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University of Kansas

Donald D. Deshler, Ph.D.

Williamson Family Distinguished Professor of Special Education and the Director of the CRL at KU

Deshler serves as an advisor on SWDs to several organizations including the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the National Governor’s Association, and the Alliance for Excellent Education, the Council on Families and Literacy, and the U. S. State Department. He received a presidential appointment to serve as a member of the National Institute for Literacy Advisory Board. Among the awards he has received are the J.E. Wallace Wallin Award from CEC, the Distinguished Education Achievement Award from National Center for Learning Disabilities, and the 2010 AERA Special Education Distinguished Researcher Award.

Sean J. Smith, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Department of Special Education

Smith has an emphasis in technology innovation R&D specific to learner variability with work ranging from virtual reality to technology-based literacy integration. His research at the Center has focused on online content alignment to the Principles of UDL as well as the impact of parent engagement in fully online learning.

Edward L. Meyen, Ph.D.

Professor, Department of Special Education, and Co-Director of the eLearning Design Lab (eDL)

Meyen has worked in the area R&D in e-learning with a focus on STEM for SWDs since 1996. His research at the Center continues to largely focus on the area of design, e-learning instructional tutorial systems for SWDs, the inclusion of parents as collaborators in instruction, and formative assessment.

Daryl F. Mellard, Ph.D.

Project Director

Daryl serves as the Center’s project director. His previous research has focused on adolescent and adult literacy and on improving the quality of life for persons with disabilities as they participate with community agencies, community and technical colleges, social services, and employment settings. Recent research has examined response to intervention frameworks for improving instruction and learning disabilities determination. In other areas, he’s very interested in the piscatorial arts.

James Basham, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Department of Special Education

Basham’s research is focused on student learning in learning environments chiefly related to the application of UDL. His research at the Center has focused mainly on pedagogical smart system designed to support student learning and teacher instructional planning in UDL-based STEM educational environments.

Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST)

David H. Rose, Ed.D.

Chief Education Officer, CAST

Dr. Rose is a pioneer in UDL. Co- founder of CAST, his vision is to expand educational opportunities for all students, especially for SWDs, through the innovative use of new technologies. He is the current PI of the National AIM Center and the National Instructional Materials Standard (NIMAS) Center. For the past 30 years, Rose has served on the faculty of the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He is the co-author or co-editor of four books.

William (Skip) Stahl, M.S.

Senior Policy Analyst, CAST

Mr. Stahl is the Project Director for the OSEP-funded NIMAS Development Center, a national initiative implementing the transformation of K-12 textbooks into specialized accessible formats for students with print disabilities. Mr. Stahl has extensive experience in the development of technical standards related to accessible instructional materials, technical assistance to states, and professional development for educators. He is a nationally regarded expert in UDL.

Tracey Hall, Ph.D.

Senior Research Scientist/Instructional Designer, CAST

Dr. Hall directs CAST’s initiatives to create and evaluate digital supported environments across content areas. She specializes in assessment and instructional design grounded in effective teaching practices as applied in the development and implementation of Universal Design for Learning projects. She is a co- and principal investigator on several federal and foundation funded grants investigating the impact of digitally-mediated curriculum design on outcomes for students with disabilities

Sam Catherine Johnston, Ed.D.

Research Scientist, CAST

“Sam” Johnston participates in the formative development and research of technology-based UDL environments. She is the Project Director for the Open Consortium, a collaborative effort with Creative Commons, Carnegie Mellon OLI, and Washington State Community Colleges to provide UDL design services to community and technical colleges that receive Department of Labor funding. Sam holds an Ed. D. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Mindy Johnson, Ed.M.

Instructional Designer and Research Associate, CAST

With expertise in the formative development and research of technology-based universally designed learning environments, Mindy also provides knowledge and expertise in the use of web-based social media, collaborative tools and in gaming in educational contexts. Mindy has an Ed.M., Technology in Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education, Cambridge, MA.

Michael Connell, Ed. D.

Educational Technology, Learning Design, Evaluation and Metrics, CAST

Dr. Connell combines an interest and expertise in neuroscience and learning with technology-based educational environments. He has prior experience as a Software Design Engineer at Microsoft Corporation, Sunburst Communications, Inc., and Lexia Learning Systems, Inc.; and a strong interest in addressing the variability of learners via networked technologies.

National Association of State Directors of Special Education (NASDSE)

Bill East, Ed.D.

Executive Director, NASDSE

East has more than 40 years of experience in the fields of education and mental health. East served as the state director of special education in Alabama and was honored by the Alabama Federation Council for Exceptional Children as the Outstanding Special Educator in Alabama. East has served on the board of directors and as president of NASDSE and was appointed to the position of executive director in 1999.

Paula Burdette, Ph.D.

Site Director, NASDSE

Burdette has led numerous policy forums and authored or co-authored more than 60 policy analyses on various IDEA-related topics. She served Delaware Department of Education as the State Personnel Development Grant director. Dr. Burdette also provided technical assistance to a nine-state region through Kentucky’s University Center of Excellence.