Frances Mary D'Andrea
Assistant Professor

Assistant Professor of Practice
Teaching, Learning, and Leading

Frances Mary D’Andrea, PhD., is an assistant professor of practice at the University of Pittsburgh. Prior to joining the faculty at Pitt, she was an educational consultant specializing in literacy issues for students with visual impairments, and was an adjunct instructor at several U.S. universities. She became a teacher of students with visual impairments in 1982 and has taught in specialized schools, resource rooms, and as an itinerant teacher. From 1995-2005, she worked at the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB), and helped establish their National Literacy Center.

Dr. D'Andrea has served as AFB's representative to the Braille Authority of North America (BANA) since 1998. She is currently chair of BANA's General Committee on UEB, and served as BANA Chair 2012-2015. She has published numerous articles and books, such as serving as co-author of Ashcroft Programmed Instruction in Braille: Unified English Braille, and The Braille Enthusiast's Dictionary.

Dr. D'Andrea has conducted numerous workshops and presentations both nationally and internationally. She serves on many committees and national task forces related to the education of students with visual impairments.

Instructional Interests

Teaching, Learning, and Leading Department, Special Education, Vision Studies program

  • Introduction to the Eye and Low Vision
  • Education of Children with Vision Impairments
  • Braille
  • Level II: Student Teaching Practicum

Scholarly Interests

Dr. D'Andrea's research interests are primarily related to literacy and the education of children who are blind or visually impaired. She is particularly interested in all aspects of braille literacy, including braille use for technical materials (math and science), use of tactile graphics, and braille for students with additional disabilities.

Selected Grants

  • Research assistant, Reading Braille Mathematics, American Printing House for the Blind, 2017-2020
  • Co-leader of Curriculum, Braille Challenge Mobile App (BCMA) project, Stepping-Up Technology Implementation grant, funded by OSEP (CFDA 84.327S), 2012-2018

Featured Publications


  • Holbrook, M.C. & D’Andrea, F.M. (2017). The Braille Enthusiast’s Dictionary: UEB. Germantown, TN: SCALARS Publishing


  • Holbrook, M.C., D’Andrea, F.M. & Wormsley, D.P. (2017). Literacy Skills. In M.C. Holbrook, C. Kamei-Hannan, & T. McCarthy (Eds). Foundations of Education, 3rd Edition. New York, NY: AFB Press

  • D’Andrea, F.M., & Siu, Y. (2015). Students with visual impairments: Considerations and effective practices for technology use. In D.L. Edyburn (Ed.). Efficacy of Assistive Technology Interventions, Advances in Special Education Technology, Volume 1 (pp. 111-138). Bingley, United Kingdom: Emerald Group Publishing. ISBN: 978-1-78441-642-3.


  • D’Andrea, F. M., McCarthy, T., Kamei-Hannan, C. & Holbrook, M. C. (submitted). Investigating comprehension measures of Reading Adventure Time! for improving reading skills.

  • Sheffield, R.M., D’Andrea, F. M., Morash, V., & Chatfield, S. (submitted). How many braille readers?: Policy, politics, and perception.


Awards and Honors

  • 2014 - Judy Cernkovich Self-Determination and Leadership Award, Itinerant Teaching Division, Association for Education and Rehabilitation for the Blind and Visually Impaired, August 2014

Engagement, Partnerships, and Professional Service

  • Chair, General Committee on UEB, 2015-present; Past Chair, Braille Authority of North America (BANA); Chair, January 2012–December 2014; Chair, UEB Transition Task Force, 2012-2017; AFB’s rep to BANA 1998–present, serving in various capacities on the Board

  • Secretary, International Council on English Braille (ICEB), term 2016-2020, 2nd term 2020-24

  • U.S. delegate to ICEB General Assembly: Baltimore, MD, 1999; Toronto, Canada, 2004; Johannesburg, South Africa, May 2012; Baltimore, MD, May 2016, Dublin, Ireland April 2018, London, 2020 [virtual]

  • Students with Disabilities Task Force, Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), 2015-present

Frances Mary D'Andrea


University of Pittsburgh
5129 Wesley W. Posvar Hall
230 South Bouquet Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15260

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