Kellar Institute for Human DisAbilities (KIHd) - College of Education and Human Development - George Mason University
About Us

The Kellar Institute for Human DisAbilities (KIHd) is an interdisciplinary campus-based organization focusing on improving the lives and productivity of children and adults with disabilities. KIHd combines the resources of the university with local, state, regional, national, public, and private sector agencies and organizations to develop products, services, and programs for persons with disabilities.


The U.S. Department of Education (OSEP) has awarded GMU and U.Va. a grant to help support the educational training of future leaders in special education. Virginia DEEL Scholars will become experts in literacy to improve outcomes for students with disabilities.  Particular emphasis will be placed on evidence-based literacy practices in special education for high-needs students with disabilities.

Selected Virginia DEEL Scholars will:

  • earn a PhD in Special Education with a secondary specialization in research methods,
  • receive mentoring from nationally and internationally recognized faculty at GMU and U.Va.,
  • participate in cutting edge research on evidence-based literacy practices for students with disabilities, and
  • develop knowledge and skills that will prepare Scholars for a faculty position in higher education.


Selected scholars will receive:

  • all tuition, fees, and health insurance each year,
  • an additional fellowship award >$57,000 each year,
  • travel support to attend state and/or national professional conferences, and
  • stipends for research supplies and dissertation support.


Selected scholars must:

  • commit to be a full-time student and to apprentice with faculty in research and teaching, and
  • agree to work in a higher-education position related to special education for 2 years post-graduation for every year of funding received.


Applicants must:

  • meet the requirements for acceptance in the GMU PhD Program,
  • be licensed special education teachers as defined by their state’s licensure framework,
  • have served as a special education teacher for at least three full-time years, and
  • provide a specific statement regarding their interest in the project and the long-term goals that they expect to achieve as a result of participation.

We encourage applicants of all ethnicities and genders, including persons with disabilities, to apply.