The Special Education licensure program is facilitated by Winston-Salem State University (WSSU). WSSU is a state-supported public historically Black university that offers a rich curriculum rooted in a high-quality liberal education. The institution’s core mission is to prepare students who commit to the university’s motto of “Enter to Learn, Depart to Serve.” WSSU has a proud history of preparing teachers to meet the challenges and opportunities of a changing society. Formerly known as Winston-Salem Teachers College, WSSU was the first black institution in the nation to grant degrees for teaching in the elementary grades. Today, WSSU offers licensure in eight undergraduate areas and a Master of Art in Teaching (MAT), and its Educator Preparation Program (EPP) continues to play a significant role in increasing the diverse teaching workforce for NC. According to a recent report entitled “The Retention of UNC System Prepared Teachers in North Carolina Public Schools” (Education Policy Initiative at Carolina,
2020), WSSU had the highest teacher retention rate in the state: 87.34% of teachers return to any NC public schools for three consecutive years. This study also reported that new teachers from WSSU and other Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in the state are more likely to return to both high poverty and rural schools. Thus, WSSU early-career teachers are significantly more likely to return to NC schools overall. This trend was especially true in schools that serve the highest proportion of low-income students of color. Therefore, WSSU EPP is uniquely suited to support special education MAT candidates.