Rachel E. Robertson
Associate Professor

Dr. Rachel Robertson is an associate professor of special education, board certified behavior analyst, and certified K-12 special education teacher. Her research focuses on 1) supporting the implementation of positive behavior interventions and supports for students with developmental disabilities (DD) and persistent challenging behavior, and 2) the development and benefits of community-based physical activity programs for individuals with DD. She teaches courses related to special education, applied behavior analysis, and research design.

Instructional Interests

Training programs

  • PhD Special Education
  • EdD Special Education
  • MEd Applied Behavior Analysis
  • MEd CASE


  • Applied Behavior Analysis 1, 2, 3, & 7
  • PhD/EdD Seminars in Special Education
  • Interdisciplinary Leadership Seminar in Developmental Disabilities
  • Curriculum Development for Students with Low Incidence Disabilities

Scholarly Interests

  • Positive behavior interventions and supports
  • Teacher professional development
  • Family-Teacher Partnerships
  • Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • Community-based physical activity programs

Selected Grants

  • Co-Principal Investigator (with Drs. Doug Kostewicz, Sheila Conway, and Richard Milner). Federal Office of Special Education Programs. Urban Special Education Scholars (USES) (8/1/18 – 8/1/23), $1,027,584.

  • Senior Personnel (PI: Dr. Miya Asato). Federal Maternal and Child Health Bureau. Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND), (9/1/18 – 9/1/21), $2,732,779.

  • Principal Investigator. University of Pittsburgh Central Research Development Fund. Do Teachers’ Implicit Theories of Personality Affect the Quality of Behavior Support They Provide to Students? (8/1/16 – 8/1/21), $14,670.

Featured Publications

  • Robertson, R. (2020). Breaking down buy-in: Can lessons from social psychology increase teacher use of proactive behavior management? Psychology in the Schools, 57, 1771-1786.

  • Maggin, D., Robertson, R., & Cook, B. (2020). Introduction to the special series on results-blind peer review: An experimental analysis on reviewer editorial recommendations and manuscript evaluations. Behavioral Disorders, 45, 195-206.

  • Robertson, R., Kokina, A., & Moore, D. (2020). Barriers to implementing behavior intervention plans: Results of a statewide survey. Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, 22, 145-155.

  • *Sobeck, E., Robertson, R., & *Smith, J. (2020). Effects of didactic instruction and performance feedback on provision of positive behavior supports by paraeducators in inclusive classrooms. The Journal of Special Education, 53, 245-255.

  • Robertson, R., & *Coy, J. (2019). Your student is hungry, tired, angry: Now what? Addressing distal setting events in the classroom. Teaching Exceptional Children, 51, 361-371.

Awards and Honors

Student Research Award in Single-Subject Methodology, Council for Exceptional Children Division for Research, 2012

Engagement, Partnerships, and Professional Service

Shifting Power in Educational Research and Development, School of Education & Remake Learning

Human Rights Committee, Western PA School for Blind Children

Rachel E. Robertson


University of Pittsburgh
5154 Wesley W. Posvar Hall
230 South Bouquet Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15260

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