Special education

Special Education

Meeting diverse learning needs of students.

As an educator, you recognize the potential in all students. You know the positive impact that a quality education can make, especially to those students who need a little extra care. At Marian, we share your passion for education and inspiring bright young minds. Leading to a Master of Arts in Education (M.A.E.) degree, our special education program will help you provide exceptional instruction to your students and take your career to impressive new heights.

Program Information

International Society for Technology in Education
ISTE Standards for Teachers
ISTE-T Standards

InTASC Model Core Teaching Standards
InTasc Standards

Wisconsin Teacher Standards
WI Teacher Standards

The Education Programs offered by the Marian University School of Education are approved by the:

Marian University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission .

Special Education Program Mission
The mission of the Special Education Program is to develop teacher leaders who acknowledge that every learner has an equal right to an appropriate and challenging education and that every child will develop and learn. Our program emphasizes an equal responsibility for learning shared between the teacher and student. Paramount to the successful growth of a child are positive teacher/student relationships and knowledge and use of evidence-based practices, curriculum and assessments that target strengths and needs of individual learners.

Program Learning Outcomes
After completion of this program, candidates will:

  1. Demonstrate knowledge of research-based literacy and other academic instruction, including the role of curriculum and assessment, and apply this understanding when designing lessons and teaching students with special needs.
  2. Develop an appreciation for diversity of student learning needs and ways to accommodate for them in the regular education classroom.
  3. Know and apply the essential processes needed for effective co-teaching experiences.
  4. Define the characteristics, causes, and ways of diagnosing special education disabilities/disorders.
  5. Develop the professional writing skills required for documentation of Individual Education Plans, Behavioral Intervention Plans, academic intervention plans (tier II) and Transition Plans for students in pre-referral and formal stages of placement in special education programming.
  6. Apply appropriate collaboration and consultation strategies to lead, support, and teach other professional educators, parents and the local community about special education law, intervention planning, state and federal initiatives, transition opportunities and other essential information impacting students with special needs.

Special Education candidates who earn the MAE will achieve all of the above outcomes plus:

  1. Be able to identify educational questions or problems, review the literature, plan a research strategy, collect and analyze data, take action based on results, and share their findings.

The Program
The special education program provides a framework that will empower you to enhance the classroom experience and learning capabilities for students with disabilities. Our program will position you to be a leader that acknowledges the equal right of every learner to an appropriate and challenging education. As a student in the program, you’ll complete your courses online and apply that knowledge in field experiences and full-time clinical practice on-ground in schools. You’ll gain knowledge of and use evidence-based practices, curriculum and assessments that target strengths and needs of individual learners. The program leads you to earn your licensure in Special Education for Cross Categorical (801) or Specific Learning Disabilities (811), or a master’s degree, or both.

29-38 credits:
SPE 600 Orientation to the Program, 0 cr.
SPE 621 Reading Instruction for Students with Disabilities, 3 cr.
SPE 624 Collaboration and Consultation in Special Education Programs, 3 cr.
SPE 626 Curriculum and Instruction for Students with Disabilities, 3 cr.
SPE 634 Diagnosis and Assessment of Students with Disabilities, 3 cr.
SPE 637 Classroom Management Applications, 3 cr.
SPE 644 Special Education Law: Families and Students, 3 cr.
SPE 655* Clinical Practice and Seminar (required for WI Code 801 - CC), 4 cr.
SPE 665* Clinical Practice and Seminar (required for WI Code 811 - SLD), 4 cr.
SPE 674 Learning with Technology: Effective Strategies for Students with Disabilities, 3 cr.
SPE 697* Field Experience Seminar, 1 cr.
TDE 612** Action Research in Education, 3 cr.
TDE 613** Action Research in Education: Reporting the Findings, 2 cr.
TDE 618 Advanced Educational Psychology, 3 cr.

* Field experiences and clinical practice are not required for special education teachers who are already licensed and seeking a master's degree only.
** Students seeking licensure only do not need to take TDE 612 and TDE 613.

For more details regarding this program, view Marian’s Academic Bulletin.

Dean, School of Education
Dr. Sue Stoddart
1-800-262-7426 ext. 8100

Department Chairperson
Dr. Kristi Reitz
1-800-262-7426 ext. 7177

Support Staff
Ms. Leah Schraeder, Support Specialist III
1-800-262-7426 ext. 8128 or 920-923-8128

Certification Officer/Advisor
Ms. Joan Ferguson
1-800-262-7426 ext. 8778

Director of Field & Clinical Experiences
Mr. Phil Johnson
1-800-262-7426 ext. 8752

A baccalaureate degree from an accredited 4-year college or university.

Admission Criteria:
1. Completion of a Marian University Graduate Program Application Form and payment of application fee.
Submission of official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended.
3. Completion of the Praxis Core Academic Skills Test with passing scores for math, reading and writing (Must be taken before first six credits are completed).
4. Review of the transcript(s), which will include:
a. GPA
b. Written communication course with a grade of C or better
c. Oral communication course with a grade of C or better
d. Designation of a non-licensable minor based on the undergraduate major, minor or a combination of courses in a subject area (18-21 credits) to meet DPI requirements. (see list of approved minors in Appendix C)
5. Any course accepted in transfer (must be at the graduate level).

At Marian, we have been educating adult learners for nearly 80 years. As a student pursuing your M.A.E. degree, you’ll find the relevancy and quality that comes from a faculty comprised of leading education experts. Designed to meet the academic and professional needs of working adults looking to advance their careers, the special education program will deliver to you the kind of powerful preparation and convenience that is hard to match. Courses are offered in a 100% online format, providing you the flexibility to earn your degree without sacrificing your current position and other responsibilities. By taking two courses every 11 weeks, you can complete the licensure only in 5 semesters and the master’s degree plus licensure in 7 semesters.

Kathy McCord, M.S.

Polly Manske, M.S.
Assistant Professor

Aida Michlowski, Ph.D.

Sr. Cyndi Nienhaus, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor

Kristi Reitz, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor

Sr. Catherine Stewart, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor

Sue Stoddart, Ph.D.
Associate Professor

Robert Wagner, M.E.

Fun Fact

Marian has three Greek organizations on campus (Source: Student Handbook, 2013-2014).

Campus Info

Marian University
45 S. National Ave.
Fond du Lac, WI 54935-4699


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