Unleashes a First
This fall, SFSU will become the first university in the world to offer
a graduate certificate in guide dog mobility -- a program that trains
educators how to teach visually impaired individuals to use guide dogs.
SFSU is collaborating with the San Rafael-based Guide Dogs for the Blind,
Inc., to initiate the two-year certification program. The two students
enrolled in the pilot program this fall will take courses at SFSU followed
by an internship at the Guide Dogs organization. About six students
will be admitted each year thereafter.
Sandra Rosen, a special education professor in SFSU's College of Education
and program coordinator, says the goal is to help visually impaired
individuals and people with multiple disabilities become more mobile.
"There is an established link between independent travel and employment,
participation in social activities and self-esteem," Rosen says.
"We're helping [visually impaired] folks on economic, cultural
and personal levels."
SFSU has been a leader in orientation and mobility education for the
visually impaired. Since the 1960s, the University has trained educators
how to teach practical "traveling" skills such as how to walk
with a cane and use public transportation, and SFSU was the first to
teach educators how to instruct visually impaired children, Rosen says.
In 1979, SFSU first accepted a blind student into its orientation and
mobility teaching program. The University has also been a pioneer in
the use of computer-mediated learning in mobility instruction.
"We have forward thinking, creative, energetic folks who look far
into the future," Rosen says. "We set trends, we don't follow
-- Gary Moskowitz