Leander Hamrick knew for a long time that she wanted to be a teacher. She chose the College because she knew she’d get personal attention from faculty in the Department of Teacher Education. One campus visit and a brief conversation with a professor was all it took to cement that decision.
“At first, I was thinking about other universities, but when we came here, I absolutely loved the College. And then, one of the teacher education professors sat down with me and explained some of the advantages in that department, particularly the smaller class sizes. It turned out that even in the largest class I’ve had (40 students), I still got to know the professor and she got to know me. When I went to her for help at one point, she knew who I was and was aware of my strengths and weaknesses in the class. That was really important to me.”
Of her professors, Leander says: “They’ve really ingrained in me all sorts of information that I know I’m going to use when I teach. Every day, I’m learning tactics that I will rely on. That’s because my professors are amazing teachers, and it’s clear that they want us to be amazing teachers, too. They’ll tell us stories about experiences that they’ve had and it really opens your eyes to how it is in a real classroom with exceptional students.”
For Leander, one of her most important experiences in this program came via the campus chapter of Best Buddies. “This is a program where students at the College are paired with individuals who have mild disabilities. I’ve been with the same person now for three years. I knew this experience would really complement my special education major and enhance my education. In the end, it’s been a great way to integrate my major with something I love doing.”
Our program is nationally recognized by the Co uncil for Exceptional Children (CEC). Due to the structure of the program, our majors enjoy a strong sense of community and camaraderie. In addition, our graduates compete successfully for positions with community agencies and for graduate programs, and all of them are eligible for certification by the state of South Carolina.
❱❱ Every student completes a 14- week, clinical practice experience, supervised by a trained teacher and a member of our faculty.
❱❱ Students learn research-based practices and they implement these new skills in supervised settings.
❱❱ Our seniors have won the Special Education Co llege Bowl – a contest among South Carolina colleges and universities – numerous times in the last decade.