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Deaf and Hard of Hearing Preliminary Credential

California Commission on Teacher Credentialing Accreditation

CCTC Accreditation


1. Program Summary

1.1 Program Summary

University Overview

Mount Saint Mary’s University (MSMU) is a not-for-profit institution of higher education, established nearly 100 years ago, providing a first-class college education to members of the greater Los Angeles community, with a significant student enrollment of low-income, first-generation college attendees. A Hispanic-Serving Institution, MSMU presently offers academic programs of instruction leading to Associates, Bachelors, Masters, and Doctorate (Doctor of Physical Therapy or Clinical Psychology (PsyD)), primarily through traditional classroom-based delivery modality, from two campuses (Chalon and Doheny) in the City of Los Angeles. 

Since 1960, Mount Saint Mary's University has offered coeducational graduate programs that offer masters degrees and attract women and men of all ages, religious backgrounds, and professional interests to the University's Doheny Campus. MSMU currently has 11 active graduate programs, 9 of which are at the Masters level, and 2 at the Doctoral level. MSMU enrolls approximately 900 students in graduate programs. 

The Education Department serves undergraduate and graduate students seeking credentials and/or degrees. Many of our graduate students are already teaching in local Catholic Schools as they work toward credentials and masters. All candidates take classes together, despite coming from different pathways. Our aim is for candidates to be able to understand course material from multiple perspectives. In addition, candidates currently teaching offer insights that show use of the theories in practical application. Undergraduate candidates, completing their credentials concurrently with their degrees, often ask questions of their more experienced peers to help them prepare for their practice lessons that are part of their early fieldwork. In addition, all preliminary credential candidates take foundational courses together. This allows for good communication between those teaching or planning to teach in elementary, secondary, or education specialist positions and sets them up for collaborations as practicing educators.

*Please note that all content in this review describe our program without accommodations due to COVID-19. Please see the section related to COVID-19 to see what temporary modifications have been put into place.

Program Design

Leadership within the credential program. The deaf and hard of hearing program is seated in the John Tracy Center (JTC) and is administered by Bridget Scott-Weich, Director of the Graduate Program and Administration, and Angela Stokes, Director of Graduate Instruction & Teacher Development. Dr. Scott-Weich regularly communicates with various offices at MSMU, and she communicates weekly and as needed with Dr. Diana Taylor, Professor & Director of Mild/Moderate, Deaf & Hard of Hearing and Dual Credential Program to ensure compliance and collaboration with the education department at MSMU.

Communication within the credential program and with the institution. The Chair, who oversees the work in all credential programs is a member of Graduate Council (for candidates seeking credentials post-baccalaureate) and a member of the Academic Leadership Council (which oversees undergraduate students and programs). DHH also collaborates with Cal State University of Los Angeles doctorate of audiology (AuD) scholars.

Structure of coursework and field experiences in the credential program. Graduate scholars in the deaf and hard of hearing (DHH) credential program are immersed in hands-on learning experiences in audiology, counseling, early intervention parent infant sessions, as well as preschool observations and teaching. Focused DHH specific courses are taken at JTC. In addition, the DHH teachers of the deaf (TOD) scholars take coursework to fulfill the credentialing and master’s requirements, and they also participate in interdisciplinary coursework with Cal State University of Los Angeles doctorate of audiology (AuD) scholars.

The preliminary credential programs infuse early fieldwork experiences beginning with the first semester. Candidates enter and complete the program as a cohort. The spiral curriculum allows key concepts to be presented repeatedly throughout the coursework becoming more specialized to reflect the complex, interwoven knowledge of subject matter to be explored and connected to understand the myriad ways in which deafness impacts development and learning in young children and youth who are DHH. The coursework ensures opportunities for scholars to grow and eventually design and deliver lessons that culminate with a student teaching assignment. 

Program modifications over the recent two years (excluding those due to COVID-19). The Education Department has focused on continued improvement of our data collection and analysis in the past two years. Our annual holiday party, which shifted into a working meeting for programs to convene full-time and part-time faculty, and other university support members (supervisors, coaches, etc.) followed by a gathering for dinner, has continued to guide our improvement, including developing a common syllabus template that emphasizes inclusivity.

Additional changes were made to the DHH coursework in 2020. Coursework specific to English Learners, Autism Spectrum Disorders, conceptual development, deafblindness and teens were added. Scholars now complete some coursework, including their Capstone Project alongside scholars in the education department at MSMU. This is notable, as for the first time in the JTC graduate program’s history, coursework is now shared with the degree and credential issuing university. DHH scholars share six classes with the university.

Means for Stakeholder Input. Our annual December adjunct meeting and convening of university supervisors is one formal means of gathering stakeholder input. The changes to the curriculum occurred after careful review of the unique goal of our program, to prepare graduate scholars to support families and the learning of children/students who are DHH utilizing 21st century hearing technology to access and successfully use listening and spoken communication. This is embedded in a curriculum that recognizes parent choice, language diversity, child development and learning within the context of respecting and addressing the needs of culturally and linguistically diverse populations, including Deaf culture. The changes that were made considered the input received from the program’s alumni, the advisory council, university leadership and the requirements of the CTC.

Course of Study and Fieldwork for Preliminary DHH Ed Specialist Credential

Description of the sequence of coursework. As the scholars progress in the program it is expected that their observations become more targeted as they begin to identify, for example: (a) strategies teachers use, (b) the accommodations implemented in the classrooms, (c) the utilization of UDL, (d) English learner supports, (e) student communication modes, (f) LRE placements, (g) roles of related service personnel, (h) paraprofessionals and the use of (i) culturally responsive pedagogy as reflected in curricula and materials used to support all students.

Coordination of coursework with fieldwork. In the fall of semester one, fieldwork begins immediately at JTC in two courses: EDU 235A Early Intervention & Family Support and EDU 238A Early Childhood Curricula. This is where scholars observe and participate in practicums alongside related service AuD scholars, in coursework and practicums, in addition to weekly observations of JTC’s pre-school and TK classrooms. On average, 14 offsite visits, chosen to increase the scholars’ awareness of the span of programs that are available to students who are DHH (and their parents), begin soon after the program begins with visits occurring weekly within the greater Los Angeles basin. Scholars are supported by MSMU/JTC faculty. Logs are kept for such visits with targeted reflections.

In the second semester, Spring, the scholars begin targeted early field work by accompanying itinerant teachers serving families in EI programs and itinerant teachers serving school aged students who are DHH. Students also spend a week in a sign language classroom, where they will focus on ways in which teachers utilize translanguaging to teach English – specifically in literacy. Observations in a variety of settings where students who are DHH learn/ participate facilitates the scholars understanding of the range of students they will one day serve and the programs that those students who are DHH have access to. 

Type of Coursework in Critical areas. During these experiences, targeted areas are focused on. For example, as a graduate student observes in a DHH SDP, they observe the ways in which individual student’s needs are met, they observe how and whether hearing technology is utilized or not. When they participate in an Early Intervention (EI) teacher tagalong, they observe the ways in which the EI teacher communicates with parents and listens for the way that unbiased information is shared with the parent. Unfortunately, due to the COVID pandemic this component of early field work was suspended.

Number and type of field placements. Supervised Clinical hours follow the culmination of preparatory coursework in semesters one and two, and they occur in two phases. First, at JTC by instructors who assist the scholars’ weaving of the elements they studied into lesson plan design. The second phase occurs in the student teaching practicum, EDU 239B Practicum with Learners, where they are mentored by highly qualified master teachers with at least 3 years of experience in the field of deaf education with an emphasis on LSL. Master teachers support the scholars’ finessing of LSL strategies in lesson planning and delivery so as to facilitate communication and language development, as scholars practice the implementation of conceptual development utilizing CRP to enable successful learning experiences for students who are DHH.

Connection of field experience with coursework. Both foundation and methods courses include assignments that require candidates to collect data at selected field sites. These assignments help guide the candidates in how to learn about students and the available resources at school sites. In addition, while coursework is grounded in theory, there is a strong emphasis in practical application as candidates prepare for their culminating semester of full-time supervised teaching.

Field supervision, advisement, and evaluation. JTC faculty make a minimum of one weekly observation of scholars over the course of the 14-week student teaching placement and, if necessary, scholars receive additional support in more frequent site visits in person and/or via video observations. Master teachers and university (JTC) faculty perform mid and final evaluations of scholars during this period. If a scholar fails to meet criterion for passing the course, (s)he will need to extend student teaching until identified criterion are met.

Assessment of Candidates 

All coursework is evaluated utilizing a variety of assessments across the arc of the program. They include – formative assessments, such as reflections, summative assessments, such as multiple choice and short essays in quizzes/ midterms, finals and criterion referenced assessments, such as power point presentations on a targeted topic. Assessments are listed in the course syllabi. Rubrics are utilized to guide student understanding of assignment expectations.

1.1.1 Location, Delivery Models, and Pathways

LocationDelivery ModelPathway
Doheny Campus and John Tracy Clinic In Person with some courses Hybrid* Graduate - Traditional Student Teaching 
Doheny Campus and John Tracy Clinic  In Person with some courses Hybrid*  Graduate - Intern 

*During COVID related restrictions, all courses were temporarily converted to fully online.