University of Minnesota
Driven to Discover


History of the Summer Institute

Minnesota Early Intervention Summer Institute

The Minnesota Early Intervention Summer Institute was founded in 1982 in response to the establishment of a new licensure rule that became effective in January of that year. Minnesota Public Schools had been mandated to provide services for young children with disabilities since 1976. However, there were no guidelines as to what coursework teachers should complete in order to work in this field. Following much study, the Minnesota Board of Teaching had established a teaching license in “Special Education/Early Childhood” that required teachers currently working with young children with disabilities to fulfill specific academic coursework that most of the teachers had not taken within their degree programs. In 1982 there were approximately 375 teachers employed in preschool special education settings who needed additional training to meet the requirements of the new license.

Joan Goetz, a Special Education/Early Childhood consultant with the Minnesota State Department of Education, and Pamm Minden, Ph.D., a faculty member from St. Cloud State University, proposed a joint training effort that would be sponsored cooperatively by universities and colleges interested in training early childhood special educators. Faculty from St. Cloud State University; Minnesota State University, Moorhead; Minnesota State University, Mankato; University of Minnesota, Duluth; University of Minnesota, Twin Cities; Bemidji State University; and the University of St. Thomas met with Joan Goetz to plan the 1982 Summer Institute.

In the early days of the Summer Institute, the training was extremely rigorous. In the first year, the courses were scheduled to meet for one and a half days in April in Brainerd and five days in June at the College of St. Benedict. Faculty from the sponsoring institutions of higher education provided the instruction. There were texts for all courses and exams and/or term papers were required. The content areas were infant development, parent and family, and social-emotional development. Dr. Minden taught the courses. Academic credits for the coursework were offered through the participating institutions.

The following year, St. Cloud State University received a federal grant to prepare early childhood professionals for positions as “infant development specialists.” The training focused on infant development, infant assessment and programming, and parent/infant relationships. Dr. Minden and Evelyn Lynch, Ph.D., from Minnesota State University, Moorhead provided instruction in 1983.

Since that time, the Summer Institute has grown into a powerful mechanism with which to update early childhood professionals on the latest innovations in service provision. Both Minnesota and out-of-state experts provide instruction. Many attendees come year after year to learn about new instructional practices and to network with colleagues.

Past Early Intervention Summer Institutes

  • 2008-2015 Institutes have a variety of resources available
  • June 23-24, 2007  
  • Aug. 7-9, 2006
    Responsive Systems: Making Systems Work for All Families
  • Aug. 2-4, 2004
    Inclusion: Who, What, Where, When, Why & How?
  • Aug. 4-6, 2003
    Who’s on First? Who’s In? Who’s Out? Effective Practice in Evaluation, Eligibility and Assessment
  • Aug. 5-7, 2002
    Diversity: Challenges and Opportunities in Early Childhood Assessment and Programming
  • Aug. 6-8, 2001
    Supporting Social Emotional Development of Infants, Toddlers & Young Children With and Without Disabilities
  • Aug. 7-9, 2000
    Early Literacy: Listening, Speaking, Reading & Writing for Young Children with Special Needs and Their Families
  • Aug. 2-4, 1999
    Supporting Professionals to Meet Challenges in Serving Families
  • Aug. 3-5, 1998
    Early Brain Research Implications for Practice with Infants and Young Children with Disabilities
  • Aug. 4-6, 1997
    Providing Services for Young Children with Autism
  • Aug. 5-7, 1996
    Assessment Strategies, Techniques & Issues Concerning Young Children Birth through Age Six with Disabilities and Their Families (10th Anniversary)
  • Aug. 1-3, 1994
    Making It Work: Collaboration in Inclusive Settings
  • Aug. 9-11, 1993
    Health & Medical Issues that Impact on Young Children and their Families
  • Aug. 3-5, 1992
    Exploring the World of Young Children who have Challenging Behaviors
  • Aug. 5-8, 1991
    Young Children, Families, & Professionals: Strategies for Community Intervention

© 2017 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.
The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer
Last modified on February 21, 2013.