With approval from the West Virginia Department of Education, Davis & Elkins College is offering a new Bachelor of Arts degree program in special education. In addition to preparing prospective educators, the program will expand educational opportunities for those seeking personal and professional development.

The multi-categorical program focuses on studies in behavioral disorder, mild impairment and specific learning disability. Students may elect to include additional course work in autism.

“We’re very proud and pleased to offer this opportunity to our students,” said Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Rob Phillips. “It increases their options for study and employment and builds upon our already established strengths in the Education Department.”

Associate Professor of Education Dr. Jennifer Tesar said the new major was developed in response to requests from current and incoming education students as well as local school districts wishing to address the shortage of special education teachers.

“Since 2015, the U.S. Department of Education has reported a state and national shortage of high-quality special educators in 49 states,” Tesar said. “West Virginia is one of those states. Our new Bachelor of Arts program in special education is grounded in the commitment of teacher education at Davis & Elkins College to prepare teachers who are highly competent in their academic disciplines and instructional skills.”

In addition to special education, the Davis & Elkins College Teacher Education Program offers options in elementary education and content area specializations for students pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree. Students may also elect to minor in early childhood education or instructional technology.