Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Special Education and Literacy Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Shaila Rao

Second Advisor

Dr. Kristal Ehrhardt

Third Advisor

Dr. Amy Schelling


Special education, teacher preparation, autism spectrum disorder


The process of developing a program for an endorsement in a teacher preparation program is complex, with various influences and requirements involved. Regulatory compliance, standards for practice, and university influences are key considerations within program development. Curricular factors and content delivery must also be considered. This study explored the process of program development leading to an endorsement in autism spectrum disorder (ASD) at a university, shedding light on what some of the key aspects to program develop entail.

This study explored the complex process of teacher preparation program development in ASD through inquiry rooted in a qualitative approach. At the heart of qualitative study is exploration. As described in Brantlinger, Jimenez, Klingner, Pugach, and Richardson (2005) “qualitative research is a systematic approach to understanding qualities, or the essential nature, of a phenomenon within a particular context” (p.195). This study followed a systematic approach in seeking to understand the multifaceted process of developing a new endorsement area program within teacher preparation. Creswell and Poth (2018) suggest that qualitative study seeks to understand an issue focusing on the “what and how” (p.137). The guiding research question for this study was: What are the procedural and value influences that guide the program development process when creating an ASD endorsement area program?

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access