N-CITE—Nevada’s Collaborative Investment in Teaching Excellence

Nevada’s Collaborative Investment in Teaching Excellence (N-CITE)

The University of Nevada, Reno, College of Education’s Special Education Program and the Nevada Center for Excellence in Disabilities (NCED) have collaborated to develop a OSEP funded leadership preparation program to address the significant national shortage of leaders in special education teacher education at the doctoral level in higher education. Nevada’s Collaborative Investment in Teaching Excellence (N-CITE) will graduate scholars with a Ph.D. in special education who possess essential leadership competencies for conducting research, preparing highly effective teachers at the undergraduate and graduate level, preparing other future leaders at the doctoral level, and participating in interdisciplinary systems change, and service. The N-CITE structure is based on a conceptual framework that recognizes that scholars progress through stages of initiation, inculcation, incubation, and engagement (Adler & Adler, 2005) in their program and critical transitions or threshold concepts occur between these stages (Kiley, 2009). N-CITE is a Type A program under Preparation of Special Education, Early Intervention, and Related Services Leadership Personnel and meets a competitive priority of providing the scholars with high-quality internships with a high-need LEA. 

The conceptual framework aligns with the coursework, internships, and dissertation to result in mastery of the 10 Leadership Competencies. Scholars will develop their knowledge and skills in evidence-based practices in teacher education, high needs students and low achieving schools, professional writing, Special Education Teacher Education, and the roles and responsibilities of a university faculty. Scholars will develop research skills through three interdisciplinary research internships with NCED projects, schools districts, and the Nevada Department of Education. The Special Education Program has a well-respected integrated elementary and special education program (Blanton & Pugach, 2010), a 325T Program Improvement Grant, personnel preparation grants in early childhood special education, BCBA preparation program and houses the Dual Sensory Impairment Program. Scholars will develop their teaching skills through a series of three teaching internship experiences that include co-teaching with faculty before becoming an instructor of record. Scholars will also participate in three internships in service working high needs schools and NCED projects. The goals of N-CITE are to:

  1. Recruit, admit, support, retain, and graduate at least six doctoral scholars with scholar support accounting for 65% of the budget;
  2. Provide each scholar with high quality coursework;
  3. Provide each scholar with high quality internships experiences in teaching, research, and service;
  4. Provide each scholar with the mentoring and support to complete a high quality dissertation.
  5. Mentor each scholar in obtaining a position in an institution of higher education.
  6. Establish an administrative structure to manage the project including advisement, supervision, evaluation of scholar acquisition of competencies, and the achievement of project goals and objectives.