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Gagnon, Joseph, Ph.D.

Joseph Gagnon, Ph.D.

Associate Professor
School of Special Education, School Psychology and Early Childhood Studies

College of Education
University of Florida
605 SW 13th Street
PO Box 117050
1420 Norman Hall
Gainesville, FL 32611-7050
(352) 273-4262

Research Biography

Joseph Gagnon is an Associate Professor of Special Education at the University of Florida. Dr. Gagnon’s research focuses on ensuring youth at the greatest risk for educational, behavioral, and social failure are provided the supports necessary for long-term success in school and society. In particular, he addresses the needs of youth with emotional disturbance and learning disabilities who are incarcerated or in treatment facilities. Topical areas of his research include: (a) school-level policies (e.g., curriculum, assessment, and accountability); (b) mathematics and reading instruction; and (c) mental health and behavioral supports. To date, Dr. Gagnon has received over 2.5 million dollars in funding to support his research.

Dr. Gagnon also provides service to the field and works as an advocate for marginalized youth. He has served as Court Monitor and/or Special Education expert on 14 lawsuits, including 7 for the U. S. Department of Justice, Office of Civil Rights. He has also presented and conducted training sessions across the U.S. and in 10 countries including Thailand, Egypt, China, Venezuela, South Africa, and Azerbaijan.


Ph.D. Special Education – Behavior Disorders, University of Maryland at College Park, 2002

M.A. Special Education – Severe Affective Disorders, University of Colorado at Denver, 1995

B.S. Education – Concentration in Special Education, University of Vermont, 1986

Key Professional Appointments

Associate Professor with Tenure, Department of Special Education, University of Florida

Associate Director for Research and Grants Development, Center on Children and Families, Levin College of Law, University of Florida

Activities and Honors

2017-2018 – Recipient, University of Florida Term Professorship Award, University of Florida

2013-2014 – Recipient, J. William Fulbright Scholar to the Republic of South Africa

2011 – Recipient, Excellence Award for Assistant Professors, Office of the Provost, University of Florida

2010 – Recipient, Scholarship of Engagement Award, School of Special Education, School Psychology, and Early Childhood Studies, College of Education, University of Florida


Co-Principal Investigator, An Examination of Mental Health Policies and Procedures within Juvenile Correctional Facilities. College Research Incentive Fund (CRIF) Awards. University of Florida. Funded $39,931.69. (with Swank, J., PI, 2013-2014)

Principal Investigator of Subcontract, Juvenile Correction Project. U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance. Funded $2,500,000.00 (Total of University of Florida subcontract: $18,606.00). Rand Corporation (with Bozick, R., PI, 2011-2012)

Co-Principal Investigator (Principal Investigator of subcontract), Project LIBERATE: Literacy Based on Evidence through Research for Adjudicated Teens to Excel. U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences. Funded $2,956,349.00 (Total of University of Florida subcontract: $1,957,277.00). (with Houchins, D. PI; Lane, H. Co-PI, 2009-2013)

Principal Investigator, Alternative settings: Curriculum assessment, and accountability policies and practices for students with learning and behavioral disorders, U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education & Rehabilitative Services (OSERS), Field Initiated Research Project. Funded, $540,000.00. (with Maccini, P., Co-PI; & Malmgren, K., Co-PI, 2003-2006)

Selected Publications

Selected Peer-Reviewed Articles

Gagnon, J. C., Barber, B. R., & Soyturk, I. (in press). Positive behavior interventions and supports implementation in secure care juvenile justice schools: Results of a national survey of school administrators. Behavioral Disorders.

Houchins, D. E., Lane, H. B., Gagnon, J. C., Lambert, R. G., & McCray, E. D. (in press). The efficacy of a literacy intervention for incarcerated adolescents. Residential Treatment for Children and Youth.

Mason-Williams, L., Bettini, E., & Gagnon, J. C. (2017). Teacher sorting among elementary special educators in neighborhood and exclusionary school settings. Remedial and Special Education, 38, 297-307.

Swank, J., & Gagnon, J. C. (2017). A national survey of mental health screening and assessment practices in juvenile correctional facilities. Child and Youth Care Forum, 46, 379-393.

Bussing, R., Gagnon, J. C., Garvan, C., Ribuffo, C., & Houchins, D. (2017). Psychometric properties of the Vanderbilt Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Diagnostic Rating Scale completed by juvenile corrections staff. Journal of Attention Disorders (OnLineFirst). DOI: 10.1177/1087054717690811

Gagnon, J. C., Gurel, S., & Barber, B. R. (2017). State-level analysis of school punitive discipline practices in Florida. Behavioral Disorders, 42, 65-80.

Mason-Williams, L., & Gagnon, J. C. (2017). An analysis of teacher sorting in secondary special education and alternative schools. Journal of Special Education, 50, 239-250.

Swank, J., & Gagnon, J. C. (2016). Mental health services in juvenile correctional facilities: A national survey of clinical staff. Journal of Child & Family Studies, 25, 2862-2872.

Myers, J. A., Wang, J., Brownell, M. T., & Gagnon, J. C. (2015). Mathematics interventions for students with learning disabilities (LD) in secondary school: A review of the literature. Learning Disabilities: A Contemporary Journal, 13, 207-235.

Gagnon, J. C., Maccini, P., Mulcahy, C. A., & Mason-Williams, L. (2014). Mathematics in secondary psychiatric schools: Curricular and assessment policies and practices. Exceptionality, 22, 51-67.

Gagnon, J. C., Murphy, K., Steinberg, M., Gaddis, J., & Crockett, J. (2013). IDEA-Related Professional Development in Juvenile Corrections Schools. Journal of Special Education Leadership 26, 93-105.

Wilkerson, K. W., Gagnon, J. C., Melekoglu, M. A., Cakiroglu, O. (2012). Reading instruction in secondary day treatment and residential schools for youth with emotional or behavioral disorders. Remedial & Special Education, 33, 78-88.

Gagnon, J. C., Maccini, P., & Haydon, T. (2011). Assessment and accountability in public and private secondary day treatment and residential schools for students with emotional and behavioral disorders. Journal of Special Education Leadership, 24, 79-91.

Gagnon, J. C., & Barber, B. R. (2010). Characteristics of and services provided to youth in secure care facilities. Behavioral Disorders, 36, 7-19.

Gagnon, J. C. (2010). State level curricular, assessment, and accountability policies, practices, and philosophies for exclusionary school settings. The Journal of Special Education, 43, 206-219.

Gagnon, J. C., Barber, B. R., Van Loan, C. L., & Leone, P. E. (2009). Juvenile correctional schools: Characteristics and approaches to curriculum. Education and Treatment of Children, 32, 673-696.

Scott, T., Gagnon, J. C., & Nelson, C. M. (2008). School-wide systems of positive behavior support: A framework for reducing school crime and violence. Journal of Behavior Analysis of Offender and Victim – Treatment and Prevention, 1, 259-272.

Gagnon, J. C., & Maccini, P. (2007). Teacher-reported use of empirically-validated and standards-based instructional approaches in secondary mathematics. Remedial & Special Education, 28, 43-56.

Maccini, P., & Gagnon, J. C. (2006). Mathematics instructional practices and assessment accommodations by secondary special and general educators. Exceptional Children, 72, 217-234.

Gagnon, J. C., & Leone, P. E. (2005). Elementary day and residential schools: Characteristics and entrance and exit policies. Remedial & Special Education, 26, 141-150.

Gagnon, J. C., & McLaughlin, M. J. (2004). Curriculum, assessment, and accountability in day treatment and residential schools. Exceptional Children, 70, 263-283.

Hughes, C. A., Maccini, P. M., & Gagnon, J. C. (2003). Interventions that positively impact the performance of students with learning disabilities in secondary general education classrooms. Learning Disabilities: A Multidisciplinary Journal, 12, 101-111.

Maccini, P., & Gagnon, J. C. (2002). Perceptions and application of NCTM’s standards by special and general education teachers. Exceptional Children, 68, 325-344.

Selected Book Chapters, Monographs, Issue Briefs

Leone, P. E., Lockwood, S., & Gagnon, J. C. (2017). Creating and sustaining safe environments in juvenile corrections. In P. Sturmey (Ed.), The Wiley handbook of violence and aggression (Vol. 3: Societal interventions, Ch. 115, pp. 1-12). New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons.

Gagnon, J. C. (in press). Making the right turn: A research update to “The Guide About Youth Involved in the Juvenile Corrections System” (pp. 1-21). Washington, DC: National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth, Institute for Educational Leadership. 

Gagnon, J. C., Read, N. W., & Gonsoulin, S. (2015). Key considerations in providing a free and appropriate public education for youth with disabilities in juvenile secure care facilities (pp. 1-12). Washington DC: The National Evaluation and Technical Assistance Center for the Education of Children and Youth who are Neglected or At-Risk.

Gagnon, J. C., Barber, B. R. (2015). Identifying and implementing evidence-based practices in alternative educational settings. In B. G. Cook M. Tankersley, & T. J. Landrum (Eds.), Advances in Learning and Behavioral Disabilities (Vol. 28, pp. 225-271). Bingley, United Kingdom: Emerald Group Publishing.

Gagnon, J. C., Kennedy-Lewis, B. L., & Gurel, S. (2014). Corporal punishment in Florida schools: Trends in reactive, punitive, and ineffective approaches to youth behavior pp. 1-33). Montgomery, AL: Southern Poverty Law Center.

Gagnon, J. C., & Barber, B. R. (2011). Preventing incarceration through special education and mental health collaboration for students with emotional and behavioral disorders. In N. Dowd (Ed.), Justice for kids: Keeping kids out of the juvenile justice system (pp. 82-106). New York, NY: New York University Press.

Gagnon, J. C., & Richards, C. (2008). Making the right turn: A guide about youth involved in the juvenile corrections system (pp. 1-61). Washington, DC: National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth, Institute for Educational Leadership.

Selected Links

Dr. Gagnon’s Vita

Center on Children and Families in the University of Florida Levin College of Law http://www.law.ufl.edu/academics/centers/childlaw