About Special Education


The expertise in the Department of Special Education is broad — from disability studies to literacy to assistive technology to the intersection with culture and social justice. Tying it all together is a passionate commitment to inclusion and diversity — in what our faculty teach, in philosophy as they lead and in the foundations of preparation for careers and advancement in special education. 

Six faculty and three professional and support staff carry on a legacy that has its roots in the 1960s and 1970s as UNI responded to a recognized, growing need — supported legislatively — in special education teaching at both undergraduate and graduate levels.  

The Department of Special Education provides education, advocacy and leadership in dialogue on special education at the local, state and national level. Today, our emphasis supports students with and without disabilities as well as those from minority and culturally diverse backgrounds. 

Robin Dada, PhD., currently leads the department as interim head while also serving as head of the Department of Curriculum and Instruction. 

Teaching is a top priority within the Department of Special Education, and we derive a great deal of satisfaction from working with our high-caliber students. With their multiple roles and responsibilities, our graduates have a tremendous impact within schools.

Robin Dada, PhD
Interim Head, Special Education

What Our Department Offers You

  • A foundation to meet the needs of all students PK-12, including those with disabilities and students from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. 
  • Outstanding faculty who are known nationally and internationally for their scholarly contributions to the field
  • A cohort model of students progressing through their educational experiences together.
  • Unsurpassed hands-on experience, with children in classroom-based field work, including in-depth co-teaching opportunities 
  • Graduate education which is part of nationally recognized master’s in education and online programming