The Council for Exceptional Children Division for Learning Disabilities honored Professor Stephanie Al Otaiba with the Jeannette E. Fleishner Career Leadership Award at its recent annual meeting.
The award recognizes those who have advanced the field of learning disabilities through direct services, policy development, community service, research, or organizational leadership throughout their career.
Al Otaiba is the Patsy and Ray Caldwell Centennial Chair in Teaching and Learning. Recently, the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences awarded her a $1,399,721 grant for Project GROW, a kindergarten intervention. The purpose of the grant is to design a read-aloud intervention to improve kindergartners’ social and emotional vocabulary and their listening comprehension.
She will be handling new submissions starting October 1, 2020.
The journal focuses on practical applications of assessment, with an emphasis on assessment considerations for special populations. The publishers are the Hammill Institute on Disabilities and SAGE in association with the Council for Educational Diagnostic Services.
The American Educational Research Association (AERA) recently recognized Professor Stephanie Al Otaiba with top honors for her substantial research accomplishments in the field. She was inducted as an AERA Fellow, September 1, 2020.
The fellows program was established to “convey the Association’s commitment to excellence in research, and to enable the next generation of emerging scholars to appreciate the value of sustained achievements in research and the breadth of scholarship worthy of recognition.”
Al Otaiba is the Patsy and Ray Caldwell Centennial Chair in Teaching and Learning. Her research interests include school-based literacy interventions, response to intervention, learning disabilities, diverse learners, and teacher training. She has published over 120 journal articles and book chapters related to these interests. She has also developed reading curricular materials. Her line of research has been supported by several federally funded grants from the U.S. Department of Education Institute of Education Sciences, the Office of Special Education Programs, and from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.
to convey the Association’s commitment to excellence in research,
The Institute of Education Sciences (IES), the statistics, research, and evaluation arm of the U.S. Department of Education, is awarding significant funding to four Simmons professors: Jill Allor, Stephanie Al Otaiba, Aki Kamata, and Candace Walkington. The funding total, including two additional sub-grants, is $7,841,791.
Teaching and Learning Professor Jill Allor, Ed.D., will receive $3,299,943 over five years for “Examining the Efficacy of Friends on the Block: An Intensive Early Literacy Intervention for Elementary Students with Intellectual and Developmental Disability (Project Intensity)” The purpose of Project Intensity is to conduct a randomized control trial (RCT) to evaluate the efficacy of a literacy intervention designed to enhance reading and language outcomes for elementary students with intellectual and developmental disability (IDD). Read grant here.
Professor Stephanie Al Otaiba, Ph.D., receives $1,399,721 over four years for “Project GROW: Growing Vocabulary Knowledge to Support Comprehension Development through a Kindergarten Dialogic Read-Aloud Intervention”.
The project’s aim is to design an innovative whole-class read aloud intervention that can improve, or “grow” kindergartners’ knowledge of taught academic vocabulary, and their generalized vocabulary knowledge, listening and reading comprehension, and phonological awareness. Read grant here.
Professor Aki Kamata, Ph.D., executive director of the Center on Research and Evaluation, will receive $899,901 over a three-year period for “Developing Computational Tools for Model-based Oral Reading Fluency Assessments”. He also will be working on two sub-grants with faculty at UT Austin and the University of Oregon.
This project builds upon a previously IES funded project to develop a computer-based oral reading fluency (ORF) assessment system. As part of a Response to Intervention (RTI) framework, ORF measures have been widely used as screening tools to help identify students at risk for poor achievement outcomes, and as progress monitoring tools to help teachers determine effective instruction and monitor students reading growth. Read grant here.
Associate Professor Candace Walkington’s project, “Exploring Collaborative Embodiment for Learning (EXCEL): Understanding Geometry through Multiple Modalities” is receiving $1,398,245 over four years to build an augmented reality/virtual reality game for learning geometry based on the novella Flatland.
The purpose of this project is to explore how the interaction between collaboration and multisensory experiences affects students’ geometric reasoning through the use of augmented reality (AR) technology. Read grant here.
To develop the game, she is working with Simmons Assistant Dean for Technology and Innovation Tony Cuevas, SMU Guildhall faculty member Elizabeth Stringer, Professor Mitch Nathan from University of Wisconsin, Madison, and a software company, GeoGebra.
Provost Elizabeth Loboa has named Teaching and Learning Professor Jill Allor a Distinguished University Professor for her excellence in teaching, researching, and community service. Allor is one of two SMU faculty members recognized this year for the highest levels of academic achievement.
The honor is based on recommendations from deans and endorsed by the Office of the Provost. The University Distinguished Professorships were created in 1982 by SMU’s Board of Trustees to celebrate outstanding faculty members, who receive cash awards of $10,000 per year and are appointed for a five-year rolling term.
Since arriving at SMU in 2004, Professor Allor has developed and maintained a highly productive research agenda across a broad range of topics within her field: structured literacy tutoring for elementary readers, alternative assessment models for students with intellectual disabilities and below average IQs, and approaches for promoting literacy among pre-school level readers. She is a former special education teacher whose research is school-based and focuses on reading acquisition for students with and without disabilities, including students with learning disabilities and intellectual disabilities.
She has published 31 peer-reviewed journal articles and seven book chapters. During her time at SMU she has received $7 million dollars in external research funding and has presented at 65 conferences.
Professor Allor has taught a broad range of courses, including literacy, assessment, quantitative methods, curriculum/instruction, and special education. She has also supervised Simmons’ doctoral students through dissertation.
Throughout her SMU career, Allor has maintained a strong commitment to service – to Simmons, SMU and the national community. In Simmons, for example, she served as chair of the Department of Teaching and Learning for nine years.
Allor received her Ed.D. in special education with an emphasis on reading and reading disabilities from Peabody College of Vanderbilt University. Prior to arriving at SMU in 2004, she held faculty appointments at Florida State University and Louisiana State University.