Tribal Special Education

MAEtribalA partnership between the Augsburg College Master of Arts in Education program and the University of Minnesota Duluth Center for Indigenous Knowledge and Language Revitalization.

Beginning spring 2015, Augsburg College and the University of Minnesota Duluth will begin a cohort offering a post-baccalaureate special education license with a focus on tribal communities and learning styles.


SPE 501 – Historical & Contemporary Issues in American Indian Education

SPE 502 – American Indians and Special Education

SPE 503 – Assessment of American Indian Learners

SPE 504 – Working with American Indian Families and Communities

SPE 505 – The Manifestation of Multigenerational Trauma and Internalized Oppression

SPE 506 – Indigenous Learners

SPE 507 – Indigenous Methods of Instruction: Practical Application

SPE 508 – Professional Issues and Development

SPE 509 – Literacy Instruction for American Indian Learners with Exceptionalities

SPE 481, 483 – Student Teaching: Elementary Special Education

SPE 485, 487 – Student Teaching: Secondary Special Education

EDC 591 – Topics: TPA and Student Teaching Seminar


This program will be offered in an online format. Courses follow a semester schedule with four semesters and one summer session of instruction. Augsburg and UMD cohorts complete online coursework; they also participate in an initial orientation and approximately two face-to-face meetings with faculty each semester in Hinckley, Minn. or Carlton, Minn. Students may be placed in student teaching positions within the Twin Cities or Duluth metropolitan areas, or out-state if supervising teachers are available.

Students wishing to earn a Master of Arts in Education from Augsburg will be required to complete four additional graduate level courses. These courses will be offered online and follow a semester schedule (fall, spring, summer).  Please review the Augsburg and UMD Tribal Cohort Articulation Agreement for more information.


To participate in the licensure program, students must be enrolled in the Master of Arts in Education program at Augsburg College. In order to be admitted, students must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university and a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher by November 1, 2014. Applicants with a 2.5 to 2.99 GPA may be admitted conditionally; contact Augsburg for more information.

Tuition and Financial Aid

Students will be charged a graduate level tuition rate that is comparable for Augsburg and UMD students. Financial aid is available for those who qualify.

American Indian Student Services

For questions regarding services for Native students at Augsburg, including financial aid assistance, please contact Jennifer Simon, director, American Indian Student Services, at 612-330-1144 or online.


Frequently Asked Questions

Educational Program

  1. What specific teaching license will I receive?You will earn a K-12 Special Education license.
  2. How will a K-12 special education license-from a Native-perspective benefit my future students?Because of the large number of Native students in special education it is critical that teachers be as well trained as possible to work with not only Native students, but all students. Bringing a Native focus to the curriculum and the over-all program provides future teachers an opportunity to be as well prepared as possible to meet the needs of students from various backgrounds and specifically Native backgrounds.
  3. Can I teach in a predominantly non-native school with this license?Absolutely! What you learn in our program will provide teaching philosophy and techniques that will better serve all students wherever you teach.
  4. How many courses are required for the license and how many additional courses to complete the master’s degree?To complete your license you will take 8.5 courses plus 2 courses of student teaching. (42 sc total). To complete your master’s degree you will take an additional four online courses through Augsburg.
  5. How will I fulfill the state’s requirements for field placement hours?Field placement hours will be attached to courses. You will be required to complete hours working with students with disabilities (as determined by instructors) and some hours working specifically with American Indian students.
  6. What are the details regarding student teaching?Student teaching will consist of a 12 week placement in a K-12 school setting serving students with disabilities. It may or may not be in a Native school. If you are currently working as a paraprofessional or a licensed teacher, and if your school agrees, you will be allowed to student teach in your work setting. If you are not employed in a school setting, we will help you find a school to complete your student teaching.

Schedule, Online Format and Support Services

  1. When do classes begin? Classes will begin spring 2015.
  2. Will we meet face-to-face each semester?Yes, students and professors meet twice each semester.
  3. What are the benefits of an online program?Online learning is an excellent opportunity for adult learners who are working and have families to access a degree based on their availability. Students have deadlines but can access the course around their own timeline. It also allows people who are not located near a college or university to earn a degree and interact with others from urban, rural and suburban areas.
  4. Will I receive computer support from Augsburg College?Yes, technical support will be provided through Augsburg’s Information Technology Department.
  5. Will I have an adviser to help me with registration and planning?Once you are admitted into the program you will be assigned an adviser who will help with registration and other questions you may have about the program or Augsburg College.
  6. Will I have access to Augsburg’s library, writing lab, and other support services?Yes, all of our services on campus are available for you; however online access may be limited.

Application and Tuition

  1. Do I need to be Native to apply to this program?No, all students are welcome.
  2. What application materials are required?A. Complete the MAE application. We waive the $35 application fee for this program.B. Request two official transcripts from allpreviously attended postsecondary institutions.C. Submit a personal statement of 500 words addressing why you want to teach special education and how this program will assist you with your goals.
  3. Is the GRE exam required?No.
  4. What is the application deadline?November 1, 2014. (current cohort closed. Next cohort begins spring 2015)

See What Others Are Saying

The Naadamaadiwin (Helping One Another) Tribal Cohort has been a successful program for many students. Read what they are saying about different aspects of this special education licensure and master’s degree program. The next cohort is forming in fall 2014. Call Graduate Admissions at 612-330-1101 for more information.

The instructors are very accommodating and make extra efforts to listen to us and get to know us on a personal level. Native American culture is incorporated into every aspect of our studies. It is a rich way of learning that encourages me to be a quality educator.”
Carol Delegan – Foxboro, WI

“I enjoy the diverse perspectives on K-12 education that are discussed in our cohort.”Rebecca Pennington-Masurka – Cass Lake, MN “Culture is an important part of our children’s education as it develops their identity.”
Mike Fairbanks – Cass Lake, MN

“The aspect of the Tribal Cohort Program that I have enjoyed the most is being able to learn from one another as well as from the professors. It is helpful to have the online classes to work around full time jobs and distance learning.”
Govinda Budrow – Brainerd, MN

“I have enjoyed getting to know the other students in the cohort. We are like a big family that works together and learns together.”
John Villebrun – Nett Lake, MN

“Although I thrive in face-to-face learning settings, I have found that the online discussions can be deeper and more profound in some ways because you have time to think about what you will write. It’s also convenient to post homework from your home.”
Kjerstin Hagen – Minneapolis, MN



Susan O’Connor

associate professor of Education


Graduate Admissions