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.


Policy and Research Intensive Special Educators (PRISE) Doctoral Training Program

Mason’s PhD in Education with a specialization in Special Education prepares leaders in the field focused on research, teaching, and policy. Now, six doctoral candidates will have their tuition and other expenses covered through the OSEP funded PRISE program.

The PRISE Doctoral Training Program is a four-year, collaborative project between Virginia Commonwealth University and George Mason University and will allow doctoral students to develop skills needed to:

  • Fill faculty roles in teaching and research universities
  • Lead the preparation of the next generation of special educators to improve the integration of evidence-based teaching and instruction
  • Conduct research on factors impacting the teacher shortage using rigorous research methodology and disseminating findings through research- and policy-focused outlets
  • Advocate for the development of national, state, and local policies that will ultimately improve the lives of children, youth, and adults with disabilities

PRISE scholars will have a full-time course load and participate in an internship 20 hours per week. The internship experiences will be facilitated by faculty mentors in partnership with national organizations and government agencies. The program begins fall 2020 and requires four years to complete.

About PRISE Scholars

Scholar Initial Research Plan
Gino Binkert
Gino plans to study the application of sub-discipline organizational behavior management (OBM) and Applied Behavior Analysis to processes for attracting, preparing, and retaining special education teachers.
Christopher Claude
Christopher plans to study approaches to improving the academic outcomes of students with high incidence disabilities through teacher education and policymaking that accounts for acceptance rather than tolerance.
Margaret (Margot) Gerry
Margot plans to investigate international education systems to identify new approaches to systems change across special education and teacher education policies and practices within the United States.
Kevin Monnin
Kevin plans to study policies that have implications for attracting, preparing, and retaining special education teachers including recent changes to special education licensure requirements at the state level.
Morgan Strimel
Morgan plans to study bridging the research to policy to practice gaps regarding preparing special education stakeholders to help individuals with disabilities transition to post-secondary life.
Katherine Szocik
Katherine plans to study EC/ECSE professional preparation practices and the implications of special education policy on EC populations.

About PRISE Student Affiliates

Student Initial Research Plan
PRISE Student Mentor
Anna Macedonia
Anna is currently studying the connection between special education teacher education policy and practice at the federal, state, and local levels specific to teacher retention issues such as working conditions and administrative supports.
PRISE Student Partner
Jamie Day
Jamie currently researches teacher labor market trends and state level policy solutions to the special education teacher shortage including National Board Certification and Assistant to Teacher programs.