Portrait of Deborah Smith
  • Email
    deb.smith@cgu.edu
  • Degrees
    EdD, University of Washington
    MEd, University of Missouri, Columbia
    Teacher Education, California State University, Northridge
    BA, Pitzer College
  • Research Interests
    Special education, Special education faculty, Disability policy, Learning disabilities, Cross-cultural and inclusive education

Deborah Deutsch Smith is professor in the School of Educational Studies and director of IRIS Center at Claremont Graduate University.

She is a recipient of the Pearson/International Council for Exceptional Children 2015 Excellence in Teacher Education Award. In 2012 she became a fellow in the International Association for Research in Learning Disabilities; in 2011, she was the recipient of Pitzer College’s Distinguished Alumni Award; and in 2009 she received the University of Washington’s College of Education Distinguished Alumni Award.

Smith has directed many federal, state, and local projects and has received over $40.5 million in external funding to support those efforts. She is currently co-principal investigator of the new IRIS Center for Coursework and Training Resources (US Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs [OSEP]; Project Number H325E120002). The IRIS Center is charged with providing the nation’s college faculty, professional development providers, and independent learners with interactive modules and other training materials about effective practices to improve results of all children and youth who struggle to learn, particularly those with disabilities.

In part due to the efforts conducted through IRIS, over 84 percent of all colleges and universities with approved special education teacher preparation programs use IRIS resources in their curriculum. Since 2013, the Center has had over three million users of its website.

From 2007 to 2011, Smith served as the principal investigator of Special Education Faculty Needs Assessment (SEFNA) project. The four-year study funded by OSEP determined that the nation does not have the capacity to prepare a sufficient number of new, highly effective teachers to work with students with disabilities because of a special education faculty shortage.

She is the author of more than a dozen major textbooks. Her texts include: Contemporary Special Education: New Horizons (an interactive e-text released by Pearson Publishing in April of 2013); Introduction to Special Education: Making a Difference, which is in its 7th edition, and is available in Spanish, Polish, Portuguese, and Mandarin Chinese); and Teaching Students with Special Needs in Inclusive Classrooms. She has written over 31 chapters and book supplements, 60 refereed articles and reports, and many instructional materials for children. Since 1984, Smith has served on the Board of Trustees for Pitzer College and was recognized as a Life Trustee in 2003.

Co-authored with Diane P. Bryant and Brian R. Bryant. Teaching Students with Special Needs in Inclusive Classrooms 2nd ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publishing, 2015.

Co-authored with Naomi Chowdhuri Tyler. Introduction to Contemporary Special Education: New Horizons 1st ed. Columbus, OH: Pearson/Merrill, 2014.

Co-authored with Philip J. Burke, et al. “The Federal Investment in Personnel Preparation for Special Educators.” Washington, DC: The National Association of Directors of Special Education, 2013.

Co-authored with Bianca Elizabeth Montrosse. “Special Education Doctoral Programs: A 10-Year Comparison of the Suppliers of Leadership Personnel. TESE 35, no. 2 (2012): 101–13.

Co-authored with Naomi Chowdhuri Tyler and Bianca Elizabeth Montrosse. “The Supply: Profile of Current Students and Recent Graduates in Special Education.” TESE 35, no. 2 (2012): 114–27.

Co-authored with Naomi Chowdhuri Tyler. “Effective inclusive education: Equipping education professionals with necessary skills and knowledge.” Prospect 41 (2011): 323–39.

Special Education Trends, Issues, & Policy Development
Disability in Schools & Society