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IES Grant

Title: Postdoctoral Research Training in Special Education: A Research to Practice Model
Center: NCSER Year: 2020
Principal Investigator: Wills, Howard Awardee: University of Kansas
Program: Postdoctoral Research Training Program in Special Education and Early Intervention      [Program Details]
Award Period: 5 years (09/01/2020 – 08/31/2025) Award Amount: $760,000
Type: Training Award Number: R324B200021

Co-Principal Investigator: Boyd, Brian

The postdoctoral research program will provide postdoctoral fellows with extensive research training in the areas of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and emotional and behavioral disorders (EBD). The overarching goal of this program is to provide four fellows (with 2 years of training each) with a foundation in rigorous scientific methodology so that they can ultimately contribute to the field of special education in a way that is meaningful to practitioners.

The program will be centered around eight competencies organized under the domains of ASD and/or EBD content knowledge, research skills and knowledge, and professional skills. The competencies include (1) synthesis of research, (2) applied intervention research in ASD and/or EBD, (3) Standards for Excellence in Education Research, (4) rigorous single-case and randomized controlled designs, (5) multilevel and longitudinal modeling analysis, (6) grant and leadership development, (7) dissemination, and (8) career development. Fellows will work with the PI and Co-PI as well as other faculty mentors that align with their training goals. In collaboration with their mentors, fellows will develop an Individual Fellowship Plan that will identify the skills they hope to gain within each of the above competency areas and serve as a blueprint for their training experience. The training program will provide fellows with various professional development opportunities, including a seminar on career and professional development, coursework, workshops focused on research methods and statistical skills, and trainings on the IES What Works Clearinghouse standards for group and single-case design studies. Fellows will also be actively involved in at least two research projects. Research opportunities currently include (but are not limited to) the following: (1) a project to develop and test a web-based enhancement of a classroom-based social communication and play intervention for young children with ASD, (2) an efficacy study of supports for teachers implementing a program designed to promote positive transition outcomes for high school students with disabilities, (3) a project to develop and test a professional development and coaching model to improve paraprofessionals' implementation of systematic instruction for students with moderate to severe developmental disabilities, (4) a study to test the efficacy of Check-in/Check-out for students at risk for EBD, and (5) an efficacy study of a middle school classroom management intervention. Fellows will also conduct an individual research project in a community-based setting with children with ASD or EBD under the guidance of their mentors.