Sean Joseph Smith, PhD

Sean Smith
  • School of Education and Human Sciences - Special Education Professor

Contact Info

Secondary Phone Number:
Joseph R. Pearson Hall, 543
1122 West Campus Road
Lawrence, KS 66045
Dole Human Development Center, 3061
1000 Sunnyside Ave
Lawrence, AL 66045


Dr. Sean J. Smith is the Past-President of the technology division for the Council for Exceptional Children, Innovations in Special Education Technology (ISET), and member of the Board for the National Down syndrome Congress. Dr. Smith’s research interests focus on innovations and technology solutions to support struggling learners and those with disabilities, particularly interventions aligned with the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) Framework. At present, Dr. Smith is the Principal Investigator on a federally funded project exploring the impact of virtual reality on struggling learners in the area of social emotional development. Sean has authored over 100 books and articles, given hundreds of scholarly presentations both nationally and internationally, and serves on various boards for journals, organizations, and parent groups focused on enhancing the lives of individuals with disabilities. Dr. Smith, with a variety of collaborators, has received and managed over $25 million of external research and development funds. Most importantly, Sean is the father of four children, one having Down syndrome. It is through this work as a father that Sean has sought to apply his knowledge of effective practices with parents, family members, and similar stakeholders as we look to enhance the lives of our children, ALL of our children!

Web sites:


Ph.D. in Special Education, University of Virginia, 1997
M.Ed. in Special Education Technology, George Mason University, 1994, Fairfax, VA
B.A. in History/Secondary Education, Providence College, Providence, RI


Teaching Interests

  • Innovative solutions, case-based instruction, problem-based learning, best practices, technology integration, entire learner
Research Interests
  • Innovative solutions, tools, universal design for learning, online learning, personalized learning, data-drive decisions, research to practice, virtual learning, virtual reality, technology implementation, autism, Down syndrome

Selected Publications

Basham, J. B., Smith, S. J., & Satter, A. M. (2016). Universal Design for Learning: Scanning for alignment in K-12 blended and fully online learning. [Journal Articles]. Journal of Special Education Technology31, 147–155.

Johnston, S., Greer, D. L., & Smith, S. J. (2014). Peer learning in K12 virtual schools. [Journal Articles]. Journal of Distance Education28(1), 1–31.

Greer, D. L., Rowland, A., & Smith, S. J. (2014). Critical considerations for teaching students with disabilities in online environments. [Journal Articles]. Teaching Exceptional Children46, 77–91.

Grants & Other Funded Activity

Develop Responsive, Innovative, and Visionary Educator. Office of Special Education Program’s Leadership Competition, US Department of Education.. $800000.00. Submitted 11/1/2014 (5/1/2015 - 12/31/2020). Federal. Status: Funded

Project Validate Educational Research in Fundamental Innovation: Universal Design for Learnin. Investment in Innovation Fund, US Department of Education.. Submitted 6/21/2014. Federal. Status: Not Funded