UConn Expert Discusses Restraint and Seclusion in Public Schools

 UConn Today talks with Brandi Simonsen, a professor of special education in UConn’s Department of Educational Psychology at the Neag School of Education and co-director of the Center for Behavioral Education and Research, about the use of restraint and seclusion and whether the federal government has a role to play in regulating their use in public schools.

Congratulations to 2019 Annual Teaching Excellence Award winners who are associated with the Educational Psychology department:

Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning:

  • Edward Orsulak – 2019-2020 Outstanding Adjunct Award

Long time adjunct in special education for the Educational Psychology department.


First Year Experience (FYE) Excellence in Teaching Award:

  • Karen Skudlarek, Computer Tech Support, CETL (and Educational Psychology alum).


2018 CETL‘s Academic Mini Grant Competition Award Winner:

  • Allison Lombardi and Emily Tarconish (Educational Psychology)

“Assessing the impact of Disability-Awareness Videos on Faculty Member’s Teaching Effectiveness.”

Stephen Slota is mentioned in KQED about educational technology use in schools.

While still a high school science teacher, University of Connecticut assistant professor Stephen Slota designed a unit-length game to teach human reproduction and sexually transmitted diseases. “The students worked in teams of three to control a character avatar in a fictitious village, and their goal was to engage in an epidemiological study of the area by investigating locales and speaking to non-player characters as enacted by the instructor,” said Slota, who edited Exploding the Castle: Rethinking How Video Games & Game Mechanics Can Shape The Future Of Education, a collection of game-based learning essays.

Read the full article here.

Gifted and talented research led by Del Siegle is featured in District Administration

Gifted and talented research led by Del Siegle is featured in District Administration


Research on gifted education by Joseph Renzulli and Sally Reis are featured by The Century Foundation.

Integrating Classrooms and Reducing Academic Tracking
Strategies for School Leaders and Educators

…The Schoolwide Enrichment Model (SEM), developed by University of Connecticut professors Joseph Renzulli and Sally Reis, is an approach to teaching and learning that draws from the pedagogy of gifted education to enhance opportunities to all students in a school. SEM identifies “gifted behaviors,” including above-average academic abilities creativity, and task commitment, rather than attaching a binary (“gifted”/“not gifted”) label. SEM uses flexible student groupings that change throughout the course of a year and bring together students with different achievement and interest levels. It creates opportunities for all students to be engaged in some type of enrichment, in which students with shared interests engage in investigative learning and explore real-life problems. …

Read the full article here.

Allison Lombardi quoted by KCUR about students with special needs.

“We’re trying to make it so people with disabilities have more opportunities for employment in society, right?” said Allison Lombardi, a professor who teaches in the Special Education Program at the University of Connecticut. “There’s not a separate society for just people with disabilities, so it really doesn’t make sense for us to create programs that are so separate.”

Lombardi said schools are still tracking young adults with disabilities into prescriptive, low-wage work instead of giving them access to the classes their college-bound classmates take.

“If there’s an opportunity for adolescents with and without disabilities to learn alongside each other on the job, that’s really where I think we want to get with CTE,” Lombardi said.

Read full article here.

Neag School Announces Recipients of 2019 Alumni Awards: Two From Educational Psychology

Outstanding Professional — Rachel R. McAnallen ’10 Ph.D. (Educational Psychology – Gifted and Talented)

Known as “Ms. Math” to children across the country, Rachel McAnallen has devoted her life to sharing the joy of mathematics with learners of all ages. A professional educator for more than 60 years, she travels the globe teaching her love of mathematics at every grade level. In addition to her experience in the classroom, McAnallen has served as a department chair, a school board member, and a high school administrator. A lifelong learner, McAnallen received her Ph.D. from the Neag School at age 75.

Rachel McAnallen
Rachel McAnallen, graduated May 7 with a Ph.D. in educational psychology, with origami models. McAnallen, whose dissertation focuses on reducing math anxiety among teachers, says she has about 40 books on origami. Her favorite shape features 240 triangles spun together. Photo by Peter Morenus


Outstanding Higher Education Professional — D. Betsy McCoach ’01 MA, ’02 6th Year, ’03 Ph.D. Currently, Professor of Educational Psychology in the Research Methods, Modeling & Evaluation

A faculty member at the Neag School in educational psychology for over 15 years, Betsy McCoach also directs the Data Analysis Training Institute of Connecticut (DATIC) and the Modern Modeling Methods (M3) Conference, both of which bring international experts to UConn. She is the current co-principal investigator of a $3 million National Science Foundation grant on the science of learning and the National Center for Research on Gifted Education, funded by a $5 million grant through the Institute for Education Sciences. McCoach is an established scholar, having authored or co-authored nearly 100 peer-reviewed journal articles, dozens of book chapters, and four books.