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Special Education

Photo of a teacher in front of a classroom.

The MacMurray College Special Education Program is designed to provide you with training and preparation to become a teacher of students with exceptionalities, a teacher who matters. In addition to classroom instruction, the program emphasizes experience working in area schools with students who have special needs.

The courses you will take are designed to address needs and assessment of students with a variety of exceptional abilities. Special education teachers are also expected to have an understanding of all academic subject areas, so you will take courses to satisfy the expectations of your future school.

As a Special Education major at MacMurray, you will be taught by instructors with decades of experience teaching in special education classrooms in the schools and as administrators. This practical, in-the-classroom approach matters: it is designed to give you the skills you need to be prepared for a rewarding career as a special education teacher and administrator.

The MacMurray College Special Education Program will give you the opportunity to earn a Teacher Licensure for the State of Illinois in Special Education. Since Illinois has one of the more rigorous licensing requirements, the Illinois license transfers relatively easily to most other states.

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Opportunities for Students

At MacMurray, you will gain hands-on knowledge through field experiences embedded in program courses. Almost every course at MacMurray has field experience hours as part of the course.

You will observe and participate in classrooms in various school districts to develop the skills needed to be an effective teacher. Even before you begin your semester of student teaching, typically done as a senior, you will have already been in the schools 70–100 hours.

Photo of students meeting in class.

Placements include Jacksonville School District 117, as well as an alternative school in Jacksonville administered by the Four Rivers Special Education District.

You will also have the opportunity to join and attend meetings of the Council of Exceptional Children (CEC), an organization dedicated to improving the educational success of students with special needs.

Special education is a high-need area, and special education teachers are needed in districts across the nation.


Learn more about Special Education courses and how to pursue a major in Special Education through our catalog.


Photo of Bradley Walkenhorst

Bradley Walkenhorst, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Special Education

"I look forward to joining the Mac Family and working with some amazing professors and students."

  • Areas of interest: Dr. Walkenhorst enjoys expanding his knowledge on instructional methods, needs of diverse learners, and re-structuring education to meet the needs of all students. He also enjoys learning about Special Education and inclusion models on an international level.
  • Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction — St. Louis University
  • M.A.T. (Special Education) — Webster University
  • B.A. in Liberal Studies — Thomas Edison State College
  • Courses taught: Teaching in a Diverse Society: Education of the Exceptional Learner, Diagnostics and Instruction in Special Education, Field Experience in Special Education, Methods: Instruction for Students with Diverse Needs, Advanced Field Experience: Special Education, Clinical Experience in Special Education.