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UVF Launches Special Education Certification

by Sarah Cushing - University Communications | Dec 01, 2016
Special Education graphic
The Department of Education at the University of Valley Forge (UVF) will launch a special education certification, available fully online, within the Education program beginning in the spring 2017 semester. Through this additional certification, UVF will offer dual certification for students earning a degree in early childhood education and middle level education, and alumni who hold a current Pennsylvania teaching certification in those areas or in elementary education. Education Professor Marianne Modica, Ph.D., spearheaded the long and arduous process, and knew how beneficial this certification will be for prospective and current students and alumni. "This will make our students more marketable, especially in Pennsylvania," Modica said.  

Last month, the Pennsylvania Department of Education approved the university to grant a special education certification after UVF's application and proposal met all of the educational competencies required by the State. The competencies included classroom management and language and literacy assessments. In order to meet the competencies, UVF's Education program needed to create courses that fit specifically in special education. "We knew we had to add courses but needed to assess the most efficient way to cover these competencies with the least number of courses — we don't want to have too heavy of a credit load for students," Modica said. From the full-time professors, to adjunct faculty, to teaching assistants, the whole department collaborated on the project. "We came up with four more courses to cover the additional content," Modica said. 

The four new courses will train students on behavioral interventions, effective classroom strategies for students with high and low incidence disabilities, and language development. UVF Virginia campus Adjunct Professor Megan Baker, who holds a Master of Science in Education, designed the courses. Adjunct professors Janet DeRosa, Ed.D., Dawn Newswanger and Ruth Dougherty, as well as Associate Professor Sheri Aspito and Professor A. Glenn McClure, Ed.D., Department of Education chair, also played significant roles in this process. 

Current UVF students enrolled in the Education program will have the option to start attaining the special education certification in spring 2017 when the university will begin offering the courses online. The online courses are also designed for alumni and other education professionals who opt to earn the additional certification in the midst of their busy work and personal schedules. 

The Pennsylvania Department of Education standards encourage students to have a dual certification to teach in the classrooms in order to better serve a wide range of students. In gaining this special education certification, UVF continues to move forward and prepare its Education program students for the competitive market. 

For more information on the special education certification, visit