Apr 13, 2024  
2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog 
2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog

Special Education, B.S.Ed.

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The Special Education program at the University of Saint Francis licenses candidates to teach children in all grades: kindergarten, elementary, middle, and high school. Special Education majors have theoption to add a license in Elementary Education. This high-demand license affords Special Education majors opportunities to teach in urban, suburban, and rural schools and in public, parochial, and private schools.

Special Education majors learn several models of instruction, including adaptive inclusion, co-teaching,collaborative planning, and project-based learning. Majors also have opportunities to apply problemsolving skills that address the academic and social-emotional needs of individual children. Collaborativerelationships both with their fellow classmates and experienced teachers in schools are an essentialelement of the program. Discovering ways to differentiate all aspects of their teaching and assessment isa fundamental aspect of becoming a special educator. By acquiring skills to adapt methods, materials,and assessments, Special Education majors assist children to maximize, demonstrate, and transferlearning, with the goal of increasing children’s abilities to successfully function in society. Working withUSF’s special needs theatre group, the Jesters, Special Education majors experience the application ofspecial needs methodologies in non-academic settings.

Special Education graduates enjoy a 100% job placement rate directly out of the university. Graduatesare ready to teach, manage, and assume positions of leadership in schools and social service agenciesthat serve children and families of children with special needs. Graduates work in school districts,community agencies, non-profit organizations, medical facilities, and in private practice in the region,state, and across the nation. Graduates of the undergraduate program often choose to pursue aMaster’s Degree in Special Education (Mild Intervention or Intense Intervention). They are well preparedfor graduate school at USF and can take advantage of the reduced tuition through the Virtual Campusonline graduate programs.

Special Education students are eligible to license in K-12 levels. All Education programs havebeen revised to conform to State of Indiana REPA licensing criteria. Because Indiana State educationrequirements may change, program requirements may be altered according to state specifications.

Student Learning Outcomes

At the completion of the Special Education program, teacher candidates will demonstrate the following proficiencies:

Learner Development The teacher understands how learners grow and develop, recognizing thatpatterns of learning and development vary individually within and across the cognitive, linguistic, social,emotional, and physical areas, and designs and implements developmentally appropriate andchallenging learning experiences. (INTASC Standard 1)

Learning Differences The teacher uses understanding of individual differences and diverse culturesand communities to ensure inclusive learning environments that enable each learner to meet highstandards. (INTASC Standard 2)

Learning Environments The teacher works with others to create environments that support individualand collaborative learning, and that encourage positive social interaction, active engagement in learning, and self-motivation. (INTASC Standard 3)

Content Knowledge The teacher understands the central concepts, tools of inquiry, and structures ofthe discipline(s) he or she teaches and creates learning experiences that make the discipline accessibleand meaningful for learners to assure mastery of the content. (INTASC Standard 4)

Application of Content The teacher understands how to connect concepts and use differingperspectives to engage learners in critical thinking, creativity, and collaborative problem solving relatedto authentic local and global issues. (INTASC Standard 5)

Instructional Practice Assessment The teacher understands and uses multiple methods ofassessment to engage learners in their own growth, to monitor learner progress, and to guide theteacher’s and learner’s decision making. (INTASC Standard 6)

Planning for Instruction The teacher plans instruction that supports every student in meeting rigorouslearning goals by drawing upon knowledge of content areas, curriculum, cross-disciplinary skills, andpedagogy, as well as knowledge of learners and the community context. (INTASC Standard 7)

Instructional Strategies The teacher understands and uses a variety of instructional strategies toencourage learners to develop deep understanding of content areas and their connections, and to buildskills to apply knowledge in meaningful ways. (INTASC Standard 8)

Professional Learning and Ethical Practice The teacher engages in ongoing professional learning anduses evidence to continually evaluate his/her practice, particularly the effects of his/her choices andactions on others (learners, families, other professionals, and the community), and adapts practice tomeet the needs of each learner. (INTASC Standard 9)

Leadership and Collaboration The teacher seeks appropriate leadership roles and opportunities totake responsibility for student learning, to collaborate with learners, families, colleagues, other schoolprofessionals, and community members to ensure learner growth, and to advance the profession.(INTASC Standard 10)

Council for Exceptional Children Standards

Learner and Learning Environments

Understanding and Addressing Each Individual’s Developmental and Learning Needs: Candidates usetheir understanding of human growth and development, the multiple influences on development,individual differences, diversity, including exceptionalities, and families and communities to plan andimplement inclusive learning environments and experiences that provide individuals with exceptionalitieshigh quality learning experiences reflective of each individual’s strengths and needs. (CEC Initial K-12Standard 2)

Supporting Social, Emotional, and Behavioral Growth: Candidates create and contribute to safe,respectful, and productive learning environments for individuals with exceptionalities through the use ofeffective routines and procedures and use a range of preventive and responsive practices to supportsocial, emotional and educational well-being. They follow ethical and legal guidelines and workcollaboratively with families and other professionals to conduct behavioral assessments for interventionand program development. (CEC Initial K-12 Standard 6)

Content and Content Pedagogy Knowledge

Demonstrating Subject Matter Content and Specialized Curricular Knowledge: Candidates apply theirunderstanding of the academic subject matter content of the general curriculum and specialized curriculato inform their programmatic and instructional decisions for learners with exceptionalities. (CEC InitialK-12 Standard 3)

Planning, Instruction, and Assessment

Using Assessment to Understand the Learner and the Learning Environment for Data-Based DecisionMaking: Candidates assess students’ learning, behavior, and the classroom environment in order toevaluate and support classroom and school-based problem-solving systems of intervention andinstruction. Candidates evaluate students to determine their strengths and needs, contribute to students’eligibility determination, communicate students’ progress, inform short and long-term instructionalplanning, and make ongoing adjustments to instruction using technology as appropriate. (CEC InitialK-12 Standard 4)

Supporting Learning Using Effective Instruction: Candidates use knowledge of individuals’ development,learning needs, and assessment data to inform decisions about effective instruction. Candidates useexplicit instructional strategies and employ strategies to promote active engagement and increasedmotivation to individualize instruction to support each individual. Candidates use whole group instruction,flexible grouping, small group instruction, and individual instruction. Candidates teach individuals to usemeta-/cognitive strategies to support and self-regulate learning. (CEC Initial K-12 Standard 5)


Engaging in Professional Learning and Practice within Ethical Guidelines: Candidates practice withinethical and legal guidelines; advocate for improved outcomes for individuals with exceptionalities andtheir families while considering their social, cultural, and linguistic diversity; and engage in ongoing selfreflectionto design and implement professional learning activities. (CEC Initial K-12 Standard 1)

Collaborating with Team Members: Candidates apply team processes and communication strategies tocollaborate in a culturally responsive manner with families, paraprofessionals, and other professionalswithin the school, other educational settings, and the community to plan programs and access servicesfor individuals with exceptionalities and their families. (CEC Initial K-12 Standard 7)


Teacher education programs are accredited by the Indiana Department of Education and the Council forthe Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).


  • License application through LVIS
  • Suicide Prevention Training
  • Adult and Child CPR/AED Certification
  • Pass Indiana required Content Knowledge Test(s) and required Pedagogy Test in appropriatedevelopmental level

Degree Requirements

The Bachelor of Science in Education: Special Education requires 120 hours, which includes:

  • 84 credit hours Professional Education Courses
  • 36-37 credit hours in the Franciscan Core Curriculum
  • Electives if needed to reach 120 credit hours
  • Completion of 300+ Pre-Clinical Internship Field Hours
  • Completion of Clinical Internship

Program of Studies

Admissions Requirements

Candidates majoring in teacher education must meet the following criteria to be eligible for formalAdmission to Teacher Education (Progression Point 1):

  • EDUC 108 , EDUC 207 , and SPED 137  with grades of C or better
  • Maintain an overall grade point average (GPA) of 2.8
  • Meet benchmark in EDUC 207  Field Evaluation
  • Pass State and National Background Checks
  • Complete Professional Development requirements

Progression Requirements

Candidates who earn less than a “C-” (C minus) in any professional education must retake the course.Professional education may only be repeated one time for admission to or retention in the TeacherEducation program. Grades of WP and WF are counted as having been taken ‘one time’ and, thus, aresubject to the “repeated course” rule.

Progression Point II: Admission to Clinical Internship

  • Completion of Professional Education Courses: “C-” or Higher
  • EDUC courses
  • READ courses
  • SPED courses
  • Overall GPA: 2.8 / 4.0
  • Met Field Benchmark for EDUC 412 
  • Completion and Documentation of Service-Learning Requirement: Minimum of 40 Hours
  • Clinical Internship Application and Documentation Submitted

Graduation Requirements

Progression Point III: Program Completion

  • Completion of Professional Education Courses “C-” or Higher
  • Overall GPA: 2.8 / 4.0
  • Completion and passing Clinical Internship, including the Field Evaluations

To apply for teacher licensure, candidates must meet the above criteria in addition to completing the following:

  • Pass Indiana required Content Knowledge Test(s) and required Pedagogy Test in appropriate developmental level 
  • License application through LVIS 
  • Suicide Prevention Training 
  • Adult and Child CPR/AED Certification 

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