CLOSED. No longer accepting applications.
Questions about the program, contact Dr. Christine Marvin
MPUP-EC Frequently Asked Questions
2. Who is eligible to apply?
3. What do MPUP-EC students receive?
4. To what do I have to agree?
5. How do I apply to MPUP-EC?
6. How do I apply to UNL Graduate Studies and Department of Special Education?
7. Can I apply if I aready have a masters degree or don't plan to pursue a masters degree?
8. Should I apply for the deaf education or ECSE major?
9. Who would be my advisor and how would I communicate with them?
10. I have a life! What if I can't quit my job and move to Lincoln to take these classes?
11. Can I use coursework I have already completed?
12. Will the coursework give me a credential in my home state?
13. I've never taken a distance/online course before; I wonder if I'm computer literate enough.
14. I wonder if my computer is good enough.
15. How many weekends and summer sessions do I need to travel to in Lincoln?
16. Where would I student teach since my community is small, rural and/or far from Lincoln.
17. If I don't sign, am I eligible to apply for this program?
The Mountain-Prairie Upgrade Partnership for Early Childhood Deaf Education (MPUP-EC) is a federally funded teacher-preparation program. It builds on the success of a previous distance education project for deaf educators. (MPUP: 2000-2005) MPUP-EC is designed to:
a) Prepare knowledgeable early childhood/intervention and deaf education teachers who can alleviate the shortage of qualified teachers for children birth to age 8 who are deaf or hard of hearing in Wyoming, Nebraska, and Iowa communities.
b) Increase the quality of intervention personnel who can collaborate in identifying, planning and delivering supportive developmental services for these young children with special needs.
c) Provide financial support to prospective Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) and Deaf Education teachers for the cost of returning to graduate school from a distance for the duration of a graduate degree program.
UNL is recruiting currently employed or certified teachers from all three states who wish to pursue teaching endorsements in Deaf Education (P-12) or ECSE (birth to grade 3 with particular emphasis on birth to age 5).
Interested persons should have a current teaching certificate (El. Ed., ECE, Secondary Ed., Special Ed. etc.) in order to assure completion of the degree program in 2-3 years. We are particularly interested in applicants who are deaf or hard of hearing, who are non-Anglo, who are bilingual in English and ASL or Spanish or Lakota or other Native American languages; but applicants are not restricted to these persons.
MPUP-EC students receive all tuition and fees needed to complete the program (max. 52 credits) including reimbursement for courses not available through UNL's Distance Ed program (not to exceed UNL tuition rate). They get a yearly stipend to help defray the cost of books, class materials, and unfunded travel to/from required UNL courses. When traveling to Lincoln for the two required weekends, reimbursement for mileage, two nights hotel lodging per weekend and meals are provided. For the summer visit to Lincoln, you will receive reimbursement for mileage, lodging in a university dormitory, plus a meal pass. In addition, participants receive technical support for online courses and toll-free phone access to advisors. In addition to the financial benefits, students receive a Nebraska certificate in Deaf Education or Early Childhood Special Education plus a Masters of Education in Special Education.
You must agree to enroll as a full-time student (9-12 cr/semester F, Sp, Su), maintain a B or better GPA, complete required ASL courses and/or successfully pass Signed Communication Proficiency Interview (SCPI) with score of at least 2.75 (Deaf Ed majors only), attend all required weekend sessions, complete degree within the 2-3 year project timelines and pursue membership in appropriate professional organizations.
You will sign the Federal Notification of Work or Repay Form where you agree to seek and obtain employment in Nebraska, Wyoming or Iowa following completion of degree, and continue employment as an ECSE or Deaf Education Teacher with young children for two years for each year of financial assistance, or repay all financial assistance.
Complete and return by mail the MPUP-EC application and required materials.
Limited awards are given with priority to: applicants from underrepresented populations, those with the most complete and compelling application materials (academic and professional potential as well as geographic need) and those who commit sooner rather than later.
Notification of award is dependent upon admission (not provisionally) to UNL's Graduate Studies and the Department of Special Education & Communications Disorders Master's Degree program. Application to MPUP-EC does not assure admission to the university/department programs (see below for admission procedures). However, application materials can be submitted anytime, independent of the degree application materials. Applicants not yet fully-admitted to the degree programs by the deadline will be considered in the next round of admissions. If you have questions about the application form or process, contact Dr. Marvin or Dr. Eccarius.
Yes and no. Yes, you can apply if you already have a masters degree. For example, an applicant with a degree in ECSE might wish a second degree in deaf education.
No. You will not be cor MPUP-EConsidered f financial support if you do not intend to pursue a masters degree as well as the deaf education or the ECSE teaching credential. These are federally-required limitations to the project. However, you are welcome to enroll in any of the ECSE or deaf education courses at UNL, as a non-degree student (see Graduate Studies) but will not receive financial support to do so. (NOTE: Nebraska teachers may be eligible for financial support for 10 credits as a part-time, non-degree graduate student. See NE-PUP website.)
That will be your personal choice. You may find it helpful to review the ECSE and Deaf Education programs of study in the respective websites. You can also call the advisor of the respective programs to discuss your professional goals. Contact Dr. Marvin and review the ECSE website or contact Dr. Eccarius and review the Deaf Ed website.
Your advisor will be formally assigned once you are admitted to the degree program. However, Drs. Eccarius and Marvin are available for advising informally prior to that admission as well. You can contact the advisors using any of the means of communication listed on their webpages. Once admitted, you will be provided a toll-free 800# you can use for phone contacts to the department.
You do not have to give up your life or quit your job. All graduate courses are web-based although some may require students to communicate with classmates and instructors using additional technologies (phone, TV) or travel to Lincoln for an intensive weekend or summer course. The courses are 16 weeks in length (fall and spring) and 5-10 weeks long in the summer. Weekly assignments do require the student to commit time 2-3 times per week online in addition to time spent reading or completing assignments. If you are currently teaching children with disabilities, you may find that many assignments can be completed with the population available to you.
The MPUP-EC program is intended to assist students in completing a degree/endorsement program in two years. On occasion, a student's unique program of study may require an additional year. MPUP-EC participants will need to register for 9-12 credits each semester in order to complete the program in a timely fashion.
The UNL ECSE and Deaf Education programs are challenging, research-based, graduate courses that generally require students to commit 8-10 hours/week toward completion of each 3 credit hour course. A student's ability to balance work and school varies by individual and often depends on the student's confidence, academic ability, family and professional demands and supports.
Each applicant will have an individual program of study outlined for them by the respective advisor. (See ECSE and Deaf Ed websites for samples.) Required content already completed in previous courses may not need to be repeated if it is recent and relevant. Credit is not given for current or past on-the-job experiences; however, required courses may be waived if adequate documentation is provided of comparable knowledge/skill. Undergraduate or graduate credits taken from other universities may be considered toward completion of endorsement requirements, but only recent graduate credits can be transferred in for use toward the UNL masters degree. However, the majority of program courses (particularly methods courses) must be completed through UNL.
The deaf education program at UNL is approved by the National Council on Education of the Deaf. Both the Deaf Education and ECSE programs lead to certification from the state of Nebraska. Students from Iowa and Wyoming can get a state credential by following the application procedures from their respective State Departments of Education and including a letter signed by the UNL certification officer confirming completion of the UNL program.
Some states have minor additional requirements for specific teaching endorsements. However, many states have reciprocity agreements with Nebraska, allowing students to teach while completing any necessary extra requirements. To be certain that you can receive a credential in your home state, UNL recommends that you contact the Department of Education in your home state. MPUP-EC was approved with the understanding that both Iowa and Wyoming would welcome UNL graduates to work in their states as Deaf Educators or ECSE teachers.
To help you decide if distance education is for you, ask yourself: Am I strongly motivated to achieve my education goals? Am I comfortable without face-to-face interaction? Do I have good organizational and planning skills? Am I prepared to devote 8-10 hours of study time per week, per course? Am I comfortable using email, computers, and other technologies that may be required for some courses? Am I able to understand written instructions and written material on my own?
If this sounds like you, then you may be ready to tackle online distance education studies with MPUP-EC. Look here for a short Self-Assessment about being an online distance education student.
Internet courses are new to many students and can be intimidating if you are unfamiliar with web-based communications. You will need a computer that is easily accessible to you for frequent, if not daily, access and one that can handle the technologies used in the courses. See below for our computer guidelines. UNL offers lots of friendly tech support daily from 7:30 AM-11:30 PM (CST).
Technical requirements for using Blackboard:
PC-Windows 98, XP or better, Pentium processor, 600MHz minimum
MAC: Mac OS 10.0 or higher, Power PC processor 600 MHz minimum
Both platforms: At least 256 MB or FAM, 20GB of hard disk space, CD-ROM drive, 15" monitor or larger,
Web browser: The latest version of Mozilla, Firefox, Safari (MAC only), Netscape 7.0 or higher. The latest version of Internet Explorer may be used with PCs but not MACs. AOL is not compatible with Bb and is not supported by the Help Desk.
Blackboard is the primary course organizer at UNL for web-based instruction. Lotus Notes may be used in some supporting courses. Lotus Notes requires a minimum 55MB for the program software plus additional space for a particular course. Students who have not taken a Lotus Notes course previously will be sent a CD containing the needed Lotus software. Students enrolled in a Blackboard course may begin the course at http://my.unl.edu.
UNL will provide students with a student email address free of charge. Contact Information Services at http://www.unl.edu/is/ or call toll-free (866) 472-3970 for your bigred.unl.edu account once you are accepted into the graduate degree program.
External speakers and an inexpensive camera may be useful for accessing some audio/video course content. Instructors will advise students as to which courses require this equipment.
Although at times students may want/need to use the computer at their place of work, we caution you from relying on that machine completely. Access can be an issue at particular times of day or days of the week, and some agencies have "firewalls" on their computers that prevent access/communication with outside websites and telecommunicators. Having access to a computer seven days a week and having one that you know can handle the communication with UNL systems will be to your advantage. Having the right computer for a distance education course is equivalent to having pens and spiral notebooks for an on-campus course.
Weekends: You will be required to attend one spring and one fall weekend session on campus at UNL as part of your two-year program. These will be used for local guest speakers, hands-on learning with equipment and materials, foundational videotapes, and group activities associated with required courses. The exact timing of the weekends will depend on the semesters when you take those courses. MPUP-EC will reimburse you for these two weekend trips (mileage and 2 hotel nights).
Summer travel: The length of your stay in Lincoln during the summer will depend upon your individual program of study. MPUP-EC will provide mileage reimbursement for one round-trip to/from Lincoln and the cost of lodging in university housing (with meals).
Deaf education majors: Your summer course is five weeks long. It will consist of a directed field experience in the Combined Regional Deaf Education Summer School Program. In addition, this time in Lincoln will require attendance in seminars with ECSE majors to complete the year-long field experience/seminar, SPED 896E.
ECSE majors: You will join the Deaf Education majors on campus for at least one week in the summer, to observe the preschool part of the summer deaf education program, and to complete the year-long field experience/seminar SPED 896E. Some ECSE majors may need to be in Lincoln for 5+ weeks if practicum experiences/courses are not available locally for them during the school year.
For both majors: If you do not already have a special education teaching credential, you will need to complete a three or four course special education core sequence. Most of the core SPED classes are also available during the summer and might extend your summer program to ten weeks. However, three of the four required SPED core classes are available as distance education classes from UNL: SPED 800, Characteristics of Special Learners; SPED 803, Effective Instruction for Learners with Special Needs, and SPED 804, Managing Challenging Behaviors. SPED 802, Advanced Assessment Techniques, can be taken during the summer on-campus at UNL or an equivalent course can be transferred from another institution. SPED 805; Code-based Reading can also be taken on-campus in the summer (5 weeks) by ECSE majors if they wish to substitute it for the required SPED 874 course.
Even if you are already a certified teacher, you will need to student teach again to complete the ECSE or Deaf Education program at UNL. This final field experience will occur after you have completed most of your required courses and may be spread out over more than one semester. Local certified teachers will act as Cooperating Teachers for onsite supervision in your community. University supervisors will make periodic contacts and observe onsite or via technologies. A final evaluation will be written and co-signed by the Cooperating Teacher and the UNL Supervisor.
Efforts will be made to consider your current employment setting or community for student teaching. Requirements differ for the two majors:
Deaf Education Requirements: a minimum of 250 clock hours with student with hearing loss divided between any levels (preschool, elementary school and secondary school) where you did NOT student teach during your initial certification program. You need to demonstrate the CED (Council on Education for the Deaf) proficiencies in at least two settings. Student teaching can be completed on the job if the populations are appropriate. Other arrangements, including summer school placements (in Lincoln or your region), can be designed in cooperation with your advisor and your local special education director or agency. Prior to student teaching, you must complete 150 clock hours, divided among at least three different Directed Field Experiences (SPED 896D) over the three semesters of methods course work. One of those experiences will be the shared field experience taken as part of the MPUP-EC year long practicum/seminar SPED 896E.
ECSE Requirements: a minimum of 100 clock hours if you are already a certified special education teacher or 16 weeks, half-time, if you are not. Either situation requires that you demonstrate your abilities with both infants and preschool children in home and classroom settings. Either or both of these can be done on-the-job if the populations are appropriate. Some of the required 3 credits for student teaching (SPED 897Q) can be complete in concert with enrollment in SPED 861 (1 cr) and 862 (1 cr) and/or SPED 896E (1 cr). Students who are not employed with infants or preschool-age children will have a practicum arranged by the UNL instructor at a location accessible to them weekly. A summer experience (minimum of 5 weeks) in Lincoln will be required for any student for whom an appropriate experience cannot be arranged in their home community/state.
Many students enter the program without sign language skills. When young children are identified as having a hearing loss, choice of an appropriate beginning communication modality is one of the first and most vital decisions facing families. Professionals working with such families must have at least some familiarity with all of the communication modality options, their benefits and limitations, and how they can be combined to promote early and natural language development. Therefore, all MPUP-EC participants must gain some knowledge of American Sign Language (ASL) and manual codes of English (Signing Exact English, Cued Language). The requirements differ for each program:
Deaf Education Requirements: A score of 2.75 (intermediate) or better on the Sign Communication Proficiency Interview by the end of the program. This level can be achieved by taking local ASL classes or by coming to Lincoln for the summer courses offered through UNL. An additional summer workshop in ASL linguistic features will be part of the Deaf Education summer program in Lincoln.
ECSE Requirements: Basic sign language skills that permit at least an appreciation of the visual demands on communication for young children with hearing loss. Participants without these skills can enroll in an ASL course locally or take a five-week course in Lincoln during the UNL summer session.