Associate Professor, Co-Director Undergraduate Studies, Special Education
Mari Beth Coleman is an associate professor of special education who loves teaching teachers and preservice teachers. She is grateful to have the opportunity to have a small impact on teachers’ attitudes toward working with students who have disabilities and their abilities to provide instruction that will maximize their students’ potential. Prior to coming to UT, she taught P–12 students for 13 years in Georgia and then worked at Georgia State University (GSU) for four years while finishing her PhD.
During her years of P–12 classroom instruction, she taught middle school students with moderate to profound intellectual disability, special needs preschool, and elementary students with physical disabilities. She left teaching to work on a grant project based at GSU, the Georgia Bureau for Students with Physical and Health Impairments. In this position, she trained teachers across the state to provide appropriate literacy instruction for students with physical disabilities. Dr. Coleman then worked as a clinical instructor at GSU, teaching an undergraduate introduction to special education course and a graduate-level course in assistive technology. She also supervised practicum students in the areas of early childhood special education, severe disabilities, and physical disabilities.
Dr. Coleman joined the TPTE faculty in August, 2008. She teaches two undergraduate courses addressing the educational implications of physical and health disabilities on P-12 students and the use of assistive technology for individuals with a wide range of needs. Additionally, she teaches graduate-level internship courses in which she loves working with interning teachers to design and implement their applied research studies. Dr. Coleman is a past president of the Council for Exceptional Children’s Division for Physical, Health and Multiple Disabilities. She is involved in ongoing work for that Division and the Tennessee Council for Exceptional Children as well as completing multiple service roles at UT, including serving as the coordinator for the Special Education Program. Her research interests focus on effective instructional strategies and the use of assistive technology to promote increased academic, social, or functional skills for students with a wide range of abilities.