Mission, Vision, Values, Goals

Mission Statement

The mission of the Exceptional Student Education program is to develop ethical and highly competent professionals who, together with individuals with exceptionalities and their families, work to enhance the quality of life through their advocacy, teaching, research and service.


The Exceptional Student Education program envisions itself as a leader at local, regional, national and international levels in improving the educational opportunities, accommodations and services that support children with exceptionalities and their families.


We value:

  • students and believe that they constitute the core of our mission.
  • a culture of mutual respect that empowers diverse voices and facilitates dialogue and communication.
  • multiple approaches to inquiry and seek to create contexts which facilitate and support varied forms of research and practice.
  • various types of dynamic partnerships characterized by collaboration, parity, and synergy we strengthen our department’s mission and goals and assure active participation in improvement of systems through the modeling and implementation of best known practices.
  • a philosophy of care that holistically enhances the quality of work and life of all stakeholders within our community.
  • a cohesive, connected community with a diverse membership respecting, trusting and affirming individual and collective actions.
  • a collegial culture where students and faculty are valued members of a learning community and professional growth opportunities are provided based on individual strengths, needs, and aspirations.
  • the development of teachers and other professionals who are proactive, affirming of diversity, competent, reflective practitioners committed to caring, collaborative, and dynamic learning environments and systems.
  • the improvement of public policy to support individuals with exceptionalities, those placed at risk and their families.
  • research based practices at all levels of teaching and learning.


  • Develop a cohesive plan for research in teacher education and special education that informs programs for children with disabilities and those at risk and establishes research themes that engage faculty and students at all levels.
  • To develop systematic recruitment processes that focus on enrollment in specific areas by enhancing our partnerships in the schools and communities and by developing nationally and internationally networks of alumni and colleagues in the field.
  • To maintain cohorts of diverse, competent undergraduate, masters, and doctoral students whose dispositions reflect the department and college values.
  • To meet the diversified needs of our students through multiple delivery mechanisms that address their life and work realities.
  • To develop program structures that support the needs of part-time and full-time students through the creative alignment of coursework, field experiences, and applied research activities.
  • To maintain strong community-based partnerships that foster educational opportunities for children with disabilities and those at-risk through local, national, and international program development.
  • To build in-house capacity for grant management and budget oversight to ensure compatibility of department mission and vision and the long-term fiscal stability of the unit.