Congratulations Professor Karren Timmermans & Pacific University!

The FIRST Oregon University with a program accredited by IDA!

Pacific University is proud to offer the Dyslexia Certificate Program.  This program provides teachers with the skills and knowledge to meet the needs of students with dyslexia, from understanding and recognizing it to implementing evidence-based instruction. The Dyslexia Certificate is a part-time, 15-credit program for teachers and others who are interested in learning about Dyslexia. The program addresses the foundational aspects of literacy acquisition and development, literacy, assessment methodologies, and literacy instructional strategies for phonological awareness, phonics, vocabulary, comprehension, and fluency.

This program includes/embeds Dyslexia Certificate courses that are International Dyslexia Association (IDA) accredited. The program aligns with the Science of Reading and Oregon’s Early Literacy Framework and on the Oregon Department of Education’s List of Dyslexia‐Related Training Opportunities.

Congratulations Professor Karren Timmermans & Pacific University!

Interview with Professor Timmermans

1. What led you to pursue IDA Certification for your Dyslexia Certificate program? 

I chose to pursue IDA Accreditation for the Dyslexia Certificate Program to not only enhance the program and strengthen our program’s status but also to keep an eye on ongoing improvement and current practice. Offering the Dyslexia Certificate Program is a service to our teachers as they expand and develop their skills and knowledge of how to best support their students who struggle to gain access to print. IDA offers a community through which our candidates can engage beyond the Dyslexia Certificate Program locally and nationally. Providing this training communicates to our constituents/partners/community that we understand, we care, and we are taking action to support students who may be identified as dyslexic. This action communicates to our community that we understand that dyslexia is a serious issue, affecting far too many students and that we are here to be part of the solution. We prepare our candidates to be able to teach and support the whole child and the diversity of learners that make up the contemporary classroom. Behind this accreditation is the latest pedagogy on how to effectively teach students with dyslexia and other specified learning disabilities. This accreditation means that we can effectively and meaningfully prepare our candidates to work with this incredibly important, and sometimes overlooked, student population. The IDA Accreditation demonstrates our commitment to excellence in teacher education.

2. What resources did you find helpful in completing the Accreditation process? 

The International Dyslexia Association provides numerous resources throughout the accreditation process. They intend to support applicants on their journey toward accreditation. The Program Review and Accreditation Handbook provides a detailed outline of IDA’s program expectations, and the IDA Knowledge and Practice Standards provide a detailed roadmap of learning outcomes, goals, and expectations. I chose to apply through the Accreditation Pipeline Option. This included five 90-minute webinars and three additional group discussions highlighting aspects of the application. I found this time to be invaluable as it not only helped me to navigate the handbook but also, I could have conversations with other applicants. The webinars made the process collaborative rather than isolating; a much-needed space while coming out of the pandemic. Additionally, the program facilitators provided feedback and support as I completed each section of the application. Successful accreditation is an apparent goal of the IDA.

3. How many students have you served in this program in the last three years? 

To date, we have served 17 students. We are currently working with a cohort of 18 from a school district in Washington. Their tuition is funded through a federal grant. We also have several new candidates starting this summer. I am certain the accreditation from IDA has positively impacted enrollment in the Dyslexia Certificate Program.

4. What goals do you have for this program in the future? 

Beginning in Fall 2024, the Dyslexia Certificate program will be embedded within our Reading Interventionist Endorsement Program. That is, licensed teachers who are working toward adding their reading endorsement, will also earn the dyslexia certificate. This will be a great asset to reading specialists and classroom teachers who want to expand and deepen their literacy instruction for those who struggle to access print. As a stand-alone certificate, the Dyslexia Certificate did not qualify for financial aid, creating a barrier for many. Now we will be able to better serve our teachers as they continue their professional journey.

5. What do you find most rewarding about preparing future teachers? 

Being a part of children’s literacy journey is one of the most joyful aspects of teaching. Providing our teachers with skills and resources to help their students develop and expand their literacy skills is rewarding. I most enjoy talking with them about their students and helping them find ways to support their students. These ways can be simply rethinking the sequence of a lesson or finding ways to reduce the visual distractions around the classroom. Engaging in conversations and talking through ideas about teaching and learning to read can help teacher rethink their practice.

6. If other University Professors are looking to create something similar in their universities, may we connect you as a resource?

Yes, I would be happy to work with other university faculty to build programs that support children’s literacy development. Thank you for this opportunity. For University Professors interested in pursuing IDA Program Accreditation, or for teachers interested in obtaining their Dyslexia Certificate or Reading Interventionist Endorsement Program.

Contact: Karen Karren Timmermans –

Karren Timmermans, PhD spent 10 years teaching elementary school in the U.S. and Europe. Received MA from the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs in curriculum &instruction: reading. And completed her PhD in early childhood, intervention literacy at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.

For information on IDA’s Educator Preparation Program Accreditation Steps and Handbook:

For information on University Programs Across the US Accredited by IDA:

For information on Independent Institutions Accredited by IDA:

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