SJU Offers Program for Teachers of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students

Pennsylvania Department of Education Online Certificate

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

by Brianna Willard '13

PHILADELPHIA (January 30, 2013) — The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) recently approved Saint Joseph’s University’s Teacher of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (K-12 Hearing Impaired) certification in the Department of Special Education.  The new program includes an online-only curriculum that will successfully prepare teachers in educating individuals who are deaf and hard of hearing.

Two to three out of every 1,000 children in the United States are born with hearing loss, according to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders.  Teachers pursuing the certification will gain exceptional knowledge and experience in this important part of the special education field.

The Council on Education of the Deaf (CED) considers the philosophy of a program like this to be “comprehensive,” which means that teachers will learn to incorporate all communication philosophies including total communication, auditory-oral and bilingual-bicultural into the education of students who are deaf or hard of hearing, depending on their individual needs.

Field experiences are required with face-to-face exposure to deaf and hard of hearing students as part of the online coursework, and a full semester of student teaching is required.

“This is the first fully online certification program in Pennsylvania and one of maybe four in the nation,” says Sam Slike, director of special education online programs at Saint Joseph’s University since 2011.  “We are hoping to become part of a nationwide initiative to work with other universities that have online deaf education programs through a collaborative endeavor with the Michigan Department of Education.”

Previously at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania, Slike held the position of professor and curriculum coordinator of the Master of Science in education of the deaf and hard of hearing program.

The Teacher of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing certification at Saint Joseph’s University can be completed as a stand-alone program or can be combined with two extra courses for a Master of Science in education of the deaf and hard of hearing.

The program is scheduled to begin in the fall of 2013.

Media Contact

Kelly Welsh, Director of Communications/College of Arts and Sciences, University Communications, 610-660-1385,

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