Department of Special Education

Welcome to the Department of Special Education at Portland State University. Thank you for your interest. Please explore the many programs and specializations offered through Portland State University's Department of Special Education.

As the largest Department of Special Education in Oregon, we seek to improve the educational and life experiences of students with disabilities through the preparation of highly effective special education teachers. Our dedicated faculty and staff are committed to improving the outcomes of children and youth with disabilities through evidence-based teacher preparation, applied research, and state and national service. We welcome collaboration and value community-based partnerships to support children, youth, families, school districts, and agencies throughout the state.

Vision 
The Special Education Department at Portland State University is dedicated to preparing and supporting professionals to improve the educational outcomes and quality of life for all learners.  

Mission
To achieve our vision, the Special Education programs strive to increase the use of evidence-based practices by preparing exemplary educators, collaborating with schools, building community partnerships, and conducting and disseminating research.

Beliefs
The Special Education Department faculty believes: 

  • All children can learn. 
  • Educators have a fundamental responsibility for children’s learning and a duty to advocate for students and their families.
  • Diverse, inclusive, and equitable environments improve educational opportunities and a quality of life for all learners.
  • Families have valuable knowledge about their children and are essential partners in their education.
  • Collaboration among schools, families, and communities improves educational outcomes.
  • Preparing high quality teachers requires blending effective instruction at PSU with successful school partnerships.
  • Prevention and systematic early intervention are essential for maximizing student success and for preventing failure among student groups as well as for individual students. 
  • Support systems and the provision of culturally responsive instructional practices should be used to address the unique needs of diverse learners and to enhance the recruitment of a diverse educational work force.
  • Research and evidence-based practices increase the effectiveness of educators’ work.
  • Collection and thoughtful data analysis should drive educational decision-making about instruction and support. 

With a dedicated group of faculty and staff committed to serving the lifelong learning needs of our diverse students, we offer a wide range of masters and doctoral degree specializations, licensure, graduate certificates and training programs. As a prospective student, here you will find information about scholarships, financial aid, and career paths.

Located in the heart of Portland, Oregon, the Educational Leadership and Policy Department in the College of Education (COE) offers students a rich opportunity to learn and do research in an urban setting. Through outreach to communities across Oregon we provide quality educational programs that are convenient and responsive. We take seriously our mission to help meet the lifelong educational needs of diverse communities while encouraging democracy and social justice.

The COE prepares professionals to be leaders in a variety of settings: public schools, libraries, counseling clinics, social service agencies, institutions of higher education, and adult education programs. We also influence practice and inform policy development through faculty and student research, program development, and problem solving.

Multicultural and inclusive education is a central focus. To that end, we:

  1. Actively recruit and support diverse students,
  2. Seek faculty who represent diversity and who have worked in multicultural settings,
  3. Monitor our curriculum and teaching to assure that we model and promote culturally responsive and reciprocal practices,
  4. Strive toward a supportive community, and
  5. Engage in professional development activities that encourage us to confront and challenge institutional racism.