Education Department Opening Dual License Program Pending State Approval

One of the many struggles in the special education field is the increasing need for more teachers that have experience with special education children. In the current education program at Baldwin Wallace, students can receive one license, which limits their marketability and focuses the curriculum on one area. With a dual license program, these students would be able to receive a general education license and an early childhood intervention specialist license. 

The program has been approved by the BW Faculty Senate, but it still needs to be approved by the Ohio Department of Higher Education. The program proposal to the ODHE will be in mid-October. Once approved, the university will be able to advertise the program. 

For current students, Chair of the Education Department, Debra Janas, said, “The transition should be pretty smooth, if they are freshman and sophomore, they should be able to transition into the program easily.” Current seniors and potentially juniors will miss the opportunity for the program as the requirements and scheduling will change based on the curriculum required. 

“We get them out in the field freshman year, we have two 100 level courses that have field experience, and it is very developmental, we try to get them to take their student hat off and put their teacher hat on,” Janas said. One of the goals of the program is to empower the families the students would be working with, giving them the confidence that their children are receiving trained teachers who can handle their specific situations without struggle. 

Education professor Cynthia Dieterich said, “More and more children have special needs, so even if you are not specialized in teaching special needs kids, you will now have the training to handle kids that may have more special needs. You will be better prepared, and it will make you more marketable because you will already have completed all the training.” 

Federal laws, like the Individuals with Disabilities Act, aim to integrate the special education kids into regular classrooms, where they are with their peers and where they can grow not only on a social level but also be able to get more regular experience in schooling. 

Dieterich said the dual license program would give BW students the training and experience to handle difficult situations. Professor Dieterich then said, “Regarding the early intervention license, there is a gap of qualified people in the state, and they need more people, they need more early intervention specialists.”