Developing an Ethos for Change in a Department of Special Education: Focus on Collaboration and an Ethic of Care

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During the course of the past five years, the Department of Special Education at the University of South Florida has undergone a change process designed to position itself to better respond to the changing needs of the field as we move toward a new century. This paper describes key aspects of that change process. The introductory section outlines seven interrelated core beliefs and values that have served as the force behind the change process and guided the work of faculy and students. The second section deals with the theme of collaboration and describes the various collaborative research groups (CRGs) which provide the context for collaborative inquiry, scholarship, and program development. The paper also shows how we have used the CRGs to create linkages with other academic units in the university and with schools and the community at large.

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Teacher Education and Special Education, v. 19, no. 2, p. 133-145.