Dorothea Natalie Rau, Ph.D.



Dr. Richard D. Howe, “Dorothea Natalie Rau, Ph.D.,” Appalachian State University Libraries Digital Collections, accessed April 22, 2024,

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Dorothea Natalie Rau, Ph.D.


Appalachian State University
Universities and colleges--Faculty


Dr. Richard D. Howe




Biographical sketches


Boone (N.C.)

Spatial Coverage

Temporal Coverage



Professor Emerita

Biographical Text

Professor Emerita of Language, Reading and Exceptionalities Dorothea N. Rau (March 31, 1925-) was born as the tenth child of the Lutheran minister Christian Rau and his wife, Freida, in the Black Forest town of Wildberg in Germany. After the death of both her parents in 1931, she was raised by an aunt in the old university town of Tubingen. Her school years were overshadowed by increasing control by the Hitler regime and by the horrors of World War II. Soon after the Allied takeover of Germany, Rau was recruited as an emergency teacher, and she earned her elementary teaching certificate from the Pedagogic Institute in Kuenselsau, Germany. Rau received her M.Ed degree in special education from the University of Mississippi, Oxford, and then returned to teach in southern Germany. She later immigrated to the United States, where she entered the Ph.D. degree program at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, Illinois. After completing her degree in special education, with a concentration in mental disorders, Dr. Rau also did postdoctoral studies at the University of Illinois, training as a supervisor of field experiences in special education. She also renewed her contacts with German schools and for five years assumed a leadership role in developing a mental retardation program in Stetten, Germany. Among Dr. Rau's professional accomplishments was the establishment of special education services within the Lutheran elementary school system of greater St. Louis, Missouri. She began the program for five children with special learning needs, but it expanded to offer a wide range of services to 212 children at twelve different locations. These services include pre-school screening, parent consultations, and speech and language therapy. Dr. Rau taught as a tenure-track professor at Appalachian State University from 1979 to 1992, devoting twenty-six consecutive semesters to supervising student teachers and interns in special education. Her courses focused on instructional methods for special needs and learning disabled children. Her publications and speeches focused on the employment, training, and career development of secondary school students with special learning needs. While at Appalachian State, Dr. Rau established the North Carolina Unit on Career Development for Exceptional Children. She served as faculty advisor and support person for the Appalachian Chapter of the Council for Exceptional Children and organized a study-abroad program to England, Germany, and the Netherlands for twenty special education majors. In 1990, she was recognized as Outstanding Teacher of the Reich College of Education by the Appalachian Student Government Association. Dr. Rau also helped establish a committee to internationalize the Reich College of Education. Dr. Rau received her appointment as professor emerita on March 20, 1992. Due to loss of vision, she currently resides at the Lutheran Home in Hickory, North Carolina. Sources: Appalachian State University files and personal correspondence. -Dr. Richard D. Howe

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