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Joseph R. Jenkins Announces Retirement

SEATTLE— Joseph R. Jenkins, Professor in the area of Special Education, announced his plan to retire at the end of this academic year. 

"Jenkins has a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota and specializes in teaching students with learning disabilities to read and instructing special educators on effective literacy instruction. He also teaches special education assessment practices and instructional modifications for students with disabilities. He previously taught at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, New Mexico State University, the University of Delaware, and the University of Minnesota.

Jenkins joined the UW College of Education in 1979. At the time, Tom Lovett recruited Jenkins to be the as director of the Experimental Education Unit. Jenkins recalls, “While I’m not a religious guy, it felt like God had reached down to take me out of the corn fields [of Illinois] and given me a brand new life at the University of Washington.”

For 10 years, Jenkins directed the Experimental Education Unit, which at the time modeled leading edge birth through adolescent programs for students with disabilities. With colleagues, he initiated the longest longitudinal study of special education effects, studying the educational outcomes of EEU preschool graduates until they reached 18.

Of his time with the College of Education, Jenkins says, “My College colleagues have been delightful. I can always count on having an interesting conversation with thoughtful people who are doing exciting work.” He also counts graduates of the special education program as bringing him joy, that “we’ve had cohort after cohort of committed and talented individuals that have gone on to make meaningful contributions to the lives of children with disabilities”.

Jenkins was recently awarded the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) Special Education Research Award and the Jeannette E. Fleischner Award For Outstanding Contribution to the Field of Learning Disabilities.
According to Jenkins’ colleague, Eugene Edgar, “Either of these awards is considered a capstone achievement of a professional career. To be selected for both awards, and in the same year, is highly unusual and indicative of Joe’s phenomenal career in special education.”
Jenkins belongs to the International Reading Association, the Council for Learning Disabilities, the American Educational Research Association, and the Council for Exceptional Children. He currently serves as the associate editor or a member of the editorial board for Exceptional Children, Journal of Learning Disability, Remedial and Special Education, and Learning Disabilities Research & Practice.
Up next? Jenkins has a two-year transition plan for retirement, which starts with two projects, one a research project studying vocabulary instruction, the other a national evaluation of the impact of RTI or Responsiveness to Intervention.

To read testimony from some of Joseph Jenkin's students, peers, and friends or to add your own, click here.

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