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Midland University WSOE Introduces Master of Special Education Program 


In its continuing efforts to equip teachers with the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in an ever-changing educational environment, Midland University is launching its new Master of Special Education (MSpEd) program.

“Midland University’s Walker School of Education (WSOE) developed the program in response to marketplace needs,” said Cammy Romanuck Murphy, Director of WSOE Programs. “Nebraska, along with the majority of the United States, is facing a real teacher shortage. Midland is dedicated to finding avenues to support new teachers entering the profession, and to remove barriers for current teachers to further their education, so they can best support learners.”

The objective of the MSpEd program is to describe complex behavioral principles and procedures for systematically changing socially important behaviors.  The program, with a Behavior Intervention Specialist Concentration, has been designed to expand the expertise of educators who currently hold a teaching certificate with one or more special education endorsement(s), or who wish to earn a supplemental Behavior Intervention Specialist endorsement on a regular teaching certificate. Master’s candidates will obtain the knowledge, skills, and dispositions needed to teach, consult, and provide services related to behavioral needs for children with disabilities, birth through age 21, grades PK-6, or grades 7-12. 

Candidates will work to support the needs of students with disabilities, including topics such as diversity, equity, and inclusion; culturally sustaining pedagogy; instructional technology; collaboration strategies; and leadership. A Master’s candidate will have the opportunity to dig deep into an area of interest by exploring and establishing suggestions to enhance and support students with disabilities through an applied Capstone project.

“Prior to developing the program, we interviewed numerous special education teachers, paraprofessionals, and special education leaders across the state about areas of need in terms of knowledge and skill bases needed to effectively support all students,” Romanuck Murphy said. “We discovered that leaders were vocal in expressing their desire for advanced education focused on supporting students with behavioral and emotional needs, which has increased substantially since the initial onset of the pandemic.”

Romanuck Murphy said the program offers flexibility and is designed to meet the needs of current teachers as they work to further their education. 

“We kept our student demographic in mind when developing the MSpEd program,” Romanuck Murphy said. “In our graduate programs, we primarily serve busy, working teachers, who have demanding schedules with many work and life responsibilities. As a result of input from current students and alumni, we chose to develop a 100 percent online Master of Special Education to accommodate busy schedules and to allow students with as much flexibility as possible. Our faculty are highly experienced practitioners and leaders in the special education field, and they add immense value and a unique lens to the coursework in this program.”

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