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Smith, Terry


Special Education
Director, Disability and Equity in Education Doctoral Program

Programs/Classes Taught:

Master’s Level

SPE500  Introduction to Exceptional Children
SPE501  Educational Assessment of Children and Adolescents with Special Needs
SPE506  Frameworks and Perspectives in Special Education
SPE507  Social and Emotional Support, Teaching, and Development
SPE508  Critical Literacy for Students with Disabilities
SPE592  Seminar in Special Education

Doctoral Level

CCD620 Epistemology of Learning, Teaching and Inquiry
CSI693   Curriculum and Social Inquiry Doctoral Seminar
CAP601 Culture of School and Communities
DEE601 Politics of Assessment
DEE603 Activism, Disability and Education
DEE604 History of Disability and Education
DEE690 Politics of Madness
ESR604  Dissertation Proposal Seminar
ESR610  Paradigms of Research
ESR614  Interpretive and Critical Research I
ESR618 Interpretive and Critical Research II

Areas of Expertise:

Interpretive Research Methods
Social, Emotional and Political Dimensions of Pedagogy and Schooling
Social Models of Disability
Special Education (Social and Emotional Disability)


Dr. Smith has been a professor at National Louis University since 1997. She taught middle school and high school students labeled with emotional and behavioral disorders for ten years in Miami and Tampa before completing her doctorate. While working as a professor at National Louis, she has continued to work in schools with teachers and children in a variety of capacities over the past 20 years. She has worked as a consultant in Chicago Public Schools and directed grants, literacy programs and teacher education in a juvenile detention center where she worked directly with students and their teachers on curriculum development and assessment. Much of her experience has involved working with students who have lived harsh realities and her passion involves trying to understand how education can respond in thoughtful and effective ways to children in turmoil. She has also volunteered for many years consulting and tutoring students with disabilities in a small, private parochial school.

Dr. Smith holds her primary appointment in Special Education, but she has also worked extensively in several of the National College of Education’s Doctoral Programs where she has designed and taught courses, helped create programs, and supervised research.  This includes teaching ten years in the Educational Leadership Program where she learned about systems, policy and leadership from the primary research of doctoral students. She is currently the Director of the Disability and Equity in Education Doctoral Program and is credited with founding the Second City Disability Studies and Education Conference now in its 15th year.


PhD   University of South Florida, Special Education   1996
MS     University of Miami, Special Education               1988
BA     University of Miami, Psychology                          1987

Research and Interests:

Social, emotional and political aspects of school culture and curricula
Intersection of disability and “delinquency”
Social models of disability
Social Research methodologies


Smith, T.J.(2007). Teaching the children we fear: Lessons from the front. Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press.

Danforth, S. & Smith, T.J. (2005). Engaging troubled students: A constructivist approach.  Thousand Oaks, CA.: Corwin.

Paul, J. & Smith, T.J.(Eds.). 2000. Stories out of school: Memories and reflections of care and cruelty in the classroom. Norwood, NJ: Ablex Publishing Corporation.

Contact Information:
(224) 233-2315
National Louis University
North Shore Campus
5202 Old Orchard Road
Skokie, IL 60077


    NLU’s Chicago campus on South Michigan Avenue occupies five floors of the historic Peoples Gas Building. This landmark building, across the street from the Art Institute of Chicago and Grant Park, is easily accessible by train, bus and car and is surrounded by restaurants, parking lots/garages and shops.

    122 S. Michigan Avenue
    Chicago, IL 60603
    (888) 658.8632
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    Conveniently located in a fast-growing business district off I-90 and Route 31, NLU Elgin features 10 classrooms with high-tech media equipment; a computer lab with high-speed Internet access; two conference rooms; and comfortable student lounges. Parking is free at this recently remodeled and upgraded teaching site, which now includes wireless Internet access.

    620 Tollgate Road
    Elgin, IL 60123
    (888) 658.8632
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    Opened in the summer of 2006, NLU North Shore at Skokie is a state-of-the-art modern campus located just off the Edens Expressway near the Old Orchard Shopping Center. The campus includes 44 wireless classrooms equipped with high-tech media equipment; four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, including a walk-in lab in the library; six conference rooms; a public café for beverages and snacks; a student welcome center; a library for research and study; and multiple, comfortable student lounge areas.

    5202 Old Orchard Road
    Skokie, IL 60077
    (888) 658.8632
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    Located just minutes from the East-West Tollway (I-88), NLU Lisle features 42 wireless classrooms equipped with high-tech media equipment; four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, including a separate walk-in lab in the library; a café for beverages and snacks; a student welcome center; a library for research and study; conference rooms; and six comfortable student lounge areas with wireless access.

    850 Warrenville Road
    Lisle, IL 60532
    (888) 658.8632
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    Located in one of Chicago's major northwest suburbs, the newly renovated NLU Wheeling includes 20 classrooms with high-tech media equipment, four conference rooms, four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, large student lounge areas with wireless capabilities and interactive video capabilities, and an extensive research library. The site also houses the university library research collection.

    1000 Capitol Drive
    Wheeling, IL 60090
    (888) 658.8632
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    Established in 1988 and located in one of Tampa's major business districts, NLU's Florida Regional Center serves students in 13 counties in central Florida. In addition to its classrooms, the National Louis University Tampa Regional Center features a computer lab, student lounges, and conference room.

    5110 Sunforest Drive, Suite 102
    Tampa, FL 33634
    (800) 366.6581
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