The Department of Special Education & Education Leadership is comprised of three components: Special Education Programs, Educational Administration Programs, and Compass 2 Campus (C2C), a mentoring component.
The courses of study in the Department of Special Education and Education Leadership are designed to prepare thoughtful, knowledgeable, and effective special education teachers, district and school leaders, and community leaders for a diverse society. Consistent with state and national standards, the curricula for the programs are carefully sequenced, grounded in current research on effective teaching, learning, and leadership.
Special Education offers professional education programs that lead to recommendation to the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) for residency teacher certification in the State of Washington. These programs are: (a) Special Education and Elementary Education (Dual Endorsement), (b) Special Education and Content (Dual Endorsement), (c) Early Childhood Special Education P-3 and Early Childhood Education P-3 (Dual Endorsement), and (d) Special Education and Content Endorsement for Post-baccalaureates. Practical experience with children and youth is emphasized throughout the programs through a series of carefully designed and sequenced practica. Special Education programs include a significant amount of training in best practices with focus upon Curriculum-Based Evaluation (CBE) and Response to Intervention (RtI).
Special Education also offers two non-certification Bachelor of Arts in Education majors: (a) Early Childhood Special Education, BAE and (b) Exceptionality and Disability, BAE. Special Education also offers an endorsement option for teachers. (Please see program descriptions for further information.)
Educational Administration is composed of masters and/or residency administrator programs that focus upon application of theory to the building-based environment. The programs are highly relational and professionally supportive. The programs emphasize leadership and management related to curriculum, school instruction, personnel, staff/community relations, financial, and legal matters. Masters and residency administrator certificate (principal) programs are offered in Bellingham, Bremerton, Everett, and Seattle. The initial administrator certificate (superintendent) program is offered in Everett. Candidates are directed to the Graduate School section of this catalog for more information. The program office is located in Miller Hall 417, phone 360-650-3708, toll-free 866-913-3323; e-mail EdAdmin@wwu.edu.
The Western Washington University Compass 2 Campus program is designed for University students to gain understanding of education systems and the role education plays in a diverse society through course work and the mentor process. Furthermore, Compass 2 Campus is designed to increase access to higher education by providing an opportunity for 5th-12th grade students from traditionally underrepresented and diverse backgrounds in Whatcom and Skagit counties to be mentored by university students.
We, in the Department of Special Education and Education Leadership at Western Washington University, believe that all people can live, learn, play, and work together in inclusive communities. Our mission is consistent with the mission of Woodring College of Education:
- Construct, transform, and convey knowledge by integrating research, theory, and practice
- Cultivate student growth through extensive community and school engagement in collaboration with exemplary practicing professionals
- Act with respect for individual differences, including taking a strengths-based view
- Develop collaborative partnerships that promote the learning and well-being of individuals, families, and the community
- Evaluate processes and outcomes to ensure continual program improvements.
Individuals interested in teacher certification can obtain information from the website at wce.wwu.edu/admissions/teacher-education. Inquiries should be directed to Woodring College Teacher Education Admissions, Student Services, Miller Hall 150, phone 360-650-3313, e-mail address TeacherEd.Admission@wwu.edu. Written inquiries may be addressed to Teacher Education Admissions, Western Washington University, MS-9090, 516 High St., Bellingham, WA 98225-9090.
Information about special education programs may be obtained by visiting the department website at wce.wwu.edu/sped/special-education. Interested applicants are encouraged to visit the faculty regarding these programs. Appointments can be made by phone (360-650-3330), by visiting the department in Miller Hall 200, or by e-mailing Susan Cahill, Department Manager, at Susan.Cahill@wwu.edu.
Information about Educational Administration Programs may be obtained by contacting Kimberly Caulfield, Program Manager at 360-650-3708 or at Kimberly.Caulfield@wwu.edu. Information can also be found on the program’s website at wce.wwu.edu/edad/educational-administration.
Graduate programs in Special Education are currently in moratorium. Those persons interested in graduate programs in special education should consult the Graduate School section of this catalog or contact the Graduate School at 360-650-3170, e-mail email@example.com. Written inquiries may be addressed to the Graduate School, Old Main 530, MS-9037, Western Washington University, 516 High St., Bellingham, WA 98225-9037.
CHUCK LAMBERT (2004) Chair and Professor. BEd, Gonzaga University; MA, San Francisco State University; PhD, Ohio State University.
WARREN ALLER (1993) Senior Instructor. BS, University of Idaho; MEd, Western Washington University.
TIM BRUCE (2016) Associate Professor & Director of Education Administration. BA, Whitworth College; M.Ed, Whitworth College; PhD, Gonzaga University.
HEATHER COCHRAN (2017) Senior Instructor. BA, University of Massachusetts; MEd, Western Washington University; ABA/MA, California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco.
GAIL COULTER (2008) Professor. BA, MA, California State University-Chico; PhD, University of Oregon.
LINDSEY FORMAN MURRAY (2019) Assistant Professor. BA, Reed College; MA, University of Chicago; PhD, Vanderbilt University.
RICHARD HANSON (2009) Senior Instructor. BA, University of Puget Sound; BAE, MA, Western Washington University.
JEFFERY L. HART (2017) Assistant Professor. BS, Brigham Young University; MEd, Utah State University, PhD., Pennsylvania State University.
JOSEPH HUNTER (2012) Associate Professor. BSEd, MSED, Southern Oregon State College; EdD, Portland State University.
KEITH J. HYATT (2002) Professor. BS, MS, University of Idaho; EdS, EdD, University of Nevada-Las Vegas.
BRIDGET KELLEY (1995) Associate Professor. BS, University of Pittsburgh; MEd, Arizona State University; PhD, University of Washington.
DONALD E. LARSEN (2005) Professor. BA, Seattle Pacific University; MA, Pacific Lutheran University; PhD, Washington State University.
NATALIE NEWMAN (2018) Director Ershig Assistive Technology Resource Center (EATRC). BA, Western Washington University; MOT, University of Puget Sound.
AARON PERZIGIAN (2015) Assistant Professor. BS, Edgewood College, MS, PhD, University of Wisconsin-Madison.
WAYNE T. ROBERTSON (1992) Senior Instructor. BAEd, MEd, Central Washington University; EdD, University of Washington.
LEANNE K. ROBINSON (2002) Professor. BAE, Central Washington University; MEd, Western Washington University; PhD, Washington State University.
BETH STICKLEY (2003) Senior Instructor. BA, University of Northern Iowa; MEd, Western Washington University.
TRACY THORNDIKE (2005) Associate Professor. BA, MS, Western Washington University; PhD, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Special Education Programs
Students at Western Washington University may choose from five teacher preparation options that result in residency certification with an endorsement to teach special education in the State of Washington or from two non-teacher certification options.
Non-teacher certification options
The below programs do not lead to teacher certification. Graduates seek employment in positions that do not require certification.
- Early Childhood Special Education BAE
Completion of this program results in a BA in Education. Students in this major typically seek employment in private child development centers and governmental agencies; they do not qualify for a teaching certificate.
- Exceptionality & Disability BAE
Completion of this program results in a BA in Education. Students who complete this major typically seek employment in non-school settings, such as health and human services and non-profit organizations; they do not qualify for a teaching certificate.
Teacher certification options
- Early Childhood Special Education P-3 & Early Childhood Education P-3 (Dual Endorsement), BAE
Completion of this major and required professional education courses results in BA in Education with recommendation for a Washington State teaching certificate endorsed in Early Childhood Special Education P-3 and Early Childhood Education P-3.
- Special Education P-12 & Elementary Education (Dual Endorsement), BAE
Completion of this program results in BA in Education with recommendation for a Washington State teaching certificate endorsed in Special Education P-12 and Elementary Education K-8
- Special Education P-12 plus Content Endorsement (Dual Endorsement), BAE
Completion of this program results in BA in Education with recommendation for a Washington State teaching certificate endorsed in Special Education P-12 and a content endorsement (students must earn a second endorsement in an area other than Special Education, Early Childhood Special Education, Bilingual Education, or English Language Learner). View the list of endorsement options here: wce.wwu.edu/cert/endorsements.
- Special Education & Content Endorsement for post-baccalaureates
Completion of this program results in recommendation for a Washington State teaching certificate with an endorsement in Special Education P-12 and a content endorsement (students must earn a second endorsement in an area other than Special Education, Early Childhood Special Education, Bilingual Education, or English Language Learner). View the list of options here: wce.wwu.edu/cert/endorsements.
- Additional endorsement in Special Education
Teachers who hold a valid and endorsable Washington State certificate may earn an endorsement in Special Education (P-12) by completing core coursework and meeting state requirements.
The Special Education and Early Childhood Education Special Education Majors are academically rigorous programs aligned with the content and performance standards of the Council for Exceptional Children.
The Washington Administrative Code specifies the requirements for earning a Washington state teacher certificate. State-approved preparation programs and certification requirements align with Washington State K-12 Learning Standards, and require candidates to demonstrate that they have made a positive impact on student learning. First-level residency certification programs are designed around the standards of foundational knowledge, effective teaching and professionalism. Teacher certificates are issued by the state, upon the recommendation of the regionally accredited college or university where the candidate completed a state-approved preparation program.
State requirements for teacher certification at the time of completion of a student’s program will supersede those outlined in this catalog. These changes may affect the time it takes for a student to complete the teacher education program.
Residency Teacher Certification
The first-level residency certificate is awarded to new teachers upon the completion of these general requirements:
- A baccalaureate or higher-level degree from a regionally accredited college or university.
- A state-approved, performance-based teacher preparation program that includes preparation in an endorsable subject area, teaching methodology, and an internship.
- Evidence of good moral character and personal fitness.
- Candidates for residency certification must pass a content knowledge test to earn an endorsement.
- According to WAC 181-78A-300, you may not begin your full-time student teaching before you have attempted at least one qualifying endorsement content test. Woodring teacher candidates must attempt a qualifying endorsement content test* prior to entering their full-time student teaching internship. If official scores are not available to us prior to the start of the full-time internship, candidates must provide evidence of attempting a content test in the form of an unofficial score report to CertOffice@wwu.edu.
- For current information on test requirements, registration, fees, and test dates and locations, refer to the Content Test Resource Website, wce.wwu.edu/cert/content-test-resource-site.
- Candidates for residency certification must also complete the state of Washington edTeacher Performance Assessment (edTPA) during the student teaching internship.
Application for the residency certificate is made to Woodring College Teacher Certification, Student Services, Miller Hall 150, 360-650-4930, no later than three months prior to the start of the internship.
The first-issue residency certificate has no defined expiration date. It is valid until the teacher completes at least 1.5 years of successful teaching experience accumulated over a minimum of two years in a state-approved public, private or state-operated education program. A three-year residency certificate is then issued by the state.
An endorsement identifies the subject matter a teacher is prepared and authorized by the state to teach. Special Education endorsements must be paired with another qualifying endorsement for residency teacher certification. All courses required for a teaching endorsement and the professional education sequence must be completed with a grade of C (2.0) or better.
Time to completion varies according to the program. For example, the Exceptionality and Disability, BAE is approximately six quarters after completion of the General University Requirements (GURs). Special Education teacher certification programs after completion of all General University Requirements (GURs) or an Associate of Arts degree from a state of Washington community college, ranges from two to three years. Students earning both Special Education P-12 and Elementary Education endorsements should plan on approximately 10 academic quarters for completion. Western students who apply to Teacher Education programs should have satisfied most of the GURs. Transfer students from a community college should have satisfied all of the GURs and preferably have received an AA degree.
All applicants to the Woodring College of Education undergraduate and post-baccalaureate programs must be formally admitted to and currently enrolled at Western Washington University or must apply to Western for the same quarter they apply to Woodring program or major. Woodring College application materials are available in Miller Hall 150 and are also printable from wce.wwu.edu/admission.
The requirements listed below are minimum application criteria. Enrollment restrictions apply to Woodring programs. Meeting the following requirements makes the applicant eligible for admission consideration but does not guarantee admission. Students who meet all criteria are further evaluated to determine the most qualified applicants. Students will be evaluated on all information provided with the application, including required copies of transcripts from all prior colleges.
- Completion of at least 45 quarter credits of college-level course work
- Cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 2.75 on college-level course work or over the last 45 credits. A GPA of 2.5 or higher is required for non-certification programs.
- Meet the basic skills requirement. This may be met by: a) Taking the Washington Educator Skills Test-Basic (WEST-B), b) SAT qualifying scores, c) ACT qualifying scores or a comination of the above. See the WEST-B website for details: wce.wwu.edu/admissions/west-b-requirement. Passing scores must be on file by the application due date.
- Completion of an English composition course with a grade of B- (2.7) or higher
- It is recommended that all students seek advisement from the special education department prior to submitting an application. Experiences with children, strong interpersonal communication skills, and other skills helpful in teaching children are considered.
Advisement and Orientation
Upon acceptance, each student is assigned an advisor. Additionally, all accepted students must attend orientation the day before the start of the quarter. Students may be dropped from Special Education Programs for failing to attend the required orientation.
Students admitted to the Woodring College of Education must meet specified requirements throughout the course of their teacher education program in order to remain in the program. These include maintaining all clearances and background checks.
Requirements Upon Program Admission
- Fingerprinting & Pre-Residency Clearance Certificate as described below under Character and Fitness
- Woodring College of Education Professionalism Orientation
- Woodring College of Education Prevention of Sexual Harassment Training
- Woodring College of Education Blood-Borne Pathogens Training
Character and Fitness
The Washington Administrative Code requires applicants for teacher certification to give evidence of “good moral character and personal fitness.” Students provide evidence of character and fitness through two separate but related processes:
- A Pre-Residency Clearance Certificate through OSPI. Instructions for completion of this application will be provided upon acceptance into the program. The application requires candidates to answer questions regarding professional fitness, criminal history, and personal conduct. Students with “yes” responses must be cleared by OSPI before participating in any courses that include field experiences.
- Washington State Patrol and FBI background checks are completed through a fingerprinting process. Teacher candidates admitted to an Early Childhood Education endorsement program complete a background check through the Department of Early Learning (DEL), and submit the results to OSPI. Teacher candidates in all other programs submit their fingerprints to OSPI. Procedures and fee information are provided to students upon acceptance into the program.
No student in a teacher education program may participate in a University-sponsored activity in the public schools until cleared by the Washington State Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI). Clearances are valid for specified time frames. Students must renew and maintain character and fitness clearance until they have been recommended for a residency teacher certificate following completion of the teacher education program.
In addition to the Washington state character and fitness requirements noted above, students must abide by the Woodring College of Education conduct policies acknowledged in the Student Conduct Requirements and Agreement, which is submitted with program application materials. Students must also abide by the Department of Special Education Professionalism Expectations document provided at the mandatory orientation.
General Retention Requirements
- Students in a teacher preparation program must maintain at least a 2.75 quarterly GPA beginning the quarter they are notified of admission to Special Education. This requirement applies even to quarters when no education courses are being taken. Students who fail to meet this standard will receive a letter advising them they have been dropped from the program.
- Students in a teacher preparation program must earn a grade of C (2.0) or better in the professional education sequence and in all courses required for the endorsement and the academic major. If a grade earned is below a “C” in endorsement or major courses, the student will need to retake the course. Registration will be based on a space availability during Phase III.
- Students must understand and demonstrate a high level of competence in use of the English language. Those who have difficulty in their verbal and/or written communications should expect to seek remediation.
- Students in a teaching preparation program must complete all certification and endorsement course work prior to the internship.
- Students who interrupt enrollment for a quarter or more must meet the deadline for filing a returning student application.
- Students who interrupt enrollment in a teacher education program for more than two consecutive quarters (summer quarter not included) must meet all program admission, completion and certification requirements in place for the quarter in which they expect to return.
Program Completion and Teacher Certification
To qualify for program completion and recommendation for State of Washington residency certification, students must complete the following requirements and assessments:
- A baccalaureate or higher-level degree from a regionally accredited college or university
- A state-approved, performance-based teacher preparation program that includes preparation in the required endorsable subject areas, teaching methodology, and an internship
- Evidence of good moral character and personal fitness
- Passing score on the state-required content knowledge test(s) for each endorsement, such as West E and/or NES
- Completion of the education Teacher Performance Assessment (edTPA).
- Successful completion of the student teaching internship as shown by performance on the WWU Intern Development and Evaluation System (IDES)
Other Special Education Information
An important experience for teaching certification candidates is the student teaching internship. During the internship, students teach under the direct supervision of a certified teacher in a school setting. The internship(s) involve intensive practice in integrated methods, content area knowledge, and classroom organizational strategies.
Early Childhood Special Education majors seeking certification are required to complete one quarter of internship for 16 credits.
Students completing the Special Education and Elementary Education Dual Endorsement program must complete two internships, one in a Special Education setting and one in a general elementary education classroom. The one-quarter Elementary internship is completed after the one-quarter Special Education internship.
Students completing SPED plus Content Endorsement, complete one internship.
Students in a non-teacher certification program will participate in an internship with an agency as arranged with their advisor.
The Office of Field Experiences (OFE) is the service agency of the Woodring College of Education that seeks placements for prospective teacher interns. Students apply for their internship around January prior to a fall internship start quarter, or April prior to a winter or spring internship start quarter. Specific dates for informational meetings and application deadlines are published on the OFE website, wce.wwu.edu/ofe/office-field-experiences.
Students must have completed Prevention of Sexual Harassment Training, blood-borne pathogens training, a residency teacher certificate application packet including credit evaluation, and Washington State Patrol/FBI fingerprinting before OFE will seek an internship placement.
Before starting an internship, passing scores on the applicable WEST-E or NES endorsement test must be submitted, all education and endorsement course work and practica must be completed, and fingerprint/character and fitness clearance must be valid.
OFE does not guarantee placements. Placement in a school is contingent upon the following:
- Fulfillment of all program requirements (satisfactory academic work, education and endorsement program course work and training, practica, and faculty recommendations, satisfactory completion of Assistive Technology E-Portfolio and required professional activities)
- Submission of scores on the state-required content knowledge test(s) for each endorsement
- Availability of placements and supervision in specific subjects and grade levels
- Acceptance by P-12 school personnel
- Fingerprint/character and fitness clearance valid through certification
Students are required to interview with the public school teacher to whom they will be assigned, for final approval of placement. OFE will make every effort to arrange up to three initial interviews but does not guarantee an interview.
Any subsequent placement after a voluntary or non-voluntary withdrawal from an internship will be granted only by faculty recommendation following a case conference.
Time commitment to the internship requires seven clock hours daily Monday through Friday plus class preparation time, seminars and responsibilities outside of school. Students may not register for other course work or hold jobs or other time-demanding commitments without the approval of the department and OFE.
For further information, contact the Woodring College of Education, Office of Field Experiences, Student Services, phone 360-650-3310, Miller Hall 150.
Educational Administration Programs
The Educational Administration Programs are designed to prepare principals, superintendents, and effective P-12 district level leaders for a diverse society. Upon successful completion of the program, candidates receive a master’s degree and/or are recommended for Residency Administrator Certificate (Principal), or the Initial Administrator Certificate (Superintendent). Consistent with national and state standards for P-12 school administrators, the program emphasizes leadership and management related to curriculum, school instruction, personnel, staff/community relations, financial and legal matters. Master’s and residency administrator certificate (principal) programs are offered in Bellingham, Bremerton, Burien, Tacoma, British Columbia and Seattle; the initial administrator certificate (superintendent) programs is offered in Everett.
All applicants must complete the Graduate School online application. Candidates are directed to the Graduate School section of this catalog for more information or gradschool.wwu.edu; the program office is located in Miller Hall 417A, phone 360-650-3708, toll-free 866-913-3323.
Note: Evidence of good moral character and personal fitness is required if the candidate does not hold a valid Washington educator certificate at the time of recommendation for the administrator certificate. Instructions and forms for a Pre-Residency Clearance and Fingerprinting Background Check are available through the Woodring Certification office: wce.wwu.edu/cert/character-and-fitness.
CoursesCompass to Campus
Courses numbered X37; X97; 300, 400 are described in the University Academic Policies section of this catalog.Educational Administration
Courses numbered X37; X97; 300, 400, 500 are described in the University Academic Policies section of this catalog.Special Education
Courses numbered X37; X97; 300, 400, 500 are described in the University Academic Policies section of this catalog.
- SPED 300 - Directed Independent Study
- SPED 301 - Educational Psychology I: Development and Individual Differences
- SPED 302 - Educational Psychology II: Motivation, Learning and Assessment
- SPED 303 - Educational Psychology
- SPED 305 - Introduction to Special Education and Typical/Atypical Development
- SPED 310 - Education, Culture, and Equity
- SPED 360 - Introduction to Special Education
- SPED 363 - Secondary Students With Special Needs
- SPED 364 - Teaching Each Student
- SPED 400 - Directed Independent Study
- SPED 410 - Supportive Learning Environments
- SPED 420 - Effective Teaching
- SPED 430 - Problem Solving for Diverse Needs
- SPED 440 - Practicum I - General Education
- SPED 441 - Analysis and Strategies of Teaching
- SPED 442 - Clinical Practicum
- SPED 443 - Early Development Variations
- SPED 444 - Assessment and Intervention in Early Childhood Special Education
- SPED 450 - Curriculum-Based Evaluation and Norm Referenced Assessment
- SPED 451 - Transdisciplinary Teams and IEP
- SPED 452 - Applied Behavior Analysis
- SPED 460 - Interventions for Classroom Management
- SPED 462 - Teaching for Learning, Motivation, and Achievement in a Diverse Society
- SPED 463 - Curriculum-Based Evaluation: Data-Based Assessment for Effective Decision Making
- SPED 464 - Disability Law and IEP
- SPED 465 - Assessment for Special Education and General Education Teachers
- SPED 466 - Assessment, Evaluation and IEP
- SPED 467 - Curriculum-Based Evaluation
- SPED 468 - Effective Collaboration with Families, Professionals and Community
- SPED 469 - Professional Collaboration: Working Effectively with Families, Colleagues, and Community
- SPED 470 - Violent and Aggressive Youth
- SPED 471 - Interventions for Learning and Achievement in a Diverse Classroom
- SPED 472 - Behavior Assessment and Intervention
- SPED 473 - Promoting Resiliency in Vulnerable Students
- SPED 474 - Students with Complex Needs
- SPED 475 - Seminar in Autism
- SPED 476 - Practicum II - Service Delivery Models
- SPED 478 - Complex Needs II
- SPED 479 - Developmental and Remedial Reading Instruction for Inclusive Settings
- SPED 480 - Practicum III - Individual/Group Intervention, Reading
- SPED 481 - Practicum VI - Individual/Group Intervention, Written Expression
- SPED 482 - Practicum VII - Individual/Group Intervention, Math
- SPED 483 - Reading Instruction for Students with Special Needs
- SPED 484 - Designing Written Expression Interventions
- SPED 485 - Designing Math Interventions
- SPED 486 - Case Study Applications in Special Education
- SPED 487 - Written Expression Instruction and Interventions
- SPED 488 - Math Instruction and Interventions
- SPED 489 - Practicum V - Individual and Group Interventions
- SPED 490 - Teaching Laboratory
- SPED 494 - Internship - Elementary
- SPED 495 - Clinical Internship
- SPED 496 - Internship - Exceptional Children/Early Childhood
- SPED 498 - Internship - Special Education
- SPED 499 - Internship - Special Education/Secondary
- SPED 500 - Directed Independent Study
- SPED 501 - Research in Special Education
- SPED 503 - Instructional Design for Diverse Learners
- SPED 510 - Secondary Students with Special Needs
- SPED 518 - Current Issues in Education: Special Education
- SPED 542 - Issues in Inclusive Early Education
- SPED 543 - Assessment of Young Children (Birth to 8 Years)
- SPED 544 - Inclusive Curriculum in Early Childhood
- SPED 560 - Literacy Instruction for Students with Special Needs