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Special Education Program

Welcome to Special Education

Dr. Liz Keefe, Special Education Program Coordinator

A paradigm shift is underway in special education, driven, in part, by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and No Child Left Behind. The new approach to special education centers on the belief that children of all learning abilities — including those with physical and mental differences — should learn together, have equal access to the general education curriculum, and have the supports they need to lead fulfilling lives.

The COE Special Education Program is at the forefront of this movement. Our forward thinking educators and researchers champion these new, more effective democratic school communities. We have the resources to conduct innovative research that helps shape special education policy and the ability to offer a wide range of special education courses. With the breadth and depth of our graduate program, our students gain the exceptional skills required to work effectively in the new model of special education.

Dr. Liz Keefe,

Special Education Program Coordinator

Our Vision

The vision of the Special Education Program is to facilitate the development of supportive, effective, and culturally responsive environments for individuals with special needs and their families.

Our Mission

The mission of the Special Education Program at the University of New Mexico is to improve educational opportunities and services for the following individuals and their families.

  • Persons with exceptionalities
  • Students at risk of school failure
  • Others facing significant life challenges

The mission of our program is accomplished by the study and practice of teaching, research, and service in a variety of multicultural environments.

  • We recruit and prepare competent and caring professionals and other personnel who serve individuals with exceptionalities and their families. Implicit in these activities is the belief that learning is a lifelong process.
  • We conduct inquiry and disseminate research and information related to issues affecting individuals with exceptionalities and their families.
  • We provide professional services to individuals with exceptionalities and their families, as well as to other stake holders who play a key role in their lives.

In carrying out our mission we remain consistent with the College of Education in valuing excellence in all we do; diversity of people and perspective; relationships of service, accountability, collaboration, and advocacy; discussion and dissemination of ideas; and innovation in teaching, technology, and leadership.

Degree and Certificate Programs





Concentration I — Intellectual Disability and Severe Disabilities: Studies in Educational Equity for Diverse Exceptional Learners

Concentration II — Learning and Behavioral Exceptionalities: Studies in Instruction, Curriculum, Collaboration and Transition of Diverse Learners

Certificate Programs