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A Look at CEC Division for Research (CEC-DR) – The Gifts of Time and Commitment

Photo of Division for Research 2019-2020 Doctoral Scholars funded by the Hammill Institute

Happy spring!  In our last newsletter, I mentioned being hopeful for the year ahead – hopeful for all the new possibilities as the CEC-DR community moved forward with rigorous, responsible, and respectful inquiry. Following the CEC 2021 Conference, I am even more hopeful and filled with gratitude and appreciation.

Time is a precious gift. I was overwhelmed with gratitude and appreciation for the many scholars who shared the gift of their time at the CEC-DR program sessions and events. I sincerely thank CEC-DR board members and guests who participated in our board meeting, including Joan McLaughlin, Commissioner for the National Center for Special Education Research (NSCER). We continue to appreciate her unwavering commitment to high-quality, timely inquiry as well as the strength and grace with which she leads.  
In addition, we thank all the CEC-DR members who participated in our annual business meeting, voting to approve revisions to our bylaws and budget. We appreciate everyone’s time spent to learn about the contributions of our officers, committee chairs, and committee members as well as division accomplishments. 

Finally, we would like to thank all those who attended our annual CEC-DR reception to recognize scholars at different stages in their careers: 

  • Patricia Snyder, Kauffman-Hallahan-Pullen Distinguished Researcher Award
  • Nicholas Gage, Martin J. Kaufman Distinguished Early Career Research Award
  • Corey Peltier, Early Career Publication Award
  • Erica N. Mason, Student Research Award for Mixed-method Design
  • Matthew Vandercar, Student Research Award for Qualitative Design
  • Christy Austin, Student Research Award for Quantitative Design
  • Holly N. Whittenburg, Student Research Award for Single-Case Design

Particularly special this year was recognizing the first recipient of the Martin J. Kaufman Distinguished Early Career Research Award, previously the Early Career Research Award. We renamed this long-standing award this year in honor of Marty’s significant contributions to the field of special education. Marty dedicated 23 years to service and leadership at Bureau of Education for the Handicapped (BEH, later the Office of Special Education Programs) to develop the federal special education research program to advance the education and development of individuals with disabilities. Marty was also one of the founders of the CEC Division for Research, developed as a way of supporting the community of researchers in special education; a mission he believed was critical to improving outcomes for individuals with disabilities. In addition, with Karen Harris, Marty established the CEC DR Awards program to recognize the contributions of special education researchers in the early phase of their career.  In fact, the award named for him this year was the first award CEC-DR created. For those of us who had the honor of knowing Marty personally, we will be forever impacted by his kindness as well as the decades of leadership he and, his wife, Linda Lewis have gifted to CEC Division for Research.

I believe Marty would have been elated with President Biden’s passing of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, with the Institute of Education Sciences having $100,000,000 to pave the path forward with rigorous, relevant inquiry to address learning loss caused by the coronavirus – including children with disabilities (see SEC. 2001. Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund, G).  
This past year, CEC-DR has offered several professional learning activities to engage scholars at various stages of their careers (see the newly re-designed CEC-DR website, for a full listing and to access recordings:

  • Early Career Research Workshop
  • Doctoral Student Seminars in Special Education Research
  • The Academic Career Trajectory Webinar Series
  • The Academic Job Search Webinar Series

We are hopeful many in our CEC-DR community will utilize these opportunities and capitalize on the reinvigorated conversations about how to address learning loss, with attention to also meeting students behavioral and social-emotional well-being needs in the days ahead. As discussed in the National Safe School Reopening Summit (; held March, 2021) the challenge is formidable. Yet, the opportunities for learning what works, for whom, and under which conditions is essential as we recover from the educational disruptions experienced by so many during this pandemic.  We have an unprecedented opportunity to explore on swift cycles how to best meet students’ multiple needs, with a clear focus on addressing issues of systemic inequality.  I remain hopeful the CEC-DR community will continue to engage in rigorous, respectful, responsible, and transparent inquiry, with new avenues possible through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.

Again, I ask you to please revisit the mission of your work and your programmatic lines of inquiry, and ask yourself: what commitments can I make to understanding and addressing issues of inequity as we support students, families, and educators address learning loss, while carefully attending to students’ behavioral and social-emotional well-being?

In the days ahead, I wish you safety, productivity, and joy.  Life is fragile. I hope you will continue to appreciate the gifts of each other’s time and commitment to the field of special education. I certainly do.


With hope and appreciation,    

Kathleen Lynne Lane, Ph.D., BCBA-D, CF-L1
University of Kansas  

Roy A. Roberts Distinguished Professor
Associate Vice Chancellor for Research 

Posted:  24 May, 2021
Author: Kathleen Lane

University of Kansas

Read more from Kathleen Lane

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