2017 Research Awards Recipients

DR is pleased to announce recipients of its 2017 research awards. Recipients will be recognized on April 21, 2017 at the DR Business Meeting and Reception to be held during the CEC Convention and Expo in Boston, MA.  Awards were made in the following categories this year:


Kauffman-Hallahan Pullen Distinguished Researcher Award         Dr. Kathleen Lane (University of Kansas)
Distinguished Early Career Research Award

Dr. Erin Barton (Vanderbilt University)
Dr. Christopher Lemons (Vanderbilt University) 

Early Career Publication Award Dr. Robin Parks Ennis (University of Alabama at Birmingham)
Student Research Awards  Dr. Michelle Cumming
Ms. Rachel L. Seaman


2017 Kauffman-Hallahan-Pullen Distinguished Researcher Award


The CEC Division for Research is pleased to announce that Dr. Kathleen Lane is the 2017 recipient of the Kauffman-Hallahan-Pullen Distinguished Researcher Award.

Dr. Lane earned her doctoral, master’s and bachelor’s degrees at the University of California, Riverside. She has served on faculty at the University of Arizona, California State University-Los Angeles, Peabody College of Vanderbilt, and North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is currently a professor of special education at the University of Kansas where she has served since 2012.

Dr. Lane has been a prolific scholar in the field of special education. A review of her curriculum vitae notes 160 publications in refereed journals, primarily research-based. She is the author of 8 books, 31 chapters, and an additional 25 other publications. Her research has yielded external support approximating $10 million.

A significant focus of Dr. Lane’s research has been on students with emotional and behavioral disorders (EBD).  This scholarly work has consistently demonstrated a clear research-to-practice emphasis and, consequently, she and her colleagues have worked extensively with school, district and state educational programs. A major emphasis has been on the development, and validation, of comprehensive, integrated, three-tiered (Ci3T) models of prevention that enable schools to prevent the development of learning and behavior problems for students with, and at risk, for EBD and also to remediate the effects of existing challenges that students experience. Her research has been designed to increase learning and understanding of evidence-based prevention practices. In a related vein, Dr. Lane has been engaged in consistent efforts to validate preventive strategies, interventions for students at risk for difficulties, and school-wide program interventions.

Kathleen Lane has also conducted numerous validations of screening tools to provide assistance to educators in the evidence-based selection of such tools. This work includes examination of their social validity and practices with attention to needed professional learning and sustainability. Related work on functional assessment-based interventions has been extensive.

Dr. Lane also has studied students with EBD in terms of learning difficulties and instructional strategies. Her work has made major contributions in the too-often overlooked area of academic interventions and outcomes for these students.  Numerous studies have provided insight into reading/literacy instruction as well as writing, the latter (in conjunction with Karen Harris and Steve Graham) examining the implementation of Self-Regulated Strategy Development for writing and its impact on students at risk for EBD.  Dr. Lane is most deserving of recognition as the recipient of the 2017 Kauffman-Hallahan-Pullen Distinguished Researcher Award of the Division for Research of the Council for Exceptional Children.

Kathleen Lane
Professor of Special Education
School of Education
University of Kansas

2017 Distinguished Early Career Research Award

The Division for Research is pleased to name two recipients of its 2017 Distinguished Early Career Research Award:  Dr. Erin Barton and Dr. Christopher Lemons.  This award recognizes individuals who have made outstanding scientific contributions in basic and/or applied research in special education within the first 10 years after receiving the doctoral degree.

Dr. Erin Barton received her doctorate in special education from Vanderbilt University, Peabody College of Education, and is currently an Assistant Professor of Special Education in that college. Dr. Barton is considered one of the most promising young scholars in Early Childhood Special Education. Her research record is impeccable, and through her work she is having a significant impact on practice and policy in this area. She has more than 50 publications and many are in top tier, high impact journals. In addition, she has been active in securing federal monies to support her research and the development of future doctoral students. She is currently the Principal Investigator or Co-Principal Investigator on two research grants awarded by the Institute for Education Sciences, and three personnel development grants award by the Office of Special Education Programs.

Dr. Chris Lemons received his doctorate in special education from Vanderbilt University, Peabody College of Education, and is currently an Assistant Professor of Special Education in that college. Dr. Lemons is recognized as an influential junior scholar in the field of special education, and is conducting research on students with Down Syndrome that is questioning long standing practice in this area. Dr. Lemons’ promise as a scholar is evident in his prolific scholarly record and national awards he has received. He is one of 13 educational researchers who has received the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and received the 2016 Pueschel-Tjossem Memorial Research Award from the National Down Syndrome Congress. Dr. Lemons has published more than 30 papers and book chapters in top tier, high impact journals. He is currently the Principal or Co-Principal Investigator on 4 research grants funded by the Institute for Education Sciences and 5 personnel development grants funded by the Office of Special Education Programs, including a collaborative project designed to prepare future leaders to conduct research on and educate others about intensive interventions.

Dr. Erin Barton
Assistant Professor
Department of Special Education
College of Education and Human Development
Vanderbilt University

Christopher Lemons
Assistant Professor
Department of Special Education
College of Education and Human Development
Vanderbilt University

2017 Early Career Publication Award

The CEC Division for Research is pleased to announce that Dr. Robin Parks Ennis, University of Alabama-Birmingham, is the recipient of the 2017 Distinguished Early Career Publication Award.  This award recognizes an outstanding research publication by an individual within the first five years of receipt of the doctoral degree.  Dr. Ennis is recognized for her paper in the Journal of Behavioral Education, “Classwide teacher implementation of Self-Regulated Strategy Development in Writing with Students with E/BD in a Residential Facility” (Ennis, Jolivette, Terry, Fredrick, & Alberto, 2014).  

This paper reports the results of a study in which teachers were trained to implement self-regulated strategy development (SRSD) with their secondary students with EBD in a residential facility.  Both behavioral (academic engagement) and academic (writing) outcomes were assessed and analyzed using piecewise hierarchical linear modeling.  Results suggest that students improved on both measures over the course of the intervention and that teachers were able to implement SRSD with fidelity; teachers also reported seeing the benefits of SRSD and that they were likely to continue to use this intervention for their students’ writing.  The study added to the literature by using teachers as implementers of the SRSD intervention, and by reducing the intensity of the intervention to two days per week.  It also represents a continued step in Dr. Ennis’s line of inquiry that has extended SRSD research to students with EBD, especially those at the secondary level, and to residential settings. The Early Career Awards Committee was impressed with the sophistication and rigor of this research effort, and with the ways in which it adds to the literature in this area of inquiry.  

Ennis, R. E., Jolivette, K., Terry, N. P., Frederick, L. D., & Alberto, P. A. (2015).    Classwide teacher implementation of Self-Regulated Strategy Development in    writing with students with E/BD in a residential facility. Journal of Behavioral Education, 24, 88-111.

Robin Parks Ennis
Assistant Professor
Department of Curriculum and Instruction
School of Education
University of Alabama at Birmingham

2017 Student Awards

Through its student research awards program, the CEC Division for Research recognizes high-quality research conducted by students in the course of their undergraduate or graduate special education training program. CEC-DR invites nominations for research in the following categories: qualitative, quantitative, single subject, and mixed methods design. For 2017, CEC-DR is pleased to make awards in two categories:  quantitative and single subject designs.

 Quantitative Design

Title: The Perceived Stress, Executive Function, Perceived Stress Regulation, and Emotional and Behavioral Outcomes of Middle School Students With and Without Significant Emotional and Behavioral Problems

Abstract:  Students with or at-risk for significant emotional and behavioral problems have some of the poorest outcomes of all students, which may largely be linked to neurocognitive differences and stress related issues. Researchers across disciplines have discovered that individuals with significant problem behaviors tend to exhibit deficits in the neurocognitive mechanisms known as executive functions (EFs) and have limited ability to navigate stressful situations, resulting in worsening conduct and resistance to intervention over time. Yet, few researchers have investigated the EF of students who receive school-based services for behavior and none have examined the relationships among EF, school-based stressors, stress regulation, and behavioral outcomes during middle school – a high stress and active EF maturation period. This investigator conducted an observational study with 79 matched middle school students (44 with behavior, 35 typical peers). Results indicated that students with behavior problems (a) had lower EF abilities and higher peer stress, (b) used less engagement coping, and (c) reported higher internalizing and externalizing behaviors than typical peers. For all students, perceived family and school stress predicted behavioral problems and stress regulation abilities, with group moderating effects noted. Involuntary responses to stress positively predicted internalizing and externalizing problems, while engagement coping and disengagement coping predicted internalizing behaviors only. Both engagement coping and involuntary responses to school stress served as mediators between perceived stress and behavior problems. Unexpectedly, EF was unrelated to any variable of interest. Findings highlight important prevention and intervention areas for students with significant emotional and behavioral problems.

Student Awardee: Michelle Cumming, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Special Education
University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Advisor: Stephen W. Smith, Ph.D.
Professor of Special Education
Department of Special Education, School Psychology, and Early Childhood Studies
College of Education
University of Florida

 Single-Subject Design

Training a Paraprofessional to Implement Video Prompting to Teach a Vocational Skill

Abstract:  Very few individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have been trained in the vocational skills needed to obtain gainful employment. Moreover, although there is an abundance of research evaluating the practice of training practitioners of students with ASD to use evidence-based practices to teach a wide variety of skills, there have been few that apply this training to the acquisition of vocational tasks. This study uses a multiple baseline across behaviors design to evaluate the training methods used to train a paraprofessional in the preparation and implementation of video prompting with his student with ASD. Further, the behavior and learning of both the paraprofessional and student are measured. Results indicate that the training package resulted in increased video prompting implementation behavior for the paraprofessional, as well as corresponding, increased vocational skill behavior for the student.

Student Awardee:  Rachel L. Seaman, M.Ed.
Department of Educational Studies
Special Education Program
Ohio State University

Matthew Brock, Ph.D.  
Assistant Professor of Special Education
Ohio State University                 

Helen Malone, Ph.D.
Professor of Special Education
Ohio State University