The Department of Special Education at Illinois State is excited to announce the newly created Master’s in Low Vision and Blindness. Illinois is experiencing a severe shortage in educators licensed to teach in the area of low vision and blindness. This fully online program will provide licensed teachers an opportunity to add an endorsement in low vision and blindness while obtaining a master’s degree.

“I cannot think of a more rewarding and inspiring career than working as a teacher of students who are blind or visually impaired,” said Dr. Mindy Ely, assistant professor and program coordinator. “We make a difference in the lives of our students while building relationships that endure beyond graduation. I look forward to sharing this opportunity with the graduate students who commit to this new preparation program at Illinois State.”

As one of the very few universities that has a low vision blindness teacher preparation program in the Midwest, the Department of Special Education is well suited to provide this specialized graduate program. In fact, the Illinois State undergraduate program has been in existence for over 30 years, making it one of the oldest low vision and blindness programs in the nation.

“As the premier college in the Midwest for teacher education, it is imperative that we work on new initiatives to address the teacher shortage,” said Dr. James Wolfinger, dean of the College of Education. “I’m proud of the great work of our faculty and know that this new program will prepare excellent teachers for students with low vision or blindness across the state. This is an important step forward in ensuring that students of all abilities have access to the highest quality teachers.”

This online cohort program is designed specifically for working teachers with the first group beginning in summer 2021. Led by nationally recognized faculty in special education, students will learn specialized skills in braille, assistive technology, student assessment, orientation and mobility and much more. Students will be eligible for state of Illinois endorsement in special education: blind/visually impaired. The application deadline for the first cohort is March 1.

Join Ely in a virtual information session to learn more about this program and what you can expect as a teacher of the visually impaired. Register today!