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Drive to serve students with disabilities brings Blugold full circle

Teaching next generation of educators

By Julie Poquette

During her 38-plus-year career, whether working as a K-12 teacher, a coach for other teachers or a college professor, Dr. Rose Battalio has developed a strong passion for students who are “on the edge.”

Battalio, a UW-Eau Claire professor of special education who also is a Blugold alumna, has dedicated her professional life to supporting students who have emotional behavioral disabilities.

“They’re the kids who act out — who struggle,” Battalio says. “They’re my passion. They’re the students who need an advocate, and I can be the advocate for them.”

After graduating from UW-Eau Claire with a bachelor’s degree in special education, Battalio went on to serve for 18½ years in public schools, first as a special education teacher and then in a support role for practicing teachers who taught students with emotional behavioral disabilities. She would go on to earn both a master’s degree in educational administration and doctorate in special education to advance her knowledge in the field.

“My passion for special education teaching grew over the years,” Battalio says. “This growth had me asking questions about my profession and how we work with students with disabilities. I discovered that to answer some of my questions, I had to pursue more education and find a way to support students in a larger way. Thus, I found my way back to UWEC!”

A UW-Eau Claire faculty member since 2000 and a past recipient of the university’s Excellence in Teaching Award, Battalio says she has been honored to step into the shoes of her previous professors.

“I walked away from UWEC in 1981 feeling confident that I could teach all students who came into my classroom,” she says. “Yes, I had more to learn, but I had been given a fabulous foundation. To have my university students feel this way when they begin their teaching career makes all that I do worth it.”