HAYS, KS -- Fort Hays State University has re-established the Department of Special Education.
After consultation with the faculty, Dr. Larry Gould, provost, and Dr. Tom Buttery, dean of the College of Education, made the decision to re-establish the department.
"Over 200 special education positions went unfilled in the state last year," said Provost Gould, "and we felt that re-establishing the department within the College of Education would assist us in promoting our special education degrees and programs."
Dr. Placido (Art) Hoernicke will serve as the department chair. The department officially began operations on July 1, 2000.
Hoernicke began his tenure at FHSU in 1982 as an associate professor of special education. Since that time he has held various positions within the College of Education.
He said that re-establishing the department "will allow us to work more closely with our special education colleagues in the schools, universities and colleges, and the state department of education." Graduates of the FHSU special education program currently hold positions as teachers, administrators, and college faculty members in Kansas and other states.
School administrators throughout the state indicate a need for more teachers in all of the areas of special education. A major goal of the new department is to increase the number of special education teachers prepared to work in Kansas.
"We are proud of the role our students have played in providing services to children with disabilities as well as children who function in the gifted range," Hoernicke said.
"I don't think teachers realize all the opportunities there are in special education," said Michella Honas, a 1996 FHSU special education graduate who is currently working in southwest Kansas.
The "new department" will continue to offer programs that prepare teachers to provide special education services to children from preschool through high school. Classes will be offered on campus as well as off campus. The department intends to utilize a variety of models including interactive television, the Internet, traditional classes and other approaches to meet the needs of students.
For more information about special education careers and opportunities, contact the Special Education Department at (785) 628-4212.