Deb Smith is the recipient of the 2012 Distinguished Alumni Award of Pitzer College and the 2009 Distinguished Award of the College of Education at the University of Washington. She is the Co-Principal Investigator of The IRIS Center for Training Enhancements and Professor in the School of Educational Studies at Claremont Graduate University. Deb recently completed a national study, The Special Education Faculty Needs Assessment (SEFNA) project, which revealed an impending shortage of special education faculty of unprecedented proportions. She has authored or co-authored 11 major textbooks, including the popular introduction to special education text that is in its 7th edition. This new text, Contemporary Special Education: New Horizons, was created using the knowledge about creating interactive instructional units and the learning preferences of today’s adult learners that she and Naomi Tyler have gained through their work with The IRIS Center.
Naomi Chowdhuri Tyler is an Associate Professor of the Practice in Special Education at Vanderbilt University and was the co-author of the 7th edition of Introduction to Special Education: Teaching in an Age of Opportunity. With Deb Smith, she is the Co-Principal Investigator of The IRIS Center for Training Enhancements, which develops and produces engaging, interactive, online instructional materials about working with struggling learners and students with disabilities, available at no cost to users worldwide. She has also directed many federally funded projects that provided important services to minority colleges and universities across the country. Prior to working in higher education, Naomi spent 10 years as a special education teacher working with students from diverse racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic backgrounds, in both rural and urban settings.