Dr. Laura Bray

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

Title

Assistant Professor of Education

Department

Educational Psychology, Counseling, and Special Education

Programs

Special Education

Biography

In my research, I draw from various theoretical frameworks and mixed methods to examine issues of practice and policy pertaining to children with disabilities and their families. My work aims to understand and attend to complex issues, which demand insights into the interconnectedness of the actions, beliefs, and artifacts of different stakeholders, organizations, and institutions. While my research interests are diverse in nature, they speak to the nuanced and multifaceted ways that people, learning, resources, institutions, and policy impact one another.

I am currently involved in four distinct threads of research involving special education policy and practice.

1. Implementation of Policy and Reform Initiatives: This work explores 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: 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: This research explores 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. 

Courses Taught

SPLED 520: Current Trends and Issues in Special Education

SPLED 521: Capstone Seminar in Special Education

SPLED 525: Teaching Learners with Disabilities in Inclusive Settings

SPLED 596: Staff Development and Change in Special Education

Office Hours

Fall 2018: 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. (2018). The dynamic interaction between institutional pressures and activity: An examination of the implementation of IEPs in secondary inclusive settings. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 40(2).

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).