I am a Professor of Special Education at the University of Florida as well as the Irving and Rose Fien Endowed Professor and Director of the National Comprehensive Center to Improve Policy and Practice in Special Education Professional Development. I received my doctorate in special education from the University of Kansas with a minor in research methodology, and have spent my career at the University of Florida focused on issues related to teachers who work with students with disabilities. My early research activities focused on the factors related to special education teachers’ decisions to remain in or leave the classroom. Later, I focused my research on developing special and general education teachers’ abilities to teach students with disabilities. More specifically, I have examined the role of collaboration in the professional development of teachers and their socialization into the workplace. I have also studied issues related to teacher quality and the preparation of special and general education teachers. My recent research efforts focus on improving the reading instruction of both general and special education teachers and improving the induction of beginning special education teachers into the classroom. My work has provided insight into the practices and knowledge of highly qualified teachers and how teacher educators and school district personnel can go about preparing, developing, and retaining special educators across the course of their careers. To support my work, I have, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Florida and other institutions, received over 11,000,000 million dollars in funding from the Office of Special Education Programs and Institute for Education Sciences. My research employs both quantitative and qualitative methodologies and has been translated into numerous scholarly publications and presentations that reach the teacher education, research, policy, and school communities. For my efforts, I received the 1999 UF Research Foundation Professorship in the College of Education. I am also devoted to improving doctoral studies. I have been actively involved in mentoring doctoral students and creating high quality programs for them.
Ph. D. – University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas, Special Education, 1990
M. A. – Texas Woman’s University, Denton, Texas, Music Therapy, 1982
B. A. – Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Music Therapy, Music Education, 1979
Key Professional Appointments
Professor, Department of Special Education, University of Florida, 2005-present
Co-Director, Center for Personnel Studies in Special Education, University of Florida, 2000 – present
Associate Professor, Department of Special Education, University of Florida, 1998-2005
Assistant Professor, Department of Special Education, University of Florida, 1993-1998
Activities & Honors
Associate Editor, Teacher Education and Special Education, 2003 to present
TED Publication Award, Teacher Education Division of the Council for Exceptional Children, 2000
University of Florida Research Foundation Professorship, University of Florida, College of Education, 1999
Teacher of the Year Award, University of Florida, College of Education, 1996
Teaching Improvement Program, University of Florida, 1 of 8 award recipients in the College of Education, 1995
National Center to Inform Policy and Practice in Special Education Professional Development. U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services (Principal Investigator with Dr. Paul Sindelar). Funded October 2007 $2,500,000.
The Influence of Collaborative Professional Development Groups and Coaching on the Literacy Instruction of Upper Elementary Special Education Teachers. U.S. Department of Education, Institute for Education Sciences, Goal Two Teacher Quality Competition (Principal Investigator with Drs. Jamie Algina, Anne Bishop Janette Klingner, Diane Haager). Funded July 2007 $2,049,000.
Project PRESS: Preparing Reading Endorsed Secondary Special Educators. U. S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services, Personnel Preparation, (Principal Investigator with Drs. Anne Bishop and Zhi Hui Fang). Funded October 2005 $800,000.
Identifying the Conditions under which Large Scale Professional Development Policy Initiatives are Related to Teacher Knowledge, Instructional Practices, and Student Reading Outcomes, 2005, U.S. Department of Education, Institute for Education Sciences, $400,000.
Project RITE: Building Capacity for Research in Teacher Education. U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs, Personnel Preparation, Leadership Competition, (Principal Investigator with Drs. Paul Sindelar and Anne Bishop). Funded August 2005 $800,000.
Project COPSSE: Center on Personnel Studies in Special Education, 2000, U.S. Department of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services, $4,250,000.
Project FLITE: Florida Leadership in Inquiry and Teacher Education, 2000, U.S. Department of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services, $798,470.
Sindelar, P. T., Bishop, A. G., & Brownell, M. T. (2006). What’s special about special education? Research on the preparation of special education teachers. In B. G. Cook & B. R. Schirmer, (Eds.). What is special about special education: Examining the role of evidence-based practices (pp. 113-126). Austin, TX: PRO-ED.
Brownell, M. T. (2005). High quality teachers: How will leaders identify and support them? In B. Billingsley, Cultivating and keeping committed special educators: What principals and district leaders can do. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press. (pp. 5-8).
Brownell, M. T., League, M., Seo, S., & Lewis, S. (in press). Specific learning disabilities. In E. Meyen & Y. Bui (Eds.), Exceptional children in today’s schools. Denver: Love Publishing Co.
Brownell, M. T., Bishop, A., Malik, D., & Langley, L. (in press). Expectations for the profession. In E. Meyen & Y. Bui (Eds.), Exceptional children in today’s schools. Denver: Love Publishing Co.
Brownell, M. T., McLeskey, J., Ashton, P., Hoppey, D., & Nowak, R. (in press). Teaming across departments: Faculty tensions and response strategies in a collaborative teacher education program. Preparing for inclusive teaching: Restructuring elementary and special education teacher education. SUNY Press.
Brownell, M. T., Sindelar, P. T., Bishop, A. G., Langley, L.K., & Seo, S. (2005). Special education teacher supply and teacher quality: The problems, the solutions. In T. Skrtic, K. Harris, & , J., Shriner (Eds.), Special education policy and practice. Denver, CO: Love Publishing Company.
Brownell, M. T., Rosenberg, M.S., Sindelar, P. T., & Smith, D. D. (in press). Teacher education. In McCray, A.D., Rieth, H.J., & Sindelar, P.T. (Eds.), Issues in special education. Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.Refereed PublicationsBrownell, M. T., *Adams, A., Sindelar, P. Waldron, N. & *vanHover, S. (2006). Learning from collaboration: The role of teacher qualities. Exceptional Children, 72, 169-187.
Brownell, M. T., Bishop, A. M., Sindelar, P. T. (2005) NCLB and the Demand for Highly Qualified Teachers: Challenges and Solutions for Rural Schools. Rural Special Education Quarterly, 24 (1), 9-15.
Sindelar, P. T., Bishop, A., Brownell, M. T., & Rosenberg, M. (2005). Assessing innovation in teacher preparation: What we’ve learned from special education research. Teacher Education Quarterly, 32, 35-48.
Brownell, M.T., Ross, D., *Colon, E., & *McCallum, C. (2005). Critical features of special education teacher preparation: A comparison with exemplary practices in general education. Journal of Special Education, 38, 242-252.
Brownell, M. T., Yeager, E., Sindelar, P. T., *vanhover, S., & *Riley, T. F. (2004). Teacher Learning Cohorts: A Vehicle for Supporting Beginning Teachers. Teacher Education and Special Education, 27, 174-189.
Bondy, E., & Brownell, M.T. (2004). Getting beyond the research to practice gap: Researching against the grain. Teacher Education and Special Education, 27, 47-56.
Brownell, M. T., Hirsch, E., & Seo, S. (2004). Meeting the demand for highly qualified special education teachers at a time of severe shortages: What should policymakers consider? Journal of Special Education, 38, 56-61.
Brownell, M. T., Sindelar, P.T., Bishop, A. G., Langley, L. K., & Seo, S. (2002). Special education teacher supply and teacher quality: The problems, the solutions. Focus on Exceptional Children, 25 (2), 1-16.