A new master’s degree option at Missouri Western State University will prepare graduates for K-12 cross-categorical special education licensure from the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. This new Master of Applied Science in Assessment option will be available beginning this fall.

“The need for effective educators who know how to teach students with mild or moderate disabilities becomes more critical every year,” said Dr. Dan Shepherd, chair of Missouri Western’s Department of Education. “Severe shortages of qualified special education teachers continue to persist locally, regionally, statewide and nationally, and this new option specifically designed to prepare graduates for state licensure will help address that shortage.”

“This is an exciting addition to our graduate offerings in education,” said Dr. Ben Caldwell, dean of Missouri Western’s Graduate School. “We are always looking for ways to meet the needs of our region’s students and employers, and this is a good example of adjusting our curriculum to help fill a significant need for schools and school districts in our region.”

The K-12 cross-categorical special education option replaces the option in Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), which is being phased out.

“Because the State of Missouri does not offer a teaching certificate specific to the area of autism spectrum disorders, our ASD program did not qualify our graduates for any additional state licensure,” said Dr. Susan M. Bashinski, associate professor of special education and director of graduate programs in education. “This new option will prepare teachers for cross-categorical special education certification and teach them skills to appropriately serve a broader spectrum of learners who experience a variety of learning challenges in diverse, inclusive classrooms.”

Like all of Missouri Western’s graduate programs in education, the new option will be offered entirely online, providing maximum flexibility for those who are working full-time, Dr. Bashinski said. The program incorporates synchronous video sessions in each course, designed to foster a meaningful online community, as well as a significant amount of practical hands-on experience. Content presented in the program’s coursework can be immediately applied in classrooms, with a strong foundation in current research and practice. Discounted tuition is available to cohort groups who enroll.

The deadline to apply for fall 2017 admission is July 15. For additional information, visit the program’s webpage, https://www.missouriwestern.edu/masa/cross-cat-sped, or the Master of Applied Science in Assessment webpage at www.missouriwestern.edu/masa.

Missouri Western State University is a comprehensive regional university providing a blend of traditional liberal arts and professional degree programs. The university offers student-centered, high quality instruction that focuses on experience-based learning, community service, and state-of-the-art technology. Missouri Western is located in St. Joseph, Mo., and is committed to the educational, economic, cultural and social development of the region it serves. Visit www.missouriwestern.edu.