College of Education and Social Services
Campus scene with students walking on UVM Green near Waterman Building surrounded by fall foliage colors and Lake Champlain and the Adirondack Mountains in the background.
CESS Research News: Fall 2022

Katharine ShepherdWe are pleased to share news from the University of Vermont's College of Education and Social Services (CESS) community about our ongoing work to promote a more humane and just society, free from oppression, that maximizes human potential and the quality of life for all.

Our college has a notable and longstanding record of impactful and engaged research and scholarly activity, particularly in our unique and values-driven focus on schools, families and communities. In the past few years, we have accelerated our participation in externally funded grants and experienced substantial success. Between academic year 2020-21 and 2021-22, we benefited from a $2.6 million increase in new funding. This growth represents a 43% increase in sponsored research activity.

I am excited about our expansion of impactful research and scholarship activity as well as the addition of highly accomplished faculty who will further enhance the college's collective efforts locally, nationally, and globally.

Katharine Shepherd, Ed.D.
Levitt Family Green and Gold Professor and Interim Dean


Examining Outdated and Inequitable Special Education Funding Formulas

Tammy Kolbe

“A focus of my recent work is federal and state funding for special education programs, which is essential to how we pay for services and support for students with disabilities in schools,” says Dr. Tammy Kolbe about her research examining outdated funding formulas.

Kolbe's team analyzed the Individuals with Disabilities (IDEA) Act, legislation that ensures students with disabilities are provided education tailored to their needs. A recently published article in Brookings highlights the research team's Case for Reconsidering Federal Special Education Funding Formulas.

Their paper, “Unequal & Increasingly Unfair: How Federal Policy Creates Disparities in Special Education Funding,” found that, on average, states with proportionally larger populations of children and children living in poverty, children identified for special education, and non-White and Black children receive fewer federal dollars, both per pupil and per student receiving special education.


Challenging Bias, Inequity, and Classism in Education

Brittany Williams

"Beyond my interpersonal connections, UVM HESA and The Vermont Connection have strong national and international reputations; graduates who are doing field-altering, meaningful work; and a strong commitment to equity and justice,” says Dr. Brittany (Brit) M. Williams about what influenced her decision to join the Higher Education and Student Affairs Administration program.

As a 2022 National Academy of Education (NAEd)/ Spencer Postdoctoral Fellow, Williams studies Black college women and HIV/AIDS. Her advocacy work has appeared across the national stage in AIDS United, National Public Radio, Teach for America, the National Black Women’s Health Imperative, and the National Minority Aids Council.

Williams' research provides insights and offers solutions for predominately white institutions to attract, recruit and retain students, faculty and staff of color.

Full story


Counseling Program Welcomes Addition of New Faculty

Aishwarya Joshi and Nancy Thacker Darrow

Two prominent scholars will enhance the nationally accredited Counseling program's teaching, research, and service collaborations striving to improve the health and wellbeing of communities throughout Vermont. 

Dr. Aishwarya Joshi's expertise includes trauma-informed counseling practices, interdisciplinary integration of mental health services in public policies, and the globalization of the field of counseling and counselor education. 

Dr. Nancy Thacker Darrow specializes in grief and loss, LGBTQ+ persons’ mental health and development issues, affirming counseling methods, and equity practices in counseling and higher education.

"What piqued my interest and decision to join UVM was the Counseling program’s interdisciplinary approach to mental health education and its participatory action research initiatives supporting mental health access to diverse and marginalized populations in Vermont," Joshi says.

Full story


UVM Autism Collaborative Receives Funding for Rural Autism Outreach

Adult helping a child outside on playground

“There needs to be a shift where autistic youth and adults guide how to best support them in being healthy and full members of society," says Liliane Savard, co-chair of the UVM Autism Collaborative. "Vermont will be a healthier community for all when we embrace diverse ways of being and thinking in addressing our societal challenges.”

The UVM Autism Collaborative is a joint project of the College of Nursing and Health Sciences, UVM Center on Disability and Community Inclusion (CDCI) in the College of Education and Social Services, and the University of Vermont Medical Center.

Full story


College of Education and Social Services
309 Waterman Building 85 South Prospect Street
Burlington, VT 05401 USA

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