal signing ceremony for the new partnership will be held from noon to 1 p.m. on September 29 in Room 2223 on the UW-Sheboygan campus. Representatives from all partners involved in the collaboration will be present to officially sign the program’s Memorandum of Understanding and launch the program. All interested students and residents are welcome to attend.
For more information on the new UW Oshkosh Special Education degree program, contact UW-Sheboygan Student Services at (920) 459-6633 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.