Doctor of Philosophy

Mission & Goals

Mission Statement

The mission of the Specia Education doctoral program is to prepare leaders who will integrate the roles of researchers, teacher educators and educational leaders. Students will improve the lives of children with identified or suspected special needs and their families. They will also put an emphasis on working in partnership with urban schools and other child caring institutions to accomplish systemic change.

Guiding Principles

The doctoral program is guided by two overarching principles:


Doctoral Program Goals

  1. To prepare innovative leaders in exceptional student education. They will understand their own critical role as agents of positive change in urban special education and other programs. They will act as advocates for quality services and programs for children with special needs and their families. 
  2. To prepare students to teach at the university level. 
  3. To educate students about the knowledge foundations supporting policies and practices in special education.
  4. To educate students about the legal, ethical, and historical contexts that shape current discourses about policy and practice, in which the profession has developed.
  5. To develop a broad understanding of the nature of inquiry and different research traditions. 
  6. To educate students to understand and respect alternative approaches to inquiry. 
  7. To prepare students to be competent and confident in the pursuit of sound and rigorous research within their chosen genre of inquiry. 
  8. To offer a quality research education that provides students with basic literacy required to understand, interpret, and appraise inquiry conducted within different genres'. 
  9. To create a context within which technical and conceptual foundations of research methods are learned and reinforced by an ongoing mentored research internship.
  10. To prepare students to be competent in integrating the knowledge bases of special education, teacher, education, and related fields. This will allow them to become effective teachers for the range of professionals who work with children with special needs and their families. 
  11. To prepare students, through mentorship and collaborative work with faculty, to value the importance of participating actively in relevant professional organizations within the field.
  12. To prepare students to become effective communicators capable of and comfortable with intellectual exchange in professional’s forums and their own work settings. 
  13. To promote and develop capacities for scholarly writing, including grantsmanship, writing for professional journals and texts, and developing papers for conference presentations. 
  14. To provide all our students with a high choice milieu, ensuring the highest level of responsiveness to individual student’s professional goals and anticipated career pathways. 
  15. To create a context within which students have access to and benefit from the full range of faculty expertise and interests within the department. 
  16. To prepare persons to work in school-university partnerships for the purpose of educational renewal.