"This is a Big Responsibility, and We Don't Take That Lightly"

Bryan Cichy-ParkerAs a faculty member in Pacific University’s School of Learning & Teaching, Bryan Cichy-Parker is focused on other people’s needs: both his students and the generations of children they will influence.

“I think our program is unique in that we are dedicated to producing on the very best candidates to enter the teaching force,” he said. “From the admissions process to graduation, you have someone by your side who thinks about your needs and the needs of the possibly two generations of children that you could end up teaching. This is a big responsibility, and we don’t take that lightly.”

Cichy-Parker is an assistant professor and program coordinator for Pacific’s special education programs, preparing teachers who will work in one of the most in-demand — and demanding — fields of teaching.

He earned his undergraduate degree at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minn., his master’s in special education from Edgewood College in Madison, Wisc., and his PhD in educational psychology from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. Before joining Pacific’s faculty in 2016, he taught both at the college level and directly as a special education teacher in Hillsboro.

His experience sparked a particular interest in multicultural education and special education.

“I’m particularly focused on the overrepresentation of African American children in special education and how we can reconfigure American schools so that the recognize the gifts and talents of students who are culturally and linguistically diverse.”

As coordinator of Pacific’s special education programs, Cichy-Parker focuses not only on the diverse needs of children but also of his college students, who come from a variety of backgrounds and study in a variety of programs.

Pacific offers a hybrid-model master of arts in teaching in special education, where students attend online evening classes as well as weekend face-to-face courses once a month at either the Forest Grove or Eugene campus. Pacific also offers the state’s only undergraduate route to a special education teaching license as part of its education and learning major in Forest Grove.

Friday, March 5, 2021