Dr. Carly Blustein Gilson is an Assistant Professor of Special Education in the Department of Educational Psychology. She completed her B.S. in Journalism at the University of Florida and M.Ed. in Secondary Education at Boston College. She taught special education at a middle school in Atlanta before pursuing doctoral studies. She received her Ph.D. in Special Education from Vanderbilt University in May 2017. Dr. Gilson joined the faculty at Texas A&M University in 2017 and currently teaches undergraduate courses for pre-service teachers related to instructional methods and current issues in low-incidence disabilities, such as intellectual disability, autism, physical disabilities, sensory impairments, and traumatic brain injury. Her research focuses on strengthening employment-related social skills for adolescents and young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD); supporting students, families, and educators through the transition to employment or postsecondary education; and educational team collaborations among special education teachers and paraprofessionals.
My general philosophy in life is “it mattered to this one.” As a former special education teacher and now a teacher of pre-service teachers, I place great emphasis on the importance of quality teaching at all levels. My teaching philosophy is guided by a commitment to ensuring that my instruction emphasizes our field’s most current understanding of best practices and is responsive to the considerable diversity of experiences and backgrounds reflected among the students whom I teach. Furthermore, I seek to learn alongside my students in ways that help them to recognize the relevance of the course content to their future roles as educators. I strive to illustrate the lifelong impact of a teacher and encourage my students to set high expectations for their own students with disabilities by delivering educational services that are likely to enhance students’ inclusion, engagement in school, self-determination, relationships, and overall quality of life.
Dr. Gilson will use the funding from the Montague Center for Teaching Excellence Award to develop a professional development opportunity for pre-service special education teachers who want to support individuals with disabilities in transition and postsecondary education settings. This program, called Transition Teachers of Tomorrow (T3), will be aimed at supporting a cohort of 10 students majoring in special education who want to pursue a career in the field of secondary education (8th-12th grade), transition (ages 18-22), or postsecondary education (ages 18+). T3 will provide professional development across three areas of transition: teaching, research, and community. In the area of teaching, students will receive targeted training in key strategies in the field of transition, such as job coaching, employment skills, and social skills. In the area of research, students will have the opportunity to gain research experience as data collectors in my current projects related to job coaching and inclusive postsecondary education program development. They will also be able to attend the Texas Transition Conference in San Antonio in 2019 and learn about the best practices in transition across the state. Finally, in the area of community, T3 students will participate in outreach opportunities through collaborative efforts with programs across campus and in the Bryan-College Station community