GRC Staff

Core Staff

  • Renáta Tichá, Ph.D. - Director
  • Brian Abery, Ph.D. - Research Associate and Coordinator of School Age Services at the Institute on Community Integration, University of Minnesota
  • Christopher Johnstone, Ph.D. - Director of International Initiatives and Relations, College of Education and Human Development, University of Minnesota
  • Christopher Rogers - Information Specialist
  • Jerry Smith, MBA - Media Producer/Director
  • Shawn Lawler - Webmaster

See associates

Renáta Tichá, Ph.D.

Director, The Global Resource Center for Inclusive Education

Small photo of Renáta Tichá, Ph.D. Renáta Tichá, Ph.D., has received a Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Minnesota in Educational Psychology, special education programs. She works as a Research Associate at the Institute on Community Integration at the University of Minnesota. She has extensive experience in the development, implementation and conducting research and training on materials, i.e. assessments and interventions, for children, youth and adults with different types of disabilities. Dr. Tichá is a co-Principal Investigator on three international projects involving children and youth with and without disabilities: the Obama-Singh 21st Century Knowledge Initiative funded by the United States-India Educational Foundation; the American Youth Leadership Program with Costa Rica funded by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State, and the Internationalized Triangles with Russian Federation funded by the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Tichá is the editor Annuntiatus, a newsletter of the International Association of Special Education, and a consulting editor of the Journal of the International Association of Special Education.

Brian Abery, Ph.D.

Research Associate and Coordinator of School Age Services at the Institute on Community Integration, University of Minnesota

Brian Abery, Ph.D., holds a Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Psychology and has an extensive background in research, program development, and evaluation related to children, youth and adults with disabilities. He is the Coordinator of Intervention and Assessment Programs at the Institute on Community Integration (ICI), at the University of Minnesota. He has been Principal Investigator of numerous projects designed to enhance the social inclusion and self-determination of persons with disabilities and is one the primary authors of the middle and high school versions of the Together We Make a Difference Inclusive Service Learning Program. Dr. Abery serves as a consulting editor of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.

Christopher Johnstone, Ph.D.

Director of International Initiatives and Relations, College of Education and Human Development, University of Minnesota

Small photo of Christopher Johnstone, Ph.D.Christopher Johnstone, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of Comparative and International Development Education at the University of Minnesota. In his research he explores operationalizations of inclusiveness as they relate to both international development, education, and campus internationalization. He has worked on education or development-related projects on every continent except Antarctica, but has primarily focused his research in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. His current projects include studies of livelihoods (Kenya and Tanzania), disability identity (India), and equity issues in internationalization (University of Minnesota).

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Associates of the Global Resource Center are leaders in their respective fields who periodically advise or collaborate on GRC projects. Our associates provide valuable subject expertise and leadership capacity for our work.

  • David R. Johnson, PhD, is Director of the Institute on Community Integration (ICI) and an Emma Birkmaier Professor of Educational Leadership in the College of Education and Human Development, University of Minnesota. Dr. Johnson conducts research, teaches courses, and advises graduate students. He has been Principal Investigator of numerous research, training, and demonstration projects. His research interests include investigations of postschool outcomes, school completion, state systems change, cost-benefit analysis, and other policy-related research. His research and evaluation results have been used by U.S. Congressional committees, state legislatures, state education agencies, and other organizations.

  • Kristen L. McMaster, PhD, is a Professor of Special Education in the Department of Educational Psychology, University of Minnesota. She received her Ph.D. in special education from Vanderbilt University. Her research interests include creating conditions for successful response to intervention of students at risk and students with disabilities. Specific research focuses on (1) promoting teachers’ use of data-based decision making and evidence-based instruction and (2) developing intensive, individualized interventions for students for whom generally effective instruction is not sufficient.

  • Roger Stancliffe, PhD, is a researcher in the intellectual and developmental disability field with a special interest in community living. Roger leads the Disability Services stream at the University of Sydney’s Centre for Disability Research and Policy in Australia. He is Course Director of the Master of Health Science (Developmental Disability). Previously, he was a Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Disability Studies (1997-2007) in Sydney, and a Research Associate at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, USA. He maintains an ongoing collaboration with disability researchers at the University of Minnesota.

  • Jerry Smith, MBA, is a filmmaker and media director specializing in documentary and educational programs supporting people with developmental and other disabilities. At the Institute on Community Integration Jerry has directed dozens of award-winning films for broadcast, DVD, and web delivery. He also manages a number of web-based multimedia projects, including Self-Advocacy Online, a web portal for self-advocates that provides accessible, media-rich content and social networking features, and Leadership in the History of the Developmental Disabilities Movement, a wiki-based, multi-media site delivering presentations on key leaders and collecting and sharing historical content from site visitors.

  • Vitaliy Shyyan, PhD, Vitaliy Shyyan is a Research Associate at the Institute on Community Integration. He works with state departments of education to improve outcomes for diverse students, including students with disabilities, English language learners, and English language learners with disabilities. Dr. Shyyan has expertise in large-scale assessments, accessibility and accommodations, research and evaluation design, language acquisition, and intercultural education.

  • Susan O’Connor, PhD, is an Associate Professor of Special Education at Augsburg College. She is responsible for starting a Special Education Department and major at Augsburg. Susan’s passion is inclusive education for children and youth with disabilities locally, nationally and internationally. Susan speaks about how her many overseas experiences, particularly working in Arab countries and the Middle East, influenced her teaching and philosophy. She states: “It opened my view of world and impacted me in so many ways.”

  • Matt Schuelka, PhD, is a Lecturer in Inclusion and Special Educational Needs and also serves as the Program Director for the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) program at the University of Birmingham, UK. He comes from a diverse background of study, research, and teaching experience – having taught multiple ages and subjects in the United States, Bhutan, Malaysia, and now the United Kingdom. Besides a passion for teaching, Dr. Schuelka is very active in inclusive education development, policy, and understanding around the world. He has been involved in educational research and development projects in the United States, Serbia, Zambia, Bhutan, India, and Malaysia and for such organizations as UNICEF and USAID.

  • Thomas Engsig, PhD, is Associate Professor in educational psychology, and special education at UC of Northern Denmark. Thomas holds a M.A. (Ed) in educational psychology, and his doctoral degree from Aalborg University is within the field of special and inclusive education. Thomas Engsig's research interest are inclusive and supportive education in the Danish public school system, international comparative education and disability studies.

  • Dr. Anick Tolbize. Since completing her Ph.D in educational psychology at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities, Dr. Tolbize has gone back to her home island of Rodrigues, in the Republic of Mauritius, to work as the manager and training coordinator for an education authority. During that time, her main focus has been to improve socio-emotional and academic outcomes for the 2000 primary school children she oversees, primarily through the introduction of Response to Intervention related practices. In 2014, she obtained a Europe Aid to set up inclusive special education services in those schools. She is currently in the final year of implementation of the project.

  • G. Victoria Naomi, PhD, is a Professor of Special Education at Avinashilingam University for Women, Coimbatore, India. She has wide and rich experience in the field of special education. Her research interests include Inclusive Education and Development of indigenous devices and techniques for the education and rehabilitation of persons with disabilities. One of her specializations are education adaptations for students with visual impairments.

  • Premavathy Vijayan, PhD, has assumed charge as Vice-Chancellor of Avinashilingam University for Women, Coimbatore, India. Dr. Premavathy Vijayan is a distinguished Professor and HOD in the Department of Special Education from 1999-2015 at this institution. She was one of the very few pioneers in the country implemented Inclusive Education in India. She is a Fellow/Member of Common Wealth British Council. She is associated with many professional bodies in the country.

  • Anastasia Mamaeva, PhD, is an Associate Professor at the Institute of Social and Humanitarian Technologies, Krasnoyarsk State Pedagogical University, Krasnoyarsk, Russian Federation. Her main areas of interest include socialization of children with intellectual disabilities, progress monitoring of the achievement of students with significant disabilities, and the education of children with severe speech impairments.

  • M. Cristina Cardona, PhD, is a Professor of Research Methods in Special and Inclusive Education at the Faculty of Education, University of Alicante (UA), Alicante, Spain. Her research interests include teacher education in the areas of diversity and inclusion, special education, instructional/curricular adaptations and diversification strategies, co-teaching, and collaboration. Dr. Cardona’s work at ICI in collaboration and the University of Minnesota (UMN) involves a comparative analyses of syllabi, models of teacher education, course content and practices in pre-service teacher training programs at UMN, other MN universities, and UA in Spain.

  • Eva Janebová, PhD, is an Internationalization Chief Officer at Masaryk University, Faculty of Education, Czech Republic as well as a Senior Academic Consultant for the Council on International Educational Exchange in Prague. Eva also works as an Internationalization Policy Advisor at Palacký University, Olomouc. In these positions, Eva consults on leading internationalization strategy and internationalization of curriculum at faculties of education (including trainings for academics). She teaches courses for domestic and international students. She holds a wide range of internationalization responsibilities, including strategic planning, advising university bodies and their representatives, international cooperation development, etc.

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