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Elizabeth Talbott joins W&M Curriculum & Instruction faculty

  • Betsy Talbott
    New faculty:  Elizabeth Talbott joins the faculty this fall as Professor of Special Education and Chair of the Curriculum and Instruction Department.  
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This fall, the School of Education welcomes four new faculty members. Today, we introduce Elizabeth Talbott, who joins us as the chair of the Curriculum & Instruction department. 

Tell us a little about your background and what brought you to W&M.
I earned my PhD in special education at UVA in 1994 and spent my entire career (until now) at the University of Illinois at Chicago. I loved my teaching and research experiences at UIC but was ready for a change and eager to return to Virginia, if possible.

Dean Niles and (former Associate Dean for Research) Tom Farmer introduced me to the research, teaching, and leadership possibilities at W&M when I gave a talk here in 2016, and I jumped at the chance to apply for a job when a position came open. I’m very lucky and grateful to be here!

What’s your area of research and what question are you most passionate about answering right now?
My research focuses on providing evidence-based mental health interventions to children and youth in schools. For the past couple of years, I have been collaborating with Andres De Los Reyes, clinical psychologist at the University of Maryland, and Tom Power and Jeremy Michel at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, to improve multi-disciplinary (school and clinic) interventions for youth with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). The focus of our research is unique because we’re working with teams—on the education side, members of multi-disciplinary school intervention teams. These teams include special education leaders, school psychologists and counselors, assistant principals, and general education teachers; together, they collaborate to improve the outcomes of young people who experience mental health problems and disorders.

As the new department chair for Curriculum & Instruction, what are you most excited about as you think about the future of our teaching programs?
Dean Niles recruited me to be the C&I department chair after I was hired---how could I say no? I had been a department chair at UIC for 10 years and was so happy to be at W&M, that I immediately said yes!

I have since been very impressed by the collaborative quality of the C&I department faculty and their commitment to advancing faculty research and the research experiences of W&M students. To that end, we already have a department effort underway we call Homebrew, which has two foci: one to support faculty in their efforts to obtain research funding and a second to increase our engagement with undergraduates at W&M in educational research.

Which class are you most looking forward to teaching?
I’m currently teaching a classroom/behavior management course to graduate students in special education and school psychology, which is perfectly aligned with my passion for providing multi-disciplinary, evidenced-based interventions for children and youth.

What else are you hoping to get involved with on campus or in the community?
I would like to become involved in W&M DC. I have 5 years of experience advocating on Capitol Hill for children and youth with disabilities with the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC). In fact, our team from Illinois-CEC worked with Rep. Danny Davis’ (D-IL-07) chief of staff, Jill Hunter-Williams, to include evidence-based training for school professionals in trauma-informed care as part of the RISE from Trauma Act, a bipartisan, bicameral bill introduced by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Sen. Shelley Moore-Capito (R-WV). We were very proud to contribute to a bill on Capitol Hill!

Anything else you’d like to share?
I’m a big fan of Tribe field hockey. W&M’s field hockey team won the CAA championship last year, facing the eventual NCAA champion UNC early in the playoffs. It’s very exciting to watch field hockey at the college level—and the best field hockey in the U.S is played right here in Virginia (and in NC). You can catch the Tribe at home on Busch field.