Dallas Baptist University Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) Multisensory Graduate Degree

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By Nancy Coffman, MS, LDT, CALT, QI and Carolyn Spain, EdD

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Q: Why did you participate in the IDA Review process?
A: Dallas Baptist University (DBU) has a longstanding partnership with the June Shelton School and Evaluation Center, a private school serving students with learning differences. Dallas Baptist University developed the Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) Multisensory graduate degree in conjunction with the Shelton School’s well-established training program. Our leadership was pleased to add IDA recognition to DBU’s accreditation as a top provider in the field of education. This additional accreditation enhances the Shelton School partnership and quality of training in the community. DBU values IDA accreditation as validation of the impact their MAT Multisensory graduates will have on the students they will teach.

Q: How was the experience preparing for and participating in the review?
A: The preparation process for the IDA review served as a bridge to strengthen the DBU graduate program and the Shelton School training. The experience required reflection and a deeper understanding of the important concepts of multisensory instruction. The process resulted in the identification and elimination of gaps in the program. Discussions among program officials led to clarification of questions regarding the program that helped us establish the best possible graduate degree for the students in the MAT Multisensory degree program. IDA leadership provided insights and consistency of information during the preparation and review process. The review of documents required for the accreditation process provided clarification of many aspects of the program.

Q: What does IDA Recognition (now Accreditation) mean to your university?
A: DBU is proud to be affiliated with the good work of IDA and the contribution the organization brings to the understanding of dyslexia and related disorders. IDA and the standards it represents inspire confidence in the university, the community, and throughout the nation. It is of great importance for DBU to be recognized by IDA as an outstanding secondary program that provides information to its students about dyslexia and related disorders.

Q: Describe some of the innovative ideas you have implemented to give students a richer practicum experience.
A: The students in the MAT Multisensory degree program participate in up to 700 supervised hours of practicum experience. Each student has an assigned mentor. The practicum hours are now recognized as six credit hours of graduate study. Monthly reports are required of students, and critiques of video lessons ensure quality, growth, and deeper development of multisensory concepts. Many of the students participating in the multisensory program are public school teachers. While maintaining DBU and IDA standards, the training has been tailored to the needs of the public school environment. The use of technology, along with personal mentors, allows the teachers to impact hundreds of public school children through the work of each cohort.

Q: How has your program leveraged outside partnerships to increase students’ learning experience.
A: The Multisensory training program has partnered with Oxford City School System, Oxford, Mississippi; Decatur City Schools, Decatur, Alabama; State-wide Alabama Reading Initiative; two educational cooperatives in Arkansas; and numerous public school districts (e.g., Dallas, Grapevine Colleyville, and Keller Independent School Districts). The multisensory training program provides teachers with an in-depth knowledge base and a variety of research-based instructional strategies to effectively address the needs of students with dyslexia and related disorders.


Nancy Coffman, MS, LDT, CALT, QI is the Director of Outreach/Training for the Shelton School and Evaluation Center in Dallas, Texas. She is a Certified Academic Language Therapist, a Qualified Instructor in Alphabetic Phonics, a Licensed Dyslexia Therapist in Texas, and an adjunct instructor for Dallas Baptist University.

Carolyn Spain, EdD is the Director of the Master of Arts in Teaching and Pathways to Teacher Certification, the MEd in Reading and ESL, and the MEd in Bilingual Education at Dallas Baptist University.

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