by Claire Miller
Judith Emerson discovered at age 17 that she wanted to work with students who are deaf and hard of hearing.
Her high school guidance counselor called her into his office and in discussing possible career paths, he suggested Emerson consider working in special education.
“He set up opportunities for me to observe various classes for children with disabilities. After visiting the deaf and hard of hearing program, I knew I wanted to work with that population of students,” said Emerson, who has been appointed a clinical assistant professor in the College of Education’s Department of Educational Psychology and Special Education (EPSE).
She earned her bachelor’s degree in deaf education from Ball State University in 1976 and her associate’s degree as an interpreter for the deaf from Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College in 1998. She received her master’s and her Ph.D. in special education from the University of Southern Mississippi in 2006 and 2011, respectively.
Her research focuses on effective strategies to engage students with disabilities, assistive technology, Response to Intervention and differentiated instruction to benefit all students, assessment strategies, and teacher attitudes about infusion of special education with general education.
In the COE, Emerson acts as a liaison between two schools of thought in teacher preparation – special education and general education. She works in both EPSE and the Department of Middle-Secondary Education and Instructional Technology (MSIT), teaching an EPSE class on instructional strategies for students with disabilities and supervising practicum students in MSIT.
“With today’s guiding legislation, it is necessary to work toward blurring the lines between special education and general education, and Georgia State University is progressively infusing this philosophy into the Initial Teacher Preparation programs,” she explained. “In the future, I see myself team-teaching with COE faculty so that we can model for students what it’s like to have both a general education teacher and a special education teacher in the same classroom, meeting the needs of all students.”
This story is one in a series designed to highlight the College of Education’s newest faculty members and their contributions to the field of education.