Dr. Laura Bray

Dr. Laura Bray
Phone: 8148632422
Office Address:
211 CEDAR Building
University Park, PA 16802
Campus: University Park


Assistant Professor of Education


Educational Psychology, Counseling, and Special Education


Special Education


My research draws from organizational and learning theories to explore topics and issues related to the education of students with disabilities and at-risk students. I am currently involved in four distinct threads of research involving special education policy and practice.

1. Implementation of Policy and Reform Initiatives: In this work, I am exploring how schools implement Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) and the role of school administrators in supporting inclusive reform. I am also designing interventions to improve the implementation of IEPs and inclusive reform. 

2. Pre-Service and Teacher Training: In this work, I am examining the development of special education teachers' professional identities, as well as the influence of learning environments on these identities.

3. Policy Formation: In this work, I examining the role of system and nonsystem actors in the reauthorization of special education legislation.

4. Families Access to Support: In this work, I am exploring how to support families who have a child identified with a disability. I am also designing interventions to better connect families to resources, as well as training them in the implementation of evidence-based practices. 

Areas of Expertise

Educational Studies

Educational Theory

Individual Difference

Learning Processes

Leadership Preparation

Educational Leadership


Equity and Diversity
Instructional Methods and Design
Learning Sciences

Methodological Research

Policy Analysis
Qualitative Research
Quantitative Research

Social Issues

Education and Law
Education Policy

Special Education


Teacher Preparation

Professional Development

Courses Taught

SPLED 521: Capstone Seminar in Special Education

SPLED 520: Current Trends and Issues in Special Education

Office Hours

Fall 2017: Tuesdays and Thursdays 9:30-10:30 am EST and by appointment. 

Education History

Ph.D. University of Pittsburgh (2014), M.Ed. Chestnut Hill College (2008), B.A. The College of New Jersey (2005)

Representative Publications

Bray, L. E., & Russell, J. L. (2016). Going off script: Structure and agency in individualized education program meetings. American Journal of Education, 122(3).

Bray, L. E., Mrachko, A., & Lemons, C. (2014). Standardized writing opportunities:  A case study of writing instruction in inclusive classrooms. Teachers College Record, 116(6).

Russell, J. L., & Bray, L. E. (2013). Crafting coherence from complex policy messages: Educators’ perceptions of special education and standards-based accountability policies. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 21(5).