2018 Research Awards Recipients

The Division for Research is pleased to announce recipients of its 2018 research awards. Recipients will be recognized on February 9, 2018 at the DR Business Meeting and Reception to be held during the CEC Convention and Expo in Tampa, FL.  Awards will be made to the following outstanding recipients:


Kauffman-Hallahan-Pullen Distinguished Researcher Award         Dr. Naomi Zigmond (University of Pittsburgh)

Distinguished Early Career Research Award

Dr. Sarah Powell (University of Texas, Austin)

Early Career Publication Award Dr. Justin Garwood (Appalachian State University)
Student Research Awards Dr. Allison Gilmour
Dr. Sara Hart
Dr. Tosha Owens

2018 Kauffman-Hallahan-Pullen Distinguished Researcher Award

Dr. Naomi Zigmond, Distinguished Professor of Special Education in the Department of Instruction and Learning at the University of Pittsburgh, has been selected as the 2018 recipient of the Kauffman-Hallahan-Pullen Distinguished Researcher Award from the Division for Research of the Council for Exceptional Children.

The Kauffman-Hallahan-Pullen Distinguished Researcher Award recognizes the critical importance of research in special education that has a meaningful impact on the field. It honors individuals or research teams whose creation of a research base as well as the work done to translate the research into practice has resulted in more effective services or education for exceptional individuals.

The multifaceted impact of Dr. Zigmond’s research and service over a more than 50-year career in special education was a major factor in her selection for the award. As her nominators stated, Dr. Zigmond asked “the tough questions that others do not know how to ask or do not want to ask” as she showed “sustained allegiance to evidence, not ideology” throughout her career. Her research investigated a wide range of topics, such as: the inclusion of students with disabilities in general education, with emphases on teachers’ instructional practices and modifications and the attitudes and perspectives of students with and without disabilities about the experience; early reading education programs; high-school dropouts; and teacher education. She fostered collaborations with and mentored many scholars in the field. Dr. Zigmond’s contributions to special education research also include a six-year tenure as Editor of the special education journal, Exceptional Children, and establishing the Pacific Coast Research Conference in 1992.

The Kauffman-Hallahan-Pullen Distinguished Researcher Award is funded through earnings of the Handbook of Special Education, edited by James Kauffman, Daniel Hallahan, and Paige Pullen and published by Routledge. The award, co-sponsored by Routledge Press, includes a $1,000 honorarium.

Dr. Naomi Zigmond
Distinguished Professor, Retired
University of Pittsburgh

2018 Distinguished Early Career Research Award

Dr. Sarah Powell has been named the recipient of the CEC Division for Research 2018 Distinguished Early Career Research Award. This award recognizes individuals who have made outstanding scientific contributions in basic and/or applied research in special education within the first 10 years after receiving the doctoral degree.

Dr. Powell received her doctorate in 2009 in special education from Vanderbilt University, Peabody College of Education, and is currently an Assistant Professor of Special Education at the University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Powell is one of, if not the, most promising young scholars in the area of mathematics education and high incidence disabilities. Her mathematics intervention work is theoretically based and gaining considerable recognition in the United States and internationally. She has published extensively in top tier journals, such as the Journal of Educational Psychology, Exceptional Children, Learning and Individual Differences, and Elementary School Journal. She has also published multiple book chapters and a textbook, and makes numerous presentations yearly at national conferences. Additionally, she has been able to secure highly competitive grants from the Institute for Education Sciences, National Science Foundation, and Spencer Foundation to support her research. Dr. Powell’s scholarly accomplishments are particularly impressive in light of the service she provides to the fields of special and general education.

The Early Career Research Award, co-sponsored by the Donald D. Hammill Foundation, includes a $1000 honorarium.

Dr. Sarah Powell
Assistant Professor
Department of Special Education
University of Texas at Austin

2018 Early Career Publication Award

Dr. Justin Garwood, faculty member at Appalachian State University, is the recipient of the CEC Division for Research 2018 Distinguished Early Career Publication Award. This award recognizes an outstanding research publication by an individual within the first five years of receipt of the doctoral degree. Dr. Garwood is recognized for his paper in Exceptional Children, “Classroom management affects literacy development of students with emotional and behavioral disorders” (Garwood, Vernon-Feagans, & the Family Life Project Key Investigators, 2017).

This paper reports the results of a longitudinal study in which the overall quality of classroom management children experienced in kindergarten though third grade was examined as a potential predictor of literacy development in a sample of 235 students identified with or at risk for emotional and behavioral disorders (EBD). Garwood and colleagues used the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS) as an indicator of overall classroom management quality, and both Passage Comprehension (PC) and Letter-Word Identification (LW) subtests of the Woodcock-Johnson III Tests of Achievement as indicators of literacy achievement. They also assessed a number of potential moderator variables, including race, gender, and SES. According to Garwood et al., their major finding was that “overall higher quality of classroom management experienced across the first 4 years in school was significantly related to higher scores on standardized measures of reading achievement in third grade for boys with and at risk for EBD, but girls appeared unaffected by the quality of teachers’ classroom management during this same time” (p. 134). The study is important in several ways, including that it is the first study of its kind to document the variability in and potential impact of classroom management quality on academic outcomes for students with or at risk for EBD.

Garwood, J. D., Vernon-Feagans, L., & the Family Life Project Key Investigators. (2017). Classroom management affects literacy development of student
with emotional and behavioral disorders. Exceptional Children, 83, 123-142. doi: 10.1177/0014402916651846

Dr. Justin Garwood
Assistant Professor of Special Education
Department of Reading Education and Special Education
Appalachian State University

2018 Student Research Awards

Through its student research awards program, the CEC Division for Research recognizes high-quality research conducted by students in the course of their undergraduate or graduate special education training program. CEC-DR invites nominations for research in the following categories: qualitative, quantitative, single subject, and mixed methods design. Awards were made this year in three of those four categories: quantitative, qualitative, and single subject designs.

Quantitative Design

Title: Teaching Students with Disabilities and General Education, Special Education, and Dual Certified Teacher Turnover

Abstract: More students with disabilities (SWDs) are being educated in general education classrooms than ever before and general education teachers are taking increasing responsibility for educating these students. Yet, few recent quantitative studies have examined if teaching SWDs influences general education certified, dual certified, or special education certified teachers’ decisions to remain teaching at their same school. In this study, the author fit multilevel logistic regression models to a large state administrative dataset in order to examine (1) if the percentage of SWDs a teacher instructs was associated with turnover, (2) if this association varied by student disability type, and (3) how these associations were moderated by special education certification. The study found that the percentage of SWDs in teachers’ classes was associated with an increase in the odds of turnover after controlling for teacher, classroom, and school characteristics. However, this association was completely moderated by special education certification and partially moderated by dual certification. Special education certification alone had a strong association with turnover, but special education certified teachers had lower odds of turnover when their classes contained more SWDs. Teaching students with behavior disorders was associated with a large increase in the odds of turnover for all categories of teachers. Implications are discussed for future research on training and supporting all teachers who work with SWDs.

Student Awardee:
Allison F. Gilmour, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Special Education
Temple University

Joseph Wehby, Ph.D.
Associate Professor and Chair
Vanderbilt University

Qualitative Design

Title: Possibilities for a Transition with Dignity: Silos and Trialling in Aotearoa New Zealand

Abstract: Transition out of school is more than an administrative procedure, biological life stage, or public policy issue. Achievement of community engagement in post-school life is challenging, particularly for those with significant disability. Findings from this 6-month ethnographic study confirm the existence of these challenges within Aotearoa New Zealand, through the emergent findings of silos, or breakdowns in collaboration while trialling post-school options. Analysis of three in-depth cases is theoretically framed by the capability approach (Nussbaum, 2006; Sen, 1985) to construct a possibility-based study. Therein, the personal perspectives of those least often heard within their own transition and research on the topic are foregrounded. Their experiences are re-envisioned to propose a transition with dignity.

Student Awardee:
Sarah Hart, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Special Education
University of Hartford

Janet S. Gaffney, Ph.D.
University of Auckland, New Zealand

Single-Subject Design

Title: Tiered Teacher Coaching on the Implementation of A Self-Monitoring Strategy with Students At Risk for Emotional and Behavioral Disorders

Abstract: In this study, we examined the effects of a tiered teacher coaching intervention package, including video coaching and in-vivo coaching with use of the Bug-In-Ear technology, on the procedural fidelity of a self-monitoring strategy implemented by four general education teachers to support students with persistent behavioral challenges in the general education setting. Additionally, we evaluated the effects of teachers’ implementation on the on-task behavior of four targeted students at risk for emotional and behavioral disorders. Results of the multiple probe across participants design showed that there is a functional relation between the coaching intervention and the teachers’ implementation fidelity as well as students’ on-task behaviors. Limitations, suggestions for future research, and implications for practice are discussed.

Student Awardee:
Tosha Owens, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
East Carolina University

Ya-yu Lo, Ph.D.
University of North Carolina at Charlotte