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New GSU Program to Assist Students in Special Education

Georgia Southern University special education faculty created an Accelerated Bachelor’s to Master’s (ABM) program to assist undergraduate special education students with earning an advanced degree in special education in less time.

The team, including the College of Education’s Eric Landers, Ph.D., Cynthia Massey, Ph.D., Stephanie Devine, Ph.D., Kathryn Haughney, Ph.D., Caitlin Criss, Ph.D., and Karin Fisher, Ph.D., received approval for the new ABM to begin this fall, encouraging special education undergraduates at Georgia Southern to complete a M.Ed. in Special Education.

“Creating ABM options for prospective teachers provides a career path that results in a master’s degree and a higher salary than those without,” explained Landers. “Through this route, students will save both time and money toward a degree in this field.”

The ABM in BSEd to M.Ed. Special Education allows special education undergraduate students to take courses (up to nine credit hours) in their junior and senior years that will transfer as credit in the University’s M.Ed in Special Education program.

“Students completing this track will complete both the initial and an advanced teaching certificate in special education in fewer hours than if they had done the programs separately, and it allows them to enter the field at a higher salary,” said Landers. 

All efforts from the special education team aim to help address the statewide and national shortage of certified teachers, specifically in special education, which was recently named one of the three highest-need subject areas by the Georgia Department of Education.

“The void clearly impacts states’ abilities to meet the needs of students with disabilities, as research shows that students with disabilities have greater academic success when supported by teachers certified in special education,” explained Landers. “As educators of and advocates for special education, we will continue to strive to help meet the needs of students with disabilities in our state and nation in any way that we can.”