About Me

I am a professor in the School of Education at Indiana University-Bloomington, where I chair the Department of Curriculum and Instruction and direct the Ph.D. program in special education. Since arriving at IU in 1998, I have been awarded more than $7 million in external funding to support my research and development efforts and have authored almost 50 peer-reviewed publications, broadly focused on the role and impact of interagency collaboration and family engagement in public schools and communities. I am currently the principal investigator of a randomized controlled trial, 'Assessing the Impacts of the Educational Liaison Model in Youth Foster Care', funded by the Laura and John Arnold Foundation. My professional goals include promoting emotional health, preventing mental illness, supporting families, and improving educational and social outcomes, especially for young people with emotional and behavioral challenges.

I have extensive experience in special education, urban schools, mixed methodologies in research, and teacher education. These days, I teach in the undergraduate, graduate, and Ph.D. programs in teacher education and special education and am a member of IU’s Faculty Colloquium on Excellence in Teaching. I am the former director of the IU’s Teaching All Learners Program (TAL) that prepares undergraduates to teach in elementary school using inclusive approaches for students with special education labels. Prior to to coming to IU, I directed the graduate and undergraduate special education programs at IUPUI’s School of Education for nearly 10 years and was a founding director of the Center for Urban and Multicultural Education (CUME), where I also served for several years as acting Associate Dean for Research.

I am a former Independent Hearing Officer (Administrative Law Judge) for the Indiana Department of Education and spent seven years as a member of the Institutional Review Board. I am most honored to have won IUPUI’s prestigious Joseph E. Taylor Award for Excellence in Diversity in 2005 and was recently honored with a leadership award from the Higher Education Consortium for Special Education (http://www.hecse.net/). As the past-president and a long-time executive board member of the HECSE, I help to inform federal policymaking and support the improvement of doctoral preparation programs in special education. I’m an associate editor for the Journal of Child and Family Studies and serve on the executive board of the Mixed Methods International Research Association (MMIRA.org).

My most important privilege has been to collaborate with students, practitioners, colleagues, and family members, in scholarship than spans a variety of fields including education, child and family studies, mental health, social work, and others. I grew up in a small town in Wisconsin and, after completing a four-year stint as a Hospital Corpsman in the U.S. Coast Guard, I found my calling teaching in our public schools. I am quite happily married, have 4 kids who range in age from 15 to 35, and our family has 2 cats, 5 chickens, and a pretty cool dog named Jupiter.