The Division of Education and Speech-Language Pathology plays a major role in the general administration and coordination of the Teacher Education Program. The primary objective of this program is to assist prospective teachers in developing the competencies required for obtaining Oklahoma teacher certification and becoming effective classroom teachers. Courses are designed to meet the certification requirements and standards of the Oklahoma State Department of Education, The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), and the Oklahoma Commission for Teacher Preparation (OCTP). The program is both state and nationally accredited.
The Division offers three education degree programs that allow students to obtain an Oklahoma teaching certificate in early childhood education, elementary education, or education of the deaf. The division also operates and manages the Gary Hall Multimedia Laboratory, the USAO Child Development Center, the John A. Morris Speech and Language Pathology Clinic and the Gary Hall Multicultural Resource Center.
Teacher certification programs are also offered through the other three divisions on campus in the areas of: art, physical education, English, math, music, science, and social studies. Students seeking a teaching certificate in one of these areas should consult with the education advisor for that program.
All requirements for teacher certification programs are subject to change if new requirements are established by the Oklahoma State Board of Education, the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, or the Oklahoma Commission for Teacher Preparation.
There is an increasing demand for special educators and related service providers in Oklahoma and across the nation. Critical Oklahoma shortage areas identified for 2013-14 are Science, Mathematics, Foreign Languages, Social Studies, Early Childhood Education, Special Education, School Psychologist, English, Elementary Education, and School Counselor. The Education Division offers an undergraduate degree in these Critical Teacher Shortage Areas.
Speech-language pathologists are employed in a wide variety of settings including public schools, clinics, hospitals, industry and business, private practice, government agencies, and universities. They diagnose and treat communication disorders such as speech and language delay, stuttering, and voice disorders. Often these disorders are caused by related conditions including cleft palate, stroke, autism spectrum disorders, or other genetic, nerological, or physical conditions.
Deaf educators teach the deaf and hearing-impaired population in the public schools. Employment in schools will increase along with growth in elementary and secondary school enrollments, including enrollment of special education students. Federal law guarantees special education and related services to all eligible children with disabilities, including those with hearing imparment. Greater awareness of the importance of early identification and diagnosis of hearing impairment will also increase employment.
With the addition of 4-year-old programs and all-day kindergartens in public schools, the need for additional teachers with expertise in the developmental needs of young children has increased.
The continuing medical, space, technological, and energy requirements of today's society demands that a strong science foundation and interest be supported in America's high schools. The need for people who can effectively teach young people to understand and value science is ongoing.