Sheila Conway - Research and Grants
Faculty - Associate Chairperson


Kostewicz, D.E., Robertson, R. Conway, S.J. & Milner, R. (2017) Urban Special Education Scholars (USES): Leadership in Multi-Tiered Systems of Support in Urban Schools. Office of Special Education Projects, U.S. Department of Education. ($1,500,000). Key Personnel.
The doctoral training program described in this proposal is a response to CFDA

Number 84.325D, Absolute Priority 1 — Preparation of Leadership Personnel, Program

Type A. The program, Urban Special Education Scholars (USES), is designed to prepare

a cadre of five highly qualified doctoral graduates with a focus in implementing multitiered

systems of supports (MTSS) in urban settings. They will be well prepared to reenter

field of special education by filling faculty and leadership roles, conduct rigorous

intervention research, and train future special education teachers. The training outlined in

this application is rigorous and provides the fellows with knowledge, skill, and

experience. Fellows will be prepared to provide in-service and pre-service preparation for

teachers of high need students with disabilities, to conduct and publish scholarly research

that furthers the knowledge base and improves practice, and to serve in positions of

leadership at local, state, or national levels. The program described here makes full use

of the rich resources of the University of Pittsburgh and the surrounding research and

practice communities.

The unique features reflect the strong commitment of the project leaders to design

doctoral training that emphasizes an apprenticeship model in which fellows are mentored

into the adjoining fields of special and urban education by supportive training and

opportunities for supervised independence in research, teaching, supervision, and

leadership. Additionally, the program requires an Urban Classroom Internship and

Research Study in which fellows will spend two semesters supporting special education

educators and students with special needs in an inclusive, high-poverty, high-needs school.

In this Internship, fellows will implement a project to solve real-world problems providing

both academic and behavioral support for high need students with disabilities as they

integrate their research and practice knowledge. Upon graduation and employment, the

faculty at the University of Pittsburgh will continue to support fellows through an induction

Lemons, C.J., Conway, S., Srsic, A., Kostewicz, D.E., & Lyon, S. (2012-2016). Restructuring and Improving Special Education (RISE). Office of Special Education Projects, U.S. Department of Education. ($1,494,765). Primary Investigator

We are in the final year of Restructuring and Improving Special Education RISE, our 325T Project (H325T110003), aimed at redesigning a single certificate K-12 special education program into a dual-certification (special education and secondary content area) Master’s degree program. We accomplished all planned activities that were outlined in our project timeline. Our major accomplishments have been: (a) preparing a fourth cohort of 15 teacher candidates in evidence based practices to teach students with high incidence disabilities in high need schools (total of 65); (b) implementing and improving our newly developed induction program for our first and second cohorts of highly qualified, dually certified graduates, who are all in teaching positions that the program prepared them for (c) improving our courses, field experiences and induction based on data collected from the first two cohorts (d) continuing to build relationships with local school districts for field placements sites and (e) hosting a visit from our external evaluator.

We are happy to report that both the program graduates and graduate employers rated the program as “Highly Effective” in preparing teachers. Our graduates all report that they plan to stay in the teaching field next year demonstrating retention rates higher than the national average.

Research Interests

Sheila Conway


University of Pittsburgh
5328 Wesley W. Posvar Hall
230 South Bouquet Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15260