Articles

Another Alumni Success Story!

Professor Rich Simpson is retiring from the Special Education Department this month.  He will continue on a Research Professor for the Life Span Institute, maintaining his office at the Edwards Campus, but this is his last semester in our Department.  He’s been with usfor 42 years, beginning as an assistant professor in 1973. He has been an active citizen at KU, a trail blazer for the profession, and a consistent and prolific writer, publishing more than 175 refereed articles, numerous chapters, as well as a set of books that have guided teachers and other practitioners for the last 30 years.   Please join me in appreciating the contributions that Rich has made on behalf of individuals with autism and their families, KU students, and colleagues here and across the country.  

Rich earned his Bachelor’s degree at Baker University, M.S. at Fort Hays State University in Kansas, and his Ed. D. in special education at the University of Kansas in 1973.  He was a founder of the Midwest Symposium for Leadership in Behavior Disorders, a conference and professional organization that focuses on the well-being and support of students with emotional and behavioral disorders.  Since 1983, MSLBD has attracted members from around the United States with an average conference attendance of well over 1000 participants.  He has also led the longest running teacher education program in the country for teachers of students with autism. His program has produced teachers, teacher educators, researchers, and supervisors who work in schools and university throughout the nation. He helped to create the description for and analysis of alternative educational programs for learners with emotional and behavioral challenges in the Kansas City area. His former doctoral students can be found on campuses across the United States providing leadership for special education, autism education, and the rights of students with social and emotional disabilities.  Rich serves on the editorial board of Focus on Autism and Other Development Disabilities as well as reviews articles for publication in a number of other scientific journals including Intervention in School and Clinic, Behavioral Disorders, and Special Education and Teacher Education. 

Rich has held the Gene A. Budig Endowed Teaching Professorship of Special Education, served as director of special education programs at the University of Kansas Medical Center, and been the chair of the KU Special Education Department. He worked as a special education teacher, school psychologist, and clinical psychologist. He began his career with children as a school psychologist in 1969.  He continued his work as a psychologist at the University of Kansas Medical Center while pursuing his doctoral degree in special education. He also worked as a special education teacher at a psychiatric facility. Other professional roles and experiences include coordinating a community mental health outreach program and directing several University of Kansas and University of Kansas Medical Center demonstration programs for students with autism spectrum disorders. He was the 2002 recipient of the International Council for Exceptional Children Research Award.  He is a founding member of the planning committee of the Midwest Symposium for Leadership in Behavior Disorders and received the MSLBD Outstanding Leadership Award in 2002.  Rich's research on social skills development among children and youth with autism is unparalleled. For over 40 years he has investigated various methods and strategies that have undoubtedly led to improved quality of life for children and youth affected by autism and their families. He also has served as the major advisor for more than 30 graduates of our doctoral program.

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Beta Tau Chapter of Kappa Sigma