Two SOE faculty members win AAIDD awards

Thoma and Scott recognized for outstanding contributions in the field of intellectual and developmental disabilities

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Headshots of (from left) Dr. Colleen Thoma and Dr. LaRon Scott of the VCU School of Education.
From left: Colleen Thoma, Ph.D., and LaRon Scott, Ed.D.

Two VCU School of Education faculty members in the Department of Counseling and Special Education have been selected to receive awards from the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD) for 2021.

Professor Colleen Thoma, Ph.D., FAAIDD, will receive the AAIDD's 2021 Research Award, which recognizes formulations and investigations that have contributed significantly to the body of scientific knowledge in the field of intellectual and developmental disabilities. Associate Professor LaRon Scott, Ed.D., will receive the AAIDD's 2021 Education Award, which recognizes significant contributions to the dissemination of knowledge in the field of intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Scott’s accomplishments, contained in a letter of recommendation, include excelling in the areas of recruitment, teacher preparation, and teacher retention. Specifically:

  • Diversifying the pipeline of those coming into the special education field;
  • Expanding and strengthening VCU programs and advising supports and engaging nationally in leadership roles; and
  • Contributing to the development of theory as well as identifying factors associated with the recruitment and retention of Black male special education teachers.

Thoma’s accomplishments, also contained in a letter of recommendation, include balancing the need to be a researcher with the love of teaching and support for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Most notably, her translational research brings together not only research results, but also provides implications for greater understanding of results in a way that reaches a broader audience of families, teachers, academics and others.

The AAIDD is the oldest and largest interdisciplinary organization of professionals and others concerned about intellectual and developmental disabilities. The group has more than 5,000 members in the U.S. and in 55 countries worldwide.

The association will honor Thoma and Scott at its upcoming annual meeting being held June 21-25, 2021 in Jacksonville, Florida. Plans are being made for the awards ceremony to enable virtual participation.

Read the AAIDD press release.