The Center for Persons with Disabilities at Utah State University

Faculty Fellows to be honored

April 15, 2015 by Sue Reeves

Image of David Feldon

David Feldon

The Center for Persons with Disabilities at Utah State University will honor its Faculty Fellows on Friday, April 17, from 3-4 p.m. in CPD 152. CPD Faculty Fellows are USU faculty members from various disciplines who conduct research and/or direct programs in collaboration with the CPD.

The CPD welcomes David Feldon, TEAL/STE2M, and Tyra Sellers, Special Education and Rehabilitation, as the 2015 class of Faculty Fellows.

Feldon is an associate professor of Instructional Technology and Learning Sciences and director of the new STE2M (Science, Technology, Engineering, Education, Mathematics) Center at USU. His research examines two lines of inquiry that are distinct but mutually supportive. The first characterizes the cognitive components of expertise as they contribute to effective and innovative problem solving as well as how they affect the quality of instruction that experts can provide. The second examines the development of research skills within STEM disciplines as a function of instruction and other educational support mechanisms. He also conducts some research into technology-facilitated instructional approaches and research methods for examining them. He earned his Ph.D. in educational psychology and his M.S. in instructional technology from the University of Southern California, completed his postdoctoral fellowship at UCLA, and held tenure-track positions at the University of South Carolina, Washington State University, and the University of Virginia prior to joining the USU faculty.

Image of Tyra Sellers

Tyra Sellers

Sellers received her Ph.D. in Disability Disciplines–Applied Behavior Analysis from Utah State University in 2011 and is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. She is an assistant professor and the director of the Utah Behavior Support Clinic (UBSC).  Through the UBSC, she and her team provide assessment and intervention services for individuals with severe problem behavior at the university-based clinic, as well as in homes and schools across the state. She earned a B.A. in Philosophy and M.A. in Special Education from San Francisco State University, and J.D. from the University of San Francisco. Sellers has more than 20 years of clinical experience working with individuals with disabilities, spanning from EIBI through adult services.  Her research interests include behavior variability, choice, functional analyses, and behavioral interventions.  She is an active member of UtABA and an approved provider for the Utah Professional Development Network (UPDN).

Feldon and Sellers join Lori Roggman and Lisa Boyce (FCHD), Robert Morgan, Jared Schultz, Tim Riesen, Lillian Duran, and Tom Higbee (SPER), Sydney Schaefer (HPER), Gretchen Peacock (Psychology), Damon Cann (Political Science), Chris Davies (Veterinary Science), Ryan Bosworth (Applied Economics), Heidi Wengreen (NDFS), Christopher Gauthier (Photography), Maureen Hearns  (Music Therapy) and Raymond Veon (Arts Education) as CPD Faculty Fellows.


Faculty Fellows welcomed at reception

April 9, 2014 by Sue Reeves

Image of people

Gordon Richins, Raymond Veon and Bryce Fifield at the CPD Faculty Fellows reception.

A recent afternoon reception at Utah State University’s Center for Persons with Disabilities honored new and existing CPD Faculty Fellows. These faculty members, from various departments throughout the university, were honored for conducting research and providing services that benefit people with disabilities and their families. Class of 2014 Faculty Fellows are: Lillian Duran (SPER), Raymond Veon (associate dean of Arts Education), Sydney Schaefer (HPER), Ryan Bosworth (Applied Economics) and Heidi Wengreen (Nutrition, Dietetics and Food Science).

The new class of Faculty Fellows join Lori Roggman (FCHD), Keith Christensen (LAEP), Bob Morgan (SPER), Gretchen Peacock (Psychology), Jared Schultz (SPER), Damon Cann (Political Science), Chris Davies (Veterinary Science), Lisa Boyce (FCHD), Tim Riesen (SPER), Christopher Gauthier (Art and Design) and Tom Higbee (SPER) in service to the state of Utah through their research, training and direct work with families of people with disabilities.

For more photos, see the CPD Facebook album.


CPD Faculty Fellow awarded art fellowship

March 13, 2013 by Sue Reeves

Image of Ed Redd and Christopher Gauthier talking.

Rep. Ed Redd listens as CPD Faculty Fellow Christopher Gauthier talks about his “Evidence and Artifacts” exhibit in this file photo from a legislative reception last month.

Utah State University’s Christopher Gauthier has been awarded one of two Visual Arts Fellowships by the Utah Division of Arts & Museums. Gauthier is an assistant professor of art and a faculty fellow at the Center for Persons with Disabilities.

Gauthier’s most recent project, “Evidence and Artifacts,” has stimulated dialogue about the impact of environmental insults on human health and development. Selections from “Evidence and Artifacts: Facing Autism” have been exhibited at Johns Hopkins University and for two consecutive years at the U.S. Autism and Asperger Association World Conference.

“I am honored to receive the Utah Visual Arts Fellowship,” said Gauthier. “This amazing funding support will open so many new opportunities to create and exhibit, ultimately giving this project wings. My hope is that the portraits will convey a sense of urgency about understanding what is causing the prevalence of autism spectrum disorder to rise so rapidly, and will humanize the statistics in a way that will move people to action.”

This year’s juror, Richard Roth, an artist and faculty member at Virginia Commonwealth University, said “Gauthier’s exquisite portraits of autistic individuals serve to personalize those too often seen as statistics.”

Gauthier will receive a $10,000 award, and a short documentary featuring the artist will be co-produced through a partnership with Utah Arts & Museums and the visual arts magazine


For more information, see the Division of Arts & Museums press release and Gauthier’s blog



Research on play: Dads and moms both contribute to education success

March 9, 2012 by JoLynne Lyon

father and son at playgroundResults from a 15-year study out of  the Family, Consumer and Human Development Department at Utah State University show that the way parents play with their toddlers predicts their children’s academic success. These findings are getting national recognition. So far, stories have appeared in the TodayMoms blog, Education Week’s Early Years blog and Medical News Today –with more coverage likely to follow. Update: add Parents Magazine,’s Red-Hot Prenting blog, Modern Home Modern BabyKSL and the Deseret News to the list.

We’re proud to say that the researchers have ties to the Center for Persons with Disabilities. Kudos to Dr. Gina Cook, who works here at the CPD’s Interdisciplinary Training division. Congratulations also to Faculty Fellows Lisa Boyce and Lori Roggman, both of FCHD.

Here’s the press release:

15-Year Study Shows Positive Connection Between How Parents Play with Toddlers and Their Children’s Academic Success

  •  229 Children from Low-Income Families Across the Nation were Studied as Part of this Research
  • Mothers Do More Teaching With Their Child When the Biological Father is a Resident in the Home

 LOGAN, UT (March 6, 2012) – Results from a 15-year research project show that the ways in which fathers and mothers play with children at age two predicts their children’s future academic outcomes.

Among the highly stimulating activities parents engaged in that were shown to have a positive impact on children’s later academic performance are:

a mom and boy pull faces

  • Encouraging and engaging in pretend play
  • Presenting activities in an organized sequence of steps
  • Elaborating on the pictures, words, and actions in a book or on unique attributes of objects
  • Relating play activity or book text to the child’s experience

Since 1996, researchers from Utah State University’s department of Family, Consumer and Human Development (FCHD) have studied families enrolled in the “U.S. Early Head Start Research and Evaluation Project” to determine the range of influence early parent-child engagement has on later academic achievements.

“There has been extensive research done on the importance of early parent-child interactions on future educational experiences, but most have focused on the relationship with the mother,” said Gina Cook, FCHD research assistant professor. “Our study looked at the combined long-term impacts of both maternal and paternal interactions in those critical stages of early development, and discovered that children not only benefit from the interactions they have with their mothers, but also their fathers.”

Observations of mother-toddler and father-toddler interactions in 229 low-income families made at age 2 were examined in relation to child outcomes at age 3 and then again in the 5th grade. The researchers looked at two different family types, those with resident biological fathers and those without, and found that in both these family situations, children perform better academically when mothers teach more during play with their toddlers. When resident biological fathers teach during play with their toddlers, they make an additional positive contribution to their child’s 5th grade math and reading performance on top of the mother’s play, the child’s gender, and participation in the Early Head Start Program.

The study determined that these biological fathers weren’t actually stimulating their children’s brains more than the fathers in other family situations. Rather, the research indicates that in homes with both biological parents, the mother provided higher levels of cognitive stimulation with the toddlers, and those fathers contributed to later academic outcomes above and beyond mothers.

“Interestingly, when the biological father is living with the mother and child, mothers provide more cognitive stimulation to their toddlers, but it is the fathers in only these families who really add something more to their children’s early environments,” added Cook. “It is important for parents to engage with their children during the vital, early stages of brain development, because that early exposure to cognitive stimulation with both mothers and fathers can have a long-lasting and positive influence on the educational success of at-risk children.”

The FCHD department is part of the Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services at Utah State University. Results from this study will be published in an upcoming special issue on fathers in the Family Science journal.

About the College of Education and Human Services

 The Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services at Utah State University is committed to offering high quality graduate and undergraduate programs in education and human services that are innovative and widely accessible. The college is also dedicated to establishing and maintaining nationally visible research centers that advance knowledge and professional practices. For more information, visit   For press contacts, scroll down.

A father in army fatigues hugs his son

 Press Contact:

Jacob Moon

Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services Public Relations



Amanda Butterfield

Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services Public Relations




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Research Week recap 2: the Faculty Fellows reception

April 12, 2010 by JoLynne Lyon

CPD Director Bryce Fifield congratulates faculty fellow Thomas Higbee.

Six CPD Faculty Fellows were honored at a reception during Research Week at Utah State University earlier this month. Each of the fellows are  from other parts of the Utah State University campus, and they bring real-world experience to their students through their relationships with the CPD.

Members of this group employ and teach students and trainees in CPD programs, giving practical experience and/or jobs to 13 graduates and more than 33 undergraduates. They conduct research and provide services to people with disabilities and their families.

A Facebook photo album offers a look at the event.

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