Faculty & Staff

Michelle B. Parker-Katz, PhD

Clinical Professor and Coordinator of the MEd in Special Education

Michelle Parker-Katz is Clinical Professor of Special Education and Teacher Education whose research and clinical work focuses on preparing urban special education teachers and urban transition specialists.

Parker-Katz currently co-directs three personnel preparation grants (Project SET, PULSSE, and Urban Educators).  She has co-directed four federal grants that include research (e.g., Institute for Education Sciences) and personnel preparation (e.g., Office of Special Education Programs).  She has served as senior researcher for other grants (e.g., National Science Foundation).  Her research is widely published in peer-reviewed journals. In the Department of Special Education, Dr. Parker-Katz is the coordinator of masters programs and state licensure and endorsement programs.  She advises and teaches in the masters and doctoral programs, and has received teaching awards. She also teaches and supervises masters students in clinical fieldwork during internships and student teaching. Dr. Parker-Katz serves on the Executive Board of the Illinois Teacher Education Division (ITED) and on committees through the Illinois American Association of Teacher Educators and Illinois State Board of Education. 


PhD, Michigan State University

Research & Teaching Interests

Central to Dr. Parker-Katz’s research and teaching is educational impact for urban change. She explores that through three major research lines. One line focuses on the preparation of educators to enhance post-high school transition opportunities for students with disabilities to aim for increasingly successful adult outcomes.  Related to that is her focus on the structures, nature, and possibilities of collaborative learning among educators, community personnel, and students and their families. That is particularly central in urban areas where inequities are very apparent.  A third related research focus is how teachers develop knowledge for teaching and the role that literacy can play in preparation of teachers to support all students (with and without disabilities) to succeed in learning academic and social content.  Her clinical work in Chicago public schools and communities, grant-funded projects and research (see below), and her coordination of special education masters programs provide ways for her to interconnect her scholarship.

Current Federal Grants

Preparing Urban Leaders in Secondary Special Education: PULSSE. L. Cushing, M. Parker-Katz, D. Maggin. U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs. 2013 – 2018.

Leadership in Special Education. M.T. Hughes & M. Parker-Katz.  U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs. 2013 – 2018.

Seamless and Effective Transition: Preparation of Transition Specialists for High Need Youth with Disabilities” [Project SET]. L.Cushing, M. Parker-Katz. U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs. 2012 – 2017.

Selected Publications

Cushing, L. S. & Parker-Katz, M. (2013). Transition for Urban Youth with Disabilities Leaving Secondary Education. Chicago, IL: Research on Urban Education Policy Initiative, University of Illinois at Chicago. Also available at education.uic.edu/ruepi and projectset.ed.uic.edu

Parker-Katz, M. & Cushing, L.S. (2013). Using Community Conversations to Support Post-School Outcomes for Transition-age Youth with Disabilities.  Presentation at the annual meetings of the DCDT. Also available at projectset.ed.uic.edu.

Hughes, M. T., Parker-Katz, M. & Balasubramanian, A. (2013). Learning to teach literacy through collaborative discussions of student work. Teachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice, 19 (5).

Hughes, M., T. & Parker-Katz, M. (2013). Integrating comprehension strategies into social studies instruction.  The Social Studies, 104(3), 93 - 104.  DOI:10.1080/00377996.2012.691570

Parker-Katz, M. & Hughes, M.T. (2012, April). Collaborative Discussions of Student Work to Enhance Instruction and Learning. Paper presented at the annual meetings of the Teacher Education Division of the Council of Exceptional Children.  Grand Rapids, MI.

Parker-Katz, M. & Cushing, L. (2012, April). Improving Transition Services through Personnel Preparation. Paper presented at the annual meetings of the Teacher Education Division of the Council of Exceptional Children.  Grand Rapids, MI.

Parker-Katz, M. (2012, April).  Re-visioning Preservice Special Education. Paper presented at the annual meetings of the Council of Exceptional Children.  Denver CO. 

Parker-Katz, M., Hughes, M. T., & Chin, D. (2010). Using a multimedia resource to assist new teachers to serve all students. Journal of Integrated Technology in the Classroom, 2(2), 13-27.

Honors & Awards

2006 - UIC Teaching Recognition Program Award

Professional Affiliations & Activities

Board of Reviewers, Journal of Teacher Education