University Relations and Communications
MSU Billings special education professor honored for lifetime achievement
May 15, 2008
Dan Carter, University Relations, 657-2269
MSU BILLINGS NEWS SERVICES — Dr. Linda Christensen, a professor emeritus of special education at Montana State University Billings, recently received the Special Education Lifetime Achievement award from the Montana Council for Exceptional Children.
The award, presented to Christensen at the council’s recent statewide convention in Billings, recognizes an individual who has made continued and sustained contributions to the education of children and youth with exceptional abilities. Because of winning the Montana honor, Christensen will be nominated for the National J. E. Wallace Wallin Special Education Lifetime Achievement Award.
An educator with a distinguished teaching career of more than 30 years, Christensen taught for 26 years at MSU Billings. She was awarded emeritus status this spring and is now retired.
During her teaching career, Christensen was an active member of the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) and the Council for Children with Behavior Disorders at both the national and state level. She was the faculty advisor of the CEC student chapter at MSU Billings where her colleagues said she “led by example, encouraging students to become actively involved in service projects in the community.”
The most notable achievement was establishment of the “Kids on the Block” program in which students present programs to schools and community organizations about the needs of children with disabilities using puppets. She has received recognition for her work at the university level by being awarded both the Faculty Achievement Award for Outstanding Community Service and the Shannon Weatherly Faculty Scholarship Award.
Christensen has published numerous articles, book chapters and presented at scholarly conferences throughout the United States. She has received recognition through grants and fellowships from the U.S. Department of Education, Montana Office of Public Instruction, the Billings Clinic Foundation, the MSU Billings Foundation and the Yellowstone County AIDS Coalition.
In Montana, Christensen has taken a leading role in bringing together faculty from institutions of higher education across the state through the formation of Montana’s Higher Education Consortium. Education faculty from public and private universities in Montana have come together to discuss issues of common interest related to teacher preparation. The original membership of this group was faculty from special education programs but under her leadership the group expanded to include faculty from general education.