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 Virginia Is for Leaders: Development of Experts in Evidence-based Literacy Practices for Students with Disabilities (Virginia DEEL) program is designed to address national and state-identified needs for highly qualified personnel in special education who are leaders in the field of evidence-based literacy (reading and writing) instruction. This project is a collaboration between the University of Virginia (U.Va.) and George Mason University’s (GMU) special education programs.

Each institution will train four doctoral level personnel to become higher education faculty in special education. By drawing upon nationally recognized leaders in evidence-based practices in reading, writing, and disability research across the state of Virginia, the focus of this training program will be the development of eight new leaders in evidence-based literacy practices for individuals with disabilities. Using a focus on evidence-based practices, the training program will prepare leaders capable of conducting and applying current research in schools, teacher preparation programs, and clinical settings, while simultaneously contributing to a reduction in special education personnel shortages in Virginia and the nation.

The training program will be interdisciplinary in nature with faculty coming from the fields of special education, reading, and developmental psychology. DEEL Scholars will become experts stemming from a combination of rigorous coursework, apprenticeship experiences, and learning from skilled and experienced faculty members within the Curry School of Education and Human Development at U.Va. and the School of Education at GMU.

Scholars at both institutions will be given generous financial support so that qualified candidates, who have teaching experience, can be recruited and have the resources necessary to leave their teaching positions to pursue their doctorial training fulltime.