NCCU School of Education Fulfills Critical Need for Visual Impairment Training

Posted December 11, 2019, 8:51AM

The Department of Curriculum and Instruction receives a $1.25 million grant for visual-impairment training and development.

North Carolina Central University’s (NCCU) School of Education is working to reverse a national teacher shortage for visually impaired students using a $1.25 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

The School of Education received the funds from the Department of Education’s Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services to train individuals to work as visual impairment instructors. 

North Carolina has more than 1,900 students with visual disabilities and only 110 educators certified to teach them. There are approximately 568,000 students considered visually impaired across the country.

The American Printing House for the Blind

Sean Tikkun, Ph.D., assistant professor in the School of Education and principal investigator on the project, called the need for qualified visual impairment teaching specialists “critical.”

NCCU’s Visual Impairment Training Program is the only one of its kind in North Carolina and the only one at a Historically Black College and University (HBCU).

The five-year grant will focus on early intervention efforts for infants and toddlers and as well as programs for school-age children.

NCCU offers three master’s degree concentrations in instruction of the visually impaired: the Master of Arts in Teaching, with a visual impairment focus (MAT); the Master of Education, with a visual impairment focus (M.Ed.); and the Master of Education with an orientation and mobility focus, leading to national certification as an orientation and mobility specialist (O&M).

The School of Education also has as a licensure-only program for current teachers who are seeking to qualify as a teacher of students with visual impairments. 


The Visual Impairment Training Program mixes distance education with on-campus weekend and summer classes and online study options, employing mobility aids, 3D printed braille and a guide dog in training.

The program is approved by the Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired.


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