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King’s College Education Professor Nationally Recognized for Study on Diversity in Special Education

Andrew Wojcik, Ph.D., a professor with the King’s College education department, just received the Teacher Educational Division of the Council of Exceptional Children (CEC) Early Career Publication Award for his work on a study evaluating methods to increase diversity in special education teaching programs.

 The article, titled “A Comparison of Service Time and Racial Categories within Traditional and Alternative Route Internship Programs for Special Education Licensure,” appeared in Teacher Education and Special Education, a leading special education journal.

The study examines why special education teaching programs struggle to recruit and retain candidates from racially diverse communities despite an ever-increasing demand for special education teachers nationwide.

Dr. Wojcik co-wrote the study with LaRon A. Scott, associate professor of special education at the University of Virginia; Colleen A. Thoma, associate professor of special education at Virginia Commonwealth University; and Virginia Commonwealth University doctoral students Michelle Hicks, Rachel W. Bowman, and Regina Frazier. Kristina Keithley, a graduate student at King’s College, helped edit the project.

They compared traditional and alternative licensure routes, including internship programs that allow candidates with bachelor’s degrees to work under a fully licensed mentor while attending an approved university program. As part of the study, they tracked the careers of nearly 20,000 special education teachers in Virginia over a 14-year period.

The study found that teachers who completed alternative route internship programs matched or exceeded the service times of individuals who obtain licensure through traditional degree programs. The team also found that alternative route programs are not only useful to recruiting teachers of color, but they also contribute to them staying in teaching positions for longer periods of time.

The Early Career Publication Award recognizes an outstanding research publication by an individual within six years after completing the doctorate. Dr. Wojcik received the award during the CEC Convention earlier this month in Long Beach, Ca.

Dr. Wojcik and Dr. Scott


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