Curry Research Conference

Mark your calendars! The 2018-19 Curry Research Conference is scheduled for Friday March 29, 2019. Register for free

Want more ways to get involved? Volunteer the day of the event! We can use your help with logistics and/or moderating sessions.

Keynote by Liz Bettini

 Special Education Teachers' Working Conditions: A Potential Lever for Improving the Quality and Effectiveness of the Special Education Teacher Workforce

Liz Bettini, Assistant Professor, Boston University
Friday, March 29, 2019, 11:00-12:30 PM  
Bavaro Hall, Holloway Hall (Rm 116)

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Bio: Dr. Elizabeth Bettini is an assistant professor in the special education program at Boston University's Wheelock College of Education and Human Development. Dr. Bettini’s research focuses on how working conditions contribute to special educators’ instructional quality, stress, and longevity in teaching, especially for novice special educators and special educators serving students with emotional/behavioral disorders. Her research has been published in 26 peer reviewed articles, and has been funded through the Institute for Education Sciences and the Spencer Foundation, among others.

Abstract: Efforts to develop an effective special education teacher workforce have primarily focused on developing special educators’ knowledge and skill. In this presentation, I argue that these efforts are insufficient, because special educators need both opportunities to learn effective practices and opportunities to enact those practices in the service of students. Focusing on special educators’ serving students with emotional/behavioral disorders, I describe two recent studies of special educators’ working conditions. In the first, we used structural equation modeling to analyze data from a national survey. We found SETs’ perceptions of adequacy of planning time, workload manageability, stress, and emotional exhaustion mediated relationships between other working conditions and intent to stay. In the second, we are examining how special educators experience the interpersonal aspects of their work in self-contained classes for elementary school students with EBD. We are finding that managing complex interpersonal dynamics is an important component of these special educators’ work, and that special educators feel their working conditions shape the ways they enact this responsibility. I conclude by discussing the importance of future research on how school contexts may shape the quality and effectiveness of the special education teacher workforce.

Sponsored by the Curry Education Research Lectureship Series

The CRC Steering Committee

  • Committee Chair: Kate Peeples (
  • Committe Co-Chair: Casedy Thomas (
  • Logistics Committee coordinates location, technology, food, and volunteers on day of conference.  Contact Angela Skeeles-Worley (
  • Outreach and Communications Committee coordinates conference promotion, upkeep of website, and communication about the conference. Contact Cathy Corbin ( or Edward Scott (
  • Program Committee coordinates presentation moderator training and presentation sessions, faculty involvement, creation of the program, and presentation schedules. Contact Casedy Thomas (
  • Proposal Committee coordinates proposal submissions and review process. Contact Justin Doromal (