Former Chair Dr. Terrance DePasquale to become Dean of Graduate and International Programs

Dr. Mary Ann Gawelek, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the faculty at Seton Hill, announced March 29 that Dr. Sondra Lettrich, associate professor of Education and director of the Graduate Special Education Program at Seton Hill, would take on the role of Division of Education chairperson as of July 2006. The chairperson for the Division of Education is responsible for directing all undergraduate, graduate and certification programs at Seton Hill.

“We’re honored that Dr. Lettrich has accepted this position,” said Dr. Gawelek. “The Division of Education at Seton Hill is dedicated to helping teachers become effective instructors of all students, whatever their talents, special needs or learning styles. Dr. Lettrich’s K-12 experience, along with her special education expertise and the creation of inclusive teaching environments, make her uniquely suited to lead our efforts to produce caring, skilled, technologically savvy teachers.”

Dr. Sondra Lettrich has over 40 years experience in the field of education, and has specialized from the beginning of her career in helping students with special needs. She received her bachelor’s degree from Penn State University in Elementary Education/Speech and Hearing, and her master’s and doctorate from the University of Pittsburgh in Special Education, with an emphasis on deaf education. Prior to coming to Seton Hill in 1987, Dr. Lettrich held teaching positions in local school districts while also serving as a tutor, therapist and coordinator for programs to assist hearing-impaired children. At Seton Hill, Dr. Lettrich developed the Special Education Graduate Program (which she will continue to direct) and has collaborated with Dr. Gawelek, associate professor of education Dr. Terrance DePasquale, and instructor of education Mary Spataro on numerous presentations, programs and publications describing how technology can be used to aid special needs students in inclusive classrooms. She is a member of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, the Council for Exceptional Children, the Pennsylvania Association of Colleges and Teacher Educators, the International Reading Association and the Pennsylvania Association of Graduate Schools.

"With more and more children with special needs being included in regular classrooms, all teachers need to be prepared to apply inclusive teaching strategies,” said Dr. Lettrich. “The unique feature of Seton Hill's program is the emphasis on preparing teachers for universal teaching -- teaching that recognizes the learning needs and styles of all children in a classroom. The inclusive classroom teacher recognizes that it is her/his responsibility to offer an educational experience that can benefit each child. Until the needs of all children are met in the classroom, and they enjoy a true sense of belonging, our schools cannot achieve educational excellence."

Dr. Lettrich will be succeeding Dr. Terrance DePasquale – who has accepted the position of Dean of Graduate and International Programs at Seton Hill - as chair of the Division of Education at Seton Hill. “I am so pleased that Dr. Lettrich has agreed to chair the Education Division,” said Dr. DePasquale. “She has many talents and is well respected and qualified. We are excited to have Dr. Lettrich lead the program into its next phase.”