DePry to join international editorial board


Special Education Professor and Department Chair Randall DePry has been named to the editorial board of the International Journal of Positive Behavioral Support, a peer-reviewed publication of the British Institute of Learning Disabilities (BILD) that promotes Positive Behavioral Support (PBS), training, and advocacy to improve outcomes for people with disabilities and/or autism. DePry has an extensive background working in the area of PBS, including past service as an elected member of the Association for Positive Behavior Support board of directors and co-editor of the book Individual Positive Behavior Supports: A Standards-Based Guide to Practices in School and Community Settings (Brown, Anderson, & DePry, 2015).

DePry came to PSU in 2011 to chair the Special Education Department and has since added new courses and programs to the Special Education Department’s robust portfolio. DePry holds a PhD from the University of Oregon and previously served as chair of the Department of Special Education at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs. To learn more about the PSU Special Education Department degree, licensure, and certificate programs, please go to the website.

GSE faculty member Hollie Hix-Small accepts Fulbright in Myanmar

holliehixsmallAssistant Professor Hollie Hix-Small has been named a Fulbright Scholar to the Republic of the Union of Myanmar. She will reside in the Southeast Asian country for four months, from June to September 2019, and will work to support implementation of their 2017–2020 National Strategic Plan for Early Childhood Intervention. Hix-Small, who has expertise in early childhood intervention and is known nationally and internationally for her work, will help to develop the country’s first higher education curriculum for Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) services. This collaboration among the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief, Relief and Resettlement and seven other ministries with support from UNICEF Myanmar and the Leprosy Mission of Myanmar has laid the groundwork for the opportunity to work with institutions of higher education on the further development of ECI.

Hix-Small will work with professors and other stakeholders in the country to co-develop coursework to support emerging professionals in the field of ECI. Rather than bringing a prescribed curriculum with her, she feels strongly that it will be important to use the perspectives and expertise of local practitioners, parents, professors, and others to jointly generate the content to customize the program to the country and the varied contexts within it. “My challenge is to understand the context and the culture and their learning needs,” said Hix-Small. Continue reading

GSE Early Intervention students study in the country of Georgia

Georgia[March 2018] Students in Hollie Hix-Small’s Early Intervention (EI) special education licensure program traveled to the country of Georgia this spring to study emerging EI efforts there. PSU EI students are: Danitza Galvan, Vanessa Hernandez, Jennifer King, Shaya Mooney, Michelle Rodriguez, and Stephanie Wills.

The trip included visits to a Tbilisi Maternity Hospital, Mental Health Centre, preschools supported by the Kutaisi Kindergarten Union and Ilia State University, Habilitation & Development Centre, First Step Georgia, Bridge for Social Inclusion, and a workshop hosted by Akaki Tsereteli State University.

Georgia is one of the first countries in the former Soviet Union to recognize and develop early intervention services and programs for its communities. Since 2011, Hix-Small has worked with Open Society Foundations to build EI services in Georgia for children with developmental delays and disabilities. Hix-Small may periodically offer this or similar exchanges to countries she partners with in Eastern Europe for early intervention students and related fields. For more information about the Early Intervention Special Education program at Portland State University, go to the website or contact

PSU’s Sam Sennott collects assistive technology award

Sam Sennott

Sam Sennott, Special Education Department, is the first recipient of the Dr. Arthur I. Karshmer Award for Assistive Technology Research from the California State University Northridge (CSUN) Assistive Technology Conference. He was honored for his paper entitled SETT Framework, MODELER, and PODD AAC Intervention in Elementary Grades. The award was presented March 22, 2018, at the CSUN Assistive Technology Conference in San Diego, California.


Sennott shares the honors with three of his students, Alisha Chavez, Portland Public Schools (pictured), Hannah Goldberg, and Jess Theobald, David Douglas School District, who are working on graduate degrees in special education.

Sennott came to PSU in 2013, where he launched the Universal Design Lab (ULab) to conduct research for assistive technologies. He is the author of a smartphone app called Proloquo2Go, which enables nonverbal individuals to communicate and is a fraction of the cost of previous technologies. His ULab students are also involved in the Go Baby Go project that adapts toy cars for children with severe disabilities.

“This award honors the best of the best,” said Klaus Miesenberger, a professor at Johannes Kepler University Linz who made the announcement. Winners are recognized for an exemplary submission to the CSUN Assistive Technology Journal for excellence in research, and for the advancement of assistive technology.


This is the 33rd CSUN Assistive Technology Conference, which is one of the largest conference in this field, attracting several thousand participants each year from around the globe.

Dean’s grant supports a study in academic coaching of TCIO students

The art of the possible: Developing new teachers’ pedagogies of possibility for inclusion through think college academic coaching

Can K–12 students in special education programs aspire to go to college? Will their teachers have the skills to support them to do so?

The Dean’s Fund for Excellence has awarded Assistant Professor Molly Siuty a grant to explore academic coaching in the Think College Inclusion Oregon (TCIO), PSU’s groundbreaking program that offers a four-year University experience to 18–21-year-olds with intellectual disabilities (ID).

Siuty is the cohort leader of the Secondary Dual Educator Program (SDEP), a program unique to PSU that offers a dual teaching license in special education and another subject area, with a focus on inclusion. PSU students in SDEP are also coaches in the TCIO program.

TCIO offers students with modified high school diplomas the opportunity to attend college on PSU campus with their peers. It is the only program for students with intellectual disabilities in Oregon and will enroll 35 students over the five-year term of the TCIO grant. Continue reading

PSU Infant/Toddler Mental Health program nets $110,000 for scholarships

The Ford Family Foundation has awarded PSU funding for 10 students in the Infant/Toddler Mental Health (ITMH) Graduate Certificate program. This grant will support recipients in rural Oregon who are working with families who have children ages 0–36 months and will increase capacity in infant mental health throughout Oregon.

Ford Family Foundation Program Officer Robin Hill-Dunbar said, “Providing access to coursework related to infant mental health in rural Oregon is critical. It is a pleasure to support students in the pursuit of the PSU graduate certificate and the Infant/Toddler Mental Health Endorsement. Our youngest ones and their caregivers are counting on those who serve them to understand and be able to best support their complex and unique needs.”

The project is led by Professor Ingrid Anderson, who has over 25 years of experience administering early childhood programs locally and regionally. Faculty who teach in the program are practitioners in social work, migrant head start, early learning hubs, parent education, and research. Continue reading