• Overview
  • Faculty
  • Advising
  • Career Tracks
  • Off-Campus Study
  • Clinical Supervisors
  • Be a Teacher

Special Education

Teaching Certification


Complete your bachelor’s degree right in your local community through the Collaborative Licensure Program in Special Education offered by the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh and Ripon College. Meet your elementary licensure requirements through Ripon College and special education requirements through UW-Oshkosh.

A teaching license in special education is a great opportunity for those who want to work with children and youths who have a wide range of disabilities. Ideal for both traditional and returning adult students, the program allows you to remain close to home while taking courses for licensure.

  • General education and elementary education major courses completed at Ripon College
  • Courses held via distance learning with some Saturdays at UW-Oshkosh
  • Initial and advanced practicum as well as student-teaching take place in surrounding school districts
  • Small class sizes and cohorts allow you to get to know instructors and fellow students well
  • Dedicated, experienced faculty with diverse educational and real-world experience
  • Access to the UW Oshkosh library, technology resources, and academic support systems

Program Spotlight


Jeanne Rigden

Jean Rigden

Visiting Instructor of Educational Studies, Coordinator of Assessment, DPI Liaison

[email protected]
Jeanne Williams

Jeanne Williams

Professor Emeritus of Educational Studies

[email protected]
Mattew Knoester

Matthew Knoester

Associate Professor of Educational Studies

[email protected]
Nicholas Eastman

Nicholas Eastman

Assistant Professor of Educational Studies

[email protected]
Touorizou Herve Some

Touorizou Hervé Somé

Associate Professor of Educational Studies, Chair of Educational Studies Department

[email protected]


Ripon College faculty and professional staff are dedicated to helping you reach your goals, whatever they may be and however often they may change along the way. It’s part of our value statement to you.

As a student at Ripon, you will be assigned a faculty adviser based on your area(s) of interest. You will meet with your faculty adviser throughout your time as a student to discuss your current aspirations, plan your course schedule and plot a future trajectory. We also work collaboratively with Ripon College Career and Professional Development to help match your interests and skills to concrete goals and construct a plan for professional success offering personalized career counseling, off-campus learning opportunities and an online job board with potential to connect with local, national and international employers. Our collaboration with Student Support Services provides tutoring and additional academic and skill development, as well as tools to help with note-taking, exam preparation, goal-setting and time management. Likewise, Mentors in the Collaborative Learning Center provide in-depth, one-on-one or group mentoring for students about class projects and college-level writing, and can share problem-solving strategies to overcome academic obstacles.

Advising at Ripon.

Wisconsin Educator Preparation Program Annual Reports

In 2011, The Wisconsin State Legislature passed Act 166, which requires the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) to produce an annual report of the State’s educator preparation programs (EPP). The report must include information on program completers and first time passage rates on the state required performance assessments.

The first report, 2013 Educator Preparation Program (EPP) Annual Report, provides information on candidates who completed a Wisconsin EPP between September 1, 2011 and August 31, 2012 and were endorsed for Wisconsin licensure. It also provides valuable information on completers who applied for Wisconsin licensure and their employment in Wisconsin Public Schools the subsequent year. The annual report includes aggregated statewide data on all Wisconsin test takers during the report year.

Career Tracks

Where do special educators work?

Special educators work in many different environments. A small percentage of special educators work in private schools, residential facilities, hospitals and clinics, or in students’ homes; the majority of special educators, however, work in the public schools. Within the schools, special educators work in a variety of settings, including self-contained classrooms, resource rooms, and general education classrooms. The UW-Oshkosh and Ripon College Collaborative Licensure Program prepares teacher candidates to support their students in all of these settings.

Employment in the special education field is expected to increase faster than the average for all occupations, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Job prospects are excellent, with many districts reporting difficulty recruiting adequate numbers of licensed special education teachers.

The U.S. Department of Education reports the number of students with disabilities served under Individuals with Disabilities Education Act continues to increase at a rate higher than both the general population and school enrollment. In Wisconsin, there continues to be strong demand for special education teachers, and those with dual licensure in elementary education and special education.

Off-Campus Study

Student Teaching

Student teaching usually is scheduled during spring semester of the senior year or during a ninth semester following completion of the degree program. Faculty from the College observe student teachers frequently and meet with them often to discuss their progress. A weekly student-teaching seminar provides a forum for discussion and a support group in which individuals can share the successes, demands and inevitable frustration of their first full-time teaching experience.

International Student Teaching

Ripon student teachers can complete the second nine weeks of their student teaching in another country. During this placement, student teachers will assist in English language support in public schools overseas. Students interested in exploring the possibilities for student teaching in another country should speak with Jeanne Williams.

The Chicago Center for Urban Life and Culture Teach Chicago! Program

The Chicago Center for Urban Life and Culture sponsors the Teach Chicago! program located in Chicago, Illinois. Ripon College students may complete their student teaching through this program. Students interested in completing an urban student-teaching placement through this program should speak with Jeanne Williams.

Navajo Reservation Schools Student Teaching

Pending faculty approval, Ripon student teachers, in partnership with Indiana University, may complete their student-teaching experience at Navajo reservation schools in Utah, New Mexico or Arizona. Students interested in completing student-teaching placement through this program should speak with Dr. Jeanne Williams.

Ninth Semester Program

Students seeking teacher certification sometimes find it difficult to complete their programs in eight semesters, especially if they wish to include an overseas semester, a double major and/or a rigorous major/minor program. The College has a reduced tuition program for students who attend a ninth or later semester to complete their student teaching.

Liberal Arts In Focus: Arts Integration for Teachers

Students can participate in a week-long exploration of how Chicago teachers and professional artists integrate theatre, music, art and dance into classroom teaching. In the evenings, students will attend performances, gallery exhibits and other arts/cultural experiences in the Chicago area. Special consideration is given to learning about the neighborhoods and institutions of Chicago.

Clinical Experiences

Students enrolled in teacher certification programs at Ripon College complete 100 hours of clinical experience in schools and other educational settings prior to student teaching. Most of these clinical hours are completed in conjunction with specific education courses that students can observe and experience the various dimensions of teaching as they are learning about educational theory and practice.

Clinical Supervisors

Thank you for choosing to assist the Ripon College Educational Studies Department in preparing effective teachers for 21st-century students. We realize the time and effort you put into this task and appreciate your contributions.

To assist you in providing oversight for clinical students and/or student teachers, please refer to the information below. You will find general information about Ripon’s Department of Educational Studies as well as specific information pertaining to each clinical experience. Each box includes:

1. Expectations for the experience.
2. Appropriate evaluation forms.
3. Department contact information.

Again, thank you for your assistance in educating tomorrow’s teachers!


Ripon College’s Educational Studies Faculty

Be a Teacher

While it certainly is true that good teachers are always in demand, it also is true that changes in the economy, government funding for education, regional population shifts and family lifestyles affect employment trends for teachers. Ripon graduates have success finding teaching jobs, in part, because faculty work closely with students to help them plan programs and conduct job searches geared toward current employment trends.

Some Ripon graduates with teacher certification have elected to take advantage of opportunities for work abroad in the Peace Corps. Others are using their teaching skills in service and business settings. An increasing number of agencies and institutions seek teachers to staff their educational programs.

An additional career route for certified teachers is graduate school. Master’s degree-level programs enable students to add areas of certification such as special education, early childhood education and bilingual/bicultural education. Such specialized expertise often opens new opportunities for securing a teaching position.