CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi is now introducing a new Bachelor’s Degree in Special Education coming this fall for students.
Jennifer Scott is the Executive Director of Choice Living Community in Corpus Christi, an organization that provides opportunities for those with disabilities to learn to become self-sufficient.
Scott said when she went to school to earn her bachelor’s degree, she really didn’t touch on special education until she went back to get her masters later on.
“When I went through my masters and doctorate, that is really where it hound in special education. When I took my certifications exams, it was everything,” Scott said.
This is common since there are not many majors, mainly for special education.
This new degree program at TAMU-CC comes with additional coursework and training in special education. Before, students were trained at the university through an emphasis program in special education in their elementary education track.
Now, the education program has been able to revise its curriculum and build on this to add a new degree in special education.
Ashley Voggt, Assistant Professor of Special Education at TAMU-CC, said there was a need to make this program a primary focus since there is a teacher shortage, especially for special needs educators.
“We modeled this program kind of consistently from what we already have with the addition of five new courses," Voggt said. "That was to better prepare our individuals who are participating in that program and assist of technology, transition, multicultural education, mathematics, and reading interventions.”
Voggt said this program will also focus on teaching people with special needs independence, determination, and empowerment skills.
Scott said she has seen the need for special education educators from her personal experience, not only in the Coastal Bend but across the country.
“There is a huge need here," Scott said. "There are more and more students going into special education that eventually when they age out or graduate, they are going to need programs like ours.”
This new degree program will add five additional classes that students were not taking before and will allow them to understand the unique needs of people with disabilities.
Scott said she is looking forward to this program as it will make a big impact in the community.
"It's going to be a huge plus for these students going through that special education program to learn about that," Scott said. "It is the hands-on learning that I feel like our special education students that are going to college to learn about becoming a special ed teacher.”
Voggt said this program will enable them to better prepare their students and encourage them to stay in the field longer.
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