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UAlbany Professor Awarded $1.2 Million from U.S. Department of Education to Groom Next Generation of Special Education Professors

Projected National Shortage of Special Ed. Faculty to Negatively Affect Outcomes for Students with Disabilities 

School of Education Associate Professor Kevin Quinn will develop new leaders in special education doctoral programs. (Photo by Mark Schmidt)

ALBANY, N.Y. (August 28, 2014) – University at Albany Professor Kevin P. Quinn has been awarded a special education leadership grant from the U.S. Department of Education to develop new leaders in special education doctoral programs. The project was just one of 14 selected nationally for funding from more than 100 applications and will be supported by $1.2 million over five years.  While tenure-track positions in some areas of the humanities have decreased in number, special education is one field where there is a shortage. The Special Education Faculty Needs Assessment revealed that within the next five years, one-half to two-thirds of all special education faculty members at the 97 institutions of higher education that grant a doctorate in special education are expected to retire.

Further analyses disclose that for every special education faculty position that goes unfilled, the supply of new teachers entering the field will decrease by 300. At the same time, demand for new special education teachers is expected to grow 17 percent by 2020 due to projected enrollment increases in the nation’s schools. If the retiring special education faculty members are not replaced, outcomes for students with disabilities will suffer, said Quinn.

To meet the need, Quinn will recruit a diverse cohort of doctoral students with varied special education teaching experiences and strong academic credentials to produce six leaders in special education who are highly skilled in research, teaching, and field supervision. In addition, he will prepare special education leadership personnel with expertise in providing evidence-based behavioral supports and literacy interventions; and assist doctoral graduates in securing employment in leadership positions at institutions of higher education that teach special education.

“This really is an excellent opportunity for individuals interested in obtaining a Ph.D. in Special Education and becoming a faculty member at a college or university. We have a very strong program and the financial support available makes us very competitive nationally,” said Quinn.

Quinn, an associate professor in UAlbany’s Department of Educational and Counseling Psychology, focuses his research on interventions to support improved social behavior for all students, including those with emotional and behavioral disorders (EBD). He has extensive experience working directly with children and youth with emotional and behavioral disorders, including teaching at and administering Rose School, a nationally recognized model demonstration alternative school for children and youths with EBD living in Washington, D.C.

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