President's Message


Winter 2018

A Way of Thinking

Kristen McMaster          
University of Minnesota


“Science is a way of thinking much more than it is a body of knowledge.” ~ Carl Sagan

By the time you read this issue of Focus on Research, the 2018 CEC annual convention will almost be upon us! I am really looking forward to seeing everyone in Florida (and thawing out from the Minnesota winter). It will be an exciting time to share the most up-to- date knowledge being generated in the field, and to discuss with administrators and teachers how this knowledge might best be applied in practice. And it’s another opportunity to share stories that illustrate that RESEARCH MATTERS in the lives and learning of children and youth with exceptional needs. Continue reading  . . . .

DR is now posting its newsletter, Focus on Research, on this site.  See the DR Newsletters here.

Research Policy and Funding

CEC-DR Issues Guidance for Use of Single-Case Research (February, 2018)

Over the past year, the CEC-DR Single Case Design workgroup has worked on the development of two documents intended to provide guidance to schools and districts in using single-case research to identify promising practices for children with significant behavioral and learning needs. These documents (a policy statement and a how-to guide) were recently completed and are designed to help educators distinguish reliable evidence from the jumble of fads and pseudo-scientific practices that claim to be “research-based.” Although similar guidance documents exist, Single Case Design is often overlooked as a valid approach to generating evidence-based practices for school used. These documents are intended to fill a gap in guidance provided to districts and schools, and will be shared with other CEC divisions, school administrators' organizations, and other relevant groups. Please feel free to share them with educators and policy-makers in your networks.

Many thanks to subcommittee chairs Jennifer Ledford and Wendy Rodgers, along with Tim Lewis, Sam Odom, Rob O’Neill, Ilene Schwartz, Kimberly Vannest, and Katie Zimmerman for their thoughtful work on these materials. We envision other dissemination opportunities (e.g., conference presentations, webinars) to follow their release.

Single Case Design: Policy Statement
Single Case Design: How-to-Guide

DR Responds to IES Request for Comments on NCSER/NCER Research Goals (October, 2017)

In July, 2017, the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) announced it was seeking input on its education and special education research programs, specifically around two of its five research goals—Efficacy and Replication (Goal 3), and Effectiveness (Goal 4). Specifically, IES asked for feedback on whether these goals, as currently configured, are meeting the needs of the field, or whether changes should be considered to incentivize and support more replication and effectiveness studies. The invitation for public comment was issued on behalf of the National Center for Special Education Research (NCSER) and the National Center for Education Research (NCER) and comments were due October 2, 2017.

In response, the Division for Research developed a survey to obtain perspectives and recommendations from DR members, from Principal Investigators who had received grant funding over the last decade for Goal 2,3,and 4 awards, and from faculty affiliated with the National Center for Leadership in Intensive Intervention. The DR Board developed its response to the IES invitation for comment based on the input it received.


Check out DR business, social and program highlights as well as some important CEC Public Policy sessions we encourage members to attend.

DR Business and Social Meetings

See our schedule of business and social meetings as well as select program sessions in the DR program at convention.

2. Board Proposes Change in DR By-Laws

DR members will be asked to vote on two changes in the DR By-Laws at the Feb 9, 2018 DR Business Meeting to be held in Tampa, FL.  One change spells out how DR Board of Director vacancies will be filled when they occur mid-term, and the other updates the schedule for announcing the names of persons who have been elected to the board.  See the By-Laws, including the proposed changes, and prepared to vote in Tampa!

3.  Convention Sessions on Federal Policy and Funding

Check out these public policy sessions taking place in Tampa, including presentation by IES staff.

4.  DR's 2018 Research Award Recipients Named

Congratulations to the six recipients of our 2018 Research Awards program. These awards will be presented at the DR business meeting and reception in Tampa on Friday, Feb 9, 2018.

Kauffman-Hallahan-Pullen Distinguished Research Award:  Dr. Naomi Zigmond
Early Career Research Award:  Dr. Sarah Powell
Early Career Publication Award:  Dr. Justin Garwood
Student Research Awards:  Drs. Allison Gilmour, Sarah Hart, and Tosha Owens

1.  DR Seeks Nominations for DR Vice President
Each year, DR members elect a new Vice-President who will serve 4 years in a leadership role for the Division (Year 1: Vice-President; Year 2: President-Elect; Year 3: President; and Year 4: Past President). This year, we will be electing this new addition to the DR presidential line for the period of July 1, 2018 through June 30, 2022.

CEC-DR is a terrific group of people with whom to work. We are leaders who advance special education research and related public policy for CEC. Our board members are committed to high quality research, evidence-based practices, and influencing the field.

If you are interested in running, know someone who you believe should be nominated, and/or have any questions, please contact Betsy Talbott at etalbott@uic.edu. You may also learn about CEC-DR elsewhere on our website: www.cecdr.org.  The deadline for nominations (including self-nominations) is Feb. 1st, 2018.

Click to see previous announcements.

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