Exceptional Learning Ph.D.

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Wishing you and yours
happy and healthy holidays
from the College of Education!


19th Annual International Congress on Qualitative Inquiry

Presenters from College of Education Faculty and Ph.D. Students


The Exceptional Learning Ph.D. (ELPhD) program focuses on the characteristics, strengths, and educational needs of individuals and groups whose learning potential and opportunities for success are frequently unrealized.

Exceptional populations include people for whom social, economic, and physical characteristics may serve as a barrier to development and learning.

We offer five concentrations and two strands allowing students to focus on specific areas of professional and research interests.

  • The ELPhD program offers robust academic preparation of professionals who serve their communities, public school systems, institutions of higher education, and non-traditional educational environments.
  • Our graduates are leaders who work across local, regional, national, and international platforms to effect positive change in diverse populations of exceptional learners and educational contexts, addressing barriers to learning, primarily through research and service activities.


This concentration prepares professionals who can develop and deliver behavioral interventions and supports for individuals in educational and habilitative settings. There are two strands in ABA:

Young Children and Families (YCF) prepares professionals to provide support and interventions to young, at-risk children and families with emphasis on building relationships with and advocating for those groups. (Strand Leader: Dr. Jane Baker)

School-Aged Children and Adult Populations (ABAS) prepares professionals who will implement and provide empirical support for behavioral interventions for a range of populations and pursue board certification as a behavior analyst. The ABAS course sequence is approved by the national Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB). NOTE: See the Exceptional Learning Ph.D. Student Handbook for BACB information. (Strand Leader: Dr. Krystal Kennedy)


This concentration empowers educational innovators to develop cutting-edge, socially conscious approaches to multi-literacies and challenge narrow conceptions of learners, families, and world views. (Concentration leader: Dr. Janet Isbell)


This concentration offers cutting-edge, hands-on experiential courses along with related pedagogical methods and theory. HBWE research courses supply additional opportunities to research and address discipline-specific concerns. This comprehensive and novel design supplies students with the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to succeed professionally and lead change in health sciences and wellness disciplines. (Concentration leader: Dr. Christy Killman)


This concentration prepares professionals for leadership roles in the field of PPE. Program content includes the history of the field, influence of context and cultures on PPE design and methodology, quantitative and qualitative methods, and practical application of PPE skills through practicum experiences. (Concentration leader: Dr. George Chitiyo)


This concentration builds the capacity of innovative educational leaders to advance new ideas and to design/implement strategic innovations in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education. (Concentration leader: Dr. Holly Anthony)



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